dreeves feed - LessWrong 2.0 Reader dreeves’s posts and comments on the Effective Altruism Forum en-us Comment by dreeves on Calibrate your self-assessments https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/aPrCzeFfbBmRsvzby/calibrate-your-self-assessments#FALsNbdBzNTZQNESz <p>Now resurrected!</p> dreeves FALsNbdBzNTZQNESz 2017-05-30T22:38:20.982Z Comment by dreeves on Decision Auctions aka "How to fairly assign chores, or decide who gets the last cookie" https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/3bjYRDaYR2pvBekNT/decision-auctions-aka-how-to-fairly-assign-chores-or-decide#xsuq9CrMnc6TYCLYj <p>Thank you! See above (&quot;Better to not have people feel like their desperation is being capitalized on.&quot;) for my response to your first question. And we actually believe that our system is, in practice if not in theory, strategy-proof. It's explicitly ok to game the system to our hearts' delight. It seems to be quite robust to that. Our utilities tend to either be uncannily well-matched, in which case it's kind of a coin flip who wins, or they're wildly different, but we never seem to have enough certainty about how different they'll be for it to be fruitful to distort our bids much. </p> <p>The strategy of &quot;just say a number such that you're torn about whether you'd rather win or lose&quot; seems to be close enough to optimal.</p> dreeves xsuq9CrMnc6TYCLYj 2014-02-13T22:50:54.614Z Comment by dreeves on White Lies https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/Kg6hkNENWa8e84rAE/white-lies#3iyomgKBDnA2HvDhk <p>How about adding a tiny bit of ambiguity (or evasion of the direct question) and making up for it with more effusiveness, eg, &quot;it's not only my job but it feels really good to know that I'm helping you so I really want you to bug me about even trivial-seeming things!&quot; All true and all she's omitting is her immediate annoyance but that is truly secondary, as she points out below about first-order vs second-order desires.</p> dreeves 3iyomgKBDnA2HvDhk 2014-02-12T08:16:34.978Z Comment by dreeves on Decision Auctions aka "How to fairly assign chores, or decide who gets the last cookie" https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/3bjYRDaYR2pvBekNT/decision-auctions-aka-how-to-fairly-assign-chores-or-decide#CMD9JpCK9r8im8Qrx <p>Yes, we're super keen to make sure the efficient thing happens regardless of the initial distribution of resources/responsibilities/property-rights/etc. And we use yootling as a bargaining mechanism to make that happen. In general we're always willing to shove work to each other or redistribute resources as efficiency dictates, using payments to make that always be fair.</p> dreeves CMD9JpCK9r8im8Qrx 2014-02-01T06:09:15.338Z Comment by dreeves on Decision Auctions aka "How to fairly assign chores, or decide who gets the last cookie" https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/3bjYRDaYR2pvBekNT/decision-auctions-aka-how-to-fairly-assign-chores-or-decide#HgnvBiZKy98fQ5mEh <p>In practice the sealed-bid version seems to be ungameable, at least for us! None of the problems you mentioned have arisen. My parents have tried this and had more problems but as far as I could tell it always involved contention about what to consider to be joint 50/50 decisions. Bethany and I seem to have no problem with that, using the heuristic of &quot;when in doubt, just call it a 50/50 decision and yootle for it&quot;.</p> dreeves HgnvBiZKy98fQ5mEh 2014-02-01T06:03:57.335Z Comment by dreeves on Decision Auctions aka "How to fairly assign chores, or decide who gets the last cookie" https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/3bjYRDaYR2pvBekNT/decision-auctions-aka-how-to-fairly-assign-chores-or-decide#KJXHjJohrWG3ZdNkD <p>Fixed and fixed. Thank you!</p> dreeves KJXHjJohrWG3ZdNkD 2014-02-01T05:37:36.081Z Comment by dreeves on Decision Auctions aka "How to fairly assign chores, or decide who gets the last cookie" https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/3bjYRDaYR2pvBekNT/decision-auctions-aka-how-to-fairly-assign-chores-or-decide#PAbn4mYRYeafKCW6r <p>I'm impressed! That's kind of the conclusion we gradually came to as well, after a lot of trial and error. Better to not have people feel like their desperation is being capitalized on.</p> <p>Another way to put it: when you're really desperate to win a particular auction it's really nice to be able to just say so honestly, with a crazy high bid. Trying to allocate the surplus equitably means that I have to carefully strategize on understating my desperation. (And worst of all, a mistake means a highly inefficient outcome!)</p> <p>PS: To be clear about first-price vs second-price, it's technically neither since there's no distinct seller.</p> <p>Here's the n-player, arbitrary shares version: </p> <p>Each participant starts with some share of the decision. Everyone submits a sealed bid, the second-highest of which is taken to be the Fair Market Price (FMP). The high bidder wins, and buys out everyone else's shares, ie, pays them the appropriate fraction of the FMP.</p> <p>&quot;Even yootling&quot;, or just &quot;yootling&quot;, refers to the special case of two players and 50/50 shares. In that case, instead of bidding a fair market price (FMP), you say how much you're willing to pay if you win. True FMP is twice that, since you only have to pay half of FMP with even yootling. So instead of deciding what you'd pay, doubling it to get FMP, then halving FMP to get the actual payment, we short circuit that and you just say the payment as your bid. For yootling with uneven shares it's easier to bid FMP and then pay the appropriate fraction of that.</p> dreeves PAbn4mYRYeafKCW6r 2014-01-23T00:02:04.706Z Comment by dreeves on Decision Auctions aka "How to fairly assign chores, or decide who gets the last cookie" https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/3bjYRDaYR2pvBekNT/decision-auctions-aka-how-to-fairly-assign-chores-or-decide#W3qhYhEAS4RxT8BBk <p>Bethany and I philosophically bite the bullet on this, which is basically to just agree with your second point: the wealthy person gets their way all the time and the poor person gets what's to them a lot of money and everyone is happy.</p> <p>If that's unpalatable or feels unfair then I think the principled solution is for the wealthy person to simply redress the unfairness with a lump sum payment to redistribute the wealth.</p> <p>I don't think it's reasonable -- ignoring all the psychology and social intricacies, as I'm wont to do <a href="https://xkcd.com/592/">[1]</a> -- to object <em>both</em> to auctions with disparate wealth and to lump sum redistribution to achieve fairness.</p> <p>Now that I'm introspecting, I suppose it's the case that Bethany and I tend to seize excuses to redistribute wealth, but they have to be plausible ones.</p> dreeves W3qhYhEAS4RxT8BBk 2014-01-22T19:11:20.277Z Comment by dreeves on Decision Auctions aka "How to fairly assign chores, or decide who gets the last cookie" https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/3bjYRDaYR2pvBekNT/decision-auctions-aka-how-to-fairly-assign-chores-or-decide#4y3mjBfsFpZFuK769 <p>You're right that it's similar to a Vickrey auction in that the 2nd highest bid (in the 2-player case) is used as the price, but it's different in that there's no 3rd-party seller. The good is jointly owned and the payment will go from one player to the other. In particular, yootling is not strictly incentive compatible like Vickrey is (though in practice it seems to be close enough).