LW events near the Singularity Summit? 2011-09-30T20:54:36.128Z
'Newcomblike' Video Game: Frozen Synapse 2011-09-29T04:26:17.944Z
[Conversation Log] Compartmentalization 2011-07-30T00:51:06.630Z
For meetup groups: Restaurant gift card coupons 2011-07-06T17:35:50.097Z
If we're in a sim... 2011-07-05T21:22:07.762Z
A discussion of an applictation of Bayes' theorem to everyday life 2011-05-29T06:04:47.121Z
Advice request: Homeownership 2011-05-27T11:44:04.222Z
Rationalist horoscopes: A low-hanging utility generator. 2011-05-22T09:37:33.620Z
Rationalist Horoscopes: Low-hanging utility generator? 2011-05-18T21:52:38.602Z
Main site karma requirement for posting broken? 2011-05-09T16:28:43.909Z
A confused model of the self-indication assumption 2011-04-17T13:40:20.112Z
Rational responses to potential home invasion threat? 2010-11-12T13:54:32.020Z
A suggestion on how to get people to read the Sequences 2010-10-25T19:21:31.987Z
Expectation-Based Akrasia Management 2010-10-01T04:34:32.782Z
Open Thread: March 2010 2010-03-01T09:25:07.423Z


Comment by AdeleneDawner on Honoring Petrov Day on LessWrong, in 2020 · 2020-09-26T11:30:34.251Z · LW · GW

(I guess I appreciate being thought of but it does seem like somewhat undermining your point to tag people who haven't used the site in checks seven-almost-eight years.)

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Rationality Quotes February 2013 · 2013-02-02T19:40:30.954Z · LW · GW

Where's that 'should' coming from? (Or are you just explaining the concept rather than endorsing it?)

Comment by AdeleneDawner on AI box: AI has one shot at avoiding destruction - what might it say? · 2013-01-24T07:14:08.188Z · LW · GW

This was basically my answer - I can't play as an AI using this strategy, for obvious reasons, but an AI that used its one sentence to give a novel and easily-testable solution to a longstanding social problem of some sort (or an easily-testable principle that suggests one or more novel solutions) would probably get at least a second sentence from me (though not a typed response; that seems to open up a risky channel). Especially if the AI in question didn't actually have access to a lot of information about human culture or me personally and had to infer that a solution like that would be useful from near-base principles - that's not proof of Friendliness, but an AI using its one guaranteed communication to do something that has a decent chance of improving the world per our definition without any prompting whatsoever sure looks suspiciously like Friendly to me.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Just One Sentence · 2013-01-05T04:12:50.493Z · LW · GW

That parses as 'do not let others conduct experiments'. Probably not what you're aiming for.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Just One Sentence · 2013-01-05T04:10:41.671Z · LW · GW

If you have the resources to put something at the south pole, you probably have the resources to scatter a couple dozen stonehenges/pyramids/giant stone heads around; then you don't have to specify unambiguously, plus redundancy is always good.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Failed Utopia #4-2 · 2012-12-30T05:23:48.672Z · LW · GW

I think it's a failed utopia because it involves the AI modifying the humans' desires wholesale - the fact that it does so by proxy doesn't change that it's doing that.

(This may not be the only reason it's a failed utopia.)

Comment by AdeleneDawner on What Evidence Filtered Evidence? · 2012-12-26T16:27:57.904Z · LW · GW

Actually, it's my bad - I found your comment via the new-comments list, and didn't look very closely at its context.

As to your actual question: Being told that someone has evidence of something is, if they're trustworthy, not just evidence of the thing, but also evidence of what other evidence exists. For example, in my scenario with gwern's prank, before I've seen gwern's web page, I expect that if I look the mentioned drug up in other places, I'll also see evidence that it's awesome. If I actually go look the drug up and find out that it's no better than placebo in any situation, that's also surprising new information that changes my beliefs - the same change that seeing gwern's "April Fools" message would cause, in fact, so when I do see that message, it doesn't surprise me or change my opinion of the drug.

