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comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-05-10T04:20:34.753Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Frank - people have consistently, if not downvoted your posts, then not upvoted them either. And you're 4 of the last 10 top posts. I am moving these to Discussion.

comment by Vladimir_Nesov · 2012-05-10T04:57:02.363Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Because of the publication date reassignment issue and the order in which you've moved the posts to Discussion, the posts of Frank's sequence are now in the wrong (reverse!) order, and it looks like they can't be rearranged again...

comment by shminux · 2012-05-10T17:15:32.376Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Presumably you can manually edit the database directly with an appropriate SQL statement. Not sure if it's worth the trouble.

comment by thomblake · 2012-05-11T18:47:27.133Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The database is structured annoyingly. I get the impression that the designer of Reddit did not use the SQL prompt much.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-05-10T13:48:07.846Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Huh. Was not aware of that. Oops.

comment by FrankAdamek · 2012-05-10T05:38:48.690Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Though I am surprised as to the move (my model had been that by providing summary cuts, the posts would be easy to skip for the uninterested, and sufficiently unobtrussive), this is a fine move which I don't oppose.

For whatever credibility this statement has now, I had actually changed my mind just yesterday on my posting plans - while previous posts were met with reasonable writing critiques, and this last post was remarked as a vast improvement and received no such critiques, it too was little-voted. Future posts therefore also seemed likely to be little-voted, whereas previously I thought I may be able to change that.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-05-08T02:37:46.793Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What would you do in cases where what someone (thinks they want) is something that you know actually is harmful to them, such as if a morbidly obese person asks you to give them extra helpings of ice cream?

comment by FrankAdamek · 2012-05-08T02:47:55.393Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, it's one of the trade-off cases. In general, I try to change the person's mind if I can, respectfully pointing out that my own belief is that that's going to harm them, but sure if they want more ice cream I'll support their decision. Broadly, I try to change people's minds and do what good I can for them, but avoid getting in the way of what they think they want now.

In the actual ice cream case, I'd likely just give them more ice cream while working to avoid any stigma attached to their weight or eating habits. If it were just us alone, and if I knew them well, then I'd be more likely to say something. My main goal would be to have them feel comfortable, that there's nothing wrong with them and there's nothing to be ashamed of, but if they want to be healthier or foxier, I bet they'd be very successful if they got more in shape. (I don't actually know much about weight solutions, but solutions for problems are usually findable.)

comment by Alicorn · 2012-05-08T03:08:43.326Z · score: 4 (18 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I just this evening proposed to my best friend that we go get ice cream. She drove me there and wound up buying for both of us. I got a nice white-chocolate-cake-batter-malted-cookie-dough frozen custard.

It was just us alone, and we know each other well, but... if rather than ice cream accompanied by small talk about how cool the particular ice cream place is because they make it right in front of you with liquid nitrogen, I'd instead gotten a remark (however gentle) about how my friend wanted me to know that I had nothing to be ashamed of and there was nothing wrong with me, but she believed that if I set my mind to it I could lose weight and be healthier and prettier for it...

Well, that wouldn't happen, because my friend is not obnoxious, but wow, what a thing to say. Who could you say this to for whom it would be novel information that they are not at their standard-ideal weight? Who is in a frame of mind to accept nudges about their lifestyle/appearance/arguable health drawbacks when they have just solicited dessert? What is your secret for making people feel comfortable and avoiding attaching stigma while calling attention to their culturally-dispreferred weight in the context of what they want to eat? Can you compose a script for me here to give me an idea of what you are thinking? I sincerely do not understand.

comment by beoShaffer · 2012-05-09T06:31:41.284Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Who could you say this to for whom it would be novel information that they are not at their standard-ideal weight?

Not realizing that you're overweigh or underestimating the extent is actually pretty common, at least in certain populations. See also, item three in this cracked article. It

comment by FrankAdamek · 2012-05-08T03:38:39.267Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

(Upvoted)

That would not be a way to say it respectfully. Or desirably!

