Open thread, Oct. 5 - Oct. 11, 2015

post by MrMind · 2015-10-05T06:50:59.444Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 348 comments

If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.


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348 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-06T14:35:05.058Z · score: 34 (46 votes) · LW · GW

I have banned advancedatheist. While he's been tiresome, I find that I have more tolerance for nastiness than some, but this recent comment was the last straw. I've found that I can tolerate bigotry a lot better than I can tolerate bigoted policy proposals, and that comment was altogether too close to suggesting that women should be distributed to men they don't want sex with.

comment by entirelyuseless · 2015-10-06T15:01:41.104Z · score: 19 (23 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with the banning, given the fact that he was basically constantly commenting on the same issue, and one which is not particularly relevant to Less Wrong. But I disagree with this reason. Basically I think banning someone for the content of their proposals or implied proposals should be limited to the kind of the thing which might be banned by law (basically imminent threat of harm.)

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-06T17:51:28.610Z · score: 8 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Basically I think banning someone for the content of their proposals or implied proposals should be limited to the kind of the thing which might be banned by law (basically imminent threat of harm.)

LW self regulates the content of proposals via karma voting. In advancedatheist the communities desires were quite clearly expressed via karma votes and he still continued to bring up the topic.

Those post significantly reduce the likelihood that woman who read LW want to contribute. When the community karma votes that it doesn't want posts like this a user should accept that.

comment by entirelyuseless · 2015-10-06T18:05:02.491Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, that's why I said I agreed with the banning.

comment by bogus · 2015-10-06T18:26:49.634Z · score: 15 (17 votes) · LW · GW

I also think that this sets a very murky precedent. I don't disagree at all with banning AA if it turns out he has abused voting privileges, but so far there's no hard evidence that he did. Putting that aside for now, all we're left with is a block being based on whether some individual moderator "can tolerate" some controversial comment (meaning that it attracts both downvotes and upvotes, as far as the LW userbase is concerned). This strikes me as careless.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-06T19:23:02.467Z · score: 13 (17 votes) · LW · GW

I sympathize with your point of view, but I find it difficult to come up with rules. I don't know if this is enough, but I think the fact that I'm pretty tolerant about content (spam doesn't count as content) means people aren't at high risk of me losing my temper with them.

I'm not convinced I'm obligated to take my system 1 completely off-line when I'm dealing with ideas that are inimical to my interests.

For what it's worth, I have a long history at LW with a high karma score (typically 92% positive), I was offered the job of moderator rather than asking for it, and when I announced that I had become moderator, I got a lot of upvotes. I think these facts are evidence that I have a pretty good sense of the community.

Have a rule-- I detest it (though not to the point of banning people) when someone mentions something they saw online and doesn't offer a link, or at least apologize for not having one.

comment by Tem42 · 2015-10-13T23:57:53.995Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

It sounds like we had an effective if unstated rule: "When someone does a bunch of stuff wrong, get rid of them."

AA checked four boxes:

  • Doesn't listen to feedback
  • Doesn't make strong arguments
  • Repeatedly posts on topics not of particular interest to LW
  • Posts things that are likely to be offensive to many

We are missing some rules that might be useful to have, specifically 'what are the boxes' and 'how many do you need to check to get banned'. But quite frankly, looking at those four sins, I would think that any three should be enough to get someone banned. If anything, NancyLebovitz probably waited longer than necessary.

I would also say that making a rule based on only one of those factors would be counterproductive. I think most of us are forgiving (as far as bans go, albeit perhaps not in voting) when a user repeatedly fails on one of those, as long as they are also providing useful content in other posts.

comment by bogus · 2015-10-06T19:53:51.981Z · score: 4 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not convinced I'm obligated to take my system 1 completely off-line when I'm dealing with ideas that are inimical to my interests.

I think, as a general rule, people in a decision-making capacity are best advised to recuse themselves from any choice whenever they feel that their System 1 is interfering. (In your case, I would've waited for some solid evidence on the karma-abuse question. After all, if the upvotes on that comment turned out to be genuine, that would definitely affect my own views.) I am aware that this is not always realistic. But make no mistake here - the thought process that led to this decision will also make LW less, not more trustworthy (however mildly) when dealing with issues that are unusually complex or politically contentious. Masculinity and involuntary celibacy are canaries in the coalmine - our treatment of them is direct evidence of how well we can treat everything else.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-06T20:28:30.745Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

You care about false upvoting a great deal more than I do.

Is it worth mentioning that I was kinder to aa than most of the people who replied to him?

Check out the discussion at SlateStarCodex about banning Steve Johnson, a time-wasting fellow who wasn't quite breaking the rules.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-07T16:05:42.301Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I was kinder to aa than most of the people who replied to him

I really want to hope I can say the same. I sort of took it as my personal mission to respond to every outrageous thing he said, and point out the problems with his politics and his theory of sexuality. As a former member of the online incel community, I thought I was in a better position to empathize with his situation, and could present alternative arguments in a way that he might be more receptive to than standard refutation. But AA never replied directly to me, so I don't know how he took my approach.

comment by bogus · 2015-10-06T21:04:44.709Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Check out the discussion at SlateStarCodex about banning Steve Johnson, a time-wasting fellow who wasn't quite breaking the rules.

SlateStarCodex does not have a karma system, though.On LW, time wasters tend to be downvoted swiftly, so they don't really waste much time anyway. If someone who's broadly considered a "time-waster" is nonetheless upvoted, this tells me that what they're posting is unusually interesting.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-06T21:24:05.360Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

On LW, time wasters tend to be downvoted swiftly, so they don't really waste much time anyway.

In this case AA's post got downvoted swiftly but still wasted a lot of energy.

comment by username2 · 2015-10-06T21:12:20.955Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You can have a voting ring.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-08T10:17:17.686Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

the thought process that led to this decision will also make LW less, not more trustworthy (however mildly) when dealing with issues that are unusually complex or politically contentious

That depends very much on the audience. Some people will trust more others will trust less.

comment by bogus · 2015-10-08T14:59:54.122Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm pretty sure that the latter will outnumber the former quite a bit. Speaking generally, we want social norms that discourage excess political talk (politics is the mindkiller, and gender politics is no exception) but when it does come up, people should be allowed to speak freely if they have something worthwhile to say. Anything else is a recipe for severe bias (via "evaporative cooling" and factionalization).

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-08T15:55:35.133Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

people should be allowed to speak freely if they have something worthwhile to say

Given that the post from him on that topic were constantly downvoted, the community seemed to feel that he didn't have something worthwile to say.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2015-10-07T15:05:29.271Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think, as a general rule, people in a decision-making capacity are best advised to recuse themselves from any choice whenever they feel that their System 1 is interfering.

I think that's a really bad rule in almost any setting, including this one. It amounts to acting as a straw Vulcan.

comment by bogus · 2015-10-07T15:27:17.537Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, System 1 is a complicated beast. In most cases, it helps you reach better and quicker decisions than a Straw Vulcan would, and this is a good thing. But there are some times when you're fairly sure that it cannot be trusted - this is arguably one of these times.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-06T19:51:04.035Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Have a rule-- I detest it (though not to the point of banning people) when someone mentions something they saw online and doesn't offer a link, or at least apologize for not having one.

It's funny, that this triggered up your system I in this case. Offensivness on LW...

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-06T20:21:30.393Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

No, it was the suggestion that women should be given to men they don't want to marry combined with a bad posting history which caused me to ban. I'm also none too fond of suggestions that people should mistrust their own motives from someone who shows no capacity for examining their own motives.

Also note that I said I wouldn't ban for failure to include links. (Or were you joking?)

My system 1 was rather activated. I don't normally flame people, but I had some ideas for flaming aa to a crackly crunch.

comment by bogus · 2015-10-06T21:11:06.040Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I don't normally flame people, but I had some ideas for flaming aa to a crackly crunch.

I would say that flaming is a lot more polite than blocking - at least insofar as "politeness" is actually something ethically worthwhile. But maybe that's just me.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-07T13:50:16.825Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

No, it was the suggestion that women should be given to men they don't want to marry combined with a bad posting history which caused me to ban.

That sounds to me like a system II analysis of the situation.

Not examine one's own motives and not including links is a sign of a kind of intellectual laziness, that alone wouldn't be ground for banning but is in combination with offensive content it has a different quality than carefully crafted posts that communicate offensive content.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-07T14:38:05.999Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If I'm putting it in words, especially for LW, system 2 is going to get involving. However, a proposition of a system of forcing women into sex is something that I take personally because I imagine myself (not in great detail) being mistreated that way. I'm against a military draft, but I don't react the same way to a proposal of a draft for men. Actually, I don't react the same way to a proposal of a military draft for women. This is a personal issue, and trust me, my system one was involved.

(Sidetrack: I liked The Rainbow Cadenza, a science fiction novel in which women are drafted for sex, as a rather clear parallel-to-create-outrage to the military draft for men.)

It wasn't just not examining one's own motives in general, it was pushing opposed people to think the worst of their own motives while not looking at one's own.

comment by Jiro · 2015-10-13T15:27:40.076Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't actually see him as either saying or suggesting that women should be forced into sex. He seems to be saying that women (and all people) should be forced to not have sex outside of marriage, which would then lead to women settling for lower status partners.

Also, in this case the problem with your system 1 is that it affects your conclusions about what he means. He didn't, after all, make the bigoted proposal you decry. Rather, you interpret him as almost making it. It's a lot easier for bias to get in the way when banning someone for what they're almost-saying than when banning someone for what they're actually saying.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-13T17:41:29.058Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Now, at first blush the usual Manospherean reason suggests itself: This proposal unsettles women because they find most men sexually repulsive, even though in monogamous societies where most women have to marry ordinary men and have sexual relationships with their allegedly yucky husbands, they find the experience tolerable and they make a go of it.

It's possible that what he meant was that women shouldn't be allowed to have sex with the men they choose. Instead, they can either be celibate or learn to tolerate sex with men they don't choose. Is this how you interpret what aa said?

comment by Jiro · 2015-10-13T18:55:19.500Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

He wanted to ban sex outside of marriage. Describing that as "can't have sex with the men you choose" is misleading, because it's such a noncentral example of that. It's literally true (if you choose someone outside of marriage, you're not allowed to have sex with him) but the same could be said for banning sex on public busses (if you choose someone on a public bus, you're not allowed to have sex with him).

Furthermore, I find it hard to accept that "ban sex outside of marriage" is such a bigoted policy that anyone who espouses it should not be allowed here. (And it's not even restricted to women--he just thinks the policy would affect women differently than men.)

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-06T19:49:29.316Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Have a rule-- I detest it (though not to the point of banning people) when someone mentions something they saw online and doesn't offer a link, or at least apologize for not having one.

That's a strawman. Nancy said "last straw". It wasn't a single comment that caused the ban.

This community doesn't suffer from being overmoderated. I think it's worthwhile to have a moderator who is in the position to moderate when they think it's necessary to do so.

comment by Viliam · 2015-10-07T10:59:21.673Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Just a few thoughts:

I completely approve the ban. Although next time maybe getting a formal warning first would be better.

Let's not debate what exactly AA meant and what he didn't. He is not here to defend himself.

comment by username2 · 2015-10-06T18:50:35.663Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I think that banning him was good from a consequentialist POV, but bad from deontological POV.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-07T14:41:00.543Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You may have a point. It turns out that at least one person would like to get in touch with aa, and I'm not sure how that's possible.

What's more (and this sounds like karma) I read something by a man who was involuntarily celibate, and discovered that hormone therapy helped. I'd have sworn I saw this on the most recent SlateStarCodex open thread, and now I can't find it. Meanwhile, it would be exactly like the usual human level of competence to treat a physical problem as though it has an emotional cause.

What deontological rule did you have in mind?

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-10-08T08:36:10.354Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It turns out that at least one person would like to get in touch with aa

Try here: https://www.reddit.com/user/advancedatheist

I looked through his comments for a second, and at least on reddit he's talking about incel stuff in the relationship subreddits and cryonics in the transhuman subreddits.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-07T16:19:04.438Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

What deontological rule did you have in mind?

Freedom of Speech seems most obvious.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-07T18:54:09.731Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I was expecting a rule like bans should be preceded by a warning and a chance to reply.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2015-10-07T19:00:57.395Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That's a rule I'd strongly support other than in cases of absolutely unambiguous spamming or clear sockpuppets of banned individuals.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-07T18:55:52.096Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

But a rule like "don't ban people for opinions you disagree with" would also fit the bill, no?

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-08T07:03:38.570Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It would, and I was following it for a while.

comment by Tem42 · 2015-10-14T00:10:01.070Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

That would be a horrible rule -- no one would be able to ban me for my ardent desire to eat babies alive. I mean, unless you have some equally perverted moderators...

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-14T03:53:17.458Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There is a debate like this- about, abortion. And you're right, I don't think that people should be banned for having the position that pro-lifers think of as "pro-killing babies",

comment by Tem42 · 2015-10-16T21:52:41.828Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Okay, so that was a bad example... (?) But the point still stands. If in order to ban someone we have to have a moderator who agrees with the person being banned, then some people will be much harder to ban than others. And we will most likely have to add some sub-optimal choices to the moderator pool, simply because now we are selecting for a factor that we otherwise wouldn't value.

I am surprised that my original comment was down-karma's so much -- if you have useful feedback onthis (especially 'bad point' vs. 'bad expression of point'), please respond or private msg me -- learning is good!

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-17T18:22:28.700Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

And we will most likely have to add some sub-optimal choices to the moderator pool, simply because now we are selecting for a factor that we otherwise wouldn't value.

Ahh, I see what's happening. You're thinking of my suggestion as "Don't ban people who's opinion you disagree with."

But that's not actually what I meant. You're very welcome to disagree with the person you ban - it's just that you shouldn't ban them BECAUSE you find their opinion objectionable.

comment by Tem42 · 2015-10-17T19:42:36.477Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Doesn't that become equivalent to saying that you cannot be banned for saying generally offensive things? It is better than my original interpretation -- people can now be banned for being illogical, unintelligible, repetitive, and even unresponsive, but they still can't be banned for for being intentionally offensive -- whether through extreme positions (women should be forced to have sex) or insults/obscenities. I suppose that you could batch those under illogical?

Edit: I overlooked the obvious case of being able to ban someone for posting multiple low-rep posts -- that should cover the last of my objections. Thank you for explaining!

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-17T20:56:50.094Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

No, if someone is being intentionally offensive in a trolling way, this rule says nothing about it either way. Likewise, it doesn't say anything one way or the other about low rep posts.

