1987 Sci-Fi Authors Timecapsule Predictions For 2012 2018-12-28T06:50:28.202Z · score: 21 (6 votes)
Trivial Inconvenience Day (December 9th at 12 Noon PST) 2018-12-07T01:26:22.870Z · score: 34 (12 votes)
The Semantic Man 2018-11-22T08:38:21.220Z · score: 20 (8 votes)
Rationality Is Not Systematized Winning 2018-11-11T22:05:19.153Z · score: 39 (16 votes)
Debate Rules In Benjamin Franklin's Junto 2018-10-30T23:42:21.840Z · score: 83 (29 votes)
Survey: Help Us Research Coordination Problems In The Rationalist/EA Community 2018-04-06T23:29:01.306Z · score: 54 (17 votes)
'Trivial Inconvenience Day' Retrospective 2018-03-28T05:14:51.524Z · score: 85 (23 votes)
LessWrong Diaspora Jargon Survey 2018-03-22T03:18:10.298Z · score: 66 (22 votes)
Book Review: The Secrets of Alchemy 2018-01-21T19:01:16.223Z · score: 48 (14 votes)
The First Fundamental 2018-01-17T01:31:06.776Z · score: 12 (14 votes)
Show LW: Diaspora Project Map and Preregistration Database 2017-12-05T06:02:51.822Z · score: 51 (18 votes)
Guided Mental Change Requires High Trust 2017-10-27T19:15:10.530Z · score: 45 (15 votes)
Four Scopes Of Advice 2017-10-23T09:01:25.063Z · score: 47 (20 votes)
Alan Kay - Programming and Scaling 2017-10-12T14:46:19.979Z · score: 16 (7 votes)
HOWTO: Screw Up The LessWrong Survey and Bring Great Shame To Your Family 2017-10-08T03:53:15.749Z · score: 31 (9 votes)
HOWTO: Screw Up The LessWrong Survey and Bring Great Shame To Your Family 2017-10-08T03:43:40.713Z · score: 26 (26 votes)
2017 LessWrong Survey 2017-09-13T06:26:42.893Z · score: 21 (21 votes)
2017 LessWrong Survey 2017-09-13T06:18:33.074Z · score: 4 (4 votes)
[Classifieds] What are you doing to make the world a better place and how can we help? 2017-06-22T00:44:42.030Z · score: 5 (6 votes)
Requesting Questions For A 2017 LessWrong Survey 2017-04-09T00:48:19.069Z · score: 6 (7 votes)
2016 LessWrong Diaspora Survey Analysis: Part Four (Politics, Calibration & Probability, Futurology, Charity & Effective Altruism) 2016-09-10T03:51:44.051Z · score: 14 (14 votes)
2016 LessWrong Diaspora Survey Analysis: Part Three (Mental Health, Basilisk, Blogs and Media) 2016-06-25T03:40:40.627Z · score: 18 (17 votes)
2016 LessWrong Diaspora Survey Analysis: Part Two (LessWrong Use, Successorship, Diaspora) 2016-06-10T19:40:55.012Z · score: 30 (30 votes)
2016 LessWrong Diaspora Survey Results 2016-05-14T17:38:39.338Z · score: 34 (34 votes)
2016 LessWrong Diaspora Survey Analysis: Part One (Meta and Demographics) 2016-05-14T06:09:15.175Z · score: 21 (21 votes)


Comment by ingres on Causal Reality vs Social Reality · 2019-07-02T09:54:35.276Z · score: 3 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I just don't comment in these sorts of threads because I figure the site is a lost cause and the mods will ban all the interesting people regardless of what words I type into the box.

Comment by ingres on Comment section from 05/19/2019 · 2019-05-23T21:22:12.391Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thirding this.

Comment by ingres on Comment section from 05/19/2019 · 2019-05-20T02:13:54.761Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'd have to read the LW 2 source to confirm, but from my experience with the API and relevant data models I'd imagine it's just a matter of changing the "post" field on a comment and all its children. Then making that a button which lets you write a new post and append the comment tree to it.

So it's a useful feature, but probably not a particularly difficult one.

Comment by ingres on The Relationship Between the Village and the Mission · 2019-05-17T01:03:11.920Z · score: 21 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Yet, somehow, it is you saying that there were people who left the rationality movement because of the Solstice ritual, which is the kind of hysterical reaction I tried to point at. (I can’t imagine myself leaving a movement just because a few of its members decided to meet and sing a song together.)