Probably the best way to think about what I mean by doing it respectfully is "would this make the person unhappy or uncomfortable?" If yes, that's not what I mean (this is a hard point for me to convey - I can say "respectfully" but it's hard to map to a case where the person isn't displeased, though that is what I'm talking about).

So what I would do (and was imagining). The person is comfortable with their weight. Ideally, they're happy, outgoing, achieving good things, being successful. The person enjoys eating ice-cream, they aren't going to change this soon, I know this, they know the things I know, and it's not a problem. If I thought it would bother someone, if there was nothing actually unique and useful I could point out to them, I wouldn't.

But if they asked me, while feeling pretty comfortable about themselves and looking to branch out, if I thought they might be able to lose weight, maybe be a little healthier, I would say "Yeah, of course!" (with the implication "You're certainly going to succeed, if that's what you want to do.") If they seem bothered, I'd mention that it's all good, certainly no need to if they don't want to. (Verbal tone here is important, and unfortunately difficult to express through this text.)

and if I knew them well,

I used this as a shorthand for "this is the sort of thing we could talk about happily, and that the person was interested in". (In my comment above, I mentally mapped to a case where I might actually convey helpful and/or unique information.)

None of this was very clear about my comment. "working to avoid any stigma", "respectfully pointing out" and "if they want more ice cream I'll support their decision" are tightly clustered descriptions of underly-specified things. The main thing is "is the person happy", "have I made them look bad," "are they interested," and "am I actually helping". I would point something out when the answers are anticipated-yes, anticipate-no, yes, and yes.

comment by FrankAdamek · 2012-05-08T03:42:36.129Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also, ice cream is trivial and not something I would probably ever bring up, unless we were specifically on the topic of "our ideas on the healthiness of ice-cream" (and then I'd only mention my ideas on the healthiness of ice-cream, not whether they should eat it). In the original comment I was answering in form of something that seemed important enough to be an issue.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-05-09T01:42:49.638Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

ice cream is trivial

Whoa boy, not any more!

comment by FrankAdamek · 2012-05-09T02:06:42.920Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think you are referring to ice-cream discussions.

comment by Alicorn · 2012-05-09T02:34:03.127Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why do you hyphenate "ice cream"?

comment by FrankAdamek · 2012-05-09T04:22:27.907Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

By the power of Greyskull! I noticed this tastefully funny comment and go to the context to find no less than 6 comments analyzing my hyphenation of ice creams!

Indeed it's mostly random. I didn't even notice I was typing it differently - looks like my brain just wasn't sure how to write it, and gave me different answers at different times.

comment by Crux · 2012-05-09T12:06:53.359Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The official answer appears! We may now rest.

comment by komponisto · 2012-05-09T02:45:52.594Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

(I assume) because it is being used to modify a following word.

Compare:

I have a blue car.

vs.

I am a blue-car person.

comment by Crux · 2012-05-09T02:52:40.536Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I mentioned the same thing, but I just discovered a difficulty with our hypothesis. A few comments above, he hyphenated it a couple times even though it wasn't being used to modify a subsequent word. Instead, it seemed completely random, for he didn't hyphenate it earlier in the comment despite there not seeming to be any relevant difference in usage.

comment by komponisto · 2012-05-09T02:55:51.741Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh. Well, in that case I would chalk it up to the old-fashioned habit of hyphenating most if not all compound words. ("Magnifying-glass", etc.)

comment by beoShaffer · 2012-05-09T06:46:01.916Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you believe wikipedia ice-cream is the older and "proper" spelling.

comment by albeola · 2012-05-09T02:49:52.774Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Doesn't feel the same to me. One is adjective noun, the other is noun noun. It affects the intonation. "I'm a blue CAR person" vs "I'm a CLOWN car person".

comment by Crux · 2012-05-09T02:57:49.422Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Compare:

There are the forest people now!

vs.

I'm a forest-people photographer.

