Group rationality diary, 5/21/12

post by cata · 2012-05-22T02:21:34.704Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 62 comments

Previously: 5/14/12 (and explanation)

This is the public group instrumental rationality diary for the week of May 21st.  It's a place to record and chat about it if you have done, or are actively doing, things like:

Or anything else interesting which you want to share, so that other people can think about it, and perhaps be inspired to take action themselves.  Try to include enough details so that everyone can use each other's experiences to learn about what tends to work out, and what doesn't tend to work out.

Thanks to everyone who contributes!


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-05-22T18:19:41.536Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Over the last week:

Been practicing being much more open and sympathetic with people (especially wife) about emotions. Has had some big gains.

Wife has been using personal TDT on everything and has become much more effective at excercises, food habits, and sequence reading.

Used the "I am a rationalist, I can do X and nothing bad will happen." thought pattern to motivate myself to try things that I was previously averse to. (mostly gross and/or sexy things)

Been climbing trees at all opportunities (who knew there were so many opportunities for so much fun).

Been practicing being generally excited and high-energy about life. (yeeehaw! high fives all around!)

Dabbled in various day-planning and productivity techniques. Mild gains. Limiting factor seems to be attention span.

Rewarding self for noticing and siezing opportunities to be socially or otherwise courageous.

Being Specific. Holy crap! Once you start noticing this, it is everywhere. Still not super good at automatically being specific, but I'm quite good at noticing unspecific things now.

Had some unfortunate emotional instability over last few days. Was very depressed and useless yesterday. I don't like being depressed. Also some useless rage. Didn't break anything or blow up, but can't do much else when mad. (EDIT: realizing how poor internet text is for conveying emotion. I feel like having a big lesswrong internet hug, but it is hard to communicate this.)

Now if only I can make myself actually work...

Replies from: Mercurial, Dorikka, TheOtherDave, zntneo
comment by Mercurial · 2012-05-24T18:57:24.907Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Being Specific. Holy crap! Once you start noticing this, it is everywhere. Still not super good at automatically being specific, but I'm quite good at noticing unspecific things now.

Such as...?

(Sorry, it just begged to be said, and no one else took the bait!)

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-05-25T16:39:26.027Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

(Surprised it took so long, actually.)

Such as...?

Last weekend, I was arguing with family members about the merits of rationality and decision theory. My uncle kept saying things that were painfully vague and didn't give me any mental images of what he was saying. I kept telling him to be more specific. I don't actually remember what was said (probably because it was so vague).

I do remember the things my dad said, because he was good at being specific. His objection to decision theory was that it wouldn't "[take] the road less travelled, and [thereby get] all the difference" (vivid example, quoted from poetry. +5 points, dad). Another example was Shackleton's antarctic expidition, where he quoted the newspaper ad asking for people to join. I was trying to explain that if it was in fact knowably a good idea to take the road less travelled, an expected utility calculation would capture that and make the right choice, and that decision theory was not a descriptive theory of how people would react to shackleton's ad. Then out came the vague philosophical objections that I don't remember. (probably somethign along the lines of outcome trees and numbers not being able to capture some mysterious essence)

So ironically, the only things I can remember are the things that were not painfully vague. I remember saying be specific a lot tho. Sorry.

comment by Dorikka · 2012-05-22T21:25:33.257Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-05-22T18:22:14.375Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Being Specific. Holy crap! Once you start noticing this, it is everywhere.

I'm enjoying this sentence enormously. Thank you.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-05-22T18:26:51.992Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Care to explain?

Replies from: TheOtherDave
comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-05-22T18:48:25.958Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nothing deep, just that the sentiment that opportunities to be specific are, in general, everywhere entertained me. It has a sort of superficial pattern-matching to self-contradiction that I enjoy.

comment by zntneo · 2012-05-26T03:34:14.684Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Do you notice yourself ever wanting to scream at people to be specific? Also, screaming at people on the Tv to be more specifi happens a lot. I wont even mention listening to politicians......

