Weekly LW Meetups

2017-03-03T16:10:06.878Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

Weekly LW Meetups

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Comment by frankadamek on New LW Meetup: Bogota · 2017-02-03T16:47:11.506Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Cool. When the a regular meetup is included in the list I make it a link to an entry on the wiki meetup page (e.g. https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Less_Wrong_meetup_groups#Hamburg.2C_Germany). I don't see one for Cologne, can you or someone else in the group create an entry?

New LW Meetup: Bogota

2017-01-27T18:55:25.531Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

Weekly LW Meetups

2017-01-20T16:56:22.353Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

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2017-01-13T16:49:32.061Z · score: 2 (3 votes)

Weekly LW Meetups

2017-01-06T16:35:11.772Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

Weekly LW Meetups

2016-12-30T15:44:56.164Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

New LW Meetup: Kyiv

2016-12-23T16:44:08.393Z · score: 3 (4 votes)

Weekly LW Meetups

2016-12-16T16:51:40.277Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

Weekly LW Meetups

2016-12-09T18:11:12.016Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

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2016-12-02T16:47:00.094Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

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2016-11-25T16:56:30.680Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

Weekly LW Meetups

2016-11-18T16:55:13.657Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

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2016-11-11T18:47:37.240Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

New LW Meetup: Amsterdam

2016-11-04T15:55:28.294Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

Weekly LW Meetups

2016-10-28T15:47:58.838Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

New LW Meetup: Zurich

2016-10-21T10:47:45.030Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

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2016-10-14T15:56:24.185Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

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2016-10-07T03:58:13.712Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

Weekly LW Meetups

2016-09-30T14:48:10.172Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

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2016-09-23T15:52:04.563Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

Weekly LW Meetups

2016-09-16T15:51:20.464Z · score: 2 (3 votes)

Weekly LW Meetups

2016-09-09T15:48:47.668Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

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2016-09-02T14:41:00.534Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

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2016-08-26T16:04:52.641Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

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2016-08-19T15:40:31.378Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

New LW Meetup: Munich

2016-08-12T15:51:07.156Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

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Weekly LW Meetups

2016-07-29T15:45:40.510Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

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2016-07-22T16:00:00.194Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

New LW Meetup: Greenville NC

2016-07-15T15:45:12.217Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

New LW Meetup: Boise ID, Bay City MI

2016-07-08T15:25:06.825Z · score: 2 (3 votes)

New LW Meetup: Dallas

2016-07-01T15:41:06.359Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

New LW Meetup: Bay City, MI

2016-06-24T15:58:05.275Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

Weekly LW Meetups

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Weekly LW Meetups

2016-06-10T15:16:23.097Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

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2016-06-03T19:07:20.280Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

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2016-05-27T15:39:34.956Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

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2016-05-06T15:55:30.696Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

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2016-04-29T15:50:27.706Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

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2016-04-22T15:58:04.608Z · score: 0 (1 votes)

Weekly LW Meetups

2016-04-15T15:26:41.382Z · score: 2 (3 votes)

New LW Meetup: Nairobi

2016-04-08T15:50:23.835Z · score: 3 (4 votes)

Weekly LW Meetups

2016-04-01T16:52:34.053Z · score: 1 (2 votes)

Weekly LW Meetups

2016-03-25T15:36:24.646Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Comment by frankadamek on Weekly LW Meetups · 2014-11-11T16:20:31.243Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hi Eneasz, I'm not sure what controls the front page map. My guess would have been that posting the meetup to the regular meetup system would be enough, perhaps there's a delay.

Comment by frankadamek on Meetup : Meta Meetup · 2014-10-03T15:46:59.739Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Please include the location of the meetup in the meetup titles, which lets people more readily determine if the meeting is relevant to them. Thanks!

Comment by frankadamek on Weekly LW Meetups · 2014-08-27T15:13:05.029Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the heads up!

Comment by frankadamek on Meetup : Utrecht: Debiasing techniques · 2014-08-22T15:36:52.864Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Please include the meetup location (Utrecht) in the meetup names, ideally at the beginning. Otherwise people have to click through in order to determine if the meetup is relevant to them. Thanks!

Comment by frankadamek on New LW Meetup: Houston · 2014-05-09T16:02:35.780Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The most up-to-date times will be on the meetup posts themselves (sometimes the times are changed after these summaries are posted).

Comment by frankadamek on New LW Meetups: Las Vegas, Warsaw · 2014-04-01T16:09:43.283Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Which meeting is this?

