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Comment author: Erfeyah 16 December 2016 03:32:12PM *  1 point [-]

(This is my first post so please kindly point me to my misconceptions if there are any)

This is seeking a technological solution to a social problem.

It is still strange to me that people say this as if it were a criticism.

It is not that strange when dealing with technological solutions to problems that we haven't yet understood. You define your goal as creating a "commons of knowledge”. Consider a few points:

[1] There seems to be a confusion between information and knowledge. I know that the LW community is attempting to provide a rational methodology towards knowledge but I have not seen this been done in any way that is substantially different. It is discussion as always with more commitment towards rationality (which is great!).

[2] We do not have an efficent way of representing arguments. Argument mapping is an attempt to that direction. I personally tend to use a numbering convention inspired by Wittgenstein (I am using it here as an example). The bottom line is that discussions tend to be quite unordered and opinions tend to be conflated with truths (see [1]).

[3] From [1] and [2] as an outsider I do not understand what the root group represents. Are these the people that are more rational? Who has decided that?

So maybe that is what Plethora meant. I am myself really interested in this problem and have been thinking about it for some time. My recommendation would be to focus first in smaller issues such as how to represent an argument in a way that can extract a truth rating. But even that is too ambitious at the moment. How about a technological solution for representing arguments with clarity so that both sides:

  • can see what is being said in clearly labeled propositions.
  • can identify errors in logic and mark them down.
  • can weed out opinions from experimentally confirmed scientific facts.
  • can link to sources and have a way to recursively examine their 'truth rating’ down to the most primary source.

These are just a few indicative challenges. There are also issues with methods for source verification exemplified by the ongoing scandals with data forging in psychology and neuroscience and the list goes on..

Comment author: Drea 27 December 2016 05:51:18AM *  0 points [-]

I would like to vote up this recommendation:

How about a technological solution for representing arguments with clarity so that both sides:

  • can see what is being said in clearly labeled propositions.
  • can identify errors in logic and mark them down.
  • can weed out opinions from experimentally confirmed scientific facts.
  • can link to sources and have a way to recursively examine their 'truth rating’ down to the most primary source.

This is an un-explored area, and seems to me like it would have a higher ROI than a deep dive into variations on voting/rating/reputation systems.

Comment author: ananda 29 November 2016 05:31:53PM 18 points [-]

I'm new and came here from Sarah Constantin's blog. I'd like to build a new infrastructure for LW, from scratch. I'm in a somewhat unique position to do so because I'm (1) currently searching for an open source project to do, and (2) taking a few months off before starting my next job, granting the bandwidth to contribute significantly to this project. As it stands right now, I can commit to working full time on this project for the next three months. At that point, I will continue to work on the project part time and it will be robust enough to be used in an alpha or beta state, and attract devs to contribute to further development.

Here is how I envision the basic architecture of this project:

  1. A server that manages all business logic (i.e. posting, moderation, analytics) and interfaces with the frontend (2) and database (3).
  2. A standalone, modular frontend (probably built with React, maybe reusing components provided by Telescope) that is modern, beautiful, and easily extensible/composable from a dev perspective.
  3. A database, possibly NoSql given the nature of the data that needs to be stored (posts, comments, etc). The first concern is security, all others predicated on that.

I will kickstart all three parts and bring them to a good place. After this threshold, I will need help with the frontend - this is not my forte and will be better executed by someone passionate about it.

I'm not asking for any compensation for my work. My incentive is to create a project that is actually immediately useful to someone; open-sourcing it and extending that usability is also nice. I also sympathize with the LW community and the goals laid out in this post.

I considered another approach: reverse-engineer HackerNews and use that as the foundation to be adapted to LW's unique needs. If this approach would be of greater utility to LW, I'd be happy to take it.

Comment author: Drea 11 December 2016 08:12:35PM 0 points [-]

I see various people volunteering for different roles. I'd be interested in providing design research and user experience support, which would probably only be needed intermittently if we have someone acting as a product manager. It might be nice to have someone in a light-weight graphic design role as well, and that can be freelance.

Like ananda, I'm happy to do this as an open-contribution project rather than paid. I'll reach out to Vaniver via email.

Comment author: Alexei 28 November 2016 12:28:49AM 4 points [-]


Comment author: Drea 11 December 2016 07:59:36PM 0 points [-]

I can see value in having LW as a prototype or scratch pad, making simple modifications of existing discussion platforms (e.g. improved moderator powers as discussed above). Then Arbital can do the harder work of building a collaborative truth-seeking platform, adding in features to, for example, support Double Crux, fine-typed voting, or evidence (rather than comments).

Perhaps in the end there's a symbiosis, where the LW is for discussion, and when a topic comes up that needs truth-seeking it's moved to Arbital. That free's Arbital from having to include a solved problem in it's code base.

Comment author: chrizbo 30 November 2016 02:15:48AM *  7 points [-]

I'm excited to try this out in both strong and weak forms.

There are parallels of getting to the crux of something in design and product discovery research. It is called Why Laddering. I have used it when trying to understand the reasons behind a particular person's problem or need. If someone starts too specific it is a great way to step back from solutions they have preconceived before knowing the real problem (or if there is even one).

It also attempts to get to a higher level in a system of needs.

Are there ever times that the double crux have resulted in narrowing with each crux? Or do they generally become more general?

There is the reverse as well called How Laddering which tries to find solutions for more general problems.

It sounds like the 'reverse double crux' would be to find a new, common solution after a common crux has been found.

Comment author: Drea 11 December 2016 07:20:25PM 0 points [-]

Nice association.

I see this model as building on Laddering or the XY problem, because it also looks for a method of falsifiability.

It's closer to a two-sided use of Eric Ries' Lean Startup (the more scientific version), where a crux = leap of faith assumption. I've called the LoFA a "leap of faith hypothesis", and your goal is to find the data that would tell you the assumption is wrong.

The other product design thinker with a similar approach is Tom Chi who uses a conjecture -> experiment -> actuals -> decision framework.

In all of these methods, the hard work/thinking is actually finding a crux and how to falsify it. Having an "opponent" to collaborate with may make us better at this.

Comment author: gathaung 10 December 2016 12:05:31PM 3 points [-]

I recently had a tech-support problem on lw and wanted to post the solution here. Anyone with write permissions on the faq is invited to copy-paste the following there:

Q: I appear to be unable to comment. Once I log in, the comment button vanishes. WTF?

A: Have you verified your email address? Due to spammers, we had to make email verification mandatory before commenting.

Unfortunately, the lesswrong code is currently unable to indicate if your account is still pending email verification. The easiest way to trigger a new attempt at email verification is to go to your account settings and change your email address; then your new email address will immediately receive a new verification mail.

Comment author: Drea 11 December 2016 07:02:41PM 0 points [-]

Thank you! I needed that work-around.