Posts

Norms survey (dead) 2011-05-10T11:01:34.728Z
Mitigating Social Awkwardness 2011-05-01T00:54:55.746Z
IA first steps (Berkeley, CA) (dead) 2011-04-27T01:25:43.879Z
Insufficiently Awesome 2011-04-19T19:28:08.226Z

Comments

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T15:59:50.476Z · LW · GW

Yes, I'm aware of this. I didn't mis-parse his statement, I know what he meant, and what his example of a norm was supposed to provoke in me. It doesn't matter.

The subject matter of the posts that led to me posting this article and my memories apparently affect me more than I had thought they would, which in its own way shows that I am indeed an inferior rationalist. Truth is truth, and denying it does no one any good.

From now on I'll just concern myself with the local group here, or not, depending on what happens over the next few weeks. In any case, I can let this account lie fallow or delete it. Which would disrupt the chain of comments less?

edit - I do apologize for how you have ended up feeling, as that was an unintended consequence.

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T15:48:26.592Z · LW · GW

I have a policy of only doing fun things, or things that lead directly to fun. As soon as something becomes non-fun, I find something else to do. The potential benefits of this, and the use I would get out of them, aren't worth the cost to me or the time others have sunk into it.

In a lot of ways I already live in the least convenient possible world, so I'm just going to assume that the result I would have gotten was the one that would have been the worst. I won't waste anyone else's time with this anymore, so the whole effort is moot. If someone wishes to try to do this in a more adept fashion, then I wish them well. Apologies for wasting your time with this.

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T15:19:44.004Z · LW · GW

Implemented, thank you for your input.

Comment by cayenne on Holy Books (Or Rationalist Sequences) Don’t Implement Themselves · 2011-05-10T15:09:32.229Z · LW · GW

It is hard to say.

I have no doubt that rationalists will prevail eventually, and I wish luck to the ones that try.

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T14:54:58.415Z · LW · GW

I suppose I should be looking forward to getting hit, then. I thank you for the warning.

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T14:18:42.352Z · LW · GW

Implemented, thank you for your input.

Comment by cayenne on Holy Books (Or Rationalist Sequences) Don’t Implement Themselves · 2011-05-10T14:16:34.889Z · LW · GW

It would have to be something I would want to overcome. I came here because the sequences were fascinating to read, but I find more and more that I simply can't consider myself to be rational in any meaningful way. I probably should try to overcome it, I suppose.

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T14:12:30.298Z · LW · GW

I apologize for wasting your time.

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T14:07:20.808Z · LW · GW

I'd like to know what we have now. Really if we were going to make a new, 100% more rational version, we would still need to know what we're starting with.

That said, this is probably just a sunk cost now, and not worth contributing to. I'll just concentrate on things I'm less bad at, and ignore my step-forward impulses from now on.

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T13:58:42.319Z · LW · GW

I'll be happy to change the title if you have a better suggestion.

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T13:43:15.301Z · LW · GW

How refreshingly counterintuitive. (-_-)

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T13:33:18.067Z · LW · GW

I would suspect that the whole thing including comments all vanishes, but I haven't tested it yet.

edit - I really don't care about karma, the only use it seems to have is voting people down and being able to post on the front page, and I doubt I'll ever do either of those things. I'll happily let other people be the top contributors.

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T13:27:25.719Z · LW · GW

Would it be better to categorize them by goal, then?

That would suggest three levels of norms: core rational, social rational, and common knowledge.

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T13:23:10.929Z · LW · GW

With the reception that this article has gotten so far, I suspect that it won't result in a list of extant norms. I'll give it a day or two so that everyone that wants to can weigh in, and then I'll probably end up deleting it,.

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T13:14:59.553Z · LW · GW

Edited to try to make this clearer. I may still need to alter the phrasing more to make it less offensive, and I welcome all suggestions.

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T13:08:07.091Z · LW · GW

Describing them is my goal. The only way that I can think of to get a complete list is to ask everyone to post the ones that they feel exist, and then to see what the consensus is. If you have a better method, please let me know so that I can use it instead.

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T13:01:11.531Z · LW · GW

This is a good way to formulate it. I'll implement this now.

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T12:58:31.366Z · LW · GW

Our norms exist already, they're just unwritten right now. There are things that we can do that will cause everyone to shun us. (Posting a discussion like this may end up being one of them, in which case I will have learned something valuable about Less Wrong...)

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T12:55:09.549Z · LW · GW

I meant those as examples only. I would welcome suggestions on less-offensive alternatives.

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T12:54:11.492Z · LW · GW

I would welcome alternatives. Do you have any suggestions?

