Less Wrong Polls in Comments

post by jimrandomh · 2012-09-19T16:19:36.221Z · score: 79 (82 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 310 comments

You can now write Less Wrong comments that contain polls! John Simon picked up and finished some code I had written back in 2010 but never finished, and our admins Wesley Moore and Matt Fallshaw have deployed it. You can use it right now, so let's give it some testing here in this thread.

The polls work through the existing Markdown comment formatting, similar to the syntax used for links. Full documentation is in the wiki; the short version is that you can write comments like this:

What is your favorite color? [poll]{Red}{Green}{Blue}{Other}

How long has it been your favorite color, in years? [poll:number]

Red is a nice color [poll:Agree....Disagree]

Will your favorite color change? [poll:probability]

To see the results of the poll, you have to vote (you can leave questions blank if you want). The results include a link to the raw poll data, including the usernames of people who submitted votes with the "Vote anonymously" box unchecked. After you submit the comment, if you go back and edit your comment all those poll tags will have turned into [pollid:123]. You can edit the rest of the comment without resetting the poll, but you can't change the options.

It works right now, but it's also new and could be buggy. Let's give it some testing; what have you always wanted to know about Less Wrongers?

310 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Unnamed · 2012-09-20T06:44:50.418Z · score: 24 (24 votes) · LW · GW

Which poll answer will receive the largest number of responses? [pollid:38]

comment by thomblake · 2012-09-20T15:06:10.793Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I love this poll

comment by Unnamed · 2012-10-20T22:01:57.232Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

After one month and 120 responses, I'm considering this poll closed. The results are:

1) The third one: 21%
2) The fifth one: 15%
3) The second one: 14%
4) The first one: 32%
5) The fourth one: 18%

A chi-squared test says that these results are non-uniform, with a p-value of 0.02.

The correct answer, #5 "the fourth one", was chosen by 18% of respondents. The most common answer was #4, "the first one".

This poll idea was taken from a gamefaqs poll which was linked on LW last year. The results of that poll (which had a much larger sample size) were:

1) The third one: 17%
2) The first one: 24%
3) The last one: 21%
4) The second one: 26%
5) The fourth one: 11%

My hypothesis about that poll was:

The first option is most salient, by virtue of being first. Level 0 players will tend to choose option 1. Level 1 players will realize that this is what level 0 players will do, so they will tend to choose option 2 ("the first one"). Level 2 players will realize that this is what level 1 players will do, so they will tend to choose option 4 ("the second one"). Level 3 players will realize that this is what level 2 players will do, so they will tend to choose option 5 ("the fourth one"). Apparently there are lots of level 1 & 2 players, but very few level 3 players.

That hypothesis predicts that the most common responses on the LW poll would be the level 1 response, #4 "the first one", and the level 2 response, #5 "the fourth one". The data provide partial confirmation of this hypothesis; in terms of levels the most common responses to the LW poll were:

32% Level 1 (#4 "the first one")
21% Level 0 (#1 "the third one")
18% Level 2 (#5 "the fourth one")
15% Level 3 (#2 "the fifth one")
14% Level 4 (#3 "the second one")

And for the gamefaqs poll:
26% Level 2 (#4 "the second one")
24% Level 1 (#2 "the first one")
21% Level 4 (#3 "the last one")
17% Level 0 (#1 "the third one")
11% Level 3 (#5 "the fourth one")

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-26T16:44:54.513Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Some people don't pick very good schelling points.

comment by MichaelHoward · 2012-09-19T22:31:08.068Z · score: 23 (35 votes) · LW · GW

Do you ever have feelings of irrational nostalgia for hopelessly obsolete technology?

comment by MichaelHoward · 2012-09-19T22:33:34.102Z · score: 42 (50 votes) · LW · GW

Vote up for YES.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T10:06:16.878Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I used a Nokia 3330 until last year.

comment by Jayson_Virissimo · 2012-09-22T09:59:00.291Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That belongs in a museum!

-Indiana Jones

comment by Nisan · 2012-09-22T13:06:03.848Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It is a radio to God.

— René Belloq

comment by MichaelHoward · 2012-09-19T22:33:24.369Z · score: 7 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Vote up for NO.

comment by MichaelHoward · 2012-09-19T22:32:08.736Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Karma balance.

comment by MichaelHoward · 2012-09-19T22:31:55.247Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Vote up for NO.

comment by MichaelHoward · 2012-09-19T22:31:43.177Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Vote up for YES.

comment by MichaelHoward · 2012-09-19T22:33:15.646Z · score: -42 (48 votes) · LW · GW

Karma balance.

comment by kilobug · 2012-09-19T18:59:24.725Z · score: 23 (23 votes) · LW · GW

Great features ! Thanks and congrats to those who made it happen.

One suggestion : you can't see the result until you voted, I guess it's not to bias/anchor the answer, but then it would be nice to add an option "I don't plan to vote, let me see the results", so someone who doesn't want to vote for any reason can still access the outcome. Or else, there is a risk of people not wanting to vote but wanting to see the outcome will vote "at random" and skew the result.

comment by CCC · 2012-09-20T06:32:00.638Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

In the meantime, the effect can be simulated by proper selection of options. Example:

Which is your favourite superhero? [pollid:37]

comment by RobinZ · 2012-09-20T18:20:00.193Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Excluding the ponies (which I didn't vote on, because I am one of sixteen people remaining on the Internet who doesn't pony yet), this is the earliest radio poll where the sum of the numbers in the column matches the "Total" number at the bottom.

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2012-09-21T08:02:48.996Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

because I am one of sixteen people remaining on the Internet who doesn't pony yet

I am glad that you used the word "yet": accepting the possibility of getting better is an essential part of overcoming a problem.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T18:21:50.792Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I am one of sixteen people remaining on the Internet who doesn't pony yet

It's a relief to know I'm not the only one...

comment by Solvent · 2012-09-20T11:13:46.685Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I love what this poll reveals about LW readers. Many sympathise with Batman, because of his tech/intellectual angle. The same with Iron Man, but he's a bit less cool. Then two have heard of superman, and most LWers are male. And most of us don't care.

comment by adamisom · 2012-09-28T18:05:10.938Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Results: 4+16+2+16+1+27(last option) = 144? WTF?

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-10-01T11:08:14.192Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The issue of the bug in question has been discussed already, in this very thread -- but even if it hadn't, I don't think the discovery of a bug should stun you this much.

comment by adamisom · 2012-10-01T16:48:03.023Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Somebody sounds grouchy :/ In fact, it would be completely unsurprising if I had read the other comments. Oops.

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-22T02:25:15.398Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What would be really funny is if, when you select "I don't care, but I'd like to see the results" you see that everyone else filled it out the same way.

comment by Kindly · 2012-09-20T12:37:39.182Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Who is your favorite superhero? [pollid:46]

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T20:46:43.704Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

[pollid:48]

EDIT: uh oh, you can't fix typos in polls. I don't know if that is a good thing or a barrier to lulz

comment by Kindly · 2012-09-20T21:15:52.608Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not conflating options, because I'm not really comparing Spiderman to not-Spiderman, I'm comparing Spiderman to the poll results in CCC's comment. The effect is the same as editing the previous poll to add Spiderman.

Also apparently it's "Spider-Man".

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T20:48:54.054Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You can clone polls. I wonder what the other polls are.

[pollid:48]

No wait, you can't. Someone thought this thru.

comment by Kindly · 2012-09-20T11:35:33.434Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Spiderman! Why isn't Spiderman on there? I bet he'd be way more popular than that Flash guy whoever he is.

comment by CCC · 2012-09-20T11:50:54.904Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

...Spiderman! I knew I was forgetting someone!

And the poll options cannot be edited after the fact (though the question can be).

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2012-09-20T12:48:50.142Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Funny that Iron Man was the only Marvel hero on the list. If I had to pick one Marvel hero... he wouldn't have been the one.

comment by CCC · 2012-10-03T09:34:02.757Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He did have a movie out recently. I think that's why his name drifted into my head at the time of the poll.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-09-21T07:16:04.804Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Spiderman! Why isn't Spiderman on there? I bet he'd be way more popular than that Flash guy whoever he is.

