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Open thread, October 30 - November 5, 2017

0 Post author: Elo 30 October 2017 11:37PM
If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post, then it goes here.

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Comments (41)

Comment author: OrthernLight 02 November 2017 12:51:17AM 3 points [-]

By the way, is there an explanation of the current status of LessWrong and LessWrong2.0, and could some one give me the link? I've found a few mentions of it, but am still slightly confused.

Comment author: Lumifer 02 November 2017 04:13:56PM 2 points [-]

Less Wrong (1.0, this site) is the historical LessWrong now in the process of being replaced by Less Wrong 2.0 which represents new leadership and new software. Technically, the LessWrong 2.0 is in public beta right now and it's supposed to end soon. Once it ends, there will be a vote about replacing LW 1.0 with LW 2.0 and if it goes through, LW 1.0 will cease to exist. Its message archives will be migrated to LW 2.0.

Comment author: Dagon 04 November 2017 07:52:44PM 0 points [-]

I hadn't heard about the vote part. Do we know the actual text of the measure under consideration? More importantly, who has standing to vote, and upon whom is the vote binding?

Comment author: Lumifer 05 November 2017 12:18:36AM 0 points [-]

I don't think the measure has actual text, but it's a question on whether the LW 1.0 should close down and LW 2.0 should inherit the domain name and the posts archive. Any account on LW 1.0 with karma > X (I vaguely recall that X=1000) has a vote. If the vote fails, LW 1.0 goes into some kind of zombie mode.

Comment author: Elo 04 November 2017 08:32:22PM 0 points [-]

Lw 1.0 users with a karma threshold. But the vote may change. If it's obvious that 2.0 is going great, it might just keep going.

Comment author: Dagon 22 November 2017 03:56:04PM 0 points [-]

What if it's not obvious that LW2.0 is going great, but it's obvious that LW1.0 is dead?

Comment author: Elo 02 November 2017 04:39:44AM 1 point [-]

we are in the process of transitioning. The new one is missing some features and is being iterated on every day. EY is writing there, as are a few others. www.lesserwrong.com

It will eventually replace this site but not before functionality is over there.

Comment author: username2 02 November 2017 10:59:45AM 2 points [-]

Another take: This site is dead with practically no traffic. LW2.0 has various issues and missing features: from a development team perspective it's still in a lengthy beta phase but practically speaking and from a general user viewpoint it can be considered to have fully replaced this site.

Comment author: Elo 02 November 2017 08:39:48PM 1 point [-]

I can't speak for 2.0 but 1.0 still has traffic.

Comment author: username2 10 November 2017 01:49:58PM 1 point [-]

Sorry, I used the ambiguous term "traffic", meant "amount of new discussion/comments" rather than web traffic. were it not for curi's recent flurry there would almost be nothing here.

Comment author: Elo 10 November 2017 05:51:30PM 0 points [-]

I suspect that if curi were not talking, other people would be.

Comment author: bogus 07 November 2017 06:20:28AM 0 points [-]

The biggest "issue" with LesserWrong right now is not whatever "features" are missing; it's that performance on that website sucks, to the point of making it quite simply unusable. It feels like LW 0.2, not LW 2.0 - it's even a lot worse than Arbital, which is hardly a high-performing website itself! The way I see it, everything else is secondary - unless this situation is improved well before the vote, I can only assume that lots of people will be voting against the merge, since LW-as-we-know-it would be dead either way, and the "against" option at least keeps archives easily accessible!

For the record, this is not what I, or even most of us (or so I would imagine) actually want! We want a usable LesserWrong, of course. But will we get it?

Comment author: Lumifer 07 November 2017 04:12:52PM *  1 point [-]

performance on that website sucks

Well, that's because the developers decided that it's going to be a fancy-pants website where the browser is not much more than a Javascript VM. Let's do everything in JS! That's what all the cool kids are doing nowadays!

Comment author: bogus 07 November 2017 07:32:03PM 0 points [-]

I think you're right in a way, but it's definitely a problem. LW 1.0 is easily usable on a mobile internet device (a tablet or even a phone!). LW 0.2 (sorry, I meant "2.0"!) is horribly sluggish even on a fairly reasonable desktop. How can we honestly expect such a site to ever become popular among the "cool kids" of today? (And come to think of it, plenty of "cool kids" read, say, Scott's blog, and that's a lot closer to LW 1.0 than to the newer version of the site - it certainly performs reasonably!)

