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Comment by 75th on Open Thread, May 4 - May 10, 2015 · 2015-05-06T16:07:34.421Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You're referring to the problem with people being mean to each other within a given online community. I'm thinking more of people hating each other more in real life because the Internet lets them seek out unfiltered outrage from people with similar beliefs, with nothing tempered by gatekeepers as in the days before the Internet and the rise of cable news.

Comment by 75th on Open Thread, May 4 - May 10, 2015 · 2015-05-06T16:03:21.740Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Heh, I know. I chose that phrase to express despair more than to describe objective reality.

Comment by 75th on Open Thread, May 4 - May 10, 2015 · 2015-05-06T04:51:50.337Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Here's a blog post about how everyone hates each other over politics more than before. Eliezer commented on it on Facebook, hypothesizing that it's a slow-growing effect of the Internet.

I cursed aloud when I read that comment, because I've had that exact idea and an accompanying sick feeling for a while now, and this is the first time I've seen it repeated.

(it's never a good sign when Eliezer Yudkowsky is the one to express your deepest fears about why everything's and everyone's brokenness is unstoppably accelerating)

I wish to read more about the "The Internet Is Why We Can't Have Even The Few Nice Things We Almost Kind Of Once Had" phenomenon — hopefully from someone who thinks there's a way easier than developing Friendly AI to put even one evil back in Pandora's Box, but that's probably wishful thinking, and I want to read about it in any case.

(Note: I'm aware that the entire LW-affiliated rationalist community writes about how things are broken, and desires to teach people to be less broken. But right now I'm looking specifically for things about how the Internet's massive boon to free speech is way more double-edged than was anticipated.)

Anyone have any good links?

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 120 · 2015-03-12T20:33:12.930Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure how much influence Narcissa's going to have on him, since Draco's already 12. Maybe if Narcissa eschews blood purism and actively tries to teach Draco, perhaps, but I think she's going to be busy running around screaming "BLECH! ECH! POISON MUGGLE LIPS!" for a while if she had any blood purist inclinations before the memory charm.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 120 · 2015-03-12T19:19:24.505Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Dammit dammit dammit.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-23T04:06:35.743Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I vote no on this theory. "All the good martial artists live" in Asia, so that may be the reason this combat instructor was said to be Asian, but if he was trying to get a random Muggle in, (1) Quirrellmort would have said "Muggle instructor", and (2) there would have been more legitimate resistance than just a smugly smiling clerk.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-23T04:00:00.711Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

"My life is yours, my Lord, and my death as well."

I like this.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, January 2015, chapter 103 · 2015-01-30T16:59:37.822Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That would pretty much DELETE ALL THE PEOPLE AFFECTED and REPLACE THEM WITH DIFFERENT VERSIONS, so I don't think Harry would do that.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2015-01-09T22:37:03.003Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That may even be the reason he has, as he said, changed his mind about teaching Harry any magical secrets.

Definitely this.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2015-01-09T22:35:48.148Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think there's a bonus feature to having two hops in the middle. If the sender finds that the recipient never received the message, he immediately distrusts his first hop and perhaps publishes the knowledge. If the first hop wasn't the culprit, he either publishes the second hop's unreliability or takes horrible devious Slytheriny vengeance on them.

So, due to mutually assured destruction, neither hop wants to defect and risk losing a nice income source permanently.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2014-12-10T21:53:17.117Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So your hypothesis is that Harry will win by doing the thing he already tried and failed to do, and got a stern warning from the Universe for trying. The one thing that he can't do, that's the thing he'll do.

Okay, except you've not done the work. If Eliezer puts a huge road block in front of an obvious solution to the story — "NOPE, can't do that, sorry" — and your hypothesis is "No he'll do it anyway", then the actual work is not just saying he'll do it (since the story explicitly states the insane power Harry would have if it did work; it's not like that's a big discovery itself) but rather saying how we get from our current state of impossibility to the state where Harry pulls it off.

"If Harry can figure out how to bypass the limitations of the time turner" — that dismissive 'If' is the entire problem you should be trying to solve.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2014-08-18T09:10:51.417Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In many cases hatred would peter out into indifference

Perhaps, but this is not likely to happen in the middle of a battle where you're trying to kill each other. And even if you felt indifference, you would still have to think of trying to cast Avada Kedavra from your indifference, not from your hate, which is how you learned to cast AK in the first place and never questioned. You would have to force a new mindset of calm emptiness upon yourself, which would take practice. Even the worst Death Eaters are not likely to have taken an analytical approach to battle, realized the possibility, and then practiced killing people in their spare time with indifference to make sure it was reliable in the (other guy's) heat of the moment.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2014-08-18T09:05:10.053Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Merlin created the Interdict because he believed, based on prophecy, that this would prevent the otherwise inevitable end of the world and its magic.