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-05-26T04:15:51.277Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ha ha. Not really. It's more like "ugh, unspecific".


... this is the 21st century, right?

also, internet fist-bump for a fellow minicamper.

comment by Tripitaka · 2012-05-24T02:53:05.490Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have overcome my crippling social fear/anxiety enough for having precommitted to an intense social experience: a 5-day tree-climbing-camp. I want to use the time to experiment with me feeling comfortable being around strangers, making friends and generally earning lots of positive social reinforcements and as less as possible negative reinforcements.

Replies from: John_Maxwell_IV
comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2012-05-24T03:26:58.505Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

[insert positive social reinforcer here]!

comment by CalmNearEnd · 2012-05-23T08:53:45.661Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I just got a new job and my boss is really terrible at Being Specific. At first I wasn't worried because I figured I would just force him to Be Specific by asking precise questions. I felt like my questions were awesome but I still wasn't getting the information I needed out of him and I couldn't figure out why.

I was super excited when I figured it out: he was interrupting me in the middle of my questions and giving an answer to a question he was imagining. I tried talking through him and finishing my question when he interrupted me and it worked. He answered my actual question. So I now have a tactic to elicit the information I need from him. I've only tried it the once so far and I'm curious to see if this will work in the future or if he'll catch on and let me finish my questions.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-05-23T21:31:08.592Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Neat, but seems nonoptimal to have to talk over people. Can you perhaps restructure your questions to not make any sense until the precise part is delivered?

Like "Can you tell me any good stores around here - that sell cars - specifically red ones?" could be transformed to "I am looking for a red car. Are there any good stores around here for that?"

I'll try out your technique next time I have that problem.

comment by sixes_and_sevens · 2012-05-24T12:56:45.634Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have recently been trying to mediate my motivation and emotional states using film and television.

I've been watching hardly any TV at all over the past 18 months. I have other things to do, most of what's available isn't very appealing, and anything that does appeal would involve a significant future investment of my time. I do wonder if I'm missing a trick, though.

Fairly recently I noticed that when I do watch television, it has a significant impact on my motivation to do things. If I watch something filled with fit athletic bodies doing fit athletic things, I feel considerably more motivated to go outside and get some exercise. If I watch something filled with smart people doing smart things, I feel more motivated to sit down and study. At the moment, exercise and study are my two biggest akrasia-blocked activities, so significant gains in this regard would be extremely useful.

There are, unfortunately, no television shows to my knowledge about chronicling one's motivation and leisure activities in a quantifiably tractable manner, so I'm not really motivated to do that. Any assessments I make will be purely anecdotal in nature.

Replies from: Brigid, erratio
comment by Brigid · 2012-05-25T01:53:43.148Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have noticed the same thing about television, in particular with certain programs motivating me to go exercise.

I also noticed, however, that I had to be careful about when I watched TV, because the effect was so strong. Watching The Biggest Loser or youtube Crossfit videos (highly recommended) would get me so excited to workout that it started affecting my bedtime--namely that I wouldn't be able to go to sleep because I was so excited.

I found that I need to watch those programs at least three hours prior to my bedtime in order to be able to fall asleep. The end result is that I now only watch them on weekends or my lunch break.

Replies from: sixes_and_sevens
comment by sixes_and_sevens · 2012-05-25T09:01:21.442Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As luck would have it, I've also drastically cut down my caffeine intake recently, with the curious side-effect of giving me insomnia. I'm planning on taking up after-midnight jogging.

comment by erratio · 2012-05-24T14:33:56.621Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Maybe there are some TED talks or videos made by Quantified Self types on Youtube about that.