On the other hand even complete anonymity could be sufficient for those who consider Spiderman a kind of pathetic whiny child.

comment by Unnamed · 2012-09-20T07:05:43.420Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This is a problem. Ideally there would be a separate button next to the "vote" button (a forum that I read has that feature, with the button labeled "View Results (Null Vote)"). Second-best would be to allow people to submit a blank vote (which is not as good, since it's not obvious to people that they have that option), but it currently does not work that way (even though the OP seems to say that it does).

comment by GuySrinivasan · 2012-09-19T17:08:03.614Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Minimize the expected square of the distance between your answer and 80% of the mean of the answers chosen: [pollid:8]

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2012-09-20T12:53:03.466Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I see a 'Total 123' but the table and chart only show 2 votes. The raw data also have 123 entries.

comment by Endovior · 2012-09-22T16:02:39.550Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, it looks like there's something seriously broken about this poll code. I'm seeing 159 total votes, and only 13 visible votes.

comment by Sarokrae · 2012-09-20T20:58:02.583Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Total 139, chart shows 0 votes...

comment by jeremysalwen · 2012-09-20T14:56:07.025Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Hey everyone, I just voted, and so I can see the correct answer. The average is 19.2, so you should choose 17%!

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T20:51:21.748Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Of course that's what you'd say...

comment by jeremysalwen · 2012-09-20T20:53:58.356Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Or maybe that's what I want you to think I'd say...

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T20:58:39.194Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The noise in my simulations quickly drown out any actual logic and the markov chain reaches its stable distribution.

comment by jeremysalwen · 2012-09-20T21:06:51.604Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So what did you guess then?

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T21:08:45.144Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I guessed "the only winning move is not to play"

(I didn't guess. rationalization: I didn't want to do the thinking, and can't see the results anyway)

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T10:40:02.997Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A function to automatically compute the averages should be implemented.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2012-09-20T13:22:34.391Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

awk is made for this, but it took me a few minutes to whip this up in java. I figured if numeric polls are used in the future, this can be used as a code-base. The indentation isn't coming through, but any IDE will fix that for you.

This doesn't work on arbitrary numeric entry polls, but for those, you can gather the statistics as you go along, putting it in the GATHER loop

EDITED to fix serious bug.