Not the most natural-sounding example, but the point should nevertheless be intact. It's noun noun, yet still works out the same way as komponisto's original noun-adjective example.

comment by komponisto · 2012-05-09T04:49:21.311Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It affects the intonation. "I'm a blue CAR person" vs "I'm a CLOWN car person"

I don't agree; if you're contrasting blue-car people with red-car people, the stress is on the first component. And if there is no context at all, I would read "blue-car person" as "BLUE-CAR person" (i.e. stress on the modifier relative to the modified, but not on either component of the modifier relative to the other).

comment by albeola · 2012-05-09T05:01:26.395Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

OK, so compare "BLUE-CAR person" with "CLOWN-car person". They still seem different to me. (I didn't downvote, though I wouldn't blame people if they downvoted this entire sub-conversation for pedantry.)

comment by komponisto · 2012-05-09T05:32:12.515Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would note that the original point was specifically about the use of the hyphen; there is no need for an example to match the case of interest in every aspect in order to be illustrative of the relevant aspect(s).

though I wouldn't blame people if they downvoted this entire sub-conversation for pedantry

I don't think that's a fair characterization. No one was correcting anyone's grammar. This sub-conversation began with an inquiry by Alicorn about a particular individual's usage habits. If your implication is that the details of language are somehow not as "worthy" a subject for discussion on LW as many other similarly "esoteric" subjects discussed here, I protest.

comment by Crux · 2012-05-09T02:45:32.816Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps because it was supposed to modify "discussions" as a single unit: "[ice cream] discussions" rather than "ice [cream discussions]" or whatever (notice that in speech there's a difference in stress between the first and second, which in writing hyphenation takes the place of).

Probably not necessary this time, but sometimes there's ambiguity, which is perhaps why there's a tendency for people to do it anyway. Either that or he just has some idiosyncrasy where he hyphenates it for the hell of it. Perhaps "ice cream" will at some time become a single word ("icecream")! Such hyphenation is but the first step in the effort to wordify it!!

comment by duckduckMOO · 2012-05-08T19:17:04.916Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd probably say "I don't feel like ice cream" or "I'll feel bad because of your weight" (or put it in terms of wanting to spare my feelings some other way) If I wanted you to not eat ice cream.

Also, how is self injury more clear cut than obese people eating ice cream? If you mean actual injury, sure, but if you mean that how it's usually used I'd have to disagree that that's true generally. Obese people are usually, in part obese because they are eating too much ice cream (or equivalent.) I think Self harming is usually more a symptom rather than a contributing cause. and it requires heavier intervention to stop in that you can't just not go with people to eat ice cream, for example, because it's not usually a social activity.

I agree that it would be ridiculous to openly respond with anything that amounts to "no ice cream for you, you're too fat" though.

comment by Alicorn · 2012-05-08T22:27:09.717Z · score: 0 (10 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"I'll feel bad because of your weight" (or put it in terms of wanting to spare my feelings some other way)

This phrasing doesn't make this significantly less obnoxious, in case you were planning on saying this to someone fat you know. ("I don't feel like ice cream" would be fine, although maybe misleading depending on whether you felt like ice cream.)

I don't think I understand what you have to say about self-harm. I understand that it has causes, but that doesn't mean that it's not intrinsically injurious to be... injured.

Obese people are usually, in part obese because they are eating too much ice cream (or equivalent.)

This is not uncontroversial.

comment by duckduckMOO · 2012-05-08T23:51:02.477Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

edit: I wouldn't phrase it that way, no.

My point about the self harm was basically, eating is more a cause of obesity than self harm is a cause of depression. I did say in the post that if they are actually injuring themselves that's uncontroversially more clear cut ("If you mean actual injury, sure") but I assumed by self injury you were including stuff like making relatively light cuts on your arms.

The because in"because they are eating too much ice cream" is unfair. But eating too much ice cream will contribute to obesity in a relatively clear cut way, that self harm doesn't for depression.

I also now notice that drugs isn't necessarrilly non loaded for either.

