I’ve been reading this site on and off for a few years now. I don’t know much about the author, but I do know by now that:

  • He is active in lesswrong/the rational wiki, home of a bunch of weird people and Roko’s Basilisk.
  • He is into statistics and self-experimenting.
  • He seems like a very curious person. Representative of their general curiosity is their list of Open Questions.
  • His writing shows up in Hacker News often.

The site has several very long form studies, with good statistical analsys, on a wide variety of topics. The author has done self-studies on Dual N-Back (a technique that may improve working memory/IQ, although it sounds too good to be true) and nootropics (chemicals that may improve cognitive function).

About his gender: he volunteers a physical description as a ‘man’ in their Nootropics page, so I think it’s fine to talk of them as a man even if the name is regarded as a pseudonym in his Wikipedia entry — which apparently he wants to delete because of not being notable enough.

I think Gwern is interesting to me regardless of the quality of his writeups because he has interests that I would call similar to mine, and seems willing and able to go arbitrarily deep into any of them — whereas I’m more of a superficial and chaotic person. I wonder if the ability to go deep on topics is a personality trait, or just general intelligence. I feel like I’m more of a creative person usually (that’s how I’d like to describe myself), but perhaps a creative person is sometimes just someone that is not smart enough to discard bad ideas, or has enough drive and focus to research and find that they are not that original after all.


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