He hoped it would, but he didn't live to ask the remaining seers if it actually worked.

If resolved!Harry is "the end of the world", as per Trelawney's prophecy, then whatever he is going to do must therefore involve bypassing the Interdict of Merlin.

This doesn't really make sense, or is irrelevant, or is sort of a tautology, or something. The Interdict of Merlin is not a magical universe-saving spell. If it were, as you sort of imply, then you would basically be saying "If Harry can destroy the universe, then it follows that he will not not be able to destroy the universe". But the Interdict is not that, nor does it limit what magic a person can use; it simply limits the transfer of the most powerful magics to only occur between two living minds. Merlin hoped that would be enough to save the universe because he counted on magical knowledge waning permanently.

The only way we presently know to do that is Salazar's basilisk-transmitted lore

Patently and obviously false. We've known since Chapter 77 that Nicolas Flamel has a whole bunch of knowledge he might someday share, and the whole point of Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres since Chapter 28 is that he can figure out magic that's long-lost or never-known. And the Interdict imposes no limitation on figuring out powerful magic on your own.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2014-08-18T08:43:56.834Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Apparently word of god is that there is going to be no AI.

I was thinking about this recently, and I realized that maybe it should be kind of obvious why he doesn't usually do fiction about AI: because (he believes, at least, that) the first strong AI is either an instant win condition or instant failure condition for the entire universe, and neither immutable utopia nor irrecoverable catastrophe make for very interesting stories. So anything interesting or uncertain or suspenseful about AI has to be written about disguised as other topics, where things can go wrong but then realistically be set right.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2014-08-18T08:36:51.574Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"Tor" stands for "The Onion Router", and I could have sworn that Harry explicitly thought of the Slytherin System as "onion routing" at one point but I can't seem to find it.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2014-08-18T08:31:30.686Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

the current time/reality in which Hermione is irrevocably dead will be destroyed as a result of Harry deciding to change the fact.

Harry himself appears to be pretty firmly set against that:

"And while I hate to get all PHILOSOPHICAL," Harry desperately tried to lower his voice to something under a shriek, "has anyone thought about the IMPLICATIONS of going back six hours and doing something that changes time which would pretty much DELETE ALL THE PEOPLE AFFECTED and REPLACE THEM WITH DIFFERENT VERSIONS -"

So I wouldn't say never, but I think it would take something extraordinary, considerably more so even than Hermione's death, to drive him to that.


I cannot think realistically what Harry can do to threaten his 'modified' interstellar probe at present time unless he can prevent it being modified (horcruxed?) to start with, i.e. go back in time.

At the time Quirrell begins his freakout, he doesn't know what form it will take, either. He just heard that "HE IS THE END OF THE WORLD" and that's all he needs to know. He may get clued in a bit more later on, when he overhears Firenze talking to Harry. Clearly, Harry is going to acquire a massive amount of power he doesn't already have, but I don't see any particular reason to promote the option of super-duper-time-travel to the fore.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2014-08-01T04:26:30.280Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

First, it seems improbable that Salazar entrusted all his magical knowledge to the basilisk, if only because that would have been a ridiculous amount of magical knowledge.

Well, it's not like he had to teach the Basilisk a full Hogwarts curriculum; he only had to teach it what he knew that triggered the Interdict of Merlin, which is only the top whateverth percentile of his repertoire.

Salazar wouldn't have known which pieces of knowledge from his time were going to become lost,

Sure he could have. All he had to do was write down the most powerful stuff he knew in descending order until he got to the point where someone else started understanding what they were reading.

Also, there's no reason to believe that basilisks have perfect memories

The Basilisk may not have a perfect memory as an animal, but it "would be huge flaw in sscheme" if Salazar's magical Parseltongue knowledge was corruptible by the limitations of any old snake's brain.

Salazar was only responsible for part of Hogwarts. We don't know that he was at all responsible for the wards, only that he had admin access to them…. We also don't know that Godric didn't revoke said admin access after Salazar betrayed him and left

I think you're extending your computer analogy too far. Salazar didn't have a revocable password to the wards, he knew the magic that created them, and the rest of the Founders certainly did not have the power to revoke spells from the Source of Magic.

Don't get me wrong, I think we're meant to understand that Quirrell did smuggle in the troll as a small transfigured object that Dumbledore drew his circle around. But nevertheless, I think we should also assume until further notice that h̶e̶ ̶k̶n̶o̶w̶s̶ whoever got the basilisk's knowledge got the most powerful magic that Slytherin knew.

