LessWrong is providing feedback and proofreading on drafts as a service
This announcement follows the Amazon PR/FAQ format. This is an actual feature announcement.
Before one publishes a post, it can be hard to know if you caught all the typos, explained things clearly, made a critical error, or wrote something that anybody is interested in to begin with. To reduce the guesswork, LessWrong is now providing free feedback on drafts (and post ideas) to any user with 100+ karma. We’ll provide the feedback ourselves, send your draft to a professional copy editor, or get the opinion of a relevant peer or expert in your domain. Or something else, whatever is needed to be helpful!
Many people are reluctant to share posts before they’re confident that (i) they’re correct, (ii) they’ll get a good reception. It sucks to put out a post and then notice a dumb typo a day later, or to publish and then have a critical flaw immediately revealed to everyone, or to share a post and hear only crickets. The fear of these outcomes is enough to prevent a lot of great ideas from ever escaping their creators’ heads. And although many people feel better after getting some feedback, soliciting it can be effortful–you’ve got to find someone else and then tap into your social capital and ask a favor.
To help get more excellent posts into the world, LessWrong is now providing feedback on tap. Any author with 100+ karma can ask for the kind of feedback they need, and the LessWrong team will make it happen. Quick, easy, free. Within a couple of days (or hours), we’ll have feedback on your post that will let you post with greater confidence that your post is good.
On the post edit page (create a new post or edit an existing draft), if you have 100+ karma, you will see a new button: Request Feedback. Clicking it will start an Intercom chat with a LessWrong team member; in that chat, describe what kind of feedback you’re looking for (proofreading, style, coherence, expert feedback, etc.) and the LessWrong team will make it happen.
You needn’t have even written anything to use the feature. Feel free to chat to us about post ideas you have.
After getting a round of feedback through the new LessWrong system, I’m much less afraid that people will ignore or downvote my post. I’ve got evidence that it’s something good that people will want to read—Oliver Habryka
A great benefit from the LessWrong feedback system, now that I’ve used it several times, is that the detailed feedback has helped me improve as a writer. - John McPostALot
Who will provide the feedback?
It depends on the kind of feedback being sought. For a quick sanity check or proofread, a LessWrong team member or volunteer might do it. If more thorough copy-editing is requested, we’ll send your draft to a professional copy-editor. And if you’re looking for comments from a domain expert (biology, AI, etc), we’ll find someone willing to provide such feedback.
These types of reviewers are our current guess at what we will provide, but that might evolve over time as we figure out what kinds of feedback people need.
How quickly will I get the feedback?
Depends on the kind of feedback being sought. The LessWrong team can get things back you within a day or two; copy-editor will probably be variable, but sometimes quick; for external domain experts, could be a bit longer.
How much does this cost?
Free to eligible users.
How many times can I use it?
We’re not setting any explicit limits on how many times you can request feedback; however requests will be prioritized at our discretion (hopefully we have the capacity to meet all requests). If you’re requesting a lot of feedback, we might prioritize other users ahead of you (unless your posts are like the best, in which case we’ll get you all the feedback you desire).
In short, requesting is cheap and free. No limit on the number of requests you can make.
What format will the feedback be in?
Depends on the feedback sought, but probably most of the time we’ll copy your draft into Google Docs (if it’s not already in Google Docs). That’s for now. We plan to upgrade our editor to have inline comments, suggestions, and live collaborative editing to make it so transfer to Google Docs in unnecessary.
Can I volunteer to provide feedback?
Please! Contact us via Intercom (bottom right) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll see whether you’re a suitable feedback reviewer. For those who produce great feedback and can reliably be available to do so, we might be interested in paying you to be an ongoing reviewer.
Can I ask for different feedback if I don’t like the initial feedback I get?
Yes. Our goal is to get you the feedback that helps you produce great posts. If you’re not happy with what we initially provide, feel free to ask for different feedback and we’ll try to make that happen.
I don’t have 100+ karma but would really like feedback.
Feel free to message us on Intercom and we might make an exception. We’re especially receptive to authors and researchers who although they’ve written a lot, are new to posting on LessWrong.
I have a different question.
Just ask here in the comments or via Intercom (bottom right) or by email (email@example.com).