Posts

How should I back up and redo, in a publicly-edited article? 2020-07-28T19:07:13.046Z · score: 8 (2 votes)
[not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods 2020-07-22T02:46:27.490Z · score: 38 (11 votes)
What should be the topic of my LW mini-talk this Sunday (July 18th)? 2020-07-16T16:32:54.241Z · score: 10 (3 votes)
(answered: yes) Has anyone written up a consideration of Downs's "Paradox of Voting" from the perspective of MIRI-ish decision theories (UDT, FDT, or even just EDT)? 2020-07-06T18:26:01.933Z · score: 10 (5 votes)
Is voting theory important? An attempt to check my bias. 2019-02-17T23:45:57.960Z · score: 42 (14 votes)
EA grants available (to individuals) 2019-02-07T15:17:38.921Z · score: 35 (12 votes)
Does the EA community do "basic science" grants? How do I get one? 2019-02-06T18:10:00.827Z · score: 8 (3 votes)
A Rationalist Argument for Voting 2018-06-07T17:05:42.668Z · score: 13 (8 votes)
The Devil's Advocate: when is it right to be wrong? 2018-05-15T17:12:16.681Z · score: 16 (3 votes)
Upvotes, knowledge, stocks, and flows 2018-05-10T14:18:15.087Z · score: 44 (10 votes)
Multi-winner Voting: a question of Alignment 2018-04-17T18:51:09.062Z · score: 65 (17 votes)
5 general voting pathologies: lesser names of Moloch 2018-04-13T18:38:41.279Z · score: 108 (36 votes)
A voting theory primer for rationalists 2018-04-12T15:15:23.823Z · score: 254 (86 votes)

Comments

Comment by jameson-quinn on A voting theory primer for rationalists · 2020-08-31T14:25:36.347Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You seem to be comparing Arrow's theorem to Lord Vetinari, implying that both are undisputed sovereigns? If so, I disagree. The part you left out about Arrow's theorem — that it only applies to ranked voting methods (not "systems") — means that its dominion is far more limited than that of the Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorem.

As for the RL-voting paper you cite: thanks, that's interesting. Trying to automate voting strategy is hard; since most voters most of the time are not pivotal, the direct strategic signal for a learning agent is weak. In order to deal with this, you have to give the agents some ability, implicit or explicit, to reason about counterfactuals. Reasoning about counterfactuals requires make assumptions, or have information, about the generative model that they're drawn from; and so, that model is super-important. And frankly, I think that the model used in the paper bears very little relationship to any political reality I know of. I've never seen a group of voters who believe "I would love it if any two of these three laws pass, but I would hate it if all three of them passed or none of them passed" for any set of laws that are seriously proposed and argued-for.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-08-08T16:26:16.602Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

V0.7.3 Still tweaking terminology. Now, Vote Power Fairness, Average Voter Choice, Average Voter Effectiveness. Finished (at least first draft) of closed list/Israel analysis.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-08-04T21:43:50.878Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

V 0.7.2: A terminology change. New terms: Retroactive Power, Effective Voting Equality, Effective Choice, Average Voter Effectiveness. (The term "effective" is a nod to Catherine Helen Spence). The math is the same except for some ultimately-inconsequential changes in when you subtract from 1. Also, started to add a closed list example from Israel; not done yet.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-08-01T21:39:06.893Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

V 0.7.1: added a digression on dimesionality, in italics, to the "Measuring "Representation quality", separate from power" section. Finished converting the existing examples from RF to VW.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-30T15:51:50.216Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

V 0.7.0: Switched from "Representational Fairness" to the more-interpretable "Vote Wastage". Wrote enough so that it's possible to understand what I mean by VW, but this still needs revision for clarity/convincingness. Also pending, change my calculations for specific methods from RF to VW.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-29T15:25:16.009Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I am rewriting the overall "XXX: a xxx proportionality metric" section because I've thought of a more-interpretable metric. So, where it used to be "Representational fairness: an overall proportionality metric", now it will be "Vote wastage: a combined proportionality metric". Here's the old version, before I erase it:


Since we've structured RQ_d as an "efficiency" — 100% at best, 0% at worst — we can take each voter's "quality-weighted voter power" (QWVP) to be the sum of their responsibility for electing each candidate, times their RQ_1 for that candidate. Ideally, this would be 1 for each voter; so we can define the overall "quality-weighted proportionality" (QWP) of an outcome as the average of squared differences between voters' QWVP and 1, shifted and scaled so that no difference gives a QWP of 100% and uniform zeros gives a QWP of 0. (Note that in principle, a dictatorship could score substantially less than 0, depending on the number of voters).

(To do: better notation and LaTeX)

Since realistic voting methods will usually have at least 1 Droop quota of wasted votes (or, in the case of Hare-quota-based methods, just over half a Hare quota of double-powered votes and just under half of wasted votes; which amounts to much the same thing in QWP terms), the highest QWP you could reasonably expect for a voting method would be S/(S+1).

(show the math for the QWP of the IRV example above. Key point: the D>C>A>B voters have zero responsibility for electing A, so all they do is lower the average RQ of the B>C>A>D and C>B>A>D voters)

Note that this QWP metric, in combining the ideas of overall equality and representation quality, is no longer perfectly optimizing either of those aspects in itself. That is to say, in some cases it will push methods to sacrifice proportionality, in search of better representation, in a way that would tend to hurt the MSE from God's perspective. I think those cases are likely to be rare enough, especially for voting methods that weren't specifically designed to optimize to this metric, that I'm OK with this slight mis-alignment. That is to say: I think the true ideal quality ordering would be closer to a lexical sort with priority on proportionality ("optimize for proportionality, then optimize RQ only insofar as it doesn't harm proportionality`); but I think most seriously-proposed, practically-feasible voting methods are far enough from the Pareto frontier that "optimize the product of the two" is fine as an approximation of that ideal goal.

One more note: in passing, this rigorous framework for an overarching proportional metric also helps define the simple concept of "wasted vote"; any vote with 0 responsibility for electing any winner. Although "wasted votes" are already commonly discussed in the political science literature, I believe this is actually the first time the idea has been given a general definition, as opposed to ad-hoc definitions for each voting method.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-27T15:26:20.119Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

V 0.6.0: Coined the term "Representational Fairness" for my metric. Did a worked example of Single transferrable vote (STV), and began to discuss the example. Bumping version because I'm now beginning to actually discuss concrete methods instead of just abstract metrics.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-25T13:13:14.441Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

V 0.5.5: wrote a key paragraph about NESS: similar outcomes just before Pascal's Other Wager? (The Problem of Points). Added the obvious normalizing constant so that average voter power is 1. Analyzed some simple plurality cases in Retrospective voting power in single-winner plurality.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-23T15:13:51.553Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

V 0.5.4: Meaningful rewrite to "Shorter "solution" statement", which focuses not on power to elect an individual, but power to elect some member of a set, of whom only 1 won in reality.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [AN #109]: Teaching neural nets to generalize the way humans would · 2020-07-22T19:19:17.868Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Finding "Z-best" is not the same as finding the posterior over Z, and in fact differs systematically. In particular, because you're not being a real Bayesian, you're not getting the advantage of the Bayesian Occam's Razor, so you'll systematically tend to get lower-entropy-than-optimal (aka more-complex-than-optimal, overfitted) Zs. Adding an entropy-based loss term might help — but then, I'd expect that H already includes entropy-based loss, so this risks double-counting.

The above critique is specific and nitpicky. Separately from that, this whole schema feels intuitively wrong to me. I think there must be ways to do the math in a way that favors a low-entropy, causally-realistic, quasi-symbolic likelihood-like function that can be combined with a predictive, uninterpretably-neural learned Z to give a posterior that is better at intuitive leaps than the former but beter at generalizing than the latter. All of this would be intrinsic, and human alignment would be a separate problem. Intuitively it seems to me that trying to do human alignment and generalizability using the same trick is the wrong approach.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [AN #109]: Teaching neural nets to generalize the way humans would · 2020-07-22T17:42:30.135Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This seems to be unreadably mis-formatted for me in Safari.