EDIT: Hedged my last sentence, since Chapter 102's horcrux information introduces potential ambiguity as to how Tom Riddle's knowledge has been propagated amongst his alter egos' bodies.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2014-07-29T22:48:24.776Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

We definitely don't know enough specifics about HPMoR-alchemy to come to any firm conclusions.

Does the "alchemical circle" that has to be so precise refer to just the containing circle itself, or to all the runes inside it, too? If the former, then the circle could be a permanent part of the room, while the runes are drawn (the earlier passage does say the Transfiguration studio's diagram was "drawn") slightly more crudely in some way that's erasable. If the latter, then,

Are there different runes for different alchemies, or is it always the same "board" that you perform different processes on top of? If the latter, then the whole room could be ready to go; if the former, then yeah, Harry may be out of luck.

I did some Googling about the history of alchemy, and the diagram I saw associated with the Philosopher's Stone in several places was a circle-inscribed-in-a-square-inscribed-in-a-triangle-inscribed-in-the-Circle. If Eliezer is consistent with that, then Harry's probably going to have to draw at least the runes on his own.

I do think that it makes more sense literarily for Harry to have to go through the trapped third-floor corridor to the room with the "magic mirror" rather than skipping it altogether. But as others have pointed out, if it is the Mirror of Erised and Dumbledore's scheme is the same as in canon, HPMoR-Harry probably won't qualify to receive the Stone, since he totally does want to use it, and (I hope) can't somehow make himself not want to use it in a way that satisfies Dumbledore's spell.

So maybe he'll get to the mirror, find himself flummoxed, and then proceed to go make one. I don't know.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2014-07-29T20:50:30.725Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

/u/solipsist, in another comment on this thread:

Do not try to obtain Sstone yoursself. I forbid.

This was said by Quirrell in Parseltongue. If you can only tell the truth in Parseltongue, then Quirrell was really forbidding Harry from obtaining the stone himself.

If Quirrell can't lie in Parseltongue (and not just Harry, since Harry's speaking as a standard Parselmouth but Quirrell is speaking as a sentient snake), and if that prohibition enforces the sincerity of imperative commands and not just declarative statements, then clearly what Quirrell is saying is that Harry should try to make his own Philosopher's Stone.

"It's not a secret." Hermione flipped the page, showing Harry the diagrams. "The instructions are right on the next page. It's just so difficult that only Nicholas Flamel's done it."


"Well, it can't work," Hermione said. She'd flown across the library to look up the only book on alchemy that wasn't in the Restricted Section. And then - she remembered the crushing letdown, all the sudden hope dissipating like mist. "Because all alchemical circles have to be drawn 'to the fineness of a child's hair', it isn't any finer for some alchemies than others. And wizards have Omnioculars, and I haven't heard of any spells where you use Omnioculars to magnify things and do them exactly.

So the first thing Hermione mentions as a limitation of doing alchemy is the insane precision of the circle you have to draw. But what if there were already an acceptable, permanent alchemy setup just lying around somewhere where Harry could get to it?

The three of them stood within the Headmaster's private Transfiguration workroom, where the shining phoenix of Dumbledore's Patronus had told her to bring Harry, moments after her own Patronus had reached him. Light shone down through the skylights and illuminated the great seven-pointed alchemical diagram drawn in the center of the circular room, showing it to be a little dusty, which saddened Minerva. Transfiguration research was one of Dumbledore's great enjoyments, and she'd known how pressed for time he'd been lately, but not that he was this pressed.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 28, chapter 99-101 · 2013-12-12T22:11:01.996Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think any of it fits. "Tiny fragment" and "fraction of a line" don't sound like blood spatters, or anything liquid. The sound of black robes falling doesn't sound like bodies hitting the ground, and if this were the fulfillment of the Chapter 1 epigraph, I would expect there to be at least a mention of their robes.

This whole scene doesn't seem significant enough to be such a heavily anticipated revelation. I'm going with "No" on this one.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 25, chapter 96 · 2013-08-02T04:03:06.923Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It could happen, though I think it will take a few more chapters than that to wrap everything up.

If you're implying that Eliezer has purposely sought to achieve a certain number of chapters, though, I'm almost certain that's not correct. He's mentioned too often his uncertainty as to whether certain plot points would be resolved in a single chapter or split into two. He's expressed regret at writing ten full chapters of the Self Actualization arc instead of accomplishing its intended purpose in a few paragraphs. He's certainly had a plot outline from the beginning, but it almost certainly wasn't chapter-by-chapter granular.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 25, chapter 96 · 2013-07-27T22:19:30.377Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This again.