Comment by frankadamek on New LW Meetup: Mumbai · 2013-11-26T17:17:04.913Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The best way to announce it is to click the "Add new meetup" button, right under "Create new article". Every Friday morning (around 9 AM PST) I scan the list of upcoming meetups and add them to the weekly summary.

Comment by frankadamek on New LW Meetup: Lyon · 2013-07-03T05:10:58.519Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Great to hear, and thanks for the heads up! I've moved London to the list of regular meetups.

Comment by frankadamek on Weekly LW Meetups: Austin, Durham, London, Melbourne, Purdue, Vancouver, Washington DC · 2013-01-20T16:06:39.507Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't tried a virtual LW meetup, or heard of one, but it seems worth trying if it fits your situation.

Comment by frankadamek on Meetup : Montreal Meetup - Biases and Biased Boardgaming · 2012-11-30T17:03:00.018Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Can you provide a clarification on the date? Is this supposed to be Dec 4th 2012?

Comment by frankadamek on Weekly LW Meetups: Austin, Bratislava, Cambridge MA, Durham NC (2), Salt Lake City, Washington DC · 2012-10-23T15:06:48.254Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Glad to help get awareness back out, that's what these posts are for. How does it sound to schedule a meetup and post it? I'll put it in the list, and I put meetups for the following week into the headline.

Comment by frankadamek on Weekly LW Meetups: Austin, Berlin, Melbourne, NYC, Paris, Pittsburgh, Washington DC · 2012-09-11T04:53:01.235Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hey Emile, thanks for keeping an eye on this. In this case it's expected though. These summaries are originally posted to LW main. When I post the new one, I move the old one to discussion, adding a note at the top about the original post date.

Comment by frankadamek on Meetup : Austin, TX - HPMoR Wrap Party · 2012-08-31T15:00:30.221Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

For some reason the Austin meetups keep getting posted as occurring in 2018. Have any ideas why?

Comment by frankadamek on How to Run a Successful Less Wrong Meetup · 2012-06-20T04:05:51.693Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Shannon really is a long-time and hugely contributive rationalist, hosting a ton of meetups in a great space and making a lot of other contributions as well. Thumbs up.

Comment by frankadamek on Weekly LW Meetups: Cambridge, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Vancouver · 2012-05-11T15:04:00.046Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, there was a salt shortage, it was pretty tragic.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-10T05:38:48.690Z

Though I am surprised as to the move (my model had been that by providing summary cuts, the posts would be easy to skip for the uninterested, and sufficiently unobtrussive), this is a fine move which I don't oppose.

For whatever credibility this statement has now, I had actually changed my mind just yesterday on my posting plans - while previous posts were met with reasonable writing critiques, and this last post was remarked as a vast improvement and received no such critiques, it too was little-voted. Future posts therefore also seemed likely to be little-voted, whereas previously I thought I may be able to change that.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-10T04:04:43.089Z

While being a bit anti-thetical to the point of the post, I recall a Slytherin motto that we become ourselves by following our desires wherever they lead us. In my own history, it was my desires to become super focused and productive that lead me to a lot of stuff I really value now. Was kind of a goal that defeated itself, in that to best achieve it I gave up the goal, but even so.

But a datum you might find useful is that most of these were some of my favorite media for years, I absorbed myself in them, and they mostly made me ignore everything except for self-improvement. In particular I was extremely fond of The Prince of Nothing series (it was primarily this series to which I compared LOTR). Understand is one of the few stories I have on my computer, House was an inspiration to me even before I found x-risk, I loved the Sherlock movies and owned the two most recent Bond movies.

These days I'm much more the person I wanted to be, but no longer care about being that kind of person. (I do value the results of being like that, but it's only the results I care about).

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-10T03:35:46.768Z

Unfortunately I'm guessing that you already put in some really solid thinking on this, and that there's not anything easy I can offer to either suggest a desirable thing you've overlooked or to provide more evidence for achievability. I put together the supplementary post but I'm guessing (if you're asking this question) that you read it and it didn't help much, and that you have good reason to expect that LOTR won't help (and that for a variety of reasons it might well not).

But a few ideas that seem fairly easy for us to see the appeal in, and that we can generally do something to increase. Maybe you'll find something here that strikes you.