usage: paste this into PollStat.java, compile it. then run

java PollStat < poll.csv.txt

So far, the winners are endoself and army1987. I wasn't far off.

~~~~~

import java.io.*;
import java.util.*;

public class PollStat {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    try {
      BufferedReader br = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(System.in));
      String line = br.readLine();
      int[] counts = new int[12]; // PUT NUMBER OF POLL OPTIONS HERE
      int end, begin;
      int linen = 0;
      while (line != null && line.charAt(0) == '#') {
        line = br.readLine();
        linen++;
      }
      while (line != null) { // GATHER LOOP
        linen++;
        end = line.lastIndexOf("\",\"");
        begin = line.lastIndexOf("\",\"", end-1);
        try {
          line = line.substring(begin+3, end);
        } catch (Exception e) {
          System.out.println("At line number "+linen+":");
          e.printStackTrace();
          System.exit(1);
        }
        Integer c = Integer.parseInt(line);
        counts[c]++;
// For arbitrary numeric responses, don't use counts.
// just continuously gather your statistics. Alternately, make a list of Doubles or something.

        line = br.readLine();
      }
      br.close();


      int total = 0;
      int resp = 0;

      int[] numbers = new int[]{100, 64, 41, 26, 17, 11, 7, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0}; // PUT POLL OPTIONS HERE
      for (int i = 0; i < c.length; i++) {
        System.out.println(numbers[i]+": "+counts[i]);
        total += numbers[i] * counts[i];
        resp += counts[i];
      }
      System.out.println("total: "+total);
      System.out.println("average: "+((double)total)/resp);

      } catch (IOException ioe) {
        ioe.printStackTrace();
        System.exit(2);
      }
  }
}
comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-09-20T10:54:11.454Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Not really -- if you check out the wiki page this type of poll is meant for discrete options, not for numbers or probabilities. For probabilities the "poll:probability" type should be used, which does automatically compute averages and medians.

comment by loup-vaillant · 2012-09-20T07:53:49.217Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ahrgh, if only everyone was running TDT…

comment by wedrifid · 2012-09-20T10:06:25.190Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ahrgh, if only everyone was running TDT…

Or UDT. Or CDT. Or EDT.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T10:43:25.616Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Dunno... If you treat it as a zero-sum game (i.e. you don't only want your answer to be close to 80% of the average answer, but you also want other people's answers to be far from it) it's not obvious to me that you should vote 0.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-09-20T11:03:56.193Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Dunno... If you treat it as a zero-sum game (i.e. you don't only want your answer to be close to 80% of the average answer, but you also want other people's answers to be far from it) it's not obvious to me that you should vote 0.

I was granting for the purpose of responding that loup-vailant's clear assumption that normal game theory principles apply---each agent is interested only in the payoffs to itself to the exclusion of all else and the payoffs are such that it gets 0 for being wrong and >0 for being right.

It so happens that my own actual response (100%) doesn't conform to those assumptions. In fact my original reply to:

Minimize the expected square of the distance between your answer and 80% of the mean of the answers chosen:

... was "No", and my original reply to loup-vaillant pontificated about the complete lack of payoff to any of the radio buttons. However I abandoned that point because the point about it not mattering whether the other guy is using CDT or TDT actually matters (somewhat).

In this game (ie. with an actual assumed payoff for correct and no negative payoff for other's success) the Nash equilibrium (and the outcome that a group of all CDT agents would pick) also happens to be pareto optimal. In fact, it outright gives the maximum possible payoff to every individual. Even inferior decision theories can pull that off.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2012-09-20T16:30:46.885Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, but whichever decision theory you're using, you need to be ready for the few people voted for 100. Someone's going to do something to ruin it for everyone. And it wasn't just a few who ruined it - vs rirelbar jub'q ibgrq yrff guna sbegl bar ibgrq mreb, gur nirentr jbhyq or nyzbfg rknpgyl rvtug.

comment by William_Quixote · 2012-09-20T23:59:01.510Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Forgive me for being new to the site, but I've see this kind of writing

rirelbar jub'q ibgrq yrff guna sbegl bar ibgrq mreb, gur nirentr jbhyq or nyzbfg rknpgyl rvtug.

in several places. How is it translated back to readable English?

comment by Nornagest · 2012-09-21T00:04:20.100Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It's rot13, a shift cipher typically used around here to obscure spoilers and spoiler-like information. Cut and paste it into rot13.com, install the d3coder extension for Chrome or something similar for another browser, or (if you like tedium) decipher it yourself.

comment by William_Quixote · 2012-09-21T00:11:52.984Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

thanks!

comment by wedrifid · 2012-09-20T18:01:23.909Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, but whichever decision theory you're using, you need to be ready for the 6 people voted for 100.

That would be why this subthread was based on a lament.

comment by Alicorn · 2012-09-19T19:53:19.063Z · score: 11 (15 votes) · LW · GW

I would like a user preference that makes it possible to vote non-anonymously by default. But it's low priority - this is really awesome as is!

comment by thomblake · 2012-09-19T19:59:27.363Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

seconded

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-22T15:09:53.085Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

(Or even it remembering whether you chose to vote non-anonymously in the last poll you took.)

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-09-20T12:24:14.579Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

BUG: The display of the data for the multiple-choice polls seems to reset at some point, though I can still see the complete raw data when clicking at them... e.g. right now, though 68 people have voted for the "best pony", at the display I only see the choice of the 68th person (Applejack) having a single vote, and all the other choices are falsely at zero.

Similar things with other polls.

comment by jimrandomh · 2012-09-20T16:52:36.025Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Confirmed. The issue is in an interaction between the polling code and Reddit's custom ORM which causes vote-totals to be cached, but not persisted to the database correctly. I have a fix, which I'm testing now. All polls created before the fix is applied will be affected; it'll be possible to restore them, but it'd take some work which isn't a priority for me.

comment by wmoore · 2012-09-21T01:04:52.935Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I've just deployed a fix that will apply to all new poll votes. Thanks jimrandomh for passing on the bug report and initial patch.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-09-20T14:04:34.080Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Here's a screenshot of that with my poll:

I still have access to the raw poll data.

comment by philh · 2012-09-19T17:23:37.231Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

The raw poll data is sent with "Content-Disposition: attachment", which causes firefox to download it instead of letting me view it in the browser. Is this deliberate?

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-20T06:23:48.948Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Oooh great idea. Bugs / Suggestions:

  1. The answers are transformed into this tiny little poll code with a poll id, so I assume it's being saved to a database. However, the questions are not being saved with them. I can edit my question after the poll has been answered. This may result in some pranks later where you ask some obvious question like "does the earth revolve around the sun" or whatever and everyone answers "yes" and then you can change your question to "are you a Scientologist?" and you will see everyone's votes saying "yes" to that. Much more malicious changes are possible, of course. Also, if the questions aren't stored in the database with the answers, you won't have as many options later for doing cool things with your database full of polls.

  2. The code: [Poll] does not work because it's upper case, but this is not an obvious reason for poll failure, so one may end up wasting lots of time trying to figure it out or make annoying requests for support. Making this case insensitive is probably a good idea.

  3. The poll seems designed for very short answers. My elitism poll results look bad for that reason.

comment by Kindly · 2012-09-20T22:00:12.621Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The poll seems designed for very short answers.

Feature, not bug.

comment by CCC · 2012-09-20T12:05:17.340Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Which of the following is true? [pollid:45]

comment by Unnamed · 2012-09-20T06:49:20.063Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Pick your answer to this poll at random: [pollid:39]

comment by Bugmaster · 2012-09-20T20:00:26.633Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I used random.org to generate my answer.

But, when I submitted it, I got the following:

First Answer 0 (0%)
Second Answer 0 (0%)
Third Answer 0 (0%)
Fourth Answer 1 (2%)
Fifth Answer 0 (0%)
Total 58 (100%)

The raw data contained all the 58 rows, however. Seems like there might be a bug in the result-rendering code.

comment by royf · 2012-09-20T17:03:05.909Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

To anyone thinking this is not random, with 42 votes in:

  • The p-value is 0.895 (this is the probability of seeing at least this much non-randomness, assuming a uniform distribution)

  • The entropy is 2.302bits instead of log(5) = 2.322bits, for 0.02bits KL-distance (this is the number of bits you lose for encoding one of these votes as if it was random)

If you think you see a pattern here, you should either see a doctor or a statistician.

comment by DanArmak · 2012-09-20T18:19:33.959Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I wish I could see a doctor-statistician. Or at least a doctor who understood statistics.

comment by shminux · 2012-09-20T18:34:14.347Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Yvain might some day have his own practice.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T19:29:59.973Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Looks like we're better at randomness than the rest of the population. If I asked random people for a random number from 1 to 10, I wouldn't be surprised to see substantially less than 3.322 bits of entropy per number (e.g., many more than 10% of the people choosing 7).

comment by gwern · 2012-09-26T20:00:42.284Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, it's worth noting people seem to be trainable to choose randomly: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/85192141/1986-neuringer.pdf

Apropos of the PRNG discussion in http://blog.yunwilliamyu.net/2011/08/14/mindhack-mental-math-pseudo-random-number-generators/ for which I wrote some flashcards: http://pastebin.com/CKif0fEf

comment by scav · 2012-09-20T07:54:02.947Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Ha. I fail at random. In my defence, the universe is probably deterministic anyway.

comment by BlazeOrangeDeer · 2012-09-25T00:58:22.159Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

it's probably not, but you're still excused ;)

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T10:47:36.682Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Is (the seconds' figure in my watch) mod 5 random enough?

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2012-09-20T13:43:12.271Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I used the least significant digit on my time-remaining-to-full-charge. And ended up propping up the most populated entry.

