An Ontology of Systemic Failures: Dragons, Bullshit Mountain, and the Cloud of Doom 2018-09-08T18:19:26.887Z
A Self-Respect Feedback Loop 2018-05-11T23:09:02.086Z
Affordance Widths 2018-05-10T23:37:43.037Z
Lizard Jockeying for Fun and Profit 2017-11-10T18:51:08.799Z
Attending to Now 2017-11-08T16:53:07.419Z
RFC on an open problem: how to determine probabilities in the face of social distortion 2017-10-07T22:04:08.756Z
Meetup : Bay Area Winter Solstice 2016 2016-09-22T22:12:23.532Z
Self-serving meta: Whoever keeps block-downvoting me, is there some way to negotiate peace? 2013-11-16T04:35:46.013Z
I notice that I am confused about Identity and Resurrection 2013-11-14T20:38:22.845Z
The value of Now. 2013-02-01T07:52:55.689Z
[META] Retributive downvoting: Why? 2012-11-27T02:24:31.320Z
Cryonic resurrection - an ethical hypothetical 2012-11-25T00:44:09.458Z
Recovering the 'spark' 2012-10-23T21:50:10.253Z
Using existing Strong AIs as case studies 2012-10-16T22:59:56.428Z
Rationality, Transhumanism, and Mental Health 2012-10-14T09:11:25.757Z


Comment by ialdabaoth on An Ontology of Systemic Failures: Dragons, Bullshit Mountain, and the Cloud of Doom · 2018-09-16T20:48:11.773Z · LW · GW

The liability hot potato itself is a Bullshit Mountain. Once the liability hot potato becomes a cause for multiple symptoms downstream of it, you're in Cloud of Doom territory. So the ultimate problem is contextual - are you operating at a level of control where you can directly confront the LHP? If so, pick your causes and start shoveling. Or are you at a level of control where the downstream effects of the LHP are themselves the landscape you have to navigate? If so, welcome to your Cloud of Doom.

Comment by ialdabaoth on An Ontology of Systemic Failures: Dragons, Bullshit Mountain, and the Cloud of Doom · 2018-09-16T20:45:26.844Z · LW · GW

Yeah, strong endorsement of treating this as eigenvectors rather than category-buckets.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Are you in a Boltzmann simulation? · 2018-09-12T23:33:40.550Z · LW · GW

One serious problem I see:

This whole setup presupposes something like a Standard Model spacetime as the 'seed substrate' upon which Boltzmann brains or Boltzmann simulations are generated.

It completely neglects the possibility that our entire universe, and all its rules, are themselves the result of a Boltzmann simulation spawned in some simpler and more inherently fecund chaos.

Comment by ialdabaoth on An Ontology of Systemic Failures: Dragons, Bullshit Mountain, and the Cloud of Doom · 2018-09-08T21:49:23.352Z · LW · GW

1. I see you haven't been reading other articles very closely. Given that, I don't expect you to have read this one very closely. Or that you would read a long reply that I might give very closely. Therefore, why should I spend the effort on it, just so we can get into another arc of pedantry? I don't really have a stake in it, you see.

2. Basically the same answer as 1. If someone else wants to expand, I'm sure they can; I'd appreciate if they did, but not to feed you.

3. Looks like Daystar Eld already started here, I think it'd be neat if other people would provide more.

Comment by ialdabaoth on An Ontology of Systemic Failures: Dragons, Bullshit Mountain, and the Cloud of Doom · 2018-09-08T18:42:46.706Z · LW · GW

One aside:

I mention in 'Shovelers are Hufflepuff' that the credit for solving a Bullshit Mountain doesn't go to the Hufflepuffs who actually solve it.

What DOES happen is, it goes to the Gryffindors who rush in to slay the biggest Dragon that the shovelers uncover. Since the Dragon-slaying is the biggest salient change, all progress gets attributed to it, including the progress made by the shovelers clearing out Bullshit Mountain in the first place.

If you want to poach Hufflepuff virtue, the best way to do it is to be the kind of Gryffindor that knows how to get along with Hufflepuffs, and then slay all the dragons as they uncover them. You probably won't even be resented by them for it!