  • Human beauty and sex. (To anyone reading this, I don't go in for manipulative PUA, but do endorse mutually positive, happy interactions.)
  • Children. This one is kind of a stretch if you don't see the appeal already, but you might try exploring it. I didn't get this appeal for a long time, and then I imagined in concrete detail raising a son or daughter in a happier world, where I could devote my time to them (if it's appealing in this world too, then by all means). Showing them the world, teaching them things, seeing them grow, them running to me and showing me things, I thought to myself "holy shit, that sounds awesome". People sometimes mention incredible joy in the birth and existence of a child, and that they would give their lives for their kids, and these things don't seem to be bugs. (Not to say other feelings are wrong - there are different unconscious strategies for different assessments about our situation - but that this answer isn't flawed.)
  • Survival, being alive. Life being way better than not-living, even if we don't see anything spectacular about it at the moment.
Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-09T04:32:16.444Z

Well, it has 1 downvote. In answering, I went too straight for giving a functional description of what I do, rather than 1) sufficiently pointing out how it's done (e.g. going out of my way to tell someone when it's neither helpful nor wanted is not decreasing stigma, though that's the more natural map thing to map my answer to) and 2) writing my answer such that the answer itself helped to reduce stigma, make people comfortable, etc.

...but thank you for answering in a manner consistent with your theory.

You're welcome! However, I didn't select these strategies so that I could write consistent comments on LW, I selected them because I really like their results.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-09T04:22:27.907Z

By the power of Greyskull! I noticed this tastefully funny comment and go to the context to find no less than 6 comments analyzing my hyphenation of ice creams!

Indeed it's mostly random. I didn't even notice I was typing it differently - looks like my brain just wasn't sure how to write it, and gave me different answers at different times.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-09T02:06:42.920Z

I think you are referring to ice-cream discussions.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-08T03:42:36.129Z

Also, ice cream is trivial and not something I would probably ever bring up, unless we were specifically on the topic of "our ideas on the healthiness of ice-cream" (and then I'd only mention my ideas on the healthiness of ice-cream, not whether they should eat it). In the original comment I was answering in form of something that seemed important enough to be an issue.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-08T03:38:39.267Z

(Upvoted)

That would not be a way to say it respectfully. Or desirably!

Probably the best way to think about what I mean by doing it respectfully is "would this make the person unhappy or uncomfortable?" If yes, that's not what I mean (this is a hard point for me to convey - I can say "respectfully" but it's hard to map to a case where the person isn't displeased, though that is what I'm talking about).

So what I would do (and was imagining). The person is comfortable with their weight. Ideally, they're happy, outgoing, achieving good things, being successful. The person enjoys eating ice-cream, they aren't going to change this soon, I know this, they know the things I know, and it's not a problem. If I thought it would bother someone, if there was nothing actually unique and useful I could point out to them, I wouldn't.

But if they asked me, while feeling pretty comfortable about themselves and looking to branch out, if I thought they might be able to lose weight, maybe be a little healthier, I would say "Yeah, of course!" (with the implication "You're certainly going to succeed, if that's what you want to do.") If they seem bothered, I'd mention that it's all good, certainly no need to if they don't want to. (Verbal tone here is important, and unfortunately difficult to express through this text.)

and if I knew them well,

I used this as a shorthand for "this is the sort of thing we could talk about happily, and that the person was interested in". (In my comment above, I mentally mapped to a case where I might actually convey helpful and/or unique information.)

None of this was very clear about my comment. "working to avoid any stigma", "respectfully pointing out" and "if they want more ice cream I'll support their decision" are tightly clustered descriptions of underly-specified things. The main thing is "is the person happy", "have I made them look bad," "are they interested," and "am I actually helping". I would point something out when the answers are anticipated-yes, anticipate-no, yes, and yes.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-08T03:22:40.823Z

This is going to be controversial unless everybody somehow agrees that their wish is "wrong" by some standard.

Currently, even implying that someone is wrong makes a person look bad. For the person to be comfortable, it's very helpful to look after their reputations. This is part of why I wouldn't bring up the ice-cream thing in public. (The ice-cream isn't actually something I would care about - to my personal diet views, it's probably healthier than bread. But if you mapped it to a more serious analogous case.)

I cannot think of any objective standard to judge when such paternalism would be appropriate and when it wouldn't

Rather than an objective standard, I find it more helpful to think about my personal behavior. How much do I want other people to trust me? The more trust I want and the more I want them to be comfortable, the more I can look out for their interests.