Comment by jameson-quinn on Swiss Political System: More than You ever Wanted to Know (II.) · 2020-07-22T17:37:14.645Z · score: 12 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you.

Bit of trivia on Switzerland and voting methods: I've heard (but have not seen primary sources for) that in 1798 the briefly-independent city-state of Geneva used the median-based voting method we anachronously know as "Bucklin" after its US-based reinventor. This was at the (posthmous) suggestion of the Marquis de Condorcet. Notably that suggestion was not to use what we know of as "Condorcet" voting, as that would have been logistically too complex for the time.

Also, if I'm not mistaken, Swiss municipal councils use a biproportional voting method; one of the only such methods in public use.

In other words, Switzerland, like Sweden, is a place for interesting voting methods.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-22T17:23:15.027Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

V 0.5.3: Added "Bringing it all together" (85% complete)

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-22T00:50:17.783Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Version 0.5.2: Added "Equalizing voter power" and "Measuring "Representation quality", separate from power" sections.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-21T13:43:28.285Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Done.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-20T21:05:55.734Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I rewrote the article to incorporate your contribution. I think you'd be interested to read what I added afterwards discussing this idea.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-20T20:57:06.928Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ping 2.5 of 3; that is, unexpectedly, I got input that superceded the old ping 2 of 3, and I've now incorporated it.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-20T20:55:48.321Z · score: 11 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Rewritten to reflect Thomas Sepulchre's contribution. Which is awesome, by the way.

Or in other words...

V 0.5.1: the main changes since the previous version 0.5.0 are a complete rewrite of the "Tentative Answer" section based on a helpful comment by a reader here, with further discussion of that solution; including the new Shorter "Solution" Statement subsection. I also added a sketch to visualize the loss I'm using.

Comment by jameson-quinn on The Credit Assignment Problem · 2020-07-20T18:57:24.567Z · score: 10 (2 votes) · LW · GW

(Comment rewritten from scratch after comment editor glitched.)

This article is not about what I expected from the title. I've been thinking about "retroactively allocating responsibility", which sounds a lot like "assigning credit", in the context of multi-winner voting methods: which voters get credit for ensuring a given candidate won? The problem here is that in most cases no individual voter could change their vote to have any impact whatsoever on the outcome; in ML terms, this is a form of "vanishing gradient". The solution I've arrived at was suggested to me here; essentially, it's imposing a (random) artificial order on the inputs, then using a model to reason about the "worst"-possible outcome after any subset of the inputs, and giving each of the inputs "credit" for the change in that "worst" outcome.

I'm not sure if this is relevant to the article as it stands, but it's certainly relevant to the title as it stands.

Comment by jameson-quinn on The Credit Assignment Problem · 2020-07-20T18:51:35.120Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I just read this, and from the title, I thought it was going to be about something else. Essentially, the problem I've been thinking about recently is a form of "credit assignment" between agents in highly multi-agent scenarios; for instance, "which voter(s) are responsible for this election outcome". In ML terms, this is roughly the problem of the vanishing gradient; that is, in most cases, no individual voter could have changed the outcome by changing their vote. The solution I've arrived at was suggested here —

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-17T18:13:00.364Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Nice. Thank you!!!

This corresponds to the Shapley-Shubik index. I had previously discounted this idea but after your comment I took another look and I think it's the right answer. So I'm sincerely grateful to you for this comment.

Comment by jameson-quinn on What should be the topic of my LW mini-talk this Sunday (July 18th)? · 2020-07-17T09:27:42.845Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I thik I'm gonna do something about why high-dimensional is hard. I'll mention the voting context, but mostly discuss the problem in abstract.

