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

Comment author: SaidAchmiz 02 October 2017 03:11:22AM 0 points [-]

It does not.

Comment author: adamzerner 02 October 2017 05:50:46AM *  1 point [-]

At https://www.lesserwrong.com/sequences, when I open up Chrome's dev tools on my 13 inch Macbook Pro with a macOS Sierra OS, the computed value of font-size for the paragraph of main text is 20px, and the computed value of line-height is 25px. But on https://www.lesserwrong.com/posts/AmaWMMWPzuQ62Ernf/against-individual-iq-worries I'm getting the same values you mentioned. So I assume it at least depends on what type of post is being displayed.

Comment author: SaidAchmiz 02 October 2017 01:35:37AM 1 point [-]

Looks like LW 2.0 is using a 20px font size, and 25px line height, which is in range of what is recommended.

Correction: the body text has font size 19px, line height 32px (ratio of ~168%). This is definitely too widely spaced.

Comment author: adamzerner 02 October 2017 02:10:05AM 0 points [-]

It might depend on screen size.

In response to Feedback on LW 2.0
Comment author: Dustin 01 October 2017 03:57:31PM 8 points [-]

As has been mentioned a couple times already...I don't know how I'm supposed to use the site.

I go there and then I'm just like "now what?".

  1. It looks like there's different places I can go to read different subsets of all available posts. How do I know I'm not missing any posts?

  2. When I go to lesserwrong.com, there's a huge section at the top of stuff I've already read and it's always there. I have to scroll below the fold to see new content.

  3. So the first section I see when I scroll down is called "Featured Posts". What makes these posts featured?

  4. Next section is "Recent Frontpage Posts". What's a "Frontpage" post? Am I missing some sort of non-frontpage posts by just reading this section?

  5. Under the "Frontpage" posts heading there's a couple of links that look like they're supposed to filter the posts. Maybe I should be reading the "see all posts" link. Does that mean all "frontpage" posts and leaves out non-frontpage posts? I dunno.

In response to comment by Dustin on Feedback on LW 2.0
Comment author: adamzerner 02 October 2017 01:02:37AM *  1 point [-]

I too am confused about what a frontpage post is. Is it the same as a featured post? I'd guess so, but the fact that two different words are used makes me question myself.

In response to Feedback on LW 2.0
Comment author: Viliam 01 October 2017 03:24:49PM *  12 points [-]

I don't know if there is a Schelling point for providing feedback, so I made this thread.

Speaking for myself, my reaction to LW 2.0 could be summarized as: "This is so confusing and so difficult to figure out, that I'll just... leave it for later." Before I get to the individual complaints, here is the meta one:

If you want to change dozen things about a website, don't change them all at the same time. For the user, some of them will feel like an improvement, and others may feel like an opposite of improvement; but all of them feel like an extra cognitive burden. So even if of those dozen changes 7 are in the positive and 5 in the negative direction, the overall impression may still be negative. Also, consider loss aversion; people will be more annoyed by losing a feature they liked.

Now the details:

The font seems to be bigger, and the spaces between lines also seem bigger. (I didn't actually measure it; this is my impression from looking at the page.) As a result it feels like there is much less content on the screen, which makes it more difficult to perceive as a whole, reduces my efficiency of speed reading, and makes me push Page Down more often. In general it creates what I call a "Facebook experience", where you keep pressing Page Down till your fingers hurt.

The font is blurry, and gray instead of black. So despite the text being larger, the smaller contrast makes it actually more difficult to read. Ironically, the only thing that should be less visible against the background -- the upvote and downvote buttons you didn't click -- is visible enough, so I have a problem to quickly see whether I did or didn't vote on the article.

The screen area containing the text is not limited, making it more difficult for my eyes to scan the lines. (Yes, this is a repeated topic in my complaints: it feels as if the page was optimized in various aspects to slow down my reading speed.) On LW1, the parts of the screen containing the text has white background, the sides have a light gray background; when reading the text I am barely aware that those sides exist. On LW2 the text is floating in the large ocean of white background; I am reading on a wide monitor, and my eyes are constantly jumping to the edges of the screen. (No, I am not going to change the size of my browser window to fit LW2; all other websites are okay with me keeping the window maximized.)