I don't know if there's any unloaded examples for this other than when someone has specifically asked you to tie them to the mast when there's sirens about, or you won't know if that person views those things as sirens.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-05-09T11:11:15.679Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But eating too much ice cream will contribute to obesity in a relatively clear cut way

Unless you compensate by eating less other stuff. (For an extreme example, eating 1900 calories' worth of ice cream per day and nothing else arguably is “too much ice cream”, but won't make you obese.)

(I don't understand why ice cream is so often considered a stereotypical example of high-calorie food. One cone of ice cream contains less calories than a 45-gram bag of m&m's or a half-litre bottle of Coca Cola, and it will satiate me much more than either of those. Of course, eating too much ice cream can contribute to obesity, in the sense that eating too much bread, or too much of anything else, can.)

comment by Alicorn · 2012-05-09T00:44:21.914Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I didn't imply anywhere that self-injury caused depression, and I am bewildered about why you think I did except by vague analogy to eating ice cream. I just think self-injury causes injury, that being why it is called that.

As I said elsewhere, the fact that all examples must be some amount of loaded does not mean that this is the least loaded one, or that effort to reduce loadedness in examples is unwarranted.

comment by duckduckMOO · 2012-05-09T09:26:33.798Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That was exposition on why I thought "self injury" was less obviously harmful because you said you didn't see what I was saying. I wasn't saying you said self injury causes depression and am somewhat bewilered about why you think I did.

"I just think self-injury causes injury, that being why it is called that." This seems to have entirely skipped the point I was making.

self injury causes injury yes, if you're going to use it by definition but plenty of things which are called self injury involve no injury. I imagine the reason it is called that is that people don't always use compound words like they're the words they're made of. To clarify (feel free not to) do, relatively light cuts on one's arms count as self injury?

I also didn't say effort to reduce loadedness in examples is unwarranted or this is the least loaded example. Examples of the form "what would you do in cases where what someone (thinks they want) is something that you know actually is harmful to them, such as thing-that-is-deemed-harmful..." are always going to be loaded with whatever standard determines the thing to be harmful.

Even swapping in antiwireheading as the thing the person wants, and calling it harmful is going to upset masochists, or people who feel they deserve punishment. And finding something literally everyone agrees on is going to load it with whatever preference everyone shares.

An unloaded example simply needs to not label the behaviour harmful.

comment by Alicorn · 2012-05-09T16:07:25.191Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, cutting one's arms counts as self-injury...

I really don't know what you're talking about and would like to give up trying to now.

comment by NMJablonski · 2012-05-10T17:02:31.426Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

As a complete outsider to this conversation, it doesn't look like you're playing fair.

Can I ask you just to consider a few questions?

1) Do you think you are using a constructive tone?

2) If overeating were the primary cause of most obesity, would you want to know?

3) Is it your goal to shut down any discussion of this topic because of your personal sensibilities?

comment by Alicorn · 2012-05-10T18:16:14.073Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

1) I don't perceive myself as using an atypical tone relative to how I usually talk about things, and don't usually have problems with how people react to my tone. I don't like the way you've presented these questions. If you think I'm presenting my comments badly, please tell me where and how and why, don't just insinuate it in this condescendingly didactic way.

2) I'm going to rephrase your question so it doesn't presuppose an answer (the word "overeating" does that, although not completely; there are possible interpretations that don't mean "eating enough to get fat", but not ones that are in very common use). My rephrasing is "If most people's obesity could be reduced by the people eating less, would you want to know?" (let me know if this is an illegitimate recasting and feel free to provide your own nonpresumptive revision). But as it happens, I do already think that. I think most overweight and obese people, if they ate less, would be less fat. I just think that this in no way justifies a stigma or even particularly much well-meaning advice against eating, or against eating particular foods or amounts, or against being fat.

3) No. I'm upset that you have chosen to locate-that-hypothesis at me such that I now have to defend myself and even then the accusation will float around indefinitely.

comment by NMJablonski · 2012-05-10T18:58:32.586Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I apologize for the leading questions. I didn't want to make outright accusations of tone when I wasn't sure how you had intended your comments. Your comments had seemed brief and chastising, and I wasn't sure what you were trying to communicate.