Comment by jameson-quinn on Classification of AI alignment research: deconfusion, "good enough" non-superintelligent AI alignment, superintelligent AI alignment · 2020-07-16T16:53:34.559Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This is very well-said, but I still want to dispute the possibility of "perfect alignment". In your clustering analogy: the very existence of clusters presupposes definitions of entities-that-correspond-to-points, dimensions-of-the-space-of-points, and measurements-of-given-points-in-given-dimensions. All of those definitions involve imperfect modeling assumptions and simplifications. Your analogy also assumes that a normal-mixture-model is capable of perfectly capturing reality; I'm aware that this is provably asymptotically true for an infinite-cluster Dirichlet process mixture, but we don't live in asymptopia and in reality it is effectively yet another strong assumption that holds at best weakly.

In other words, while I agree with (and appreciate your clear expression of) your main point that it's possible to have a well-defined category without being able to do perfect categorization, I dispute the idea that it is possible even in theory to have a perfectly-defined one.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-16T14:07:47.052Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ping 2 of 3

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-16T14:05:46.176Z · score: 11 (2 votes) · LW · GW

OK, I think I'm "over the hump". That is, there's still plenty left to write and plenty of details left to work out, but I think that an ideal reader could begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, could begin to grasp the overall scale and shape of what I'm trying to do here. I'm going to ping again.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-15T14:45:33.503Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Key to strange punctuation I use: "((...))" are technical notes that you can safely skip if you don't understand; the extra parens are to emphasize the skippability. "))(...)((" are digressions that break the narrative flow, but are actually important; the inner normal parens are to mark digression and the doubled outer reverse parens are to mark importance.

Also I wrote TLD̦R instead of TL;DR (too long; didn't read) because on my keyboard the semicolon is a dead key that combines with space or enter to be an ordinary semicolon but combines with letters to add accents. I think making TLD̦R one character shorter is in the spirit of TL;DR.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-15T03:27:10.764Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Beginning "a proposed solution" but it's slow going — haven't actually gotten to the solution part of the solution yet. Also wrote a bit more above on what "MSE" means in this context — it's less intiutive than you might think when you first read the acronym.

Comment by jameson-quinn on (answered: yes) Has anyone written up a consideration of Downs's "Paradox of Voting" from the perspective of MIRI-ish decision theories (UDT, FDT, or even just EDT)? · 2020-07-14T11:55:19.735Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Consider a 2-option election, with 2N voters, each of whom has probability p of choosing the first option. If p is a fixed number, then as N goes to infinity, (chances of an exact tie times N) go to 0 if N isn't exactly .5, and to infinity if it is. Since the event of p is exactly .5 has measure 0, this model supports the paradox of voting (PoV).

But! If p itself is drawn from an ordinary continuous distribution with nonzero probability density d around .5, then (chances of an exact tie times N) go to ... I think it's just d/2. Maybe there's some correction factor that comes into play for bizarre distributions of p, but if we make the conventional assumption that it's beta-distributed, then d/2 is the answer.

I think that the PoV literature is relying on the "fixed p" model. I think the "uncertain p" model is more realistic, but it's still worth engaging with "fixed p" and seeing the implications of those assumptions.

Comment by jameson-quinn on (answered: yes) Has anyone written up a consideration of Downs's "Paradox of Voting" from the perspective of MIRI-ish decision theories (UDT, FDT, or even just EDT)? · 2020-07-07T14:07:17.729Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That book is from 2006. I understand that it deals with the Paradox of Voting, but does it have anything that would be directly relevant to considering it in light of "acausal decision theories"? As far as I know, such theories pretty much didn't exist back then.

Comment by jameson-quinn on (answered: yes) Has anyone written up a consideration of Downs's "Paradox of Voting" from the perspective of MIRI-ish decision theories (UDT, FDT, or even just EDT)? · 2020-07-07T13:46:15.009Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Wait, what?

"You play the game with many other CDT agents" — this seems demonstrably false, at least, if we accept the Paradox of Voting as being a thing, in which case, CDT agents have by assumption removed themselves from the game. (I understand your response that voting may be altruistically-CDT-rational; as you know, it's been discussed before, and very rightly so. But I also think it's still worth considering the boundedly-altruistic/diagonally-dominant case.)

