Will LessWrong Petrov Day 2023 be about blowing up home page(s)?
resolved Sep 27

Resolves YES if, in my judgment, the LessWrong Petrov Day 2023 celebration (ritual, event) is about blowing up home page(s), like 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Resolves NO if the celebration is about something else. Resolves NO if there is no celebration.

Resolves N/A if there is no LessWrong.

This prediction market aims to help improve Petrov Day on LessWrong in future years.

After 2020 Petrov Day, there was a postmortem that correctly identified that different people saw different meanings to blowing up the home page: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/KQnYogkFTKc9wpWjY/postmortem-to-petrov-day-2020

Users saw different meanings to the ritual


Many users did not see a clear connection to Petrov's situation, whose choices were different in many ways to the LessWrong Big Red Button. Furthermore Neel Nanda commented he felt that the communications around it felt like “RPG flavor text” which suggested it was not to be taken seriously. This confusion made the day less meaningful for a number of people, and in particular some people felt confused about how it could possibly symbolize Petrov's choice and thus thought it was "just a game".

Another perspective on the same event comes from Chris Leong: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/K7jrkyKArvxJ224GD/on-destroying-the-world

Well, it was just a game and I had other things to do. Plus I didn't feel a duty to take it 100% seriously since, as happy as I was to have the chance to participate, I didn't actually choose to play.


I've played lot of role-playing games back in my day and often people write all kinds of things as flavour text. And none of it is meant to be taken literally.

After 2021 Petrov Day, there was another retrospective that identified the same problem: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/wgreyTFhrNmgJBjMD/petrov-day-retrospective-2021

Aside from a general position that Petrov Day should not be serious, some have argued in particular the most recent Petrov Day ritual should be lighthearted because the only thing at stake is the LessWrong/EA Forum page going down.


If we want stakes for the ritual/exercise/game, probably better to use something with lower inferential distance.


I could imagine it being better if there’s $5-10k that simply gets burned if someone presses the button rather than going to some worthy cause.


Many of the issues pointed out this year were pointed out last year. It’s a real failure to not have addressed them.

In 2022, LessWrong not only used the home page as a target again, but explicitly emphasized how different people value the home page differently and endorsed that.

Should you press the button? Personally, on net, I think you shouldn't. I think it destroys some real value and is symbolic of destroying real and even greater value. Plus, I think there's symbolic value in not pressing buttons that launch nukes. But that's what I think...I may write more in the comments about what I think so as not to overly privilege my own view here. I do think there are not-crazy arguments in favor of pressing it.

The 2022 Petrov Day celebration began and ended in failure. It's not clear at this time how much this failure was caused by the different perspectives of the celebration.

Will history repeat itself in 2023?

Woman pressing red button
Get Ṁ200 play money

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predicted NO

The day arrives. Currently I see no button.

What if it's about blowing up the entire website(s)?

@Yev That would resolve YES, unless it's about blowing up the entire site EXCEPT for the home page.

bought Ṁ50 of YES

tradition is traditional

@Adam And what is rationality if not following tradition even if it's a bad idea?