comment by BlazeOrangeDeer · 2012-09-25T00:59:59.163Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I needed 3 random bits (and threw out any overflow), which I got by checking whether arbitrary words or phrases I thought of had an even or odd number of letters. That's the most random completely mental (heh) way I know of, I wonder if there are others.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2012-09-25T10:22:27.474Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

... you could have done it more-reliably evenly by taking the mod 5 of the phrase/word length.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-25T22:26:36.430Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Considering that the average word length in English is about five letters, I suspect that'd be quite far from being uniformly distributed.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2012-09-26T13:39:01.343Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Average is irrelevant. What's relevant is the standard deviation.

Since standard deviation goes as the square root of the number of items being added, phrase length for any reasonably-sized phrase, so long as it wasn't a line of poetry, should be pretty evenly distributed.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-25T22:23:00.466Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's not obvious to me that it's unbiased. My gut feeling suspects that if I randomly chose a word it'd be more likely to have an odd than an even number of letters.

comment by Unnamed · 2012-10-20T22:13:43.465Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

After one month and 118 responses, I'm considering this poll closed. The results are:

1) 17%
2) 21%
3) 20%
4) 24%
5) 18%

A chi-squared test says that these results do not differ significantly from uniform random responding, with a p-value of 0.78.

The main reason why I ran this poll was because I thought it might have implications for the trickier poll above. It is interesting the option #4 was the most common response in this poll, that poll, and the gamefaqs poll which that poll was based on. #4 may seem especially random, and some respondents in the other polls may have just been trying to answer at random. But this poll ended up not providing much information about that; to test it we'd need a larger sample size, and preferably a poll where respondents did not use external sources of randomness.

comment by mfb · 2012-09-30T17:32:46.776Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think this would be even more interesting as "pick at random, without an external source of randomness". Sure you can get random numbers from random.org, your computer or the seconds on your watch (a nice idee), but those just blur the effect of mind-generated random numbers.

comment by gwern · 2012-09-26T16:25:32.807Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

For convenience: http://www.random.org/ or in Bash, echo $(($RANDOM % 5 + 1))

comment by RobinZ · 2012-09-26T14:09:05.536Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Question: what's a reasonable prior over the probability distribution of poll answers? Because I downloaded the raw data, and it says:

  1. 15
  2. 22
  3. 21
  4. 24
  5. 18

...and I'm not sure what would constitute reasonable priors for the uniform distribution hypothesis versus the "aversion toward First Answer" hypothesis versus the "aversion toward First Answer and Fifth Answer" hypothesis.

comment by othercriteria · 2012-09-30T15:34:09.808Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Your question is confused. The uniform distribution hypothesis only requires that the (assumed infinite) population picks the answers independently with equal probability. Under this hypothesis, the observed poll answers (for a fixed number of respondents) will follow a multinomial distribution with parameters (0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2). A typical realization will not have an equal number of respondents giving each answer, although asymptotically the empirical frequencies will converge to equality.

Anyways, as a Bayesian, the better question is what should my posterior belief about the response probabilities be after running the poll and updating off the answers? The canonical way to do this would be to put a Dirichlet prior over the response probabilities. By the miracle of conjugacy, your posterior distribution will itself by a (generally different) Dirichlet distribution.

By taking the expectation of indicator variables like I{"probability of First Answer under 0.2"} under the posterior, you can figure out what degree of belief you must give to statements like "respondents have an aversion toward First Answer".

comment by RobinZ · 2012-09-30T15:40:20.691Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That makes sense - I had imagined doing something similar, but I had never heard of Dirichlet priors.

comment by othercriteria · 2012-09-30T16:00:20.505Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Happy this helped. The Dirichlet-multinomial model gets relatively little attention because it adds nothing really new to the beta-binomial model for polls with just two responses. It's easy to find lots of introductory, chatty introductions to the beta-binomial like this one or this one if you want to learn more...

comment by Kindly · 2012-09-26T16:32:30.079Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

My own feelings on the matter are that if you don't know what prior to have, compute worst-case bounds.

In this case, the model that maximizes the probability of seeing this data is that each answer is 15% likely to be 1, 22% likely to be 2, 21% likely to be 3, 24% likely to be 4, and 18% likely to be 5. We can compute the probability of seeing this data under this model, and also under the "all answers are equally likely" model, and conclude that our worst-case model makes us only 3.61 times as likely to see this data.

In particular, any other hypothesis you might have can only receive this little evidence, relative to the uniform distribution hypothesis; and I believe in close-to-uniformity enough that I'm not going to be swayed by what is fewer than 2 bits of evidence.

comment by RobinZ · 2012-09-27T02:16:11.908Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks! I didn't think of that particular brainhack - I'll be sure to use it in the future.

comment by RobinZ · 2012-09-20T18:40:48.946Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I rolled 1d6, intending to reroll any 6s.

comment by MichaelHoward · 2012-09-19T20:25:05.458Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Most voters so far have probably voted False to this question: [pollid:16]

comment by Antisuji · 2012-09-20T00:33:30.567Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

This doesn't look right: http://screencast.com/t/qpRGihBG

The raw data says there are 13 votes for "0" and 20 votes for "1".

comment by Kindly · 2012-09-20T02:44:40.430Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Looking at the raw data, it seems that at some point the True and False counts got reset, but then kept increasing as normal. The same thing happened in this poll and this one but not others.

comment by RobinZ · 2012-09-20T18:54:20.129Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

As of my vote, I count 28 winners.

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2012-09-21T08:25:08.199Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

If you choose an answer to this question at random (using a uniform distribution), what is the probability that you will be correct? [pollid:51]

comment by Morendil · 2012-09-19T16:15:26.813Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Neat. Thanks!

This deserves karma. For fun, enter how much you think this post will get. [pollid:6]

comment by RobertLumley · 2012-09-19T16:28:04.024Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

After my vote:

" Mean 43.5 Median 75.0 Total votes 2"

Well this is mathematically impossible... My guess is the median isn't properly calculated for even numbers of votes.

comment by jimrandomh · 2012-09-19T16:56:16.418Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for spotting this! I looked into it, and it seems to be double-counting the most recent result when computing the median. It's an order-of-initialization issue; it thinks it's getting all the results except the new one, adding it, then taking the median, but it's actually getting a list of all the results. The fix is straightforward; I'll email the admins to apply it.

comment by wmoore · 2012-09-19T23:48:23.403Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Your fix for the incorrect median calculation has been deployed.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-09-20T12:30:56.057Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I got a mean of -9.91765890411e+16, so something is still wrong.

comment by Kindly · 2012-09-20T13:25:18.102Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

No, that's unfortunate but correct (several people entered things like entered -3e+18 as their estimate).

comment by DaFranker · 2012-09-19T16:34:50.323Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

...trolltastic.

"Mean 1.25e+18 Median 45.0 Total votes 8"

comment by siodine · 2012-09-19T16:56:27.322Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Specifying a lower and upper bound on the input should be required.

comment by ema · 2012-09-21T14:35:30.970Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That doesn't really prevent trolling, so i'm not sure that it would be helpful.

comment by siodine · 2012-09-21T16:42:59.041Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It won't prevent trolling but it will minimize its effects. As it stands, you can input numbers like 1e+19 which will seriously throw off the mean. If trolls can only give the highest or lowest reasonable bound then they're not going to have much of an effect individually and that makes going through the effort to troll less worthwhile.

comment by Kawoomba · 2012-09-21T17:33:03.751Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well this is mathematically impossible...

Not necessarily:

Votes: 12 and 75

Mean: 43.5

Median (upper median): 75

While the standard e.g. wolfram alpha definition (which isn't normative) of the median would be 43.5 as well, it is an accepted practice (in plenty of CS grad classes, at least) to have the median guaranteed to be an element of the sample, normally the upper median is then chosen simply as "median". Hence the wiki definition having the qualifier "usual".

In fact, I was surprised that the median is strictly speaking not guaranteed to be an element of the set, using the majority mathematical definition.

So, not so much an error as a lazy CS convention ...

comment by GuySrinivasan · 2012-09-19T17:19:17.063Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

It correctly interpreted ۲ as 2. :)

comment by jimrandomh · 2012-09-19T16:06:55.803Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

This is the sample poll from the article (just a straight copy-paste). These aren't exciting questions, so you should ask some that are!

What is your favorite color? [pollid:2]

How long has it been your favorite color, in years? [pollid:3]

Red is a nice color [pollid:4]

Will your favorite color change? [pollid:5]

comment by Benya (Benja) · 2012-09-19T16:23:14.462Z · score: 21 (21 votes) · LW · GW

Current results: Red: 0%; Green, 33%; Blue: 67%; Other: 0%.

I'm gladdened to see that even though we don't discuss politics on LW, the green scum are in the minority here!

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-19T17:34:51.454Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Now neither green nor blue are the absolute majority, with 34% voting “Other”. Those pesky sideways rope pullers!

comment by MaoShan · 2012-09-20T03:33:48.974Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

But the sky is green. Just go outside and see!

comment by ShardPhoenix · 2012-09-20T09:45:53.321Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I got an error the first time because I put a percent instead of a fractional probability. Upon correcting this, I now see the following erroneous result: http://imgur.com/IASqy

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-19T17:28:38.633Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

What kind of question is, “Red is a nice color”? Some shades of red are nice and some aren't. Duh. (Also, who the hell has had a favourite colour for six dozen million times the age of the Universe?)