Replies from: sixes_and_sevens
comment by sixes_and_sevens · 2012-05-24T17:08:46.251Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That was kind of a joke. the main reason I'm not going to chronicle my motivations and leisure activities in a quantitative way is because I don't actually want to.

comment by cata · 2012-05-22T02:27:29.760Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm going down the path of gwern and ordered some Modafinil and empty capsules to do blind tests on myself -- those should arrive this week. I'll probably try the same with other popular nootropics afterwards.

Also, this week I'm going to spend 6+ hours learning to draw, working off Raemon's drawing posts and Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. If it's true that I can become a passable sketch artist in the span of a few dozen hours of practice, I have no excuse not to -- that would be a skill that would be really fun and also somewhat useful to me as a programmer. So I'm working on that during the evenings this week.

Replies from: cata, MinibearRex
comment by cata · 2012-05-25T05:37:01.901Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Holy crap, drawing is hard. Six hours is a lot! One hour makes me tired of looking at things!

I thought drawing would be relaxing but it's basically the opposite of relaxing (maybe just since I'm no good yet.)

comment by MinibearRex · 2012-05-22T04:52:42.785Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

that would be a skill that would be really fun and also somewhat useful to me as a programmer.

Do you expect it to help you program better, or are you referring to something else?

Replies from: cata
comment by cata · 2012-05-22T08:11:27.887Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

No, I mean specifically that it's very hard for me to figure out how to design a visual interface (although I usually have enough taste to know a good design when I see one.) It feels like the best I can do is just try a bazillion layouts and weights and colors until I find something that happens to look good. I suspect that if I could sketch out designs competently it would help me both imagine things more clearly and mock them up, so I can arrive at something passable quicker.

comment by Brigid · 2012-05-25T02:42:24.731Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Long post--my apologies.


I have been trying for a while now to follow the paleo (or caveman) diet. I think the argument for the diet seems legitimate enough (or, I should say, I am not smart enough in those areas to disprove their argument). Additionally, there seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence in favor of the diet, especially from people with auto-immune diseases, which I have. So for those two reasons, I have been trying to make it a permanent lifestyle change; what ends up happening is that I struggle through one week and rebound into massive cheating.

The Problem:

The problem that I have run in to—which I think is fairly common—is the diet is extremely difficult to maintain if you work a lot or don’t want to devote the majority of your free time to cooking. It takes a LOT of time to cook all your food from scratch. The paleo diet is: no grains, no dairy, no legumes, no sugar, nothing artificially made or with artificial ingredients, no potatoes, no peanuts, and very low added salt.

You are mostly supposed to eat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and vegetables, with occasional nuts, fruits, and starchy vegetables like yams. These foods spoil easily, and require a decent amount of time to prepare, especially when you compare them with the typical American diet. So the problems I have run into are (1) it is a difficult lifestyle to maintain due to the time it takes to cook everything (2) the foods perish easily and I am stuck going to the supermarket 2+ times a week.

My Solution:

Change1: Optimize my cooking regimen by standardizing it. I now eat the exact same thing for breakfast and the exact same thing for lunch and dinner every day. At some point I expect this to get boring, but so far the results have been good.

This has the result of: -Food preparation time is shortened. I am no longer trying out new foods or recipes, which is a time waster.
-I purposely eat the same thing for lunch and dinner, thus I only have to cook one meal instead of two. -I cook said lunch and dinner for the next day while I am eating my dinner. -I purposely selected foods which do not require much attention to make, thus I can eat my dinner while I cook the next days food. I have been eating frozen organic stir fry vegetables and chicken cooked in coconut oil. I supplement it with a salad which takes about 1 minute to make if you buy your veggies cut up.

Change 2: After asking a clerk, I found out that all grocery stores (or at least the ones in Hawaii) get a resupply of foods on Tuesdays. So if you buy your foods on Sunday, like I was doing previously, you are getting vegetables and meat which are 5 days older than if you buy foods on Tuesdays. I have started grocery shopping on Tuesdays, which I expect to limit my grocery shopping trips to one time per week.