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T12:53:41.940Z · LW · GW

We should encourage and support self-experimentation by our members.

Unless the experiment is obviously harming the experimenter, encouraging this will help us find more efficient ways of doing things. I think that respecting a fellow rationalist's decision is a way of respecting their rationality as well.

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T12:50:42.792Z · LW · GW

Norms really are a 'should' type of thinking. I don't like using 'should' in any capacity, because it sounds like I'm telling someone what to do, but in this case that's exactly what norms do.

It's a high priority because of the recent posts suggesting that we adopt select practices from religions. I want to know now if I should walk away, and if any efforts I'm in the process of making are just sunk costs already. Before we start adopting things from other groups, we need to have something to compare them to so that we can make sure that there aren't hidden conflicts. In general, isn't writing things down a way to avoid or expose biases?

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T12:28:20.341Z · LW · GW

Not lying to each other sounds like a very good one.

Comment by cayenne on Holy Books (Or Rationalist Sequences) Don’t Implement Themselves · 2011-05-10T12:22:44.892Z · LW · GW

Some of it is difficult to pull apart into clear thought, but I'll try.

I don't want to have a list of groups I have to hate to belong. I don't want to have someone trying to control my behavior by defining things as 'sin'. I don't want to be told 'we love you, we just don't like your actions', when it's clear that there is no love involved in any case. I don't want to have to remember people and feel sorry that they're part of a malignant memeplex, and that I can't do anything to help them. I don't want to dread going to a meet because I don't fit in.

No, I really don't like the LDS church. That's probably never going to change, though I'll try not to influence others' decisions on the matter. I don't hate the members, I just feel sad when I think of them, and of my ex-family.

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T12:07:16.724Z · LW · GW

Oh, so it isn't. Oops. Hm.

Norms do usually contain taboos, but there isn't any particular reason that we have to. Should that category be deleted, or do we have things that we think should be taboo?

One that springs to mind as a possibility would be the use of the Dark Arts.

edit - I was thinking that our list of endorsed beliefs would be slightly more basic, things like 'rationality is worth pursuing' or something. http://lds.org/library/display/0,4945,106-1-2-1,FF.html is the small amount of norms that the LDS church has codified as an easy reference to point potential converts to, and while I don't like the idea of converting people, being able to point to a set of beliefs that sounds boringly sane might be a good thing.

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T11:52:28.751Z · LW · GW

Perhaps add a version number with a datestamp?

Rationalist taboo comes to mind, and actually updating based on evidence, and generally changing one's behavior to match one's beliefs. That last one seems to require a bit more give and take than just handing someone a set of rules, but I think that's a good thing, and we could streamline the process by coming up with a list of common beliefs and behavioral implications thereof (cryo, for example).

I took the categories of the norms from this post you made earlier. The 'updating based on evidence' seemed more like a skill than a belief, and the other two categories you mention explicitly. If they end up not being a useful division, then they'll end up getting changed. I don't have any investment in them.

Comment by cayenne on The 5-Second Level · 2011-05-10T11:46:45.146Z · LW · GW

Mostly I don't even feel frustration, but instead sadness. I'd like to be able to help, but sometimes the best I can do is just be patient and try to explain clearly, and always immediately abandon my arguments if I find that I'm the one with the error.

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T11:42:59.131Z · LW · GW

Both of these seem true. Making our norms rigid will decrease our ability to adapt, and codifying them will make them harder to change.

If the group consensus ends up determining that this isn't a worthwhile endeavor, then I'll delete the article and if anyone wishes to contact me I'll apologize for the wasted time involved.

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T11:31:35.240Z · LW · GW

It doesn't have to happen often to cumulatively waste more time than this process will take.

Another reason to do this is that it will give us something very easy to point people to when they ask us 'what is a rationalist, anyway?'

Comment by cayenne on Holy Books (Or Rationalist Sequences) Don’t Implement Themselves · 2011-05-10T11:24:08.715Z · LW · GW

It seems that the proper answer to this is to develop our norms in a rational manner, and reject arbitrary norms that have no purpose.
Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on Norms survey (dead) · 2011-05-10T11:19:24.553Z · LW · GW

We should have a clear and concise list of our norms.

This will give us a clearer picture of what is expected of us, by us.
'Social norms are the behavioral expectations and cues within a society or group. This sociological term has been defined as "the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. These rules may be explicit or implicit.' - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norm_(sociology)

Without explicit norms, we invite debates over exactly what a 'real' rationalist should believe, and whether or not any specific person might qualify. This seems like it would just waste our time, and the time spent in codifying our norms seems like it would be small in comparison.