</p> <p>Thanks for the pointer to Landsburg! Looks like he worked out a way (by enlisting another economist couple) to have meaningful auctions despite having joint money with his spouse. I predict that system didn't hold together though. I should email him!</p> dreeves 4y3mjBfsFpZFuK769 2014-01-22T18:53:56.798Z Comment by dreeves on Decision Auctions aka "How to fairly assign chores, or decide who gets the last cookie" https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/3bjYRDaYR2pvBekNT/decision-auctions-aka-how-to-fairly-assign-chores-or-decide#wQ49GCrN2pKhAxrLw <p>Specifically, here's the little add-on for Loqi that conducts auctions: <a href="https://github.com/aaronpk/zenircbot-bid">https://github.com/aaronpk/zenircbot-bid</a></p> dreeves wQ49GCrN2pKhAxrLw 2014-01-22T07:27:46.474Z Comment by dreeves on Decision Auctions aka "How to fairly assign chores, or decide who gets the last cookie" https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/3bjYRDaYR2pvBekNT/decision-auctions-aka-how-to-fairly-assign-chores-or-decide#7uygfZXww6s3pCLWr <p>Agreed, we just haven't gotten to that yet. The auctioneer chatroom bot is pretty new.</p> dreeves 7uygfZXww6s3pCLWr 2014-01-22T07:25:00.195Z Comment by dreeves on Decision Auctions aka "How to fairly assign chores, or decide who gets the last cookie" https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/3bjYRDaYR2pvBekNT/decision-auctions-aka-how-to-fairly-assign-chores-or-decide#oJWoz5YasNyZw4iye <p>Upvoted for the delightfully flattering implication for my and Bethany's relationship. :)</p> <p>But, yes, a prerequisite is that everyone think like an economist, where everything you care about can be assigned a dollar value.</p> <p>See also the core assumptions at the top of Bethany's article [<a href="http://messymatters.com/autonomy">http://messymatters.com/autonomy</a>].</p> dreeves oJWoz5YasNyZw4iye 2014-01-22T07:23:20.035Z Comment by dreeves on Decision Auctions aka "How to fairly assign chores, or decide who gets the last cookie" https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/3bjYRDaYR2pvBekNT/decision-auctions-aka-how-to-fairly-assign-chores-or-decide#JivZgY9gHnsTzCaNg <p>We have a protocol for deciding when to yootle: if the possibility of yootling is so much as mentioned then we <em>must</em> yootle. The only fair way to object to yootling is to dispute that it's a 50/50 decision. If it is a fundamentally joint decision then how would you object? &quot;I want to get my way but not pay anything&quot;? Not so nice. You could say &quot;I don't want to yootle, I'll just do it your way&quot;. But that's equivalent to bidding 0, so might as well go through with the yootling. And after 9 years we do have quite efficient ways to conduct these auctions, with fingers or our phones or out loud.</p> dreeves JivZgY9gHnsTzCaNg 2014-01-22T07:18:13.946Z Comment by dreeves on Decision Auctions aka "How to fairly assign chores, or decide who gets the last cookie" https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/3bjYRDaYR2pvBekNT/decision-auctions-aka-how-to-fairly-assign-chores-or-decide#KJzaL3mgTLkY6Ps3f <p>Great question, and upon reflection (I actually looked this up in my PhD dissertation just now!) I agree. I actually can't remember the last time Bethany and I used a joint purchase auction. For some reason it never comes up -- we just each buy things and don't worry about joint ownership. If we did disagree about whether to buy a household item we'd probably just straight up yootle for whether to buy it (with the cost split 50/50 if we did).</p> dreeves KJzaL3mgTLkY6Ps3f 2014-01-22T06:56:15.788Z Comment by dreeves on Group Rationality Diary, December 16-31 https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/WfewSr59eJfwZyYS4/group-rationality-diary-december-16-31#DdpZ6gguS3gnLCG4n <p>Holy cow, thank you so much for this. Speaking of WTF reactions, I hope that won't be how this is perceived. Yours is a perfect example of both the insidiousness and the genius of Beeminder's exponential pledge schedule.</p> <p>The fact that there's no doubt in your mind that you got more value out of Beeminder than the $130some dollars you paid is I hope evidence that it's more genius than insidiousness. :)</p> <p>Yours is a textbook case of using Beeminder exactly as intended, to ride the pledge schedule up to the point where the amount of money at risk scares you into never actually paying it. For some people paying even the first $5 is sufficiently aversive. Others go all the way to $810, which has been, almost universally, sufficient to keep people toeing the line. (Ie, only one person has ever actually defaulted with $810 at stake.)</p> <p>Some people (Katja Grace is an example) prefer to cap the amount at risk and are happy to pay a small fee occasionally. That has the danger of being <em>more</em> expensive in the long term as each particular derailment isn't a big deal and you can keep delusionally being like &quot;ok, but this time for real!&quot;. Mostly, though, I think it depends on the severity of the akrasia for the specific thing you're beeminding.</p> dreeves DdpZ6gguS3gnLCG4n 2013-12-17T07:15:02.051Z Comment by dreeves on Group Rationality Diary, October 1-15, plus frequency poll https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/RRueaJkaFcxe6fGAT/group-rationality-diary-october-1-15-plus-frequency-poll#zsuzinWNsaAfupmFn <p>I very much agree with the parenthetical about pushups. I beemind 30 pushups per day -- <a href="http://beeminder.com/d/push">http://beeminder.com/d/push</a> -- with the idea that I'll gradually ramp that up as my max reps increases. Except I'm failing to ever do that and have been at 30/day forever. If I cared more I'd ramp it up though. Right now I'm just happy to be forced to maintain some semblance of baseline upper-body strength.</p> <p>The general point: beemind inputs, not outputs. Ie, things you have total control over.</p> <p>PS: The Beeminder android app has a pushup counter built in, where you put your phone on the floor and touch your nose to it on each pushup and it tallies them for you.</p> dreeves zsuzinWNsaAfupmFn 2013-10-08T23:21:35.902Z Comment by dreeves on Rationality, competitiveness and akrasia https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/aARGW967NexuSrCwW/rationality-competitiveness-and-akrasia#2LsyKvNCjhRy7PDoN <p>Pomodoros is a great metric. Katja Grace makes the case for that here: <a href="http://www.overcomingbias.com/2012/08/on-the-goodness-of-beeminder.html">http://www.overcomingbias.com/2012/08/on-the-goodness-of-beeminder.html</a> (she just calls them blocks of time).</p> <p>I think raw number of hours is a fine metric too though. Discretizing into pomodoros has both advantages and disadvantages.</p> <p>If you can quantify actual output, that might be ideal. Like how we track User-Visible Improvements to Beeminder. You might expect that to be too fuzzy a metric but we found a criterion that's been rock solid for years now: If we're willing to publicly tweet it then it counts. Pride prevents us from ever getting too weaselly about it.</p> dreeves 2LsyKvNCjhRy7PDoN 2013-10-03T06:31:11.750Z Comment by dreeves on Open thread, August 19-25, 2013 https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/gW9GHdp2czQGsDvDn/open-thread-august-19-25-2013#iMxAfi2P27Prd4Pe4 <p>Very fair point! Just like with Beeminder, if you're lucky enough to simply not suffer from akrasia then all the craziness with commitment devices is entirely superfluous. I liken it to literal myopia. If you don't have the problem then more power to you. If you do then apply the requisite technology to fix it (glasses, commitment devices, decision auctions).