Change 3: Since food preparation is a time suck, I wash all the fruits and vegetables immediately upon returning from the store. I have not timed it, but it does appear that washing all the produce in one batch is faster than washing it in 7-21 separate batches. I also started packaging snacks in baggies directly after washing them, so I don’t have to spend time each night making snacks for work.

At this point (day 3 of strict diet) no health changes have occurred. Advocates say the health changes take 2-4 weeks to be noticeable.

Replies from: falenas108, RichardKennaway
comment by falenas108 · 2012-06-05T05:33:15.023Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would recommend against eating the same foods for all 3 meals. Different foods have different nutrients, and you need them in different amounts. I would suggest having a set of meals that you cycle between instead.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2012-05-26T19:07:02.637Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'll be interested to see the eventual result.

BTW, why yams and not potatoes? As far as I can see from Wikipedia, potatoes and yams (and sweet potatoes and oxalis tuberosa, also called yams) are pretty much interchangeable from the point of view of preparation and nutrition.

Replies from: Vaniver
comment by Vaniver · 2012-05-30T02:11:39.322Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have heard from a number of places that sweet potatoes are healthier than normal potatoes, and I find them much tastier, but don't remember many of the details besides them being rich in beta-carotene. (I find sweet potatoes pleasant raw, whereas normal potatoes are much less so.)

comment by Maelin · 2012-05-22T05:05:30.411Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A couple of months ago I tried a modafinil tablet when I had to do one of the many assignments I have for my current course (studying to be a high school maths/science/IT teacher). I have developed huge, unbearable ugh fields with the assignments for this course because they require me to write lots and lots of bullshit, which I am quite good at but despise doing.

Anyway, at the advice of another LW member I made a to-do list before I took the modafinil, and I found that I powered through the assignment without even feeling like a break. It took longer than expected (as usual) and I didn't end up accomplishing anything else on the list, but I found I felt really positive and switched-on the whole time. I didn't use modafinil again for a while.

So the other day, after a friend cajoled me for not experimenting again, I tried it out once more for a different context - this time playing a board game (Small World) at a friend's place. I was curious to see if it would have any effects in a social context. Unfortunately this time I didn't really notice any change at all, and afterwards I asked a couple of friends if I'd seemed different in any way and they hadn't noticed anything either.

So I'm now thinking about trying some testing. I've debated buying a capsuling machine and making some placebo capsules but it seems like grinding and capsuling would be a lot of effort; someone suggested I could just just encase the pills in peanut butter or nutella or similar and swallow them that way. I have two housemates who could easily help me set up a double blind test.

Any advice?

Replies from: John_Maxwell_IV, cata, shokwave, gwern, erratio
comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2012-05-22T21:22:42.074Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I strongly advise against using modafinil casually. I advise conditioning yourself to work hard when you are energetic. Don't get in the habit of being energetic and not getting things done.

If you're going to be experimenting with placebos, I would suggest pre-committing to work hard after taking a capsule regardless of the apparent contents. Then you can examine the differential impact of modafinil versus just pre-committing to work hard for X hours. (I also recommend deciding on a break scheme for your X hours in advance. For example, take a ~10 min. walk/internet browse every 50 min., or have a certain number of timed breaks you can spend at your discretion. This sort of stuff has worked really well for me in the past.)

Replies from: cata
comment by cata · 2012-05-22T22:39:18.471Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for this, the committing to work hard sounds like really good advice. I'll do this too.

comment by cata · 2012-05-22T08:20:18.080Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm going with the capsuling and placebo capsules. It seems like twenty minutes to prepare a few handfuls of capsules is a very small investment of effort to do this sort of test. (Although peanut butter sounds like a good idea too.) I've also never prepared capsules of anything before, so I get to do something new as a bonus.

comment by shokwave · 2012-05-29T05:30:49.338Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

(Background: I'm that friend)