The new content is displayed in a what seems like a random order. Yeah, it can be changed. But then I will create a bubble for myself where what I see is quite different from what other people see, so I hesitate about that.

The comments don't have boxes, so it is difficult to see where one comment ends and another comment starts, or which comment replies to which one.

...I guess this is enough complaints for one comment. Trying to be a bit more constructive, I guess the easiest solution for my problems would be to create a CSS stylesheet which would try to make LW2 visually as similar as possible to LW1. Like, seriously, look at LW1, look at Hacker News, look at Slashdot, look at Reddit... all those websites use small fonts with sharp edges. It probably happened for a reason.

In response to comment by Viliam on Feedback on LW 2.0
Comment author: adamzerner 02 October 2017 12:52:22AM *  1 point [-]

The font seems to be bigger, and the spaces between lines also seem bigger. "On the web, the op­ti­mal size is 15–25 pixels.". "line spacing 120–145% of the point size"

Looks like LW 2.0 is using a 20px font size, and 25px line height, which is in range of what is recommended.

The font is blurry, and gray instead of black.

NN Group supports what you're saying, although the text on LW 2.0 looks plenty dark to me.

The comments don't have boxes, so it is difficult to see where one comment ends and another comment starts, or which comment replies to which one.

Agreed.

In response to Feedback on LW 2.0
Comment author: adamzerner 02 October 2017 12:40:45AM 3 points [-]

One obvious thing I really like is that the site is responsive! On this current site, I can't read the text when I make the window half the size of the screen (13 inch laptop).

Comment author: Raemon 01 October 2017 10:39:25PM *  3 points [-]

Much of this is stuff that's on the development team's agenda (either to change or to think about).

One thing that's a significant change that was very intentional is the "Opening up with the sequences, codex, and HPMOR" (albeit with a lot less certainty with HPMOR being included there).

We do plan to have an "All Posts" page that ends up being the primary way you consume the site (with newest content first). And for people who've already read the sequences et-al, that'll be the preferred way for them to interact with the site.

But for newcomers, a major shift with Lesserwrong is essentially, "since the glory days where most good content is from were way back when, and since understanding the sequences really is important for being able to engage productively with the site, we want to be encouraging newcomers to first engage with that content rather than treating it as a forum where newcomers can show up and start posting immediately." If you don't have that, then the discussion won't really have the elements that make Less Wrong particularly valuable.

In response to comment by Raemon on Feedback on LW 2.0
Comment author: adamzerner 02 October 2017 12:35:48AM *  3 points [-]

But for newcomers, a major shift with Lesserwrong is essentially, "since the glory days where most good content is from were way back when, and since understanding the sequences really is important for being able to engage productively with the site, we want to be encouraging newcomers to first engage with that content rather than treating it as a forum where newcomers can show up and start posting immediately." If you don't have that, then the discussion won't really have the elements that make Less Wrong particularly valuable.

I agree. But how about trying to only show it to newcomers? Perhaps anyone less than 200 karma for starters.

Later on, maybe track page views + time spent on each page in order to infer whether or not users have read the sequences (probably needs to be thought out some more, but something like that).

In response to Feedback on LW 2.0
Comment author: Daniel_Burfoot 01 October 2017 05:17:11PM *  14 points [-]

First, I appreciate the work people have done to make LW 2 happen. Here are my notes:

