Site Guide: Personal Blogposts vs Frontpage Posts

Posts on prac­ti­cally any topic are wel­comed on LessWrong [1]. I (and oth­ers on the team) feel it is im­por­tant that mem­bers are able to “bring their en­tire selves” to LessWrong and are able to share all their thoughts, ideas, and ex­pe­riences with­out fear­ing whether they are “on topic” for LessWrong. Ra­tion­al­ity is not re­stricted to only spe­cific do­mains of one’s life and nei­ther should LessWrong be.

How­ever, to main­tain its over­all fo­cus while still al­low­ing posts on any topic, LessWrong clas­sifies posts as ei­ther Per­sonal blog­posts or as Front­page posts.

The two classifications

Per­sonal blogposts

  • Is the de­fault clas­sifi­ca­tion for all posts.

  • Are not dis­played by de­fault on the home­page.

  • Can be on any topic [1] and in any for­mat: noth­ing is “off topic”

  • Suitable for per­sonal in­ter­ests, blog­ging, and gen­eral ramblings

    • e.g. your thoughts on Magic the Gather­ing, a poem, or a short story you wrote

  • Suitable for dis­cus­sion of cur­rent events

  • Suitable for dis­cus­sion of spe­cific so­cial and com­mu­nity issues

  • Suitable for dis­cus­sion of highly di­vi­sive topics

  • Suitable for dis­cus­sion of the LessWrong web­site*

Front­page posts

  • Are dis­played by de­fault to all users.

  • Authors can al­low mod­er­a­tors to give their post Front­page sta­tus if the mod­er­a­tor judges the post to be:

    • Use­ful, novel, and rele­vant to many LessWrong members

    • “Time­less”, i.e. min­i­mizes refer­ences to cur­rent events and is likely to re­main use­ful even af­ter a few years

    • The post at­tempts to ex­plain rather than persuade

This sys­tem al­lows LessWrong mem­bers to write about what­ever is of in­ter­est to them while en­sur­ing that only mem­bers who wish to see “off topic” con­tent see that con­tent.

*The LessWrong will make some ex­cep­tions in the case of an­nounce­ment posts we be­lieve should have max­i­mally broad visi­bil­ity, e.g. the FAQ, and give these Front­page sta­tus.

How to view per­sonal blogposts

Per­sonal blog­posts, with their laxer re­stric­tions, are not shown by de­fault on LessWrong’s home­page. To view Per­sonal blog­posts, you can:

  • Click the “In­clude Per­sonal blog­posts” check­box be­neath the Lat­est Posts sec­tion.

  • Visit the All Posts page and en­sure “Filtered by” is set to “All Posts”

  • Find a user’s Per­sonal blog­posts by vis­it­ing their user pro­file page

  • Per­sonal blog­posts and their com­ments ap­pear in the Re­cent Dis­cus­sion feed on the home­page.

Per­sonal blog­posts and the Re­cent Dis­cus­sion Feed

In some cases, the mod­er­a­tion team will hide com­ments on Per­sonal blog­posts from the Re­cent Dis­cus­sion feed on the home­page. This is done if the mod­er­a­tion teams feels a dis­cus­sion is veer­ing in di­rec­tions which are par­tic­u­larly con­tro­ver­sial, poli­ti­cal, or un­pro­duc­tive.

I (and I be­lieve the rest of team) are not op­posed to such dis­cus­sions per se, but be­lieve that we shouldn’t be draw­ing marginal at­ten­tion to these dis­cus­sions. In par­tic­u­lar, the team does not think it’s ideal for new­com­ers to en­counter these dis­cus­sions when first ex­plor­ing LessWrong.

What does this mean for me?

Our clas­sifi­ca­tion sys­tem means that any­one can de­cide to use the LessWrong plat­form for their own per­sonal blog and write about whichever top­ics take their in­ter­est. All of your posts and com­ments are visi­ble un­der your user page which you can treat as your own per­sonal blog hosted on LessWrong [2]. Other users can sub­scribe to your ac­count and be no­tified when­ever you post.

[1] We will re­move ma­te­rial of the fol­low­ing types:

  • Calls for di­rect vi­o­lence against others

  • Dox­ing of peo­ple on the internet

  • Ma­te­rial we are not legally able to host

  • To a very limited de­gree, ma­te­rial that se­ri­ously threat­ens LessWrong’s long-term val­ues, mis­sion and cul­ture.

[2] In the fu­ture we might add var­i­ous user-page/​per­sonal blog cus­tomiza­tion fea­tures like cus­tom back­grounds, cu­rat­ing which posts and com­ments are shown first, etc.