I've been a LessWrong organizer since 2011, with roughly equal focus on the cultural, practical and intellectual aspects of the community. My first project was creating the Secular Solstice and helping groups across the world run their own version of it. More recently I've been interested in improving my own epistemic standards and helping others to do so as well.


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Keep your beliefs cruxy and your frames explicit

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What is filling the hole left by religion?

(One of the most boggling moments was the Twitch Plays Pokemon phenomenon, which came with self-organized factions, music, and weird narrative)

What is filling the hole left by religion?

I agree with many of the suggestions here and in other comments. I want to note: another major thing filling religion's hole is fandom. And as much as I love (trans)humanist ritual, I think fandom might be the healthiest religious substitute by virtue of not looking plausibly-real, or getting in the way of other epistemic updates. (If you join the Blue / Red / Grey Tribe or Communist civic religions, you may have to contend with your views of economics or science being bound with your identity. But, if you join the Harry Potter Fandom, less so)

Most fans have a superficial relationship with their fandom. But, many go to meetups, conventions, forums and games that make up a lot of their social life. Meanwhile they create art that does at-least-sometimes rise to the level of religious inspiration.

Often I think they do get at least some morality from (Star Wars / Harry Potter / Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

AlphaStar: Impressive for RL progress, not for AGI progress

Curated. This post was first considered for curation when it first came out (many months ago), and it fell through the cracks for various reasons. Kaj Sotala was interested in curating it now, in part to compare/contrast it with various discussions of GPT-3.

Due to some time-zone-issues, I'm curating it now, and Kaj will respond with more thoughts when he gets a chance.

RT-LAMP is the right way to scale diagnostic testing for the coronavirus

It's actually a somewhat different thing where, normally frontpage is supposed to be stuff that's more timeless, that people might presumably still care about in 5 years. Part of the whole point is to avoid LessWrong being news-driven.

Early in the pandemic, the mods decided that coronavirus was important enough to frontpage lots of stuff about it, and it did take over the site for awhile. Later, it happened that a) people were talking about it less, and b) it felt like we'd 80/20d the covid discussion and it was no longer urgent enough to break our frontpage guidelines for.

(Note that personal blogposts still get a fair bit of visibility, the point is mostly to avoid having it be the first thing people associate with LessWrong when they first show up. Frontpage posts tend to get 2-3x the traffic, mostly from newbies and people not logged in. Zvi's weekly covid posts get a fair number of comments.)

I do think this topic seems quite important if true (haven't evaluated it myself yet), and am glad you posted it here.

Delegate a Forecast

I haven't yet attempted to seriously estimate it. I know of two other people who have risk calculators that I'm going to try to use at some point, and was interested in having a few different estimates to help triangulate things.

Is Wirecutter still good?

FWIW, I was disappointed in my purchases from the wirecutter pre-2016 (I think back in 2013 or so). I can only remember one distinct purchase (a set of headphones). I'm not sure if I made more than one purchase or not, but remember a cached belief from >2 years ago that the recommendations were underwhelming.

That said, I did use them for purchasing my latest mattress (within the last year), which I am in fact happy with.

How to Respond to a Black Hole Astronomer's Gish Gallop
Raemon4dModerator Comment24

Nixtaken, after discussing things with other mods, I’m banning you for 3 months. I think you have some interesting ideas and domain expertise and hope you can one day be a productive LessWrong user. But if you want to participate on our site, you will have to make peace with the fact that (sometimes critical) feedback and downvotes are a key part of the culture here.

I realize our culture here is fairly different from the rest of the internet. But LessWrong deliberately has several norms that aim to preserve a good space for discussing challenging ideas. Those norms are enforced with a meta-norm that people are encouraged to downvote things they feel are detracting from LessWrong. 

I haven’t yet dug into the object level disagreement here, and I’m not 100% sure who’s factually correct. But you’ve repeatedly responded to arguments with indignation, accusations of bias and sockpuppeting, rather than engaging with the substance. It is pretty typical and expected on LessWrong to respond to that with downvoting. Several people have explained this feedback. Another moderator, Ben Pace, noted that you'd probably need to change your posting style significantly to get a different reception here.

After 3 months, you are welcome to try participating again on LessWrong, but if you do so know that you’ll be expected to respond to arguments with substance. If you’d like to return, I’d recommend reading other recent highly upvoted posts and comments to get a sense of what’s encouraged here, as well as reading through the sequences if you haven’t already.

How to Respond to a Black Hole Astronomer's Gish Gallop

I think you should be able to set your feed such that it has a karma minimum, which I'm guessing addresses your concerns. (Posts show up with at least 1 karma by default, and then it takes a little while for downvoting to take affect)

Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed

A lot of what makes it neat is the deliberate contrast. Maybe not more than 50% of what made it neat but it's be a nontrivial hit. Some story beats I think were sort of dependent on the deliberate contrast for their narrative heft, so you need to redo them, which would require some craftmanship.

So, like, sure, it's doable. But the whole point of HPMOR was also to be something he could do for fun in is off hours with no willpower (which it eventually failed at anyhow).

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