You'll still be a bit of a dick, though.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Debt is an Anti-investment · 2018-07-09T15:18:12.759Z · LW · GW
  1. What if you have lots of debt (>$50k us) and no investments or assets?

  2. Is attempting to pay off a debt still the same as a "risk free" investment if you've had the experience of attempting to pay off a debt, only to have the owed party accept your money and then not lower the debt? I.e., if you have a known and verifiable risk that handing the owed party money won't lower your debt (say, due to perfectly legal bureaucratic shenanigans), is that the same as a high-risk anti-debt?

  3. If you have no assets and no liquidity, are your debts even real?

Comment by ialdabaoth on Stories of Summer Solstice · 2018-07-08T19:37:55.878Z · LW · GW

Scalability depends on location, as well. And on having someone with the right spiritual/aesthetic sense to be able to independently generate the following intuitions, and other intuitions from the same place:

  • If you want to do Summer Solstice on the East coast, start at dawn rather than finishing at sunset.
  • If you're on neither coast, find the highest mountain you can, and figure out whether sunrise or sunset is correct based on which direction is more obviously liminal.
  • Know how to direct the flow of people at the correct moments, so that they can all wind up in the same space at the appropriate times while still being completely unrestrained during the rest of the day, and without anyone *realizing* that their flow is being directed.
  • Have the courage to not give in to people who want to "lower the bar" on activity / effort, because they cannot meaningfully participate in a high-effort activity. Try to accommodate those people if at all possible, but never at the cost of lowering the maximum effort that the highly energetic people are allowed to throw in.
Comment by ialdabaoth on The league of Rationalists · 2018-05-25T02:07:15.819Z · LW · GW

Yeah. Also, I've been actively kicked out of too many groups of close friends that I personally formed with my own agency and initiative.

"Once you're in, you're in for life" just doesn't work.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Noticing the Taste of Lotus · 2018-05-17T00:06:08.217Z · LW · GW

Sure. But in the meantime, realize that the fact that Val's comment was downvoted into the negatives is a signal about something, and it's about something you and Ben and Ollie and Kaj are doing.

And then decide whether you're okay with all the consequences of that.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Gears in understanding · 2018-05-17T00:03:49.223Z · LW · GW

Well, we do now.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Noticing the Taste of Lotus · 2018-05-16T23:06:38.310Z · LW · GW

I anticipate that your tech solution will also help Eliezer come back - my intuition says that this is part of what he feels aversion to wasting energy on.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Noticing the Taste of Lotus · 2018-05-16T19:45:15.802Z · LW · GW

We have limited cognition and limited emotional investment, much of which has already just been spent on creating what is hopefully a high-quality post. ONE person doing it through status-seeking creates like 10 copy-cats, of which eight probably ARE doing it genuinely.

But giving them all the benefit of the doubt lets the status-seeking saboteur hide among the rest, and separating them all out takes effort that wears down the author.

It's not sustainable.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Affordance Widths · 2018-05-16T01:39:10.923Z · LW · GW

Fictionalized examples, of course, give a convenient amount of wiggle room as to who's on which side of the example in the non-fictionalized real world.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Mental Illness Is Not Evidence Against Abuse Allegations · 2018-05-16T01:25:12.808Z · LW · GW

I disagree. How do we resolve who's right, within the current trust environment?

Comment by ialdabaoth on Mental Illness Is Not Evidence Against Abuse Allegations · 2018-05-16T01:20:37.362Z · LW · GW

It hilights problematic assumptions that lead to problematic voting patterns.

Aaaaand now we really ARE meta.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Mental Illness Is Not Evidence Against Abuse Allegations · 2018-05-16T00:14:48.031Z · LW · GW

Even though it had equally suspect connotation?

Comment by ialdabaoth on Mental Illness Is Not Evidence Against Abuse Allegations · 2018-05-15T22:57:51.266Z · LW · GW

1. It's not a change in topic. It's an explicit focus on the topic-in-question, and an attempt to explain - in a way that people's guts will *get* - WHY the current equilibrium is preferred to the one being proposed by the author.

2. At no point does it even connotationally say "yay abuse". It DOES connotationally call out humans-as-a-process for consistently performing actions that signal "yay abuse", however. Connotationally saying "yay abuse" would have been phrased very differently, and I think we all know that.