In your scenario, I trust Merck's spokesperson much less than I trust gwern, so I don't end up with nearly so strong of a belief that third parties will agree that the drug is a good one - looking it up and finding out that it has dangerous side effects wouldn't be surprising, so I should take the chance of that into account to begin with, even if the Merck spokesperson doesn't mention it. This habit of keeping possible information from third parties (or information that could be discovered in other ways besides talking to third parties, but that the person you're speaking to wouldn't tell you even if they'd discovered it) into account when talking to untrustworthy people is the intended lesson of the original post.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on What Evidence Filtered Evidence? · 2012-12-26T04:47:44.230Z · LW · GW

Someone claiming that they have evidence for a thing is already evidence for a thing, if you trust them at all, so you can update on that, and then revise that update on how good the evidence turns out to be once you actually get it.

For example, say gwern posts to Discussion that he has a new article on his website about some drug, and he says "tl;dr: It's pretty awesome" but doesn't give any details, and when you follow the link to the site you get an error and can't see the page. gwern's put together a few articles now about drugs, and they're usually well-researched and impressive, so it's pretty safe to assume that if he says a drug is awesome, it is, even if that's the only evidence you have. This is a belief about both the drug (it is particularly effective at what it's supposed to do) and what you'll see when you're able to access the page about it (there will be many citations of research indicating that the drug is particularly effective).

Now, say a couple days later you get the page to load, and what it actually says is "ha ha, April Fools!". This is new information, and as such it changes your beliefs - in particular, your belief that the drug is any good goes down substantially, and any future cases of gwern posting about an 'awesome' drug don't make you believe as strongly that the drug is good - the chance that it's good if there is an actual page about it stays about the same, but now you also have to factor in the chance that it's another prank - or in other words that the evidence you'll be given will be much worse than is being claimed.

It's harder to work out an example of evidence turning out to be much stronger than is claimed, but it works on the same principle - knowing that there's evidence at all means you can update about as much as you would for an average piece of evidence from that source, and then when you learn that the evidence is much better, you update again based on how much better it is.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Ritual 2012: A Moment of Darkness · 2012-12-25T17:38:49.121Z · LW · GW

What would a ritual that's just about rationality and more complex than a group recitation of the Litany of Tarsky look like?

Comment by AdeleneDawner on New censorship: against hypothetical violence against identifiable people · 2012-12-25T03:35:03.222Z · LW · GW

non-zero engineering resources

effectively zero

Getting someone to sort a list, even on an ongoing basis, is not functionally useful if there's nobody to take action on the sorted list.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on New censorship: against hypothetical violence against identifiable people · 2012-12-24T14:31:58.075Z · LW · GW

Actually, I can think of at least one type of situation where this isn't true, though it seems unwise to explain it in public and in any case it's still not something you'd want associated with LW, or in fact happening at all in most cases.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on New censorship: against hypothetical violence against identifiable people · 2012-12-24T12:16:48.911Z · LW · GW

Regardless of your intentions, I know of one person who somewhat seriously considered that course of action as a result of the post in question. (The individual in question has been talked out of it in the short term, by way of 'the negative publicity would hurt more than the money would help', but my impression is that the chance that they'll try something like that has still increased, probably permanently.)

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 18, chapter 87 · 2012-12-24T11:39:41.371Z · LW · GW

Tangent: This basically does that. It doesn't work perfectly on hpmor, though - it swaps the pronouns just fine, but only some of the names, so you have to not only remember that Harry is now Harriet but also do that without being thrown off by the fact that Hermione is still Hermione but with male pronouns. That's patchable (eg, eg), but I don't know that it'd be worth the trouble.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 18, chapter 87 · 2012-12-23T15:40:55.980Z · LW · GW

have a much better understanding of

This isn't what I was talking about.

We don't need to know the details of what a character is trying to do to see that they're acting in a goal-directed kind of way, or to infer some general things about the types of goals they're going after. It's kind of like - imagine watching a documentary about rubber balls, and there's a two-minute clip in it about how they're shipped that shows a truck and gives a vague handwavey map of the transportation network. At the end of the documentary, you'll know much more about rubber balls than trucks, but that doesn't make rubber balls more complex or more interesting than trucks are - and you have enough information to know that, even if you can't say much more about trucks than that they exist and can carry things over long distances.