I don't think it's really "a few people singing songs together". It's more overall shift in demographics, tone, and norms. If I had to put it succinctly, the old school LessWrong was for serious STEM nerds and hard science fiction dorks. It was super super deep into the whole Shock Level memeplex thing. Over time it's become a much softer sort of fandom geek thing. Rationalist Tumblr and SlateStarCodex aren't marginal colonies, they're the center driving force behind what's left of the original 'LessWrong rationality movement'. Naturally, a lot of those old guard members find this abhorrent and have no plans to ever participate in it.

I don't blame them.

Comment by ingres on Should Effective Altruism be at war with North Korea? · 2019-05-09T00:43:33.677Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, also see my 2017 post Guided Mental Change Requires High Trust.

Comment by ingres on Slack Club · 2019-04-17T02:54:29.299Z · score: 22 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's a sort of Double Entendre? It's also possible the author didn't actually read Zvi's post in the first place. This is implied by the following:

Slack is a nerd culture concept for people who subscribe to a particular attitude about things; it prioritizes clever laziness over straightforward exertion and optionality over firm commitment.

In the broader nerd culture, slack is a thing from the Church of the Subgenius, where it means something more like a kind of adversarial zero sum fight over who has to do all the work. In that context, the post title makes total sense.

For an example of this, see:

Comment by ingres on How do people become ambitious? · 2019-04-04T19:49:48.767Z · score: 13 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I was about to write up some insight porn about it, and then was like “you know, Raemon, you should probably actually think about about this for real, since it seems like Pet Psychology Theories are one of the easier ways to get stuck in dumb cognitive traps.”

Thank you. I'm really really sick of seeing this kind of content on LW, and this moment of self reflection on your part is admirable. Have a strong upvote.

Comment by ingres on User GPT2 is Banned · 2019-04-02T06:10:52.622Z · score: 20 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for inspiring GreaterWrong's new ignore feature.

Comment by ingres on Avoiding Jargon Confusion · 2019-02-23T22:05:18.545Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

For what it's worth, I don't feel like 'escalation spiral' is particularly optimal. The concept you're going for is hard to compress into a few words because there are so many similar things. It was just the best I could come up with without spending a few hours thinking about it.

Comment by ingres on Avoiding Jargon Confusion · 2019-02-18T21:24:59.225Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"Uphill battle" is a standard English idiom, such idioms are often fairly nonsensical if you think about them hard enough (e.g, "have your cake and eat it too"), but they get a free pass because everyone knows what they mean.

and one feature of the demon thread is ‘everyone is being subtly warped into more aggressive, hostile versions of themselves’

See that's obvious in your mind, but I don't think it's obvious to others from the phrase 'demon thread'. In fact, hearing it put like that the name suddenly makes much more sense! However, it would never be apparent to me from hearing the phrase. I would go for something like "Escalation Spiral" or "Reciprocal Misperception" or perhaps "Retaliation Bias".

One thing I like to do before I pick a phrase in this vein, is take the most likely candidates and do a survey with people I know where I ask them, before they know anything else, what they think when they hear the phrase. That's often steered me away from things I thought conveyed the concept well but actually didn't.

Comment by ingres on Avoiding Jargon Confusion · 2019-02-18T17:36:40.804Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That post is a fairly interesting counterargument, thanks for linking it. This passage would be fun to try out:

This prompted me to think that it might be valuable to buy a bunch of toys from a thrift store, and to keep them at hand when hanging out with a particular person or small group. When you have a concept to explore, you’d grab an unused toy that seemed to suit it decently well, and then you’d gesture with it while explaining the concept. Then later you could refer to “the sparkly pink ball thing” or simply “this thing” while gesturing at the ball. Possibly, the other person wouldn’t remember, or not immediately. But if they did, you could be much more confident that you were on the same page. It’s a kind of shared mnemonic handle.

My problem with s1 and s2 is that it's very difficult to remember which is which unless you've had it reinforced a bunch of times to remember. I tend to prefer good descriptive names to nondescript ones, but certainly nondescriptive names are better than bad names which cause people to infer meaning that isn't there.