Comment by cayenne on Holy Books (Or Rationalist Sequences) Don’t Implement Themselves · 2011-05-10T10:49:43.491Z · LW · GW

Well, to be slightly more clear, I am trans-gender. This is a sin in the LDS church, since the surgeries and hormones 'desecrate my temple' (temple == body). There is a limit to how much discrimination against ANY group I can stand before I leave, even if that group is 'those people that want to kill us because we don't believe in their god'.

At the same time, I really dislike the idea that I might be keeping a group from succeeding by giving negative input. I'm fairly likely to just withdraw without much fanfare if I decide that that is what's happening, since I hate drama and making a scene about something like that would feel like an attempted hostage situation. Just no.

Since I believe in the 'step-forward' method of getting things done, I'll start a discussion now to try to codify our norms.

Edit - please disregard this post, especially the last part. Empirical testing shows that I am not good at this kind of thing.

Comment by cayenne on Holy Books (Or Rationalist Sequences) Don’t Implement Themselves · 2011-05-10T10:04:04.398Z · LW · GW

It's not a knee-jerk reaction, but more like a visceral rejection. The thought of this community becoming something with the feel of the church I grew up in makes me feel sick, and if it happened I would walk away and never look back. This is certainly a bias, but I would still do it.

We need to have a clear and concise list of taboos, skills, and beliefs that we want to make into norms, and then the whole community has to talk them over and make sure that we really, really want to make them into our norms. If we're going to start adopting practices from other groups, I believe this should be our highest priority.

Edit - please disregard this, it's needlessly prescriptive.

Comment by cayenne on Scholarship: How to Do It Efficiently · 2011-05-10T09:49:12.060Z · LW · GW

An 'open-source science' original-research version of Wikipedia, perhaps? With everything explicitly licensed under an attribution-required copyright?

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on Scholarship: How to Do It Efficiently · 2011-05-10T09:45:18.598Z · LW · GW

This seems to be focused mostly on scientific research in specific fields. Do you have strategies for learning more general, lower-level skills such as essay-writing, report-writing, math, or programming?

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on Holy Books (Or Rationalist Sequences) Don’t Implement Themselves · 2011-05-10T09:23:22.228Z · LW · GW

I'm not interested in making this into a church-like group either. Some norms are useful (e.g. respond to words with words and never ever with bullets), while others (you must marry a rationalist? you must never do $list-of-sins or else?) would be abhorrent to me.

Helping people is a good goal to have. Regimenting their lives is not a goal I find appealing at all. I have enough trouble with my own life, why would I want to be in charge of other's lives too? Ick!

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on Building rationalist communities: lessons from the Latter-day Saints · 2011-05-10T09:10:45.679Z · LW · GW

In some ways, my 'Insufficiently Awesome' project is a fork. I'm going to be concentrating on community-building, helping people to become effective physically and socially, and most importantly having fun. I'm not ever going to be one of the 'first-tier' rationalists, and I view a contribution on the supporting side to be my most effective plan of action.

I'm not going to try to pull people away from LW. Instead, I'm going to try to form a group that is fun enough that people not already in LW join it, and possibly get interested in joining the main community.

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on Building rationalist communities: lessons from the Latter-day Saints · 2011-05-10T09:03:09.329Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure that we should adopt any kind of dress code at all, other than not offending the fashion sense of others inadvertently. Perhaps something small, like a sigil that people could wear as jewelry would be sufficient?

Branding ourselves should only be done after we become an effective group, and one that is admired. We want to be known as 'those sensible people that get things done', not 'that group of nerds that talks way too much about how my thinking sucks'. Eventually we'd like everyone to aspire to rationality, not just the people that test over some arbitrary IQ score.

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on Building rationalist communities: lessons from the Latter-day Saints · 2011-05-10T08:55:19.956Z · LW · GW

Like, I know the Dark Arts would be bad for rationalists to exploit, but I'm not sure that it would necessarily be less effective at introducing people to rationality.

A 'defense against the Dark Arts' focus might be a good way to implement this. Come join us and find a way to protect yourself from the worst parts of marketing and manipulation.

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on Building rationalist communities: lessons from the Latter-day Saints · 2011-05-10T08:51:04.569Z · LW · GW

Although drawing some ideas from the LDS church may work, and I will be trying a few of them in my community building efforts, I am going to shy away from a lot of the more intrusive practices. I'm ex-Mormon, and I'm not going to be implementing anything that makes me uncomfortable.

The problem with everyone having a responsibility is that there must be a structure of authority to delegate the responsibility. We don't have or want a divine authority. We absolutely don't want to use something web-based for this either; something like karma is a bad metric since the people that have the time to get the most karma may be very uncomfortable in positions of leadership. I don't yet have a solution to this.

tl;dr: some ideas may be good, but it will take careful vetting.

