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<div>If you've recently joined the [http://lesswrong.com/lw/1/about_less_wrong Less Wrong community], please leave a comment [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2ku/welcome_to_less_wrong_2010/#comments here] and introduce yourself. We'd love to know who you are, what you're doing, what you value, [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2/tell_your_rationalist_origin_story how you came to identify as a rationalist] or how you found us. You can [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2ku/welcome_to_less_wrong_2010/#comments skip right to that] if you like; the rest of this post consists of a few things you might find helpful. More can be found at the [[FAQ]].<br /></div><div>(This is a continuation of [http://lesswrong.com/lw/b9/welcome_to_less_wrong/ the original welcome thread], which is about to hit the point where comments start to be hidden.)</div>
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Thinking and deciding are central to our daily lives. The Less Wrong community aims to gain expertise in ''how'' human brains think and decide, so that we can think and decide more successfully. We use the latest insights from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_science cognitive science], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_psychology social psychology], [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Bayesian_probability probability theory], and [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Decision_theory decision theory] to improve our understanding of ''how the world works'' and ''what we can do to achieve our goals''.
  
==== A few notes about the site mechanics ====
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Want to know if your doctor's diagnosis is correct? It helps to understand [http://yudkowsky.net/rational/bayes Bayes' Theorem]. Want to make a plan for achieving your goals? It helps to know the ways in which [http://lesswrong.com/lw/5sk/inferring_our_desires/ we don't know our own desires]. Want to make the world a better place? It helps to know about the cognitive bias called '[http://lesswrong.com/lw/hw/scope_insensitivity/ scope insensitivity]', and that [http://lesswrong.com/lw/3gj/efficient_charity_do_unto_others/ some charities are more efficient than others].
  
<div>Less Wrong comments are threaded for easy following of multiple conversations. To respond to any comment, click the "Reply" link at the bottom of that comment's box. Within the comment box, links and formatting are achieved via [[Comment formatting|Markdown syntax]] (you can click the "Help" link below the text box to bring up a primer).</div><div class="md">You may have noticed that all the posts and comments on this site have buttons to vote them up or down, and all the users have "karma" scores which come from the sum of all their comments and posts. This immediate easy feedback mechanism helps keep arguments from turning into flamewars and helps make the best posts more visible; it's part of what makes discussions on Less Wrong look different from those anywhere else on the Internet.</div><div class="md">However, it can feel really irritating to get downvoted, especially if one doesn't know why. It happens to all of us sometimes, and it's perfectly acceptable to ask for an explanation. (Sometimes it's the unwritten LW etiquette; we have different norms than other forums.) Take note when you're downvoted a lot on one topic, as it often means that several members of the community think you're missing an important point or making a mistake in reasoning, not just that they disagree with you! If you've any questions about karma or voting, please feel free to ask here.</div><div class="md">Replies to your comments across the site, plus private messages from other users, will show up in your [http://lesswrong.com/message/inbox inbox]. You can reach it via the little mail icon beneath your karma score on the upper right of most pages. When you have a new reply or message, it glows red. You can also click on any user's name to view all of their comments and posts.</div><div class="md">It's definitely worth your time commenting on old posts; veteran users look through the [http://lesswrong.com/comments recent comments thread] quite often, and a conversation begun anywhere will pick up contributors that way.  There's also a succession of [http://lesswrong.com/tag/open_thread/ open comment threads] for discussion of anything remotely related to rationality.</div>
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We [http://lesswrong.com/lw/5x8/teachable_rationality_skills/ discuss] and [http://lesswrong.com/lw/4wm/rationality_boot_camp/ practice] these skills on the [http://lesswrong.com/ main blog], in the [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/ discussion area], and in regular [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Less_Wrong_meetup_groups regular meetups] around the world.
  
<div class="md">'''EXTRA FEATURES:'''<br /></div><div class="md">There's actually more than meets the eye here: look near the top of the page for the "WIKI", "DISCUSSION" and "SEQUENCES" links.</div><div class="md">'''LW WIKI:''' This is our attempt to make searching by topic feasible, as well as to store information like [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Acronyms_used_on_Less_Wrong common abbreviations] and idioms. It's a good place to look if someone's speaking Greek to you.<br /></div><div class="md">'''LW DISCUSSION:''' This is a forum just like the top-level one, with two key differences: in the top-level forum, posts require the author to have 20 karma in order to publish, and any upvotes or downvotes on the post are multiplied by 10. Thus there's a lot more informal dialogue in the Discussion section, including some of the more fun conversations here.</div><div class="md">'''SEQUENCES:''' A ''huge'' corpus of material mostly written by Eliezer Yudkowsky in his days of blogging at Overcoming Bias, before Less Wrong was started. Much of the discussion here will casually depend on or refer to ideas brought up in those posts, so reading them can really help with present discussions. Besides which, they're pretty engrossing in my opinion.<br /></div><div class="md"></div><div>
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New to the site? Start [[Lesswrong:Aboutpage|here]].
 