"He does have other avenues to life, should he perceive this one blocked," Snape said dryly, uncapping a fourth bottle. "And before you ask, it must be the original grave, the place of first burial, the bone removed during the ritual and not before.

I think all the sacrifices, including the blood of the enemy, must be made during the ritual.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 25, chapter 96 · 2013-07-27T22:09:50.017Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think "likely" may be an overstatement at this juncture. The entire Deathly Hallows insignia hardly seems like "a tiny fragment… a fraction of a line". I suppose it's possible that some ritual results in the glowy part being erased until only a small portion of the wand is left. But the word "glint" sounds like it's a metallic object moving and flashing light briefly, not something glowing with its own light continually for a time. And while it's possible that Harry will be driven to spill liters of blood to resurrect Hermione, that sounds more like a ritual for Little Hangleton than for Godric's Hollow.

It's definitely a candidate, though. It's in a graveyard, which as we all know is a great destination for bloody moonlit rituals in Harry Potter books. There is a silver line involved. Too early for "likely", but worth keeping in mind.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-14T04:49:35.970Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore's "They learned not to mess with our families" line clued me in that he did it. The line is too on-point for anything else

Saying "They learned not to mess with our families" with a stone cold look on his face is what you'd expect Dumbledore to do whether or not he killed Narcissa. The statement is a simple fact. The memory of Aberforth's death and mere knowledge of Narcissa's seems to me plenty sufficient to produce that line and that look. Harry has even explicitly thought that Dumbledore has acted consistent with either possibility. I grant that that thought was more about the "Only a fool would say 'Yea' or 'Nay' " line, but if Harry thinks the line you mentioned is evidence of guilt, he has failed to think it where we can hear him, even when he was thinking through this entire issue.

His motive is better

Maybe, and yet the deed is still out of character for him, where it's not nearly as much for Amelia, and Amelia's motive is plenty good, given that Bellatrix was too powerful to attack directly.

his textual clues are clearer

Such as they are, they're more explicit and blatant and obvious, yes. That just means it's a crappy mystery if you're right. I know I always say "Not everything that is mysterious to the characters is supposed to be mysterious to us", but that's more about things where we're supposed to use our enhanced knowledge of canon or alternate POVs, where it takes deliberate suspension of learning or blatant failures of reading comprehension to keep from admitting the truth. Not like this issue, that's obviously supposed to be a mystery that will be revealed later.

and he explicitly said that he did it.

Says Lucius. Maybe Dumbledore said he did it, or maybe he used weasel words to lead Lucius to that belief without lying, or maybe he admitted some involvement without saying he cast the spell that killed her. The fact is, Dumbledore had a vested interest in the bad guys’ believing that he did it; therefore, any alleged confessions made by Dumbledore to the bad guys should be treated with suspicion.

EDIT: As a gesture of goodwill, let me post the best evidence I've seen that Dumbledore might have killed Narcissa, that I just now thought of and haven't seen brought up in this context:

Because, you see, I had tried to kill Grindelwald once before, a long time ago, and that... that was... it proved to be... a mistake, Harry..." The old wizard was staring now at his long dark-grey wand where he held it in both hands, as though it were a crystal ball out of Muggle fantasy, a scrying pool within which answers could be found. "And I thought, then... I thought that I should never kill. And then came Voldemort."

Sounds like Dumbledore has killed before. He said this in the same room where he keeps his Pensieve and memories of Aberforth's death. I don't know of any good guesses about who he might have killed other than Narcissa. Consider my probability estimates revised to be closer together. Not past each other, not even terribly closer, but closer.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-14T01:06:38.461Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think Amelia Bones is the kind of woman who needs to be manipulated by Dumbledore to get revenge. My similar hypothesis is that Amelia needed Dumbledore's help to infiltrate Malfoy Manor and pull it off. Aberforth's death provided the impetus for Dumbledore to help, but he didn't cast the spell.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-12T21:40:12.302Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe not 10:1, no. But one thing that does seem to have been lacking in all the dissents from my theory is any textual clues pointing to anyone else.

Sometimes the people who object have harebrained ideas, like the person on Reddit who said that Regulus Black was a more likely suspect than Amelia Bones. Sometimes, they're committed that Dumbledore did it. But so far as I can tell — and please, please, please tell me if I'm missing anything — the only evidence for Dumbledore's guilt is

  1. Lucius says that Dumbledore told him he did it.
  2. Narcissa's death represented a strategic victory for the side of the war Dumbledore led.
  3. Narcissa's death was subsequent to Aberforth's death.

