The "gestalt" operator

post by Alex Power (alex-power) · 2022-01-10T22:10:13.358Z · LW · GW · 7 comments

I have developed a convention which I must define by example. I plan to call it the “gestalt” operator.

To take a {card|page} from REF1’s book - if you take a card from REF1’s book, it is metaphorically physically taking the card from REF1’s possession. Presumably you intend to give the card back to REF1. If you take a page from REF1’s book, it is metaphorically copying the page, with that page never leaving REF1’s possession.

To {fork|mirror} a repository - to create a replica of a data repository with the expectation of continued updates. A fork is one extreme: both sides will make independent changes after the cutover. A mirror is a different extreme: one side will make changes, and the other will faithfully replicate them. There are also various combinations. Before the trigger time, they are visibly identical.

To {partition|appraise} a collection - the executor divides the collection into several lots based on price, and offers (on a commission basis) to either divide the collection equally on price, to purchase some or all of the items at the stated price, or to duplicate the items at the stated price. When there is not a clear market price for the items, having multiple appraisers is recommended.

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comment by tomcatfish · 2022-01-10T23:55:01.907Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have no idea what you mean by this.

Edit in case @Alex Power sees, I'm interested in knowing what it was you were saying. I had meant for that to be clear, but it probably was not. Sorry about that, but please explain!

Replies from: gbear605, alex-power
comment by gbear605 · 2022-01-11T00:54:04.873Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think the idea is that if you write {A|B} then it has a meaning that is a combination of the meaning of A and the meaning of B.

Replies from: tomcatfish
comment by tomcatfish · 2022-01-13T17:09:17.199Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I just never actually see above, only the and . Am I misreading something? I'll note that the first example seems to me to have a different form: it's the only one which doesn't have an explanation of the relation between and at the end.

comment by Alex Power (alex-power) · 2022-01-13T23:33:54.681Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Gestalt means "an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts". It is something like that; but sometimes more and sometimes less. The best way to describe it is the operation on a vector-based NLP system that takes {cat|dog} and returns "domestic pet".

There is a bit of a trick with the first example, {take a card|take a page} and "take a {card|page}" may mean something different.

For the second example, setting up a fork of Debian and setting up a mirror of Debian look very similar up to a certain point, but very different after that point. The term is intended to refer only to the attributes during the timeframe where they look similar.

comment by JBlack · 2022-01-11T02:54:13.528Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I presume the "{x|y}" notation is what is being defined here by example, but I have little idea what the examples are intended to convey. I have a lot of ideas about what the examples might be intended to convey, but very little information about which ones might be correct. I notice that all the examples seem to "expand to" two sentences with the common syntactic elements combined and the differences enclosed in the "{|}" symbols.

What I don't get is the function of the two sentences. Are you trying to "point at" a concept that lies between the corresponding words in the two sentences but isn't expressed by either? Are you intending to draw a distinction between the sentences and using the notation to reduce repetition? Are you pointing at common features of both, some sort of conceptual intersection? Something else entirely?

comment by Pattern · 2022-01-11T21:47:04.068Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I suggest adding this to the end of the post:


Instead of writing

"Combustion can use fuel like oxygen/gasoline."

the gestalt operator is { | }

and you would use it by writing:

"Combustion can use fuel like {oxygen | gasoline}."


(If that is how you mean it to be used.)

Replies from: tomcatfish
comment by tomcatfish · 2022-01-13T17:16:14.749Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't understand what you mean either.

Are you saying that the operator represents the fact that you could offer either input into the statement you made? Like,