Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

In response to Voiceofra is banned
Comment author: PhilGoetz 28 December 2015 11:08:02PM 1 point [-]

Same technical solution I always offer: An upvote or downvote should add or subtract the number of bits of information conveyed by that vote, conditioned on the identity of the voter and the target.

In the simplest version, this would mean that if person X upvotes or downvotes everything written by person Y, those votes count for nothing. If X upvotes half of every comment by person Y, and never downvotes anything by Y, those votes count for nothing (if we assume X missed the comments he didn't vote on), or up to 1 bit (if we assume X saw all the other comments).

Better would be to use a model that blended X's voting pattern overall with X's voting on Y's posts and comments.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 28 December 2015 10:25:37PM 2 points [-]

Sorry to say this now, but I think you should have posted the initial question on LessWrong in addition to on your Facebook page. Getting 6 likes is impressive, but it was the only suggestion offered.

I hope you don't get too discouraged by all the dislikes. Hopefully they just mean that those people don't want that particular t-shirt.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 27 December 2015 02:30:03AM 0 points [-]

Oi, summary break that monster!

In response to LessWrong 2.0
Comment author: PhilGoetz 27 December 2015 02:25:03AM *  6 points [-]

One thing LessWrong should have been, and never was, is a place to expand on and critique the ideas behind Friendly AI and Coherent Extrapolated Volition. It's nearly 2016, and AFAIK we still have no more details on what CEV is or how it might work than when the site was created. I find it strange to talk about shutting the site down when it's never gotten around to what should have been its primary purpose.

It wasn't such a place partly because Eliezer discouraged attempts to fill in the gaps, figure out what he meant, or critique the assumptions of his program. LessWrong was a fundraiser for a cause that it wanted not to discuss.

In response to LessWrong 2.0
Comment author: PhilGoetz 27 December 2015 02:19:02AM *  2 points [-]

I think the first step is for whoever controls LW, which I suppose is Eliezer, to hand over control to someone who's active on the site. This is important because promoting posts is important to get a high viewcount. I don't get the impression anybody reads all the new posts to Main and promotes the ones they think are good.

More transparency about who's in charge and how they operate LW would be good during and after this process.

Eliezer's policy was explicitly, "Although you now create the content for LessWrong, that gives you no right to have any say in how it's run." I think that's part of why people left, and ought to change going forward.

In response to LessWrong 2.0
Comment author: PhilGoetz 27 December 2015 02:16:16AM 2 points [-]

I think we should either develop a plan that makes LW fully functional at the three roles mentioned above (and any others that are raised), or we should close down posting and commenting on LW (while maintaining it as an archive).

First, I wonder who this "we" is. Does the "we" discussing this include any people with the power to do any of it?

I don't agree with shutting it down. Post warning message banners if you like, but I believe in the free market. I'm not talking about money or the invisible hand; I'm talking about the idea that you shouldn't try to decide what's good for other people. If people want to keep using LW, their use of it is their vote that it's useful. If people stop believing it's useful, they'll stop using it. If they still believe it's useful to them, who are you to overrule them?

Comment author: PhilGoetz 21 December 2015 10:16:22PM *  1 point [-]

I'm sorry for your pain, and glad you didn't, so to speak, waste it.

I wonder whether statements like "He's in a better place" might not be helpful to people who really believe it?

But I also wonder whether people grieving over a death are really grieving over the person's death, or over their loss of that person. Resentment of "he's in a better place" might be resentment of making the griever aware that she doesn't really care if he's in a better place.

As to humans, well, I suspect the best chance we have of not destroying ourselves is genetic or machine augmentation of intelligence on a massive scale in the near future. We may be smart enough to come up with solutions for our problems, but we aren't anywhere near smart enough for half of the population to agree on practical solutions to difficult problems. Practical solutions are inherently unpopular. The main message taught by our movies and literature is that you can solve all problems without making compromises, because that's what people will pay money to hear.

(I didn't say it was a good chance. I said it was the best chance.)

Of course, we'd then quickly come up with new, more-complicated ways of destroying ourselves more thoroughly.

In response to LessWrong 2.0
Comment author: V_V 04 December 2015 10:58:04AM 10 points [-]

My two cents:

  • Merge Main and Discussion

  • Make new content more visible. Right now the landing page, and in particular the first screen, mostly consists of boilerplate. You have to scroll or click in order to view if new content has been posted. In the current attention scarce era of Facebook and Twitter streams, this is not ideal.

  • Discourage/ban Open threads. They are an unusual thing to have on a an open forum. They might have made sense when posting volume was higher, but right now they further obfuscate valuable content.

In response to comment by V_V on LessWrong 2.0
Comment author: PhilGoetz 21 December 2015 09:48:33PM *  4 points [-]

This wouldn't change the need to scroll or click, since the front page, AND "Main", show only promoted articles, and promotion appears to be based on either being written by a MIRI staffer, or being some sort of general notice about an event or job opportunity, rather than having to do with quality of content.

(I don't even know what the difference is between "promoted" and "featured", or why we have both categories.)

I think a better improvement would be to automatically insert a summary break after the first paragraph for all posts that have no summary breaks, and/or to have a forum index that listed just the post titles. MIRI staff are especially guilty of posting huge articles with no summary breaks.

A more ambitious change would be to choose admins from the active forum participants to promote things to main. I get the impression that the LW admins don't participate much on LW. I haven't been around much myself lately, so I say that with low confidence.

Comment author: gwern 04 November 2015 07:33:43PM 0 points [-]

Being an active member of the community does not grant knowledge of statistical regularities like you need it to for the argument to work. There is no way she can know 'most' readers read it there, because most readers will never say anything and there will be differences in who does say things - the readers that an author hears from are not random readers, to say the least.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 01 December 2015 03:32:29PM 0 points [-]

The number of reviews that you're trying to infer more readers from is also from FF.net. The 2 million hits are also from ff.net. There are no numbers from anywhere else. I've already demonstrated that it's theoretically impossible for there to have been even as many as 29,000 readers at that time on FF.net, and you're apparently still claiming there were 127k on ff.net. It's your analysis, not mine, that's been debunked here.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 16 November 2015 12:55:54PM 2 points [-]

Richard, this is not what I believe, but rather what Lewis almost certainly believed, as evidenced by how all Christians, everywhere, throughout all history up to Lewis' time, have behaved.

I prefer to determine what Lewis almost certainly believed by looking at what he certainly wrote. The very quote that started this discussion is explicitly saying the opposite.

Besides, it's nearly five hundred years since the Thirty Years War knocked the stuffing out of Christian proselytisation by the sword, and the imperative to force people into belief, or at least practice, has been declining ever since. Further history here.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 17 November 2015 08:04:10AM 0 points [-]

The fact that they no longer tell people to convert or die does not mean they grant freedom of religion. I'm not aware of any society with a Christian majority that has ever refrained from enforcing its moral rules on the rest of its society. I am aware of probably hundreds, if I added them up, throughout history, that have done so. Find me a dozen counterexamples and I'll listen.

View more: Next