Comment by ingres on Avoiding Jargon Confusion · 2019-02-18T06:09:00.299Z · score: 23 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Most people don't learn jargon by reading the original source for a term or phrase, they learn it from other people. Therefore one of the best ways to stop your jargon from being misused is to coin it in such a way that the jargon is a compressed representation of the concept it refers to. Authors in this milieu tend to be really bad at this. You yourself wrote about the concept of a 'demon thread', which I would like to (playfully) nominate for worst jargon ever coined on LessWrong. Its communicated meaning without the original thread boils down to 'bad thread' or 'unholy thread', which means that preserving the meaning you wanted it to have is a multi-front uphill battle in snow.

Another awful example from the CFAR handbook is the concept of 'turbocharging', which is a very specific thing but the concept handle just means 'fast electricity' or 'speedy movement'. Were it not for the context, I wouldn't know it was about learning at all. Even when I do have that context, it isn't clear what makes it 'turbo'. If it were more commonly used it would be almost instantly diluted without constant reference back to the original source.

For a non-LessWrong example, consider the academic social justice concept of 'privilege', which has (or had) a particular meaning that was useful to have a word for. However mainstream political commentary has diluted this phrase almost to the point of uselessness, making it a synonym for 'inequality'.

It'd be interesting to do a study of say, 20-50 jargon terms and see how much level of dilution corresponds to degree-of-self-containment. In any case I suspect that trying to make jargon more self contained in its meaning would reduce misuse. "Costly Signaling" is harder to misinterpret than "Signaling", for example.

Comment by ingres on Too Smart for My Own Good · 2019-01-23T07:49:17.663Z · score: 28 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I like the spirit of this post, but think I object to considering this 'too smart for your own good'. That framing feels more like an identity-protecting maneuver than trying to get at reality. The reality is that you think you're smarter than you are, and it causes you to trip over your untied shoelaces. You acknowledge this of course, but describing it accurately seems beyond your comfort zone. The closest you get is when you put 'smart' in scare quotes near the end of the essay.

Just be honest with yourself, it hurts at first but the improvement in perspective is massive.

Comment by ingres on LW Update 2019-1-09 – Question Updates, UserProfile Sorting · 2019-01-21T02:00:26.221Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You have the year wrong in the title.

Comment by ingres on Clothing For Men · 2019-01-17T03:58:00.047Z · score: 6 (7 votes) · LW · GW

It's been a classic guideline of the site for a long time, that you should avoid the word 'rational' or 'rationalist' in titles as an adjective to describe stuff. In the interest of avoiding a repeat of the LW 1 apocalypse, I (and probably others) would really appreciate if you changed it.

Comment by ingres on Thoughts on Q&A so far? · 2019-01-04T19:18:24.724Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Suggested feature: adding a “link option” to answers. I’m not sure what this is actually called, but it’s a feature that comments have. For example, here is a link to this comment.

This is generally called a permalink.

Comment by ingres on Thoughts on Q&A so far? · 2018-12-31T21:22:49.168Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think my broader response to that is "Well, if I could change one thing about LW 2 it would be the moderation policy."

That seems strictly off topic though, so I'll let it be what it is.

Comment by ingres on Thoughts on Q&A so far? · 2018-12-31T05:24:09.457Z · score: 28 (14 votes) · LW · GW

My Complaint: High Variance

Well, to put it delicately the questions have seemed high variance when it comes to quality.

That is the questions posed have been either quite good or stunningly mediocre with little in between.

3 examples of good questions

3 examples of not as good questions

I'd prefer to be gentle when listing examples of not-so-good questions, but a few I think are unambiguously in this category are:

(No clarification given in post, whole premise is kind of odd)

(Bizarre, alien perspective. If I were a visitor and I saw this post I would assume the forum is an offshoot of Wrong Planet )

(I don't quite understand what the warrant is for discussing this on LW. Yes it's a decision, which involves risk, but lots of things in our lives are decisions involving risk. If those are the only criteria for discussion I don't really see any reason why we should be discussing rationality-per-se as opposed to the thousands of little things like this we face throughout our life.)

What I Would Like To See

Personally I think that it would help if you clarified the purpose and scope of the questions feature. What sort of questions should people be asking, what features make a good question, some examples of well posed questions, etc. Don't skimp on this or chicken out. Good principles should exclude things, they should even exclude some things which would be net positive value to discuss! This is in the interest of keeping net negative gray areas from dominating to preserve positive edge cases.