However, if someone has a position that you find offensive, but is being reasonable about presenting their opinion and is not just trying to start a flamewar, then that's not sufficient cause for banning under this rule.

comment by Jiro · 2015-10-14T14:22:25.773Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've said things which could be interpreted as wanting to eat babies, at least if you go by Nancy's "altogether too close to saying" standard (I didn't actually say it, but I got close). I really would not want to be banned for such a thing, and I think banning people for such things is poisonous to the discourse here. The example of killing patients for their organs is another one.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-08T09:39:21.824Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

He is free to continue speaking about the subject, just not on LW.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-08T13:36:37.525Z · score: -2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

This is a very non-standard definition of freedom of speech.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-08T14:25:45.916Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

No, it's the standard right of freedom of speech that's enshirned in the constitution.

In general an editor of a newspaper can decide which articles the newspaper is going to publish and a website can decide which posts to publish.

Classically nothing about the idea of freedom of speech compels other people to publish your opinions. Rather the idea is about giving people the choice to publish whatever they want to publish.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-08T15:54:46.065Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

That's just plain not true. There's a long history defining the exact role of the media in relation to free speech, and the conversation does not end at "media can print what it wants."

There's an entire subfield of journalistic ethics about this relation, and how the media has a responsiblity to protect free speech, even WITHIN the media itself , because the media has a role in how ideas get shared. A personal website in this regard is very different then a discussion board, as the latter serves a similar purpose of allowing discourse. As reductio ad absurdem of your definition of free speech, imagine someone in Iran saying "The Iranian people have the right to free speech - just not within the country". Even though it's technically true, it still doesn't say anything about the EFFECT of the restriction of speech on discourse (which is the purpose of free speech in the first place).

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-08T21:46:28.441Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

A personal website in this regard is very different then a discussion board, as the latter serves a similar purpose of allowing discourse.

LW exist for allowing discourse to refine the art of rationality. It's purpose is not that everybody can share whatever is on his mind.

Editorial and moderation choices are going to be directed by that goal. It's different than a medium like facebook that exist for everybody to share anything.

"The Iranian people have the right to free speech - just not within the country". Even though it's technically true

I doubt that's technically true. The Iranian government is going to punish speech by it's citizens that it doesn't like regardles whether that speech happens in Iran or whether it happens in another country.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-07T16:23:35.449Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That's not a deontological rule.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-07T16:32:59.241Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Thou shalt not restrict freedom of speech.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-07T16:46:51.123Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Sigh. Jerking knees are rarely the best responses.

Trolls. Spam. Speech inside your home. Big loudspeakers outside your windows. Etc. etc.

Freedom of speech is a right with a matching duty to not interfere with the speech owed by the government. It's not a general deontological rule applicable to all human interactions.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-07T17:11:27.718Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

There's a concept of "free speech absolutism" which basically says that if you are in a venue that encourages discourse, you should allow any speech.

You're not a deontologist, so you might look at that rule and say "but what about the consequences". But, that's not what a free speech absolutist would do.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-07T17:16:23.407Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There's a concept of "free speech absolutism"

Unless you are arguing that you are a free speech absolutist, or, maybe, that LW should be run under such absolutism, I don't see the relevance. There are a LOT of fringe concepts around.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-07T17:34:34.497Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not a free speech absoluist, but I do think that Advanced Atheist should not ahve been banned for the reason of free speech.

Regardless of what I believe though, I wasn't arguing for or against it, I was answering Nancy's Question.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-07T18:07:27.376Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I was answering Nancy's Question

And my point was and remains that you did not provide an answer. She didn't ask whether you can make up a deontological rule she violated. She asked whether there was a reasonable and practical rule you think she violated. Free speech absolutism isn't one. As to "but I do think", that's still not a deontological rule -- that's an ad hoc resolution which you happen to prefer.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-07T18:41:20.596Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Free speech absolutism absolutely is one. It's a common deontological rule that would have prevented AA from being banned.

All moral intuitions are ad hoc.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-07T18:49:19.559Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's a common deontological rule

Common??

Show me a place where it is practiced. Spam folders do not count.

that would have prevented AA from being banned.

Actually, it would prevent all moderation. Would you like to learn one weird trick which would extend your manhood and make all women get naked and bring you offers to reclaim your wealth from a bank in Nigeria while stomping on pink commie faggots?

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-07T18:53:54.126Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Free speech absolutism only applies to the reasons for free speech (discourse). Spam does not count - objectionable opinions do.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2015-10-06T15:02:25.764Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you.

comment by ooo · 2015-10-08T13:27:11.115Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I'm somewhat glad for aa's ban. I've lurked LW for a while now, and have found a lot of content posted here extremely interesting. Seeing aa's posts in open threads on incels every week being upvoted, containing content I felt was extremely prejudiced and malformed, with no apparent improvement over time, unnerved me quite a bit, and I felt like I was not only wasting my time reading his posts, but also gave me a negative impression of what LWers think. This was enough to stop me from browsing open-threads/browsing less wrong for a while.

Not being a constant user of LW, I was unaware of vote manipulation, but I did feel myself being confused by the apparent clash between aa's upvoted posts on incels and general concept I had of LW, so it shouldn't have been hard to conclude that there were alternative explanations for his upvotes.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-08T15:26:12.411Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'm inclined to think there were some actual people who liked what aa was saying. They're a small proportion of LW, and there were a good many more people who didn't like what he was saying.

comment by bogus · 2015-10-08T15:07:15.163Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You know what, if "nerves" were actual, reliable evidence of voting abuse I would have no issue at all with advancedatheist's ban. Unfortunately, I don't think that's how it works.

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-12T22:08:44.178Z · score: -4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I felt was extremely prejudiced

What do you mean by "prejudice"? The "textbook definition" basically amounts to "applying Bayesian priors to humans" and that doesn't seem like a bad thing.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-12T23:44:50.756Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

basically amounts to "applying Bayesian priors to humans

There is nothing about Bayes in the "textbook definition". It boils down to "applying strong priors to humans" where "strong" means "resistant to change by evidence".

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-13T20:25:45.343Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Ok, so what evidence was AA refusing to update on?

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-14T14:56:30.431Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not talking about AA, I'm talking about your understanding of prejudice.

comment by ooo · 2015-10-13T06:54:21.868Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I tend to ascribe a naïve etymology of pre-judgement to 'prejudice', so I suppose that is the sense I was using it there, but I really wasn't appealing to any "textbook definition" I know of.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2015-10-13T13:04:41.706Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The "textbook definition" basically amounts to "applying Bayesian priors to humans" and that doesn't seem like a bad thing.

The OED says "Preconceived opinion not based on reason or actual experience; bias, partiality; (now) spec. unreasoned dislike, hostility, or antagonism towards, or discrimination against, a race, sex, or other class of people." The further definitions given are either shades of this one or other senses not relevant here (e.g. legal terminology).

From a brief glance at the web, other dictionaries say the same. The second half of the OED's definition is but a currently prominent instance of the first half. That part is probably what you mean by "the textbook definition", but I don't know what textbooks you've been reading. Probably books by progressives that you study to keep your wrath warm.

"Not based on reason or actual experience." "Unreasoned." That is the core of the concept, is it not?

In Bayesian reasoning, that, without the pejorative overtones, is what your prior is. Your state of belief, represented as a probability distribution, before you have seen the data to which you intend to apply Bayesian reasoning.

I am not seeing that in your use of the phrase "Bayesian prior", which you seem to be waving as a rationalist password without noticing the step that it implies, of looking at data and updating from it. Without that, it is not a prior — there is nothing that it is prior to. No, for you "applying Bayesian priors to humans" means stopping at your priors without any awareness that a prior is an expression of ignorance to be improved on, not knowledge to be clung to.

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-13T20:32:15.078Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

That part is probably what you mean by "the textbook definition", but I don't know what textbooks you've been reading.

The definition I learned in public school, which does have a rather extreme "progressive" bias.

I am not seeing that in your use of the phrase "Bayesian prior", which you seem to be waving as a rationalist password without noticing the step that it implies, of looking at data and updating from it.

Like the data on the relationship between sex and intelligence. The data on the relationship between how many men a women has had sex with and her ability to participate in future stable relationships.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2015-10-15T09:43:57.825Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Like the data on the relationship between sex and intelligence. The data on the relationship between how many men a women has had sex with and her ability to participate in future stable relationships.

In that case, you are talking about posteriors, not priors, and there is no need for the Bayes jargon. Beliefs, conclusions, from whatever sources and methods it may have been. "Bayes" is not a Power Word: Stun.

Of course, it's still prior to looking at the person in front of you and observing them.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-15T15:05:05.507Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"Bayes" is not a Power Word: Stun.

It is, however, often used to fill in the phase 2 in the underpants gnomes business plan.

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-15T20:23:52.609Z · score: -4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Of course, it's still prior to looking at the person in front of you and observing them.

Good, I see you are making progress in understanding this.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2015-10-18T11:05:56.795Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I hope that one day I will be able to say the same of you.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2015-10-18T10:42:04.289Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same of you.

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-18T10:13:36.493Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

For people you haven't interacted with it isn't, for other people it's the posteriors you should apply, not the priors.

comment by Pfft · 2015-10-07T14:15:01.666Z · score: 8 (12 votes) · LW · GW

I... what? As I understand the comment, he wanted to ban sex outside marriage. Describing that as "women should be distributed to men they don't want sex with" seems ridiculously exaggerated.

I agree that his one-issue thing was tiresome, and perhaps there is some argument for making "being boring and often off-topic" a bannable offense in itself. But this moderation action seems poorly thought through.

Edit: digging through his comment history finds this comment, where he writes it would be better to marry daughters off as young virgins. So I guess he did hold the view Nancy ascribed to him, even if it was not in evidence in the comment she linked to.

comment by Pfft · 2015-10-07T16:57:12.141Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Also, "monogamy versus hypergamy" has been discussed on Less Wrong since the dawn of time. See e.g. this post and discussion in comments, from 2009. Deciding now that this topic is impermissible crimethink seems like a pretty drastic narrowing of allowed thoughts.

comment by Viliam · 2015-10-08T08:28:49.735Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

In my opinion, the problem wasn't the topic per se, but how the author approached it:
comments in every Open Thread on the same topic, zero visible learning.

comment by Pfft · 2015-10-08T13:47:40.505Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Sure, I think that was annoying. But it's not the stated reason for the ban.

comment by ZankerH · 2015-10-06T18:04:39.120Z · score: 8 (16 votes) · LW · GW

I disapprove.

comment by Elo · 2015-10-06T21:08:30.581Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Upvote because disapproval is not wrong around my universe. not sure if people are trying to downvote in support (aka they also disapprove) or against your disapproval.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2015-10-06T22:02:48.711Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Note that those that support the disapproval apparently have the decency not to downvote the approval.

comment by Elo · 2015-10-07T03:28:39.896Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How do we improve this?

Edit: wait - I support the show of approval too. I disagree with the disapproval but I support someone's ability to voice their opinion.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-10-07T12:44:56.253Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I have mixed feelings about this. He was posting the same argument about being incel in every single open thread, and the repetitiveness seems more annoying than the content, to me. But OTOH he also posted some interesting cryonics stuff.

Incidentally, suppose someone posted on the forum to say "As an Indian, my cultural heritage says that parents should decide who a woman marries."

Should this person be banned?

I'm not saying to support AA's position, nor as an attempt to criticise Indian culture, I'm just trying to see if we can have a consistent position on what counts as unacceptably offensive.

comment by Viliam · 2015-10-08T09:06:16.663Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · LW · GW

suppose someone posted on the forum to say "As an Indian, my cultural heritage says that parents should decide who a woman marries."

Do they say it once, or do they keep mentioning it all the time despite the downvotes?

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-12T22:01:39.520Z · score: -5 (8 votes) · LW · GW

AA didn't even say it once. He said something that Nancy interpreted as implying he believed it.

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-08T08:03:57.165Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Incidentally, suppose someone posted on the forum to say "As an Indian, my cultural heritage says that parents should decide who a woman marries." Should this person be banned?

If they only say that once, no they shouldn't. If they say it umpteen times and continue doing so even after being downvoted to oblivion umpteen times, maybe.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-10-08T08:27:36.959Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Seems reasonable and consistent.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-07T14:43:16.739Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

No, but that might be because the hypothetical Indian is making a much weaker policy suggestion.

By the way, arranged marriage means that neither partner has a choice.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-10-07T15:26:02.739Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure what policy suggestion AA was making. I thought that you thought he was proposing forced marriages. What do you think he was proposing?

And of course, a lot of pressure is put on men to go into arranged marriages, but at the end of the day they do have a little more freedom, as if it comes down to violence they are more able to defend themselves. And that's a possibility - I have heard an girl of Indian decent say "I can't be forced into marriage because I have no male relatives and I could take my mum in a fight."

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-12T22:04:58.272Z · score: -5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

No, but that might be because the hypothetical Indian is making a much weaker policy suggestion.

AA didn't even make a policy suggestion, he said something that you interpreted as implying he supported said policy. The fact that you seem to be unable t see the difference strongly indicates that you shouldn't be deciding who to ban.

By the way, arranged marriage means that neither partner has a choice.

And that's better?

comment by philh · 2015-10-06T15:12:03.318Z · score: 6 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I approve.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2015-10-07T18:49:43.536Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

While I'm deeply concerned about the possibility that AA has been engaging in vote-gaming which does seem to be a bannable offense, it isn't clear to me that, as reprehensible as that comment is, that it is enough reason by itself for banning, especially because some of his comments (especially those on cryonics) have been clearly highly productive. I do agree that much of the content of that comment is pretty disgusting and unproductive, and at this point his focus on incel is borderline spamming with minimal connection to the point of LW. Maybe it would be more productive to just tell him that he can't talk about incel as a topic here?

comment by bogus · 2015-10-06T18:43:00.259Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

that comment was altogether too close to suggesting that women should be distributed to men they don't want sex with.

Why not ask advancedatheist to make his opinion clearer? My internal model of AA does not include him being especially supportive of, say, ISIS' sex slavery (to take one crystal-clear example of "women ... be[ing] distributed to men they don't want to have sex with"). Could it be that you're simply misinterpreting his original intent?

comment by RichardKennaway · 2015-10-06T18:53:14.773Z · score: 8 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Why not ask advancedatheist to make his opinion clearer?

He has been sufficiently clear already. Nitpicking over the exact role he sees for women in society as he would arrange it is something that cannot possibly be to the benefit of this site and its community.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-06T19:46:48.782Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Why not ask advancedatheist to make his opinion clearer? My internal model of AA does not include him being especially supportive of, say, ISIS' sex slavery

That's a strawman. AA speaks in favor of traditional partriarchy and that's a system that has arranged marriages where woman often have little to say about whom they want to marry and then have sex with.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-06T18:53:56.965Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

My internal model of AA does not include him being especially supportive of, say, ISIS' sex slavery

Does it include him declaring that society must make sure that men get enough sex, whatever it takes, and then averting his eyes from the "whatever it takes" particulars?

comment by bogus · 2015-10-06T19:20:48.669Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, what should "whatever it takes" mean, exactly? Very few values are anything close to non-negotiable - EY's Sequences are unusually clear on this.