Comment author: ChristianKl 08 November 2017 03:58:57PM *  0 points [-]

The developers know that performance is the most important thing and are working on it. From my own experience, it's already much better today than it was at the start.

Comment author: bogus 09 November 2017 06:31:56PM 0 points [-]

I think I know what you mean - the site has recently become just barely usable on the simplest of its pages. But as soon as you do something that happens to poke the "JavaScript VM" the wrong way (crazy things like, idk, looking at recent postings by date, viewing a user's recent contributions to the site, or even just opening a popular post w/ lots of comments!), it just grinds to a halt. It's maddening.

Comment author: ChristianKl 09 November 2017 07:12:16PM 0 points [-]

The Lean Startup way suggest releasing a project early even when the first release has problems. I don't think there's a problem with LW2.0 being developed according to those principles.

Comment author: bogus 10 November 2017 03:59:09AM 0 points [-]

The "first release" of LessWrong is, well, this site. What's happening with LW 2.0 is actually called "introducing regressions", and I don't think the startup folks would endorse that. The combination of a full rewrite-from-scratch and a stringent deadline - the switchover was originally supposed to happen around this time, as far as I understand, albeit it has likely been postponed by now - is considered especially unwise.

Hopefully the LesserWrong folks can come up with something that's genuinely usable - there are quite a few things I do like about the new site. But the challenges are just as real.

Comment author: turchin 02 November 2017 11:01:13AM *  1 point [-]

Will the posts here be deleted or will their URLs change? I have some useful URLs here and they are linked in published scientific articles, so if the site will be demolished they will not work, and I hope it will not happen.

Comment author: Elo 02 November 2017 08:38:27PM 3 points [-]

Urls will be preserved

Comment author: OrthernLight 31 October 2017 09:20:01PM 1 point [-]

Is it acceptable to cross-post on threads like this? I’ve recently been wanting to post the same thing here and on the SSC Discord and perhaps in a few other places, since all of these communities are small enough that I don’t always expect to get much response, and while there’s a lot of overlap, it’s far from complete.

Also, actually writing up what I want to say sometimes presents a large barrier; if I re-use what is for me the hardest part, namely starting a conversation, I’d be more likely to start actively participating.

Comment author: Elo 01 November 2017 03:57:28AM 2 points [-]

Cross post

Yes

Comment author: curi 31 October 2017 05:24:01AM 1 point [-]

Hi, I haven't posted here for years. I'm a philosopher. I think the most important philosophies are Critical Rationalism and Objectivism.

Questions: Do people here view ideas as having timeless importance, or do they largely ignore attempts to continue old discussions? And what are typical attitudes to stopping discussions here? Do people stop because they went to sleep or were busy for a few days, or do they silently stop when they think the other guy is wrong and don't feel like arguing anymore, or do they actually write out some reason for stopping which itself open to discussion, or what? Do people care much about trying to reach conclusions in discussions and expect that to be achievable?

Comment author: Elo 31 October 2017 05:48:14AM 2 points [-]

Things worth noting:

Comment author: curi 31 October 2017 06:02:08AM *  2 points [-]

I tried posting at CMV but didn't find anyone interesting. I generally look for any good individuals at forums. I have a ton of discussion experience and am familiar with people's unwillingness to provide clear targets for possible criticism/refutation. Most people are also largely unwilling to answer direct questions in short, clear ways and unwilling to correct mistakes they made. E.g. I've routinely found people unwilling to correct misquotes (a type of mistake which is especially easy to judge objectively). Those are some of the reasons I try to focus on specific individuals who are better than that.

I'm not a Bayesian but I too take issue with agreeing to disagree. It's ironic that the Aumann's agreement theorem references Scott Aaronson about the possibility of rational people efficiently agreeing because he refused to discuss some points of disagreement with me (and did not claim I was being irrational as the reason).

I appreciate the list of Epistemic humility, Good faith, Confidence in the existence of objective truth, Curiosity and/or a desire to uncover truth. And I appreciate the idea of stating out loud that one is tapping out, though I'd often prefer to move the discussion to methodology instead of giving up immediately.