However, your answers make sense, and your rephrasing of my second question is fair.

Although, I am still unsure why you object to the use of the "poor diet choices as destructive behavior" analogy. It seems comparable to the drug-use analogy you propose as an alternative.

comment by Alicorn · 2012-05-10T19:06:17.903Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Although, I am still unsure why you object to the use of the "poor diet choices as destructive behavior" analogy. It seems comparable to the drug-use analogy you propose as an alternative.

There is almost no consensus about food. I think there is probably someone not obviously a complete nutter who can find a reason to object to anything other than raw vegetables and water. The only things that everyone agrees are definitely bad to eat are literal poison. (And I'd appreciate it if everyone did not take that phrase as an invitation to say "sugar is literal poison" because no it isn't, I could eat a five-pound bag of sugar over the course of a couple days if I really wanted to and I'm sure it'd disagree with me but I wouldn't be dead or acutely harmed any more than I would if I ate that much lettuce over the same period of time.)

There's pretty much consensus about some drugs.

comment by NMJablonski · 2012-05-10T19:20:34.969Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think there's a decent consensus on food:

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Sure, there are always scare stories about how (insert target food) might be trouble because one study found a mild correlation. However, I think there are many diet choices that people make (myself included) that are conclusively unhealthy.

Do you disagree?

comment by Alicorn · 2012-05-10T20:00:38.071Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's not a consensus. That's what one dude has to say, it's ill-specified in every phrase, (my dad deems many things "not food" as a pejorative of sorts even when they would normally be termed so; what does "food" mean? What is "too much"? What fraction is "mostly", and do arbitrary plants count?), and it's not consensus.

"Consensus", without a qualifier about among whom there is consensus, doesn't mean "the people you prefer to listen to agree on this".

I think anorexia, bulimia, and uncontrollable binge eating are unhealthy; to whatever extent those are diet "choices", and to the extent that three is "many", maybe I don't disagree. I suspect that low-variety eating, ceteris paribus, may be unhealthy, but I don't know it for sure, and have learned to believe in human heterogeneity. If I meet someone who lives on three foods I will restrain myself from interfering in any way other than offering them tasty other items to try if they want.

comment by NMJablonski · 2012-05-10T21:53:23.471Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm receiving signals that people would rather I not comment.

Thanks for engaging, you've explained your position well.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-05-09T01:38:17.610Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I am aware that people don't like your answer, but thank you for answering in a manner consistent with your theory.

comment by FrankAdamek · 2012-05-09T04:32:16.444Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, it has 1 downvote. In answering, I went too straight for giving a functional description of what I do, rather than 1) sufficiently pointing out how it's done (e.g. going out of my way to tell someone when it's neither helpful nor wanted is not decreasing stigma, though that's the more natural map thing to map my answer to) and 2) writing my answer such that the answer itself helped to reduce stigma, make people comfortable, etc.

...but thank you for answering in a manner consistent with your theory.

You're welcome! However, I didn't select these strategies so that I could write consistent comments on LW, I selected them because I really like their results.

comment by Alicorn · 2012-05-08T02:45:15.914Z · score: 0 (10 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

if a morbidly obese person asks you to give them extra helpings of ice cream

This is a loaded example. Why not refer to drugs, or self-injury, or something along those lines?

comment by taw · 2012-05-08T03:00:27.137Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I understand what you're saying, but all these examples are going to be loaded and for a very good reason - they all involve paternalistically overriding another person's wishes.

This is going to be controversial unless everybody somehow agrees that their wish is "wrong" by some standard. (and since at least one person doesn't agree, or you wouldn't need such overriding...)

This thinking (people cannot be trusted knowing what's good for them) is something nobody is willing to accept in general, but everyone is perfectly willing to accept in some specific cases or other. I cannot think of any objective standard to judge when such paternalism would be appropriate and when it wouldn't - or I can feel of a few things, but they really feel like post-hoc rationalizations.

comment by Alicorn · 2012-05-08T03:10:28.754Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps all examples must be some amount of ambiguous or controversial, but that doesn't serve as a good reason to use one that is this amount of it, when there are examples less so readily available.

comment by FrankAdamek · 2012-05-08T03:22:40.823Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is going to be controversial unless everybody somehow agrees that their wish is "wrong" by some standard.

