Please write articles!

Robin Hanson (
Thu, 10 Jun 1999 12:34:09 -0700

I feel compelled to repeat what is to me the obvious solution to the list getting buried under posts on hot-button topics: summarize your thoughts in well considered articles (I made a similar plea on 14Jan99).

Which makes readers better off: wading through thousands of back & forth flames, or skimming a few dozen articles which writers have spent at least days writing and rewriting based on private comments? The answer should be obvious: when they work, articles give a coherent overview of a subject. And when they fail they reveal more clearly an author's insufficient grasp of a subject.

I have Lott's book on G**S in front of me, and will form my opinion on the subject based on it and other thoughtful books and articles I find. I have skimmed enough of the mass of posts on the topic here to realize I won't learn enough from them to make it worth my time. And I have lowered my opinion of those who have devoted so many posts to such topics.

If you guys really cared that much about the topic and had something insightful to contributed, you'd be writing articles. You'd be asking friends to comment privately on drafts before you offered them for wider consideration. And once you felt they were good enough, you'd be submitting them to editors for endorsement via inclusion in journals/etc (such as Extropy Online or the Journal of Transhumanism.)

What, you don't have the time for that? Then where the h**l do you get the time to bury us under thousands of posts on such topics? Oh, posting is fun but writing articles is work? Fun for you maybe, but please think for a moment about the rest of us.

Robin Hanson   
RWJF Health Policy Scholar             FAX: 510-643-8614 
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 510-643-1884 after 8/99: Assist. Prof. Economics, George Mason Univ.