Comment by davis_kingsley on Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully · 2019-06-17T05:48:33.050Z · score: 2 (1 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: 2 (3 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: 13 (4 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: 7 (5 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: 20 (8 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: 1 (4 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: 5 (3 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.

Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully

2019-06-14T23:22:15.741Z · score: 4 (11 votes)

Asymmetric Weapons Aren't Always on Your Side

2019-06-08T08:47:49.675Z · score: 36 (21 votes)
Comment by davis_kingsley on Asymmetric Weapons Aren't Always on Your Side · 2019-06-08T07:13:50.177Z · score: 3 (2 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: 3 (3 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: -2 (3 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.

Discourse Norms: Justify or Retract Accusations

2019-05-22T01:49:12.271Z · score: 9 (13 votes)
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.

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)
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!)

Comment by davis_kingsley on Card Collection and Ownership · 2018-12-27T18:22:34.711Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting. For my part, I was waiting before getting more into Artifact to see what they would do about the obvious balance issues (Axe being the most prominent one), and their recent announcement has me really happy. It turns out I just care so much more about a game *being a good game* than I do about the "physicality" of the cards or whatever.

I've long thought that the physicality of real card games is a downside and that digital games are hugely advantaged by their ability to patch, but that most of the digital game designers were failing to make use of the medium to the fullest by implementing balance patches, instead focusing on "showy" randomized effects and animations that can't be done in paper. I'm really pleased to see that Artifact is going to take a more aggressive approach to balance issues.

Comment by davis_kingsley on How democracy ends: a review and reevaluation · 2018-11-27T23:23:55.205Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

IIRC I've heard it claimed that Mattis is so popular that he could throw a coup, but that might only apply to the Marine Corps.

Comment by davis_kingsley on If You Want to Win, Stop Conceding · 2018-11-23T06:11:10.488Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm actually not sure re: practice. I know people who would just play out the first X turns of a game then reset to get deliberate practice on the openings; I think there's some merit to that, but I also think most people don't practice fighting back from really unpleasant situations enough. Not sure how these effects line up for particular individuals.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Review: Artifact · 2018-11-22T18:34:15.137Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Very cool review, made me seriously consider taking this game seriously.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on KeyForge, if you ever feel like posting/formulating those.

If You Want to Win, Stop Conceding

2018-11-22T18:10:31.439Z · score: 49 (25 votes)
Comment by davis_kingsley on If You Want to Win, Stop Conceding · 2018-11-22T16:37:56.474Z · score: 26 (10 votes) · LW · GW

One important caveat to this is that it doesn't mean you have to fight as hard as possible in every single battle, play out every single hand, or otherwise fight ferociously on an *object* level - you should be fighting ferociously on a *meta* level. It's fine, and perhaps even necessary in many games, to concede some battles in order to win the war.

(inspiration for this comment goes to Rationalist Discourse Club user "Bar Fight", who pointed out "good post, but 'concede less' is extremely bad advice for most poker players"!)

Schools Proliferating Without Practicioners

2018-10-26T05:25:03.959Z · score: 36 (14 votes)
Comment by davis_kingsley on Nyoom · 2018-10-13T19:21:21.149Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I don't consider "the title of this post is almost completely uninformative" to be a minor issue, nor do I consider "it doesn't signal in-group enough" to be an issue at all. I know the author personally and she's probably way more "in-group" than I am, I'd just prefer to see posts here with more informative titles, especially if they don't pertain as directly to the main topics of the site.

(I was wondering if there was going to be a Big Rationalist Lesson at the end, since the title didn't tell me it was just a scooter review.)

Comment by davis_kingsley on Nyoom · 2018-10-13T14:58:09.519Z · score: 5 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I like this post in several respects but it doesn't really feel like LW content to me, especially given the title.

Comment by davis_kingsley on We can all be high status · 2018-10-12T16:16:02.507Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · LW · GW
There's a possibility for corruption here, as I briefly mentioned, if people get so deprived that they will sacrifice their other needs or values for the sake of status alone.
I considered that to be obvious in writing this. I'm not necessarily talking about the problem of getting status regardless of everything else. I'm also not talking about how to get status as an individual. I'm rather talking about getting the whole community a sense of status while keeping our other values intact.

Yes, I think giving the community a "sense of status" has substantial risks of exacerbating the corruption that I mentioned earlier. In other words, I think recognizing achievements is nice, but making that recognition too systematic leads to significantly increased gaming of that system, Goodharting, etc.

Comment by davis_kingsley on We can all be high status · 2018-10-11T19:11:24.181Z · score: 15 (9 votes) · LW · GW

My sense is that increasing the amount of time and attention that we pay to status and related dynamics is extremely negative; I don't expect it to help and I think that issues related to these situations get significantly much worse when people are consciously targeting them.