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-23T01:20:47.583Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Bug report: The right navigation bar on this page has scooted down as if it's being pushed out of alignment by something too wide in the comments section. The comments seem to have the same width as they normally do and I but perhaps the polls are interfering with the layout in some way?

FFX 15.0.1 W7

comment by RichardKennaway · 2012-09-20T11:50:55.437Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Would it be useful to have a "choose all that apply" question type?

comment by CCC · 2012-09-20T12:03:16.202Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

While simulating this with the current poll structure is possible, it quickly becomes cumbersome with an increased number of options; the number of options in the poll would be two to the power of the number of choices.

Example: Which of the following superheroes' powers would you prefer to duplicate, if you could do so safely?

A: Spiderman B: Mr. Fantastic C: Aquaman

[pollid:44]

comment by David_Gerard · 2012-09-19T20:04:06.788Z · score: 3 (9 votes) · LW · GW

This is great and I upvoted it, but being meta I think it should be in Discussion.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2012-09-22T22:58:18.382Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There is something wrong with the page formatting on this post (but on no others I've tried). The sidebar at the right has been shunted to the very foot of the page. The top of the sidebar overlaps the footer bar and the rst of it hangs down below the page content. I've tried this in two different browsers (Safari and Firefox on a Mac). Could the new poll formatting have interacted badly with the CSS? This doesn't happen if I load an individual comment on this page, for any of the comments I've tried.

comment by SilasBarta · 2012-09-20T00:24:44.081Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The largest integer is: [pollid:20]

comment by ata · 2012-09-20T06:06:48.428Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

The largest number is about 45,000,000,000, although mathematicians suspect that there may be even larger numbers. (45,000,000,001?)

comment by Benya (Benja) · 2012-09-22T19:34:44.542Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Set theorists sometimes remark that there are only very few natural numbers. I think this can be made more quantitative: Based on observations of their blackboard drawings and accompanying explanations, my current best estimate is that there are about five to ten. However, so far, my confidence in this estimate is only moderate; I still think the number could ultimately turn out to be as high as twenty.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2012-09-20T13:49:05.149Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

According to my I Ching calculator, beyond 4 is a suffusion of yellow.

This appears not to be a valid response. Curious.

comment by Randaly · 2012-09-20T08:09:25.450Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Median 17.0

....

comment by Nic_Smith · 2012-09-22T04:06:28.773Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I was hoping the mode would be 2147483647 (my answer) to at least provide some humor, but 0 has it beat handily.

comment by arundelo · 2012-09-20T01:04:40.570Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'll just leave Mr. Show's "highest number" sketch here.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-09-20T03:24:03.289Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

According to the poll, my understanding of what qualifies as an integer is very, very wrong. 1e+19=the universal integer limit. NO EXCEPTIONS!

comment by CCC · 2012-09-20T06:49:39.973Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It does not seem to accept 'inf' or 'infinite'.

comment by eurg · 2012-09-21T20:07:12.990Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Which is too bad, as all incorrect options should have the same rights (for moral reasons).

comment by J_Taylor · 2012-09-20T03:10:08.562Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

NaN

comment by Mitchell_Porter · 2012-09-20T01:42:25.681Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Doesn't accept "⌊∞⌋".

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T01:51:42.022Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

As well it shouldn't?

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T11:04:17.974Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Should it (or at least, should it accept inf and/or NaN)? [pollid:41]

comment by Kindly · 2012-09-20T12:40:29.573Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, use of those would make the mean meaningless.

It wouldn't be a problem if the polls had upper and lower bounds, because then you could exclude them (but you could also make the upper bound infinite if you wanted to). I don't think there's a need for them, though.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T13:12:58.914Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You don't need to use infinities to make the mean meaningless: giving answers such as 1e100 will suffice. On the other hand, NANs are traditionally just disregarded when computing means (i.e., the mean of 1, 2, 3 and NAN is taken to be 2) -- essentially they would amount to a blank vote.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T12:26:47.555Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

MP did not want it to accept either of those things; the notation used suggests "the largest integer less than or equal to infinity", which doesn't exist.

comment by AngryParsley · 2012-09-23T08:33:04.500Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The results so far (only showing answers with > 1 responder):

11 "0.0"
 8 "-1.0"
 7 "2147483647.0"
 5 "3.0"
 4 "42.0"
 4 "1e+19"
 3 "9.0"
 3 "8.0"
 3 "1.0"
 2 "666.0"
 2 "32767.0"
 2 "24.0"
 2 "2.0"
 2 "1e+17"

To regenerate this, run grep -v "#" poll.csv | awk -F , '{ print $3 }' | sort | uniq -c | sort -nr.

I'm not surprised by the number of votes for 2^31-1. It was the first number to pop into my head when I saw the poll.

comment by MichaelHoward · 2012-09-19T21:16:47.904Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Red is a nice [pollid:18]

comment by Emile · 2012-09-19T19:47:49.421Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How awesome is this new feature?

[pollid:14]

comment by Emile · 2012-09-20T13:04:24.504Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

So according to the raw data, 100 people voted, but what I see displayed is 3 votes for answer 4 of 5, one for 5 of 5, and no total.

comment by Kindly · 2012-09-20T14:16:15.261Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The "no total" part is independent of the bug -- it seems that scale polls just don't report totals or percentages. (They probably should.)

comment by Vaniver · 2012-09-19T17:17:33.039Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Awesome! But since we're stress-testing it, let's try doing things wrong.

First thing that I noticed is that it doesn't let you post if there's a poll error. That's great! ... except it doesn't respect four spaces to put something in code format, so I can't easily tell you what I tried and what failed. Putting tests in their own comments to make it more obvious when something passes.

[edit]Oops, this also floods recent comments.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-09-19T17:19:26.184Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Trying to do a poll with only one option fails gracefully. Example: What kind of book did you read last? [poll]{a book}

Modifying the number of periods modifies the number of options available: [pollid:12]

|poll:True............False|

One period is well-defined: Nope. |poll:True.False| throws an "invalid poll type" error.

What about leaving off one of the names? |poll:True...| throws an "invalid poll type" error as well.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-09-19T17:24:27.160Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Polls are stored by their id, which makes it so they can't be edited after the fact. (Probably wise.) But what happens when you refer to an old poll by its id?

This is |pollid:10|, which refers to the poll from this comment.

[pollid:10]

What about a future poll?

[pollid:999999]

comment by faul_sname · 2012-09-20T07:09:25.673Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What if you then create the poll?

comment by Vaniver · 2012-09-19T17:20:51.906Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Trying to put two kinds of polls together:

How many bugs will I find? [pollid:11]

The code for that was |poll:number|{all of them}{none of them}, with the pipes replaced by square brackets. It looks like the interior poll type takes precedence, which is probably what should happen, but it might be better to complain instead.

comment by ewang · 2012-09-22T05:33:20.405Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Mean 1.69172935902e+16

What use is the mean if anyone can just do something like this?

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-22T20:22:39.802Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, scrap the mean, and show the 1st and 3rd quartile in addition to the median.

comment by ewang · 2012-09-22T05:34:42.238Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Point already raised and discussed, see below.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-09-19T17:18:12.776Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Testing the spaces to make sure I'm doing it right:

Yep, [I](http://lesswrong.com/lw/ekw/less_wrong_polls_in_comments/7gqv) am.

Now let's try a well-formatted poll:

Is this commented? [pollid:10]
comment by CCC · 2012-09-20T06:47:55.757Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Total:25, but adding up the votes for each option gives 24.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-09-20T13:57:19.476Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Fascinating, I got two and two (total 33), and after refreshing I see the poll text but it won't let me vote, because I already voted.

Also, I think it's sort of amusing that this is the only thing I found that looks like a serious bug to me, but it has the least upvotes of my tests.

comment by khafra · 2012-09-20T17:53:35.788Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Less explanation of what exactly you were testing, so the fluency bias kicked in.

comment by GuySrinivasan · 2012-09-19T17:09:26.503Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Minimize the expected square of the distance between your answer and 80% of the mean of the answers chosen: [pollid:9]

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-10-06T18:08:01.760Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Would it be possible to have a preview for polls?

comment by badger · 2012-09-26T16:56:21.331Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Bug report:

I voted in this poll, and after reloading the page, I don't see the results. Sensibly, it won't let me vote again, but now I'm stuck with the survey form. I did see the results immediately after voting.

Edit: I can view the results now. Not sure what changed.

comment by Lapsed_Lurker · 2012-09-20T21:50:07.051Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

[pollid:49]

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-20T17:10:28.798Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

My poll is now broken. The specific answers don't show up anymore in the results, only the totals at the bottom of each question show. Elitism Poll

comment by shminux · 2012-09-20T20:15:27.776Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

The FAI hidden deep in the poll code logic refuses to run stupid and trollish polls.

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-20T21:37:56.116Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

LMAO

I disagree with the sentiment but I can still laugh at good humor.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-09-20T12:39:42.940Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Are grey and gray different colors? [pollid:47]

comment by bbleeker · 2012-09-21T07:37:22.606Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Gray is darker than grey.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T16:39:34.905Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's a shame that Randall Munroe collated the two spellings together in the results of his survey. (And he even kept “periwinkle” and “perrywinkle” separate.)

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-09-20T16:45:36.399Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think of 'grey' as bluish and 'gray' as neutral.

comment by Sarokrae · 2012-09-20T21:04:39.199Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