3. Controversiality has less to do with opt-in/opt-out, and more to do with... who we think the connotations are making look bad. I'd really like that to stop.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Henry Kissinger: AI Could Mean the End of Human History · 2018-05-15T22:38:44.209Z · LW · GW

I've been saying this for awhile, yeah.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Mental Illness Is Not Evidence Against Abuse Allegations · 2018-05-15T20:53:33.019Z · LW · GW

The promotion is already happening in revealed preference, to lethal consequence. I'm just keeping score.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Mental Illness Is Not Evidence Against Abuse Allegations · 2018-05-15T20:53:06.269Z · LW · GW

I don't see how we can fight entropic systems without understanding them.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Mental Illness Is Not Evidence Against Abuse Allegations · 2018-05-15T19:06:31.970Z · LW · GW

Just to clarify: am I being downvoted for being factually wrong, or for being uncomfortable?

Comment by ialdabaoth on Noticing the Taste of Lotus · 2018-05-15T18:04:44.854Z · LW · GW
I understand the impulse to go "really, you can't be serious", especially given the tendency of LWers to nitpick, but I think one should be cautious about invoking it as long as there are charitable alternative interpretations.

That's not sustainable. There really are a certain subset of articles that have been suffering 'death by papercuts'. Yes, they get upvotes; yes, they get good comments - but the entire tone of their debates has been pretty thoroughly shredded by whataboutisms.

That actually *needs* a strong pushback. It creates a kind of emotional fatigue on the authors that legitimately drags down the quality of future articles.

Comment by ialdabaoth on A Self-Respect Feedback Loop · 2018-05-15T18:01:00.027Z · LW · GW

A potentially useful background article:

Comment by ialdabaoth on Mental Illness Is Not Evidence Against Abuse Allegations · 2018-05-14T21:54:33.130Z · LW · GW

Likewise, just because an accusation of abuse is true, doesn't mean we will gain anything by believing it / defending it. Sometimes it's actually to our advantage to let someone be abused, if the abuser can more consistently reward us than the abused.

Comment by ialdabaoth on A Self-Respect Feedback Loop · 2018-05-14T21:50:48.608Z · LW · GW

I mean that when I try to present the idea that you should do this for everyone, I get a LOT of pushback. I put in "you shouldn't do this for everyone" specifically so people wouldn't think that anyone should do it for ME, and therefore fight me on the premise.

Comment by ialdabaoth on A Self-Respect Feedback Loop · 2018-05-13T23:07:34.331Z · LW · GW

Yeah, that's gonna be a hard sell.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Duncan Sabien: "In Defense of Punch Bug" · 2018-05-13T19:46:24.475Z · LW · GW

I'm curious why this is downvoted - if someone can legitimately dominate you, and you can't rally other resources to protect you from domination, how is learning to submit NOT the correct response?

Comment by ialdabaoth on A Self-Respect Feedback Loop · 2018-05-13T02:45:18.349Z · LW · GW

I'd agree with this. In which case, you calibrate against actual, real-world measurements of trust and value, and see if the heuristic outputs the same results as an uncached, laborous computation.

Comment by ialdabaoth on A Self-Respect Feedback Loop · 2018-05-12T19:25:34.572Z · LW · GW

In my experience, "people" are a force in aggregate, far more than individuals. So even if YOU, in particular, "haven't had time for social-web stuff to kick in", they're carrying with them all their aliefs and assumptions from other people, which you yourself pick up on and mirror because preselection is totally a thing.

Comment by ialdabaoth on A Self-Respect Feedback Loop · 2018-05-12T01:23:26.136Z · LW · GW

I think so, yeah.

Answer me this: in a rational, unbiased world, what is status *FOR*?

Comment by ialdabaoth on A Self-Respect Feedback Loop · 2018-05-12T00:56:53.465Z · LW · GW

Generally, by asking yourself how you'd feel if you heard about some generic third party that had accomplished something similar, and noticing the difference in valence. This can be a hard skill to cultivate; the urge to narrativize is strong.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Affordance Widths · 2018-05-11T23:32:25.690Z · LW · GW

I think that fidelity of control and double-binds are BOTH underlying gears of this model. At this stage I'm just trying to capture the phenomenon.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Affordance Widths · 2018-05-11T03:51:30.769Z · LW · GW

I'd really like to see that done with MULTIPLE men and women, and unprimed audiences. My intuition says that which PARTICULAR man and woman are used matters, a lot.