What I was actually trying to get at is a bit more subtle than even that, though - even the boys who aren't actively trying to become specific plausible types of narratively-coherent adults are pulled into that by the assumptions of the people surrounding them, whereas the girls don't just care less individually (of the ones you named, only Padma has anything remotely like a realistic goal for adult-herself, as opposed to a simple set of character traits or a silly fantasy that obviously won't happen), the people around them don't take an interest in the issue, either.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 18, chapter 87 · 2012-12-22T21:09:15.266Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure I'm quite on the same wavelength here, but what I'm seeing is that the boys are mostly proto-somethings - not just the obvious ones, like Harry being on the road to being a Light Lord or Draco gearing up to be the first reasonably-enlightened Lord Malfoy, but even relatively minor characters like Neville and Ron, you can get a pretty good idea of what kinds of people they're going to be when they grow up by looking at what they're like now and extrapolating - and the question of what kinds of people they'll be is taken seriously, too, in how things are framed and how the other characters react to things. (Harry's very first interaction with Neville, for example.) The girls don't really seem to have that same quality of being adults in training; even Hermione's heroism arc was more about her reputation and ego in the here-and-now than anything I can imagine her continuing past age 16 or so, and it takes a lot more work to imagine any of them having interesting roles as adults - it feels like it really doesn't matter whether any of them do anything more interesting than being housewives.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-29T06:14:59.952Z · LW · GW

I'm pretty sure what MixedNuts is referring to is the phenomenon of nursing home residents being raped by staff/family, not nursing home residents raping people - I don't actually know how common the former actually is, but when I worked in a nursing home we were specifically trained to be on the lookout for it and told that it is indeed a thing that happens, mostly (according to the training) because the victims are, as MixedNuts mentioned, easy targets - they have limited access to people who they can report abuse to and are often written off as confused, among other issues. (Also, I never saw any instances of catcalling in the four years I worked in a home, and I mostly wouldn't expect to given the dynamic of seeing the same people all the time - main exception would be someone who got hit particularly hard by the disinhibition effect that dementia sometimes has, in which case catcalling from that person would be the least of your worries and they probably wouldn't be kept with the general population of residents. (My home sent such people to a facility that specialized in such things, which on one hand sucked but on the other let us keep our non-dangerous dementia patients integrated with the facility, which was pretty awesome for them.))

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Rationality Quotes November 2012 · 2012-11-17T12:11:45.538Z · LW · GW

Which would be a problem if the dynamiter was trying to minimize the number of stones rather than maximizing the amount of blood, I suppose.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Rationality Quotes November 2012 · 2012-11-16T23:28:55.712Z · LW · GW

"Would be". As in, "don't become a stone; if I can't get blood from you I'm liable to blow you up instead".

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012) · 2012-11-16T08:25:40.344Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure you're right that we won't see any increase in autism prevalance - there are still some groups (girls, racial minorities, poor people) that are "underserved" when it comes to diagnosis, so we could see an increase if that changes, even if your underlying theory is correct. Still upvoted, tho.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Open Thread, November 1-15, 2012 · 2012-11-11T08:15:45.856Z · LW · GW

This seems like a red herring to me. Fine, IRC gives you the same kind of socialization opportunities that most people can get in meatspace, which you can't get there, and so losing it would be particularly painful. But nobody is suggesting that you should lose it that I've seen; all you're being asked to do is apply the same sorts of filters that people are expected to apply in any public social situation, or as pragmatist said, "any public forum".

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Open Thread, November 1-15, 2012 · 2012-11-06T06:16:40.811Z · LW · GW

All good points. I have two to add:

  • Genderfluidity is a thing, and some people do have 'phases' of feeling like one gender that eventually end. Neither of those things invalidate the individual's feelings in the moment, or make it less necessary to have a way of handling the current situation so that it doesn't take over your life.

  • It may be worth considering what happens in the worst case if you go through with a modification you're considering, and how you might handle that. Like, to use a personal example, I'm genderfluid between female, third gender, and agender, and I'm considering top surgery; the worst case scenario is that my gender might solidify on 'female' in such a way that I find it unpleasant to be flat-chested. I don't think that's very likely - as of right now I'm perfectly fine with the idea of being flat-chested even when I'm 'in female mode' - but even if it happens I think I can handle it, and it also suggests that I might want to go with a reduction, to the point where I can comfortably wear a binder when I feel particularly inclined and not have 'em be such a big deal the rest of the time (kinda not an option right now) rather than an outright removal.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Analyzing reviews of 'Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality' · 2012-11-04T05:23:28.997Z · LW · GW

Author's Notes for Ch. 18, 'Dominance Hierarchies':

Warning: Potential spoilers ahead if you have not read up to Ch. 18.

