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comment by Dagon · 2018-05-28T16:31:16.498Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This attempt at obfuscation does not illuminate any aspect of behavior or decision-making.

Replies from: dusty
comment by dusty · 2018-05-28T19:03:45.742Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not trying to obfuscate, just avoid sensitive terminology by sticking to analogy. I'm borrowing from Scott Alexander's tendency to do that for touchy subjects. Also not putting high confidence in my thesis. Other people's comments have already moved me a bit away from my initial position.

Replies from: jimrandomh, ChristianKl
comment by jimrandomh · 2018-05-28T22:38:00.115Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's a relevant difference in that when Scott does it, the analogy is used only for part of the post--the topic is introduced beforehand, which lets people immediately start tracking how well the analogy holds, and the analogy is dropped afterwards, for a meta-level discussion of where the analogy works and where it fails. With this post, the analogy is used from the beginning without stating the topic first, which means that people who aren't interested in that topic can't tell that the article is one that they should skip, and people's analogy-accuracy tracking doesn't come online until mid-way through.

comment by ChristianKl · 2018-05-31T12:04:50.157Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

To me a core difference between what you are doing and what Scott is doing is that Scott adds empiric backing to the claims he makes and doesn't just stay at the level of a narrative.

When it comes to making claims in sensitive topics, it's important to back up claims with citations and you skip that part by staying with the analogy level.

comment by ozymandias · 2018-05-28T15:36:07.810Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Some apple eaters enjoy apple brandishing and, in fact, some are willing to pay money and commit crimes for the privilege of viewing it.

Based on evidence from other societies and subcultures, it is very likely that if apple holders stopped the behavior currently considered to be apple brandishing, apple eaters would merely feel taunted by something else. In some cultures, in fact, even the shadow of a leaf is considered to be taunting, while in others green apples are carried openly and only red apples are concealed, and apple eaters consider it laughable that they might be tempted by green apples. For this reason, many apple holders' rights activists are suspicious that this would never end and wind up a serious imposition on the freedom of apple holders.

Apple eaters need to take out their green apples in order to feed their infants. If you don't allow public display of green apples to feed infants, you are sentencing many apple eaters to seclusion while their children are young, or to the use of artificial green apples, which are generally less healthy for children and may cause an IQ drop of as many as seven and a half points.

While apple holders are less interested in oranges in general, some are as interested in oranges as any apple-eater is in apples. Indeed, some research suggests that, over the course of a year, orange-holders are exactly as likely to be victims of orange theft as apple-holders are to be victims of apple theft. Despite both the risk of crimes and (by stipulation) the suffering it causes to particularly hungry orange-eaters, few efforts have ever been made to limit the freedom of orange holders, and many walk around with their mandarins out for no reason other than it being a hot day.

Replies from: dusty
comment by dusty · 2018-05-28T17:49:25.522Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for your reply, all your points are good ones.

Re your first point: I do think a weak part of my argument is the assumption that the average apple eater feels anything like me on this. I may be falling for a like-mind fallacy here. Given the touchiness of the subject, it's rather hard to talk about it and find out (which is why I'm posting here!). However I'll note that before experiencing a culture of the old way, I didn't feel any awareness of discomfort from apple brandishers, so many apple eaters may not be aware of how apple brandishing affects them. It's only after comparing my culture (US) to another that I noticed how much more relaxed I felt in the latter.

Given this, it's totally possible that (Re your second point) someone born into an old way culture just has much more subtle triggers than I, and so has no comparative relief. The conservative middle eastern countries are probably good evidence of this, since they can get angry over, as you say, the shadow of a leaf. And for the record, that level of modesty is way beyond any I'd support.

Re your third point: I'd absolutely make an exception for feeding infants. That clearly outweighs my concerns. (Though it could be difficult to get a social norm that accepts that while frowning on other apple brandishing.)

Re your fourth point: I avoided going there to keep my essay short, but you make a good point. I hadn't heard that orange theft might be as common as apple theft, do you have the source on that? However to address this I'd just say orange brandishing also strikes me as wrong. (And I'd say that just as easily if you handed me proof that apple holders suffer from orange brandishing to the same degree that orange holders suffer from apple brandishing. I'm not trying to play favorites here.)

Replies from: ozymandias
comment by ozymandias · 2018-05-28T18:59:37.178Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dropping the metaphor because it's tedious to write around--

It is difficult to square men being harmed by seeing scantily clad women with the popularity of strip clubs, softcore porn, cheerleaders, Game of Thrones, etc. It's one thing to argue that men aren't aware that they're being harmed, and quite another to argue that they are deliberately seeking out something that harms them.

I think a useful point of comparison is evangelical modesty culture, which does have a real "there is no way to win" problem.

I do think it's pretty easy for people to distinguish feeding a baby from deliberately flashing people; for one thing, in only one version is a baby present.