That is to say, I want some concrete guidelines I can point to and say "Sorry but this question doesn't seem appropriate for the site." or "Right now this question isn't the best it could be, some ways you could improve it to be more in line with our community policy is..."

Comment by ingres on GraphQL tutorial for LessWrong and Effective Altruism Forum · 2018-12-09T06:34:05.702Z · score: 13 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The official LessWrong 2 server is pretty heavy, so running it locally might be a problem for some people.

Whistling Lobsters 2.0 uses a clone of the LW 2 API called Accordius as its backend. Accordius is, with some minor differences, nearly an exact copy of the pre-October LW 2 API. It was developed with the goal that you could put the GreaterWrong software in front of it and it would function without changes. Unfortunately due to some implementation disagreements between Graphene and the reference GraphQL library in JavaScript, it's only about 95% compatible at the time of cloning.

Still, this thing will run on a potato (or more specifically, my years-old Intel atom based netbook) with GreaterWrong running on the same box as the front end. That makes it a pretty good option for anyone who's looking to understand GraphQL and the LW 2 API. This implementation does not take into account the changes made in the big API update in October. As a consequence, it may be more useful at this point for learning GraphQL than the LW 2 API specifically.

(Note to future readers: The GraphQL API is considered legacy for Accordius in the long term, so if you're reading this many months or even years from now, you may have to go back to the first alpha releases to get the functionality described here. Pre 1.0 perhaps.)

Comment by ingres on What is "Social Reality?" · 2018-12-08T19:53:11.081Z · score: 29 (10 votes) · LW · GW
A great deal of my affection for hackers comes from the unique way they bridge the world of seeking secrets about people and secrets about the natural world. This might seem strange, since the stereotype is that hackers are lonely people that are alienated from others, but this is only half truth. In both the open source MIT tradition and the computer intrusion phone phreaking tradition, the search for secrets and excellence are paramount but fellow travelers are absolutely welcome on the journey. Further, much of even the ‘benign’ hacking tradition relies on the manipulation of social reality, the invisible relationships between people and symbols and things that are obvious to us but might confuse a visitor from Mars. For example, this story from the Jargon File about sneaking a computer into a hospital exemplifies the nature of social reality well. In Sister Y’s essay she hypothesizes that nerds are people who have a natural ability to see the underlying mechanisms of social reality in a way that is invisible to most people. Mostly through their natural inability to understand it in one way or another. Things that normal people take for granted confuse nerds, which provides the impetus for making discoveries about social reality itself.

A dictionary definition might be something like:

The map of the world which is drawn by our social-cultural universe, and its relationship to the standard protocols of societal interaction & cooperation. Implicit beliefs found in our norms & behavior toward others, as expressed through: coercive norms, rituals, rank, class, social status, authority, law, and other human coordination constructs.

One aspect of social reality is the offsets between our shared map and the territory. In many old African regional faiths, it was thought to be necessary for commoners to be kept away from upper class shamans and wizards. Otherwise their influence might damage their powers, or cause them to lose emotional control and damage the community. The idea that these people have magic powers and must be protected, along with the social norms and practices that arise from that is an example of social reality. It has very little to do with any real magic powers, but clearly there was some in-territory sequence of events that got everyone to decide to interpret the world this way.

This foreign, ancient example is useful because you have no emotional attachment to it, so you're in a position to evaluate it objectively. Ask yourself how people might react to a lower class person that insisted on touching the magic king. What about someone who refused to recant their belief that the magic king had no influence on the weather? As you imagine the reactions, consider what things in your own social sphere or society would be met with similar feelings from others. Then ask yourself if they're a human universal, or something that could theoretically be different if people felt differently. Once you've identified a handful of these you're on your way to examining social reality as a phenomena. I suggest you keep most of these thoughts to yourself, for your own protection.

Another aspect is the invisible models and expectations of others. In the Jargon File example above, the guard has been told that his role is to prevent unauthorized items from entering the building. This role is very much real, and its "procedures" are as rote and trickable as any computer program. As Morpheus tells us:

This is a sparring program, similar to the programmed reality of The Matrix. It has the same basic rules, rules like gravity. What you must learn is that these rules are no different than the rules of a computer system. Some of them can be bent. Others, can be broken.