If I had to guess, I'd say that AA thinks "men getting enough sex" could be achieved cheaply enough, by improving male attitudes (and more broadly, societal attitudes) towards masculinity and sex. That would doubtlessly make some radical feminists uncomfortable, but this is clearly the sort of "policy" option that's actually on the table. Which means that even treating your "particulars" as if they could ever be meant seriously is a batshit-crazy misrepresentation of what incels are actually talking about.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-06T19:22:49.788Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Well, what should "whatever it takes" mean, exactly?

Averting one's eyes means that you never ask yourself that question.

"Make it happen, I don't want to know how" is not a terribly uncommon sentiment.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-07T14:39:36.776Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think you meant "improving female attitudes".

comment by bogus · 2015-10-07T15:39:19.525Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, I can't speak for the whole incel subculture, but I'm pretty sure I meant what I wrote above. Of course, the point of changing societal attitudes is that once you stop telling women that they're supposed to hate "toxic" masculinity, their attitudes will improve as well. But that's pretty much obvious.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-07T18:51:47.022Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

No problem-- I was reacting aa's complaints that women are too picky about men, and also revolted by men.

A lot of this discussion has convinced me that communication is difficult.

comment by bogus · 2015-10-07T20:23:34.779Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah well, this whole exercise starts making very little sense once you go into such specifics - Viliam is right about this. It might be that you're putting too much weight on that one single complaint (which would just be considered a typically 'edgy' throwaway remark if it came from within the incel 'community'), or that I'm oversimplifying in assuming AA shares the broader views of the incel subculture and, more generally, the "Dark Enlightenment" (incels, redpillars, puas, neoreaction, what have you).

comment by knb · 2015-10-11T07:22:20.867Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't mind this ban, but I think it would be a good idea to make a clearly defined ultimatum before making such bans. E.g. tell him any additional comments on the topic would result in a ban. Worst case scenario he gets to make one more annoying post before he gets banned, best case scenario he cleans up his act and we get to keep a positive-sum commenter. Was AA ever given such an ultimatum?

comment by CellBioGuy · 2015-10-16T02:47:04.160Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Possible karma fraud probably didn't help.

comment by hg00 · 2015-10-12T03:33:01.434Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I just want to take a moment to point this out: the hypotheses people like advancedatheist push for why they're incel are very emotionally salient (a small number of men are monopolizing all of our women! omg!) So everyone, please don't let this very emotionally salient hypothesis prematurely crowd out other explanations for the same phenomenon.

Stanford psychologist Philip Zimbardo wrote a book called the Demise of Guys. Among other things, he discusses the sexual frustrations of modern men and offers some possible explanations:

In [the 70s and 80s], about 40 percent of a large population of Americans described themselves as “dispositionally shy”... However, since then the percentage of those reporting being shy has steadily increased up to 60 percent. That rise has been correlated with increased use of technology, which minimizes direct, face-to-face social interaction. It also reduces social practice time and learning the many rules of constructive social dialoguing.

...what is different today is that shyness among young men is less about a fear of rejection and more about fundamental social awkwardness — not knowing what to do, when, where or how. At least guys used to know how to dance. Now they don’t even know where to look for common ground, and they wander about the social landscape like tourists in a foreign land unable to ask for directions. They don’t know the language of face contact, the nonverbal and verbal set of rules that enable you to comfortably talk with and listen to somebody else and get them to respond back in kind. This lack of social interaction skills surfaces most especially with desirable girls and women. The absence of such critical social skills, essential to navigating intimate social situations, encourages a strategy of retreat, going fail-safe. Girls equal likely failure; safe equals the retreat into online and fantasy worlds that, with regular practice, become ever more familiar, predictable and, in the case of video gaming, more controllable.

He's also got a section on how men are being diagnosed with erectile dysfunction at younger and younger ages, linking to the site yourbrainonporn.com which discusses this.

Are we really supposed to believe that evolutionary factors like female hypergamy are responsible for increased shyness and erectile dysfunction among young men? Female hypergamy, insofar as it exists, is a mostly static biological phenomenon that's been around for 100s or 1000s of years. Are we really supposed to believe that right around the time when the world is changing faster than ever, suddenly female hypergamy goes from being a constant in the background to a destroyer of societies? I'm sure the liberation of women plays an important role here, but I think its role is frequently overstated. Think back to the 60s and 70s when the sexual revolution first happened. Where were the hopeless incels back then? Or think of forager societies where chastity was not held to be valuable... where were the "omega males" at that point?

Anyway, yourbrainonporn.com also has a page on how excessive porn use may destroy social confidence. Like most addictions, porn decreases your brain's dopamine receptor levels, and lower dopamine receptor levels have been shown to predict lower social status in monkeys. Anecdotally if I avoid porn completely for extended periods my social confidence and abilities with women improve significantly.

(This also matches perfectly with nerds being worse with women if they spend more time alone with their computers.)

comment by Dagon · 2015-10-11T18:23:03.135Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't support this ban, but I have to admit I'm more of a naturalist than a cultivator when it comes to gardens: weeds are plants too, right?

If there's significant evidence of karma fraud (even if that evidence isn't shared), that's a good reason. If it's just "annoying posts that don't get downvoted enough for our tastes", that's pretty weak.

comment by CellBioGuy · 2015-10-16T02:46:13.082Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've seen quite a bit of evidence of karma fraud on their part.

comment by MrMind · 2015-10-07T07:11:40.475Z · score: 1 (11 votes) · LW · GW

suggesting that women should be distributed to men they don't want sex with.

Well, in other forums he suggested that women have systematically less intelligence than men. So I guess that to him women are not much more than domestic animals.

One side of me is happy that he is gone, the other side is mildly disappointed for the lack of a local bigot to study in a safe environment.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-10-07T12:34:41.341Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Well, in other forums he suggested that women have systematically less intelligence than men. So I guess that to him women are not much more than domestic animals.

I don't think the second sentence follows from the first. Children certainly have less intelligence than adults, yet we shouldn't treat children as animals.

(Not that I agree with the first sentence)

comment by MrMind · 2015-10-08T10:19:00.240Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think the second sentence follows from the first.

Not per se, it follows from the first sentence and NancyLebovitz comment on him denying women autonomy.

Children certainly have less intelligence than adults, yet we shouldn't treat children as animals.

This sentence is weird to me because I was not talking about what I think is right or how to steelman aa's thought.
Anyway, consider these:

  • he believes that fully formed females have less intelligence than males;
  • he attributes the difference to a systematic genetic trait;
  • that he thinks women should be denied autonomy on a basic right.

How would you call the status of a sub-human non-autonomous being? Domestic or friendly animal seems to me quite precise.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-10-08T11:44:58.948Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Well children are both less intelligent than adults, and non-autonomous, in that they have no choice over whether they go to school etc., so I think my comparison still stands.

I also don't think that someone or some group having below-average intelligence means they are sub-human.

Also, does AA think that women have less general intelligence, or that they are less good specifically at STEM subjects? Because a lot of scientists do think that there are cognitive differences, but balanced, in that women have higher verbal & empathising intelligence.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-08T15:42:27.047Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't remember aa saying anything one way or the other about women's intelligence vs. men's.

comment by MrMind · 2015-10-13T07:42:49.892Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Not here, in another forum. Quoting verbatim (regarding the ability to think abstractly):

"Women generally either lack, or fail to develop, that ability, so they don't think about right and wrong in the way men do."

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-12T21:59:32.562Z · score: -6 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Well, in other forums he suggested that women have systematically less intelligence than men.

Well, the evidence strongly indicates that is in fact the case, at least at the high end.

a local bigot

Could you define what you mean by bigot? Because, the definitions I've heard tend to boil down to "someone who applies Bayesian reasoning to humans".

comment by MrMind · 2015-10-13T07:39:44.334Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, the evidence strongly indicates that is in fact the case, at least at the high end.

Quoted from Wikipedia: "One study did find some advantage for women in later life, while another found that male advantages on some cognitive tests are minimized when controlling for socioeconomic factors. The differences in average IQ between men and women are small in magnitude and inconsistent in direction."

It seems a very thin thread to hang such a heavy prior, and it looks a lot more like a conclusion that someone wants desperately to be true.

Could you define what you mean by bigot?

Sure. I used it in the sense of: "aa is uncommonly out of synch with the contemporary sensibility about personal freedom, and refuses to explain why he believes what he believes".

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-13T20:35:31.236Z · score: -3 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Sure. I used it in the sense of: "aa is uncommonly out of synch with the contemporary sensibility about personal freedom,

So expressing contrarian opinions is grounds for banning?

and refuses to explain why he believes what he believes".

Except he did explain why he believes what he does.

comment by MrMind · 2015-10-14T07:50:47.932Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

So expressing contrarian opinions is grounds for banning?

As always, it's a matter of degree and interaction on how well argumented your position is.
So yes, you can express a sufficiently contrarian opinion that would lead to banning. "All women should be treated as sex slaves", for example, is such an opinion.

Except he did explain why he believes what he does.

I asked aa at least twice, possibly more, what evidence he had for his assertions and got nothing back. Can you point me to a place where he did so? A post mortem would still be useful.

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-14T20:49:36.476Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So yes, you can express a sufficiently contrarian opinion that would lead to banning. "All women should be treated as sex slaves", for example, is such an opinion.

But I don't think even you would argue that the reason for banning that opinion is its contrariness.

comment by Jiro · 2015-10-13T06:09:27.236Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It sounded like he suggested that "we need to restore a healthy patriarchy where women can't get sexual experience until marriage." That doesn't mean "women should be distributed to men they don't want to have sex with". He is advocating prohibiting sex, not requiring sex, and more specifically that if society prohibits sex with lots of partners, women would be willing to settle for partners that they won't settle for now.

Also, prohibiting "bigoted policy proposals" is a really bad idea. All sorts of suggestions turn up here that could be put in that category, from cutting up travellers for their organs to valuing one's countrymen more than immigrants to letting employers hire based on IQ.

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-12T22:20:36.908Z · score: -9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I've found that I can tolerate bigotry a lot better than I can tolerate bigoted policy proposals

What definition of "bigotry" are you using? The "standard definition" amounts to "applying Bayesian priors to people". So is discussion of the policy implications of Bayesian reasoning now punishable by banning without notice? Also since you admit that he didn't actually make the proposal but was "close to suggesting" it does that mean that even being "close to suggesting" implications of Bayesian reasoning for policy is bannable?

Note to Eliezer or any super-administrators reading this: I strongly suggest that in the interest of keeping LessWrong a place where people can discuss rationality without fear of suddenly being banned, NancyLebovitz's administrative privileges be revoked immediately.

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-13T08:03:49.924Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

What definition of "bigotry" are you using? The "standard definition" amounts to "applying Bayesian priors to people".

Huh, no it doesn't.

suddenly being banned

Lots of people had expressed annoyance at advandcedatheist talking about the same topic over and over again. That's hardly "sudden". (OTOH I would have preferred him to be officially warned by a moderator before being banned.)

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-13T14:34:47.665Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Lots of people had expressed annoyance at advandcedatheist talking about the same topic over and over again. That's hardly "sudden".

The leap from annoyance to a ban was quite sudden.

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-13T20:11:20.496Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Ok, looking at the first result we get:

In English the word "bigot" refers to a person whose habitual state of mind includes an obstinate, irrational, or unfair intolerance of ideas, opinions, or beliefs that differ from their own, and intolerance of the people who hold them.

Which was the standard meaning of "bigotry" a century ago. Ok, let's apply this definition to the current situation: it would appear that NancyLebowitz is more guilty of bigotry then AA. Does that mean she should be banned?

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-14T07:55:29.691Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Again, ISTM NancyLebovitz (and other LW readers in general) are less intolerant of AA's ideas themselves than of his continuing to post them over and over again after people have made abundantly clear they're not interested in reading them for the zillionth time, so a response to an extraordinary situation and not a "habitual" state of mind. And AA does seem intolerant of the idea of women's sexual freedom.

That said, I'll tap out now.

comment by Jiro · 2015-10-14T14:33:57.474Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Again, ISTM NancyLebovitz (and other LW readers in general) are less intolerant of AA's ideas themselves than of his continuing to post them over and over again after people have made abundantly clear they're not interested in reading them for the zillionth time

Then Nancy should ban him based on his habit of repetitively posting, rather than what she actually banned him for, which is for "bigoted policy proposals" (and worse yet, for just almost making bigoted policy proposals). Banning him for that makes it much more dangerous for me to support limits on immigration, say almost anything concrete about how to use IQ tests that falls on the wrong side, connect vegetarianism to abortion, give many answers to the trolley problem, or otherwise speak about a lot of topics that turn up in discussions that have nothing to do with AA.

I wouldn't actually have a problem with the ban if she banned him for repetitively posting.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-13T03:49:33.028Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

What definition of "bigotry" are you using? The "standard definition" amounts to "applying Bayesian priors to people".

That's some terrible priors you have there.

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-13T20:13:09.773Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Well, would you care to enlighten us as to your definition of "bigotry". Bonus if the definition refers to something obviously bad and something AA was guilty of.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-14T12:53:55.204Z · score: 0 (6 votes) · LW · GW

If you focus on labels instead of on individuals, you're a bigot.

If your treatment of people is based on tribal allegiances, real or imagined, instead of what they've actually done, you're a bigot.

If you already have an opinion on someone you've just met, based on appearances only, before you've bothered getting to know them, you're a bigot.

If you blame an entire category of people for the actions of select outliers, you're a bigot.

If you believe all members of an arbitrarily defined category of people behave the same way or think the same way or can be expected to respond in the same way, you're a bigot.

If there's a group of people you especially like to hate, you're a bigot.

If you're an identity essentialist, you're a bigot.

If you believe there are "superior" and "inferior" classes of people, you're an über bigot.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-14T15:16:32.126Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Hello! I'm a bigot! Pleased to meet you!

comment by gjm · 2015-10-14T15:47:36.512Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm guessing you disapprove of some of the things polymathwannabe lists, much as PMWB does, but think others are fine. It might be more interesting to know which.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-14T16:34:13.245Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I disapprove of assigning labels on the basis of checklists to start with, the same labels that polymathwannabe professes to dislike in his first sentence.

Any particular reason you ask? I'm not a big fan of purity/political correctness/ideological orientation tests either. Got to focus on the individual, y'know.. :-P

comment by gjm · 2015-10-14T22:08:54.540Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Any particular reason you ask?

I can't see why you'd have posted as you did if you didn't want to (1) point out what you see as deficiencies in PMWB's list of alleged features of bigots and/or (2) tell us something about yourself; but what you've said so far doesn't provide enough information to identify the alleged deficiencies or determine much about you. So it seems like you haven't done what you intended to.