This thinking (people cannot be trusted knowing what's good for them) is something nobody is willing to accept in general, but everyone is perfectly willing to accept in some specific cases or other.

I'm not sure there are actually cases where I'm perfectly willing to accept it, except for cases of trivial importance. Even if I go against their wishes, I'm quite averse to it.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-08T02:47:55.393Z

Yeah, it's one of the trade-off cases. In general, I try to change the person's mind if I can, respectfully pointing out that my own belief is that that's going to harm them, but sure if they want more ice cream I'll support their decision. Broadly, I try to change people's minds and do what good I can for them, but avoid getting in the way of what they think they want now.

In the actual ice cream case, I'd likely just give them more ice cream while working to avoid any stigma attached to their weight or eating habits. If it were just us alone, and if I knew them well, then I'd be more likely to say something. My main goal would be to have them feel comfortable, that there's nothing wrong with them and there's nothing to be ashamed of, but if they want to be healthier or foxier, I bet they'd be very successful if they got more in shape. (I don't actually know much about weight solutions, but solutions for problems are usually findable.)

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-08T01:38:50.805Z

Your weakness as a writer (IMHO) is verbosity and generality (the two are often related).

I've been thinking about this, and I think that is my biggest problem. It actually seems related to the way I talk as well - I often recall over-informing in person.

The most recent post is something of a different style, hopefully shorter and easier to read. I look forward to getting feedback.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-07T03:28:34.284Z
  • Supergoals and goals known, but unconscious affective death spirals or difficulties in actioning a far goal are interfering with the supergoals.
  • Supergoals and goals known, goal is suboptimal.
  • Supergoals not known consciously, subgoal known but suboptimal given knowledge of supergoals.

You bring up a really good point here. I would say that my unconscious thinking was making oversights and unexamined assumptions in the pursuit of goals. For example, thinking "Okay there's a bunch of stuff that I want, but if I just become super effective at reaching goals generally, then I'll get those things automatically." Because it was overlooking other ways of reaching these goals, it both failed to be motivated by some helpful things, like programming study even if not impressive, and it also thought less creatively about how to hit the supergoal.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-06T22:44:04.299Z

I have indeed been considering other routes. At the same time, there are some upvotes - a few people seem to be gaining something. If even one or two people can find ways to reach their goals significantly better, I would be happy with that. But even if the ideas bounce off LW completely, I still support some of the things LW does, and I don't want to get in the way of that. I'll see how it goes, but yes this is something I'm considering.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-06T21:37:24.607Z

I appreciate your thinking here, but I'm worried that this is just going to turn into a thread where people list random songs they like. I mean, if "a cool love song" qualifies...

Great point, and a concern. At least for me, these songs are very particular. I have about 5000 songs in my collection, and about 300 made it into this list. Distinguishing this kind of song was something I found time-intensive, and there are many songs I enjoyed but that didn't actually make me motivated to go do things. My hope is that these particular songs are likely to be helpful - I think my past self would have really been helped by having something like this.

If emotional responses to songs are substantially personal in nature, it might be more interesting to discuss what mix of emotions most helps motivation, so everyone can solve their own optimization problem.

That's an excellent point. For me, the emotions can be either good or bad, but the critical thing is that the song is about a good thing I plan to increase or a bad thing I plan to decrease, that I am fully able to make that change, and that the song is not about looking impressive.

One of the main reasons I didn't include many songs is that I don't expect them to have this kind of association for others, though they do for me. And I expect other people to find songs that work for them but not for me. The only thing that really matters is that it works for you.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-06T21:26:45.949Z

I am primarily referring to the unconscious drives underlying our actions, not our verbal goals. No matter what term I used to describe it, when I imagined myself doing very well in general relative to other people, spending every moment in focused and topical optimization, I was excited and driven to pursue the things I expected to make me like that. If I anticipated outcomes that did NOT involve me being that kind of person, there was far less unconscious drive to act.

Being hyper-competent was not a subgoal of programming or business, and if it were I would have your same critique. Being hyper-competent was a subgoal of having social success, having riches, being safe, a general assessment of "able to succeed even in difficult situations." Programming and business were rather what seemed consciously to be the best specific routes for achieving these things, but they involved not being the sort of hyper-competent person, and because I unconsciously desired that so much I was not, in practice, driven to pursue programming or business.