To me, that is what Eliezer does — information he explicitly gives us and points to and puts blinking lights around — to set the default starting point for the mystery. That is the baseline, boring, standard theory. The Amelia clues I keep bringing up, though, are different. I may do this completely wrong, but it is written:

" … The import of an act lies not in what that act resembles on the surface, Mr. Potter, but in the states of mind which make that act more or less probable."

You can see Amelia make a "burn" reference, or say that she hates Bellatrix for killing her brother, or speak up in the Wizengamot, and say "That is some really, really circumstantial evidence."

And in-universe, in the story, that's absolutely true. You could never justly convict someone in the real world on that evidence alone.

But Eliezer wrote those lines. The same brain that created the Narcissa mystery in the first place also made these explicit decisions: "Amelia Bones thinks of burning for revenge. Amelia Bones's brother was killed by Narcissa's sister. Amelia Bones will be the one to speak up at Dumbledore about Narcissa's death."

It seems to me that the Eliezer who believes that Amelia killed Narcissa is way more likely to make those three not-binary decisions that way than the Eliezer who believes that Dumbledore or someone else did it.

Pfah. I'm no good at this. Eliezer, if you're reading this and I'm right, I'd like to cash in those Bayes Points you said I had for you to bookmark this thread and explain this better than I am when you post the chapter with the revelation. And if I'm wrong, then I'm so spectacularly wrong that I will gladly forfeit those Bayes Points anyway, and I don't mind if you want to make a prominent top-level post about that.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-12T11:31:22.065Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Or it was some random lady who used the word "burn" once. You know, whatever.

If that were indeed an accurate summary of the situation, I would agree with you. I did agree with you, when that was the only potential clue I knew of. All three major clues would be circumstantial in real life, but when you step out a level and see that Eliezer writes this story, choosing every word we read, it's clear that he wants us to figure out that Amelia has something more to do with Narcissa's death.

One of these twists is revealing of important information about a main character

It's just as important if Dumbledore didn't do it as it is if he did; it's another piece of evidence that he's not a huge evil hypocrite. Which many HPMoR readers seem to need.

future motivation for interesting developments(Harry being forced to choose between Draco and Dumbledore over the promise, or Draco having to forgive his mother's murderer)

I think it'll be pretty interesting when Harry finds out that Amelia did it; Amelia was going for painful revenge, while Harry is already hemming and hawing over whether Dumbledore deserves to be an enemy if he did do it. Harry is much more likely to declare Amelia his enemy, and Amelia is much more likely to declare Harry her enemy.

a subversion of our expectations

Sounds to me like Amelia would be the biggest subversion of your expectations! Given the several conversations I've had on this topic, I'm pretty sure that Amelia's guilt will be a subversion of most people's expectations. In fact, I and possibly pedanterrific may be the only ones in the entire readership whose expectations aren't subverted.

and is reasonably predictable from evidence dropped in advance.

I really don't understand why everyone thinks the three clues I identified are worth so much less than the clue-and-a-half we have about Dumbledore.

One of them is irrelevant and a complete cop-out of all the character development built into the original twist. Take a guess which one I assume is more likely to be true.

Amelia killing Narcissa would be the sort of thing M Night Shyamalan would write.

And this is why I didn't actually mean to start this conversation again; this is the second or possibly third time that I've pushed someone to declare Eliezer a bad writer if my hypothesis proves true, who will now actually feel that way when it is proven true, where they probably would have just said "Huh!" before, or maybe even thought it was cool.

I just don't get it. I don't understand people's reluctance to believe this, to step outside the text and realize that these are purposely written clues. Maybe it's because I'm acting all certain again; maybe perceived overconfidence causes bad reactions in people even with all the supporting evidence, not only without it.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-10T16:30:11.151Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You think it's not an interesting puzzle because you think it's not a puzzle at all. :) And wouldn't it only be a double-twist if Dumbledore did do it? If Amelia Bones did it it would just be a single twist.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-09T18:38:53.705Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore's motive is almost certainly stronger than Amelia's.

Which is why I think it a significant possibility that Dumbledore helped in some way.

Any of those defenses might be sufficient for a single clue, but you have to take the clues together. Three successive clues (plus her character) pointing to Amelia, and only some words spoken to Lucius that we never saw pointing to Albus (and everything else we know of his character pointing away from him, though I know some would argue that), increase the probability of Amelia's guilt quite a bit more than linearly.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-09T18:34:09.404Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How is it more interesting storytelling for the guy everyone thinks did it to have done it, as opposed to "Here's a puzzle and the clues to figure it out"?

