32 karmaJoined Pursuing an undergraduate degreeWorking (0-5 years)Berlin, Germany



Find me with the same name over on LessWrong and (often minus the underscores) in other places. Not really EA yet, just repeatedly landing here via links. Account is mainly for bookmarks and stuff like that.

DMs here should work, you can also reach me on Discord as nobody2342 or on Telegram as @locally_cartesian.


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Zoom is not a good way to record talks. (Compressed audio and bad picture quality / often just using a cheap webcam makes for a bad experience. I often have trouble understanding low-quality recordings or streams, and might as well skip that.)

Small changes in any one category can make a huge difference in the result – so e.g. even with a good camera, not enough light will produce bad results. (See e.g. this recording – knowledgeable people, good equipment, etc., but not enough light in the room. Grainy image, looks slightly blurry even if properly focused. Throwing a bunch of extra lights in the room would fix it, but we didn't get around to it yet… there's other more pressing problems.)

So even if you go the "no live talks in person" route and skip big halls, you do want a decent recording studio. (Good light, sane sound design, proper equipment, one or two people that know what they're doing.) Having your own team (like the VOC at CCC events) is good for consistency (same people, same setup, very similar quality results) and can make sense if there's sufficiently many things to record. Not sure if EA is already in that category, probably hiring local A/V techs & equip per event is still cheaper.

Coming from the "Chaos", the recording quality on media.ccc.de for bigger events is often higher than that of EAG(x) recordings. (E.g. small details like normalizing / boosting audio levels.) That makes a large difference in the "watchability" of recordings.

I agree that the talks being recorded has a huge impact on my behavior during events – e.g. at CCC events, if a talk is being recorded I generally don't bother trying to go there in person unless I'm really interested. Watching it later at home is easy / possibly more convenient than at the event (no standing in line, no crowd noise in the room, known good recording quality), while talking to the people at the con can't really happen later. (E.g. at the last Chaos Communication Camp just a few weeks ago, I checked the schedule ahead of time, picked 4 events for "maybe live attendance", then went to none. By my current estimate, I'll probably watch about 20-30% of the recordings over the next weeks / months at least partially – don't have to stay / keep watching if I'm not interested.)

For questions regarding the rooms, feel free to ping me! I should see replies here, and for private questions on-site DMs ought to work too. (See my profile for more options.)

An abstract or summary is a different text. If you want information that's plausibly in the long version but not in the abstract, then you're back where you started. If the text is structured to facilitate skimming, you can probably quickly find the stuff you want (and it likely wouldn't have needed the summary), but if it's more or less an opaque blob, then "decorating" it with a summary doesn't make it more usable. Adding large-scale structure doesn't reduce the importance of small-scale structure.

If there's several levels of headings, and maybe even highlighted keywords within the text to provide hierarchical structure (or at the very least some anchor points), that makes both skimming and general navigation much easier. This can go all the way to a fairly strict paragraph structure, where the first sentence makes some claim or observation, the following sentences elaborate on that, and the closing sentence of the paragraph wraps up what was said. (In some fields of academia, that seems to be the common style, in others they never even heard of it.) In such a text, you can just read/skim the first sentences of each paragraph and you'll end up with a pretty clear picture of the whole text. More generally, well-structured texts tend to make it easy to see what parts are less important and which parts you should read fully, even if you're in a hurry.

While not every text is compatible with strict structure, even just going through at the end and bolding key points can make it easier to navigate – no heavy editing required. (Sure, it'll look less pretty if there's 2-3 black blobs scattered about each page instead of everything being a perfectly uniform gray level, but it's useful and saves time.) Even the already pretty short post here could benefit: Highlighting e.g.

  • "There is often a strong social pressure to make something ~book length,"
  • "write a post that covers 90% of the value and is half as long"
  • "~0.5-1 page per major concept and 1-3 pages per blog post"
  • "easily be broken into multiple posts"

would mean someone skimming and reading just these short snippets would already get a rough idea of the argument, plus some mitigation strategies. (It may not be 90% of the value in 10% of the time, but it's probably around 60% of it.) If you need more details, you can just read on past the bold bits, or maybe jump up a few lines and read from there. (That's a harsh difference to a summary, where you first have to find the spot(s) in the main text that expand on the thing you want to know more about.) Intentional highlighting also gives the author control about what parts will most likely be picked up by someone skimming the text, at least partially mitigating the risk of missing important points.