A Brief History of LessWrong

In 2006, Eliezer Yud­kowsky, Robin Han­son, and oth­ers be­gan writ­ing on Over­com­ing Bias, a group blog with the gen­eral theme of how to move one’s be­liefs closer to re­al­ity de­spite bi­ases such as over­con­fi­dence and wish­ful think­ing. In 2009, af­ter the top­ics drifted more widely, Eliezer moved to a new com­mu­nity blog, LessWrong.

LessWrong was seeded with se­ries of daily blog posts writ­ten by Eliezer, origi­nally known as The Se­quences, and more re­cently com­piled into an ed­ited vol­ume, Ra­tion­al­ity: A-Z. Th­ese writ­ings at­tracted a large com­mu­nity of read­ers and writ­ers in­ter­ested in the art of hu­man ra­tio­nal­ity.

In 2015-2016 the site un­der­went a steady de­cline of ac­tivity lead­ing some to de­clare the site dead. In 2017, a team led by Oliver Habryka took over the ad­minis­tra­tion and de­vel­op­ment of the site, re­launch­ing it on an en­tirely new code­base later that year.

The new pro­ject, dubbed LessWrong 2.0, was the first time LessWrong had a full-time ded­i­cated de­vel­op­ment team be­hind it in­stead of only vol­un­teer hours. Site ac­tivity re­cov­ered from the 2015-2016 de­cline and has re­mained at steady lev­els since the launch.

The team be­hind LessWrong 2.0 has am­bi­tions not limited to main­tain­ing the origi­nal LessWrong com­mu­nity blog and fo­rum. The LessWrong 2.0 team con­ceives of it­self more broadly as an or­ga­ni­za­tion at­tempt­ing to build com­mu­nity, cul­ture, and tech­nol­ogy which will drive in­tel­lec­tual progress on the world’s most press­ing prob­lems.

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