Comment by ialdabaoth on The Driver of Wealth Inequality · 2018-05-09T23:45:06.735Z · LW · GW

Who would benefit from addressing this divide, rather than accelerating it? What power do those people have, compared to the people who benefit from accelerating the divide?

Comment by ialdabaoth on Duncan Sabien: "In Defense of Punch Bug" · 2018-05-05T12:26:53.684Z · LW · GW

Unless they've already demonstrated a sufficient power differential that it's common knowledge that they get to do what they want and you can't object.

In which case, learn to submit.

Comment by ialdabaoth on [deleted post] 2018-05-05T12:24:36.898Z

More plausibly, any topic that talks about "getting girls" in a nerdy way painfully reminds guys that they don't know how to get girls, so they downvote you; OR awkwardly demonstrates that you are less attractive/cool/etc. than the reader, so they downvote you, OR provides the capacity for the reader to believe that you only see girls as a prize to be one, so they downvote you. There's really no winning this game.

Comment by ialdabaoth on The Sheepskin Effect · 2018-05-05T12:19:28.844Z · LW · GW

Shouldn't this:

A good friend of mine ran into this exact problem with the same requirement, couldn’t get the waiver, has no other remaining requirements, and will probably never graduate.

count as strong, direct counterevidence for this:

The final test is real, so if you built up real human capital, and learned how to learn things and remembered your lessons and persevere when the going gets tough, and all that, you win out. If you didn’t do that stuff, you fail at the end when you can’t hide it any longer. Or, for ability bias, only at the end do we learn who had the right stuff all along; same principle. If the final test is sufficiently ‘more real’ than the others, that bonus at the end makes perfect sense.

Unless you're suggesting that part of the ability being measured, is entangled with the ability to get a waiver?

Comment by ialdabaoth on You Are Being Underpaid · 2018-05-05T07:37:18.028Z · LW · GW

Something that always baffled me - all of this was regularly cited for why otherwise productive employees were fired. And everything was also done by unproductive employees, who never got caught for it.

I could never quite figure out the rules for who gets punished for slacking off vs. who gets rewarded for it.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Give praise · 2018-05-03T10:44:35.588Z · LW · GW

This thread was pulled from the frontpage, in part, because I took it non-meta. Let this be a lesson.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Brief comment on frontpage/personal distinction · 2018-05-03T10:31:33.807Z · LW · GW

Okay. In that case, whenever I notice ANY lapse in this rule's enforcement, I will let you know. If you're going to enforce this *at all*, you do not get even the chance of the appearance of partiality.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Give praise · 2018-05-03T10:19:45.282Z · LW · GW

Could you use some help, so you aren't so stretched thin?

Comment by ialdabaoth on Open Thread May 2018 · 2018-05-01T10:58:53.791Z · LW · GW

I think Berkeley can afford to have up to 3 Dunbar worth of Rationalists without spiraling out of control.

Ideally, there would be three separate social "domains" that people could compete within, with some crossover spaces to facilitate cross-pollination.

And right now we have that. If we actually directly split the community into X-Risk, EA, and Community / Self Improvement, I think most people wouldn't feel too much of a shakeup in their tribal configurations.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Thoughts on the REACH Patreon · 2018-05-01T08:02:13.321Z · LW · GW

And we're particularly vicious with each other about this. The hypothesis "Brent could have been a tribal leader" does not often feel endorsed by my community, when I actually try to be one.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Give praise · 2018-05-01T02:44:04.716Z · LW · GW

YES. This.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Give praise · 2018-05-01T01:11:30.496Z · LW · GW

I'm claiming 1) and 2) together, in point of fact. I've been claiming this for awhile.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Give praise · 2018-05-01T00:09:53.314Z · LW · GW

This isn't just about the site or the communities around it. This is about *how we orient towards accomplishment*. Please move the post back.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Give praise · 2018-04-30T16:19:22.428Z · LW · GW

It's mostly that, as I mentioned in my first response, what praises I get are empty. I can't broker them into job offers/recommendations, or unalloyed recommendations to potential investors or sponsors, or potential dating partners, or the like. Everyone seems to say "Brent is cool, but..." - and after awhile, I've developed enough mistrust and bitterness and neurosis that the 'but' would be justified, if not for other people with similar levels of bitterness or neurosis or what-have-you that seem to be able to broker their successes more... successfully.