A great deal of the phone phreaking tradition is about running a wedge into the places where social reality and the territory don't meet, and performing wild stunts based on them. For example, did you know that one of the most common attacks against locks is to just order a second lock because they're keyed-alike?

The big difference of course is that when you trick a computer program, it doesn't notice. Humans are very likely to notice you tricking them if you violate their expectations. So the art of social engineering is a very different realm in that respect, the technical complexity is lower but the solution space is narrowed by what people won't perceive as too strange. It engages your EQ, at least as much as it engages your IQ.


Some book recommendations for a better sense:

Ghost In The Wires by Kevin Mitnick

The Challenger Launch Decision by Diane Vaughan

The Righteous Mind by Jonathon Haidt

Comment by ingres on LW Update 2018-12-06 – Table of Contents and Q&A · 2018-12-08T10:06:29.301Z · score: 3 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think users that are used to Markdown will often use single bold words as heading, and I feel hesitant to deviate too much from the standard Markdown conventions of how you should parse Markdown into HTML.

Don't know where you got this notion from, but absolutely not. Markdown has syntax that's used for headings, and I've never used bolded text as a replacement for a proper heading.

(As a wider point, Said Achmiz is as usual correct in his approach and it would be much appreciated if you didn't inflict any more appalling HTML practices on API consumers)

Comment by ingres on Anyone use the "read time" on Post Items? · 2018-12-02T00:39:47.827Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't use them.

Comment by ingres on Upcoming: Open Questions · 2018-11-24T06:28:54.769Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

(My guess is you wanted to write “Can’t I post any Open Questions I have right now...“, so I will respond to that, but let me know in case I misunderstood)

Nope. My question was literally just whether I can post some open questions I have right now to LessWrong, this sounds like an excellent direction for the website to take.

Comment by ingres on Upcoming: Open Questions · 2018-11-24T04:54:17.174Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

We’re interested in people’s thoughts on the idea so far. Any questions about Open Questions?

Can I post any Open Questions I have right now with a title like:

"[Open Question] Bla bla bla bla?"

Comment by ingres on Is Clickbait Destroying Our General Intelligence? · 2018-11-17T21:19:25.589Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Will second not enjoying Neuromancer very much.

Comment by ingres on Fat People Are Heroes · 2018-11-14T01:07:21.664Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I missed that line and I apologize. A strong upvote for your troubles.

Comment by ingres on Open Thread November 2018 · 2018-11-14T00:27:35.433Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I have not invented a "new style," composite, modified or otherwise that is set within distinct form as apart from "this" method or "that" method. On the contrary, I hope to free my followers from clinging to styles, patterns, or molds. Remember that Jeet Kune Do is merely a name used, a mirror in which to see "ourselves". . . Jeet Kune Do is not an organized institution that one can be a member of. Either you understand or you don't, and that is that. There is no mystery about my style. My movements are simple, direct and non-classical. The extraordinary part of it lies in its simplicity. Every movement in Jeet Kune Do is being so of itself. There is nothing artificial about it. I always believe that the easy way is the right way. Jeet Kune Do is simply the direct expression of one's feelings with the minimum of movements and energy. The closer to the true way of Kung Fu, the less wastage of expression there is. Finally, a Jeet Kune Do man who says Jeet Kune Do is exclusively Jeet Kune Do is simply not with it. He is still hung up on his self-closing resistance, in this case anchored down to reactionary pattern, and naturally is still bound by another modified pattern and can move within its limits. He has not digested the simple fact that truth exists outside all molds; pattern and awareness is never exclusive. Again let me remind you Jeet Kune Do is just a name used, a boat to get one across, and once across it is to be discarded and not to be carried on one's back.

- Bruce Lee

Comment by ingres on Rationality Is Not Systematized Winning · 2018-11-14T00:23:58.355Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

While writing the about page for the upcoming Whistling Lobsters 2.0 forum, I took a shot at giving a brief history of and definition of rationality. The following is the section providing a definition. I think I did an okay job:

The Rationalist Perspective

Rationality is related to but distinct from economics. While they share many ideas and goals, rationality is its own discipline with a different emphasis. It has two major components, instrumental and epistemic rationality. Instrumental means "in the service of", it's about greater insight in the service of other goals. Epistemic means "related to knowledge", and focuses on knowing the truth for its own sake. Instrumental rationality might be best described as "regret minimization". Certainly this phrase captures the key points of the rationalist perspective:

  • Rationality cares about opportunity cost, which is the biggest shared trait with economics. Rationality is not skepticism, skeptics only care about not-losing. Rationalists care about winning, which means that the failure to realize full benefits is incorporated into the profit/loss evaluation.