Currently, even implying that someone is wrong makes a person look bad. For the person to be comfortable, it's very helpful to look after their reputations. This is part of why I wouldn't bring up the ice-cream thing in public. (The ice-cream isn't actually something I would care about - to my personal diet views, it's probably healthier than bread. But if you mapped it to a more serious analogous case.)

I cannot think of any objective standard to judge when such paternalism would be appropriate and when it wouldn't

Rather than an objective standard, I find it more helpful to think about my personal behavior. How much do I want other people to trust me? The more trust I want and the more I want them to be comfortable, the more I can look out for their interests.

This thinking (people cannot be trusted knowing what's good for them) is something nobody is willing to accept in general, but everyone is perfectly willing to accept in some specific cases or other.

I'm not sure there are actually cases where I'm perfectly willing to accept it, except for cases of trivial importance. Even if I go against their wishes, I'm quite averse to it.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-05-09T01:21:17.167Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Because I actually have to deal with this specific situation from time to time. I was honestly seeking both a solution, and troubleshooting the theory at the same time. Nobody that I interact with has problems with drugs or self-injury. But while we're on the subject, what would one do in those examples?

comment by Alicorn · 2012-05-09T01:27:09.674Z · score: 0 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Assuming the people who are asking you for ice cream are not minor children under your care, let them have ice cream and keep your well-intentioned worrying out of it. (Depending on how you feel about being manipulative you could arrange to never have extra around, I suppose.)

I'm not sure what I'd do if someone I knew were doing particularly destructive drugs or actively cutting themselves. Probably Google for advice; maybe stop being friends with them if it really bothered me. I don't think I endorse calling the shrinks on somebody against their will, but I might ask if they wanted help finding help.

comment by Swimmer963 · 2012-05-08T02:51:50.979Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm curious: what is it that you find more offensive about MaoShan's example than a drug-related example?

comment by prase · 2012-05-08T19:45:34.977Z · score: 5 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's rather annoying than offensive. Every mention of problems related to obesity reinforces the present unhealthily and unaesthetically thin female cultural weight standard. Therefore I am a bit annoyed when this topic is brought up when not necessary.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-05-09T12:46:13.032Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Again, the relationship between weight and health needn't be monotonic, so "obesity is bad" doesn't imply "emaciation is good". (And while I agree that the "cultural weight standard" is unhealthily and unaesthetically thin throughout the developed world, the de facto weight standard (i.e. how much the average person actually weighs, regardless of how much they think they should weigh) is unhealthily and unaesthetically large in certain countries (ETA: especially among males). (The average US man weighs 86.6 kg (190.9 lb) and is 1.763 m (5 ft 9 1⁄2 in) tall, according to Wikipedia... WTF?))

comment by AdeleneDawner · 2012-05-09T19:51:36.872Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Every mention of problems related to obesity reinforces the present unhealthily and unaesthetically thin female cultural weight standard.

And makes it more difficult for those of us who are actively rejecting that standard (and the health=weight meme, which does seem plausibly based on a correlation-equals-causation fallacy, to me) to participate comfortably here.

(That's not the primary reason I haven't been around for the last 6 months or so, but it certainly didn't help...)

comment by Alicorn · 2012-05-08T02:56:30.940Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not every drug, but some examples of drugs, are more unambiguously and uncontroversially unhealthful than any kind of food. (I didn't claim to be offended. I'm way too unsurprised to be offended.)

comment by Swimmer963 · 2012-05-08T03:08:34.330Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fair enough. I can see why a specific example of a drug known to be harmful (i.e. cocaine) would be clearer than the example given, where the harm is only long-term and not directly related to that particular occasion of eating ice cream.

