Leaving beta: Voting on moving to LessWrong.com

It took longer than we hoped, but LessWrong 2.0 is fi­nally ready to come out of beta. As dis­cussed in the origi­nal an­nounce­ment, we’re go­ing to have a vote on whether or not to mi­grate the new site to the less­wrong.com URL. The vote will be open to peo­ple who had 1,000 or more LW karma at the time we an­nounced the vote back in Septem­ber, and they’ll re­ceive a link by email or pri­vate mes­sage on the cur­rent LessWrong.com. If you had above 1000 karma in Septem­ber and did not re­ceive an email or PM, send an email to habryka@lesser­wrong.com and we will send you the form link.

We take ra­tio­nal­ist virtues se­ri­ously, and I think it’s im­por­tant that the com­mu­nity ac­tu­ally be able to look at the new im­ple­men­ta­tion and vi­sion and be able to say “no thanks.” If over half of the votes are to not mi­grate, the mi­gra­tion will not hap­pen and we’ll figure out how we want to move for­ward with the web­site we’ve built.

Un­for­tu­nately, the al­ter­na­tive op­tion for what will hap­pen with the less­wrong.com URL is not great. Be­fore I got in­volved, the origi­nal dom­i­nant plan was to re­place it with a static HTML site, which would re­quire min­i­mal main­te­nance while pre­serv­ing the value of old Se­quences ar­ti­cles. So in the ab­sence of an­other team putting for­ward heroic efforts and co­or­di­nat­ing with Trike, MIRI, etc. that would be the world we would be mov­ing to­wards.

Why not just keep things as they are? At the time, it was the con­sen­sus among old reg­u­lars that LW felt like an aban­doned ghost town. A ma­jor con­cern about keep­ing it al­ive for the peo­ple still us­ing it was that new­com­ers would read Se­quences ar­ti­cles linked from el­se­where, check out the re­cent dis­cus­sion and find it dis­ap­point­ing, and then bounce off of LW. This re­duced its value for bring­ing peo­ple into the com­mu­nity.

More re­cently, var­i­ous se­cu­rity con­cerns have made it a worse op­tion to just keep old web­sites run­ning – Trike has run into some is­sues where up­dat­ing the server and an­tiquated code­base to han­dle se­cu­rity patches proved difficult, and they would pre­fer to no longer be re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing the old web­site.

In case you’re just tun­ing in now, some ba­sic de­tails: I’ve been post­ing on LW for a long time, and about two years ago thought I was the per­son who cared most about mak­ing sure LW stayed al­ive, so de­cided to put effort into mak­ing sure that hap­pened. But while I have some skills as a writer and a pro­gram­mer, I’m not a web­dev and not great at pro­ject man­age­ment, and so things have been rather slow. My cur­rent role is mostly in be­ing some­thing like the ‘se­nior ra­tio­nal­ist’ on the team, and sup­port­ing the team with my mod­els of what should hap­pen and why. The ac­tual work is be­ing done by a com­bi­na­tion of Oliver Habryka, Ray­mond Arnold, and Ben Pace, and their con­tri­bu­tions are why we fi­nally have a site that’s ready to come out of beta.

You can read more about our vi­sion for the new LessWrong here.

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