Posts

Davis_Kingsley's Shortform 2019-08-17T00:26:39.693Z · score: 6 (1 votes)
Beliefs Are For True Things 2019-08-15T23:23:33.175Z · score: 8 (9 votes)
The Importance of Those Who Aren't Here 2019-07-31T23:33:59.877Z · score: 41 (27 votes)
Schism Begets Schism 2019-07-10T03:09:41.562Z · score: 28 (19 votes)
Diversify Your Friendship Portfolio 2019-07-09T23:06:41.146Z · score: 73 (35 votes)
The Competence Myth 2019-06-30T18:55:49.014Z · score: 49 (23 votes)
Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully 2019-06-14T23:22:15.741Z · score: 12 (14 votes)
Asymmetric Weapons Aren't Always on Your Side 2019-06-08T08:47:49.675Z · score: 37 (22 votes)
Discourse Norms: Justify or Retract Accusations 2019-05-22T01:49:12.271Z · score: 9 (13 votes)
Go Do Something 2019-05-21T15:42:48.096Z · score: 34 (23 votes)
Where are the Benefits from Conversation? 2019-05-10T17:49:27.563Z · score: 20 (11 votes)
If You Want to Win, Stop Conceding 2018-11-22T18:10:31.439Z · score: 49 (25 votes)
Schools Proliferating Without Practicioners 2018-10-26T05:25:03.959Z · score: 36 (14 votes)
Isolating Content can Create Affordances 2018-08-23T08:28:52.961Z · score: 60 (25 votes)
Duncan Sabien on Moderating LessWrong 2018-05-24T10:12:26.996Z · score: 38 (18 votes)
Terrorism, Tylenol, and dangerous information 2018-05-12T10:20:28.294Z · score: 178 (55 votes)
Duncan Sabien: "In Defense of Punch Bug" 2018-05-03T08:26:30.641Z · score: 78 (31 votes)
"Backchaining" in Strategy 2018-02-09T12:01:54.523Z · score: 45 (16 votes)
Adequacy as Levels of Play 2018-01-22T20:57:41.557Z · score: 59 (21 votes)
Levels of Play 2017-12-06T21:55:42.429Z · score: 13 (6 votes)

Comments

Comment by davis_kingsley on Davis_Kingsley's Shortform · 2019-08-23T10:23:25.866Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Interestingly that's actually quite disputed -- you linked to a reprint of the card that displays as being rated 5/5, but the original printing of the card is actually rated 3.455 out of 5.

(That said, it's certainly better than Book Burning!)

Comment by davis_kingsley on Davis_Kingsley's Shortform · 2019-08-22T22:05:27.852Z · score: 9 (4 votes) · LW · GW
Go after polyamory all you want -- if there is data about problems that are statistically likely to show up, I'd like to know about that, so that I can try minimizing the odds that we will experience them -- and we do experience some of the standard poly jealousy problems -- but if you are going to shoot a sacred cow, bring a high powered rifle, not a squirt gun.

I'll fully admit that I don't have formal statistical data, but I think the point is worth making anyway as a potential warning. My intent is mostly to warn newcomers about patterns I've seen rather than to shame people already in the community; I certainly do not claim that every poly relationship is abusive or the like.

(Part of the reason I posted this in shortform rather than as a top-level post is because I was hoping to just send a quick warning rather than posting something more formal and detailed!)

Comment by davis_kingsley on Davis_Kingsley's Shortform · 2019-08-22T22:01:07.468Z · score: 10 (4 votes) · LW · GW
Link?

The original site that the post was on has been taken down, but here's a pastebin of the relevant text (posted with the consent of the original author, one paragraph removed to preserve the author's privacy). I should add that my own view of poly is considerably more negative than that of this author, but even the linked post is significantly more negative than the Bay Area rationalist community norms tend to be.

Also, I slightly worry that what you're seeing is skewed because the kind of people who are willing to try polyamory are unusually open about their personal lives. That is, I think there's a lot of drama going on with monogamy, too, and it just happens that people who choose to be monogamous also have a culture that better keeps drama secret until it is too big to keep secret anymore, so it simply looks more common in polyamory because it is less hidden.

I think that there is certainly a lot of drama with monogamy as well, and I agree that some aspects of this can be under the surface. That being said, I think there are some aspects of poly that tend to exacerbate/lead to drama while there are some aspects of monogamy that tend to mitigate/avoid it.