  1. Strong feeling - the links and descriptions of the Sequences, the Codex, and HPMOR (while good) should not be at the top of the page. The top should be the newest material.
  2. Please please please include a "hide subthread" option to collapse a comment and all its responses. That is a dealbreaker for me, if a site doesn't have that feature, I won't read the comments.
  3. Current LW has a really nice alternating color scheme for comment/reply. One comment will have a grey background, the comment below it will have a beige background. That is a key feature for visually parsing a comment thread.
  4. I liked the concept of having a main section and a discussion section, where the bar for posting in the latter is lower. For whatever reason, people seem to get angry if you post something that they feel is low quality or not relevant.
  5. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but somehow I don't quite like the default font. It may be that I like a different font for reading on dead tree paper vs on a computer screen?
  6. It may be slightly evil, but the karma display on the right side of the screen makes the site more addictive, because people love to see if they get upvotes or comment replies.
  7. It seems weird to allow people to upvote/downvote an article right from the home page, do you really want people to vote for an article without reading it?
Comment author: adamzerner 02 October 2017 12:31:32AM 1 point [-]

For 6, I think users who want to minimize temptation should at least have the option of disabling this. Relevant: http://www.timewellspent.io/.

In response to Feedback on LW 2.0
Comment author: Daniel_Burfoot 01 October 2017 05:17:11PM *  14 points [-]

First, I appreciate the work people have done to make LW 2 happen. Here are my notes:

  1. Strong feeling - the links and descriptions of the Sequences, the Codex, and HPMOR (while good) should not be at the top of the page. The top should be the newest material.
  2. Please please please include a "hide subthread" option to collapse a comment and all its responses. That is a dealbreaker for me, if a site doesn't have that feature, I won't read the comments.
  3. Current LW has a really nice alternating color scheme for comment/reply. One comment will have a grey background, the comment below it will have a beige background. That is a key feature for visually parsing a comment thread.
  4. I liked the concept of having a main section and a discussion section, where the bar for posting in the latter is lower. For whatever reason, people seem to get angry if you post something that they feel is low quality or not relevant.
  5. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but somehow I don't quite like the default font. It may be that I like a different font for reading on dead tree paper vs on a computer screen?
  6. It may be slightly evil, but the karma display on the right side of the screen makes the site more addictive, because people love to see if they get upvotes or comment replies.
  7. It seems weird to allow people to upvote/downvote an article right from the home page, do you really want people to vote for an article without reading it?
Comment author: adamzerner 02 October 2017 12:31:09AM *  0 points [-]

2, 3 and 7 all seem like pretty noncontroversial and doable things.

Comment author: pepe_prime 13 September 2017 01:20:21PM 10 points [-]

[Survey Taken Thread]

By ancient tradition, if you take the survey you may comment saying you have done so here, and people will upvote you and you will get karma.

Let's make these comments a reply to this post. That way we continue the tradition, but keep the discussion a bit cleaner.

Comment author: adamzerner 13 September 2017 05:41:28PM 21 points [-]

Taken!

Comment author: adamzerner 08 September 2017 08:57:19PM *  0 points [-]

Interesting topic, thanks for bringing it up.

Regarding sales rank vs. ratings, I disagree, but I don't feel strongly about my disagreement at all.

  • My impression is that different textbooks use roughly the same terminology, although I don't have much experience reading different textbooks on the same topic, so I don't feel too strongly about this impression.

  • Professors may be paid off (or some variation of "paid off") to require certain textbooks. I don't know much about this, just noting it as a possibility.

  • I suspect that professors aren't great at choosing textbooks that explain things well, in part due to the illusion of transparency, and in part due to my experience being one where professors aren't good at pedagogy. Or maybe they just don't care. Or perhaps they do care, but they care more about choosing a book that fits the curriculum they want to teach. I suspect that ratings do a better job of predicting how well the book explains things.

Some other things to consider:

  • I have a theory that the more good visuals a textbook has, the more likely it is to be a good textbook overall. If you can access some random pages in the textbook, try skimming through to get a sense of what quality of visuals there are in the textbook.

  • Try different books out before committing to one! Eg. by reading a small subsection or two. Seems like a reasonable investment of your time.

  • Read descriptions and reviews to see if you fit the target market. Ex. Probability Theory: The Logic of Science by ET Jaynes seems like a "good" book, but it probably isn't a good book if you're a beginner looking for an introduction (I'm guessing).

View more: Next