Re: [sl4] META: closing the list

From: Gwern Branwen (
Date: Tue Mar 15 2011 - 11:09:23 MDT

Before I respond to emails, it's probably worth noting that a search
RSS feed alerted me of a blog post on this topic elsewhere:

If anyone wishes to respond to it here or there, feel free. I suspect
I'm at the point where I 'may become so cross that it will make a
mistake' and had better beg off any further replies before I regret it
even more. (Judging from his comments, Waser will take my non-reply as
a total rhetorical victory. So it goes...)

On Sun, Mar 13, 2011 at 1:18 PM, Vladimir Nesov <> wrote:
> At the same time, LW doesn't have SL4's topics as official or to some
> extent actual focus of discussion.

To the extent that SL4 receives little traffic, it doesn't have
existential risks as an 'actual focus of discussion' either.

> Closing SL4 would ideally call for
> creating an LW-based discussion focus on its topics, as a subreddit or
> as an officially endorsed topic in discussion area.

I don't know what it means to be an officially endorsed topic. links to FHI as a
sponsoring institution, which I always had the impression considered
existential risks a big part of its mission. An entire subreddit (not
that they are used on LW in the first place) seems excessive; better
tagging would handle that, and that could and should be done
irrespective of what happens with SL4. To try to hold the list closure
hostage to the tagging would seem to be letting the perfect be the
enemy of the better.

> Perhaps SL4 should
> wait for that to happen, if only as a reminder.

On Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 6:16 AM, Alexei Turchin <> wrote:
> Existential risks were one of main topics in SL4. What is the best
> place to post and read on existential risks now?

Offhand, I don't know any reason why LessWrong isn't as good as SL4
was. It's not an ignored topic there
or although it
doesn't look like anyone has corralled up articles under an
existential_risk tag yet.

I've only seen side-long mentions of it*, but the 'Existential Risk
Reduction Career Network' ( is apparently
active in this area.

* 1 or 2 connected people have asked me about the application of
n-backing (see to intelligence
amplification and hence to existential risk reduction


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