I'll give a basic example. Let's say that there is a couple in a committed relationship, and one member of the couple starts getting closer to a third party. They become more and more emotionally close until eventually this bond seems stronger than the original relationship and the original couple splits up.

Now, this could easily happen either in monogamy or in polyamory -- you could say that it's the story of an "emotional affair" that turns into a real affair and splits up a monogamous couple; you could also say that it's the story of a secondary relationship in a polyamorous situation that turns into a primary relationship and splits up an old primary relationship. In point of fact I have seen cases that seem to fit this description in both monogamous and polyamorous situations.

The key difference, though, is that monogamous norms tend to work against such things, while polyamorous norms tend to encourage and even directly support such things (until perhaps things go too far and it may be too late). The person who starts to form a close bond with someone already in an established monogamous relationship may be chided or discouraged by the community; the person who starts to form a close bond with someone already in an established polyamorous primary relationship is less likely to be chided and may even be supported.

In some cases I believe I have seen this lead to major strife or even divorce in a way that I suspect people would have disendorsed and tried to avoid if they were better equipped to predict; unfortunately, they were dealing with polyamory norms that made them extra vulnerable to this sort of thing.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Davis_Kingsley's Shortform · 2019-08-21T00:08:52.936Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

An interesting example of a related thing is "charm" effects, where you pick between multiple things you can do with a card, all of them are sort of bad for the price, but the flexibility makes it worth it overall. Sometimes people focus a lot on "raw efficiency", but when it's between you picking the best of several inefficient options or your opponent picking the worst of several highly efficient options, the former tends to be much better.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Davis_Kingsley's Shortform · 2019-08-21T00:04:52.815Z · score: 9 (5 votes) · LW · GW

My experience has been somewhat different. I think that if you look at the actual results of what's going on re: poly in the rationalist community it's fairly evident that things are going wrong -- there are large amounts of drama and problems, well beyond that in other communities that I currently participate in (even other communities in the Bay Area etc.).

The most obvious example is that one of the people who was most involved in bringing polyamory to the early rationalist community ended up getting divorced after a lot of poly drama, left the community, and wrote a post about how poly is actually contrary to long-term romantic goals. Unfortunately, since the author had left the community, most people didn't read the post.

However, most people are not actually looking back at the evidence IMO -- it's just become an installed and unexamined norm.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Davis_Kingsley's Shortform · 2019-08-20T23:24:51.048Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

There are a pair of things in the rationalist community which I like to call "The Two Bad Polys" -- polyphasic sleep and polyamory. Both seem appealing to many people and have been experimented with pretty widely in the community despite being quite harmful; I strongly advise against trying either. In practice they seem to lead to lots of problems for most people who try them.

(Attribution note: I'm not sure whether I was the first to come up with this term to describe the pair -- I think the two were first referred to as a dangerous pair by someone else but I might have come up with this particular name for them.)

Comment by davis_kingsley on Davis_Kingsley's Shortform · 2019-08-20T01:18:14.084Z · score: 10 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Strategy mini-post:

One thing that tends to be weak in strategy games is "opponent's choice" effects, where an ability has multiple possible effects and an opponent chooses which is resolved. Usually, each effect is stronger than what you would normally get for a card with that price, but in practice these cards are often quite weak.

For instance, the Magic: the Gathering card "Book Burning" looks quite strong in theory, as it either does 6 damage or mills 6 cards (both strong effects that might well be worth more than the card's cost, since this was a set where having cards in your graveyard was quite relevant). However, in fact it is quite weak, because in practice you will always get the effect that is less relevant; if the opponent has life to spare they'll take damage, and if the mill is no longer relevant they'll let you mill instead.

This pattern holds true across multiple games. In Legend of the Five Rings, Levy is similarly weak despite the fact that a card that did only one of its effects would likely be overpowered, as one effect or the other is likely to be much less relevant at any point in the game and the opponent can always choose the less relevant effect.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Davis_Kingsley's Shortform · 2019-08-17T00:26:39.835Z · score: 14 (7 votes) · LW · GW

One concept people talk about in game design is "pendulum swing", where something that is too powerful or too weak is overcorrected in balance patches and becomes the opposite -- something too powerful becomes too weak, while something too weak becomes too powerful.

A similar concept can be present in other sectors as well -- often, noticing one problem can lead to an overcorrection that brings you the opposite problem. For instance, an early stage organization might notice that they aren't systematic enough in their processes, overcorrect, and become too rigid and doctrinaire.