Something that has proven successful for two people you and I know (Yuri, Ben) that might be helpful is making the to-do list, putting "today's tablet" somewhere prominent, and then saying "I will only take the tablet if I can't be otherwise productive." This seems to produce productivity more reliably for them, than modafinil does for me.

comment by gwern · 2012-05-22T16:24:31.794Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

grinding and capsuling would be a lot of effort

Modafinil pills are always pretty small. They would fit in 00 pills without a problem - you would, in fact, need filler (like flour) to avoid any sort of rattling or movement or crumpling.

comment by erratio · 2012-05-22T15:24:09.334Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've used the nutella/peanut butter method for regular pills, and it's good for hiding the taste/texture of the pills but much less good for hiding their shape, especially if the pill is large. There's also a non-zero amount of practice required to make sure that it's completely encased, that you don't accidentally expose it while swallowing, and so forth. I'd suggest practicing with vitamins/placebos first for a bit before you move on to the test.

comment by daenerys · 2012-05-24T23:39:34.213Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I downloaded a strict pomodoro on my computer, and have used it for work. It blocks a list of sites, while it is running for the 25 minute work time. The downside is that it doesn't automatically go back into work mode after the 5 minute break, so I often end up stretching them a bit.

We started using the mini-camp material at our local LW meetups, starting with the class on discovering aversions, and finding ways to combat them. Everyone REALLY enjoyed it, and definitely wants to do more. This was awesome for me, since I really wanted activities to do with the meetup group that wasn't gaming or discussions.

I've got my social pressure work partner starting in a relatively regular schedule, but that can definitely still use work.

I've failed at getting my sleep schedule normalized, and in fact it has been amazingly bad this week. I will now utilize social pressure by stating here that when I write in next week's Rationality Diary that I will have made significant improvement in this area, and will have gone to bed later than 1:30 am only one day in the following week. If I fail to do so, you can downvote me, and send stern and disapproving glares in my general direction. (I will hopefully remember to mention that you should downvote me in my comment, but if not, feel free to bring it up.)

Replies from: cata, blob
comment by cata · 2012-05-25T07:40:16.377Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Upvote for reminding me to sort out my sleep schedule myself.

comment by blob · 2012-05-30T05:10:26.117Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is the mini-camp material available publicly somewhere? It may be interesting to have for other meetups but I couldn't find it in a quick search.

Replies from: matt
comment by matt · 2012-10-05T01:43:00.310Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

All of the materials from the July minicamp are available at … for those with access to that private repository. The modules are all in Markdown format and the project includes build scripts that make HTML and PDF "books" that select some or all of the material. The formatting needs some work, and the project needs an owner.

I think the CfAR brass are happy that I give access to Alumni of past minicamps, but I'll need to confirm that before I add anyone. If you're interested in having access to the materials, please contact me with your github username and I'll seek permission to give you access.

Rationale: Github and Markdown is geekier than a wiki would be, but many of us are geeks, and having a build script to generate actually usable materials makes it easier to treat this repository as a master, rather than having available the shortcut of just using the MS Word document you used last time and you'll come back and update the repo as soon as you have time and ohh, look at that shiny thing over there… … ooo! Other shiny thing… (repo not updated, master materials scattered across many hard drives and not available to meetups).

Practical reality so far: I think CfAR instructors have made further modifications to their old sources for the materials and since August no-one but Trike employees have made any contributions to the repo.

I think this can work if someone drives it, and Trike is available to help where we can.

(cross posted to the meetup organisers Google group)

comment by XFrequentist · 2012-05-24T15:19:41.210Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I moved my daily vitamins to somewhere where I cannot fail to notice them in the morning, an embarrassingly simple tweak that has increased my adherence from 50% to 100%.

I've also added vitamin B1 to my daily routine following Kevin's advice, but have no idea whether it's working (the purported benefit is increased mental clarity). A N of 1 trial seems called for.