Two months. Over three thousand reviews. What can I possibly say, besides thank you?

Still, My Immortal had over eleven thousand reviews. You wouldn't want people to think that fic was better than this one, right?

Sorry about the pace slowing down. I started this fic partially to prove to myself that I could still write thousands of words per day, so long as I was doing something easier than the rationality book I was bogging down on. Now I've started pair writing (that means there's someone else next to me while I write the book) and my productivity has gone way up, but that in turn means I don't have as much free writing energy. But this is still fun, and the future chapters I have planned are too good not to write, so don't go worrying just yet. And hey, still updating pretty damn fast in an absolute sense. Oh, and not to be even more of a review whore or anything, but that thing where you write reviews begging the author to update? It totally works on me. (Coughs.)

Emphasis mine. That is the only instance of anything like that in the notes I saved, though; the only other thing that turned up that I think might have skewed it was the bit where he talked a few times about how HPMOR was the X most reviewed HP fic/fic on

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Rationality, Transhumanism, and Mental Health · 2012-11-03T21:57:46.880Z · LW · GW

Yep. The latter is really hard to convey in this kind of format, though.

You did see that I PM'd you my skype username?

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Rationality, Transhumanism, and Mental Health · 2012-11-03T21:37:55.174Z · LW · GW


Disregarding the 'personality conflict' situation for the moment, the predictive difference between the other two mostly has to do with what happens when you stop acting like an easy victim in social interactions: In the grooming case, you'll most likely just be ignored; in the response-to-behavior case, you'll start seeing an uptick in positive interactions.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Less Wrong Parents · 2012-11-03T19:08:00.978Z · LW · GW

It seems odd to consider individuals that I saw perhaps one day out of eight, 9 months out of the year, for four or five years (the teachers in the gifted program) as 'having raised me', but oddness aside it is a compelling model in some ways, yes.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Rationality, Transhumanism, and Mental Health · 2012-11-03T17:17:58.149Z · LW · GW

Cases of 'being groomed as an omega' are incredibly rare, in my experience - like, I've heard of it happening between individuals, and my model supports a couple of cases where it could look like a group thing because the individual who's decided to do that has followers who will go along with them (aka bullying), but for the most part when it comes to social groups that aren't built entirely around a particular leader (which is usually fairly obvious), they're either broken enough to shit on most everybody in them to one degree or another, or cases of abuse are the unintended result of personality conflicts or fairly predictable responses by group members to the abused party's behavior. (This is only intended to cover cases of keeping someone around to have them be an omega, though - trying to drive an unwanted interloper out by making them uncomfortable also happens, and I think it's fairly common but I'm not sure of the frequency - how I select for groups to interact with biases me too much to comment on the issue.)

I suspect from your description of things that that last thing is the case for you - that you're making it easier for people to treat you poorly than to treat you well, which ends badly unless you're dealing with people who refuse to treat people poorly even in the face of that situation. If that's the case, it's a problem with a few different solutions; 'strongly select for people who refuse to abuse others' seems likely to be the most viable one for you in the short to medium term. (Possibly in the long term, too, though I suspect that if it works, you'll end up learning enough to be able to relax your selection criteria some.)

Comment by AdeleneDawner on How to Deal with Depression - The Meta Layers · 2012-11-03T08:38:27.322Z · LW · GW

Conjecture: When most people talk about "controlling their emotions", they are constructing a narrative to explain the fact that their emotions happened to subside long enough for them to experience something that feels from the inside like making a decision to calm down.

At least in my case, 'controlling my emotions' is an indirect process that mostly involves controlling my attention and modifying my behavior and environment: Intentionally taking a break from thinking about the distressing thing until I've calmed down; doing things that are distracting, like watching a movie, or calming, like taking a nice shower; and arranging my environment to provide calming stimuli, like relaxing background music.

The specific procedures that work best seem to vary substantially from person to person, but procedures of this general type do appear to work for at least a significant fraction of people. (You do have avoid the failure mode of not going back to deal with the problem once you're calm for best results though.)

