Slider's Shortform

post by Slider · 2019-08-14T14:01:35.789Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW · 15 comments


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comment by Slider · 2019-08-30T13:25:51.000Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Internet point giving is pretty recent phenomenon (as is all of social media). I think there are important social differences to approving in person and giving internet upvotes. You are way more connected see the effects of your approving and can conveoy more subtle messages in the same go.

Giving voting too central a role in our websites might be analgous to having implemented a reinforcement AI as president/world leader without solving alignment. Voting might be institutionalized demagoguery that we are unlikely to catch in critiques.

Having a bad utlity function gets critiqued quite closely. Having a vote button with no guides how it could/should be used blackboxes the method actually used. There can be an issue where irresponcible voting is having adverse effects. It's like not locking your door to avoid getting a burglary, you can't break and enter if there is nothing to break.

comment by Viliam · 2019-08-30T20:53:38.949Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Voting with points is what you do when...

  • you need to somehow separate the better stuff from the worse stuff, even if the method is imperfect, because there will be tons of extremely bad stuff (e.g. spam, or crazy people obsessed with the topic); and
  • you don't want to appoint a moderator, because you don't have the money to pay someone to do it as a job, and you suspect that the volunteers would be motivated by the opportunity to abuse the power;
  • you need to have a nice version to show to a completely passive person (who doesn't even have an account), so that individual friend lists and block lists are not sufficient -- you have to arrive at "one true rating" for stuff.

Without voting, you would have to give up on having an official page available to users without accounts, or you would have to establish the official moderators and either pay them or accept that people who want to abuse that kind of power have the strongest incentive to volunteer.

(The former is kinda like e-mail, and the latter is kinda like Reddit.)

comment by Gurkenglas · 2019-08-30T22:41:29.719Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Use Elon Musk's brain-computer interface to map the posts each user has seen to a personal space of possible reactions. (Or just let them invent their own tag system in place of this, but it's gonna be inconvenient.)

Across users, glue together these functions by finding a way to translate between any two user's spaces on the intersection of the sets of posts they've seen. (I feel like a sheaf theorist should repeat this to me in their words.)

Each user can now explore posts relevant to their current thoughts. (Or to the tags they select.) The admin uses this same mechanism to provide new users with a default sorting.

comment by Pattern · 2019-08-31T17:47:59.763Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)
(Or just let them invent their own tag system in place of this, but it's gonna be inconvenient.)

Create a tag dictionary.

comment by Gurkenglas · 2019-08-31T19:36:51.682Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I mean that it's gonna be inconvenient to consciously write down all the tags that apply, as opposed to the BCI giving a cloud of 2000 relevant tags/Discord reactions. It also feels like giving names would reduce the usefulness of this from telepathy to language.

comment by Slider · 2019-08-31T20:03:37.254Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The problem of specifying tags might not have received that much attention.

I had an expereince with ovewatch in that it is filled with all kinds of nasty behaviours. There were about 6 categories to report bad behaviour. Then you could also have free form text box to provide additonal details. Now free-form text you can't automatically process that easily.

The reporting felt important so it pushed me to fight some of the inconvenience of speeding paperwork time on other's behavoiural crimes. However the effort coming up stuff to fill on the textbox was kind of offputting. I ended up figuring out a way of "what is really objectionable about my experience?". This made it so that in next bad experiences I could identify similar bad experiences with less thoughtwork.

Thus it became routine to write things like "Diagnosing others with mental issues (moron)" and "Diagnosing others with mental issues (autism)". (And it leads to thinking whether "Diagnosing others with mental issues (idiot)" is a good thing to complain about (it isn't it's not diagnosing)). Abstractring them down to the objectionable part made me lose sight of the details which made them more directly comparable with each other. So the reports became really tag like and thinking about what the tags were made me think were the line of objectionability lies. If someone loses and is angry about it that is not objectionable. If someone bashes others and calls them bad names the motivation can be understandble but it is objectionable.