Similarly, unless you have already developed high competence in many concrete tasks, how would you recognise a mind that was a perfectly honed instrument for realizing your goals?

The term "perfectly honed instrument" is meant to convey an intuitive sense, not a technical description. But you would recognize such a person by them constantly engaging in what actually seemed to have the greatest marginal return on time, and probably by quickly developing unusually large amounts of skill.

Taboo "perfectly honed instrument", "hyper-competent" etc., and the goal dissolves.

Those terms refer to particular patterns of reality and not others - Bourne, rational!Quirrell, arguably rational!Dumbledore are all extensions of this intension. The average person is not.

Going up the pyramid of goals in such a context is an active hinderance, because the higher goals are harder to make operational.

By "going up the pyramid of goals" I'm referring to understanding more precisely the rules generating the particular, concrete situations we desire, and following a rule higher up on that pyramid. In other words, are there some things we could think of concretely, that once thinking of them, we realized were the real reason we had been motivated by something else was that we unconsciously anticipated it to lead to the first thing? This is something for each person to discover on their own, but it is something to discover.

"Beware affective death spirals on far-mode (sub)goals" or "Taboo specific terms in your goals to make them operationally useful" or possibly even "Check that your stated goals are not semantic stop-signs"

Are you doing those things already? Do they leave something left for you to desire in your rationality? These are all descriptions of much more surface-level techniques than what's being discussed here. This technique is about finding concrete things that make you think "hey, that's awesome, how can I get that?"

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-06T19:11:36.875Z

I really appreciate the very thoughtful nature of your continued feedback. Thanks!

I think I may attempt to include fewer examples in future posts; this post had 4, which is quite a lot.

It seems likely that my difficulty writing posts that don't feel long/uninteresting is something systemic; I think one of the more likely candidates is aiming to include more material than most people want/require-for-understanding. Whether I'm right or not, I feel I have a very good handle on which parts of the new mindset are important. I think the problem may be adding too much detail to each of the individual points in that presentation.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-06T18:54:34.358Z

The point is that your personal thoughts and experiences leading up to the useful ideas actually detract from your presentation of the ideas.

Yes, I agree that can happen. But, per the the topic of this post, there are cases where personal thoughts and experiences are very relevant, namely when the topic under discussion is personal thought and experience. If one is attempting to get inside the head of another, information about the content of that head is quite topical. We would lose something if were to model every form of human expression off of the appeals courts.

Comment by frankadamek on Weekly LW Meetups: Copenhagen, Dallas, Graz, London, Longmont, Melbourne, Pittsburgh, Sydney, Vancouver, Washington · 2012-05-06T17:12:12.720Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This was actually posted on the 27th of April. I believe the date at the top indicates the last time the post was changed (when I moved it to discussion).

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-06T16:59:41.882Z

Interesting, I hadn't remembered him saying that.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-06T16:33:57.231Z

One of the most helpful tools I can think of for the upcoming strategy is to put one's self into other people's minds and experiences, and the posts on that strategy are partly built for doing that. I wanted to explain to people why that extra material is there (and that it's not just a case of needless and unreflected-upon over-elaboration), and also to give an idea of how that material might best be used.

The material you linked me to had four paragraphs of talking about how you interact with other people in a very general way before even attempting your point.

Those paragraphs primarily exist to give a sense of my personality and a suggestion for the best way to consider the benefits. It might be nice if we considered ideas separate from their speaker, but it's often very relevant information. This comment talks more about this.

For a shorter summary of the benefits, you could check out this post, 4th paragraph, beginning with "If you haven't read the first two posts".

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-06T16:22:35.727Z

The avoidance of 'I', 'my' and 'me' is good advice, and something I've kept an eye out for. In this post it looks like they mostly show up when actually describing personal anecdotes, so the way to cut down on them would be to remove or reduce the anecdotes.

As for sharing the mental process, that information exists as an instruction and guide to doing this kind of thing - it's actually fairly central to the point of the post.

Regarding the defense of ideas rather than one's personality, it might be nice if we existed in an idealized setting in which ideas were considered on a level completely separate from the speaker. But it's not just ideas that we're judging, and the speaker's personality is relative information. For example, look at your first comment, regarding the narcissistic feel to the posts. What does it matter if I were narcissistic? I could be the biggest asshole on earth and still be right. But it is relevant - we don't want some asshole running around and putting himself above everyone else.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-06T03:52:28.460Z

Unfortunately I wasn't very clear there - I was referring to the general ideas I'm using, the content of previous and future posts, rather than the particular topic of this post.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-05T21:48:27.318Z

...you think you are an excellent example because you seem to be performing very well in some areas.