The CDC collects sexual violence information. Women raping men is classified as "forced to penetrate," not "rape"; if you combine the statistics, you get ~25% of lifetime rape survivors being male and ~50% of past-year rape survivors being male. (No idea why the discrepancy.)

comment by Confusion · 2018-05-28T20:15:21.885Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But within every apple eater lies that hunger -- that deep abyssal craving -- for apples

Which an apple eater could perfectly satisfy without apples, if only they weren’t told ad nauseam that satisfying their cravings without apples is inferior and shameful, that apples are really much better and that they should strive for eating apples. This is a cultural problem, not a natural one.

comment by Raemon · 2018-05-30T19:01:32.122Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Just to give people a rough idea of our mod principles:

This post and subsequent comments look, at a quick glance, like it probably would warrant some kind of moderator involvement (at least in the form of gentle nudges), if we had the bandwidth and resources to literally read and moderate everything. As is, when posts are as downvoted as this one ended up being (which means it doesn't show up on the frontpage or recent discussion), we don't especially worry about it – figuring that the people who come to a thread like this more or less know what they're getting into.

(Note: I have not yet read this thread or post in detail, just enough for vague pattern matching)

Replies from: steven0461
comment by steven0461 · 2018-05-30T19:30:00.098Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

the people who come to a thread like this more or less know what they're getting into

That's true to an extent, but humans are notorious for clicking on web links against their better judgment, and comments here appear in people's comment histories at least.

Replies from: Raemon
comment by Raemon · 2018-05-30T19:52:35.161Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sure, but those are all things you have to go looking for – a pretty low proportion of users look at that.

We do plan to implement a thing where posts in Daily (which is where I think most people will see this thing) that are below N karma don't show up by default.

Replies from: steven0461
comment by steven0461 · 2018-05-30T20:07:07.496Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree that it doesn't affect many users and didn't mean to claim it should be a priority.

comment by toonalfrink · 2018-05-28T13:13:03.135Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Appreciate your attempt to address a touchy subject. Do keep in mind that epistemic humility applies tenfold here. The subject is littered with blindspots and motivated reasoning, and I haven't come across anyone with a remotely satisfying answer yet.

And it’s never enough; their appetite is endless.

That's an assumption, and I think it's wrong. I think apple seekers are satisficers, like everyone else. I, for one, don't suffer from the brandishing. Got access to enough apples.

My model is that it's a problem of inequality. You see, apple holders get a large part of their status from which apple eater they associate with. Now when it comes to status, one naturally wants to be in the upper regions [LW · GW]:

Imagine a world where, every few years, 90% of it’s highest status inhabitants are selected to replace the remaining 10%. If you’d want to remain in this world indefinitely, how much status would you need? Indeed, from the perspective of our genes, only the maximum is good enough.

Over the decades, Inequality in apple eaters has greatly increased (another assumption). Compared to decades before, It's a lot harder to find an apple eater that is truly on top of their shit. And so, apple holders are more reluctant to share their apples with someone of comparative (sexual) status, especially in the lower regions.

But it could be something else entirely. In any case, brandishing doesn't have to be a problem for apple eaters.

comment by steven0461 · 2018-05-30T19:22:43.995Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I strongly suspect that it's harmful for LessWrong to have unpersuasive posts arguing for unpopular views on emotionally fraught, low value topics, and that it's harmful for LessWrong to have object-level comments on such posts.

Replies from: Raemon, toonalfrink
comment by Raemon · 2018-05-30T19:51:08.684Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My current take is that it seems fairly important for the personal-blog section to actually be a place you can use as your personal blog without worrying overmuch about what the LessWrong mods think of your opinions. There are lines one could cross, but it'd have to be in the "extremely bad" camp rather than "pretty bad."

Replies from: steven0461
comment by steven0461 · 2018-05-30T20:01:57.358Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I didn't mean to argue that this deserves mod attention, just that it shouldn't have been posted or commented on.

comment by toonalfrink · 2018-06-05T00:22:14.557Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Would you share your model? My intuition is that there are no topics or opinions that should be shunned, because if tolerating a topic leads to bad outcomes, then you just have bad epistemics. i.e. it's a bandaid solution for your average conflict-theorist internet community that I think the thoroughly mistake-theorist LW doesn't need.

There is honor in it if we could handle this.

Replies from: steven0461
comment by steven0461 · 2018-06-11T19:54:06.937Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

LW is a public website existing in a conflict-theorist world. My impression is discussions on this subject and various others are doomed to be "fake" in the sense that important considerations will be left out, and will provide material for critics to misrepresent as being typical of rationalists. If I recall correctly, a somewhat similar thread on LW 1.0 (I can't immediately find it, but it involved someone being on fire as a metaphor) turned into a major blow-up that people left the site over. I don't see any upside to outweigh these downsides. Maybe there's honor in being able to handle this, but if we can't handle this, then that doesn't mean it will help to act as if we can.

comment by Itsnotme · 2018-05-28T11:34:03.485Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I acknowledge the harm done by apple brandishing, and reckon that it would be nice to voluntarily limit this behaviour. However, for clarification, I want to point out that apple holders often have a very strong desire to get admired by apple eaters, even if they tell you (perhaps falsely) that it's just for fun. This desire can be strong enough to cause considerable suffering to an apple holder if she feels like she is not appearing to hold any apples, if you see what I mean. It looks like you model them as flaunting their apples carelessly, "just for fun", but I think this behaviour (usually) stems from desire and suffering, which can be(?) as strong as those of yours; ultimately, they just really want oranges.