</p> <p>But actually I think decision auctions are different. There's no such thing as not having the problem they solve. Preferences will conflict sometimes. Just that normal people have perfectly adequate approximations (turn taking, feeling each other out, informal mental point systems, barter) to what we've formalized and nerded up with our decision auctions.</p> dreeves iMxAfi2P27Prd4Pe4 2013-09-23T01:37:26.029Z Comment by dreeves on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/3RJ3xFupXJKB8vE4q/post-ridiculous-munchkin-ideas#vEZQGmfoFe53nEn6r <p>See also the digit-sound method: <a href="http://www.decisionsciencenews.com/2012/01/06/how-to-remember-numbers/">http://www.decisionsciencenews.com/2012/01/06/how-to-remember-numbers/</a></p> <p>(I have the vague intention to create a handy tool based on that, which I'd call digimaphone: <a href="http://digimaphone.com">http://digimaphone.com</a> )</p> dreeves vEZQGmfoFe53nEn6r 2013-05-20T18:21:40.616Z Comment by dreeves on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/3RJ3xFupXJKB8vE4q/post-ridiculous-munchkin-ideas#9NZbqaB77NQ5wvJJK <p>Too funny; those are the middle names of my kids! :)</p> dreeves 9NZbqaB77NQ5wvJJK 2013-05-20T16:43:36.326Z Comment by dreeves on Why is it rational to invest in retirement? I don't get it. https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/DBajPuTRK9x26jrvh/why-is-it-rational-to-invest-in-retirement-i-don-t-get-it#5r9cyrWwR3JydaDjR <p>I wrote an article with a smilar conclusion: <a href="http://messymatters.com/savings">http://messymatters.com/savings</a></p> <p>It includes this caricature of traditional financial advice: &quot;You want to stop working when you’re 60ish, right? And you don’t want to be dirt poor at that point, right? So here’s what you do: live <em>as if</em> you’re dirt poor from now till you’re 60. Problem solved.&quot;</p> dreeves 5r9cyrWwR3JydaDjR 2013-05-20T15:40:55.308Z Comment by dreeves on Programming the LW Study Hall https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/gcsnPPC3BmvzFDtEE/programming-the-lw-study-hall#6xoLGkB6pLt6vZm5F <p>Gah! :) I did not think of that! Kind of like how I did not think of how much &quot;beeminder&quot; looks like &quot;beerminder&quot;.</p> dreeves 6xoLGkB6pLt6vZm5F 2013-03-15T00:50:04.545Z Comment by dreeves on Programming the LW Study Hall https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/gcsnPPC3BmvzFDtEE/programming-the-lw-study-hall#oE9zjBPt8gK2PLKz6 <p>I have a donation to the cause: the domain &quot;<a href="http://pomochat.com">pomochat.com</a>&quot;. (I owe the LessWrong community bigtime -- I don't think <a href="http://beeminder.com">Beeminder</a> would've gotten off the ground without it!)</p> <p>I bequeath the domain with no strings attached. I can transfer ownership of the domain or just point it at wherever folks suggest. Assuming of course that no one comes up with a better domain!</p> dreeves oE9zjBPt8gK2PLKz6 2013-03-14T23:22:47.605Z Comment by dreeves on MetaMed: Evidence-Based Healthcare https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/f9s7pHub6hbsX7YKT/metamed-evidence-based-healthcare#uPqXRp9pit2KjFu4N <p>Interesting question! Since it's an especially interesting question for those not fully in the in-crowd I thought it might be worth rephrasing in less technical language:</p> <p>Is MetaMed comprised of LessWrong folks or significantly influenced by LessWrong folks, or that style of thinking? If so, this sounds like a great test of the real-world efficacy of LessWrong ideas. In other words, if MetaMed succeeds that's some powerful evidence that this rationality shit works! (And to be intellectually honest we have to also precommit to admitting that -- should MetaMed fail -- it's evidence that it doesn't.)</p> <p>PS: Since Michael Vassar is involved it's safe to say the answer to the first part is yes!</p> dreeves uPqXRp9pit2KjFu4N 2013-03-07T21:09:34.717Z Comment by dreeves on Co-Working Collaboration to Combat Akrasia https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/Zq3Dey8ZboSby6YAv/co-working-collaboration-to-combat-akrasia#z8tTRygaBoNWXcBfv <p>Shannon, this sounds really valuable! Thanks to you and Mqrius for kicking this off.</p> <p>I just wanted to mention that if there's demand for more social features in <a href="http://beeminder.com">Beeminder</a>, we're definitely listening. (Outsiders often tell us we should have more social features but LessWrong (and similar communities like <a href="http://quantifiedself.com">Quantified Self</a>) are our bread and butter so if we hear it here we'll pay more attention.)</p> dreeves z8tTRygaBoNWXcBfv 2013-03-07T18:12:22.884Z Comment by dreeves on Nov 16-18: Rationality for Entrepreneurs https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/7NwSsZ7WbswZYg3ax/nov-16-18-rationality-for-entrepreneurs#gTX2XG8ARmFcchwSN <p>Thanks so much, Robert! </p> <p>And breaking news: I'm now part of the program! </p> <p>(I'm really excited about this!)</p> dreeves gTX2XG8ARmFcchwSN 2012-11-11T09:15:29.618Z Comment by dreeves on Nov 16-18: Rationality for Entrepreneurs https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/7NwSsZ7WbswZYg3ax/nov-16-18-rationality-for-entrepreneurs#eQ5NaCxNjCq8Luqyh <p>Would you be interested in a session on anti-akrasia techniques for entrepreneurs? As the co-founder of Beeminder the danger would be that it would come off as a Beeminder infomercial. On the other hand, OMG BEEMINDER IS SO GREAT. Especially for surviving down cycles in the rollercoaster that is startupland, as we can attest from dogfooding the living crap out of Beeminder. Like our one-user-visible-improvement-per-day goal, which has kept us moving inexorably forward for 629 days now.</p> <p>Here are 3 things that may convince you that this may be a good idea:</p> <ol> <li>Katja Grace's &quot;On the Goodness of Beeminder&quot;: <a href="http://www.overcomingbias.com/2012/08/on-the-goodness-of-beeminder.html">http://www.overcomingbias.com/2012/08/on-the-goodness-of-beeminder.html</a></li> <li>Robert Wiblin on beeminding your way to greatness: <a href="http://robertwiblin.com/2012/04/16/beeminding-your-way-to-greatness/">http://robertwiblin.com/2012/04/16/beeminding-your-way-to-greatness/</a></li> <li>My own manifesto on &quot;How to Do What You Want&quot;: <a href="http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia">http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia</a> and sequel on &quot;Flexible Self-Control&quot;: <a href="http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind">http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind</a></li> </ol> <p>(I just pitched that to the organizers and thought I'd repeat it here to gauge interest.)</p> <p>There may be some overlap with the Overcoming Procrastination session, but this could be much more general.</p> dreeves eQ5NaCxNjCq8Luqyh 2012-11-10T08:00:01.124Z Comment by dreeves on Article sketch: When procrastination isn't akrasia https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/WDGcXwSZqabafvJJh/article-sketch-when-procrastination-isn-t-akrasia#sLK6d5pvzPjWc64bg <p>Are you making fun of all us productivity porn connoisseurs? :) </p> <p>Seriously though, we're pretty proud of the Beeminder blog: <a href="http://blog.beeminder.com">http://blog.beeminder.com</a></p> <p>There's also good stuff at <a href="http://blog.idonethis.com">http://blog.idonethis.com</a> though they actually post too frequently for my taste.