(Duncan Sabien uses this concept of pendulum swing a lot, and while I was aware of it prior to his use he's done a lot to bring it to attention as a relevant rationality concept.)

Comment by davis_kingsley on Beliefs Are For True Things · 2019-08-16T00:23:11.110Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, that's why I said it addressed this point "among others" -- my summary of the poem's message would be something like "There are timeless principles of morality and common sense that are fundamentally true; when what's fundamentally true becomes unfashionable and people believe what's popular or sounds good instead, disaster ultimately ensues."

My post refers primarily to the second part of that message (beliefs are for true things, reject this at your peril) rather than the first part.

Comment by davis_kingsley on The Importance of Those Who Aren't Here · 2019-08-05T08:31:29.295Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Re: reversals -- there are definitely situations where it is better to in fact just focus on a local group - Paul Graham, having seen many startups fail because they built something that nobody actually wanted, advises building something that you yourself want if you're planning to make a startup company.

Re: case 4 -- agreed that it is not totally helpless, but at times friends can make worse advisors than disinterested observers do.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Diversify Your Friendship Portfolio · 2019-07-12T21:45:17.364Z · score: 16 (8 votes) · LW · GW

The title is mostly like that because it's funny. I strongly believe that people should cultivate closer friendships than is the default in modern society -- but I also believe one shouldn't put "all their eggs in one basket" in terms of who all you cultivate those friendships with.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Schism Begets Schism · 2019-07-11T12:12:14.332Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think of the change from Judaism to Christianity as too significant to be viewed as merely a schism. Similarly, it would seem strange to classify Islam or Mormonism as "Christian schisms" in the same way that one would classify, say, the Old Catholic Church as a schism from the main Catholic Church -- it's certainly true that Islam and Mormonism both take Christianity and then add a new prophet and his book on top of it, but that seems too significant to qualify as just a schism. To me, schisms are often notable for the relatively small nature of the differences that they are splitting over, and by the time you're adding new holy books and substantially reinterpreting the past teachings you've gone beyond that phase.

(To give a nonreligious example, I would say "we're going to make a new forum with exactly the same purview, target audience, and board structure as the old forum but with different moderators" is a schism, while "we're going to make a new forum that addresses substantially different topics while still including some of the old stuff" is not.)

Comment by davis_kingsley on Schism Begets Schism · 2019-07-10T21:50:52.537Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW
Sometimes things are bad or (or much worse than they could be) in some group or community. When that's the case, one can 1) try and change the community from the inside, or 2) get a group of his/her friends together to do [thing] the way they think they should do it, or 3) give up and accept the current situation.
When you're willing to put in the work to make 2 happen, it sometimes results in a new healthier group. If (some) onlookers can distinguish between better and worse on the relevant axis, it will attract new members.
It seems to me that taking option 2, instead of option 1, is cooperative. You leave the other group doing it their way, in peace, and also create something good in the world in addition.

I agree that option 2 can be cooperative, but I want to point out that taking option 1 is also cooperative. If the other group or community is, as you say, much worse than it could be, helping to improve it from the inside makes things better for the people already involved, while going and starting your own group might leave them in the lurch. In general I think you should probably at least initially try to reform things, though if it doesn't work well there's a point where you might have to say "sorry, the time has come, we're making our own group now".

Granted, I think the situation may be importantly different in online communities, specifically because the activation energy for setting up a new online group is comparatively small. In that case, it is too easy to found a new group, and accordingly they splinter to regularly for any single group to be good.

Yeah, I think online the cost of just creating another site is importantly too low. On Discord it takes like 10 seconds to make a new server, these days you can set up a basic web forum very quickly without even having to pay for hosting, and so on. In real life it's harder to create new organizations, events, etc. in a way that can actually help avoid splitting communities.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Schism Begets Schism · 2019-07-10T20:52:13.475Z · score: 9 (4 votes) · LW · GW

There's a significant difference between "open disagreement" and "open disagreement, refusal to cooperate with the mechanisms for settling this, denunciation of the legitimacy of authority, and calling for others to leave the group". LessWrong can deal with open disagreement, but if the front page constantly had people denouncing the moderators and calling others to go and join their new community that would be something else.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Schism Begets Schism · 2019-07-10T20:22:06.815Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm very "MtG white", yes. (Well, white-blue, but yeah.) :P

Comment by davis_kingsley on Schism Begets Schism · 2019-07-10T20:21:22.174Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW
1. This post seems to take for granted that schisms are bad without actually arguing why. Even if it is the case that schisms beget more schisms, that in itself (or that + pointing at Protestantism) is not actually an explanation of why that's actually bad; it just claims so. It does imply that the badness is in the coordination costs that are increased by a diaspora over a centralised location, but if a diaspora happened in the first place that is strong evidence that whatever central place it spawned from was not only incapable of making this level of coordination happen but also its members judged it was incapable of hanging into a place that can do coordination.