It seems to me that the only way you can claim there's "many other CDT agents" is if "CDT" is being used as a catch-all for "not explicitly FDT/UDT", and I'd strongly dispute that usage. I think that memetically/genetically evolved heuristics are likely to differ systematically from CDT. It may be best to create an entirely separate model for people operating under such heuristics, but if you want to force them into a pure CDT-vs-UDT-vs-random-noise (ie, mixture distribution) paradigm, I'd say they would be substantially more than 0% UDT.

ETA: I guess I can parse "other voters are CDT" as a sensible assumption if you're explicitly doing repeated-game analysis, but such an analysis would pretty much dissolve both the Paradox of Voting and the CDT vs. acausal-DTs distinction.

Comment by jameson-quinn on (answered: yes) Has anyone written up a consideration of Downs's "Paradox of Voting" from the perspective of MIRI-ish decision theories (UDT, FDT, or even just EDT)? · 2020-07-06T23:12:22.648Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that this definition of "matters" is odd; not the one most people use in everyday speech. I think that there are ways to make other definitions rigorous (in ways that aren't addressed in the wikipedia article I linked). But this is the narrowly consequentialist definition, so it does deserve analysis.

Comment by jameson-quinn on Classifying games like the Prisoner's Dilemma · 2020-07-06T21:27:56.249Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Nicely done.

In my experience, "Farmer's Dilemma" (aka Chicken/Snowdrift) is both more common than PD, and harder for human players to coordinate away from pathological outcomes. I think it should be the prototypical "nasty" game instead of PD. We've all been assigned a group project at school; we have not all been interrogated by the police in a situation where the payoffs are truly PD.

Comment by jameson-quinn on (answered: yes) Has anyone written up a consideration of Downs's "Paradox of Voting" from the perspective of MIRI-ish decision theories (UDT, FDT, or even just EDT)? · 2020-07-06T21:03:16.371Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I very much do not include superrationality in my assumptions. I'm not assuming that all other voters, or even any specific individual other voter, is explicitly using a meta-rational decision theory; I'm simply allowing the possibility that the "expected acausal impact" of my decision is greater than 0 other voters. There are, I believe, a number of ways this could be "true".

In simpler terms: I think that my beliefs (and definitions) about whether (how many) other voters are "like" me are orders of magnitude different from yours, in a way that is probably not empirically resolvable. I understand that taking your point of view as a given would make my original question relatively trivial, but I hope you understand that it is still an interesting question from my point of view, and that exploring it in that sense might even lead to productive insights that generalize over to your point of view (even though we'd probably still disagree about voting).

If you like, I guess, we could discuss this in a hypothetical world with a substantial number of superrational voters. For you this would merely be a hypothetical, which I think would be interesting for its own sake. For me, this would be a hypothetical special case of acausal links between voters, links which I believe do exist though not in that specific form.

Comment by jameson-quinn on What are your thoughts on rational wiki · 2020-07-06T20:53:01.693Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think that the ideal community size (the regime at which positive network effects clearly dominate negative effects) is much larger for a wiki than for a forum like here. Thus, though I don't have experience with RationalWiki, my prior would be to be skeptical of its value.

Comment by jameson-quinn on (answered: yes) Has anyone written up a consideration of Downs's "Paradox of Voting" from the perspective of MIRI-ish decision theories (UDT, FDT, or even just EDT)? · 2020-07-06T20:44:16.990Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But there is an obvious acausal path in this case. If other voters are using the same algorithm you are to decide whether or not to vote, or a "sufficiently similar" one (in some sense that would have to be fleshed out), then that inflates the probability that "your" decision of whether or not to vote is pivotal, because "you" are effectively multiple voters.

Is that sufficient, or do you need actual numbers? (I'd guess it is and you don't.)

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-06T17:55:53.041Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks, fixed. (A numerator of 1 gives an answer in dimensionless units of "fraction of voters"; using V gives units of voters. I tend to prefer the former but I agree that at first read the latter is more intuitive.)