I suppose my problem is that for me, praise is a predictor of resource-access, because I'm about *DOING* things - and then later, when I pull on those resources and they actually aren't available, that can be devastating. Imagine what would happen if 15 people tell me that I'm a trustworthy person to lead a crisis, and then someone shows up needing my help with a big crisis, and none of those 15 people show up to follow.

What happens is, I try to manage by myself and wind up exhausting and traumatizing myself, get it mostly done anyways, and then suffer the insult of people telling me how I could have done better because they're judging my results against people who actually had teams who would follow them. And then the "mediocre" success of my solo results is used to justify why the teams don't show up next time.

I've only managed to solve this when literal lives are on the line, or by pouring tens of thousands of my own dollars into other people just so they'd come along and follow me, or by pouring months into giving them literal transformative experiences. Otherwise I get a small amount of empty praise, but no buy-in.

And I'm not saying any of this to condemn ANYONE who hasn't given me the buy-in; I'm just documenting the problem as a step towards finding a solution. I try very hard to hold no real bitterness, here.

Comment by ialdabaoth on Give praise · 2018-04-30T15:50:05.742Z · LW · GW

Let me see if I can say things that I know I can back up, if I have to:

  • When a community member went crazy and ended up in jail, I was the first responder. I rallied and contacted other appropriate community members, gave them tasks (contact a lawyer, contact the family, contact the police, etc.), got the ball rolling, then organized the community to start a colloquium on managing mental health crises. My impression is that that colloquium has since stalled, and also that I was no longer welcome in it once "big name players" started to show interest in its proceedings.
  • When a community member was suicidal, I sat them down and processed them through the trauma they had experienced, and recontextualized it so that they could start healing, while everyone else performed the pallative and crisis care.
  • Same, with a different suicidal community member.
  • I was the person responsible for Val's Kenshou experience.
  • I revitalized Quixey's development pipeline, dropping the entire debugging cycle from 6 hours per bug to approximately 10 minutes per bug, while also installing the tracking systems to PROVE that it was at 6 hours per bug and then dropped to 10 minutes.
  • I created a rationalist Burning Man camp from scratch, and taught two dozen people to forge metal, erect structures, wire electronics, install solar panel systems, and survive for two weeks in the desert.
  • I have run the operations for two and a half-ish community workshops, although my involvement and usefulness is likely to be debated by others (I believe for status reasons).
  • I wrote significant portions of code for the commercial game 'Kerbal Space Program' - primarily the reentry physics, and the mod cfg parser.
Comment by ialdabaoth on [deleted post] 2018-04-30T15:33:16.531Z

It's worth noting that in other cultures, tact explicitly signals a difference in status. It seems obvious from how nerds are treated in school, that this is true in American English as well, but is implicit rather than explicit.

Most people, even (especially?) people who grow up in "normal" culture, know that you apply less tact in a conversation when you want third-party listeners to know that you're above the person you're talking to. Nerds never enter the reward-feedback mechanism that trains this; they're at the very bottom so they never get the differential feedback that would cause them to notice that there's an 'upslope' and 'downslope', so they never actually learn to decline. (Declenate? I'm not sure what the correct word is here. But it's the thing that in German differentiates between 'Sie haben' and 'Du hast'.)

Comment by ialdabaoth on Give praise · 2018-04-30T15:20:59.909Z · LW · GW

I'm shaking as I try to figure out how to describe what I've done that's praiseworthy. Every thing I can think of, I am afraid of someone coming in and telling a story about how it actually was someone else who did the work, or how it had a downside or an externality that was actually worse than the value and I should be ashamed of having done it, or that it wasn't that impressive and I should be ashamed of thinking that it was praiseworthy.

I recognize that this is all psychological, but it currently seems insurmountable.

I'm sorry. I thought I could just make the base suggestion, that we couple praise to actual social capital, and have that be that. I didn't intend to take it in a personal direction. I realize this is all probably awkward.