Also, I'm curious.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-14T23:28:31.712Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

point out what you see as deficiencies in PMWB's list of alleged features

But I did: see the grandparent post. I just went one meta level up.

I also generally dislike the "people who believe are " lists.

Anyway, sorry, I'm not going to go down the list and jot down my attitude towards each point. It looks like a waste of time.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-14T17:34:14.666Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Got to focus on the individual

On that we agree.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-14T17:51:06.190Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If your treatment of people is based on tribal allegiances, real or imagined, instead of what they've actually done, you're a bigot.

Anybody who treats family members such as cousins differently because they are family is a bigot?

comment by Jiro · 2015-10-14T18:00:36.201Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Look at all the effective altruism and utilitarian arguments that basically imply that you should consider the welfare of all people in the world equally and that putting more weight on yourself, your family, and people who are close to you or who resemble you is just not something that rational people are supposed to be doing.

And then they get called bigots, and then bigots get banned....

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-14T18:33:09.510Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

My aunts resent me for this, but you guessed right: I do not hold the accident of genetic closeness alone as a valid reason for preferential treatment. To quote Gabriel García Márquez,

one does not love one's children just because they are one's children but because of the friendship formed while raising them.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-14T18:52:45.701Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

My aunts resent me for this, but you guessed right: I do not hold the accident of genetic closeness alone as a valid reason for preferential treatment.

That's not the point of the question*. The question is whether anybody who doesn't see things that way is a bigot.

*: Unless of course you define being a bigot as having different preference than you have.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-14T19:16:38.164Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In itself, treating your relatives nicely because they're family doesn't seem to sound too bad; it sounds like the obvious and natural thing everybody would do. The problem I have with it is that it means you're intentionally treating everybody else less nicely because they're not family, which to me is a very weak reason to withhold your good will. When taken to the field of real-life decisions, it takes the form of nepotism, which can be seen as bigotry against the entire rest of humanity.

comment by Jiro · 2015-10-15T15:17:55.433Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How is that even relevant? I don't see anything about genetic closeness up there. I do see a reference to family, which is not the same thing and can easily include people with "friendship formed".

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-14T20:44:20.628Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

If you already have an opinion on someone you've just met, based on appearances only, before you've bothered getting to know them, you're a bigot.

This is what Baysian logic requires that you do.

If you believe all members of an arbitrarily defined category of people behave the same way or think the same way or can be expected to respond in the same way, you're a bigot.

I don't believe I've seen anyone do this. (Hint: sex, race, religion, etc., aren't arbitrary categories).

If there's a group of people you especially like to hate, you're a bigot.

I have murderers and child-molesters.

If you're an identity essentialist, you're a bigot.

Ok, now define "identity essentialism", I'm have a hard time coming up with a definition that's not largely true.

If you believe there are "superior" and "inferior" classes of people, you're an über bigot.

Does it matter if this is actually true for the metric under discussion.

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-18T10:18:16.115Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

This is what Baysian logic requires that you do.

Only for such a broad value of "opinion" that Bayesian logic requires you to have an opinion about the number of apples in a tree you haven't seen.

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-18T16:38:04.387Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I take it you never interact with people you haven't interacted with before.

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-19T07:45:21.574Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Sometimes I do, but then I update my beliefs about them based on the evidence (or at least I try to -- I'm not a Platonic spherical perfectly rational being). In any event, even with people I haven't interacted with before I usually have more information than "appearances only", e.g. where we are, who introduced us to each other, and whether I have already heard of them before.

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-19T10:12:03.584Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Assuming someone introduced you and this isn't someone you're passing on the street.

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-19T19:16:24.907Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I was assuming that by "interact" in the great-grandparent you meant more substantive stuff than passing each other on the street. If you weren't, my point still stands: Bayesian logic requires one to have an opinion about strangers passing in the street, but only in the way it requires one to have an opinion about the triple point pressure of copper.

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-21T12:55:32.595Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I was assuming that by "interact" in the great-grandparent you meant more substantive stuff than passing each other on the street.

And hope they don't mug you as you do, for starters.

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-23T20:10:18.169Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I somehow doubt that "opinion" in "If you already have an opinion on someone you've just met, based on appearances only, before you've bothered getting to know them" was meant to include stuff as vague as "they're probably not going to mug me", but whatevs -- tapping out.

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-19T14:03:12.804Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Why should I care about having opinions (in the regular sense of the word, not in the sense of probability distributions other than maximum entropy) about people I'm just passing on the street?

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-17T19:38:38.490Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If you believe all members of an arbitrarily defined category of people behave the same way or think the same way or can be expected to respond in the same way, you're a bigot.

I don't believe I've seen anyone do this. (Hint: sex, race, religion, etc., aren't arbitrary categories).

Well, it's not like all member of the same sex/race/religion/etc. behave the same way or think the same way or can be expected to respond in the same way, either.

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-18T03:41:16.089Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Not all, but most and their responses can be more similar than you'd think.

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-18T10:06:23.474Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

How do you know how similar I'd think their responses can be?

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-18T10:20:59.130Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

religion, etc., aren't arbitrary categories

Religion does sound pretty arbitrary to me.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-14T21:36:34.774Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

now define "identity essentialism"

sex, race, religion, etc., aren't arbitrary categories

There you go.

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-14T22:15:49.276Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Ok, except this definition makes "identity essentialism" true.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-14T22:46:46.365Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

sex, race, religion, etc., aren't arbitrary categories

Evidence?

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-14T23:19:19.567Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Don't be silly.

comment by CellBioGuy · 2015-10-06T02:54:16.589Z · score: 20 (24 votes) · LW · GW

Advancedatheist is flagrantly abusing the voting system. How can this be addressed/reported/stopped?

I literally saw a long post of his in this open thread, nearly-universally downvoted to -10, rise to 0 in 3 minutes just now.

EDIT: An additional 7 upwards in 5 minutes as I made this post, contemporaneous with a blast of +7 on another of his posts.

Seriously, how can his constant trolling be stopped? He is hurting discussion and he's been at this for quite some time, I've seen this happen over and over again for more than a year and I'm sick of it.

comment by Fluttershy · 2015-10-06T11:10:08.192Z · score: 17 (19 votes) · LW · GW

Regardless of whether or not advancedatheist has been abusing the voting system, I'd like him to stop posting about involuntary celibacy (incel) entirely on LW. Though I sympathize with his plight-- people don't ever deserve to be in a state of mental strife, or experience anything that feels like suffering-- his posts on incel mostly don't attract quality replies, and probably scare people off. Moreover, he hasn't stopped posting about this despite having been consistently downvoted.

Are there any appropriate forums where he might be able to post about incel to a more receptive audience? Don't neoreactionaries tend to be sympathetic to incel folks?

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-06T14:26:25.610Z · score: 5 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I used to belong to a couple of incel fora many years ago, and from my experience I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Male incel communities are very hard to keep sane. They function as training camps for misogynists and PUA predators, and the few women who post advice there don't help as much as they believe they do. I was ridiculed every time I tried to calm down the hatred and resentment. I wouldn't wish to inflict that level of stress on anyone, much less anyone desperate enough to seek for such a place.

(Full disclosure: I'm bisexual, 32 years old, still a virgin with women, and opposed to both the premises and the methods of PUA.)

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-12T21:02:38.433Z · score: -4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Well, they appear less unhealthy then the society of writers and "writers" you belong to in RL.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2015-10-06T04:36:54.645Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

More charitable hypothesis: The people most likely to notice an advancedatheist comment the quickest downvote. The next wave of people finds the downvoting excessive and upvote in response.

This doesn't really predict -10 to +3 swings, though.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2015-10-07T18:34:49.988Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Not only does it not predict such large swings it also doesn't fit with the fact that after such a swing (which occurs rapidly) he then gets a slow downward trend. I pointed this out to the moderators a while ago and so I have a record of how rapid some of the changes were:

http://lesswrong.com/lw/ls5/if_you_can_see_the_box_you_can_open_the_box/c1kf was at -9 within 8 hours of being posted, 12 hours later or so it was at +4. Note that it has now reverted to +0.

http://lesswrong.com/lw/ln8/february_2015_media_thread/bx5u was at -5, then within 24 hours went to +6 and is now +3.

http://lesswrong.com/lw/lli/open_thread_jan_26_feb_1_2015/bw6v was at -8 at 5 PM EST. At 7:10 EST it was at +6. In the same span http://lesswrong.com/lw/lli/open_thread_jan_26_feb_1_2015/bw6w was at -13 and went to +0. After the fact over the next few days, both those comments went into the deep negative. Similarly http://lesswrong.com/lw/lk7/optimal_eating_or_rather_a_step_in_the_right/bvmk was at -4, then went in the same 2 hour time span up to 3 and then went to 2 (so was left alone after that).

Curiously, within the same 2 hour time span as that set of rapid upvoting, two highly negative comments in support of A went through a similar swing with again a slow reversion over the next few days http://lesswrong.com/lw/lli/open_thread_jan_26_feb_1_2015/bw9t and http://lesswrong.com/lw/lli/open_thread_jan_26_feb_1_2015/bw7l

These aren't the only examples, but simply the most blatant

Based on this evidence I assign an extremely high credence that some form of karma abuse is going on with someone using multiple accounts (approximately 90% certain). I assign an 80% chance that this person is doing so deliberately to upvote comments which are seen at odds with "liberal" politics in some form. I assign a slightly over 50% chance that AA is doing this himself. The fact that it took until now for him to address such concerns despite the fact that others have mentioned them is not positive. After AA himself, I assign the next most likely individual to be Eugine for obvious reasons.

comment by WalterL · 2015-10-06T21:04:03.014Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I was thinking that OP was describing a situation [Post receives many upvotes and many downvotes] and ascribing the half he disagrees with to some kind of fake votes (sockpuppetry), while those who agree with him are depicted as being the genuine opinion of LW posters.

Which, if true, that's bad, but don't you sort of have to establish that? Like, isn't the exact opposite equally likely? Alternatively, what if all of votes are "genuine" (that is, represent different LW posters), or alternatively, are all false (that is, dude and some opponent are butting heads through false votes)?

comment by Viliam · 2015-10-06T12:29:32.168Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

The next wave of people finds the downvoting excessive and upvote in response.

I think such people may be more harmful to the voting system than the usual vote manipulation.

Your vote should express whether you want to see more of something or less of something on LessWrong. Not to be used strategically to counter other people's votes. Then not only you don't contribute to the system, but also remove other people's contributions. What is it exactly you aim for? A webpage where no one will bother to downvote annoying content, because they will know someone else will immediately upvote it back?

You should upvote only those comments you would upvote regardless of their current score.

comment by entirelyuseless · 2015-10-06T14:54:27.530Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I disagree, that is, I think it is reasonable to upvote or downvote "strategically." I agree with the proposed motive (how much of this kind of content do you want to see), but e.g. if I see a comment which I think is not particularly bad, but also not particularly good, so I don't care to increase or decrease the amount of it on Less Wrong, then I will upvote that comment if I see it downvoted, and might very well downvote it if I see it upvoted.

If I see a comment downvoted to -2 or -3, and I would like to see less of it on Less Wrong, that does not necessarily mean I should downvote it again, since this could result in not seeing such comments at all, which is not necessarily what I want. I want there to be less content like that, but not none at all.

In other words, I agree with your proposed goal, but I think strategic voting is a reasonable means of attaining that goal.

comment by Viliam · 2015-10-06T15:17:18.471Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

if I see a comment which I think is not particularly bad, but also not particularly good, so I don't care to increase or decrease the amount of it on Less Wrong, then I will upvote that comment if I see it downvoted, and might very well downvote it if I see it upvoted.

I may be misunderstanding what you wrote, but it seems to me you just said that if you have no genuine preference for having more or less of some kind of content, your second preference is to negate the expressed preferences of other LW readers.

If too many have voted to see less of X, you vote for more X, not because you literally want "more X", but because you want "more of what many other people don't want". And if too many have voted to see more of X, you vote for less X, again not because you literally want "less X", but because you want "less of what many other people want".

So, essentially, your preference is that other people get less of what they want, and more of what they don't want?

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-06T15:55:55.949Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I do the same thing, but the preference for me is really "The vote score should be in proportion to how much I think the post adds to the discussion." If it's at -10, but I think it adds a little to the discussion (or only takes away a little) I'll upvote, because the score is out of proportion with the value it provides or takes away. If a comment is at +100 but only adds a little to the discussion, I'll downvote.

comment by Viliam · 2015-10-07T07:53:19.693Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A consequence of this is that the total score of a comment depends on the order of voting.

For example, if your algorithm is "upvote below 5, downvote above 5", and ten other people want to upvote unconditionally, then the final score may be 11 or 9 depending on whether you voted first or last.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-07T16:06:17.946Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A consequence of voting unconditionally is that you'll contribute to comments being higher than you think they deserve. All scoring rules have tradeoffs.

comment by Viliam · 2015-10-08T07:19:01.959Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think I disagree with the idea that a comment deserves a specific number of votes.

Comment karma is "the number of people who liked it, and cared enough to click the button, minus the number of people who disliked it, and cared enough to click the button".

What does it mean to say that a comment deserves that the result should be e.g. five? Downvoting a comment strategically is like saying "this is a nice comment, but it doesn't deserve more than five people to like it; and because six people said they like it, I am saying that I dislike it, just so that it gets the result it deserves".

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-08T19:51:10.654Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

What does it mean to say that a comment deserves that the result should be e.g. five?

It actually doesn't mean anything if there's only one comment. But the way LW works is that if there's one comment with 5, and another with 6, the one with 6 gets displayed first and read by more people.

I think your scoring rules makes more sense in a binary "vote yes or no" democracy. If you're trying to decide whether you should or shouldn't enact a policy, and if there are more negative than positive votes then the policy is enacted, you should yes vote if you agree with the policy and no if you disagree.

But in a meritocratic system like LW, where individual posts are ranked against each other based on score, this results in "pretty good comments" getting ranked the same level as "really good comments".

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-08T15:39:14.750Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It might be worth a poll to find out whether people think posts "deserve" a certain number (or number in a small range) of comments.

I'm not sure that sort of voting makes sense, but I do a little of it myself. I'm guessing that "justice" based voting stabilizes the value of karma, and otherwise it would take increasingly high numbers of votes to indicate that a post is unusually good.

comment by entirelyuseless · 2015-10-07T15:50:10.442Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You can change your vote later if necessary, and sometimes I do, either to no vote at all, or to the opposite vote.

comment by entirelyuseless · 2015-10-06T15:23:36.849Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It is not a question of opposing other people's preferences. It is question of taking the actions that will most likely result in the situation which is closest to the one I want. For example, in the first case, I meant that I do not want that amount of the content either increased or decreased. I do not mean that I do not care. I mean I like things the way they are. If the comment is at -1, I will likely start to see less of it. Since I do not want it increased or decreased, I upvote it.

