Welcome to the Less Wrong user guide. This page and its related category document policies and recommendations on how to use this site.
Wikis are the standard social media technology for organizing a web community focused on producing readable content for non-editors. Unlike chat rooms, newsgroups, or private e-mail, wiki content is expected to have some seriousness and permanence. Authors are encouraged to write thoughtfully and to think about how their writings fit in with the rest of the existing wiki content. The authors take on some burdens like mass peer review of each other's work, correct spelling and capitalization and (heavens!) correcting errors rather than letting them be mindlessly copied in an echo chamber. Wikis are harder to get going than other social media, but when they catch on, they produce much more durable and worthwhile content.
People commonly (some would say habitually) edit other people's writing in a wiki. All text is collectively authored by default. Individual attribution is not compromised - but do not be surprised if text written in first or second person gets written into third person for third parties. Many consider it an honour that someone else cared enough about their ideas to edit them. A wiki community generally discourages individual ownership of contributions. The idea is that by leaving our egos out of the discussion, the ideas will be given full attention.
Since the Less Wrong Wiki is intended to summarize concepts and link to longer discussions, please think carefully before making the summaries longer - this may just cause users to get lost. Ask whether your further details, extra clauses, or added links, are of equal quality, relevance, and importance with the existing material:
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
See the Wiki tag for the Less Wrong blog posts dealing with proposals for using the Wiki and this post in particular for a recent discussion. The default workflow for putting content on this wiki is as follows :
- Idea for posting -> write post on the blog
- Notice something generally accepted on LW without a wiki page -> write wiki page
User Guide for the Less Wrong wiki
- Help:Etiquette - general conventions on what kinds of articles are appropriate for this wiki, what should go in the articles, etc.
- Help:Style Guide - more detailed policies and article formatting conventions.
- Help:Formatting at MediaWiki - format for editing text on the Wiki.