EDIT: BTW I'd be happy to answer an indefinitely long series of questions and arguments about my views if anyone here thinks they could point out anything I'm mistaken about.

Comment author: Elo 31 October 2017 06:23:47AM 0 points [-]

giving up immediately.

Tapping out is not necessarily giving up. Someone else can tap in. but it's saying "I have my reasons that I am not saying when I stop this here"

Comment author: Lumifer 31 October 2017 02:35:11PM 1 point [-]

(1) Both, but necroing old threads is considered to be perfectly fine here;

(2) All of the above -- depends on the people in question and on the topic being discussed.

(3) Generally speaking, yes and yes, with the caveat that sometimes the conclusion is "we are looking at this in fundamentally different ways".

Comment author: MaryCh 18 November 2017 05:09:43PM 0 points [-]

(btw, just thought to ask the people here who have thought about logging their predictions about the year 2018 around the end of December: How do you decide how much time you need before you settle on a prediction? I mean, if making a list on December, 31st is just a common point in time when to state your current state of knowledge, you have 364 days to come to it, but nobody takes so long.)

Comment author: Elo 18 November 2017 05:39:21PM 0 points [-]

Superforecasers (book) suggests updating regularly. Like daily if you think your predictions change.

Comment author: MaryCh 18 November 2017 06:00:09PM 0 points [-]

but surely a normal person who makes a list of about 50 items can't update daily? they have stuff to do.

Comment author: Elo 18 November 2017 07:01:27PM 0 points [-]

No. But they are probably not each as important as each other. And you can update without writing down the beliefs.

Comment author: MaryCh 19 November 2017 07:47:47PM 0 points [-]

alright, then: at what earliest point do people start reading their predictions for another year?

Comment author: curi 31 October 2017 07:35:01AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: Vaniver 31 October 2017 03:02:11PM 0 points [-]

When I got the idea a long time ago, it was a single person's position and was called something like "Minister of Dissent." The idea was that a lot of useful criticism comes in bothersome packages, and having someone with a dual role of enforcing discourse standards and improving the relevant skills of people not meeting those standards would do more to lead to good discussion than just enforcing the standards. I was quickly convinced that this would be an especially draining job, and that it was better to have a team of people, such that they could do it only sometimes / not feel like they're always on the hook to steelman or help someone write a better comment.

I haven't come up with a better name yet than 'Sunshine Regiment' for pointing at the dual functionality of the moderation team, and am open to suggestions.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 31 October 2017 03:19:52PM 5 points [-]

Gardeners?

Comment author: Lumifer 31 October 2017 07:35:34PM 1 point [-]

Not sure why you want to find a different expression for "moderators", but other than online I think that people with this dual role are conventionally called "reviewers" (as e.g. in the peer review context) or, maybe, "editors".

Comment author: Elo 31 October 2017 07:48:51AM 0 points [-]

I know! I keep telling them it's too dystopian and they need to change it. But they don't listen to me (or they haven't yet).

Comment author: Dagon 31 October 2017 01:41:33PM 0 points [-]

I like "sunshine regiment" as an acknowledgement that it's a fundamentally combative activity, and accepted as a necessity for goodness. It's more Orwellian to call them "moderators", as if they somehow made people less extreme. And while it'd be honest to call them "censors", I'd rather have the reminder that they're supposed to be cheerful and positive about it.

Comment author: bogus 07 November 2017 06:25:20AM 0 points [-]

an acknowledgement that it's a fundamentally combative activity, and accepted as a necessity for goodness

This is why they should be called the "Trolling Regiment" or "Legion of Trolls". (And yes, this is a serious proposal!) Yes, they're supposed to be trolling for goodness, but we all know that, right? And of course every troll pursues their own personal version of "goodness" as they see it!

Comment author: curi 31 October 2017 06:58:16PM 0 points [-]

I don't agree that moderators who enforce discourse standards are a necessity for goodness. I've run forums without that for a long time, using other methods like setting an example for discourse standards, establishing an group ethos, and being rather tolerant of some low quality comments (it's no big deal to have some).

Comment author: Lumifer 31 October 2017 02:32:56PM 0 points [-]

it's a fundamentally combative activity

It's no more combative than weeding a garden.

Orwellian

The Orwellian part is "sunshine". "Regiment" merely implies readiness to do what you are ordered to without thinking too much about it.