My synaesthesia thinks "grey" is more bluish and "gray" more reddish, but I said "no" to the poll before considering this. Now pondering how much my first answer was wrong...

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-26T20:45:52.205Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Huh, mine too.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-09-22T22:29:57.241Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Would it be a good thing for people to be able to change their poll answers?

comment by Sarokrae · 2012-09-22T22:33:16.403Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It would be good because we like changing our minds here, but in my opinion not enough of a good thing to be worth the effort.

comment by RobinZ · 2012-09-20T18:45:51.604Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Odd - I think of "grey" as brownish and "gray" as neutral.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-09-20T22:26:34.384Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In a previous discussion, there was someone who thought of "grey" as yellowish, but the majority went for bluish.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2012-09-20T11:49:00.997Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How many Quality Adjusted Life Years do you estimate you have left? [pollid:43] Include whatever uploads, uplifts, descendant entities, etc. you deem to still be "you"; time spent in a deanimation vault counts as 0 QALYs.

comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-09-20T14:11:06.313Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Should I do a weighted sum over descendant entities I deem fractionally me, or just over entities I deem "me"?

comment by RichardKennaway · 2012-09-20T14:51:00.012Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

However you choose to calculate it, that's your estimate of remaining QALY's.

For descendant entities you deem fully "you", but with fractional chances of existing, see my reply to Luke.

comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-09-20T15:03:41.061Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

(nods) Saw that, makes sense. Just so you know, at least one "more" answer reflects, not a confident prediction that the answerer will live more than a millenium, nor a two-order-of-magnitude increase in quality of life, but a willingness to identify fractionally with billions of living people.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2012-09-20T13:46:34.681Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

How to aggregate across the distribution of possibilities? Average? Median? Most likely range?

I'm 33, so it wouldn't take too much life extension to get me to 133, but a fair amount... I'd rate the probabilities as roughly 40%, 30%, 10%, 20%. So, each of the three answers is different.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2012-09-20T14:52:47.509Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The most likely range. I'd rather this wasn't skewed by people putting down "more" just because they anticipate a tiny probability of a vast lifetime, but failing that expect to be dead as usual before very long.

comment by thomblake · 2012-09-20T15:00:10.387Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't see how to correct for that.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2012-09-21T14:17:02.583Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The bug concerning reporting of results is still present: currently the counts for the four categories are displayed as 9, 0, 0, 0, with a total of 39. According to the downloaded data, the counts are 28, 4, 1, 6 = 39.

comment by MichaelHoward · 2012-09-19T21:09:45.080Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What is your favorite color? [pollid:17]

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-09-20T12:34:52.812Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What about fuligin?

comment by MaoShan · 2012-09-20T03:25:19.894Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Won't you also ask about my favourite colour?

comment by MBlume · 2012-09-19T17:56:35.170Z · score: 1 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Best pony? [pollid:13]

comment by OpenThreadGuy · 2012-09-20T03:04:27.904Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Psh, of course rationalists think Twilight Sparkle is the best pony.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2012-09-20T13:36:23.805Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

She's intellectual, but she reacts irrationally to the Pinkie Sense.

Also, poor Rarity.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-09-20T03:28:12.852Z · score: -2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

It's a trick question, Twilight Sparkle is a unicorn.

comment by MugaSofer · 2012-09-20T12:46:00.990Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Unicorns are a subset of ponies in the MLP 'verse.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-09-21T02:02:48.017Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How silly of me; next time I'll get my facts straight.

comment by MugaSofer · 2012-09-21T12:04:38.430Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You'd better. My Little Pony continuity is SERIOUS BUSINESS.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-09-22T03:40:26.472Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

( \ * / )

comment by Alicorn · 2012-09-19T19:54:11.032Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's "Pinkie".

comment by MBlume · 2012-09-19T20:00:03.107Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, no one's voting for her anyway.

comment by Fyrius · 2012-09-23T17:00:35.168Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I beg to differ.

comment by roryokane · 2012-09-23T04:05:49.639Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Indeed it is. A Google search for “Pinky Pie” autocorrects to “Pinkie Pie”, while the inverse is not true. The first result in either case is a wiki article on “Pinkie Pie”.

comment by pleeppleep · 2012-09-20T02:38:06.654Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Best background pony [pollid:23]

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-19T20:17:56.156Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Rainbow Dash is the official spokespony of #lesswrong. She's been in the /topic for several months, now.

comment by gwern · 2012-09-19T21:57:19.573Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You jocks have been too cocky - I'm staging a Twilight Sparkle coup!

comment by SilasBarta · 2012-09-20T00:22:43.619Z · score: 13 (15 votes) · LW · GW

I just took Fluttershy into second ... I mean, if that's alright with you.

comment by gwern · 2012-09-20T00:43:17.236Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

ಠ_ಠ

comment by David_Gerard · 2012-09-19T20:04:52.587Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Geeks and goths, man.

comment by Incorrect · 2012-09-19T16:33:47.977Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Bug:

comment by [deleted] · 2015-04-10T12:37:53.279Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

[pollid:846]

comment by fubarobfusco · 2014-04-28T15:50:34.409Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Poll test:

Red is a nice color [pollid:684]

comment by gwern · 2012-11-02T20:18:13.193Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Is there any way to embed polls into the body of an Article/Discussion post? Or does it have to be in comments?

comment by jimrandomh · 2012-11-02T20:27:09.034Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Currently it has to be in comments. Since comments and articles have entirely different markup and formatting systems (comments use Markdown, articles use constrained HTML), supporting them in both places at once is nontrivial.

comment by gwern · 2012-11-02T20:34:56.541Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

But the Markdown is converted to HTML in the end... As a workaround: Could I make a poll as a comment, copy the HTML of a non-voted-upon version of the comment, and insert it into the raw HTML of an article? And then delete the original comment?

comment by jimrandomh · 2012-11-02T22:54:17.092Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There's a bit more to it than HTML, though - the submission and results display use some Javascript. You might be able to hack an alternative without Javascript, but hitting "submit" would take you to a broken page, rather than replacing the poll with the results in-place.

comment by gwern · 2012-11-02T23:11:53.861Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oh. Too bad then.

comment by Vaniver · 2012-09-27T14:50:02.693Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Bug: If you write a comment responding to a comment with a poll, then vote in the poll before posting the comment, your comment is eaten.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-26T20:57:17.981Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Does this poll work? [pollid:97]

Did you enjoy this poll? [pollid:98]

What was the answer to your previous question? [pollid:99]

comment by jimrandomh · 2012-09-23T00:23:33.485Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

One common and annoying failure mode in writing polls is omitting options. This can be mitigated by including an extra "Other" option. We could make this automatic and mandatory, adding that option to all polls automatically. The upside is that people couldn't forget or decline to include the Other option when it's appropriate; the downside is that they can't adjust its wording or leave it out when the options are truly exhaustive.

Should multiple-choice polls have an Other option added automatically? [pollid:68]

comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-09-23T05:02:43.336Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

If someone wrote the code to make the inclusion of an "Other" option a default, opt-out behavior of LW polls, I would not object if that code were added.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-09-23T05:37:03.318Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I would even be in favor of it.

comment by Fyrius · 2012-09-23T17:10:06.534Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Seconded.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2012-09-22T22:48:47.285Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps we do need some explicit guidelines about the conduct of polls after all, beyond "don't be an asshole". Something about employing neutral point of view, not using a poll for purposes other than conducting a bona fide poll, and making a serious attempt to design it to obtain unbiased data. I had expected this to be obvious, but it seems not.

comment by Incorrect · 2012-09-22T06:09:17.118Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Bug:

comment by shminux · 2012-09-22T01:54:39.779Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

[What do you do when you notice eridu commenting on feminism?] {Ignore the comment}{read and possibly upvote or downvote}{downvote without reading}{downvote the comment and everyone who replied}

By the way, there is only one right answer to this.

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2012-09-21T08:21:30.553Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you choose an answer to this question at random (using a uniform distribution), what is the probability that you will be correct? [Poll]{25%}{50%}{0%}{25%}

comment by Mitchell_Porter · 2012-09-20T11:28:58.062Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Do you expect to die one day? [pollid:42]

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T11:02:13.872Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Am I wasting way too much time answering polls in this comment thread? [pollid:40]

comment by Vladimir_Golovin · 2012-09-20T08:23:54.147Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Offtopic: testing strikethrough: -one-, two, three, four, five, --six--. Apparently still doesn't work.

Anyway, polls are totally awesome, thanks for implementing!

comment by Douglas_Reay · 2014-08-08T12:11:27.022Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you for creating an off-topic test reply to reply to.

[pollid:748]

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T03:36:50.689Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Checking for unescaped stuff: [pollid:24]

stuff is successfully escaped

comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) · 2012-09-20T12:30:46.670Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I can vote in a poll even after it's retracted...

