Some Complaint-Action Gaps

post by mike_hawke · 2021-03-29T21:15:50.012Z · LW · GW · 3 comments

[This was previously a shortform post]

Sometimes I scroll social media (because I am yet weak) and I see rationalists raising Concerns about various news topics and current events. I am bothered by what appears to be a high ratio of (raising awareness) : (taking action).

To better articulate this, here is a list of some of the concerns I hear a lot lately. Each issue has a sublist of potential actions, starting with the least useful. I’m definitely interested in hearing better ideas too.

  1. See Vitalik Buterin: Credible Neutrality, Legitimacy, Change The Incentives, Change The World ↩︎


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Raemon · 2021-03-29T21:34:11.754Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

On one hand, I don't actually find it that alarming that the talk/action ratio is skewed. Talk is way cheaper than action, so it's not surprising there's more of it. 

The question is more like "how much of an 'action bandwidth gap' is there – how much serious action could people be doing that they aren't already spending resources on? Of the people who can tractably allocate their time on 'real action', are the things they are currently working on more or less important than these other things?"

I also think when you sit down to brainstorm "okay, what sorts of serious projects might I want to embark", I honestly don't (usually) want people sifting through random things on social media. Those are selected for being fun to talk about, not necessarily important.

That said, some of these ideas do in fact seem like good projects for someone who's sitting around thinking "man, I feel vaguely like I should Do Something but I'm not currently the sort of person who Does Things." (For people in that position, I think getting started on Something, Anything, is more important than exactly which thing you pick)

comment by CraigMichael · 2021-06-04T19:49:20.018Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Try to advance incentive-compatible systems and social tech that can scale


This is where my thinking on the topic has lead me. I haven't read VB much on the topic, will check out his posts. Do you have thoughts on Leemon Baird?