The system might have been designed more that it more relies on just adding up counts on the 6 fixed categories. And I seen a streamer file report where the textbox was just "fuck you" which speaks to players knowing the textboxes matter very little and that reporting is often done to express or play out anger. The lack of detail lost on the altar of automation has a significant cost. You could improve automation that it can handle more complex signals. Or you could evaluate that the social harm is great enough that more manual components are required. If such interactions were done face to face displaying any behavoiur that would be analogous would be very child like ot the range of 6 to 8 year olds and people would be directed to be more expressive and more constrcutive about conflict resolution. But online we are building places where that kind of culture is incentives or supported. Imagine what woud be the effects if in face to face communiation there was only 1 hostile communication available (no angry faces, or thumbs down or threatening voice or middle finger, just boiling it down to a a middle finger)

comment by Slider · 2019-08-30T22:36:09.113Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

How about when the incentives of the populus are as misaligned as would-be-moderators?

comment by Viliam · 2019-08-31T12:00:12.890Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's what always happens, I guess.

The thing is that all solutions are bad, but leaving the problem (of spam etc.) unaddressed is even worse than the usual solutions.

Sometimes small websites avoid this, when they are unknown enough that they don't attract any spammer or any crazy person, and unimportant enough that people who don't like the content simply leave. But if they get more popular, it's only a question of when.

Imagine that your user base is: 50% Greens, 30% Blues, 10% crazy people, and 10% spammers. If you leave the site unmoderated, crazy people and spammers will make it unpleasant for everyone else. If you have a voting system, Greens will eliminate the Blues. If you have moderators, you must choose carefully, because a majority of Greens or Blues among the moderators will eliminate the other side; and of course having the same number of Green and Blue moderators would be unfair, because then the Blues are overrepresented compared to the user base. (Also, this would incentivize the 0.01% Purples to demand equal representation among moderators, too. And if you grant it, then either Greens or Blues, by making a coalition with Purples, can eliminate the other side.) You can't win.

comment by Slider · 2019-08-31T15:31:57.035Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sometime the solutions are bad enough that it's not worth having the problem in the first place. If there is no way to input user generated content then you can't spam. However websites are kind of expected to have these sorts of functions even when their core mission doesn't revolve around it.

There is also the issue that some of the costs for solutions are private costs beared by the website but having social slant and pressures on the content has a downside that is more beared by the public for a possible eroding of discussion or culture quality. And if every individual website is incentivies to be open to mobs instead of closed to them that enpowers mobs and can make cross-site movements. At some point cross-site culture will be stronger than site spesifc one where even if you try to establish a particular website to be for certain types of users / needs they will be swamped by a bigger existing community that will forfcefully install their norms.

The example voting system whether Greens eliminate Blues depends on the voting mechanisms. But I guess it is a general feature that some content will be hidden/downplayed. The arguments mechanics are plausible if it is a majority first-past-the-post. I think there are power balancing mechanism that get a lot more close to proportionality. The mechanic also requires that the sides are interested in destroying content associated with other parties. You could have a system where there is only finite influence power that is shared among promotion and supression. If all players suppress all content generated by others then they could not promote their own stuff but if everybody promoted their own stuff they would use lower amount of the resource the point would be to make it dominant to promote your stuff rather than attack others. Then on the balance losing factions are not erased even if they have "unfairly low" visiblity. The thing would be that spam would be supressed unilaterally. Even if you don't make the emphasis power finite treating unilaterally promoted stuff comparatelivy same than content that is promoted by some groups and supressed by others could reach a different balance. That is if you have 10 moderators and you need 3 to vote "supress" and no-one vote "promote" to have it not visible then any "controversial" content would probably get throguh.

And even if we keep voting around the users are unlikely to carefully scrutines the voting mechanics. That is even if they are clearly biased that biased would survival for a very long time until anybody would try to balance that bias.

comment by Viliam · 2019-08-31T17:05:20.484Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)
If there is no way to input user generated content then you can't spam.