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-09T18:32:27.148Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, I think Lucius probably made sure a long time ago that everyone knew what Dumbledore (supposedly) said to him. I didn't get the feeling from that scene in the Wizengamot that Dumbledore-killing-Narcissa was any kind of a secret idea that people were just then finding out about.

This does rather change my view of some of the peripheral details, though. Previously, one possibility I pictured was Dumbledore restraining Amelia from her vengeance until Aberforth died, then relenting. I knew Amelia Bones wasn't in the OotP, and I knew she felt distaste at Dumbledore's softness, but somehow I never completely drew the conclusion that she wouldn't care one whit about what Dumbledore said or thought, and therefore probably wouldn't have cared if he had tried to restrain her.

Perhaps more likely, then, is the other way I pictured it: that Amelia couldn't get to Narcissa by herself, and after Aberforth's death, Dumbledore actively approached Amelia and said "Okay, I'm ready to help. I'll be the ward-breaker, you do the deed."

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T03:21:27.124Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

The Wizengamot's response to the death of Draco Malfoy's supposed assassin and Lucius Malfoy's hated enemy will not, no matter the circumstances, be to flock to Lucius' side.

I think you're being generous to the wizarding public. Lucius Malfoy can probably prove — the Hogwarts wards can possibly prove — that neither Lucius nor Draco has been in Hogwarts for quite some time. It won't be too hard for Lucius to say the better-written equivalent of

"Regardless of my personal feelings for Miss Granger, I would never besmirch House Malfoy by reneging in such brutal fashion on a matter of House honor. The question at hand is this: how could Dumbledore not have known the troll was in Hogwarts? And if he did know, where was he during the attack? If you would like to propose that Dumbledore and I were in collusion on the matter — well, I'm sure a simple show of hands will make clear how likely this assembly is to believe that."

Not too hard for Lucius to talk his way out of. Very much harder for Dumbledore.

EDIT: I agree that not all of Hogwarts's wards are necessarily available to Dumbledore off-campus. But the mechanisms of these two wards have been described identically: Poof, he appears, and says "I felt X". I wouldn't assume by default that two wards that function identically would differ in such an important aspect.

DOUBLE EDIT: It could easily be said that it makes political sense for Dumbledore to kill Hermione, as an attempt to frame Lucius. But then, if Dumbledore doesn't actually speak up against Lucius…

It is complicated. But I still think Dumbledore is in trouble, just from the perspective of Eliezer taking a more serious, realistic look at events from canon.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T02:22:57.819Z · score: 20 (20 votes) · LW · GW

The Headmaster can feel when a student dies in Hogwarts. That's how he showed up the moment Hermione died.

But the Headmaster can also feel when a creature unknown to Hogwarts is in Hogwarts. That's how he showed up when Harry rejected his phoenix.

But so why didn't Dumbledore feel the troll and intercept it much sooner? I expect before long the Dumbledore-haters — both those in the story and those on Less Wrong and Reddit — will latch on to this as proof that Dumbledore has been evil all along.

The problem is, we know a thing or two about Hogwarts's wards by now. We know, for instance, that Salazar Slytherin was the one who wove them:

or by some entity which Salazar Slytherin keyed into his wards at a higher level than the Headmaster himself.

Salazar Slytherin's wards. Salazar Slytherin, who left a basilisk that knew all his secrets. Secrets that Quirrellmort now knows.

Dumbledore will try to tell the wizarding world that the only explanation of Hermione's death is that Voldemort was behind the attack. This will be seen by the world as the same thing Headmaster Dippet actually did when Myrtle died: the accusation of an unlikely — "preposterous!" — scapegoat.

And now, Lucius Malfoy is there to stir up the opposition:

Lucius Malfoy controls Minister Fudge, through the Daily Prophet he sways all Britain, only by bare margins does he not control enough of the Board of Governors to oust me from Hogwarts.

Those bare margins are about to be erased. For the first time in fifty years, a student has died in Hogwarts, and there is reason to suspect Dumbledore of involvement. Dumbledore is not going to be Headmaster for very much longer.

And the Philosopher's Stone is there, in Hogwarts, in the place, until now, of Dumbledore's own power.

Eliezer took the troll fight that a first-year Ron Weasley won in canon and turned it into the death of the #2 character in Methods. I can't wait to see what he does with this.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T20:41:52.380Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It was a surprisingly good day because he didn't intend Harry to try to rescue Hermione. Harry was supposed to find out about her death later. He couldn't be absolutely sure her death would have the precisely correct effect on Harry, either. It was surprisingly good because he got Dead Hermione and Dark Harry out of the deal; an expectedly good day would have been just getting the former.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T20:38:43.128Z · score: 9 (15 votes) · LW · GW

a) Quirrel.

