Given rising case counts and the importance of keeping everyone up-to-date with COVID stuff given the holiday season, I am making an exception to our usual frontpage guidelines and promoting this to the frontpage (as well as subsequent update posts in the coming weeks). This does not apply to other COVID content, and is only temporary until case counts either drop substantially again, or we decide for some other reason that these should no longer be on the frontpage. Zvi still has dictatorial control over moderation. Feel free to comment on this decision here, happy to talk about it and pretty open to changing my mind. This really wasn’t an obvious call.
I am open to concrete suggestions on how to handle this going forward to minimize the downside. As Rana points out, these posts are historically written for DWATV and then cross-posted, and not intended to conform to frontpage norms, nor can they conform to all such norms given their topics even if I wanted to do so.
My personal ideal outcome is for something like “once every month or two, you write a covid post that’s specifically aiming to meet frontpage norms, while also serving as something of a summary of most of the practical takeaways.” (I think it’s achievable to touch upon various political topics without feeling overtly ‘not frontpagey’. Admittedly your usual writing style doesn’t super lend itself to that, I don’t know how costly it is to write one or two posts that discuss the relevant political stuff in a more detached style. Obviously you’re doing all these for free and don’t think this is something you’re obligated to do, it’d just be convenient.)
In that case, I would like to register, without requesting any specific action, that one of the reasons I tend to quietly accept a lot of the scattershot secondary jabs as part of Zvi’s style is that these posts are Personal-Blog-categorized crossposts. He writes earlier that “I am happy that the community gets use out of them, but they are not designed for the front page of LessWrong or its norms.” Giving most of the last few sections full front page status as-is feels very costly to me. If I could provide a finger-snap option, I’d go with “front-page a separate post that only pulls the more critical and topical information from this one”, but of course someone would have to actually do that. (In theory I would offer to do such derivation, but I won’t have spare mental space for something of that order for several days yet, which is presumably too late.)
And along the lines of another comment subtree, from my perspective most (not all) of the wave of Twitter links on this post feels worse in terms of “more heat than light” than what I see from an ad-hoc resample of previous posts in the series—in a way it feels like the series has been leaning further and further almost-but-not-quite toward the “Agreed that doing what I did here on a regular basis would be quite bad” zone from the one post in the series that had a more clearly marked digression on US election results.
(Half-contrasting opinion-observation: I’m aware of and mostly am okay with the level of stylistic pointedness in Zvi’s other writing such as “More Dakka” and the Moral Mazes series, but I don’t think I’ve elsewhere observed the one-two punch of that plus edging against more-heat-than-light topics arriving from Twitter.)
Editing the blog posts for “front page tone” would delay the posting by some appreciable time. Perhaps just one hour, if someone could commit to doing it as soon as zvi has his version completed. Or perhaps a 12-24 hour delay if someone is going to do it when it’s convenient for themselves on Thursday.
I would volunteer to do the second level of effort. My only credential is that I am willing to do it.
If you think this is a good idea I suggest emailing me your version of this week’s post, so I can see what I think of the offered product (you can PM me for my email, or link me to the version).