</p> <p>Ooh, and <a href="http://markforster.net">http://markforster.net</a> and of course lifehacker.com has a gazillion interesting ideas.</p> <p>(And, yes, self-parody that I am, I second your call for a comprehensive survey article on productivity techniques!)</p> dreeves sLK6d5pvzPjWc64bg 2012-10-10T20:09:03.758Z Comment by dreeves on Article sketch: When procrastination isn't akrasia https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/WDGcXwSZqabafvJJh/article-sketch-when-procrastination-isn-t-akrasia#8jtEKdFuyf4KSeRTd <p>True, but it might be worth the risk if it's the kind of project that will expand to fill whatever time you allow for it and yet it's not that important to you. In other words, it's worth the pain of the two fifteen-hour days because starting it sooner means a lot more total time spent on it.</p> dreeves 8jtEKdFuyf4KSeRTd 2012-10-09T03:29:29.070Z Comment by dreeves on Article sketch: When procrastination isn't akrasia https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/WDGcXwSZqabafvJJh/article-sketch-when-procrastination-isn-t-akrasia#T4xibN5LcY7tq5AsG <p>Ooh, not only is procrastination sometimes not akratic, it's sometimes the opposite! Namely, it can be an effective commitment device. If you want to force yourself to spend less time on a project, just start it closer to its hard deadline.</p> dreeves T4xibN5LcY7tq5AsG 2012-10-08T14:57:59.768Z Comment by dreeves on How to measure procrastination? https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/2paDYmMvGrWz4oQcs/how-to-measure-procrastination#M9xCyzTS79nL3nH3o <p>Ooh, you should check out tagtime on github -- <a href="http://tagti.me">http://tagti.me</a> -- and see if we can join forces on this. I think it's important to have Poisson-distributed sampling because otherwise you can anticipate the next ping and insert a bias into the tracking (even if you're trying to be perfectly honest -- in fact, you might try too hard and overcompensate, inserting the opposite bias). If the pings are Poisson then that's impossible.</p> dreeves M9xCyzTS79nL3nH3o 2012-02-16T19:11:30.450Z Comment by dreeves on How to measure procrastination? https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/2paDYmMvGrWz4oQcs/how-to-measure-procrastination#cNxmncw9u5h5D69Tw <p>Thanks for the plug for Beeminder and TagTime! They are indeed by exactly the same people, me and Bethany Soule.</p> <p>In case anyone missed our big pre-launch thing here on LessWrong: <a href="http://lesswrong.com/lw/7z1/antiakrasia_tool_like_stickkcom_for_data_nerds/">http://lesswrong.com/lw/7z1/antiakrasia_tool_like_stickkcom_for_data_nerds/</a></p> <p>And, yes, TagTime+Beeminder is an amazing combination, IMHO. We'd love to get a friendlier version of TagTime out the door. There is an Android app that Bethany wrote that's friendlier than the desktop version, but I think there's a lot less value for it on a phone than on your main work computer.</p> dreeves cNxmncw9u5h5D69Tw 2012-02-16T19:07:13.747Z Comment by dreeves on Breaking the chain of akrasia https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/4hMQHGMnsR4GJALmc/breaking-the-chain-of-akrasia#xTEsGkdXt3u7RZYSf <p>Viliam, thanks so much! What's surprising to me is that you're getting that much motivational power out of Beeminder even without pledging money to stay on your yellow brick roads. Theoretically, that's where the real motivational power comes from -- setting up a commitment device.</p> <p>If you agree that hyperbolic discounting is at the heart of akrasia then you should, I believe, agree that commitment devices are fundamental to the solution. But tracking and visualizing your progress on a graph of course goes a long way by itself.</p> <p><a href="http://lesswrong.com/lw/7z1/antiakrasia_tool_like_stickkcom_for_data_nerds/">As I've argued on LessWrong before</a> it's the combination of data visualization and commitment devices that's going to make Beeminder take over the world. I figure by solving akrasia we can easily double world GDP, for example, right? :)</p> <p>[Disclosure, if it wasn't obvious: I'm part of Beeminder. Viliam's gushing, on the other hand, is thoroughly untainted -- we don't know him(?) in real life even.]</p> dreeves xTEsGkdXt3u7RZYSf 2012-01-21T00:14:57.379Z Comment by dreeves on How to Beat Procrastination https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/RWo4LwFzpHNQCTcYt/how-to-beat-procrastination#WpxRj4p8ofyCMguXF <p>I really like parts of this, but other parts -- like &quot;focus on doing what you love&quot; and &quot;increase your expectancy of success&quot; -- strike me as banal or vacuous. Note that I have a very biased view of this stuff, as will be clear from my recent anti-akrasia post on LessWrong: <a href="http://lesswrong.com/lw/7z1/antiakrasia_tool_like_stickkcom_for_data_nerds/">Anti-akrasia tool: like stickK.com for data nerds</a></p> <p>So it won't be surprising that the part of this I really love, and what I think is the part that really matters, is commitment devices and setting goals that are measurable, realistic, and time-anchored (so-called SMART goals).</p> <p>Btw, I would say that StickK does commitment devices better than Beeminder but everything else about goal setting and goal tracking (per the SMART criteria [2]) worse. And more and more I feel that getting the commitment contracts perfect doesn't matter. If you're the type to cheat and weasel then self-binding websites will have no appeal to you in the first place, since, as a cheating weasel, you're unbindable!</p> <p>[2] <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria</a></p> dreeves WpxRj4p8ofyCMguXF 2012-01-04T00:04:55.952Z Comment by dreeves on Building case-studies of akrasia https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/jZEsFXyhFyoTY6s3m/building-case-studies-of-akrasia#qtierqb7eXiY3acWJ <p><strong>Instance:</strong> Letting my inbox forever grow so that important items get lost in a sea.</p> <p><strong>Attempted Solutions:</strong> A ton of hacks like email snooze features and GTD-like systems. But fundamentally it's a problem of just avoiding items that are sitting on your to-do list.</p> <p><strong>Actual Solution:</strong> <a href="http://beeminder.com/d/inbox">Beeminding my inbox!</a></p> dreeves qtierqb7eXiY3acWJ 2011-12-25T00:29:54.620Z Comment by dreeves on Money: The Unit of Caring https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/ZpDnRCeef2CLEFeKM/money-the-unit-of-caring#WiYZfbxHnY7NquhEk <p>Wait, we may not be on the same page here. There's nothing you can do to one person, economically or otherwise, that would be nearly as bad as a school bus full of kids driving off a cliff, right?</p> dreeves WiYZfbxHnY7NquhEk 2011-12-09T00:04:29.235Z Comment by dreeves on Anti-akrasia tool: like stickK.com for data nerds https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6oYETaG248zGF45aD/anti-akrasia-tool-like-stickk-com-for-data-nerds#wMXmXxuzrCkirYXB4 <p>Do you think this mitigates the problem at all: <a href="http://blog.beeminder.com/blogdog">http://blog.beeminder.com/blogdog</a></p> <p>In short, we (the founders) are reciprocating with our own commitment contracts, pledging $1395 to Beeminder users to force ourselves to stay on our own yellow brick roads. Maybe it's more in the category of a nice little gesture that most users won't even know about. It certainly doesn't address fundamentally the issue you raised. (Of course, that wasn't the point of it -- we just really needed to raise the stakes on our own commitment contracts since paying ourselves wasn't cutting it!)