 
==== A few notes about the community<br /> ====
 
 
 
<div>If you've come to Less Wrong to discuss a particular topic, this thread would be a great place to start the conversation. By commenting here, and checking the responses, you'll probably get a good read on what, if anything, has already been said here on that topic, what's widely understood and what you might still need to take some time explaining.</div><div>If you then want to write a post on that topic, awesome! '''I highly recommend you post it first to the aforementioned Discussion page'''<nowiki>; don't worry, you can then promote it from there to the main page. It's much better to get some feedback before every vote counts for 10 karma.</nowiki><br /></div><div>If you'd like to connect with other LWers in real life, we have periodic meetups in various parts of the world. So far there have been meetups in the following places:</div>
 
 
 
* [http://www.meetup.com/Bay-Area-Less-Wrong-Meetup/ SF Bay Area]
 
* [http://www.meetup.com/Less-Wrong-Overcoming-Bias-NYC/ NYC area<br />]
 
* Chicago
 
* Los Angeles
 
* Boston
 
* Madison
 
* Minneapolis
 
* Pittsburgh
 
* Philadelphia
 
* London, UK
 
* Auckland, NZ
 
* Waterloo, ON
 
* [http://groups.google.com/group/RTLW Research Triangle, NC]
 
* [https://groups.google.com/group/lesswrong-dc Washington, DC area]
 
 
 
<div>There's also a [http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=144017955332&ref=ts Facebook group]. If you've your own blog or other online presence, please feel free to link it.</div>
 
 
 
A note for theists: you will find LW overtly atheist. We are happy to have you participating, but please be aware that other commenters are likely to treat religion as an open-and-shut case. This isn't groupthink; we really, truly have given full consideration to theistic claims and found them to be false. If you'd like to know how we came to this conclusion you may find [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Religion these related posts]  a good starting point.
 
 
 
==== A list of some posts that are pretty awesome<br /> ====
 
 
 
I recommend the [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Sequences major sequences]  to everybody, but I realize how daunting they look at first. So for purposes of immediate gratification, the following posts are particularly interesting/illuminating/provocative and don't require any previous reading:
 
 
 
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2bu/your_intuitions_are_not_magic/ Your Intuitions are Not Magic]
 
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/20/the_apologist_and_the_revolutionary/ The Apologist and the Revolutionary]
 
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/jr/how_to_convince_me_that_2_2_3/ How to Convince Me that 2 2 = 3]
 
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/vo/lawful_uncertainty/ Lawful Uncertainty]
 
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/jg/planning_fallacy/ The Planning Fallacy]
 
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/hw/scope_insensitivity/ Scope Insensitivity]
 
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/my/the_allais_paradox/ The Allais Paradox]  (with [http://lesswrong.com/lw/mz/zut_allais/ two] [http://lesswrong.com/lw/n1/allais_malaise/ followups])
 
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/jx/we_change_our_minds_less_often_than_we_think/ We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think]
 
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2k/the_least_convenient_possible_world/ The Least Convenient Possible World]
 
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/hu/the_third_alternative/ The Third Alternative]
 
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/116/the_domain_of_your_utility_function/ The Domain of Your Utility Function]
 
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/nc/newcombs_problem_and_regret_of_rationality/ Newcomb's Problem and Regret of Rationality]
 
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/tn/the_true_prisoners_dilemma/ The True Prisoner's Dilemma]
 
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/kw/the_tragedy_of_group_selectionism/ The Tragedy of Group Selectionism]
 
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/gz/policy_debates_should_not_appear_onesided/ Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided]
 
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/qk/that_alien_message/ That Alien Message]
 
 
 
More suggestions are welcome! Or just check out the [http://lesswrong.com/top/?t=all top-rated posts from the history of Less Wrong]. Most posts at 50 or more are well worth your time.
 
 
 
Welcome to Less Wrong, and we look forward to hearing from you throughout the site.
 
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Revision as of 11:02, 22 June 2011


Thinking and deciding are central to our daily lives. The Less Wrong community aims to gain expertise in how human brains think and decide, so that we can think and decide more successfully. We use the latest insights from cognitive science, social psychology, probability theory, and decision theory to improve our understanding of how the world works and what we can do to achieve our goals.

Want to know if your doctor's diagnosis is correct? It helps to understand Bayes' Theorem. Want to make a plan for achieving your goals? It helps to know the ways in which we don't know our own desires. Want to make the world a better place? It helps to know about the cognitive bias called 'scope insensitivity', and that some charities are more efficient than others.

We discuss and practice these skills on the main blog, in the discussion area, and in regular regular meetups around the world.

New to the site? Start here.