Unlikely.

*facepalm*

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T19:42:17.623Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Arf, didn't mean to start this again, but here's my usual litany:

Gur bayl rivqrapr jr unir gung Qhzoyrqber xvyyrq Anepvffn vf gung Yhpvhf fnlf Qhzoyrqber gbyq uvz fb. Jr qba'g xabj gur rknpg jbeqf Qhzoyrqber hfrq, naq oheavat fbzrbar nyvir ernyyl qbrfa'g frrz yvxr Qhzoyrqber'f fglyr (nygubhtu V jvyy fnl gung Puncgre 89 vf gur svefg gvzr V'ir gubhtug gur Qhzoyrqber-vf-rivy pebjq zvtug npghnyyl unir fbzrguvat fhofgnagvir gb jbex jvgu). Zrnajuvyr:

  1. Nzryvn'f qrsnhyg gubhtug jura eriratr pbzrf gb zvaq vf "Fbzrbar jbhyq ohea sbe guvf."
  2. Anepvffn'f fvfgre xvyyrq Nzryvn'f oebgure.
  3. Nzryvn vf gur bar jub fcrnxf hc va gur Jvmratnzbg, gryyvat Qhzoyrqber "Qba'g rira guvax nobhg vg" jura Qhzoyrqber pbafvqref pbasrffvat gb Anepvffn'f zheqre.

Jura V bayl xarj nobhg #1, V jebgr vg bss nf n cbffvoyr pbvapvqrapr. Ohg gura crqnagreevsvp cbvagrq bhg #2 gb zr, naq V fgebatyl hctenqrq gur ulcbgurfvf'f cebonovyvgl. Gura yngre #3 unccrarq, naq V orpnzr nf pregnva nf V nz abj.

And if that's not as close as you can actually come to a Bayesian updating process when reading a fiction book, where the only experiment you can perform is "Wait for more chapters and then read them", I would love to learn what's legitimately closer.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T19:02:59.399Z · score: 25 (25 votes) · LW · GW

Ha, you've got me all wrong. I am woefully under-read, particularly in fiction. I get a very small percentage of the references Eliezer makes in Methods; most of the time, I find out that he's borrowed something months (or, let's face it, years) after I read it, only by seeing someone else explicitly point out the reference. I have had my life ruined by TV Tropes, but most of what I'm familiar with there is video games, and not too awfully many of those.

But it's not a matter of picking up on specific tropes, exactly. It's more a matter of getting into the author's head. Of constantly asking "If this were foreshadowing or a setup or a clue, what would be the most effective payoff?" I read Chapter 84, and then, put together with many other quotes from my many rereads of HPMoR ("Nothing really bad ever happens at Hogwarts", "Her life was officially over", etc.), I answered that question with "Hermione will die horribly," then posted how I felt about it.

It's the same deal with my prediction — which I'm far more certain of than I was that Hermione would die horribly — that Nzryvn Obarf xvyyrq Anepvffn Znysbl. I got into an argument with someone on Reddit once, who was bringing up all sorts of random canon characters who haven't even been introduced in Methods and coming up with categories in which to score them 1 to 5, then giving them wildly inappropriate scores and adding them up. She said things like "We're in a state of abysmally low evidence" and "At least I appreciate what Eliezer is trying to do," claiming to be following the spirit of Bayes better than me, when all I was doing was pointing out three successively more blatant clues that Eliezer put into the text and saying that my certainty had increased as they were successively pointed out to me.

I see a lot of that, it seems. A lot of people thinking the whole Bayes thing is about immediately reducing a situation to a bunch of numbers and seeing what the numbers say, and fie upon anyone who acts sure of something without attaching their spreadsheet. But it seems to me the numbers themselves are not the most important part of Bayesian thinking. Perhaps the least important part.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T10:36:40.392Z · score: 30 (30 votes) · LW · GW

Hermione's lips were moving, just a tiny bit but they were moving.

"your... fault..."

Time froze. Harry should have told her not to talk, to save her breath, only he couldn't unblock his lips.

Hermione drew in another breath, and her lips whispered, "Not your fault."


"Of course it was my fault. There's no one else here who could be responsible for anything."

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T09:28:30.780Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW · GW

He had the opportunity to make more than that prediction, and he failed to take it.

I totally get the point of the rest of your comment, but not this sentence. A correct prediction is meaningless because it wasn't accompanied by another correct prediction?