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-06T17:54:31.300Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Fleshing out "allocating responsibility" and beginning "Pascal's other wager".

Comment by jameson-quinn on The silence is deafening – Devon Zuegel · 2020-07-04T02:54:49.287Z · score: 11 (6 votes) · LW · GW

What about trolls? What about pile-ons?

Trolls: some people are not upset by negative feedback or even actively seek it. I think this could be structured such that this negative feedback would not be rewarding to such people, but it merits consideration, because backfire is at least in principle possible.

Pile-ons: There are documented cases of organized downvote brigades on various platforms, who effectively suppress speech simply because they disagree with it. Now, I wouldn't object to a brigade of mathematicians on a proof wiki downvoting and pages they disagreed with and thereby censoring the pages or driving away their authors; but in most other cases, I think such brigades would be a problem. Again, you might be able to design a version that successfully discouraged such brigades (for instance: have "number of downvotes", "correlation with average downvoter", and "correlation with most-similar downvoter" all visible in someone's profile?), but it merits thought.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-04T02:43:16.632Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Began the "allocating responsibility" section.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-04T01:31:34.605Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've switched over to responding to your comments/suggestions one-by-one.

On your point 1, regarding loss functions: I agree that a strictly utilitarian/consequentialist PoV would care about which side won, not about vote totals. I think there are three reasons to nevertheless build a loss function around vote totals.

1. Mathematically more well-behaved. For instance, the whole "MSE decomposition" idea I bring in later would be much much messier with a binary-outcome-based loss function.

2. I believe that in practice, if there's a question where the target support would be, say, 70%, but the legislature supports it at 90%, you can probably use it to construct some other at-least-somewhat-reasonable question where the target support would be 40% but the legislature supports it at 60%. That is, in practice, errors in vote totals go hand-in-hand with errors in outcomes, even if this is not a logical necessity (at least, not without additional assumptions about convex lotteries and stuff).

3. Some of the votes/decisions of the legislature may be made in a non-majority-rules fashion. For instance, you could have some situations where each legislator gets to allocate a share of some resource. In such cases, the vote-total-based loss function is clearly correct even from a consequentialist standpoint. (This might be seen as a special case of 2, but it's different enough to list separately.)

I think that saying 1 and 2 in the main article would be too much of a digression, but I will think further about whether there's a way to include point 3.

Comment by jameson-quinn on Second Wave Covid Deaths? · 2020-07-04T01:16:55.135Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

When you train on old data, you get a lag of about 10-12 days between changes in cases and corresponding changes in deaths. There are several reasons that could be not true on new data:

1. Cases are getting caught earlier by more/faster testing.

2. Cases are leading to fewer or slower deaths (due to either treatment or population effects)

3. The lag on old data is using the reported date of death, but that's not the same as the date of the reporting of the death, which has an additional lag.

Are you saying it's (at least partly) #3?

Comment by jameson-quinn on Editor Mini-Guide · 2020-07-04T00:50:07.055Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This may not be the right place for this. But gotta say it somewhere.

Overall, I like this font. But I hate hate HATE that it makes it impossible to distinguish "1" (one) from "I" (capital-i), except in the amount of horizontal space they take up. The numeral one should have a hook at the top, even in a sans-serif font. This is really important if you're going to be having mathematical discussions. (Of course, "l" (lower-case L) is also indistinguishable here. But letters are either clear from context or, if used as variable names, a choice. So two indistinguishable letters is no big deal; a numeral and a letter is a PROBLEM.)

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-03T17:52:07.296Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I meant "𝓮" to be the number whose natural logarithm is 1 — "𝓮" is the closest to the math version of the character that I can type on my keyboard as-is. I don't have any argument for why it should be precisely that value, it's just the most famous number in between 2.5 and 3, which is roughly where I think the correct value will lie. I am aware of the larger literature on people's political preferences, but that's all from a world that's already conditioned by more-or-less non-ideal voting methods, so I don't think this is a question with an easy-to-find empirical answer like that. I may expand the section you reference to talk about these issues a bit more, and to discuss the available data/literature, but when I first wrote it, I was hurrying through to get somewhere else.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-03T17:51:47.722Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the close read and the thoughtful comments!