That certainly does not mean that I want to increase anything just because other people want less of it, or decrease anything because they want more of it.

comment by Vaniver · 2015-10-06T16:15:05.849Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It is not a question of opposing other people's preferences. It is question of taking the actions that will most likely result in the situation which is closest to the one I want.

But the mechanism by which you do so is opposing other people's preferences. That is, if there's a comment that I want to be at net 0, then upvoting it if it's at -1 or downvoting it if it's at +1 accomplishes that goal, but which one I do depends on what the community consensus was at the time of voting.

In general, I think voting based on current karma decreases the info content of voting and harms more than it helps. Vote on your desire to see or not see a comment, not your desire for the community to want to see or not want to see the comment!

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-07T16:25:41.482Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think your second paragraph follows from your first.

comment by Vaniver · 2015-10-07T18:04:28.142Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that establishing the general claim that voting based on current karma harms more than it helps requires more than the first paragraph, and is just a statement of a conclusion rather than an argument leading to that conclusion.

But I think the rest of the second paragraph is related to the first--the reason why it decreases the info content of voting is because the votes are clashing (your vote on a comment is now negatively correlated with my vote, making your vote less influential).

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-08T13:50:04.704Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I also don't think the first claim makes much sense. First of all, it's not always anti correlated. It's only anti-correlated if you vote unconditionally, and the post is far below or far above the value we think it provides. If it's positive, but not positive enough, the vote is correlated. If it's negative, but not negative enough, the vote is correlated.

Secondly, you're assuming everyone uses the same scoring rule you do. We've already established that at least two people use the different scoring rule, and as another commenter pointed out, it's likely that there are many people who vote strategically. In that case, if we think the post has the same value, we'd do the same thing in the same situation, and if we think it doesn't ahve the same value, they're not - which is how it should be.

comment by username2 · 2015-10-06T18:44:05.029Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Some people think in terms of people behind the comments and not comments themselves. They think that downvotes cause sadness for a person who was downvoted and they use their upvote as a consolation, as an attempt to cheer a downvoted person up.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-06T18:27:59.280Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Your vote should express whether you want to see more of something or less of something on LessWrong.

That's one possible interpretation of voting on LW. It is not the only one possible. Do you think one can apply terms like "correct" or "wrong" to these interpretations?

comment by bogus · 2015-10-06T18:16:58.698Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"Strategic" voting is pretty much unavoidable, since voting has some cost (however mild). It makes sense to vote when you think it will make a useful contribution, by expressing a different POV than other LessWrong contributors would. Does this make scores less representative? It's not clear that it does - how many people would care if some unambiguously good comment is at, say, +17 as opposed to +19 because some users just didn't bother to vote it up?

comment by shminux · 2015-10-08T15:33:00.837Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Downvoting for stating a conjecture as certainty. Insulting language doesn't help, either.

comment by gjm · 2015-10-08T18:00:07.580Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If those timings are correct, then it seems like very strong evidence for something highly improper going on. (I agree that that's not the same as advancedatheist being responsible for it.)

comment by CellBioGuy · 2015-10-16T02:54:39.320Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I understand the objections. It is certainly true that it is possible there is a third party that has been consistently doing this same thing selectively to his heavily downvoted posts in particular for over a year. I just don't find it particularly likely.

comment by philh · 2015-10-06T15:03:20.843Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I've seen this happen with non-AA posts, too. Specifically, I'm thinking of buybuydandavis' replies to me in this thread (and I think the actual comment linked too, but I'm not sure about that).

I currently think (~75%) that it's not AA himself doing it. Eugine Nier seems more likely.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-06T17:40:43.691Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I currently think (~75%) that it's not AA himself doing it. Eugine Nier seems more likely.

Do you think Eugine Nier would think that the posts are valuable?

comment by philh · 2015-10-06T20:35:10.371Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I don't have a strong model of either of them. But Eugine is known to abuse the voting mechanism with alts, and I generally expect that most people don't do that. I also find it plausible that Eugine would mass-upvote those posts just to be a douche, even if he didn't particularly care for them.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-10-07T12:52:05.440Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Given access to the raw data of who upvotes what and at what time, an algorithm should be able to auto flag sockpuppets, at least until the sockpuppets get wiser and start upvoting at different times of day.

Looking for lots of accounts with similar IP addresses is a strategy too, but proxies could be a problem.

comment by advancedatheist · 2015-10-06T04:13:33.593Z · score: 2 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't done anything to "abuse" the voting system, and you should retract your accusation because you have no evidence of that. I don't understand how my posts can gain so many upvotes in such a short time.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-06T08:32:04.079Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Do you believe that those posts that receive massive downvotes are healthy for LW? Otherwise why do you continue posting them?

comment by ZankerH · 2015-10-06T09:13:16.984Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Speaking for myself, I find most of his contributions relevant and interesting.

comment by gjm · 2015-10-06T09:56:22.159Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

The question was specifically about the ones that get lots of downvotes. That is, the ones where he's riding his hobbyhorse of complaining about the phenomenon of men not getting any sex even though they'd like to, and specifically the fact that he is in that situation. Do you find those relevant and interesting?

(Most recent examples, in reverse-historical order: one, two, three though that one only kinda fits the pattern, four, five.)

comment by RichardKennaway · 2015-10-06T14:50:49.650Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

(Most recent examples, in reverse-historical order: one, two, three though that one only kinda fits the pattern, four, five.)

From the net karma and the ratio of karma one can compute the number of votes, approximately. (Approximately, because the ratio is only reported to the nearest 1%.) As of this moment, these five posts have received at least the following number of votes, listed as up, down, and total:

21 25 46
20 22 42
10 11 21
6 6 12
11 14 25

These are minimum numbers, e.g. the first (-2 total, 48% positive) is also consistent with 32 34 66.

20 is an extraordinary number of downvotes to receive, but as far as I know, there's no karma minimum required for upvotes, One might think about changing that. I have to wonder how many accounts there are whose sole activity has been to upvote him.

comment by Gurkenglas · 2015-10-06T16:04:49.395Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Could we ask an admin to make a graph of all users on LW, with edges saying how many posts of one user another has upvoted, and all name labels removed except advancedatheist's?

The numbers would have to be shuffled enough that no group of people could use public karma counts and their knowledge of whom they upvoted to gain too much info that ought to be anonymous.

Do we have a crypthography expert that can think of an algorithm that would work for that?

Or the admins could leave out the shuffling/delabeling and only examine the graph to see whether the situation is reasonable.

comment by gjm · 2015-10-06T16:40:44.236Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

We could surely ask. Experience suggests that asking for such things is futile, I think mostly because the LW database is difficult to work with and the Tricyclists have little time (or enthusiasm, or something) for doing things to LW that require admin access.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-06T18:21:21.490Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That seems way too much work for a little bit of internet drama.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-06T20:05:00.004Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Basically work that's not done by asking an admin to do it but by somebody writing the necessary code (the system is open source) and then giving that code to be run against the database.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2015-10-06T21:55:54.098Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I seem to remember that there is a way to access the latest (simplified) database dump without admin access. Don't remember where or whether it shows vote sources though.

comment by gjm · 2015-10-06T16:39:24.476Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If there are any such accounts, I would regard that as strong evidence of some kind of malfeasance. Note that advancedatheist vigorously denies any sort of abuse of the system and says he doesn't know how those comments got so many upvotes.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2015-10-06T21:53:54.115Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I have also upvoted a significant number of his posts esp. if those were 'excessively' downvoted. I agree that there is a common theme and that he repeats himself but one could read that cheritably as providing context for his posts which are not always about th same thing but highlight differnt albeit tangential aspects of some general topic.

comment by banx · 2015-10-08T05:07:38.656Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

My employer changed their donation matching policy such that I now have an incentive to lump 2 years' donations into a single year, so I can claim the standard deduction during the year that I don't donate, thereby saving around $1200 every 2 years. I've been donating between 10 and 12.5 percent for the last few years. This year I would be donating around 21%. Has anyone here been audited because they claimed a large fraction of their income as charitable contributions? How painful was the experience? I doubt it's worth paying $1200 to avoid, but I thought I'd ask.

comment by jkaufman · 2015-10-12T14:15:58.573Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Julia and I donate 50% and haven't been audited yet, but I expect we will at some point. We keep good records, which should help a lot.

comment by hg00 · 2015-10-12T03:42:54.370Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I donated roughly that percentage several years ago & was not audited.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-07T14:51:36.777Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Heh. Andrew Gelman of the Bayesian Data Analysis textbook discovers Yvain.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-06T16:01:29.842Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I've found I've become a smidge more conservative-- I was in favor of the Arab Spring, and to put it mildly, it hasn't worked well. I'm not even sure the collapse of the Soviet Union was a net gain.

Any thoughts about how much stability should be respected?

comment by Viliam · 2015-10-07T10:15:16.671Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not even sure the collapse of the Soviet Union was a net gain.

I think it was a gain for me, because it decreased the probability that Soviet Union would attack my country. Many people from former Soviet area of influence have the same opinion. Then again, many have the opposite opinion.

Also, as a result of collapse of Soviet Union, I am allowed to cross borders and attend LW meetups at Vienna. I know, it's pretty selfish to wish an entire empire to collapse only to improve my weekends, but still, I am selfishly happy.

comment by bogus · 2015-10-06T21:19:41.278Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The Arab Spring has worked quite well in the one country that actually had a well-established civil society prior to it, namely Tunisia. (Not coincidentally, this is also where the AS got its start.) All else being equal, I am in favor of having solid evidence about the factors that can actually lead to long-lasting social improvement in the Arab world and elsewhere.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-06T18:11:32.280Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Any thoughts about how much stability should be respected?

I think the question is WAY too general. The only possible answer is: "It depends".

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-12T21:30:34.397Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not even sure the collapse of the Soviet Union was a net gain.

People tend to conflate two different things by that phrase.

1) The fall of Communism.

2) The break up of the Soviet Union into 15 republics.

Which one are you asking about.

comment by Douglas_Knight · 2015-10-12T23:35:39.308Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There is yet a third interpretation: the loss of control by the USSR over the other states of the Warsaw Pact. This is the aspect that is most clearly a good development. Added: In fact, I think that is the most common use (cf Viliam).

comment by shminux · 2015-10-09T20:39:07.865Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

how much stability should be respected?

For a consequentialist this is a question for historians and those who model historical what-ifs (psycho-historians? Hari Seldon, where are you?)

There are multiple possibilities that I can think of offhand:

  1. a revolution/regime change/instability may have some negative or positive effect in the near term, but no measurable long-term effect anywhere
  2. there are some long-term positive/negative effects locally, but none globally
  3. there are both local and global effects, positive and/or negative

A historical analysis can only get you so far, as it is hard to come up with controlled examples. Was the US revolution similar to the French revolution? To the Russian revolution? To the Spartacus' uprising? To the Chinese dynastic revolts?

Would the US have been better off peacefully separating from Great Britain like Australia and Canada? Did the horrors of the World War II scare Europe into peace? Was the Holocaust a net good for the Jews, since it led to creation of Israel and the rise of Jewish influence in the US and in the world? (Assuming either of those are beneficial. Most Arabs would disagree.)

Even the seemingly clear-cut "good" cases, like the end of the Apartheid in South Africa eventually resulted in rising crime rates in the country.

To misquote a famous historian, "History is just one damned thing after another".

My current position on the issue is that any uprising is only worth considering if you can reasonably expect near-term positive effects for the group you care about, because there is currently no way to estimate long-term effects, and you cannot hope to be honest about the welfare of people you don't care about.

This position is an awkward one, since it means that Hitler's takeover of Germany was worth supporting at the time it happened, unless you cared about Jews, Gypsies and gays more than about ethnic Germans. It also means being against most armed revolts of uncertain prospects of success, since they necessarily lead to near-term increase in suffering.

comment by WalterL · 2015-10-06T21:11:24.003Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Lots! But it seems like if we start doing "yay stability" vs. "boo stagnation" we'll be at politics pretty quick.

comment by Transfuturist · 2015-10-07T16:26:00.954Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Stagnation is actually a stable condition. It's "yay stability" vs. "boo instability," and "yay growth" vs. "boo stagnation."

comment by WalterL · 2015-10-07T16:34:20.306Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Those are true words you wrote. I lounge corrected.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-06T18:05:29.837Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I was in favor of the Arab Spring

Was exactly does that mean? That you cheered when it happened? Or do you mean something more political significant?

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-06T19:12:50.106Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I cheered when it happened.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-07T15:18:53.039Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The interesting question is how did you decide the Arab Spring was a good thing.

Was it because the New York Times told you so? Or was it a consequence of the prior that "More democracy is always good?"

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-07T18:55:29.319Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There may have been some influence from the NYT, but it was also less tyranny as well as more democracy.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-07T22:04:50.121Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Democracy is a quite deceptive word. 74% of Egyptians want Egypt to be ruled via the Sharia.

Did the NYT narrative have Egyptians suddenly stoning homosexuals which a majority of that country believes, or did it have the new government not representing the views of the Egyptian population?

As far as I remember not really. It had the idea that western democracy with people who value western value suddenly came to Egypt without really thinking it through.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-08T07:04:42.261Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"Less tyranny" isn't the same thing as "more democracy".

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-08T09:42:01.811Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure that I know what's meant with "less tyranny".

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-08T15:27:49.152Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Some governments are more abusive than others, and governments which are very abusive tend not to be democracies.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-09T10:34:55.866Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What do you mean with being abusive? Democracies don't have inherent protection of minorities.

Do you believe that the Pakistani government was less abusive than prerevolution Egypt?

comment by gjm · 2015-10-07T15:31:15.890Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I can't speak for Nancy, but my own reaction to the Arab Spring was something like "oh, that looks like a good thing if it actually works out rather than leading to more repression in the end", and it was a consequence of a prior that resembles the one you describe but contains less straw: "More democracy is usually good, other things being equal".

[EDITED to add: I mention this only because I find it striking how the two possibilities you mention are both, if you'll pardon my directness, rather stupid[1], and I'm wondering on what basis you assume that Nancy's reasons were stupid ones.]

[1] Meaning "it would be rather stupid to decide on that basis" rather than "it is stupid to think that someone else might decide on that basis". And of course "stupid" is a strong word; believing whatever you read in the NYT isn't really that bad a strategy. But I'm sure you see what I mean.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-07T15:37:36.518Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

that looks like a good thing if it actually works out rather than leading to [bad things] in the end

This is an entirely generic attitude suitable for everything that claims to have a noble aim in mind.

More democracy is usually good, other things being equal

Doesn't look like a workable prior given that other things are never equal. Looks like a hedged version of "the expected value of more democracy is more good".

the two possibilities you mention are both, if you'll pardon my directness, rather stupid

I don't think so. Nancy is not an expert in Arab politics -- she relies on opinions of others. Given this, accepting the prevailing opinion of the media (of the appropriate political flavour) is an entirely normal thing and happens all the time. "There is another coup in Backwardistan? The newspaper I read says it's bad? Oh, I guess it must be so ".