comment by pleeppleep · 2012-09-20T02:44:45.048Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes [pollid:22 ]

comment by pleeppleep · 2012-09-20T02:40:21.595Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

[pollid:21]

comment by Unnamed · 2012-09-20T06:43:25.088Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Can you still vote on retracted polls?

Testing...

Answer: Yes.

comment by MichaelHoward · 2012-09-19T20:19:18.171Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Most voters so far have probably voted False to this question: [pollid:15]

comment by MaoShan · 2012-09-20T03:37:24.538Z · score: -2 (12 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know if it's specifically addressed anywhere in the Terms of Use, but free use of polls can have some very hurtful results; it might be helpful to somewhere post a guide to what type of polls are appropriate and tolerated.

comment by Alicorn · 2012-09-20T03:43:02.247Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Can you be more specific about what you mean?

comment by MaoShan · 2012-09-21T02:26:57.055Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

See my example poll in answer to wedifrid. Hopefully nobody thinks I was being serious about the poll.

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-20T06:47:03.901Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

This is an especially good point because you're currently able to change the question after the results are in, allowing you to prank the poll takers by making their answers seem to support anything you feel like.

comment by DaFranker · 2012-09-20T20:23:59.647Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Cue in choice blindness dark arts for Fun and Updates!

(also for evil experiments and control groups, if someone figures those out)

comment by wedrifid · 2012-09-20T05:35:13.324Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know if it's specifically addressed anywhere in the Terms of Use, but free use of polls can have some very hurtful results; it might be helpful to somewhere post a guide to what type of polls are appropriate and tolerated.

What? About the same as the what you could write in comments already but prettier.

comment by radical_negative_one · 2012-09-20T06:05:23.399Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

radical_negative_one is a terrible person [pollid:31]

comment by AspiringRationalist · 2012-09-20T17:46:09.596Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The overall total equals the sum of the individual answer totals, in contrast to previous polls.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-09-20T09:49:08.359Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

What? About the same as the what you could write in comments already but prettier.

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-20T06:43:49.709Z · score: 0 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Here's one: What if someone takes a poll asking if they should kill themselves? People could write "yes" in the comments, but they can select "yes" in a poll anonymously.

This may lead to more brutal answers to questions. The questions will be limited to whatever the poll creator types in, but that doesn't mean everyone will use common sense while creating their polls.

You may argue "they can already use comments as a polling system using karma" but I would then argue "okay, MaoShan still has a point, and it applies to karma, too."

Also

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T11:06:18.554Z · score: 12 (20 votes) · LW · GW

Upvote this comment and downvote the karma sink if you think I should not kill myself. :-)

(Edited to add smiley per Poe's law, especially in case someone sees this comment without seeing the parent first.)

comment by scav · 2012-09-20T08:09:37.029Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW
  1. Most of the commenters here refrain from being antisocial dicks. There's no reason to believe anonymous polling will change that.

  2. Anyone actually making life-or-death decisions on the basis of an internet forum poll has a non-trivial chance of being selected out of the gene pool for related reasons.

  3. Sometimes you want or can accept brutal answers.

  4. Individual responsibility. You can't legislate for or even concern-troll people into having common sense, even assuming common sense is a well-defined and useful property.

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-20T17:14:44.169Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Another thought: Just because a person asking people on the internet whether they should kill themselves isn't likely to survive in any case, this does not mean that LessWrong wouldn't be sued if said person posted a poll and it resulted in their death. For whatever reason, the US legal system has been known to grant large sums of money to people who are harmed by things that many consider inadvisable or "no-brainers".

comment by scav · 2012-09-20T20:17:39.309Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

And there we depart from the discussion of rationality into the realm of the law. :)

I am pleased to be able to give an immediate unequivocal answer on whether this is likely to be a problem: I have no idea.

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-21T03:20:54.375Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

lolol I like these points as well. (:

comment by TimS · 2012-11-29T19:16:12.727Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Section 203 of the Communications Decency Act would probably immunize LW from liability.

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-20T08:18:07.619Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ok good points. I like these.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-09-20T09:56:09.422Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Here's one: What if someone takes a poll asking if they should kill themselves?

I suspect people would react against people asking that regardless of whether they include radio buttons. If I recall there has even been drama surrounding making observations about a former member suiciding. I'd be somewhat surprised if someone asking this question directly did not prompt that comment to be banned.

The questions will be limited to whatever the poll creator types in, but that doesn't mean everyone will use common sense while creating their polls.

No, I haven't observed common sense to universally constrain posting behavior in general. However explicit polls don't strike me as sufficiently different or more powerful than regular comments, (inherently anonymous) votes and private messages that a move from informal expectations that people don't behave like @#%$s need be changed to a formal "Terms of Use".

comment by fubarobfusco · 2012-09-22T07:18:17.854Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Here's one: What if someone takes a poll asking if they should kill themselves?

Then a moderator takes the poll down.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T11:05:49.503Z · score: 0 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Upvote this comment and downvote the karma sink if you think I should kill myself. :-)

(Edited to add smiley per Poe's law, especially in case someone sees this comment without seeing the parent first.)

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-20T11:05:22.910Z · score: -12 (16 votes) · LW · GW

Karma sink.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-09-21T02:20:55.431Z · score: -4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

So what does everyone think about wedifrid? [pollid:50]

comment by wedrifid · 2012-09-21T05:12:41.410Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

We've covered this.

Seriously, what is it about this that is so hard to understand? I mean it was right there in the grandparent:

About the same as the what you could write in comments already but prettier.

You can insult people if you want. You can use text. You can insult people using using ad hoc polls with karma sinks that we've been making do with for years. You can insult people in comments and happen to use the new poll markdown syntax. You can even insult people with the markdown image feature that we've always had:

Either way the rules are the same: You can get away with insulting people to the extent that you can do so subtly, choose targets wisely and be well in tune with social dynamics.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-09-21T02:22:56.709Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

That is just an example of how polls can go horribly wrong, I have absolutely nothing against wedifrid and have no inside knowledge to his/her appearance or personal life.

comment by Kindly · 2012-09-21T03:01:53.128Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In what way does the comment become worse by virtue of containing a poll? You could equally say "wedrifid is a misshapen troll with no friends".

comment by radical_negative_one · 2012-09-21T03:08:02.117Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

No, the poll is actually less bad. You see, your comment proposes:

wedrifid is ( misshapen AND a troll AND has no friends )

while the poll merely asserts

wedrifid is ( misshapen XOR a troll XOR has no friends )

Wedrifid got off pretty lightly, from this perspective.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-09-22T03:23:03.683Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I personally think I came across as more of an asshole by presenting my insult in the form of a poll, but I can't think of a particular reason why that is.

comment by TheOtherDave · 2012-09-22T04:06:56.330Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, I consider forced-choice polls of that form a bit obnoxious, whether insulting or not, because I feel like I'm being tricked into saying something I don't believe. E.g., "My favorite pizza topping is: (a) pepperoni, (b) sausage, (c) mushroom" is an obnoxious poll, but is not insulting to anyone. That contributes somewhat. Had you added options that allowed for the possibility of your implicit assumptions being false (e.g., "none of the above", "I don't have a favorite pizza topping", etc.) that element would have been removed.

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-21T03:26:55.547Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Because now we can tell him: "Wedrifid, you are misshapen. An appeal to popularity filtered through a false trichotomy says so."

comment by Kindly · 2012-09-21T03:30:29.613Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, yes, but polls that are false trichotomies are a bad idea no matter whether they insult wedrifid or not. I expect LessWrong to be really good at noticing them, actually, so I don't think that's a problem.

comment by MBlume · 2012-09-21T03:59:57.157Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Your confidence is inspiring, but I'd bet some false trichotomies are more obvious than others. (Though I can't immediately think of any examples of subtler false trichotomies to rattle off, so yeah)

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-21T04:37:30.087Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

An example of something that is NOT a false *otomoy would be the shorter list. (See other comment)

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-21T04:33:19.057Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Since we can't verify that there is not an option we don't see (appeal to ignorance is the best we've got for this), every set of options is essentially a false *otomy.

comment by Kindly · 2012-09-21T11:38:33.716Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say here.

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-21T17:17:24.556Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

K I'll try this: To make sure you are not presenting a false dichotomy, not only do you need to include all the options you know of, you also need to make sure you know all the options. How do you make sure there isn't an option you don't know?

comment by Alicorn · 2012-09-21T17:19:48.845Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Include "Other".

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-21T19:25:06.841Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This time I know better than to interpret your text in a suspicious manner. Sorry for doing that to you in the other thread. FWIW, I liked your suggestion to play rationalist taboo once I understood that it was what you were suggesting. I have woken up to the fact that I interpreted your words suspiciously due to you expressing some unfriendliness toward me. This time, my perspective is that you probably intend to be constructive. I would like to understand what you mean by telling me to "include other" but I don't. To me, this is a cryptic message. The other one seemed cryptic at first also.