  • A rationalist should never envy someone else just for their choices. Consider Spock, the 'rational' first officer of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek. Often Spock will insist against helpful action because it would "be illogical". The natural question is "Illogical to whom?". No points are awarded for fetishism. If there are real outcomes to consider, perhaps you hold yourself back for some social benefit, that is all well and good. But there is nothing noble in doing things that make you or the world worse off because you've internalized fake rules.

  • Long term thinking. Regret is generally something you start doing after you've had a bit of experience, it's something you need to think about early to avoid. You don't regret wasting your 20's until you're in your 30's. Regret is about your life path, which is utility vs. time. Most economics focuses on one shot utility maximization scenarios, or iterated games. But the real world has every kind of game imaginable just about, and your 'score' is how you perform on all of them.

Comment by ingres on Fat People Are Heroes · 2018-11-13T22:51:53.736Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Yup. Empirically, people who lose lots of weight and keep it off have a CONSTANT VIGILANCE mindset going.

This isn't to say that OP's post is untrue, but rather they're underestimating just how badly the odds are stacked against those who are obese.

HBO's The Weight Of The Nation documentary goes into the Weight Control Registry study on long term weight loss, and the common factors between people who manage to keep it off:

Comment by ingres on Debate Rules In Benjamin Franklin's Junto · 2018-10-31T02:11:04.418Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Even if we take that interpretation, I think 3 and 4 are useful operational expansions of 1 and 2. They're concrete things you can do to implement them.

Comment by ingres on On Doing the Improbable · 2018-10-29T14:52:33.941Z · score: 22 (7 votes) · LW · GW

"How hard it is to obtain the truth is a key factor to consider when thinking about secrets. Easy truths are simply accepted conventions. Pretty much everybody knows them. On the other side of the spectrum are things that are impossible to figure out. These are mysteries, not secrets. Take superstring theory in physics, for instance. You can’t really design experiments to test it. The big criticism is that no one could ever actually figure it out. But is it just really hard? Or is it a fool’s errand? This distinction is important. Intermediate, difficult things are at least possible. Impossible things are not. Knowing the difference is the difference between pursuing lucrative ventures and guaranteed failure."

- Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup - Class 11 Notes Essay - Secrets

Comment by ingres on Schools Proliferating Without Practicioners · 2018-10-26T21:15:01.203Z · score: 12 (4 votes) · LW · GW

One of the reasons why academia has all those strict norms around plagiarism and citing sources is that it makes the "conceptual family tree" legible. Otherwise it just kind of becomes soupy and difficult to discern.

Comment by ingres on Schools Proliferating Without Practicioners · 2018-10-26T21:07:51.386Z · score: 10 (4 votes) · LW · GW

So how many "confirmed kills" of ideas found in the sequences actually are there? I know the priming studies got eviscerated, but the last time I looked into this I couldn't exactly find an easy list of "famous psychology studies that didn't replicate" to compare against.

Comment by ingres on How to use a microphone r̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ during public speaking · 2018-09-14T18:43:52.994Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

To be really frank, and really succinct:

Abuse of the word 'rational' was one of the original social stressors that killed LessWrong.

It is not more fitting, and you should actually go back and edit your post to change it.

Comment by ingres on Duncan Sabien on Moderating LessWrong · 2018-05-26T09:14:08.249Z · score: 39 (8 votes) · LW · GW

The most common pattern I run into, where I’m not sure what to do, is patterns of comments from a given user that are either just barely over the line, or where each given comment is under the line, but so close to a line that repetition of it adds up to serious damage – making LW either not fun, or not safe feeling.

What I used to do on the #lesswrong IRC was put every time I see someone make a comment like this into a journal, and then once I find myself really annoyed with them I open the journal to help establish the pattern. I'd also look at peoples individual chat history to see if there's a consistent pattern of them doing the thing routinely, or if it's a thing they just sometimes happen to do.

I definitely agree this is one of the hardest challenges of moderation, and I pretty much always see folks fail it. IMO, it's actually more important than dealing with the egregious violations, since those are usually fairly legible and just require having a spine.