Ditto with using general priors when you can't or can't bother to analyze the situation yourself.

comment by gjm · 2015-10-07T21:25:33.331Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

generic attitude suitable for everything that claims to have a noble end in mind.

Nope. For instance, abstinence-only sex education claims to have in mind the noble end of preserving the virtue of the young. I do not particularly hope that it succeeds in its aims, because I disagree about their nobility.

Regarding what the "Arab Spring" was trying to do as a noble end (as opposed to one merely claimed to be noble) says something not altogether trivial about the values of the person who so regards it.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-06T19:40:43.730Z · score: -2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I cheer when there's a hot summer day but that doesn't mean that I endorse politics that lead to more hot summer days. Cheering mostly isn't a very political action and it's not very helpful to think of it in that way.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-07T14:43:54.894Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Cheering says something about what I expect to work out well.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-07T22:08:30.370Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In some sense it does. People however don't cheer for sport teams because they have specific expectations. Most cheering is in it's nature very tribal based.

comment by mwengler · 2015-10-09T16:48:06.198Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Not being in favor of the collapse of the Soviet Union seems to me a gigantic mistake. The threat of large scale nuclear war is greatly reduced. 100s of millions of people live in a much less repressive environment. (If you don't believe that, consider information was greatly restricted in the communist bloc with communist propaganda keeping the sad truth that communist lives were way circumscribed and poor compared to Western lives, and people were literally shot for trying to leave). It would be interesting to poll people over the age of 45 or 50 that live in eastern europe to find out how many of them would not be in favor of getting out from behind the iron curtain.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-09T17:15:42.092Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The threat of large scale nuclear war is greatly reduced.

I would be inclined to agree, but the B vs P comparison is a bit unsettling...

comment by ZankerH · 2015-10-06T18:05:49.572Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I definitely value it higher than the momentary high of getting to impose your values on others, which seems to be the opposite of the current US foreign policy.

comment by Elo · 2015-10-06T11:06:12.610Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

This week on the slack: http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/mpq/lesswrong_real_time_chat/

  • AI - Orthogonality thesis, Bostrom's superintelligence, Pascal's mugging, Looking for the video of the Superintelligence panel at EAglobal.
  • Effective altruism - Blood donation, climate change
  • finance - Things to do with spare money; ongoing profit-making ventures
  • goals of lesswrong - considering reaching out to other similar groups to grow outreach; but we don't have a clear understanding of what we are yet.
  • human relationships - Hacking OKC, Dating sites, Tinder, Bad acronyms for sexual preference (LGBTIQWTF etc.), Pick-up, Poly. Secretary problem and application to real life dating.
  • lingustics - Icons as signals for ideas instead of words.
  • objectivish - merged with #philosophy
  • Media - The story of Emily and Control - a neat rationalist fiction about identical twins. Some other youtube skits, Books of cultural significance to read
  • Open - so many things.
  • Parenting - Getting kids to eat vegetables, Why we had kids, EA's having kids, Allergies and dealing with them, Homeschooling and why school exists in its current form now.
  • philosophy - hypotheticals, Imposter syndrome, "whether I would care if I would die" - no conclusions yet, The legend of murder-ghandi (for ghandi's birthday), this quote: "I noticed an unusual trend for fiction to present people to be uncomfortable with exact copies of themselves. I figure I would be cooperative with myself as a duplicate entity. Would you do the same?

I wonder how extended time would go. I.e. On a spaceship with the only crew being consenting duplicates of one human entity. I feel like there would be an eerie consensus and trust.

Like. That understanding of one's self, would truly extend to those around you. And yet when I consider myself as a human similar to the humans around me - I don't think I would ever get along with other humans with the same peacefulness that I could have - knowing I was getting along with duplicate myselves.

Although I now wonder if applying duplicate myselves outward as an imprint mould on the other humans - would help me get along with more people, and communicate and understand more than ever before...

I wonder if a level of love and trust could be found in people who don't currently try to understand one another in any such way. By giving them this model of empathetic understanding of one another and everyone else's actions around them."

  • political talk - US politics doubts science a lot. SJW and if they are genuinely not constructive
  • Programming - Some legalities of trying to auto-consent for people to give up their right to pursue your use of their contributions to your communal piece of work, "what does a legally valid transfer of copyright between two strangers emailing each other actually look like"

  • Projects - (renamed from composition) What we are writing about; Accountability space, Novels; Having a preference, Focussing, Data mining, Submitting things to the US DIA, Hypotheticals, Drawing with a wacom tablet, Dealing with clients, NLP, Remembering names.

"a web app that allows you to have a conversation with "simulated selves"" available here in version zero https://tangoapp.herokuapp.com/ "It's still probably very buggy, limited in functionality and confusing to use, but as they say... release fast! Mostly, I'm just posting because a couple people seemed interested in playing with it, and because I gave myself until the end of the weekend as a conservative estimate."

  • real life - Living in an RV, Sharing your salary with others, War and other stressful (but not always), deadly scenarios. Biases when debating, gun control (we all feel sorry for America)

  • rss feed - we have an RSS feed of any post on LW or SSC that notifies of posts if you are in the channel.

  • Science and technology - the electric car market, brain-volume and intelligence, cooling cap (for sleep quality improvement), Yelp for people (a pretty bad idea), smart light bulbs,

  • Startups - various startup ideas.

  • welcome - everyone answers the questions: "Would you like to introduce yourself? Where are you from? What do you do with your time? What are you working on? What problems are you trying to solve?"

Feel free to join us. Active meetup time: A time to try to get lots of people online to talk about things is going to be Sunday afternoon-night for the US, If you want to chat actively with other lesswrongers; we are going to try to be active at that time.

We have over 130 people who have signed up. Not nearly that many people are active, but each day something interesting happens...

last week on slack: http://lesswrong.com/lw/msa/open_thread_sep_21_sep_27_2015/crk1

comment by Dias · 2015-10-05T23:06:33.942Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

repeat, as I posted at the end of the last Open Thread, probably too late in its life for comments.

I'm planning on running an experiment to test the effects of Modafinil on myself. My plan is to use a three armed study:

  • Modafinil (probably 50mg as I am quite small)
  • B12 pill (as active control) or maybe Vitamin D
  • Passive Control (no placebo)

Each day I will randomly take one of the three options and perform some test. I was thinking of dual-n-back, but do people have any other suggestions?

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-05T18:12:03.034Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Ha!

"In this paper, I take the position that a large portion of contemporary academic work is an appalling waste of human intelligence that cannot be justified under any mainstream normative ethics."

Out of Harvard, no less.

comment by James_Miller · 2015-10-06T15:21:14.916Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This assumes that there is a high social opportunity cost to academics' time.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-06T17:27:46.341Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Not quite -- this assumes there is a high opportunity cost to high-IQ people being in academia.

comment by chaosmage · 2015-10-08T12:19:27.620Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A majority of people in academia don't strike me as actually that high-IQ.

That does not mean their time couldn't be more valuable elsewhere.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-08T14:39:59.316Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A majority of people in academia don't strike me as actually that high-IQ.

Compared to what?

comment by chaosmage · 2015-10-09T13:51:42.659Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Compared to groups of other people selected for intelligence, like engineers, mathematicians or professional politicians.

What I find remarkable about academics is that they seem to have much longer attention spans than any of these other groups. But in quick learning, logical reasoning or handling unfamiliar information, few academics impress me as much as a typical member of these other groups will.

This is strictly my informal observation, but I've studied and worked in universities for 17 years now, so I do think it is a fairly informed one.

comment by SolveIt · 2015-10-06T20:30:20.885Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Does he know which portion is the waste of intelligence?

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2015-10-06T21:59:27.246Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You can't know which. You can only infer from the overall effect I'd guess.

comment by SolveIt · 2015-10-07T08:35:35.623Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I agree. I was flippantly making a point on the lines of this quote

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.

-John Wanamaker-

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-05T15:41:44.509Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

A new (for me) word: mathiness.

The style that I am calling mathiness lets academic politics masquerade as science. Like mathematical theory, mathiness uses a mixture of words and symbols, but instead of making tight links, it leaves ample room for slippage between statements in natural versus formal language and between statements with theoretical as opposed to empirical content.

comment by gjm · 2015-10-05T16:29:02.850Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It's maybe worth saying that the term is clearly based on "truthiness".

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-05T16:35:24.593Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Etymologically, yes, but conceptually I think it's more related to the ages-old idea of "dazzle 'em with bullshit".

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-05T20:13:10.856Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Or in SSCese Eulering

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-05T20:22:49.120Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yep, an excellent connection.

comment by G0W51 · 2015-10-05T06:54:34.657Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

What literature is available on who will be given moral consideration in a superintelligence's coherent extrapolated volition (CEV) and how much weight each agent will be given?

Nick Bostrom's Superintelligence mentions that it is an open problem as to whether AIs, non-human animals, currently deceased people, etc should be given moral consideration, and whether the values of those who aid in creating the superintelligence should be given more weight than that of others. However, Bostrom does not actually answer these questions, other than slightly advocating everyone being given equal weight in the CEV. The abstracts of other papers on CEV don't mention this topic, so I am doubtful on the usefulness of reading their entireties.

(This is a repost.)

comment by Vaniver · 2015-10-05T13:34:39.412Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

What literature is available on who will be given moral consideration in a superintelligence's coherent extrapolated volition (CEV), and how much weight each agent will be given?

I don't think anyone has a satisfactory solution to what is inherently a political question, and I think people correctly anticipate that analyzing it through the lens of politics will lead to unsatisfying discussions.

comment by Gurkenglas · 2015-10-05T12:59:02.556Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thinking of the prisoners-dilemma-with-access-to-sourcecode, an obvious strategy would be to allocate negentropy to agents that would employ the same strategy in proportion to the probability that they would have ended up in the position to allocate the universe's negentropy.

comment by G0W51 · 2015-10-09T00:36:49.967Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Presumably "employ the same strategy" should be interpreted loosely, as it seems problematic to give no consideration to agents who would use a slightly different allocation strategy.

Thanks for the idea. I will look into it.

comment by WhyAsk · 2015-10-06T18:40:26.136Z · score: 4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I don't seem to be able to reply to a Gunnar Zarncke reply to my comment on another thread because of my low comment score.

How can I explain my comment and myself [to the extent that I can] to this resident of Germany?

BTW, my view of the world seems to be different than most of you.
Possibly it's because the mortality tables say that half the men born on the same day as me will dead in 14 years and so my priorities may be different. Also, most of my life has been lived so I'm not so much worried about the uncertainties that most of you seem to be. In fact, what else can they [they, in a general sense] do to me? :)

The books [don't ask which, I don't remember them all] tell me that I should come to terms with the life I have lived. This is not easy. I have failed to bring down almost all bad guys and failed to protect good guys.

I do thank this site for making me aware of things I've never heard of but I don't know that I can teach anyone here anything.

Thanks for reading.

comment by Manfred · 2015-10-07T04:04:06.810Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Man, I want to try playing a game of Rationality Cardinality online, but the place is a wasteland. Anyone want to coordinate for some upcoming evening or something?

comment by Gram_Stone · 2015-10-06T18:20:31.741Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I've been trying to prove things more often because I haven't done it a lot and I'm interested in a mathy career. I started reading Sipser's Introduction to the Theory of Computation and came across a chance to try and prove the statement 'For every graph G, the sum of the degrees of all nodes in G is even.' I couldn't find other proofs online, so I thought I'd share mine here before I look at the book, especially because mine might be completely different and I wouldn't really know if it was any good.

A graph G equals the set of the set of nodes/vertices V and the set of edges E. That is, G = {V, E}.

Let G be the empty graph with no nodes and no edges. The sum of the degrees of the nodes of this graph is zero, which is even.

Let G be the graph with one node and no edges. The sum of the degrees of the nodes of this graph is zero, which is even.

Let G be an arbitrary, non-empty graph such that the sum of the degrees of the nodes in G is even.

Let G' be a graph identical to G in all respects except that it contains an additional node that is a member of an additional pair in E with one other node. (That is, 'make a new node' and 'make an edge' to attach it to an existing node with.) The degree of a node equals the number of pairs in E of which the node is a member. Each pair contains two elements, so that if a graph G has i edges and j equals the sum of the degrees of all nodes in G, then the sum of the degrees of all nodes in a graph G' with i+1 edges will equal j+2. Because this is true for an arbitrary, non-empty graph G, it is true for every non-empty graph G. j is even by assumption, and the sum of two even numbers is even, so j+2 is even. Because this is true for an arbitrary, non-empty graph G', it is true for every non-empty graph G.

For every non-empty graph G, the sum of the degrees of all nodes in G is even. The sum of the degrees of all nodes in the empty graph is even. Therefore, for every graph G, the sum of the degrees of all nodes in G is even.

comment by IlyaShpitser · 2015-10-07T15:03:12.373Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

FYI, this is called the sum of degrees theorem. In fact, the sum of degrees is not only an even number, but twice the number of edges in the graph. This is due to Euler, I think. He used the famous Koenigsberg bridges problem as a motivation for thinking about graphs.

Good work on thinking about proofs, +1 to you.

comment by Gram_Stone · 2015-10-07T23:57:16.771Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I love that I can come to this website and have one of Judea Pearl's former students check my elementary graph-theoretic proofs.

But really, thanks for the encouragement. I had also been wondering if it had a name.

comment by philh · 2015-10-06T20:46:30.508Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Your operation for turning G into G' doesn't let you construct all graphs, e.g. K3 (the triangle graph) can't be formed like that. The rest of that paragraph is probably more dense than it needs to be. You're on the right track, but I can't quite tell if you actually rely on that construction.

comment by Gram_Stone · 2015-10-07T00:47:18.948Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the feedback. I think you can construct all graphs and use it to prove the theorem if you prove that you can add an arbitrary number of additional edges and nodes to an arbitrary graph and keep the sum of the degrees of all nodes even, instead of just one additional node and one additional edge. I also see what you mean about this:

I can't quite tell if you actually rely on that construction.

I think the inductive hypothesis in the rest of that paragraph might be enough, and I just wrote down how I intuitively visualized the proof before that without realizing that it wasn't necessary (nor sufficient, I now know) for the argument to carry through.

If you have an idea of how you would write the proof, I'd be interested in seeing it. I looked at the book and the proof is actually even less formal there.

comment by richard_reitz · 2015-10-07T12:45:18.415Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Lemma: sum of the degrees of the nodes is twice the number of edges.

Proof: We proceed by induction on the number of edges. If a graph has 0 edges, the the sum of degrees of edges is 0=2(0). Now, by way of induction, assume, for all graphs with n edges, the sum of the degrees of the nodes 2n; we wish to show that, for all graphs with n+1 edges, the sum of the degrees of the nodes is 2(n+1). But the sum of the degrees of the nodes is (2n)+2 = 2(n+1). ∎

The theorem follows as a corollary.