</p> <p>(PS: Not bikeshedding by any means! You can't imagine how helpful all this has been. Especially the further consultation we've been having with pjeby offline, but this whole comment thread as well.)</p> dreeves wMXmXxuzrCkirYXB4 2011-11-14T20:55:04.683Z Comment by dreeves on 2011 Less Wrong Census / Survey https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/miHttwTgajY2sjY3L/2011-less-wrong-census-survey#re7aFZbKkqbM4om4m <p>True, I was just thinking that something that correlates (loosely) with &quot;having made awesome stuff happen&quot; might be better than something that correlates with &quot;has one of multiple skills that contribute to the hypothetical ability to make awesome stuff happen&quot;.</p> <p>As for whether &quot;making awesome stuff happen&quot; is the right underlying metric... what else?</p> dreeves re7aFZbKkqbM4om4m 2011-11-08T02:29:36.464Z Comment by dreeves on 2011 Less Wrong Census / Survey https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/miHttwTgajY2sjY3L/2011-less-wrong-census-survey#fWBksG9vStJuS6jWa <p>I took the survey and I agree with some other comments about the difficulty of assigning probabilities to distant events. I decided to just round to either 0 or 1% for a few things. I hope &quot;0&quot; won't be interpreted as literally zero.</p> <p>Something bugs me about the IQ question. It's easy to call sour grapes on those complaining about that metric but it seems like such a poor proxy for what matters, namely, making awesome stuff happen. Not denying a correlation, just that I think we can do much better. Even income in dollars might be a better proxy despite the obvious problems with that.</p> dreeves fWBksG9vStJuS6jWa 2011-11-06T19:07:46.283Z Comment by dreeves on Anti-akrasia tool: like stickK.com for data nerds https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6oYETaG248zGF45aD/anti-akrasia-tool-like-stickk-com-for-data-nerds#wMtQy5JPLEJnMxeLo <p>That's a good point and a valuable datapoint. :) It seems like a funny thing for a rationalist to care about though... (Not the donating to charity part, of course, just that it seems orthogonal -- you should should donate to charity independently of your use of commitment devices.)</p> <p>I do see what you mean though. The use of self-binding is an admission of a fundamental irrationality (akrasia) so it may be valuable to have some plausible deniability.</p> <p>Side note: You probably typed a &quot;3.&quot; instead of a &quot;1.&quot; and the markdown editor thing &quot;fixed&quot; it for you. That's a big pet peeve of mine about markdown, which I otherwise love. Blatant violation of the anti-magic principle.</p> dreeves wMtQy5JPLEJnMxeLo 2011-10-28T19:33:56.000Z Comment by dreeves on Anti-akrasia tool: like stickK.com for data nerds https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6oYETaG248zGF45aD/anti-akrasia-tool-like-stickk-com-for-data-nerds#Bu3kDsuaPTus8J8XL <p>Yeah, I personally really love the graphs that I don't have to manually enter data for, like my weight (withings scale) or any time-based goal [<a href="http://tagti.me">http://tagti.me</a>] or pushups (sort of, thanks to an Android app that Bethany Soule wrote [1]).</p> <p>Thanks for the kind words, and be sure to upvote the API suggestion here: <a href="http://beeminder.uservoice.com/forums/3011-general/suggestions/2281597-publish-the-beeminder-api-">http://beeminder.uservoice.com/forums/3011-general/suggestions/2281597-publish-the-beeminder-api-</a></p> <p>Oh, and note we have an SMS interface: <a href="http://blog.beeminder.com/textbot">http://blog.beeminder.com/textbot</a> (US only, unfortunately; via Twilio)</p> <p>[1] It counts pushups by touching your nose to your phone. You still have to enter on Beeminder but it's an odometer-style goal so no need to enter every day. It would actually be pretty easy to connect it to Beeminder so no data entry is needed at all, if there's demand for that...</p> dreeves Bu3kDsuaPTus8J8XL 2011-10-19T19:09:52.894Z Comment by dreeves on Anti-akrasia tool: like stickK.com for data nerds https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6oYETaG248zGF45aD/anti-akrasia-tool-like-stickk-com-for-data-nerds#zNHHiirSmCeZob98p <p>Just occurred to me you may have been thinking of TagTime, which is indeed open source: <a href="http://github.com/dreeves/TagTime">http://github.com/dreeves/TagTime</a></p> dreeves zNHHiirSmCeZob98p 2011-10-17T16:20:00.891Z Comment by dreeves on Anti-akrasia tool: like stickK.com for data nerds https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6oYETaG248zGF45aD/anti-akrasia-tool-like-stickk-com-for-data-nerds#vkwxRnyHvrW3iuGXb <p>Love it. Alarm set for a month (or so).</p> <p>And, yes, testimonials are, well, cheap talk. But our testimonials aren't like that, baby, I swear it... <a href="http://beeminder.com/testimonials">http://beeminder.com/testimonials</a></p> dreeves vkwxRnyHvrW3iuGXb 2011-10-17T06:58:19.739Z Comment by dreeves on Anti-akrasia tool: like stickK.com for data nerds https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6oYETaG248zGF45aD/anti-akrasia-tool-like-stickk-com-for-data-nerds#TBLZxxEZtwaACPxwc <p>Wow, thanks, Alicorn! That just made my much more convoluted reply moot. :)</p> <p>One more way to possibly mitigate the incentive problem:<br /><a href="http://beeminder.uservoice.com/forums/3011-general/suggestions/2281088-choose-your-own-incentives-have-an-option-to-pay-">http://beeminder.uservoice.com/forums/3011-general/suggestions/2281088-choose-your-own-incentives-have-an-option-to-pay-</a></p> dreeves TBLZxxEZtwaACPxwc 2011-10-14T00:34:57.348Z Comment by dreeves on Anti-akrasia tool: like stickK.com for data nerds https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6oYETaG248zGF45aD/anti-akrasia-tool-like-stickk-com-for-data-nerds#mFxfygiQN2G5gR2w6 <p>It should be, but I've never tried it with a ping gap other than 45 minutes! The way to find out is to count the actual number of pings in your tagtime log that have the relevant tags on a given day. Your beeminder datapoint for that day should be gap/3600 hours, where gap is the ping gap specified in your tagtime settings (45*60 by default).</p> <p>Oh, and do a git pull if you haven't since last week or so -- at one time it was in fact hardcoded for 45 minutes.</p> dreeves mFxfygiQN2G5gR2w6 2011-10-14T00:27:24.385Z Comment by dreeves on Anti-akrasia tool: like stickK.com for data nerds https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6oYETaG248zGF45aD/anti-akrasia-tool-like-stickk-com-for-data-nerds#hjnXCyo2zKfLkKmWN <p>Here's some discussion on google plus about that:<br /><a href="http://plus.google.com/100518216397474461708/posts/RkWR3LauY5X">http://plus.google.com/100518216397474461708/posts/RkWR3LauY5X</a></p> <p>And here's what I just added to the FAQ yesterday: (Do you think it addresses it sufficiently?)</p> <p>Q: You make money from people failing at their goals?