In this post I just used personal examples because I had them, and also because I've probably done this somewhat more than average.

The good performance I'm seeing is my larger reason for posting at all. This post is meant both to point out a generally useful phenomenon and to prepare for other material. The other material contains the primary causes of the benefits I'm seeing.

As for what those benefits are, they're listed in more detail here.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-05T21:22:48.031Z

Sigh, there are many things for me to avoid with these posts. Yes, I also don't want these posts to become narcissistic. Indeed I would hate that, and a narcissistic rant would be useless. But at the same time, there are some things that I seem to be doing very well (through no innate strengths of my own), and my goal here is to share those things with other people so that they can do them too.

For whatever my own assertion is worth, I really am just a guy, will always be, and will also continue to defend this fact. Right now I seem to have some unique insights and techniques, but that's going to change and then I'll just be one among many people. A bunch of really fantastic people, but one among many nonetheless (and it will be awesome).

A playful metaphor I've been using here is that of a foot soldier who happened to come across a +5 sword of good while wandering through the mountains. I seem able to do some pretty cool stuff, but it would be a mistake to attribute that to anything inherent about me. And most importantly, we can make more of these swords. That's what I'm trying to do.

As for the personal examples, my own life is one I happen to have a lot of data on.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-05T19:00:51.173Z

Agreed, and unfortunately many memories are difficult to test. A few ideas that leap to mind:

  • Go back to my memory of Japan and thereby increase my memory for the layout of my friend's house - make predictions and then ask him to take and send pictures.
  • Go back into those email archives, light up my memory, then make predictions about the games I was playing back then, such as the layout of the levels. Find the game and compare. Or make predictions about the layout of my middle school, then go visit it.

I expect that my brain is making some mistakes, but that it's also largely accurate. The more valuable activity is often stepping into the minds of others, and in that case you ideally come away with a new and improved way of doing something, which constitutes its own evidence of the investigation being useful.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-05-01T15:19:14.390Z

By "the unconscious" I mean the mental operations we perform without getting internal mental feedback about the process of the operation.

That's not very concrete. The most widely recognized extension of this part of reality is emotions we don't understand the reasons for, along with other mysterious-by-default things like why we spend a long time mentally reviewing our stated positions. We can simply ask "Why do I feel that way, and why do I spend my time that way?" This question doesn't require any mention of unconscious thinking, or thinking at all. At this state of knowledge, the answer could conceivably involve any number of mechanisms, and those mechanisms may not be mental.

But in my own attempts to answer these questions, the most efficient way to model the source of those things is actually to model them as a mind. (I say "efficient" to emphasize a goal of using the concept, but the model appears to be accurate as well.) By a "mind", I mean something that has a model of the world, that takes in evidence it receives about that world, that performs a very great amount of inference on that model and evidence, and even undertakes strategic thinking in the attempt to reach goals. In other words, the answer to why we feel and do those things is that there's a genuine optimization process there, and the feelings and actions are its output.

We receive the conclusions of this part of our thinking, but we don't have feedback about the thoughts taking place there. The system-of-us does not receive as input the process of these thoughts, and this is what distinguishes conscious and UNconscious thinking.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-04-30T16:31:55.401Z

This is what I am more familiar with myself.

Cool!

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-04-30T15:32:05.250Z

The key thing is this: when a rationalist is investigating a bias or some irrational behavior, they may notice that there seems to be a social influence on their thinking, think to themselves "well that's obviously silly and wrong", and then stop there. They go on believing that rationality has to be painful, that we have to do something to overpower these instincts, and that the only way to succeed is to look for ways to trick their unconscious mind into having a belief that seems more appropriate.

An alternative to this approach is to keep going, to look deeper at what's really going on, spend hours or days looking for something sensible that the unconscious could possibly be doing, until enough pieces come together and suddenly you say "Oh. That's what's going on." And then the most important part, you can solve the problem, so that it's not hard or painful anymore.