I'm not trying to toot my own horn here; I've gotten things wrong too, and my original comment in question here was much more about expressing my despair at Chapter 84 than trying to register a prediction for later credit. But I don't see how I had any particular "opportunity to make more than that prediction" that I failed to take, beyond the fact that anyone can make any prediction they feel like any time they feel like it.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T08:21:55.258Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Ha, interesting take. That last sentence was not actually an endorsement of horrible murderous things happening, it was just my way of saying "Now let's get down to business" about the home stretch of the story.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T08:11:01.495Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Can't tell by your phrasing here whether you're aware of this or not, but no use of a Time Turner in canon altered the timeline, either. Everything that Harry and Hermione did while time-turned was exactly what the trio saw the first time through. That part of HPMoR's time travel rules are identical to canon's, just more thoroughly explained.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 18, chapter 87 · 2013-03-11T21:50:38.208Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It couldn't have been Dumbledore or McGonagall or Snape, could it? Because at the time they thought of testing Harry they had already not-experienced Harry appearing in front of them at 3:00. Which itself, though, I suppose, could be a clue pointing to Harry's guilt. But maybe that's too much like "messing with time"?

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 18, chapter 87 · 2013-03-11T21:42:10.711Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Not a computer error on your end; the HPMoR Facebook page spammed its followers with a post for every single chapter, too.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 18, chapter 87 · 2013-03-08T22:44:49.661Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The Bone of the Father must be removed during the ritual, not before; it stands to reason that the flesh and blood must be sacrificed during the ritual as well.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 18, chapter 87 · 2013-02-11T03:58:14.240Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I've often thought about how Quidditch could be made into a better game, without simply getting rid of Seekers and Snitches. My idea:

  • Each team has three Chasers; at any time, one of them is acting as Seeker.
  • There are five Snitches, each of which is worth 50 points when caught.
  • When a Seeker catches a Snitch, (s)he becomes a Chaser, and the next Chaser in line becomes the new Seeker.
  • A caught Snitch flies to the goals of the team who caught it; it places itself in the exact center of the leftmost or rightmost goal hoop (at the option of the team's Keeper) and renders itself immovable, so it can block the Quaffle when it's thrown too close to the center of the goal.
  • The game ends when one team has caught three Snitches.

By these rules, all the players must make active contributions to the goal-scoring game, and catching more Snitches earlier confers a significant advantage, but not an unovercomeable one.

BELATED EDIT: I must also add, so long as we're talking about Quidditch rules:

  • Goals are worth one point and Snitches are worth five points everywhere except for official Hogwarts games. It really bugs me when the possible point increments in a game aren't coprime.
Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 18, chapter 87 · 2013-01-24T22:25:15.176Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

(8) is because he knew that the moment Dumbledore learned of the potion, he would conclude that Harry Potter was not the mastermind of the escape. "to fathom a strange plot, one technique was to look at what ended up happening, assume it was the intended result, and ask who benefited."

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 18, chapter 87 · 2013-01-24T22:21:53.598Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

This is very unrealistic, people get over things

Yes, but sometimes very slowly. I can tell you from first-hand experience that fixations on people with whom the fixator has zero contact for eight years do exist, and from second-hand knowledge that upwards of 13-year-long ones almost certainly exist as well. It's quite unhealthy and quite irrational, but it happens.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 16, chapter 85 · 2012-08-19T04:26:22.014Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hangonasec. Is this, like, real? Are there jellyfish that don't die of age? Because your comment seems too random if it's not a real thing. But I'm not going to look it up, because if I do I might see pictures of undying deep sea creatures, which I don't think I can handle.

EDIT: Looked it up, and sure enough. Turritopsis nutricula. No pictures. And maybe lobsters, too. Crazy.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 16, chapter 85 · 2012-07-19T06:30:44.623Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that the new scene seems very awkward, though I'm not sure whether I would have thought so if I weren't already familiar with the old version.

Eliezer has said that some people would have "massively bad associations" to songs in fanfics. I don't read fan fiction in general, so I have no idea what he's specifically referring to. But, err, given the interactions I've had with fandom people, I can definitely imagine them being utterly unable to see past their preconceived notions and snap judgments to logically evaluate a given scene on its own merits and subtleties.

Comment by 75th on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 16, chapter 85 · 2012-07-18T00:26:54.539Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

"The adult wizard" was changed quite a while before the most recent round of retcons. Most of the other changes I can understand, even the removal of Ghostbusters, but this one seems completely indefensible. He's listing species that are dangerous, so it makes more sense to use a biology-type word like "adult".

And as Quirrell is perfectly open later on in telling everyone that he believes Harry wishes to become a Dark Lord, and also that he still wishes to teach Harry how to defeat his foes, there's no reason for him to put on false airs and claim that all the students present will have Dark Wizards as their enemies. He even took "Defense Against Dark" out of the class's name for crying out loud!