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 team 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.