</p> <p>A: Yes, but we make you fail <em>less</em>! We force you to toe the line at least for a while so that when/if you do fall off your yellow brick road then the motivation it provided up until that point still seems worth it. Everything we've worked on in building Beeminder has been with the objective of making people succeed and we'd have to be very myopic for it to be otherwise. </p> <p>It's very important to us that no one ever lose on a technicality. We want to make money by making you more awesome, and we're convinced that's what's happening. But don't take our word for it. Try it and see. The first attempt is free [<a href="http://beeminder.com/money">http://beeminder.com/money</a>].</p> dreeves hjnXCyo2zKfLkKmWN 2011-10-13T23:10:49.571Z Comment by dreeves on Anti-akrasia tool: like stickK.com for data nerds https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6oYETaG248zGF45aD/anti-akrasia-tool-like-stickk-com-for-data-nerds#Cn8EZJT22DpJ8vhXe <p>Cool, looks great so far. [<a href="http://bmndr.com/dlthomas/lunches">http://bmndr.com/dlthomas/lunches</a> (thanks for the permission to show that off!)] It's a nice example of building up a safety buffer by getting below (or whatever the good side is) the yellow brick road. Which, come to think of it, is the same thing that a plain old spending budget does. So this yellow brick road is just a spending budget with teeth. Once you add a commitment contract, that is.</p> <p>While I'm in massive self-promotion mode here, this reminds me of my suggestion of a &quot;golden brick road&quot; for deciding how much to spend vs save in general: <a href="http://messymatters.com/saving">http://messymatters.com/saving</a> (Perhaps a more general solution to what you're trying to solve with your lunch graph?)</p> dreeves Cn8EZJT22DpJ8vhXe 2011-10-13T21:05:32.752Z Comment by dreeves on Anti-akrasia tool: like stickK.com for data nerds https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6oYETaG248zGF45aD/anti-akrasia-tool-like-stickk-com-for-data-nerds#EytoMPcw9DPj9bNJm <p>PJ, you're our new best friend! Great stuff on dirtsimple.org btw.</p> <p>I added homunq's idea to our feedback forum -- <a href="https://beeminder.uservoice.com/forums/3011-general/suggestions/2312939-add-a-charity-tip-percentage-to-the-amount-you-l">https://beeminder.uservoice.com/forums/3011-general/suggestions/2312939-add-a-charity-tip-percentage-to-the-amount-you-l</a> -- but you've convinced me that, although it might be a cool feature, we needn't consider it to be on our critical path.</p> <p>Thanks to both you and homunq. Contacting you offline now; very excited to talk more.</p> dreeves EytoMPcw9DPj9bNJm 2011-10-13T19:18:36.518Z Comment by dreeves on Anti-akrasia tool: like stickK.com for data nerds https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6oYETaG248zGF45aD/anti-akrasia-tool-like-stickk-com-for-data-nerds#Pwed4sXSn7i4bSyLm <p>Yeah, the tagtime integration is super sketchy. It <em>does</em> let you update anyone else's tagtime graph but if that happens before we get API keys worked out, it's all undoable. The master copy of your data for a tagtime graph is your tagtime log.</p> <p>Definitely let us know if there's any vandalism or anything going on and we'll clamp down right away. There are just very few tagtime users so far (it being a perl script, and of course the whole concept being a little nutty, cf <a href="http://messymatters.com/tagtime">http://messymatters.com/tagtime</a> ) so it hasn't been an issue. We <em>adore</em> beeminder/tagtime integration ourselves -- like for <a href="http://beeminder.com/d/meta">http://beeminder.com/d/meta</a> -- but the tagtime part is really for hackers only right now.</p> <p>Btw, we also added a 24-hour delay before charging anyone's credit card so in case someone loses for any kind of technical reason (someone screwing with your graph, beeminder bug, or even your own extenuating circumstances a la <a href="http://blog.beeminder.com/sos">http://blog.beeminder.com/sos</a> ) you won't lose. I guess I mentioned that in another comment. To further repeat, we'd refund a spurious charge regardless, but then we'd have to eat a small fee, so better to catch it before that.</p> <p>A fundamental tenet of Beeminder is: no one ever loses money on a technicality. <em>If you go off your yellow brick road it should be because your akrasia was more powerful than the amount of money you had at risk.</em></p> dreeves Pwed4sXSn7i4bSyLm 2011-10-13T14:53:51.619Z Comment by dreeves on Anti-akrasia tool: like stickK.com for data nerds https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6oYETaG248zGF45aD/anti-akrasia-tool-like-stickk-com-for-data-nerds#GAG7czB2fEECgPFRo <p>So many of you wanted to start commitment contracts immediately that we hurried and implemented that feature. What Bethany said is still true (first try is free), and the original fee schedule applies, but if you want to jump ahead in the fee schedule, now you can.</p> <p>We also added a 24-hour delay in actually charging your credit card if you go off the road, just in case we screwed anything up in our rush to add this feature. (We'd refund a spurious charge regardless, but then we'd have to eat a small fee, so better to catch it before that.)</p> <p>We've also been augmenting the FAQ -- <a href="http://beeminder.com/faq">http://beeminder.com/faq</a> -- based on, well, the frequently asked questions we've been getting. Keep them coming!</p> <p>Oh, and also, despite obvious rough edges still, we decided to officially launch: <a href="http://blog.beeminder.com/launch">http://blog.beeminder.com/launch</a></p> dreeves GAG7czB2fEECgPFRo 2011-10-13T00:36:12.429Z Anti-akrasia tool: like stickK.com for data nerds https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6oYETaG248zGF45aD/anti-akrasia-tool-like-stickk-com-for-data-nerds <p>In 2009 I first described here on LessWrong a tool that <a href="http://bethaknee.com">Bethany Soule</a> and I made to force ourselves to do things that otherwise fell victim to akrasia ("<a href="/lw/am/how_a_pathological_procrastinor_can_lose_weight/">How a pathological procrastinator can lose weight</a>"). We got an outpouring&nbsp;of encouragement and enthusiasm from the LessWrong community, which helped inspire us to quit our day jobs and turn this into a real startup: Beeminder (the me-binder!).</p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 0px; ">We've added everyone who got&nbsp;on the waitlist with invite code LESSWRONG and we're getting close to public launch so I wanted to invite any other LessWrong folks to get a beta account first:&nbsp;<a style="color: #6a8a6b; text-decoration: underline; " rel="nofollow" href="http://beeminder.com/secretsignup">http://beeminder.com/secretsignup</a>&nbsp;(no wait this time!)</p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 0px; ">(UPDATE: <a title="Make a beeline for your goal" href="http://beeminder.com">Beeminder</a>&nbsp;is open to the public.)</p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 0px; ">It's definitely not for everyone since a big part of it is commitment contracts. But if you like the concept of <a href="http://stickk.com">stickK.com</a> (forcing yourself to reach a goal via a monetary commitment contract) then we think you'll adore Beeminder.</p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 0px; ">StickK is just about the contracts -- Beeminder links it to your data. That has some big advantages:</p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 0px; ">1. You don't have to know what you're committing to when you commit, which sounds completely (oxy)moronic but what we mean is that you're committing to keeping your datapoints on a "yellow brick road" which you have control over as you go. You commit to something general like "work out more" or "lose weight" and then decide as you go what that means based on your data.