Dagon's Shortform

post by Dagon · 2019-07-31T18:21:43.072Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW · 8 comments


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Dagon · 2019-08-05T17:03:54.662Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

My daily karma tracker showed that 3 comments got downvoted. Honestly, probably justified - they were pretty low-value. No worries, but it got me thinking:

Can I find out how I'm voting (how many positive and negative karma I've given) over time periods? Can I find it out for others? I'd love it if I could distinguish a downvote from someone who rarely downvotes from one from a serial downvoter.

I've been downvoting less, recently, having realized how little signal is there, and how discouraging even small amounts can be. Silence or comment are the better response, for anything better than pure drivel.

comment by Raemon · 2019-08-05T19:49:10.473Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Worth noting that by default the karma notifier doesn't show downvotes, for basically this reason.

I think it only makes sense to opt into seeing all downvotes if you're confident you can take this as information without it harming your motivation.

Meanwhile, there are benefits to actually downvoting things that are wrong, or getting undue attention, or subtly making the site worse. It matters how things can sorted for attention allocation, and relative karma scores in a discussion are important, among other things, so that people don't see bad arguments appearing highly endorsed and then feeling motivated to argue against them (when they wouldn't ordinarily consider this a good use of their time)

So I think people should actually just downvote more, and not use the "show me all my downvotes" feature, which most people aren't using and you probably shouldn't worry about overmuch.

comment by Dagon · 2019-08-05T22:36:50.675Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I opted in to seeing downvotes, and I think my curiosity (both about personal interactions on the site and about the general topic of mechanism design) will compel me to continue. I'm not worried about them - as I say, they were low-value comments, though not much different from others that get upvoted more (and IMO shouldn't be). Mostly it shows that low-number-of-voters is mostly noise, and that's fine.

My main point was wondering how I can monitor my own voting behavior? (ok, and a little complaining that variable-point voting is confusing.) I think I upvote pretty liberally and downvote very rarely, but I really wonder if that's true, and I wonder things like how many votes I give (on multiple comments) on the same post.

comment by Raemon · 2019-08-05T22:43:36.169Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I do agree that being able to see metrics on your own voting is pretty reasonable, although not something I expect to make it to the top of our priority queue for awhile.

comment by Dagon · 2019-08-07T16:43:47.705Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

"One of the big lessons of market design is that participants have big strategy sets, so that many kinds of rules can be bent without being broken. That is, there are lots of unanticipated behaviors that may be undesirable, but it's hard to write rules that cover all of them. (It's not only contracts that are incomplete...) " -- Al Roth

I think this summarizes my concerns with some of the recent discussions of rules and norm enforcement. People are complicated and the decision space is much larger than usually envisioned when talking about any specific rule, or with rules in general. Almost all interactions have some amount of adversarial (or at least not-fully-aligned) beliefs or goals, which is why we need the rules in the first place.

comment by Dagon · 2019-08-02T16:24:38.754Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Al Roth interview discussing the historical academic path from simplistic game theory to market design, which covers interesting mixes of games with multiple dimensions of payoff. https://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.33.3.118

comment by Dagon · 2019-07-31T18:21:43.389Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Incentives vs agency - is this an attribution fallacy (and if so, in what direction)?

Most of the time, when I see people discussing incentives about LW participation (karma, voting, comment quality and tone), we're discussing average or other-person incentives, not our own. When we talk about our own reasons for participation, it's usually more nuanced and tied to truth-seeking and cruxing, rather than point-scoring.

I don't think you can create alignment or creative cooperation with incentives. You may be able to encourage it, and you can definitely encourage surface-cooperation, which is not valueless, but isn't what you actually want. CF variants of Goodheart's law - incentive design is _always_ misguided due to this, as visible incentives are _always_ a bad proxy for what you really want (deep and illegible cooperation).

comment by Pattern · 2019-08-01T18:22:09.823Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There's two sides of discussing incentives, wrt. X:

  • Incentivize X/Make tools that make it easier for people to do X [1].
  • Get rid of incentives that push people to not do X[2] /Remove obstacles to people doing X.

Even if alignment can't be created with incentives, it can be made easier. I'm also curious about how the current incentives on LW are a bad proxy right now.

[1] There's a moderation log somewhere (whatever that's for?), GW is great for formatting things like bulleted lists, and we can make Sequences if we want.

[2] For example, someone made a post about "drive by criticism" a while back. I saw this post, and others, as being about "How can we make participating (on LW) easier (for people it's hard for right now)?"