I've arranged for some modafinil to come my way, and am planning to do a simple experiment on its effectiveness (heeding this comment).

I've been putting off using pomodoro at work, despite being reasonably convinced that it would work (and having some urgent stuff due that affects me directly). I'm not sure why, so I think a thought experiment might be called for.

I've been trying to be more open and appreciative, and several friends have remarked that I've been particularly fun lately.

Replies from: Cyan
comment by Cyan · 2012-05-24T16:15:20.012Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've been particularly fun lately.

It's true!

comment by Mercurial · 2012-05-24T19:15:11.700Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Continuing from here, I've found the self-modification stuff Critch talked about to be an absolutely amazing tool. I now find myself wanting to take every spare few minutes to work on my dissertation, which is quite novel. It felt just like tedium before. I've also found my applications of CBT to be fantastically more effective because (a) rewarding myself for noticing distorted thoughts makes it a lot easier to notice them later (especially with TDT supplementation) and (b) rewarding small improvements from a rational response had made the rational responses vastly better at causing emotional improvement. I've also been rewarding self-change to make that more automatic, though I have as yet to determine if that's too meta to actually work.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-05-22T02:58:50.081Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Today wasn't something new, but was an example of a skill I've been working on developing: Use the Try Harder, Luke. I had told myself I would work on research for at least two hours today, and by the first 30 minutes discovered a significant problem with the method I was investigating. Typically I would shunt it to subconscious and do something else for a few hours, but because I was on the clock (using pomodairo to track time and regulate breaks) I took a drink, looked at the problem for a few minutes, and then tried another approach. (That one didn't work either, but figuring out why it didn't work gave me some valuable insight into the problem.) I ended up putting about four and half hours of concentrated work in, which is a lot for a day I had originally allocated as a Diablo III vacation :P

[Edit] On rereading this post, I wonder if this was a missed opportunity to try out some emotional engineering. I don't think I checked whether or not I was seeking, and if I wasn't it might have been worthwhile to try and cultivate that emotion- but that might have been procrastination rather than trying harder. I think I'll make a note to think about that during break periods.

comment by Michelle_Z · 2012-05-23T04:33:42.647Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I really tried hard at being friendly and positive, and may have gotten a job out of doing so! (I will know in a week.)

I failed to start teaching myself Italian. I meant to start Sunday, but end up reading junk instead. I also planned on painting, and never got around to doing that, either. I'm mainly posting that here to make me do it when I wake up tomorrow. It's not the actual doing of the work that I dread, it's figuring out where to start.

Replies from: Grognor, Michelle_Z
comment by Grognor · 2012-05-23T20:56:14.125Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Your comment reminds me of how the only way I managed to motivate myself into getting a job was to become homeless

comment by Michelle_Z · 2012-05-25T17:10:57.626Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Update: I did get around to drawing (about 1/6th done a rather large painting), and was reminded that I probably ought to just work on painting people instead of giant time-sinking scenes.

I still have not gotten around to Italian. I discovered that my CDs and lesson book have vanished sometime in the last 9 months of disuse (any free sites out there with good programs?) and I need to find it before I can actually do anything.

comment by Danny_Hintze · 2012-05-22T02:39:13.098Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm working to be able to do a full lotus meditation pose. I have some weird stuff with the way my hips work and am generally inflexible, so this is not trivial for me. There is a certain stretch that several sources online say will allow me to do it if I stick to doing it for 5-6 weeks every day. The problem is that holding the pose isn't easy, and I've tried in the past and been unable to reliably stick to it. I've been using personal TDT in order to get myself to do it every day, even when tired and ready to go to sleep. So far this has worked wonderfully. I'm also realizing that keeping a streak has its own very strong motivational value for some reason. I'm not sure whether this is particular to me or not. Additionally, I've been trying to use as much positive reinforcement as possible. I don't think that has been quite as successful though. I'm going to focus on finding ways to remedy this.