If you want practice proving things and haven't had much experience so far, I'd recommend Mathematics for Computer Science, a textbook from MIT and distributed under a free license, along with the associated video lectures *. To use Terry Tao's words, Sipser is writing at both level 1 and 3: he's giving arguments an experienced mathematician is capable of filling in the details to form a rigorous argument, but also doing so in such a way that a level 1 mathematician can follow along. Critically, however, from what I understand from reading Sipser's preface, he's definitely not writing a book to move level 1 mathematicians to level 2, which is a primary goal of the MIT book. If you're looking to prove things because you haven't done it much before, I infer you're essentially looking to transition from level 1 to 2, hence the recommendation.

A particular technique I picked up from the MIT book, which I used here, was that, for inductive proofs, it's often easier to prove a stronger theorem, since it gives you stronger assumptions in the inductive step.

PM me if you want someone to look over your solutions (either for Sipser or the MIT book). In the general case, I'm a fan learning from textbooks and believe that working things out for yourself without being helped by an instructor makes you stronger, but I'm also convinced that you need feedback from a human when you're first getting learning how to prove things.

* The lectures follow an old version of the book, which ~350 pages shorter and, crucially, lacks exercises.

comment by gjm · 2015-10-07T15:47:21.494Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's actually cleaner to prove the theorem non-inductively (though I appreciate that what GS asked for was specifically a cleaned-up inductive proof). E.g.: "Count pairs (vertex,edge) where the edge is incident on the vertex. The number of such pairs for a given vertex equals its degree, so the sum equals the sum of the degrees. The number of such pairs for a given edge equals 2, so the sum equals twice the number of edges."

(More visually: draw the graph. Now erase all of each edge apart from a little bit at each end. The resulting picture is a collection of stars, one per vertex. How many points have the stars in total?)

comment by Gram_Stone · 2015-10-07T18:46:17.198Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I really appreciate this comment, thank you.

I've actually never studied automata, computability, or complexity before either, so that's really why I picked up Sipser. But I'm downloading your other recommendation now (just moved, mobile Internet only); I can certainly imagine that some books are more useful than others for learning proof, I just saw an opportunity to practice and see how my natural ability is. I'll try to include things more specifically for learning proof in my diet. I sure will PM you if I need some feedback (I expect to), thanks.

comment by philh · 2015-10-07T10:13:55.415Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If I were doing it inductively, I'd go in the other direction, removing edges instead of adding them. Take a graph G with n>0 edges, and remove an edge to get G'. The degree sum of G' is two less than the degree sum of G (two vertices lose one degree, or one vertex loses two degree). Then induction shows that the degree sum is twice the edge count. There are probably simpler proofs, but having been primed by yours, this is the one that comes to mind.

I feel like being completely formal is the sort of thing that you learn to do at the beginning of your math education, and then gradually move away from it. But you move to a higher class of non-rigor than you started from, where you're just eliding bookwork rather than saying things that don't necessarily work. E.g. here I've omitted the inductive base case, because I consider it obvious that the base case works, and the word "induction" tells me the shape of the argument without needing to write it explicitly.

comment by shminux · 2015-10-08T15:35:35.694Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

So, Steven Hawking basically quotes Eliezer Yudkowsky almost verbatim, without giving him any credit, as usual: https://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/3nyn5i/science_ama_series_stephen_hawking_ama_answers/

Example:

A superintelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren’t aligned with ours, we’re in trouble.

Disappointed.

comment by Artaxerxes · 2015-10-08T17:41:31.927Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's great, the ideas getting out is what matters. Whether Eliezer gets some credit or not, the whole reason he said this stuff in the first place was so that people would understand it, repeat it and spread the concept, and that's exactly what's going on. If anything, Eliezer was trying very early to optimize for most convincing and easily understandable phrases, analogies, arguments, etc. so the fact that other people are repeating them or perhaps convergently evolving towards them shows that he did a good job.

And really, if Eliezer's status as a non-formally educated autodidact or whatever else is problematic or working against easing the spread of the information, then I don't see a problem with not crediting him in every single reddit post and news article. The priority is presumably ensuring greater awareness of the problems, and part of that is having prestigious people like Stephen Hawking deliver the info. It's not like there aren't dated posts and pdfs online that show Eliezer saying this stuff more than a decade ago, people can find how early he was on this train.

comment by Vaniver · 2015-10-08T15:39:22.577Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

What's the saying? Something like "When you're young, you worry people will steal your ideas, when you're old, you worry they won't."

comment by Viliam · 2015-10-08T19:42:13.905Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

So academia keeps people forever young.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-10T00:57:56.218Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Unsuprising if someone generated that independently. Even more unsuprising if an intelligent person does. Be more charitable.

comment by philh · 2015-10-09T13:15:32.673Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

As usual for Hawking, or for people quoting Eliezer, or?

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-08T15:16:51.502Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Dum-dum-dum-DOOM

MALE GENERAL INTELLIGENCE (G) DOES NOT INCREASE FEMALE SEXUAL ATTRACTION

(all caps in the original X-D)

P.S. This is a Just Another Psych Study, so any resemblance between its conclusions and reality is merely coincidental. Good for lulz, not too good for serious consideration. But it's funny :-)

comment by OrphanWilde · 2015-10-08T18:55:13.239Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Guessing the distribution before I look: Small-ish penalty for below-average intelligence, a flat line through average into slightly above average, then a small-ish penalty for above-average intelligence.

ETA: Oh. No data provided. Pity.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-10-08T15:35:14.644Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The usual caveats about small and culturally limited studies apply, not to mention that it's a hypothetical behavior study.

This being said, it's worth noting that a lot of mating venues have so much background noise that conversation is discouraged.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2015-10-09T12:36:08.104Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Measured male g had no effect on female short-term attraction, but a small positive effect on long-term attraction

So male intelligence does increase romantic attraction, but if all you want is a shag then you don't care about intelligence.

This makes sense, and also makes the title a little misleading.

Wouldn't a better approach be to look at okcupid profile reading level (as in, does their profile use long words and correct grammar) or answers to match questions such as "which is bigger, the sun or the moon?" and correlate this with how many messages they get? I suppose this wouldn't be very academic, but you could get a sample size of millions.

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-10T10:40:36.409Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Wouldn't a better approach be to look at okcupid profile reading level (as in, does their profile use long words and correct grammar) or answers to match questions such as "which is bigger, the sun or the moon?" and correlate this with how many messages they get? I suppose this wouldn't be very academic, but you could get a sample size of millions.

Some of the posts on OkTrends, the official OkCupid blog, have studied similar things.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-10T11:12:53.830Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

match questions such as "which is bigger, the sun or the moon?"

Why do you believe that correlates with intelligence? It might very well correlate with willingness to provide contrarian answers.

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-12T22:45:14.653Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, it certainly agrees with the anecdotal evidence.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-12T23:41:47.735Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Not with mine. My anecdotal evidence says that high IQ does NOT compensate for a variety of other deficiencies (from personal hygiene to self-confidence issues) but otherwise it's very useful :-)

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-13T00:11:58.948Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In which case there's still the issue that it seems to correlate with said deficiencies.

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-17T19:42:02.348Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's more because of restriction-of-range effects (people who have both low IQ and said deficiencies are likely to be in their parents' basements so we don't usually see them, and people who have both are likely to be in places like DC so we don't usually see them either) than because they actually correlate in the whole population.

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-18T03:35:59.303Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, autism causes both for starters.

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-18T10:04:24.208Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What?

EDIT: Do you mean the technical meaning or the colloquial meaning? The former aren't that smart in average...

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-18T16:43:04.957Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Autism is a spectrum. Here I mean the ones whose social skills aren't so ban its impossible to meaningfully interact with them.

EDIT: fixed typo.

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-10-19T06:49:14.700Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And having social skills so bad it's impossible to meaningfully interact with you causes high IQ? What?

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-13T14:37:34.148Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Citation needed.

A paper titled "High IQ is correlated with the inability to learn to use a shower" got to have a decent chance at getting an IgNobel X-)

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-09T08:46:52.076Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's worth noting that it cites an existing study titled "Intelligence and mate choice: intelligent men are always appealing"

comment by MrMind · 2015-10-09T07:02:58.162Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Wild hypothesis: it is possible that the Flynn effect has levelled out the range where intelligence was a factor of sexual attractiveness?

Maybe it's more important to mate with a 90 IQ rather than an 85 IQ, but after 100 IQ every male seems equal.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-09T14:38:06.964Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

but after 100 IQ every male seems equal

It's interesting how you are not conditioning this on the IQ of the girl...

comment by MrMind · 2015-10-12T07:19:35.419Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sure, you can always add a parameter to make the model more complex, if needed.

How is that interesting?

How would you have conditioned the preference on women's IQ?

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-06T11:00:53.635Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In the US, 'Professor' seems to refer to several classes of academic rank that are more junior ranks in the Australian system, where Professor denotes a full professor specifically. Are you aware of anyone who tried to assess the signalling benefit of cost of seeking a U.S professorship instead of a local academic position for career capital, authority or grants?

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-08T12:33:34.852Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I am not aware of any such cases despite having been working in US and now UK academia for the past 20 years.

"Professor" in this sense tends to be a title of address rather than a job title: US students have learned that in most circumstances it is appropriate to refer to an instructor as Professor (whether assistant professor, associate professor or full professor.... or indeed in many cases even university teaching staff who do not have a PhD yet); in the UK this is only appropriate for full professors, and many still prefer to be addressed by first names.

Career capital, authority, grants: anyone who matters in the UK is likely to be aware of differences in job titles and the approximate mapping between them (ie UK lecturer = US assistant professor, UK reader = US associate prof, professor = professor). Grants: while biased toward established academics this is more about publications, other grants, profile and not the title itself.

Sometimes people use honorary appointments the way you suggest, though. I know of one person who got updated business cards to add "Honorary Professor, X University" once a meaningless honorary appointment (granting library access and little more) was approved.

I have also seen cases that could work in the opposite direction: UK lecturers who want to maintain a US profile sometimes qualify their job title for the US market, as in "Lecturer (US equivalent = assistant professor)". This is because many US universities use "lecturer" as job title for adjunct teaching staff (lower status than appropriate).

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-08T14:51:24.092Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

...and then, there are the Germans :-)

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-06T10:48:14.628Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thoughts on GetUp's Budget campaign?

comment by Craigus · 2015-10-05T23:15:37.591Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Potential crank warning; non-physicist proposing experiments. Sorry if I'm way off-base here, please let me know where I've gone wrong.

I was contemplating MWI and dark matter, and wondered if dark matter was just the gravitational influence of matter in other universes, where the other universes' matter is distributed differently to ours. Google tells me that others have proposed theories like this, but I can't find if anyone has ever tried to test it.

Has anyone ever tried to test this directly? We have gravimeters sensitive enough that one "detected the gradual increase in surface gravity as workmen cleared snow from its laboratory roof".

Imagine an experiment was run using a source of quantum-random binary data, with the protocol to move a large mass close to and further away from the gravimeter based on the quantum data. My expectation based on this theory is that the gravimeter would measure:

  • Classically move the mass away from the gravimeter: A baseline of gravitational influence (earth/buildings/etc)
  • Classically move the mass close to the gravimeter: The full gravity of the mass (baseline + mass).
  • Quantumly move the mass close to the gravimeter: Some of the gravity of the mass.
  • Quantumly move the mass away from the gravimeter: Some of the gravity of the mass.

The experimenters would want to repeat the quantum mass movements many times, so that as many universes as possible are able to measure both the 'close to' and 'further away' positions of the mass at least once. (If the experiment only did 5 measurements, 2 out of 32 universes would have their experiment be 'mass is always close' or 'mass is always further away', and therefore don't get the full benefit of the experiment.

Interestingly if this theory were true, experiments could be run where the gravimeter and mass are used to communicate between universes.

comment by DanielLC · 2015-10-06T03:49:22.414Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

MWI doesn't work that way. Universes are close iff the particles are in about the same place.

comment by CellBioGuy · 2015-10-06T03:34:06.115Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Is this the sort of experiment in which you would need macroscopically different 'universes' separated from each other by single quantum events, such that the thermal noise/interaction with the environment of the large experimental mass must be dealt with?

comment by Manfred · 2015-10-07T04:02:47.960Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There have been some similar ideas, but not related to MWI - as DanielLC says, the "distance" that separates two different states of the universe does not behave like we commonly imagine distance between "parallel worlds" to behave.

However, something that can behave like that is these extra spatial dimensions proposed by string theory, brane theory, etc. See wikipedia. I'm sure someone has proposed this as an explanation for dark matter.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-10T15:18:53.919Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How do you convince people of Cromwell's rule? (the use of prior probabilities of 0 or 1 should be avoided)

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-10T15:46:08.469Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Next time I discuss degrees of belief with my local atheist group, I'm going to try this one: absolute certainty = faith. That will surely shock them enough into abandoning absolute certainty.

comment by OrphanWilde · 2015-10-14T16:03:07.517Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Judging by my experience with atheists... no it won't. Your group might be better. Those I've encountered who hold to absolute certainty believe their absolute certainty is justified on the basis that God is impossible, or infinitely unlikely, or some similar line of argument.

ETA: That is, expect some line of argument about your certainty about the nonexistence of a triangle with total internal angles of 240 degrees, or something like that.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-14T16:52:34.545Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The first time I tried to use this argument, my test subjects switched from exact 0 to a ridiculously low percentage intended to mean basically the same.

Now I notice that your comment reveals that I may have committed an inconsistency with respect to a chain of comments I wrote before on the same topic.

This has me thinking. Eliezer said,

What would convince me that 2 + 2 = 3, in other words, is exactly the same kind of evidence that currently convinces me that 2 + 2 = 4: The evidential crossfire of physical observation, mental visualization, and social agreement.

I guess a fully consistent position would sound like this: "I'm very confident that the traditional description of God conflicts with itself, which makes the existence of God extremely unlikely in this universe, but of course there's always some likelihood that this universe doesn't work the way I suppose it did, or logic has a loophole that nobody has seen before, or omnipotence doesn't really care for impossibilities, and as a result God is real. But so far this doesn't look like the type of universe where that would happen."

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-10T00:56:13.993Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Why isn't microcurrent therapy more common for pain management?

comment by LessWrong (LessWrong1) · 2015-10-09T13:00:59.640Z · score: 0 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I've received several PMs from different users that would like to continue a discussion, but would not do it publicly -- they were afraid to be received negatively, or in other words, "negative karma".

I thought people on LW would be able to look past insignificant and shallow virtual ratings that I. personally, cannot tell what their meaning is. My own karma fluctuates between -15 to 15 and I'm perfectly fine with that; but other people seem to view it as some steps toward hell.

