I’m glad that the series is getting reposted here, but one thing that sticks out, having read your more recent “see what happens if you try channeling Scott Alexander” essay, is that I think if you revisited the concepts here while applying some skills you explored there, the series would stand out more.
A recurring problem (first acknowledged in ‘In Defense of the Obvious’ and sort of followed up with here with the novelty-fading thing, is that the skills you’re talking about here are mostly composed of obvious-ish things that, while good, don’t give you that insight-porn quality that a lot of early LW stuff had.
A potential solution to that is to make the examples more exciting. Open with a compelling/cute anecdote that gives the reader an initial “ooh!” kick, even if the underlying concept you want to focus on feels a bit obvious, then segue into the main point, and I think ideally ending on a note that forces the reader to think about how to apply this to themselves.
This may be beyond scope for the current re-posting—I think coming up with the right anecdotes and examples is a big chunk of work, but something to at least bear in mind for whatever the next iteration of this project is.
This is a good example of a concrete change I could make which would likely make these essays a lot more interesting to people (in terms of readability). Thank you for pointing it out.
I agree that it would take more work than the minor cleaning up / formatting I’ve been doing, and I also think it could be very good in terms of generating more interest.
I will commit to spending at least 30 minutes thinking more about how I might be able to channel some of that into the existing posts as well as the last 4 essays.