I'm not sure that it's the case that people correctly judged that it was incapable of changing. Reforming an existing space is often harder than just taking your ball and going home, but the benefits are shared across the entire group.

2. Two of your main examples are religion and politics, where one can't really belong to multiple subgroups. For things like the LW diaspora or Discord servers or w/e, schisms aren't schismatic – one can belong to multiple social groups and Discord servers and what-have-you (which can even be desirable, as you yourself have argued in your post about diversifying your friendship portfolio).

Belonging to multiple social groups and Discord servers and the like is nice, but belonging to a bunch of different groups that are all sort of doing fundamentally the same thing (and claim that others are trying to do the same thing but doing it worse) isn't as good. When people found servers that are like "this is the same as <SERVER X> but with better moderation>" that tends to split the community (and indeed things like this have happened multiple times with Discord, online forums, etc.).


Comment by davis_kingsley on Schism Begets Schism · 2019-07-10T20:17:47.237Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I do think that sometimes people stay in things that they should split off from. However, I've noticed that locally there seems to be a lot of praise for the "archipelago" and the like, and also that the community seems to have been seriously damaged by splintering too much and losing its unity and sense of shared progress. I think these things are connected and that at least around here, people should be more wary about splitting off than they are by default.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Schism Begets Schism · 2019-07-10T20:06:48.495Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Fair points. That said, I don't think the split between CFAR and MIRI is a destructive schism, they're still in very close alignment with one another and part of the same broader project. Same for FHI, FLI, BERI, etc. -- but if someone had founded a "new MIRI" saying that MIRI was failing and their paradigms were fundamentally destructive and everyone should withdraw their support of MIRI and back the new organization, that would be schismatic in the way I warn about.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Schism Begets Schism · 2019-07-10T05:24:18.852Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It may be superior for the individual, but it is often worse for the group's ability to coordinate and get stuff done. Similarly, when the diaspora first started, many people had the choice of whether to continue posting on LW or whether to create their own blog, gaining personal status/influence but damaging the unity of the group. The latter broadly won out, to the detriment of the project as a whole.

Now obviously making your own blog wasn't just defecting - there were serious issues with LessWrong's culture and standards that made posting there feel like a chore. But ideally we would have fixed that such that the locally incentivized behavior was that which was better for the project as a whole rather than that which helped the individual at the cost of the group. Sadly, we missed the opportunity, at least when the issue first came up.

Comment by davis_kingsley on LW authors: How many clusters of norms do you (personally) want? · 2019-07-08T22:13:38.936Z · score: 1 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, perhaps another way to put it would be that I would like there to be one "standard of discourse" across the site, and multiple types of conversations that can be had within that standard.

Comment by davis_kingsley on LW authors: How many clusters of norms do you (personally) want? · 2019-07-08T09:12:32.893Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I ideally want ~one set of norms, even if it doesn't agree with my preferences on all points. The cost of illegibility and decentralization is not in my view worth the benefit of being able to fiddle with everything.

I do think it's possible for one set of norms to basically include all the stuff you mentioned as different knobs, though.

Comment by davis_kingsley on The Competence Myth · 2019-07-01T20:15:16.299Z · score: 9 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, that post hasn't much matched up with my experience. It feels like a relic of an older era, before the curtain went up on just how crazy things really can be at the top.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully · 2019-06-17T19:09:58.336Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed that there hasn't been bullying but has been nitpicking. I think the comments here have gone seriously off-track from the main intent of my post and I intend to write another post that deals with the "is it OK to ban Nazis" issue more directly; I'm unsure whether I'll write a new version of this post.