My most important advice would be don't ignore it. Do not just shrug it off and say "well nothing I can do, it's not like I can tell someone off for being annoying". You most certainly can and should for many kinds of 'annoying'. The alternative is that the vigor of a space slowly gets sucked out by not-quite-bad-actors.

Comment by ingres on There is a war. · 2018-05-25T17:59:50.253Z · score: 32 (10 votes) · LW · GW

On the one hand, I too resent that LW is basically an insight porn factory near completely devoid of scholarship.

On the other hand, this is not a useful comment. I can think of at least two things you could have done to make this a useful comment:

  1. Specified even a general direction of where you feel the body of economic literature could have been engaged. I know you might resent doing someone elses research for them if you're not already familiar with said body, but frankly the norm right now is to post webs spun from the fibrous extrusions of peoples musing thoughts. The system equilibrium isn't going to change unless some effort is invested into moving it. Notice you could write your comment on most posts while only changing a few words.

  2. Provide advice on how one might go about engaging with 'the body of economic literature'. Many people are intelligent and reasonably well informed, but not academics. Taking this as an excuse to mark them swamp creatures beyond assistance is both lazy and makes the world worse. You could even link to reasonably well written guides from someone else if you don't want to invest the effort (entirely understandable).

For anyone else reading, Harvard has a nice page up on how to do a strong literature review:

Comment by ingres on Survey: Help Us Research Coordination Problems In The Rationalist/EA Community · 2018-05-06T19:26:36.425Z · score: 12 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Excellent question. The short answer is when I'm not swamped and running on razor-thin margins of slack, hopefully soon.

Comment by ingres on Thoughts on the REACH Patreon · 2018-05-01T14:59:56.253Z · score: 16 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This is actually a fairly powerful intuition that I hadn't considered before. In case it might help others:

Keep in mind that a Dunbar-sized tribe of 300 people or so is going to have more than 1 'leader' (and 300 is the upper limit on tribe size). Generally you're looking at a small suite of leaders. Lets say there are a dozen of them. In that case we should naively expect the level of personal fitness required to 'lead a tribe' to be somewhere in the 1-in-30 range, you meet people that would have been leaders in the ancestral environment quite literally every day, multiple times a day even.

Reconcile this with what you actually observe in your life.

Comment by ingres on Thoughts on the REACH Patreon · 2018-05-01T14:51:01.173Z · score: 26 (7 votes) · LW · GW

As a note, when you make a discussion in the abstract about yourself that exposes your identity to more of the fallout from it. It also forces other people to consider you personally in their response, which also sets you up as being a proxy target for the idea itself. Unless you're a particularly charismatic, high-status person this ends up mostly just being a way to consistently clobber yourself from a strategy perspective.

Comment by ingres on Give praise · 2018-04-30T04:41:15.820Z · score: 10 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I notice this is a fairly consistent problem with the ratsphere in general. The problems which are most important to discuss, are those which touch on socially controversial issues that are difficult to prove a position on. They end up dominated by discussions of one persons experience against someone else's, which ends up translating into one identity versus another, which ends up translating into "highest status individual or most popular position wins". As a consequence I had probably the same sequence of thoughts you did on how to prove the point, and then just gave up.

As a side note however: You observe people respond to you calling their bluff by handing out less praise rather than giving out more social capital. Notice that words are cheap and genuine social capital is expensive. A general drought of social capital implies a low trust or low resource environment, perhaps one where only the opinion of the most well respected members is taken seriously. If people are stingy with their respect that's going to create interesting downstream effects which may or may not look like what you actually observe with the community.

Comment by ingres on Give praise · 2018-04-30T04:11:04.265Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

We need to get more skilled at our rationality first.

The fact that I'm not entirely sure what you mean when you say this is quite damning. What would it even mean for people to become 'more skilled at rationality'? Like, concretely. How would you measure it?

Comment by ingres on Does Thinking Hard Hurt Your Brain? · 2018-04-29T20:18:35.603Z · score: 16 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I specifically experience this when doing conscious, deliberate thought. In particular if it strains the bounds of my current skills, or my working memory. This most often involves thinking strategically in a careful way (i.e. I get this when playing Chess).


When I’m writing characters or imagining talking to people I know (i.e. simulating another person in my head, or pretending to be another person) I also get a headache if I keep it up for over an hour.