As C.S. Lewis said in his excellent talk "The Inner Ring":

The torture allotted to the Danaids in the classical underworld, that of attempting to fill sieves with water, is the symbol not of one vice, but of all vices. It is the very mark of a perverse desire that it seeks what is not to be had. The desire to be inside the invisible line illustrates this rule. As long as you are governed by that desire you will never get what you want. You are trying to peel an onion: if you succeed there will be nothing left. Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain.
This is surely very clear when you come to think of it. If you want to be made free of a certain circle for some wholesome reason—if, say, you want to join a musical society because you really like music—then there is a possibility of satisfaction. You may find yourself playing in a quartet and you may enjoy it. But if all you want is to be in the know, your pleasure will be short lived. The circle cannot have from within the charm it had from outside. By the very act of admitting you it has lost its magic.

And later:

The quest of the Inner Ring will break your hearts unless you break it. But if you break it, a surprising result will follow. If in your working hours you make the work your end, you will presently find yourself all unawares inside the only circle in your profession that really matters. You will be one of the sound craftsmen, and other sound craftsmen will know it. This group of craftsmen will by no means coincide with the Inner Ring or the Important People or the People in the Know. It will not shape that professional policy or work up that professional influence which fights for the profession as a whole against the public: nor will it lead to those periodic scandals and crises which the Inner Ring produces. But it will do those things which that profession exists to do and will in the long run be responsible for all the respect which that profession in fact enjoys and which the speeches and advertisements cannot maintain.

This is essentially my view. I do not think it is generally productive to concern yourself with being In or High-Status or Getting Invited to the Right Parties or Being Talked About; I think it is productive to focus on the work that actually builds and contributes to the project, and let the parties and invitations and all that come as they may (or may not).

Comment by davis_kingsley on thought: the problem with less wrong's epistemic health is that stuff isn't short form · 2018-09-07T21:55:41.855Z · score: 8 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Both, but the sidebar widget is the main thing I miss. I notice that I still use it on the EA Forum, for instance, which has much of old-LW's structure. On current LW I have to scroll down a lot on the front page to see recent comments and they don't appear while reading posts, which IMO quite reduces my engagement.

Comment by davis_kingsley on thought: the problem with less wrong's epistemic health is that stuff isn't short form · 2018-09-06T23:46:46.132Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

One thing I'll point out is the "recent discussion" feels less accessible than on old LW (requires scrolling), and the lack of a "top users, 30 days" section probably decreases my engagement a bit as well - both because of the lack of a "leaderboard effect" and because it can be useful to look at that to see who's been posting interesting content that I might otherwise have missed.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Great Founder Theory · 2018-09-06T13:25:13.093Z · score: 11 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It... sorta feels like you've reinvented the (broadly discredited) Great Man theory of history? The focus on institutions mitigates one of the problems with that theory, but I think it may just be kicking the can down the road a bit.

While there are some highly effective and influential organizations and institutions that seem to have greatly benefited from strong leadership from founders (Naval Reactors Branch under Rickover), there are others where this story is much more dubious (Bell Labs).

Comment by davis_kingsley on Isolating Content can Create Affordances · 2018-08-31T04:53:57.955Z · score: 18 (5 votes) · LW · GW

My friend FireBatVillain drew my attention to the following study: You Can't Stay Here, The Efficacy of Reddit's 2015 Ban Examined Through Hate Speech. He points out that this study indicates after hateful subreddits were banned from Reddit, the removal of the offending subreddits did not cause "hate speech" to increase on other parts of the site - on the contrary, even subreddits that saw an influx of users who had formerly used the banned areas did not see significant changes in "hate speech" usage.

In other words, this study shows an instance where the existence of spaces for certain types of bad content was increasing their prevalence, and removing those spaces did not cause the content to "spill back" into the rest of the site.

Now, one difference between this and my original claim is that the spaces in question were not explicitly containment areas - however, I still consider this to be relevant supporting evidence.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Isolating Content can Create Affordances · 2018-08-24T04:22:24.301Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Great points here. The UI/UX distinction is key here in my view - when the act of creating a containment space necessarily makes the existence of such a space visible, the problem I've described is much more relevant than when the existence sort of space is not immediately apparent to users - even if via simple obscurity in a huge list, as with IRC.

(One potential way to address this in Discord is to make the containment space opt-in, but in my experience this has not been particularly effective, in part because the best way to do this on Discord (roles) is itself quite easy to notice.)

Comment by davis_kingsley on Isolating Content can Create Affordances · 2018-08-23T19:52:04.427Z · score: 30 (9 votes) · LW · GW

And yet I now notice people saying things along the lines of "SlateStarCodex is a place to go for culture war things" and the like. If that was intended that's fine, but I think culture war stuff on SSC absolutely falls into the category where an affordance is being created.

Isolating Content can Create Affordances

2018-08-23T08:28:52.961Z · score: 60 (25 votes)
Comment by davis_kingsley on What are your plans for the evening of the apocalypse? · 2018-08-03T14:16:52.811Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect a lot more people would start attending church.