This situation has made me less likely to want to write on LW in the future, but it's not to the point where I'm quitting or whatever.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully · 2019-06-17T05:48:33.050Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, that's my view. My model of what went wrong with LW 1.0 culturally was something like:

1. Nitpicky standards get into the culture

2. Many of the strongest contributors dislike interacting with the nitpicky standards and move elsewhere

3. Many of the remaining contributors don't have as good content to contribute

4. LW is perceived as mediocre and no longer "the place to go", reinforcing migration away from the site

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully · 2019-06-16T18:34:54.903Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I mean people who literally, actually support the Nazi party.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully · 2019-06-16T13:47:34.241Z · score: 3 (4 votes) · LW · GW

When I say Nazis I am, in fact, referring to actual Nazis. I'm not validating "denunciation", I'm saying you have no obligation to provide a space for certain forms of objectionable content, and indeed you shouldn't. I do not consider such restrictions to compromise the rule of law - part of the rule of law involves establishing clear boundaries for what content is and isn't out of bounds, and Nazi stuff is on the wrong side of those bounds.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully · 2019-06-16T13:37:44.449Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · LW · GW

As Scott writes:

The moral of the story is: if you’re against witch-hunts, and you promise to found your own little utopian community where witch-hunts will never happen, your new society will end up consisting of approximately three principled civil libertarians and seven zillion witches. It will be a terrible place to live even if witch-hunts are genuinely wrong.

You have to ban some things to implement basic standards. For instance, here are the list of banned topics from a space I used to moderate (well, still do but it's mostly quiet now):

-Racism, virulent political ideologies, etc. - even if they're clothed in "scientific" guises. "HBD" and the like are explicitly not welcome.
-Harsh, insulting language. Telling someone you think they're wrong is fine, cursing them out isn't.
-Pornography or any other sexually explicit or highly suggestive content.
-Any form of "doxxing", offsite harassment, etc. except in cases of preventing serious crimes - and if we ever get to that point things will have gone deeply wrong here!

These sorts of restrictions have not in my view led to bullying - instead, in many respects they've led to there being a safer space, where people don't have to worry about certain types of bad content that can be prevalent online.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully · 2019-06-15T13:29:58.204Z · score: 25 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure I like the word "dilute"/"diluted" here, but in any case Eliezer and I are responding to rather different circumstances. Eliezer was writing after having experienced the SL4 mailing list being overrun by low-quality discussions and withering away; I'm writing after having experienced LW1.0 being overrun by overly high standards and withering away.

SL4 quite plausibly died thanks to pacifism; LW1.0, on the other hand, quite plausibly died to enforcement of the wrong standards. In other words, one might say SL4 was *too* welcoming, even to low-quality content; by contrast, I would say LW1.0 wasn't welcoming *enough*, and I believe my opinion on this matter is shared by many of its top contributors, who found it too annoying to deal with all the nitpicking and critical comments!

(Now, one might argue that the nitpicking and overly critical comments themselves represent LW1.0 dying by pacifism - but in my view it's still notable that SL4 and whatever other groups Eliezer is alluding to in his post seem to have died thanks to letting too much bad content in, while LW1.0 seems to me to have died thanks to screening too much good content out!)

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully · 2019-06-15T04:35:28.878Z · score: 5 (6 votes) · LW · GW
It turns out that cranks and hucksters are indistinguishable from confused and vulnerable newbies. And protectors of conversational norms are indistinguishable from bullies. I think others have pointed out that your footnote hides the entire problem, because you don't actually have a nazi detector.

I think that's just false. If a moderator can't tell the difference between a Nazi and someone who's just locally unpopular, they have no business being a moderator. It's not actually hard to tell - I've moderated active communities before and never really had much trouble with it!

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully · 2019-06-15T03:40:21.176Z · score: 21 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer and I grew up at different times and have seen different communities. He saw communities ruined by foolish chat drowning out the intelligent discussion; I see communities ruined by people misusing vote systems to downvote people who don't agree with them and upvote people who hold their beliefs regardless of the quality of those people's arguments, moderators abusing their power to help their friends instead of doing what helps overall discussion, and so on.

I don't know whether that's different "eras of the Internet", just different experiences, or what. But my experience has not much been one where communities refuse to defend themselves against bad norms, trolls, and the like - instead, it's been one where voting systems are often used to enforce groupthink and stifle legitimate criticisms, moderators protect their friends' interests rather than upholding norms, and so on.