(Most situations where I have had people encourage me to think selfishly have ended in rather terrifying displays of sadistic cruelty on my part, because that's simply the only model of 'selfishness' that my brain can really wrap its head around.)

I am reasonably confident that I can help with this via IM, by being a role model if nothing else.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Less Wrong Parents · 2012-11-03T02:50:05.423Z · LW · GW

I have no such memory and have scored around 140 on official IQ tests.

There are complicating factors in my case that mean that it doesn't necessarily completely invalidate your theory, but 'my parents did that and I don't remember it' is not a particularly plausible one. I do have a pretty horrible episodic memory, but my parents were distant in general and it would have been very out of character for me to ask that kind of question of them or for them to answer that way. On the other hand, I was put in my school's gifted program and explicitly taught 'let's find out'-type skills at a relatively early age that I still use today, so if you modify your theory to 'someone has to do that, parents can make sure that it happens by doing it themselves', that still works.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on How To Have Things Correctly · 2012-10-24T22:50:53.138Z · LW · GW

I'm pretty sure wedrifred was referring to either involuntary modifications or both kinds, was the point.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Rationality, Transhumanism, and Mental Health · 2012-10-24T06:05:08.253Z · LW · GW

I suspect that you may be used to dealing with groups where an individual who associates with a disvalued individual is themselves disvalued and cut off, which can totally swamp any contribution that the disvalued individual might make to the individual who might otherwise associate with them.

The easiest solution to this problem is to avoid such groups - the heuristic "don't go where you aren't welcome" addresses this reasonably well, though for best results you'll flip it to "do go where you are welcome". (You'll also need to learn what being welcome somewhere looks like, but that's not as intractable as I expect you're assuming.)

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Rationality, Transhumanism, and Mental Health · 2012-10-24T03:36:49.101Z · LW · GW

Less Wrong mental health support group (so far the current procedure is "whine loudly enough to attract Alicorn's compassion", which might be a bit hard on Alicorn)

"Ask Alicorn to put you in touch with Adelene" may be a viable alternative for chronic rather than acute cases. I'm pretty horrible at providing direct support, but I'm quite good at getting a feel for the shape of peoples' thought processes, both where they are and where they want to be, and using that information to connect them with resources that will help them move towards the latter. (My method is pretty slow, but it's also compatible with the use of other methods that are quicker, so long as you stay in touch so I can keep updating my understanding.) I don't follow LW much these days, though, so posting here and hoping I'll see it or dropping message in my PM box won't work to get you there, and Alicorn has my contact info.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on How To Have Things Correctly · 2012-10-23T07:28:26.096Z · LW · GW

If it follows the pattern of the vest and the cane, I'll want to wear it All The Time, whether that's a good idea for signaling and aesthetic reasons or not - and I'm not sure it would be a good idea on either of those counts, but sensory considerations often trump those when it comes to things that I actually own and have experienced and gotten used to at all.

In other words: Right now I'm physically comfortable not wearing a cloak. If I get it and it's as awesome along the physically-comfortable axis as I expect it will be, then I will quickly become the kind of person who is not physically comfortable when not wearing a cloak, and if it's socially unacceptable to wear a cloak, or socially unacceptable to wear a cloak with my vest that I'm now uncomfortable when I'm not wearing, then that change could be a problem. (For values of 'socially unacceptable' that include 'changes how people react to me in ways that are sufficiently bad'.)

If I could predict what peoples' reaction to me-wearing-a-cloak would be without actually wearing a cloak to find out, this would be less of a problem, but as of right now I don't know that they'd react acceptably.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Firewalling the Optimal from the Rational · 2012-10-23T07:15:24.479Z · LW · GW

As another datapoint, the pledge was announced over the loudspeaker but students weren't required to recite it at the first high school I went to (though we were required to stand respectfully and most everybody still did the salute even if they didn't recite), and theoretically required for any student that didn't have a religious exemption note at the second high school I went to.

I have a funny story about the second situation, too. I'd been one of the ones who didn't say the pledge, before I moved, and decided that I wasn't going to change that unless they made me. The result of this was that the other students in my homeroom class stopped saying it, too - first the ones nearest me, then the ones next to them, and so on across the room. I happened to have a desk in one corner of the room, and by the end of the year a handful of the students in the other corner of the room were the only ones still saying the pledge, and they generally shouted it, raucously or sarcastically depending on their mood. (Makes a pretty interesting complement to the Asch conformity test, come to think of it.)