Other people might also find the example "offensive" because there are likely more LW-ers who are overweight and still eat ice cream (and consider this a perfectly legitimate personal choice) than who take [harmful] drugs recreationally.

comment by AdeleneDawner · 2012-05-08T03:16:36.651Z · score: 5 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Other people might also find the example "offensive" because there are likely more LW-ers who are overweight and still eat ice cream (and consider this a perfectly legitimate personal choice) than who take [harmful] drugs recreationally.

Not offensive exactly, but annoying and harder to be emotionally detached from (fat people tend to get a lot of shit about it, and therefore be a bit touchy about the subject), yes.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-05-09T01:32:58.111Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

See my explanation above as part of an apology for any offense I have caused. I actually needed that specific advice, and so I asked. I used the ice cream itself in lieu of unhealthy eating habits in general, not that I think ice cream itself is wrong to eat (although being lactose-intolerant myself, I choose not to eat much of it, for everyone's sake). Additionally, the answer can help those of us who might be overweight consider that maybe despite our partner's kindness and understanding and helping remove stigma and make us comfortable, maybe it's time to stop overindulging without having to be asked.

comment by Alicorn · 2012-05-09T02:03:40.674Z · score: 1 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Additionally, the answer can help those of us who might be overweight consider that maybe despite our partner's kindness and understanding and helping remove stigma and make us comfortable, maybe it's time to stop overindulging without having to be asked.

This is the first part of the thread to actually straight-up offend me. It's phrased so carefully, and I think you really are trying to be kind, but this sentence puts "being fat" on a par with something more like "never bathing". (And it is the "being fat", not the "overindulgence" itself, based on how this is phrased: you didn't say something like "because it can make people uncomfortable to watch others display unhealthy behaviors, everyone, regardless of their size, should avoid overindulging", but you singled out the overweight.)

People being fat is not about having to be asked; people don't wake up in the morning and neglect to be thin today because it slipped their mind so they should maybe write it on their to-do list so folks won't have to remind them. Person A never says to Person B, "It makes me concerned when you eat all that ice cream" in such a way that makes Person B go "Gosh, where are my manners"; at best you can make Person B eat ice cream in private rather than risk the judgment of friends and maybe develop an eating disorder.

Even if we operate under the assumption that fat is simplistically a function of exactly what you eat (in a neat and tidy way, so no one is fainting or unable to concentrate or miserable from hunger while failing to lose weight or anything terribly unfair that The Universe Is Not Allowed To Do like that)... this is still not a good way to paint it. This makes it sound like people around you being fat is a lousy thing for them to do to you.

What does it have to do with you? (I'd say, "You poor thing, do you have to look at them?" but I really do read you as being very sincerely well-intentioned here, so I'm just going to tuck the sarcasm that I can't bear to delete into this parenthetical.) Do you have beliefs about their life expectancy that make you sad? If that's it, do you avoid befriending old people or people with terminal illnesses or people who ride motorcycles or people with abusive spouses (or try to get them to stop being so old/sick/risky/abused so you won't have to be sad)?

comment by MaoShan · 2012-05-10T02:04:27.953Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, I realize that personal health is a personal choice in most cases. But in the event of a collapse of civilization, there are points on every spectrum of behavior where you can draw a line and say that it is maladaptive, hence, wrong. That's where I can draw the line. My ideals of how people should act draw from that picture, and while I won't tell someone how they should act, I personally feel the pain of knowing that they are painting themselves out of a picture that is entirely possible to me. Whether I am deluded or not, I feel that sadness all the same.

General physical fitness is something that has a clear advantage in a primitive-life situation, and as long as that remains a possible future, it would be prudent to maintain that advantage, even if our modern society does not require it. If the preceding statement is false, please tell me why, so that I can understand the flaw in my thinking.

comment by Lapsed_Lurker · 2012-05-10T08:43:23.097Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, I realize that personal health is a personal choice in most cases.