This very site I think has been damaged by similar issues. For a long time, LW 1.0 was well known to have silly, nitpicky comments and voting patterns that drove away its best people - not because the community wasn't protecting its norms, but because the norms that were locally protected were bad and unpleasant to deal with! If the majority were promoting such behavior, action should have been taken to censure the majority - though in point of fact the extent to which this was a majority issue is unclear, because LW 1.0 voting was infamously subverted by someone who used multiple accounts to heavily influence voting towards his own preferred ideas.

Similarly, on LW 2.0 we lost our best poster (Duncan_Sabien) because moderation did not stand up for the deep, important values and Duncan wasn't willing to put up with it.

It is really very, very important that moderation not take the side of the bullies. That doesn't mean giving in to trolls, that doesn't mean letting people waste everyone's time - but it does mean that if there's someone making good, well-reasoned arguments who is getting hassled with bad comments because those arguments support locally unpopular conclusions, it is the job of the moderators to protect the person making good arguments, not to protect the local social order.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully · 2019-06-15T03:07:08.513Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Since people seem to have issues with footnote 1, I've added a second footnote clarifying it a bit. I should stress that this remains an aside and not the main thrust of the post.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully · 2019-06-15T03:02:11.138Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · LW · GW

How so? The main point of the post is quite unrelated to this footnote.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully · 2019-06-15T02:15:57.711Z · score: 10 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Nope. My post is primarily about something else - this is just a footnote that serves to point out that it's totally fine to have a civic/public space that nevertheless holds that the most extreme content and ideologies are over the line.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Asymmetric Weapons Aren't Always on Your Side · 2019-06-08T07:13:50.177Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Fascists punched well above their weight in that conflict and lost only after massive industrial advantages from the US and manpower advantages from the Soviet Union were brought to bear against them. While they were ultimately defeated, one should not take that to mean that they were ineffective.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Fractional Reserve Charity · 2019-06-07T12:09:49.546Z · score: 10 (6 votes) · LW · GW

This seems like it would be good content for the EA Forum.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Justify or Retract Accusations · 2019-05-24T06:20:10.038Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That hasn't much been my experience of EA, but I think applying this standard to claims that one is obligated to contribute to something seems fine too.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Justify or Retract Accusations · 2019-05-24T01:54:00.381Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Can you say more about why positive claims would imply demands on others' resources or attention?

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Justify or Retract Accusations · 2019-05-24T01:53:17.394Z · score: 1 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think that being unreasonably negative is generally a lot worse than being unreasonably positive, at least in terms of its effect on other participants -- while both might be epistemically unsound, the consequences of a space being too negative are much more stifling to a community than the consequences of a space being too positive.

That said, I do think it would be good form to justify or retract unreasonably positive statements as well if challenged!

Comment by davis_kingsley on Go Do Something · 2019-05-23T07:54:37.679Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think that all your feedback needs to come from predominantly social sources; that said, I do think that maintaining at least *some* degree of alignment with social reality is pretty important - one failure mode that I've seen is people who go out there, develop very strange views, don't reconcile them with others, and basically end up in schism from the community, unable to bridge the inferential distance that their time away has created.

I'm not saying that their views are always wrong, and I am certainly not saying that social consensus is always right - I have very substantial disagreements with many views that are locally popular here! But what I do know is that, if you move too far out of contact with social reality, even if you find great insights they may become insights that you are unable to articulate or bring to others.

Yes, feedback from social reality shouldn't be your only tool -- but it's still important!

Comment by davis_kingsley on Go Do Something · 2019-05-22T14:43:11.559Z · score: 10 (5 votes) · LW · GW

What form of deliberate practice did you apply? This is an area that I'm really interested in, both personally and professionally.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Justify or Retract Accusations · 2019-05-22T08:19:59.766Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think LW 1.0 absolutely had a big problem with low-quality criticism, and LW 2.0 doesn't feel "fully realized" yet so it's hard to say. But I think low-quality criticism and an IMO bad response to it basically drove the best active user in the early days of LW 2.0 off the site (Duncan_Sabien), so it absolutely strikes me as still a relevant concern.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Justify or Retract Accusations · 2019-05-22T02:51:46.481Z · score: 12 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I think both of those are basically fine. The thing that I'm more worried about is stuff like:

Alice: "This organization is unethical, you shouldn't support it"
Bob: "Why?"
Alice: *no response*

It's very understandable that one might not be able to share all their evidence or fully explicate everything, but I think that providing at least some information is important.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Justify or Retract Accusations · 2019-05-22T02:45:31.035Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think you have to explain everything in excruciating detail, but I think if you're willing to attack someone you need to be willing to justify that attack if called on it. That does mean that someone might not get to share some criticisms, but in general I think the costs of losing some casual criticism is worth the benefits of improving the discourse overall.