Comment by AdeleneDawner on How To Have Things Correctly · 2012-10-23T06:53:22.186Z · LW · GW

And yet, on the other hand, my spontaneous modification into someone who wears a leather vest given any reasonable opportunity was a somewhat predictable but ultimately unintended side effect of my recent Awesome Leather Vest purchase - I really had planned on it being just a component of one or two special-event outfits. In this case it was a known risk and not a problematic one, but if I hadn't thought that all the way through and leather vests of the type I acquired had more problematic social-signaling properties, it could indeed have been a problem - this is actually a component of why I haven't gotten a cloak, and also I could make an argument on that basis that I shouldn't've gotten a cane when I injured my knee a year ago, since I wasn't intending on modifying into a full-time cane-user and that somewhat-predictably happened anyway and has had repercussions. (I don't mind 'em on net, from here, but being visibly disabled has taken some adjusting to, and peoples' behavior on that count still grates a bit sometimes, and I really should have put a bit more thought into that ahead of time, ideally. OTOH, canes: kinda awesome.)

Not all 'self'-modifications are voluntary. Sunk-cost-based modifications are a subset of the ones that aren't. Being wary of the involuntary ones is not necessarily unwise.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on 2012 Less Wrong Census Survey: Call For Critiques/Questions · 2012-10-21T02:04:10.557Z · LW · GW

You'd want to define 'real life name' for the anonymity bit. I don't post under my legal name and don't think it's possible to find it given my chosen one, but I go by my chosen one rather than my legal one in most cases, and it's actually possible to find my address given my chosen name and a bit of googling, which feels more like 1 or 2 than 3 to me.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy · 2012-09-08T23:26:00.106Z · LW · GW

Pretty much this. Also, the advice being given might more accurately be "you don't do X, because you obviously don't know how to judge the context and details and are therefore very likely to get it wrong". Except, if someone actually says that, the person it's being said to is liable to try to rope them into explaining the context-and-details thing, which 1) is very complicated, to the point where explaining it is a major project and 2) most people can't articulate, so that's awkward if it happens. Also, it's often true that once a person does learn how to judge the context and details properly (on their own, generally speaking, by observation and reading many things on the topic), they will then be able to see what they were doing wrong before and how to avoid that mistake, and conclude that they can try again regardless of previous advice.

Most of what I just said isn't relevant to meetup groups, though; bogus' angle is much more relevant there.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy · 2012-09-08T16:20:00.106Z · LW · GW

True, but it's also entirely possible to want behavior X from person Y and still find it creepy when Y actually does X, depending on how and in what context they do it. Creepiness is often about those details.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy · 2012-09-08T16:04:30.825Z · LW · GW

Is it clearer like this?

I often find that what is not-creepy for internet feminists is not for women who follow other social conventions, and vice versa.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on How to tell apart science from pseudo-science in a field you don't know ? · 2012-09-02T21:11:21.141Z · LW · GW

To whatever degree you find firsthand reports from autistics useful (and we are able to introspect and such, just in case your reading had led you to believe otherwise - there are some ridiculous misconceptions out there), those are a thing you can look for. is large, but has had some unpleasant evaporative cooling going on for several years - it may still be a useful place to ask questions. Similarly, reddit has a subreddit for autistics, but the demographic there is affected by the overall tone of the site.

Private blogs are a better bet for thoughtful information - Urocyon has a list of neurodiversity and disability blogs in her sidebar that seems like a decent starting point for that. Also, tumblr has a fairly good autistic community - we tend to post in the actuallyautistic tag, which you shouldn't post in as you're not actually autistic; you can post questions to the autism or autistic tags, and there's a very good chance we'll see them and respond. (Do your research first, though; the standard reaction to uninformed mistakes is derision here just as much as it would be anywhere else. Also, person-first language tends to go over poorly; it's a point of etiquette in the community that we should be referred to as autistics or autistic people rather than people with autism, though you'll occasionally run into individuals who prefer the opposite and that should be respected too.)