You might want to rethink your wording on that one. Perhaps 'personal health status is a consequence of previous choices in many cases' or something. As written it sounds a bit overstated.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-05-11T03:11:35.811Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

True, I was trying not to step on any more toes at that point.

comment by erratio · 2012-05-10T08:07:16.634Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

General physical fitness and being fat are not mutually exclusive states. There's an oft-quoted result from some study or other saying that people who are fat but in good shape (ie. aerobically fit) are healthier than thin people who never exercise and remain thin through diet or other means.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-05-11T03:12:33.062Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's a relevant clarification. Thank you. Given that additional point, my original question remains.

comment by AdeleneDawner · 2012-05-09T19:41:21.778Z · score: 0 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm having enough trouble parsing the last half-or-so of that that I'm writing it off as you being euphemistic in some way that's not going to work on me, but:

overindulging

This is a value judgement, and (deontological/virtue-ethics-based) value judgements (as opposed to consequentialist pointing-out-of-actual-observed-results, which is occasionally useful when the person hasn't also observed them) seem to range from useless through annoying and into emotionally abusive, without any significant subset of them actually achieving anything positive. If you think someone is overindulging, that's your opinion, not some universal law that they're breaking, and as such it's not really their problem.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-05-10T02:19:27.978Z · score: 1 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You really are trying to tell me that there is no qualitative way to distinguish between a behavior trend being healthy or unhealthy? My computer's CPU fan makes loud buzzing noises and occasionally stops moving. If I call tech support and they tell me that my fan is not working like it should, I'm not going to say "You tech support people are all the same? Who says that fan has to be quiet and who are you to say it's 'not running properly'? I think you'd better rephrase that in a way that doesn't offend me as a computer owner!" This site is devoted to rationality, I don't see how a general comment can be taken personally when clearly I have no idea of the personal habits of other readers. Surely we won't get very far if we can't discuss things rationally to begin with.

comment by AdeleneDawner · 2012-05-11T15:41:55.389Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Eating ice cream, unlike having a broken fan in a CPU, is not a purely harmful activity, or nobody would do it - it being enjoyable is a benefit, if nothing else, and the relative value of that and other benefits (social/cultural ingroup-ness, psychological self-care, avoiding disordered thinking relating to food restriction, not using up willpower that would be better spent on something else) compared to any harm that would come from it is a judgement call that the individual taking the action gets to make.

Relatedly, in a broader sense, "working like it should" is a decision that individuals get to make about their own lives, just like hardware owners get to decide what "working like it should" means for their hardware - if I decide to take my CPU's noisy fan out and turn it into an alarm clock, that noise might then be purely positive! And, more importantly, that's my call to make; it wouldn't be reasonable for you to insist that I should have thrown the fan away just because you think it's junk. By the same token, if someone is genuinely not bothered by the effect of their weight on their life, it's not appropriate for a third party to step in and insist that their preferences are wrong and that they are obligated to change them.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-05-12T02:10:01.673Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I completely understand where you are getting these answers from. Thank you for sharing your psychological profile with me. Due to this understanding, I will refrain from pursuing my point any further.

comment by AdeleneDawner · 2012-05-13T00:47:52.026Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

By 'psychological profile' I assume you mean the bit where I'm compartmentalizing less than you are? I mean, maybe things have changed in the ~6 months I've been gone, but the idea that it's okay - even expected - for people to have their own preferences and values and not defensible for others to call those values wrong used to be pretty uncontroversial here.

Or, probably more likely, you simply came up with that as a polite way of saying "oh, okay, you're crazy; I'll ignore you now", which - not cool, dude, but if that is how you feel, at least be up front about it instead of hiding behind the 'don't call me out' signals.

comment by Jonathan_Graehl · 2012-05-08T20:52:43.940Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's effective to operate in terms of abstract principles like this (with enough story-detail behind them that you feel positively drawn toward the expected result), whenever you realize you need to shift your habits.

For example, I'm especially bad at being even patient when convincing people that they're wrong, let alone being diplomatic. Principles that could help me with that: leave them a line of retreat, ask permission, be excited in the process of understanding what stops them from sharing my belief/value, watch how they're taking me. I guess more abstractly: care about why they don't follow me, and care about creating mutual fun.