Yep. If I ever have a meaningful web page, there will be no user comments, because it seems like there is no good solution.

I think there are power balancing mechanism that get a lot more close to proportionality.

I am afraid that online even this wouldn't work. First, people can make multiple accounts. (The infamous guy on LW 1.0 made several hundreds of them.) Second, I feel that participating in online debates already selects for a worse parts of humanity, simply because some people have better things to do and some don't.

I prefer the archipelago model of internet. Rationalist websites for rationalists, homeopathic websites for homeopaths; rather than having all of them in the same place fighting each other. But goes against the incentives of the big websites, who want to be for everyone, because that allows them to display advertising to everyone.

On the other hand, creating "reality bubbles" (because, let's admit it honestly, this is what the archipelago model means) also has its own problems.

comment by Slider · 2019-08-31T20:07:54.954Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

One of the issues is that you will struggle to be meaningful if more attractive webpages manage to be attractive because they allow for self-expression or because so many other users are using or viewing them. Part of tyhe problem can be that if you read a news paper you get nicely editorialised content but if you get your news on reddit you can have fun fights in the comments so people will pass on "boring" newspaper because they can't fullfill their expectation of engagement.

comment by Slider · 2019-08-14T14:01:36.032Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Magic colors and errors

Reading Writers guild policy doc there was a principle of "the vase is already broken". The whole document is a lot how you make a red organization and most of the princples are anti-white.

The principle makes sense but I found it be foregin to my culture. Things are made to be replaced. And if something is done wrong today we will try to do right the next day.

In contrast the blue way is much more familiar with me. Accept only true things, set up things for perpetuity. In the contrast I noticed that the blue thing is focused on avoiding to making mistakes. You slow down enough that everything can be verified. In the red way you speed up so things can be corrected.

In blue if you make a mistake you will build a machine that will do damage for to the forseeable future. In contrast in red if you feel the wrong way today you will not be inspired to feel so tomorrow and the energy will whimper. "Energy denial" seemed like a new perpective that I hadn't considered.

Other colors probably also have ways to treat errors. Green probably adapts, there are no "mistakes" only "happy little accidents". Oxygen catastrophe is not armageddon but new conditions to build upon. Never say "no" but always "yes and" and just keep the harmony in front of your mind, keep the scene going.

Black is proably ready to backstab their friends to death should they turn on them. It's not about what damage the mistake does but whether it proves your character whether you are safe to keep around. On the flip side having good enough goals means arbirarily bad means can be swallowed.

White probably does courts and maybe a balance of rights: even if we set a monumentally bad law it will need to resolve itself against other core principles. A bad nomination is limited by the powers of the position being limited.

comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2019-08-14T19:17:29.493Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Interesting. Do you have a link to the document that sparked this thought?

comment by Slider · 2019-08-15T19:07:40.770Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It was linked in a lesswrong norm thread. Couldn't relocate it easily as I don't remember which thread it was on.

comment by Slider · 2019-08-20T19:27:46.180Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

More on green errors, I think they do exists. There is a difference between an invasive species and a predator. Green probably allows for predators easier than white or black that would call them murderes. But being disruptive to the harmony is an actual violation green registers.

Imagine you have a snake problem in your houses yard. You could get angry and kill every snake you see (haphazard, random and laboursome the red way to address it). You could poison your yard (but then your flowers might die or your food supply gets fouled, the black way). For wheel completeness sake, wall (white way) or scarecrow (blue way). Or you could introduce a predator species that eats snakes (the green way). Even if the effect is to diminish a component you address it by constructing more components (add species). And likely when the problem is "solved" the predator and prey are in balance and in a way the snakes existence functions as a foundation for the foodchain for the predator.

The hard thing about green as it is the anti-color of the agent color black it doesn't engage in problem solving. Nature by itself is a defenceless victim. People who care about nature and are naturalistic are a bit different thing. In making a choice what "harmony" you are defending you are probably injecting somewhat of a agentic subjective choice.