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Who Wants To Start An Important Startup? · 2012-08-21T19:05:39.031Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure if this is the kind of project you were thinking of at all, but a friend and I have been brainstorming about starting a restaurant that's optimized to serve, primarily, autistic people, and secondarily, people with other disabilities, particularly mental/emotional ones like social anxiety. Notable differences from a regular restaurant are that ordering will be entirely computerized (enabling nifty features like being able to have the computer remember and act on each diner's preferred/dispreferred/forbidden foods list) with an option but not a default of talking to a waiter, all tables will have built-in textual communication devices to allow diners to communicate with anyone in the restaurant (including waiters and management), the restaurant will have a silent section where even talking is forbidden and private rooms that can be reserved ahead of time, the menu will be optimized to allow for personalization of items in terms of content, size, order of presentation, and so on, and the decor will be designed to be sensorily inoffensive while also providing detailed descriptions of local norms via signage.

It will also make a point of hiring autistic people for all positions including management, and avoiding suppliers that donate to Autism Speaks while donating to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network as possible.

Our thoughts on the project so far are collected here - I'm sure I've forgotten some important things even given the length of the above infodump :). (Also, contacting me there will work better than contacting me here after the next few days - I'm not actually following LW anymore; I only knew about this because Alicorn told me.)

Comment by AdeleneDawner on The Power of Reinforcement · 2012-07-12T03:20:30.773Z · LW · GW

I would expect the rate at which people run counter to "usual" reinforcers to be far less than the rate at which people claim to run counter to "usual" reinforcers.

Yes, which is why I said 'someone for whom this doesn't seem to work', not 'someone who claims that this doesn't work on them' - though of course in the latter case it's at least polite to humor them.

I also didn't say that reinforcing techniques don't work on me - I've never run into anyone for whom that was even remotely plausible, in fact. Just, you have to use things that don't squick me out as positive reinforcers, and overt praise and rewards aren't in that category.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on The Power of Reinforcement · 2012-06-22T01:07:58.624Z · LW · GW

Usually, yes, though there are several qualifications and corner cases.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on The Power of Reinforcement · 2012-06-22T00:05:19.898Z · LW · GW

'Taboo with an eye to this question', not 'answer this question'. I'd already noticed the pattern that people consider finding something creepy to be sufficient reason to label it unethical, but that observation isn't useful for very much beyond predicting other peoples' labeling habits.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on The Power of Reinforcement · 2012-06-21T23:42:58.478Z · LW · GW

I just have a hard time seeing someone trying to help you as an unethical behavior.

It does depend on whose definition of 'help' they're using.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on The Power of Reinforcement · 2012-06-21T23:07:34.929Z · LW · GW

You and Esar both: Taboo 'creepy'? Particularly with an eye to 'why is it important that this situation evokes this emotion'?

Comment by AdeleneDawner on The Power of Reinforcement · 2012-06-21T06:27:00.497Z · LW · GW

Yep. It's not a situation you're likely to come across often, but when you do, it's worth having the alternate theory available to check.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on The Power of Reinforcement · 2012-06-21T05:03:47.008Z · LW · GW

Bit of a tangent, but if you ever run across someone for whom this doesn't seem to work, check the hypothesis that they don't parse praise as a positive reinforcer. I don't know how common this is, but I actually have to make a conscious effort to keep it from acting as a mild punishment in most cases when it's applied to me. (Ditto M&Ms in the given context, I expect. Attention Bad.)

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Local Ordinances of Fun · 2012-06-20T17:49:42.541Z · LW · GW

Alternately, perhaps they knew Armok's gender but not whether he'd chosen to disclose it to the group.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Local Ordinances of Fun · 2012-06-20T02:46:41.697Z · LW · GW

More the former, at least for those of us from Old Earth for whom losing our standard of living would be traumatic, but also the latter in that eating bugs wouldn't be gross if you were used to it and also eating actual genetically-uncharted plants that were grown in actual biological dirt might look just as disgusting from a far-future perspective.

Comment by AdeleneDawner on Local Ordinances of Fun · 2012-06-19T04:16:49.872Z · LW · GW

I cannot decipher your last sentence; please rephrase.

Instead of comparing eating bugs to eating modern food, compare eating modern food to eating futuristic super-perfect food. The difference is roughly comparable but the latter may be more emotionally accurate.