About Less Wrong

Edit: This post refers to the origi­nal ver­sion of LessWrong, which ran be­tween Fe­bru­ary 2009 and March 2018. The About page refer­ring to the pe­riod from March 2018 to the pre­sent can be found here.

Over the last decades, new ex­per­i­ments have changed sci­ence’s pic­ture of the way we think—the ways we suc­ceed or fail to ob­tain the truth, or fulfill our goals. The heuris­tics and bi­ases pro­gram, in cog­ni­tive psy­chol­ogy, has ex­posed dozens of ma­jor flaws in hu­man rea­son­ing. So­cial psy­chol­ogy shows how we suc­ceed or fail in groups. Prob­a­bil­ity the­ory and de­ci­sion the­ory have given us new math­e­mat­i­cal foun­da­tions for un­der­stand­ing minds.

Less Wrong is de­voted to re­fin­ing the art of hu­man ra­tio­nal­ity—the art of think­ing. The new math and sci­ence de­serves to be ap­plied to our daily lives, and heard in our pub­lic voices.

Less Wrong con­sists of three ar­eas: The main com­mu­nity blog, the Less Wrong wiki and the Less Wrong dis­cus­sion area.

Less Wrong is a par­tially mod­er­ated com­mu­nity blog that al­lows gen­eral au­thors to con­tribute posts as well as com­ments. Users vote posts and com­ments up and down (with code based on Red­dit’s open source). “Pro­moted” posts (ap­pear­ing on the front page) are cho­sen by the ed­i­tors on the ba­sis of sub­stan­tive new con­tent, clear ar­gu­ment, good writ­ing, pop­u­lar­ity, and im­por­tance.

We sug­gest sub­mit­ting links with a short de­scrip­tion. Recom­mended books should have longer de­scrip­tions. Links will not be pro­moted un­less they are truly ex­cel­lent—the “pro­moted” posts are in­tended as a filtered stream for the ca­sual/​busy reader.

The Less Wrong dis­cus­sion area is for top­ics not yet ready or not suit­able for nor­mal top level posts. To post a new dis­cus­sion, se­lect “Post to: Less Wrong Dis­cus­sion” from the Create new ar­ti­cle page. Com­ment on dis­cus­sion posts as you would el­se­where on the site.

Votes on posts are worth ±10 points on the main site and ±1 point in the dis­cus­sion area. Votes on com­ments are worth ±1 point. Users with suffi­cient karma can pub­lish posts. You need 20+ points to post to the main area and 2+ points to post to the dis­cus­sion area. You can only down vote up to four times your cur­rent karma (thus if you never com­ment, you can­not down­vote). Com­ments voted to −3 or lower will be col­lapsed by de­fault for most read­ers (if you log in, you can change this set­ting in your Prefer­ences). Please keep this in mind be­fore writ­ing long, thought­ful, in­tel­li­gent re­sponses to trolls: most read­ers will never see your work, and your effort may be bet­ter spent el­se­where, in more visi­ble threads. Similarly, if many of your com­ments are heav­ily down­voted, please take the hint and change your ap­proach, or choose a differ­ent venue for your com­ments. (Failure to take the hint may lead to mod­er­a­tors delet­ing fu­ture com­ments.) Spam com­ments will be deleted im­me­di­ately. Off-topic top-level posts may be re­moved.

We re­serve the right for mod­er­a­tors to change con­tributed posts or com­ments to fix HTML prob­lems or other mis­fea­tures. Moder­a­tors may add or re­move tags.

Less Wrong is brought to you by the Fu­ture of Hu­man­ity In­sti­tute at Oxford Univer­sity. Nei­ther FHI nor Oxford Univer­sity nec­es­sar­ily en­dorses any spe­cific views ap­pear­ing any­where on Less Wrong. Copy­right is re­tained by each au­thor, but we re­serve the non-ex­clu­sive right to move, archive, or oth­er­wise reprint posts and com­ments.

Sam­ple posts:

Poli­tics is the Mind-Killer Policy Tug-O-War Are Your Ene­mies In­nately Evil?
The Affect Heuris­tic We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think Con­junc­tion Con­tro­versy
Feel­ing Ra­tional Know­ing About Bi­ases Can Hurt You New­comb’s Prob­lem
Prob­a­bil­ity is in the Mind Ab­sence of Ev­i­dence is Ev­i­dence of Ab­sence Ein­stein’s Ar­ro­gance
The Bot­tom Line Mak­ing Beliefs Pay Rent Tsuyoku Nar­i­tai

To read through Less Wrong sys­tem­at­i­cally, use the Se­quences.

Less Wrong was es­tab­lished as a sister site to the blog Over­com­ing Bias, where Eliezer Yud­kowsky origi­nally be­gan blog­ging un­der the chief ed­i­tor­ship of Robin Han­son, and con­tains many old posts im­ported from OB.

To some ex­tent, the soft­ware of LW is still un­der de­vel­op­ment. The code that runs this site is forked from the open source Red­dit base, and is hosted on Github. Our pub­lic is­sue tracker is hosted at Google Code. Con­tri­bu­tions of code or is­sues are wel­come and vol­un­teer Python de­vel­op­ers are cor­dially so­lic­ited (see this post). More in­for­ma­tion on how to con­tribute is available at the LW Github wiki.

Less Wrong is hosted and main­tained by Trike Apps.