I think registering a bad feeling about something is fine and doesn't need to have a bunch of time spent on it, as the level of justification needed for something like that is pretty low. I don't really even consider that an "accusation" per se, but I suppose you could conceptualize it as on a spectrum, where on one side you have "I don't really like this" and on the other you have extreme stuff like "allowing this is a moral atrocity and the creator is a war criminal". The latter obviously needs quite a lot of justification, while the former doesn't much.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Justify or Retract Accusations · 2019-05-22T02:33:49.867Z · score: -1 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think there should be a "tax on criticism", especially if it is such a cheap one as this - having to explain yourself if questioned is in a sense really just politeness! Default behavior rewards criticism too much, especially in a contrarian community like this one.

Note also that I have this norm in mind for public discourse, which I think some of the more extreme cases you brought up may not be.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Go Do Something · 2019-05-21T20:43:14.319Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I agree, but at least in the rationalist community the "balance of the error" seems to tilt towards inaction.

Comment by davis_kingsley on In My Culture · 2019-03-11T05:58:20.569Z · score: 19 (4 votes) · LW · GW

To be clear I'm not making the claim that what I described above is an endorsed or correct experience, just how I've actually encountered it in practice at times. I'll try and keep track of my impressions when I encounter this sort of thing in the future, and take what you've said here into account.

Comment by davis_kingsley on In My Culture · 2019-03-10T22:59:06.980Z · score: 22 (6 votes) · LW · GW

When I have heard people use this "in the wild", it has at times come off as *extremely* insulting or condescending. In particular, when both participants are part of the same culture, it feels like one participant is making an extremely aggressive conversational move, something along the lines of "I understand this culture/community better than you and I declare that you are Out Of Bounds". It is precisely in heated/tense situations where this most seems to backfire, which makes me skeptical of the utility of this technique "in the wild".

I note that most of the examples you give seem innocuous and legitimate and in fact things I'd like to see more of - but somehow in practice this often seems to backfire in the most important instances, at least when I've seen it done.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Karma-Change Notifications · 2019-03-02T21:31:23.721Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Great feature, I really like this.

Comment by davis_kingsley on What is a reasonable outside view for the fate of social movements? · 2019-01-08T10:04:50.413Z · score: 39 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I just used random.org for this. Here's my metric, I don't know if you guys count it:

  • -1: Clearly failed, repudiated by history (slavery in the US)
  • 0: Unclear if had any real lasting success
  • 1: Partial success - did something meaningful but has not fully accomplished goals, still active
  • 2: Major success - became a major, lasting cultural force, still active
  • 3: Total or near-total victory (abolitionism in the US), may or may not be still active

Random.org gave me the following 28 results. I've linked to the Wikipedia pages and provided my rating and brief justification for each. All of these are my attempt to rate these things as a dispassionate evaluator rather than using my own opinions of the value of these movements. My evaluations may be especially inaccurate for non-US political movements, feel free to correct me if you know more than me about any of these:

Slow movement: 0. Slow food is the most impactful aspect of this movement that I can identify and it's unclear to me whether it had any impact other than being a fad, though there's still some activity.

India Against Corruption: 0. Movement broke up via internal schism, and the bill that it was promoting failed. Anti-corruption is still a cause but this particular movement seems to have died out.

Animal rights movement: 2. The animal rights movement has clearly "moved the needle" on some issues and achieved broad mainstream recognition, but there is still a ways to go in terms of the deeper animal rights objectives and their views are far from universally accepted.

Gerakan Harapan Baru (New Hope Movement in Malaysia): 1. After their attempt to create a new political party was rejected, this movement took over an established political party and elected several candidates.

Pro-choice movement: 2. The "pro-choice movement" (supports abortion in the US) is clearly a major cultural force and has achieved several major victories, but is still very much still controversial and some of their gains have been reversed or are at risk of being reversed.

Slow Food movement: 1. This is slightly redundant with the Slow movement as a whole, which I already rated. I gave the Slow movement as a whole a 0 but I'll give Slow Food a 1 since it's been fairly relevant in its sector, albeit thanks to much less ambitious goals.

Effective altruism: 1. EA has moved substantial amounts of money and achieved relevant and growing cultural influence, but is not a "major cultural force" at this phase... yet! Growth mindset! (I'd like to reiterate that this is my private opinion and not that of any org!)

