↑ comment by Viliam ·
2017-03-15T11:28:25.231Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
When people are plotting, there is going to be an "inner group". And your winning choices are either to join the "inner group" (if you predict it will win) or express disinterest publicly (if you predict it will lose). This is true both in EEA and at high school.
In other environments, people overestimate their importance essentially for two reasons: First, with larger numbers of people in general, each individual matters less. A marginal new ally is more important to a group with ten members, than to a group with thousand members. Second, mere numbers of people matter less than their power. For a high-school clique another average person can be a valuable asset, but a political party some people are orders of magnitude more worth than an average person.
Anyone have any good mind hacks to help stay out of political conversations?
I try to remind myself of (what I believe to be) the big picture. If you are going to participate in online political debates, you essentially have two choices to make: (1) is this going to be a casual opinion expressing, or are you going to play it like a pro? and (2) are you going to present sane opinions, or will you make yourself into a two-dimensional caricature of human being?
I believe that if you are not playing it like a pro, you are just wasting your time, achieving nothing good (neither for you, nor for the world in general). I also believe that unless you are already very famous, presenting sane opinions is a losing strategy (because sane opinions are suboptimal for signalling loyalty to a tribe). Therefore, most likely the only winning strategy for you is in the "insane pro" quadrant. Now the question is whether you are going to do it, or if it seems like too much work and too little fun. For me, laziness usually wins at this point.
To explain, "doing it like a pro" means that instead of commenting on other people's websites or social networks, you will make your own trademarked content. You will post articles on your own website (where you have absolute moderator powers), and where you will build your own personal reader base. (A YouTube channel is also okay, but always have a Plan B in mind if YouTube decides they don't like you; for example because your political opponents decide to spam your videos with fake complaints; that could happen any time and could ruin overnight everything you built.) Do not forget a Patreon link, or some other way to monetize your hard work!
And by "two-dimensional caricature" I mean this: humans are complex, but they enjoy simple solutions. Also, political fans are more likely to punish disagreement than to reward agreement. That means, if you only express your opinion on one issue, and your opinion on that issue is completely black-and-white, congratulations, half of the politically active people will think you are a genius! (The other half will think you are a moron, but that's inevitable.) However, if you express your opinion on ten issues, guess what: only one reader in a thousand will think you are a genius, and the remaining 999 will think you are a moron. (The disagreement on one important topic will hurt them more than the agreement on nine topics will make them happy.) Oh, and if you express arguments both in favor and against something, then everyone is going to think you are a moron. To optimize for reader base size, you must care fanatically strongly about one issue, and not to touch anything else. Of course, you are allowed to have more than one opinion, as long as those opinions are strongly correlated in the population.
So, at this moment I (1) have a specific plan how to do political commenting correctly, and (2) realize that I actually don't want to do it this way, because it's too much work and too little fun. On the other hand, knowing the optimal way, I am now less tempted to do it the obviously suboptimal way.
To overcome the temptation, make the whole idiocy visible to your System 1, so now it will feel repulsive.
Replies from: Lumifer
↑ comment by Lumifer ·
2017-03-15T15:35:24.392Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
If you are going to participate in online political debates, you essentially have two choices to make:
There is the third choice, which is the best: troll :-D
I tend to treat online political discussions as a source of amusement. Better than soap operas.