Jargon Dictionary

Filer - namespace

Project Name - Jargon Dictionary

Principal(s) - namespace

Contact Email - jd@fortforecast.com

Homepage - https://namespace.obormot.net/Jargon/Jargon

What is the project - ’‘’What are you trying to do?'’‘

The Jargon Dictionary is an attempt to document the large amount of nonstandard terminology coined by LessWrong Diaspora participants during discourse. It is currently hosted at this page and is open to public editing. My hope is that eventually it will grow to include etymology information and similar terms used in other fields. In this way the dictionary can also be a unifying force that lets us look at other discussion about the same subject in other places.

’‘’Why are you trying to do it?'’‘

I’ve heard a lot of people complain about the sheer amount of weird phrases and words that are used in this community, especially from newbs who are trying to understand what we’re talking about. I also know that one of the biggest problems the LessWrong Diaspora has is a habit of ignoring previous work done in a field. By making the connections between what we’re talking about and what’s already been done more obvious, hopefully that will inspire some research oriented types in our community to look more at the work of others.

‘’‘Why do you believe you might succeed?''’

The page already exists and has quite a few entries. (Generously donated by Chris Leong.) Everyone I’ve shown the initial draft to so far told me it was a good idea, a public service, or something they should have thought of themselves. They also routinely tell me that they enjoyed reading or looking at it, which implies that this will be a resource that people actually engage with rather than say is good in the abstract and then ignore. I have a proven track record of building useful things in this vein, and have a lot of friends I can show the work to and ask to spread it around so it has a better chance of being seen by people. I’m willing to put in elbow grease over time to make it better, and suspect that I’ll find a few passionate fans that are willing to add and update entries with me.

‘’'How exactly will you or anyone else know that you've succeeded?''’

Right now there are 134 entries, going by the quick regex filter I did at the python prompt. I would like to increase this by 50% to about 200 entries. I would also like at least 20% of entries to have some kind of pointer to other similar phrases in other fields, or related subjects that a user looking up the term might be interested in. (So given 200 entries, that would be 40 of them.)

‘’‘Does your project have a well defined mission statement?''’


‘’‘Have you followed any sort of standard planning procedure?''’


‘’‘What are you going to do if the core piece of your first idea fails?''’

The core piece of this idea is that if this is built and marketed properly, then other people will reference and use it. If that’s not true and there is fundamentally no demand for a jargon dictionary, I would probably try and expand out the related subjects and similar concepts in other fields aspect. Then I’d use that as a research reference for the handful of people who really care about rigorously studying bias and other subjects.

‘’‘What sort of resources do you need to do this thing, and are they within your capacity as the principals of your project?''’

Well, we need a wiki. The page already exists and is on my wiki, so that part is taken care of. It might be helpful to have a form processor for adding entries with the right stuff, especially since a detailed entry for each term or phrase might become unwieldy on the current page format. Fox forms processor is already used for the preregistration database, so that is also a readily available.

One thing I’d worry about is manpower, whether anyone will have the time or inclination to add/update entries. The good news is that this work is fairly non-taxing to do one entry at a time. As a consequence if necessary I could add one entry every two days and be far above my goal by the end of the year.

‘’‘Why would someone use your project/product, instead of whatever they do right now?‘’‘

As far as I know what people do right now is either nothing or try and track down the original source best explaining a term. People will use this instead of doing that because this makes it easy. We’ve already done that work for them and instead of spending 15 minutes going through their browser history they can spend 30 seconds searching our page. People who don’t know what a term means currently have to admit ignorance and ask, or try and Google it in the sea of conflicting terms and social media sign-up walls. Those people will visit our page because it will reliably answer their questions without embarrassment or hassle.

‘’'How will you make it possible for other people to help you?''’

We host our entries on a publicly editable page which anyone can contribute to. This means that even if you don’t know us, you can help us.

Well advertised? Maybe not. It’s on the Diaspora Project Map page, but that might not be sufficient. In general it might not be hugely important to have a well maintained contact channel because it’s not necessary to collaborate with us to do things.

I think so. The page structure suggests to users how they can help, and on the project map it’s fairly clear what sort of stuff we’re looking for. However, I should probably add these directions ‘’to the page itself'’ for maximum effectiveness.

I think I’m pretty well set on how I want to do this. I’m open to operations advice from anyone, tactical and strategic advice from friends. The mission, to the extent one is defined (documenting jargon) I’m already convinced is important so that probably won’t be changing.

Timestamp (autofilled) - 1511377923