Voluntary Human Extinction Movement: 0. Voluntary human extinction is very fringe. I'm tempted to give it a negative number, but VHE/antinatalism is still somewhat active and it was a rather unlikely position to begin with.

Free love: 1. This movement was ultimately supplanted to a degree by other related causes in the "sexual revolution", but it did have a meaningful impact even if it didn't end up being the "final form". This could be argued to be a 2, I'd rate the sexual revolution as a whole there but free love in particular ended up being marginalized.

Women's suffrage movement: 3. So successful, at least in the West, that every now and then pranksters circulate petitions to "end women's suffrage" and people sign because 'suffrage' sounds like 'suffering' and the suffrage movement has been so effective that it is now broadly disbanded and people don't know what it is anymore.

Black Lives Matter: 1. While this movement certainly achieved prominence and could be said to be a major cultural force in the United States, it remains to be seen how lasting and impactful this will be - the movement is still in its first five years.

Anti-capitalism: 2. Anti-capitalist movements may have failed to overthrow capitalism completely, but they had a lasting impact on world history and are still politically relevant in many areas of the world.

Children's rights movement: 2. Child labor has been greatly reduced, but there's still a ways to go, especially in non-Western countries. This should perhaps be a 2.5 or so?

Organic movement: 2. Organic food has become a significant industry and "organic" certifications are now considered important. However, while organic things are trendy at present it's unclear if the influence here will keep growing.

Rural People's Movement: 0. Failed political movement in Weimar Germany. Several of its people were arrested after they began terrorist attacks and the Landvolk newspaper was repeatedly suppressed. Naziism superseded this to some degree; I almost gave this a -1 but it may have been a precursor to later developments.

Mad Pride: 0. Unclear to me whether this has had a substantial or lasting impact. Mental illness terms have been destigmatized to some degree but this seems to me likely the result of broader factors.

Narmada Bachao Andolan: -1. Attempted to stop the construction of a dam - the dam was constructed anyway, and while this group may have delayed that I still count this as distinctly failed.

Temperance movement: -1. This movement was so successful in the short term that they were able to amend the Constitution in the United States and implement Prohibition, but this proved to be dramatically unsuccessful, was repealed less than fifteen years later, and is now widely derided.

Occupy movement: 0. This movement attracted widespread attention for some time, but after the "protest camps" died down it has fallen out of the public eye. It is possible this movement drew national attention to the issue of income inequality but it is unclear that they were responsible or that this will last.

Situationist International: 0. This movement was very influential in France in the late 1960s, but closed down in the 1970s and its lasting impact, if any , is unclear.

Time's Up (movement): 1. This movement is very recent and is broadly part of the #MeToo movement. It is popular in a certain sense but it is unclear whether it will have a substantial, lasting impact (though I certainly hope it does!)

Landless Peoples Movement (South Africa): 0. It is unclear to me whether this movement is really having a big impact.

Pro-life movement: 2. Like the "pro-choice movement", the "pro-life movement" (opposed to abortion in the US) is a major cultural force and has had some victories recently. It is unclear what the lasting impact of this will be, but at least right now it's quite a big deal.

Anti-nuclear movement: 2. The anti-nuclear movement was very effective at stopping nuclear power developments in the West and remains powerful in several respects, but has not achieved or come close to achieving full nuclear disarmament.

Counterculture movement: 2. As Wikipedia says, "The era was also notable in that a significant portion of the array of behaviors and "causes" within the larger movement were quickly assimilated within mainstream society, particularly in the US, even though counterculture participants numbered in the clear minority within their respective national populations."

Brights movement: 0. My assessment is that the Brights movement is an essentially failed rebranding of the atheist/skeptic/secular humanist movement.

Free software movement: 1. The Free software movement has been broadly supplanted by open source, but hasn't been entirely replaced, and is clearly still culturally relevant. If open source were the question I'd probably give it a 2 rather than a 1.

Via Campesina: 1. This movement claims to represent very many people and coined the term "food sovereignty", but it is unclear to me how organized and effective it is. I could easily see this being a 2.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Card Balance and Artifact · 2018-12-28T18:38:57.909Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I am not sure that I could disagree more with this post. I consider Mark Rosewater's "When Cards Go Bad" and the associated ideas to have been extremely damaging to card game design.

(Sorry, hit submit too early, will have more to say in detail later!)