Public »

LW Post Effort Rant

This page was written by one or more anonymous contributors.

All posts - LessWrong 2.0 viewer

A faster way to browse LessWrong 2.0

To come back to my earlier point.

This is, to put it mildly, a mess.

The big thing that's missing from your vision of intellectual work is colleagues and shared context, and yes I know the point is to build shared context. That you say this doesn't mean you accomplish it.

As it stands, what this resembles is a random grab bag of stuff, most of it fairly mediocre.

Now, beggars can't be choosers after all, but there's a lot of stuff individual people could be doing to write better.

Nothing in the system encourages them to do that.

So what you get is a sort of ADD insight-porn fest. This is perhaps the most prototypical example I could ever imagine:

A well researched, beautifully crafted report on something gets swamped by a sea of garbage in this vein.

One time for fun I looked at posts I felt were well written and high quality, and compared their votes to posts I felt were kind of mediocre.

The well written high quality stuff did score better, but not the 10x or 100x better that their level of effort would imply just going by linear challenge scaling.

In the best case, karma doesn't matter.

If karma does matter, it actively incentivizes intellectual garbage.

Actually lets start there, how many points do you think this post should be worth?

Is it a positive integer?

To put things in perspective: I'm currently taking a super basic lab physics class. The instructor has us perform the most elementary experiments imaginable, with absolutely minimal equipment, to observe phenomena so trivial you might be insulted.

That's because the point of the class isn't to observe anything, it's to learn how to write a lab report, and these lab reports are so complex that the experiments are kept deliberately spartan just so an undergraduate can handle them.

The last one I did ran to 15 pages and took 22 hours of concerted effort.

So I could describe an experiment where I took a multimeter and measured 100 resistors actual resistance value versus their color coded value.

Now, obviously we don't need anything so fancy for trivial things, but that sort of effort is about the floor for anything intellectually valuable I'd imagine.

How many posts to LW 2 do you think took at least that much effort?

(Note: It by no means needs to be all of them, some lower effort content just for engagement is fine. But what should the ratio be? 1 to 5, 1 to 10, 1 to 50, 1 to 100?)

And that's just discussing raw effort, I'm not even getting into like, how that effort is used.

Most authors on LW, if they put more effort in using their current strategies, would just make overproduced garbage.