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on The 5-Second Level · 2011-05-08T22:04:27.606Z · LW · GW

I think you're misunderstanding what I said. I'm not obscuring my feelings from myself. I'm just aware of the moment when I choose what to feel, and I actively choose.

I'm not advocating never getting angry, just not doing it when it's likely to impair your ability to communicate or function. If you choose to be offended, that's a valid choice... but it should also be an active choice, not just the default.

I find it fairly easy to be frustrated without being angry at someone. It is, after all, my fault for assuming that someone is able to understand what I'm trying to argue, so there's no point in being angry at them for my assumption. They might have a particularly virulent meme that won't let them understand... should I get mad at them for a parasite? It seems pointless.

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on The 5-Second Level · 2011-05-08T19:52:23.443Z · LW · GW

I'm limited in my scope, I'm not going to follow links and criticize every single post. I happened to be reading yours, and thought that I might be able to help you with tone... others are probably better at dealing with actual content. If you would prefer me to not try to help you, let me know and I'll focus my efforts elsewhere.

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on The 5-Second Level · 2011-05-08T18:13:53.167Z · LW · GW

Oh, ok. I see the difference you mean..

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on The 5-Second Level · 2011-05-08T17:35:39.184Z · LW · GW

It could be. It seems not just difficult but actually against most culture on the planet. Consider that crimes of passion, like killing someone when you find them sleeping around on you, often get a lower sentence than a murder 'in cold blood'. If someone says 'he made me angry' we know exactly what that person means. Responding to a word with a bullet is a very common tactic, even in a joking situation; I've had things thrown at me for puns!

It does seem like a learn-able skill even so. I did not have this skill when I was child, but I do have it now. The point I learned it in my life seems to roughly correspond to when I was first trained and working as technical support. I don't know if there's a correlation there.

In any case, merely being aware that this is a skill may help a few people on this forum to learn it, and I can see only benefit in trying. It is possible to not control anger but instead never even feel it in the first place, without effort or willpower.

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on The 5-Second Level · 2011-05-08T08:08:56.337Z · LW · GW

Yak Shaving? http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2005/03/dont_shave_that.html

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on The 5-Second Level · 2011-05-08T07:29:09.966Z · LW · GW

This is it exactly!

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Comment by cayenne on The 5-Second Level · 2011-05-08T06:31:48.156Z · LW · GW

Don't cherish being right, instead cherish finding out that you're wrong. You learn when you're wrong.

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on The 5-Second Level · 2011-05-08T06:04:15.091Z · LW · GW

I know that I'll probably be downvoted again, but nevertheless.

This is precisely the wrong way to start off a post like this, a very passive-aggressive tone.

Sorry, but I don't feel that I have this freedom on LW. And I feel people moralize here especially using the downvote function.

Are you certain that it isn't simply the tone of your posts?

So when just asking the most basic rationality question (why do you believe what you believe) and presenting evidence that contradicts a point is downvoted I don't feel that LW is about rationality as much as others like to believe. And I also feel that basic elements of politeness are missing and yes, I feel like I have to walk on eggs.

Also bitterness. I think that you would benefit a lot by rephrasing your questions in a less confrontational manner.

Eliezer, could you explain how you arrived at the conclusion that this particular believe is visibly insane?

could have become

Eliezer, I don't understand how you arrived at this conclusion, could you explain the reasoning behind it?

Soften up your posts.

I never downvote, as I think it's counterproductive. Others don't agree, but that is their right. Taking it personally is not the right approach.

Edit - please disregard this post

Comment by cayenne on The 5-Second Level · 2011-05-08T03:26:37.370Z · LW · GW

It might be useful to form a habit of reflexively trying to think about a problem in the mode you're not currently in, trying to switch to near mode if in far, or vice-versa. Even just a few seconds of imagining a hypothetical situation as if it were imminent and personal could provoke insight, and trying to 'step back' from problems is already a common technique.

I've used this to convince myself that a very long or unbounded life wouldn't get boring. When I try to put myself in near-mode, I simply can't imagine a day 2000 years from now when I wouldn't want to go talk to a friend one last time, or go and reread a favorite book, or cook a favorite meal, or any one of a thousand other small things. I might get bored off and on, but not permanently.

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Comment by cayenne on The 5-Second Level · 2011-05-08T03:16:58.843Z · LW · GW

Very true.

I didn't mean to suggest that the truth/falsehood line was as usefully socially as I believe it is internally. The social reaction you may decide on is mostly independent from truth.

Internally, it's important to recognize that truth, since it is vital feedback that can tell you when you may need to change.

Edit - please disregard this post