Or for something more direct and operable, if you notice that your aversion to something is that you don't want to look stupid, rather than try to power through it, look for ways that you could do the same thing without looking stupid. In fact if you look at a lot of the useful rationality techniques, the way they help us out is by doing this very thing.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-04-30T15:14:06.099Z

I would summarize the main points as:

  • The process behind deprecation
  • The role of social considerations in rationality and dysrationality
  • More information on how the unconscious works (and what it can do when we understand it)
  • A more detailed overview of the ways we can improve unconscious thinking, along with examples of actually doing so.
  • Information on the process of investigating this thinking

The remainder is unsupported folk psychology, repetition, and superfluous elaboration.

There should be a "looks like" in there somewhere, at least with regard to "unsupported folk psychology" (repetition and superfluous elaboration...I wouldn't put the latter in those terms, but those may be an issue). Again, this may look similar in ways. But it is the process of multiple revisions of the ideas, looking for different ways to think of them that help me use them more productively, cutting things down to their fundamentals and removing elements from the model that didn't buy me any bits of prediction. (Mostly) everything here is load-bearing.

I think you need to improve your own writing, rather than using someone else to fix it up afterwards. A programmer has to fix his own code, and a writer likewise.

Obviously that would be better! While I've received moderate compliments on my writing in the past, I obviously wish I was much better. I would love to be able to phrase an idea more clearly, simply, and accurately, while keeping the reader engaged and perhaps even entertained. These posts are my current best efforts, and I know that despite this the writing isn't going to be that excellent, and that a more experienced writer would probably be able to put together something much better, and with less work. I would love to know how to do that!

But that doesn't mean I'm not going to try and use whatever tools I might find available to improve that writing, such as looking at a professionally-edited version of the very thing I worked on, if I get a chance to read something like that.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-04-30T05:59:58.041Z

Your feedback on skimmability seems potentially really useful - that wasn't even something I was thinking of before. I'm going to try to improve on that point, though I also suspect that I'm not going to succeed as much and as quickly as I would like. I may do some research on writing styles and tips. Thanks very much for pointing this out.

Was there an obvious way to cut it to 1/3 the length? If a professional editor was able to do so and you were willing to send it to me, that would probably be really helpful for me.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-04-29T23:55:57.546Z

(Upvoted) [Is it poor etiquette to say so? I recall seeing it in the past but I'm not familiar with online LW etiquette.]

Yeah, I think that's a very good point. The things a model should be built on include actual uses of that model, some weight that it's lifting. In this case I'm not actually sure that starting with the overview was not the way to go; it may well not have been, but many of the particular points draw from a larger model that might differ from some common beliefs, such as that people are intrinsically incoherent kludges or that our unconscious instincts can't and don't respond to subtle and genuinely important details in the world around us. If I included ideas like "Just about everything people do makes a fair deal of sense" in a concrete model without providing more information about that general claim - and that fact that it's actually present throughout all of the ideas I've been using - I think it may be taken as an arbitrary and unjustified assumption, rather than something that's come up time and time again in my attempts to understand what people are doing.

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-04-29T21:57:53.124Z

I realize this overview is very abstract, and the extent of that abstraction may necessarily make it a little hard to see a connection to particular details of reality, to see the predictions this framework does and doesn't make. My goal with this had been to present a high-level coherent model of how everything fits together, which people could internally add to as additional material is presented, and which would also serve as a point of reference when wondering "wait, how does thing X connect to thing Y?"

The title, for sure, could be better. But the body of the article was not in fact achieved with the postmodernism generator, though it may bear similarities to what that generator would produce. There are many superficially similar models, we could shift around the words and concepts and use terms like "value" and "strategic consideration", but if the model doesn't actually describe reality, is isn't going to be helpful.

How would we tell what we're looking at? Certainly, there are similarities to lots of useless models, that don't meaningfully descibe what's going on, that don't buy the user any bits of prediction. How do we distinguish how useful and accurate the model really is? One way might be looking at what the user of that model is able to do - if he is actually able to achieve better results, there must be some mechanism by which he is doing so. Another way might be looking at how well the ideas seem to predict and explain the things we see around us - unfortunately there haven't been many specific examples of the ideas presented (the point about deprecation is one such case).

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-04-29T21:21:34.565Z

Hmm, a good point :)

Comment by FrankAdamek on [deleted post] 2012-04-29T18:33:42.980Z

That...would be why I posted the first two posts :)

But I think you mean that it would be good to have something short at the beginning of this post. That would probably be a good idea.