Voting Phase of 2018 LW Review

For the past 1.5 months on LessWrong, we’ve been doing a major review of 2018 — looking back at old posts and asking which of them have stood the test of time.

The LessWrong 2018 Review has three major goals.

  • First, it is an experiment in improving the LessWrong community’s longterm feedback and reward cycle.

  • Second, it is an attempt to build common knowledge about the best ideas we’ve discovered on LessWrong.

  • Third, after the vote, the LessWrong Team will compile the top posts into a physical book.

We spent about 2 weeks nominating posts, and 75 posts received the the 2 required nominations to pass through that round. (See all nominations on the nominations page.) Then we spent a month reviewing them, and users wrote 72 reviews, a number of them by the post-authors themselves. (See all reviews on the reviews page.)

And finally, as the conclusion of all of this work, we are now voting on all the nominated posts. Voting is open for 12 days, and will close on Sunday, January 19th. (We’ll turn it off on Monday during the day, ensuring all timezones get it throughout Sunday.)

The vote has a simple first section, and a detailed-yet-optional second section based on quadratic voting. If you are one of the 430 users with 1000+ karma, you are eligible to vote, then now is the time for you to participate in the vote by following this link.

For all users and lurkers, regardless of karma, the next 12 days are your last opportunity to write reviews for any nominated posts in 2018, which I expect will have a significant impact on how people vote. As you can see, all reviews are highlighted when a user is voting on a post. (To review a post, go to the post and click “Write A Review” at the top of the post.)

This is the end of this post. If you’d like to read more detailed instructions about how to vote, the rest of the text below contains instructions for how to use the voting system.

How To Vote

Sorting Posts Into Buckets

The first part of voting is sorting the nominated posts into buckets.

The five buckets are: No, Neutral, Good, Important, Crucial. Sort the posts however you think is best.

The key part is the relative weighting of different posts. For example, it won’t make a difference to your final vote if you put every post in ‘crucial’ or every post in ‘good’.

Fine-Tuning Your Votes

The system we’re using is quadratic voting (as I discussed a few weeks ago).

Once you’re happy with your buckets, click ‘Convert to Quadratic’. At this point the system converts your buckets roughly into their quadratic equivalents.

The system will only assign integer numbers of votes, which means that it will likely only allocate around 80-90% of the total votes available to you. If you vote on a smaller number of posts (<10), the automatic system may not use your entire quadratic voting budget.

If you’re happy with how things look, you can just leave at this point, and your votes will be saved (you can come back any time before the vote closes to update them). But if you want to allocate 100% of your available votes, you’ll likely need to do fine-tuning.

There are two key parts of quadratic voting you need to know:

  • First, you have a limited budget of votes.

  • Second, votes on a post have increasing marginal cost.

This means that your first vote costs 1 point, your second vote on that post costs 2 points, your third costs 3 points. Your nth vote costs n points.

You have 500 points to spend. You can see how many points you’ve spent at the top of the posts.

The system will automatically weight the buckets differently. For example, I just did this, and I got the following weightings:

  • Good: 2 votes.

  • Important: 4 votes.

  • Crucial: 9 votes.

  • Neutral: 0 votes.

  • No: −4 votes.

(Note that negative votes cost the same as positive votes. The first negative vote costs 1 point, the second negative vote costs 2 points, etc.)

You’ll see your score at the top of the page. (When I arrived on the fine-tuning page, the system had spent about 416 points, which meant I had a significant number of votes left to buy.)

Once you’re happy with the balance, just close the page; your votes will be saved.

You can return to this page anytime until voting is over, to reconfigure your weights.

Leaving Comments (Anonymous)

There’s a field to leave anonymous thoughts on a post. All comments written here will be put into a public Google doc, and be linked to from the post that announces the result of the vote. If you want to share your thoughts, however briefly, this is a space to do that.

I will likely be making a book of 2018 posts, and if I do I will use the votes as my guide to what to include, so I’ll definitely be interested in reading through people’s anonymous thoughts and feelings about the 2018 LW posts.

Extra Notes

Additional info on voting

If you’d like to go back to the buckets stage, hit “Return to basic voting”. If you do this, all of your fine-tuning will be thrown out the window, and the system will re-calculate your weights entirely based on the new buckets you assign.

I find it really valuable to be able to see the posts in the order I’ve currently ranked them, so there’s a button at the top to re-order the posts, which I expect to be clicked dozens of times by each user.

If you click on a post, all nominations and reviews for that post will appear in a box on the side of the page. You may want to read these to make a more informed decision when voting.

The results

The voting will have many outputs. Once we’ve had the time to analyse the data, we’ll include a bunch of data/​graphs, all anonymised, such as:

  • For each winning post and each bucket, how many times people picked that bucket

  • The individual votes each post got

  • The results if the karma cutoff was 10,000 karma rather than 1,000

  • The output of people’s buckets compared with the output of people’s quadratic fine-tuning

  • The mean and standard deviation of the votes

Vote Here (if you have more than 1000 karma)