comment by Alicorn · 2012-09-21T19:30:59.129Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

As a poll option, add "other" to whatever list you think of, and then you won't leave anything out. Maybe "Other - I'll explain in a comment" if you want to drive those respondents to tell you what you missed.

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-21T21:53:29.924Z · score: -4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

It feels like I should have been able to get that. If so, sorry for my moment of cluelessness, Alicorn. If not... well, maybe adding a little bit more context to your comments would save some time by reducing confusion. That could help either way.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-09-21T12:10:40.027Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

She's referring to unknown unknowns.

comment by Epiphany · 2012-09-21T17:16:15.960Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

*she

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-09-21T17:18:06.639Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Apologies. Will fix.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2012-09-21T08:06:00.286Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That is just an example of how polls can go horribly wrong

No, it's an example of how you went horribly wrong.

I have absolutely nothing against wedifrid

I don't find this a credible reading of your action.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-09-22T03:33:18.061Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

As if I have a prior history of insulting wedifrid?

I apologize to anyone who took the poll seriously, and especially to wedifrid for happening to be the first comment along that line that I replied to.

I was only asking the community to realize ahead of time the potential pitfalls of this new feature.

Time will tell if it was worth losing some karma for my good intentions.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2012-09-21T08:08:15.824Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"Don't be an asshole" covers it. If you need a guide to tell you that, a guide will not help you.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-09-22T04:39:57.532Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Could you taboo "asshole"?

comment by wedrifid · 2012-09-22T06:39:27.346Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Could you taboo "asshole"?

It's fairly taboo already.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2012-09-22T22:51:04.562Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

shminux has helpfully provided an example of the sort of fake poll that should have no place here.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-22T22:55:08.136Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

While I agree with the last part of your sentence, it is still a real poll.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-09-23T07:31:08.203Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

shminux has helpfully provided an example of the sort of fake poll that should have no place here.

And, even more helpfully, provided an example of it already being handled successfully by existing measures. He was downvoted extensively and subjected to extensive social pressure via comments.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2012-09-22T17:11:27.663Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Could you taboo "asshole"?

Explain how not to be an asshole? Possibly, but I don't think anyone here actually needs an explanation, beyond pointing out that anything you shouldn't say for that reason in an ordinary comment, you shouldn't say in a poll either. The slightly different sort of thing that a poll is doesn't change the standard.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-09-23T18:13:32.014Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And I was hoping to extract your moral theory from you.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2012-09-24T07:48:13.820Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't see this as anything to do with moral theory. It's pretty much general currency what constitutes being an asshole. I've seen it set out in umpteen comment policies on blogs, which often explicitly summarise it as "don't be an asshole", or even "don't be an asshole -- but you knew that already".

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2012-09-24T23:22:14.486Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't see this as anything to do with moral theory.

I don't understand what you mean here. Is your concept of moral theory only something for thought experiments involving Omega but to abstract to apply to day-to-day life?

comment by RichardKennaway · 2012-09-25T06:19:54.329Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

No. I mean it in the same sense that we do not need to have a discussion of moral theory in order to agree on what actions we are talking about, when we talk about theft. We don't even need to have a discussion of moral theory to agree that we'd rather people didn't behave that way.

comment by MaoShan · 2012-09-22T03:37:25.898Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That flies in the face of many of the helpful articles I've read here on LessWrong. I would offer to write the "Rationalist's Guide to Not Being an Asshole", but obviously, I'm not qualified.

...because I'm not a good enough Rationalist. ;)

comment by Kawoomba · 2012-09-19T17:54:42.048Z · score: -7 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Towards FAI, one step at a time!

comment by shminux · 2012-09-22T01:56:16.367Z · score: -14 (24 votes) · LW · GW

What do you do when you notice eridu commenting on feminism? [pollid:52]

By the way, there is only one right answer to this.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-09-22T02:19:41.200Z · score: 7 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Please don't do that.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-22T09:19:23.392Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Either the first or the second depending on how busy I am.

comment by shminux · 2012-09-22T18:27:08.263Z · score: -2 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I'm surprised that so many people here are willing to give the benefit of a doubt to single-issue I-know-I-am-right irrationalists.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2012-09-22T23:34:31.968Z · score: 8 (16 votes) · LW · GW

What you did in the ancestor poll was effecting pointing and laughing at an already isolated member of the community while encouraging others to join in the mocking and jeering.

It felt to me so stereotypically villainous bullying that I'm surprised I didn't actually experience a PTSD flashback or something to my highschool years.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-09-23T07:11:49.473Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

What you did in the ancestor poll was effecting pointing and laughing at an already isolated member of the community while encouraging others to join in the mocking and jeering.

Eridu isn't a member of the community and the account has actively positioned itself as external.

comment by shminux · 2012-09-23T00:02:00.015Z · score: 0 (14 votes) · LW · GW

What you did in the ancestor poll was effecting pointing and laughing at an already isolated member of the community

I take an issue with your statement that eridu is "a member of the community". There are plenty of radical feminism communities, this is NOT one of them.

It felt to me so stereotypically villainous bullying that I'm surprised I didn't actually experience a PTSD flashback or something to my highschool years.

S/he is NOT required to visit this place every day for six hours, like you were in high school, so there are no parallels whatsoever with your unfortunate experience. S/he can happily stay among his/her man-hating online groups instead of proselytizing his/her vile message here.

This person's radical feminist posts make this forum a worse place by lowering the overall sanity of it, as has been commented on before. Rejecting this disease by silently downvoting his/her every post (and every reply) is the sane thing to do, short of banning him/her outright.

comment by MixedNuts · 2012-09-23T07:24:44.208Z · score: 6 (10 votes) · LW · GW

If you're going to hate on a person rather than individual posts, a) don't and b) read enough to get his pronoun right.

comment by shminux · 2012-09-23T07:36:01.823Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Fixed, thanks.

comment by Bugmaster · 2012-09-24T11:14:16.378Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I downvoted plenty of eridu's posts, but I also upvoted a minority of them, because they actually taught me something about radical feminism (starting with the fact that it apparently exists in earnest, and is not a straw-woman argument created to discredit other kinds of feminism). Am I ever going to apply this knowledge in practice ? Probably not, but knowledge is still neat, and a good thing to have.

comment by shminux · 2012-09-24T14:52:58.112Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I also clicked on eridu's link the first time (and I did not downvote that post), but his/her subsequent comments had no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-23T09:07:08.199Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I take “the community” in ArisKataris's post to refer to the set of people who write here regularly. But yeah, a narrower meaning (e.g. people with non-negligible positive karma) would be more useful.

comment by shminux · 2012-09-23T20:15:53.831Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

people with non-negligible positive karma

That would probably cover 99% of the regulars, not an overly restrictive definition.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-24T10:42:09.803Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But it would exclude eridu, that's the point.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-09-22T22:32:19.859Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

While I believe that being surprised is less significant than being confused, there still may be some reason for you to update.

comment by shminux · 2012-09-23T00:04:31.240Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, what should this update look like?

comment by wedrifid · 2012-09-23T07:16:10.291Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, what should this update look like?

For a start, it seems you'll have to abandon that particular political tactic (because it didn't work). Please do use a different one. Eridu is toxic and so is that kind of politics.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-09-23T00:58:27.927Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe people at LW are typically less like you than you think. (This may be true for people's opinion of other people in general.)

Maybe there's more value in what eridu says than you realize.

comment by wedrifid · 2012-09-23T07:28:38.339Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe there's more value in what eridu says than you realize.

There would almost have to be (regression to the mean and all).

comment by shminux · 2012-09-23T01:52:30.009Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe people at LW are typically less like you than you think. (This may be true for people's opinion of other people in general.)

Right, that's obviously true of those who participated in the poll.

Maybe there's more value in what eridu says than you realize.

I'd be interested to learn what this value might be and how it outweighs the obvious negative value.

comment by DaFranker · 2012-09-24T15:05:39.944Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Tangential instrumental value: They challenged, directly, indirectly, or by sideways questioning, beliefs that I already held and had not taken the chance to update since long before my arrival to LessWrong. eridu was thus a very convenient poster for me to cover this and surrounding topics and manually propagate updates throughout my mental model(s).

Short of arguing against someone who has a dragon in their garage, I don't see what could help me update my beliefs more quickly without massive confirmation bias and heuristic errors.

comment by shminux · 2012-09-24T15:31:18.504Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

manually propagate updates throughout my mental model(s)

Can you give a few examples of these updates?