Replies from: shokwave
comment by shokwave · 2012-05-22T03:36:08.524Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm also realizing that keeping a streak has its own very strong motivational value for some reason. I'm not sure whether this is particular to me or not.

This concept is usually credited to Jerry Seinfeld, as a method of taking full advantage of the streak's motivating power.

comment by RobertLumley · 2012-05-22T13:30:08.088Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Meta: Do we need one of these every week? Even the Open Thread doesn't recur that frequently.

Replies from: RobertLumley, RobertLumley, None, RobertLumley, Michelle_Z, RobertLumley
comment by RobertLumley · 2012-05-22T13:30:20.941Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would like a Diary thread every week.

comment by RobertLumley · 2012-05-22T13:30:30.245Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would like a Diary thread every other week.

Replies from: Viliam_Bur
comment by Viliam_Bur · 2012-05-25T15:38:16.420Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not the same week as the Open Thread, but somewhere between that.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-05-23T21:33:56.618Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The results of this poll seem odd. Perhaps we should have some more options at the obviously favoured end of the scale?

"I would like a Diary thread twice a week".

Don't vote for this post as a poll, this is a meta-meta-comment.

Replies from: cata, Grognor
comment by cata · 2012-05-25T05:38:43.021Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, I don't know what to make of this poll. My best guess is that only people who like the post bothered to read this far into the comments, so most everyone who bothered to vote is in favor of it. (Also, I wish there was a "This really doesn't warrant a regular thread at all" option.)

My current intent is to keep posting them weekly until & unless two in a row get less than twenty comments, or until they end up getting negative or zero karma -- those seem like good indicators -- at which point I'll try bi-weekly.

comment by Grognor · 2012-05-24T02:15:45.191Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd say more than odd; I'd say fishy. No votes for less of these threads at all? This is the most imbalanced poll ever conducted on this site! That smells fishy to me!

Replies from: Viliam_Bur, RobertLumley
comment by Viliam_Bur · 2012-05-25T15:39:09.480Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Exposure bias -- people who don't like Diary, did not read this article, and did not participate in the poll.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-05-25T16:05:19.281Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

people who don't like Diary, did not read this article,

Problem solved?

comment by RobertLumley · 2012-05-24T02:19:45.767Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was quite surprised as well. My personal vote would be for once a month. But I'm not very quick to call foul.

comment by RobertLumley · 2012-05-22T13:30:38.014Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would like a Diary thread once a month.

comment by Michelle_Z · 2012-05-25T17:12:45.369Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Once a week might be nice.

comment by RobertLumley · 2012-05-22T13:30:42.376Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Karma Sink.

comment by ameriver · 2012-05-24T23:51:09.439Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've been getting up at 7:30 every day and exercising since I got back, which is essentially unheard of for me. It's very exciting.

Unfortunately, there is a lot non-rationality related stuff that needs to be done in the next three weeks, so I've had very little time to synthesize and go through the rest of it. I'm hoping that in a month when things are less crazy I'll be able to commit half an hour a day as was suggested, but am worried that by then momentum will be lost. Any suggestions?

Replies from: ghf
comment by ghf · 2012-05-25T07:45:15.252Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Rather than thinking of it as spending 30 minutes a day on rationality when you should be doing other things, it might be more accurate to think of it as 30 minutes a day spent optimizing the other 23.5 hours. At least in my experience, taking that time yields far greater total productivity than when I claim to be too busy.

comment by juliawise · 2012-05-23T13:19:54.049Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

After years of planning to practice our Spanish and barely doing so, my husband and I are in Ecuador for a few weeks taking Spanish lessons. One-on-one conversation is way better than books or group classes, and the fact that we pay for regularly scheduled sessions means we actually spend 4 hours a day at it. Other than the money spent, it's entirely painless (unlike practicing at home, which felt like a chore).

The going to another country part isn't really necessary. I'm sure there are similar services at home, but this way we combine vacation with gaining a useful skill.