I thought I could escape all the usual nonsense surrounding discussions here, but I think I might be wrong.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-10T11:10:09.289Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

but would not do it publicly -- they were afraid to be received negatively, or in other words, "negative karma".

Karma scores mean that the community doesn't welcome a certain post. If you want lesswrong to be enjoyable for all participants it's reasonable to focus on writing posts that are likely to have high karma.

Apart from that you are a person who hides behind an anonymous handle that is expandly to you. Other people on LW don't hide but have their identities attached to what they write and there the possibility for real life effects.

comment by Dagon · 2015-10-09T19:44:04.584Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'd enjoy a conversation with anyone who thinks they have a useful comment (on any topic) which is un-postable because it would be received negatively. I'd like to explore whether it's about avoiding negative karma points, or fear of unkind followup comments, or wanting their user page to have only "important" things, or something else.

I'd like to have it in public, though - if you fear any of these things (or other reasons I haven't thought of), make a throwaway/burner account and use that.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-09T14:56:16.896Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You could treat it as a failed gut check and tell 'em to go grow an pair and then brass-plate it.

Or you can think about it as image management. Reputations are delicate things and are more than just your karma score.

comment by LessWrong (LessWrong1) · 2015-10-09T17:57:36.417Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Or you can think about it as image management. Reputations are delicate things and are more than just your karma score.

Once again, a point I want to emphasize: I thought that at LessWrong people would be able to overcome things such as "image management" and "reputation". In my view those things are just a few steps away from not asking a question or not presenting an opinion. Being scared of being wrong won't make your situation any better.

Do tell me if this isn't the case, or this isn't supposed to be the case.

comment by drethelin · 2015-10-10T02:30:27.504Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Unless Lesswrong exists in a vacuum, it has no or almost no power to overcome those things. Even if you didn't worry about being judged by people on lesswrong, the risk of being judged by someone elsewhere online still exists.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-09T19:06:34.573Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

would be able to overcome things such as "image management" and "reputation".

Why do you think this would be a good thing? Reputations are a valid concept, highly useful in social interactions. If you care about social interactions, you should (= it's rational to) care about your reputation which leads directly to the image management.

The real issue is the trade-off between maintaining a desirable reputation and the costs of doing so (e.g. not asking questions for the fear of looking stupid).

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-10T00:05:40.286Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Some of us are exhausted of the status games of meatspace life and just want to dissect ideas.

comment by Dagon · 2015-10-11T18:14:11.081Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You can choose groups with different status indicators and different ways of measuring reputation, but you probably can't find any human communication (and I'd argue this applies intra-personally as well as inter-; you're dealing with past-you and constraining future-you RIGHT NOW) that doesn't involve status, power, and image.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-12T15:03:44.073Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

No one forces you to play status games. If you don't care, you don't care so just dissect ideas and ignore the rest.

LessWrong was talking about other people being too concerned with their image. If you don't have this problem, well, there is no problem, is there?

comment by Dagon · 2015-10-11T18:11:43.954Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I thought that at LessWrong people would be able to overcome things such as "image management" and "reputation"

For myself (and from what I can tell of some others) I've chosen to accept and incorporate my humanity and the complexity of human social interactions, rather than "overcome", which is hard to distinguish from "denial of reality".

Image management, and especially self-image management, are important and difficult. They're going to color all human interactions, whether you or not you prefer that.

comment by Tem42 · 2015-10-14T00:35:55.424Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It may also be not that they think that they are talking about a unwelcome subject, but only that they recognize that not every conversation needs to be held publicly and recorded for posterity. If they want to talk about the weather, they should not do it in a thread -- not because it will be downvoted, but because it is rather rude to broadcast every conversation when we have a number of perfectly acceptable ways to hold conversations without distracting the entire site.

Of course, if "negative karma" was what they were really worried about, and this is not just your interpretation, it may be useful to hold conversations out in the open. At best you will be happily surprised, and at worst you will have am audience to encourage you to do your best when talking about questionable subjects.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-06T10:50:40.055Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW
  1. When you were a child did you prefer to play the hero or the villain in pretend and role-playing games?

  2. Today, are your favourite fictional characters heroes or villains?

comment by Sherincall · 2015-10-06T12:34:57.990Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

May be worthwhile to ask this on the Polling Thread.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-10-06T10:44:29.136Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I wanted to sow some spinach and lettuce this month cause it's the right time, both all these aphids are eating my brocoli. Not hard to get rid of, but so disgusting. Don't even want to eat it now. Growing your own food is so hard. Thank god for economic specialisation.

comment by advancedatheist · 2015-10-05T15:30:24.754Z · score: -10 (20 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't seen The Martian yet, but I find the reviews of it interesting. Why would a robinsonade set on another planet appeal so strongly to people, and especially now?

Well, we can feel the spiritual sickness of living in our world full of parasites and thought police. You have to learn how to manipulate people and keep careful control over what you say and do around them so that you can have a tolerable life - and you don't have access to the most elite people who have the most power over our whole society, like, say, Federal Reserve bankers.

By contrast, it feels more natural and healthier for us to extract our sustenance from nature directly through the use of our own minds and hands, where you don't have to play these ridiculous mind games with idiots. Our ancestors repeatedly had to solve survival challenges posed by new environments and situations by doing their version of "sciencing the shit out of them," and today's movie audiences seem to respond to that by seeing it in a science fictional context.

This could also explain the popularity of those admittedly staged "survival" series on cable, along with the reality series which show blue collar guys working on commercial fishing boats, in logging camps or in gunsmithing shops. We know that we live largely in a simulacrum of reality, especially with all this social-justice make-believe, and the knowledge has become a splinter in our minds.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-05T16:34:59.918Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

For the first time since Verne, real-life science has advanced so much that mundane sci-fi has gotten actually interesting. What's not to love about that?

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-05T16:43:04.775Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm a bit confused about the concept of mundane sci-fi -- what's sci-fi about it or, rephrasing slightly, why is it not just plain old fiction?

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-05T16:48:54.203Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The sci-fi part of it is the extrapolation into practical applications or social consequences of established science. If we take, for example, genetics, both X-Men and Gattaca are genetic sci-fi, but only Gattaca is credible from a scientific standpoint.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-05T17:04:34.550Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Your link defines mundane sci-fi as (emphasis mine):

stories set on or near the Earth, with a believable use of technology and science as it exists at the time the story is written.

I don't thing Gattaca qualifies.

As to X-Men, I don't consider them sci-fi at all, at least any more than, say, Twilight.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-05T17:07:58.971Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

OK, think Gravity vs. Star Trek (ignoring for the sake of argument the factual inaccuracies in Gravity).

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-05T18:04:13.010Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Gravity?

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-05T18:14:27.630Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Gravity.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-10-05T18:42:35.671Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, OK. Why is this sci-fi and not a regular drama? Because space..?

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-05T19:34:43.468Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Good question: what does Gravity have that Titanic doesn't? Both are survival tales that deal with what can go horribly wrong with the latest technology, but the eerily prescient Futility wasn't considered sci-fi at the time. I think it's a sign that we live in interesting times that the definition of sci-fi is getting blurry. Apollo 13 counts as historical drama despite having a very similar topic to Gravity, mostly because the events in Apollo 13 did actually happen. For comparison, The Prestige is classified as sci-fi despite occurring in our relative past, and Left Behind, although set in the future, is not sci-fi by any definition.

comment by MrMind · 2015-10-06T07:05:43.282Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Well now I've both read the book and saw the movie, and I can tell you that's the complete opposite: Mars is portrayed as the perfect alien environment, strikingly beautiful yet extremely deadly, uncaring about its human inhabitants.
The struggle of Watney is exactly this, surviving with only your wits and a few scraps of human technology, but doing so without ever losing humor and optimism (this is the reason I personally love it).
Humanity, in The Martian, is yearned, a safe heaven to return to. Literary speaking, the point of catharsis is the return inside the human community.

comment by CellBioGuy · 2015-10-06T03:03:52.020Z · score: 4 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I again call bullshit on your vote manipulation. I saw this post rise from -3 to +4 in the same reload cycle in which your other post in the open thread rose from -10 to +7.

comment by MrMind · 2015-10-06T07:10:26.429Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Well, I have two questions for you.

1- Let's say that advancedatheist is really manipulating votes. How would you do it? He would have to have dozens of fake identities, or having hacked the forum code somehow. What would be the evidence of this?

2- What evidence would convince you that he is not manipulating votes?

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-10-06T08:40:02.577Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

2- What evidence would convince you that he is not manipulating votes?

It's relatively* straightforward for the mods to see which accounts casted the votes. If the accounts have business casting votes that would be evidence that advancedatheist is not responsible for it.

*In theory, in practice Trike Apps hosts the server and one of their guys has to query the database.

comment by CellBioGuy · 2015-10-16T03:12:39.355Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Votes are definitely being manipulated, and I have observed frequent rapid upvote blasts on this user's heavily-downvoted populations of posts for something like a year. The question really is by who, and I don't know how to prove that rigorously (computer systems aren't exactly my specialty), but the problem has been relatively focused for such a long time that I consider other possibilities unlikely.

Now that there is apparently a ban in place (for reasons I find quite understandable and potentially valid yet lacking in rigorous policy), we should definitely be looking for similar upvote blasts elsewhere, which would increase the odds of it being a third party.

comment by VoiceOfRa · 2015-10-06T02:55:31.739Z · score: -6 (10 votes) · LW · GW

This could also explain the popularity of those admittedly staged "survival" series on cable, along with the reality series which show blue collar guys working on commercial fishing boats, in logging camps or in gunsmithing shops. We know that we live largely in a simulacrum of reality, especially with all this social-justice make-believe, and the knowledge has become a splinter in our minds.

Let's hope this is a preview of common people forcing the SJW elite to confront reality.

comment by advancedatheist · 2015-10-05T15:23:01.405Z · score: -32 (45 votes) · LW · GW

Apparently incel played a role in Chris Harper-Mercer's rampage killing last week. And he reportedly derived inspiration from Elliot Rodger's example last year. I suspect we'll see more of these guys because of all the media attention the previous ones receive, and the next incel mass murderer will probably leave documentation behind about his admiration for Mercer.

Mixed-race parenting and absent or disengaged fathers seem to act as secondary causes in both Rodger's and Mercer's alienation and generally screwed up lives, but no one wants to talk about those factors for some reason. Setting aside the miscegenation and the disrupted family relationships, that leaves the growing incel phenomenon, the sexual eviction of more and more of the male population, as the elephant in the room that people really don't want to talk about, because it raises inconvenient questions about feminism, women's sexual freedom and hypergamy.

No, point to shiny distractions like guns, "mental illness," "misogyny," etc., instead of naming the main issue here.

I saw a blogger who linked to discussions on reddit and dailykos where apparently women demand that the state round up incels and put them in "camps" or otherwise do away with them. I found that striking, because I've noticed that women freak out when I say that we need to restore a healthy patriarchy where women can't get sexual experience until marriage.

Now, at first blush the usual Manospherean reason suggests itself: This proposal unsettles women because they find most men sexually repulsive, even though in monogamous societies where most women have to marry ordinary men and have sexual relationships with their allegedly yucky husbands, they find the experience tolerable and they make a go of it. Some of these women might even wind up respecting their husbands after seeming these men's character in action.

But another reason for this reaction suggests itself to me: Guilt. Women know on some level that they have done wrong by embracing feminism, sexual freedom and hypergamy, and they don't want to face accountability for their transgressions. The ones who advocate online the murder of incels apparently do so for the same reason criminals try to murder their victims and the witnesses to their crimes: They don't want these men around to testify against them.

comment by CellBioGuy · 2015-10-06T02:44:33.864Z · score: 24 (24 votes) · LW · GW

I've noticed that women freak out when I say that we need to restore a healthy patriarchy where women can't get sexual experience until marriage.

Not just women.

comment by jaime2000 · 2015-10-06T05:07:50.006Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Not just women.

My understanding is that in the patriarchies of the past there were a small number of prostitutes and bad girls which young men could use to gain some experience and confidence before settling down and marrying nice, virgin girls.

comment by bbleeker · 2015-10-06T10:05:59.093Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Um. I upvoted CellBioGuy because I assumed 'Not just women' meant 'Not just women freak out when advancedatheist says stuff like that'. Was my interpretation wrong?

comment by jaime2000 · 2015-10-06T14:17:40.529Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Huh. I interpreted it as "not just women can't get sexual experience until marriage in a healthy patriarchy," but now that you mention it, your interpretation seems correct.

comment by bbleeker · 2015-10-06T15:31:29.246Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Your interpretation is possible too. It's just that I saw the other one first, and I didn't even think of yours till I saw your post.

comment by CellBioGuy · 2015-10-16T02:49:09.759Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

For the record, your interpretation was correct.

comment by MrMind · 2015-10-06T07:14:35.364Z · score: -16 (18 votes) · LW · GW

There's nothing nice about virgin girls ;)

comment by SolveIt · 2015-10-06T14:08:08.379Z · score: 18 (16 votes) · LW · GW

You need to get off the internet and start interacting with normal people who don't advocate state-sanctioned massacres of any kind. You can find extreme enough opinions of any colour on the internet if you try hard enough. That doesn't mean any significant number of people hold them, it means there are billions of people online and someone went out of their way to find the most rhetorically useful targets.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-10-05T16:29:50.523Z · score: 18 (18 votes) · LW · GW

Do you feel motivated to channel your frustrations through a gun? If your answer is yes, you need to deal with bigger problems than your celibacy. If your answer is no, you are actually in the majority of the incel population, and you need to stop inventing causal connections where there are none.

comment by CellBioGuy · 2015-10-06T02:52:07.235Z · score: 14 (20 votes) · LW · GW

This post just went from -10 to 0 in about 3 minutes. I'm calling bullshit (again) on your trolling and vote-gaming.

EDIT: A further 7 upwards to +7 in another 5 minutes after I originally posted that. Seriously?

EDIT 2: A downvote? Really?

comment by MrMind · 2015-10-06T07:15:31.757Z · score: 9 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Mixed-race parenting and absent or disengaged fathers seem to act as secondary causes in both Rodger's and Mercer's alienation

And you have evidence of this because...?

comment by knb · 2015-10-06T02:36:37.513Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I saw a blogger who linked to discussions on reddit and dailykos where apparently women demand that the state round up incels and put them in "camps" or otherwise do away with them.

The context matters here. Were they talking about rounding up any virgin male? Or was it virgin men who make threats of violence against women specifically?

comment by username2 · 2015-10-11T20:33:20.157Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In principle this could be a topic worth discussing, but we need way more cool-headed data analysis and way less political overtones, the way any good sex research is done. On some level, I sympathize with your need to vent. On another, you have to elevate your writing beyond relatively unfiltered venting.