Comment by davis_kingsley on On the Chatham House Rule · 2018-06-14T14:12:21.931Z · score: 24 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I generally agree with this post. In my experience with several events operating under this rule:'

1. Many people disregard the rule or don't take it very seriously.

2. Others may not hear that the rule is in effect at all, especially if they arrive late or otherwise miss orientation.

3. This creates a negative selection effect where the only ones openly discussing specifics of an event that is covered by the rule are those who don't take the rule very seriously - generally speaking, these are not the people who would be most optimal as the public face of the event.

I do think the principle behind the rule is useful, but in practice I have noticed that it often seems more of a hindrance than a boon. I somewhat worry that having multiple rules will increase noncompliance or misunderstandings, however, which seem frequent even as it stands.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Societal Growth Requires Rehabilitation · 2018-05-28T06:59:59.149Z · score: 15 (6 votes) · LW · GW

At the risk of sounding elitist, you mention people who are nonverbal and struggle with abstract concepts. To be frank, the community is not oriented towards those people, does not particularly try to serve them, and would be stretched very thin if it tried to do so. I suspect that efforts headed in such a direction would be counterproductive.

That isn't to say that we shouldn't try to be inclusive - but at some point a line should be drawn with respect to who is and isn't in our target audience, and I think "this person does not grasp abstract concepts" is far over that line.

Duncan Sabien on Moderating LessWrong

2018-05-24T10:12:26.996Z · score: 38 (18 votes)
Comment by davis_kingsley on Affordance Widths · 2018-05-12T21:47:03.730Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'd like to see more examples, though it's quite possible they're sensitive or otherwise bad to discuss in public. But right now I feel that I understand the model in theory but not at all where I should be applying it.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Terrorism, Tylenol, and dangerous information · 2018-05-12T21:11:06.383Z · score: 12 (3 votes) · LW · GW

While the late 19th and early 20th century anarchist attackers often wanted to target the well-off (and indeed carried out many assassination attempts in service of this goal), they weren't averse to making indiscriminate attacks as long as the target was vaguely upclass - consider the Cafe Terminus attack or the Galleanist Wall Street bombing, which were indiscriminate in nature.

Similarly, the anarchist doctrine of "propaganda of the deed" held that attacks would break down the state's monopoly on violence and show the people that revolution was possible, and as such the attacks were valuable simply as demonstrations, even if they did not kill their intended targets; the 1919 Galleanist bombings, while notionally assassination attempts against various powerful figures, killed only a night watchman and blew a servant's hands off, but were still considered blows struck for anarchy.

My sense is that Galleani and his followers would have been quite happy to crash vehicles into crowds of people, especially in financial or government districts, but they didn't much realize it was an option.

Comment by davis_kingsley on Terrorism, Tylenol, and dangerous information · 2018-05-12T20:53:44.519Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If I were Tom Clancy I hope that I would not have published Debt of Honor. I don't know whether terrorists were inspired by it, but at least for me it's pretty clearly in the "not worth the risk" category.

In some respects the 9/11 attacks can be considered similar to the Tylenol incident (though obviously much more devastating) - an incident took place using a method that had been theoretically viable for a long time, prompting immediate corrective action.

One of the reasons those attacks were so successful is that air hijacks were relatively common, but most led "only" to hostage scenarios, demands for the release of political prisoners, etc - in point of fact the standard protocol was to cooperate with hijackers, and as Wikipedia says "often, during the epidemic of skyjackings in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the end result was an inconvenient but otherwise harmless trip to Cuba for the passengers." Post-9/11, hijacks began being taken much more seriously.

(There were actually many terrorist attempts against airplanes in the time shortly after 9/11, though most were not hijack attempts - the infamous "shoe bomber" who attempted to destroy an aircraft in flight a few months later, only to be beaten and captured by other passengers, was maybe the most well known.)

Comment by davis_kingsley on Terrorism, Tylenol, and dangerous information · 2018-05-12T17:49:10.303Z · score: 13 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I worried about this myself for some time. Ultimately I decided that terrorist organizations already know about this method and it is being widely discussed in the media, so the number of potentially dangerous people who would hear about it here first is comparatively low. Further, this method is primarily suited towards indiscriminate attacks, which I am somewhat less worried about compared to alternatives.

Terrorism, Tylenol, and dangerous information

2018-05-12T10:20:28.294Z · score: 175 (54 votes)
Comment by davis_kingsley on Duncan Sabien: "In Defense of Punch Bug" · 2018-05-06T14:07:44.459Z · score: 21 (5 votes) · LW · GW
Is Duncan/Conor OK with you linking his content here at LW? (There are of course reasons why I think this is a sensible question to ask, but I won't be going into them here.)

Yes, he Is.

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)