Not sure, but suspect no.

For me this is actually something that cuts me twice. Because it's a signal that I'm hitting the limits of my ability, I then get anxiety on top of the cognitive strain ("what if I'm not good enough to do this?"). This of course both adds to the cognitive strain and causes aversive negative feelings to be associated with the experience.

As an example, I just got done with a Go game where I spent quite a bit of time thinking worried about my performance in an 'even' game, only to realize at the end that I'd gotten beaten embarrassingly badly. This caused a burst of anxiety which forced me to take a break. (Nevertheless I plan to go back and analyze what I did wrong.)

Comment by ingres on I'm going to help you quit Facebook with some science · 2018-04-13T02:52:58.666Z · score: 11 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I actually organize my RSS feed by signal:noise ratio. So I do basically this process with each feed, or perhaps just rough-estimate it from the first 10 items or so. Once I have the rough signal:noise I put it in the appropriate folder. I found that this pretty much corrected the "giant wall of crap" problem immediately, so that it was easy to find the things which were important and leave the high volume slim pickings feeds for last. (Or better yet, in many cases not at all.)

Comment by ingres on Local Validity as a Key to Sanity and Civilization · 2018-04-08T03:36:16.205Z · score: 35 (11 votes) · LW · GW

EY read more than 'a couple of fictional stories'. But I think his pointing toward the general degradation of discourse on the Internet is reasonable. Certainly some segments of Tumblr would seem to be a new low acting as a harbinger of the end times. :P

The problem with this sort of hypothesis, is that it's very hard to prove rigorously. And the reason that's a problem is sometimes hypothesis that are hard to prove rigorously happen to be true anyway. The territory does not relent for a bit because you haven't figured out how to prove your point. People still get lead poisoning even if the levers of authority insist your argument for toxicity is groundless. That's a large part of why I think of measurement as the queen of science. If you can observe things but aren't entirely sure what to make of the observations, that makes it hard to really do rigorous science with them.

Comment by ingres on Survey: Help Us Research Coordination Problems In The Rationalist/EA Community · 2018-04-08T03:24:30.223Z · score: 10 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Oh weird, Google Forms clearly glitched on me. I fixed both the Cato Institute and PETA issues on earlier versions of the survey. I will go through and fix them again, thanks for pointing them out.

EDIT: I think I see what happened, I fixed it on one part of the survey but not the other. Thanks again for the bug report.

As for your last point, that's entirely fair and I'll have to think of a way to handle it.

Comment by ingres on Survey: Help Us Research Coordination Problems In The Rationalist/EA Community · 2018-04-08T03:23:18.925Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · LW · GW

CFAR changed its mission to AI risk in the last handful of years. Their original mission was raising the sanity waterline, hence why that line comes with a date marker.

Comment by ingres on Is Rhetoric Worth Learning? · 2018-04-07T18:28:03.003Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't really have a point beyond "this is a piece of evidence, I'm not entirely sure how to evaluate it because it's such a distorted fragment of the past recorded in a very particular context". This post was after all a request for evidence, so I don't mind providing something interesting without having my own spin to put on it.

Comment by ingres on Is Rhetoric Worth Learning? · 2018-04-07T18:26:49.468Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This would be my counterargument to Said Achmiz's comment if I were inclined to make one.

Comment by ingres on Is Rhetoric Worth Learning? · 2018-04-07T08:29:17.641Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Indeed, it's enough to make you wish for a feature to disable identities/voting in the comments for certain posts.

Comment by ingres on Is Rhetoric Worth Learning? · 2018-04-07T08:15:04.750Z · score: 10 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Elocution is something of a lost art. My first encounter with it as a concept was reading about the life of Alexander Graham Bell. While Bell is today remembered for the telephone, he was also an elocution instructor that took a keen interest in both the human voice and teaching the deaf to speak like someone who can hear. He could deliver a speech from a phonetic representation in such a way that it was persuasive to foreign speakers, without understanding the language he was using. This interest in the human voice is part of what eventually led him to create the telephone. Naturally then, we should expect Bell's voice to represent a strong example of what the art of elocution can do for you. As fortune would have it, we do in fact have a recording of Bell's voice to examine:

It's distorted, but the inflection, tone, and general cadence can be made out. I'll allow listeners to judge its qualities for themselves.