</p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 0px; "><img src="https://www.beeminder.com/example/goals/gallant/graph" alt="Someone outperforming their yellow brick road" width="696" height="447" /></p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 0px; "><a id="more"></a>2. You have the flexibility to change your contract in light of new information (like, 40 hours of actual focused work per week is damn hard!). That also sounds like it defeats the point of a commitment contract, but the key is that you can only make changes starting a week in the future. (Details at <a title="The Road Dial and the Akrasia Horizon" href="http://blog.beeminder.com/dial">blog.beeminder.com/dial</a>&nbsp;which describes the interface of the "road dial" for adjusting the steepness of your yellow brick road.) The point is that akrasia (dynamic inconsistency, hyperbolic discounting) means over-weighting immediate consequences, so to beat akrasia you only need to bind yourself for whatever the horizon on "immediate" is. Based on a <a title="Paper by Milkman, Rogers, and Bazerman" href="http://www.springerlink.com/content/06655508xl230511/">study of grocery-buying habits</a>&nbsp;-- when buying groceries online for delivery tomorrow people buy a lot more ice cream and a lot fewer vegetables than when they're ordering for delivery next week -- and raw guesswork (so far), we're taking that Akrasia Horizon to be one week.</p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 0px; ">So Beeminder as an anti-akrasia tool means committing to keeping all your datapoints on a yellow brick road that you specify and can change the steepness of at any time, with a one-week delay.</p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 0px; ">You may be wondering how anyone could ever fail to stay on a yellow brick road that's this flexible. Here's how: if you're highly akratic. Such a person may well find it a daily struggle to stay on the road. Yeah, you can always choose to wuss out and flatten the road, but only starting in a week, which you don't want to do. You want to wuss out Right Now, dammit! I mean, just for now, while you eat this pie, and then you'll behave again. No such luck though.</p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 0px; ">The daily struggle to stay on the road does not induce you to touch that road dial. You always want to make it easier "just for today" -- which the road dial doesn't allow -- and you always think you'll get your act together by next week.</p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 0px; ">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 0px; ">We'd love to hear people's thoughts on this! Perhaps surprisingly, it took a ridiculous number of iterations to get to this point. For the longest time we struggled with different ways to deal with the fact that it's so often hard to decide what to commit to. We tried many variations of having multiple yellow brick roads for a single goal, so that you could specify an ambitious goal as well as a bare minimum. It was always too messy, or would backfire altogether and be paralyzing. We think the road dial with an akrasia horizon is a big leap forward. And it seems so obvious in retrospect!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> dreeves 6oYETaG248zGF45aD 2011-10-10T02:09:57.297Z Anti-Akrasia Reprise https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/Npz5QQxFe8GxLpEJG/anti-akrasia-reprise <p>A year and a half ago I wrote a <a href="/lw/am/how_a_pathological_procrastinor_can_lose_weight/">LessWrong post on anti-akrasia</a>&nbsp;that generated some great discussion. Here's an extended version of that post: &nbsp;<a href="http://messymatters.com/akrasia">messymatters.com/akrasia</a></p> <p>And here's an abstract:</p> <p>The key to beating akrasia (i.e., procrastination, addiction, and other self-defeating behavior) is constraining your future self -- removing your ability to make decisions under the influence of immediate consequences. When a decision involves some consequences that are immediate and some that are distant, humans irrationally (no amount of future discounting can account for it) over-weight the immediate consequences. To be rational you need to make the decision at a time when all the consequences are distant. And to make your future self actually stick to that decision, you need to enter into a binding commitment. Ironically, you can do that by imposing an immediate penalty, by making the distant consequences immediate. Now your impulsive future self will make the decision with all the consequences immediate and presumably make the same decision as your dispassionate current self who makes the decision when all the consequences are distant. I argue that real-world commitment devices, even the popular stickK.com, don't fully achieve this and I introduce Beeminder as a tool that does.</p> <p>(Also related is&nbsp;<a href="/lw/2yd/selfempathy_as_a_source_of_willpower/">this LessWrong post from last month</a>, though I disagree with the second half of it.)</p> <p>My new claim is that akrasia is simply irrationality in the face of immediate consequences. &nbsp;It's not about willpower nor is it about a compromise between multiple selves. &nbsp;Your true self is the one that is deciding what to do when all the consequences are distant. &nbsp;To beat akrasia, make sure that's the self that's calling the shots.</p> <p>And although I'm using the multiple selves / sub-agents terminology, I think it's really just a rhetorical device. &nbsp;There are not multiple selves in any real sense. &nbsp;It's just the one true you whose decision-making is sometimes distorted in the presence of immediate consequences, which act like a drug.</p> dreeves Npz5QQxFe8GxLpEJG 2010-11-16T11:16:16.945Z How a pathological procrastinor can lose weight [Anti-akrasia] https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/Z6ESPufeiC4P8c8en/how-a-pathological-procrastinor-can-lose-weight-anti-akrasia <p><em>[This post has now been subsumed by the following: <a title="How To Do What You Want: Akrasia and Self-Binding" href="http://blog.beeminder.com/akrasia">blog.beeminder.com/akrasia</a>. Also, the service described below, then known as Kibotzer, is now a real startup called Beeminder, announced here:&nbsp;http://lesswrong.com/lw/7z1/antiakrasia_tool_like_stickkcom_for_data_nerds/ ]</em></p> <p>If you are a pathological procrastinator you're pretty screwed when it comes to weight loss.&nbsp; You have this monumental goal like "lose 20 pounds" but there's no "last minute" that you can put it off until.</p> <p>I and my partner have thought a lot about akrasia (ie, failure to do what we think we should be doing) and have a tool that tries to apply some anti-akrasia principles.&nbsp; It's called Kibotzer (for "kibitzing robot") and is currently in private beta.</p> <p>This is not necessarily the best way to use Kibotzer but if you're a pathological procrastinator and want to just embrace that flaw, Kibotzer can help:&nbsp; (It's more general than weight-loss but that makes for a nice example.)</p> <p>1. Pick your goal weight and goal date.</p> <p>2. Kibotzer creates your "Yellow Brick Road."</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://kibotzer.com/data/example.png" alt="kibotzer example graph" width="464" height="303" /></p> <p>3. Place a bet with us that you'll stay on your Road.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; (if you go off your Road for even a single day, you lose.)</p> <p>4. Procrastinate like hell until you're about to lose the bet.</p> <p>The change in focus from "weigh 20 pounds less next year" to "be on the yellow brick road tomorrow morning" makes all the difference.&nbsp; If you're in the wrong "lane" of your Road today then it's crunch time.&nbsp; You have to be on your road tomorrow morning.&nbsp; Pull an all-nighter on the treadmill if that's what it takes.<a id="more"></a></p> <p>In one sense that mentality's crazy.&nbsp; Whatever you do in any single 24 hour period makes essentially no difference to your weight next year. But that's the kind of thinking that let you drift away from your ideal weight in the first place.&nbsp; The whole secret of Kibotzer is to automatically break down your long-term goal into day-to-day guidance.&nbsp; And then, critically, add a wager to force you to stick to it.</p> <p>Kibotzer's tagline is "Bring Long-Term Consequences Near!"&nbsp; (Note that this differs from <a href="http://stickk.com/">Stickk.com</a> which adds consequences but can't bring them quite so near!)</p> <p>We're interested to get the opinions of folks on LessWrong and perhaps some of you would like to be guinea pigs...</p> <p>I'll put the rest of the details in the form of an FAQ.&nbsp; Basically, we want to make sure we never cheat anyone out of money so we have safeguards we've worked out based on previous bets.</p> <p>FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:</p> <p>1. "What if I have a random up-day because I'm retaining water or something?"</p> <p>The Yellow Brick Road adjusts its width so you shouldn't ever lose because of a random up-day.&nbsp; We want to set unbending rules where each day matters, because that's what's motivating (no "I'll catch up later" where you dig yourself in a hole) but you should never lose on a technicality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>2. "What if I forget to reply to the bot or get too busy?"</p> <p>If you stop replying to the bot you automatically get your money back. We only want your money if we're providing something so valuable that you want to interact with it continually.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>3. "My goal is a year away; will you just hold my money that whole time?"</p> <p>Whenever we're holding on to your money we pay a fair interest rate on it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>4. "It seems a little unforgiving; everyone makes mistakes..."</p> <p>The Yellow Brick Road itself allows for a nice margin of error but to further ensure that you don't lose because of one or two mistakes, there's a "three-strikes" policy:&nbsp; You can drive off your Road twice and the road will then be reset from where you currently are, targeting the same goal weight and goal date.&nbsp; Only on the third time do you actually lose the bet.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>5. "Do I still win if I go off the road once but end up reaching my goal in time?"</p> <p>The short answer is that you lose if you go off at *any* time (modulo the three-strikes policy).&nbsp; *But* the brilliance of Kibotzer is that it *knows* about random fluctuation, water retention, and hormonal cycles: the road is wide enough that you will never lose on a technicality.&nbsp; What that roughly means is that you have to mostly stay in the right lane of your yellow brick road and reserve the left lane as your safety buffer for random (or monthly) up-days.</p> <p>Recall Kibotzer's goal: "bring long-term consequences near".&nbsp; In other words, the fact that you lose the game if you go off *tomorrow* is by design.&nbsp; It's very hard to, for example, forgo that piece of pie merely because it will make it harder to weigh 20 pounds less 10 months from now.&nbsp; Please!&nbsp; One piece of pie won't make the difference and there's plenty of time to catch up!&nbsp; Each individual piece of pie is *totally worth it*.&nbsp; Same with each workout you really don't feel like doing right now.&nbsp; Which of course is how you and everyone else in the country end up 20 pounds away from their ideal.&nbsp; With Kibotzer that whole dynamic changes: when you're in the wrong lane of your road that one piece of pie could very well make the difference *tomorrow morning* and you're acutely aware of it.&nbsp; The consequences are immediate.&nbsp; And of course even better is the flipside of that coin: if you are well into your right lane then it's very very nice to be able to enjoy your hard-earned safety buffer and eat that piece of pie guilt-free!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>6. "The graphs and numbers and betting seem a little gimmicky; is there another way to do this?"</p> <p>Fundamentally it has to involve making a genuine commitment. Like, yes, I'm perfectly capable of staying below X pounds and I can commit to doing that. And then "commit" has to actually be made meaningful. Risking a painful chunk of money is the simplest way to do that.</p> <p>It's sad but it often doesn't mean much when we verbally commit to something. (Some people are worse about this than others.) So the bet is like an acknowledgment that there's two "me"s: the me right now who definitely wants this to happen and then future-me who is going to thumb their nose and thwart it. You just have to force future-me's hand. Forget the charade that it's the same me -- it isn't. Verbalize the commitment all you want, history proves that future-me has a damn good chance of thumbing their nose at you (after all, how did you end up well over your ideal weight in the first place?). So if current-me is really serious then prove it by making it impossible for future-me to renege. Or, not impossible, just make future-me not *want* to renege. That's the best you can do and all that's needed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>7. "How do I actually place a bet?"</p> <p>Email me with how much money you might be willing to risk (or indicate this on kibotzer.com/register).&nbsp; I'll reply with the odds (how much you can win).&nbsp; If that's acceptable, there's a "donate" button at kibotzer.com/money where you can put up the money.&nbsp; The rest is honor system for now.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>8. "I don't understand betting lingo.&nbsp; What are 'odds'?"&nbsp; (Probably don't need this one for LessWrong folks but interested to hear your ideas on how to explain this sort of thing to layfolk!)</p> <p>First, "even odds" means that if you win you double your money.&nbsp; If I'm betting on something where I'll probably lose then I'll want better odds to compensate, meaning that I'll more than double my money on the off chance that I win.&nbsp; Higher risk, higher reward.&nbsp; From your perspective, it's lower risk so you'll have a lower reward if you win.</p> <p>For example, if you choose to risk $1000 then we'll figure you're highly likely to win so we might offer you odds where you risk the $1000 but only win $50 if you stay on your road (we'll also factor in how steep your Road is).&nbsp; If you're sufficiently sure you can stay on your Road then that's a free $50 for you. (Of course the real advantage is the motivation it provides and the fact that you end up at the end of your Yellow Brick Road!)</p> dreeves Z6ESPufeiC4P8c8en 2009-04-18T20:05:49.049Z