Open:

1. Loss function, future-oriented: interesting questions; I have thoughts on them; I left them out the first time through but may add them later. 

2. gerrymandering; "infinite"; proposal I don't fully grasp: Also interesting but I think beside the points I want to make here.

3. Dimensions.

"The choice of dimensions seems like a bigger deal than the number." I'm implicitly assuming that they're chosen by principal component analysis or something similar. Of course that's not robust to scaling or other monotone transforms, but I think it's close enough to being well-defined to handwave away for my purposes.

But if I'm wrong, and the variation in political opinions/interests that are politically salient in an ideal world is much higher, then the very "republican idea" of representative democracy is problematic.

"whether things interact with each other to greatly affect outcomes": good point. I'll see if I can incorporate it without being too wordy.

4. Weighted legislatures: yes, that's a whole topic I could write an entire section on. For now, can't afford to get that sidetracked, sorry.

"Variance seems like it might be a red herring, given a focus on outcomes/exemplariness."

Um. It's possible I'm not being clear what I mean by "variance". I don't mean variance of ideologies of legislators; I mean variance (meta-variance?) of distributions. That is to say, a 1-dimensional procedure for picking 2 legislators would have higher variance if it sometimes picked {5,5} and sometimes picked {4,6}, than if it reliably picked {0,10}.

I think there may something to your critique here aside from that possible misunderstanding, though. I have some thoughts but I'm not sure how I should or will deal with this issue. Probably, I should respond to that in a separate comment.

5.

"Weird methods:" Maybe I should explain how my existing proposal for rating voting methods would handle that? Because I have thought about it, and it is a tricky case. But I think I'll save that for later; for now, I want to stick with simpler cases.

...

to be continued; probably in a separate comment or comments, for better notification.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-03T17:28:51.159Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I meant "𝓮" to be the number whose natural logarithm is 1 — "𝓮" is the closest to the math version of the character that I can type on my keyboard as-is. I don't have any argument for why it should be precisely that value, it's just the most famous number in between 2.5 and 3, which is roughly where I think the correct value will lie. I am aware of the larger literature on people's political preferences, but that's all from a world that's already conditioned by more-or-less non-ideal voting methods, so I don't think this is a question with an easy-to-find empirical answer like that. I may expand the section you reference to talk about these issues a bit more, but when I first wrote it, I was hurrying through to get somewhere else.

Comment by jameson-quinn on [not ongoing] Thoughts on Proportional voting methods · 2020-07-03T15:03:20.193Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A bit of polishing of existing parts; skeleton headings for remainder

Comment by jameson-quinn on Editor Mini-Guide · 2020-07-03T13:42:21.471Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How can we add alt-text, so that our articles with images are accessible to visually-impaired readers?

What about captions?

Comment by jameson-quinn on Conditions for Mesa-Optimization · 2020-07-02T14:45:24.929Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That link is broken, and I'm very interested to read this. Is there a newer link?


ETA: I think I found it: https://arxiv.org/abs/1810.10862

Comment by jameson-quinn on Conditions for Mesa-Optimization · 2020-07-02T14:44:09.683Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm having difficulty with this in a way that "smells" like either "too much jargon" or "not enough effort expended explaining terms at start". That is, I (recent PhD in statistics) can more-or-less parse individual statements, but unable to chunk things into parts that are large enough to seem non-trivial. Note that I'm coming here from the "deep double-descent" article which does seem intuitive for me at first read (that is, definitely interesting, but closer to being too trivial than too complex).

I'll come back and read this again later, but for now: if you're editing this, I'd suggest starting slower and/or working to de-jargonify.

Comment by jameson-quinn on A Personal (Interim) COVID-19 Postmortem · 2020-07-02T14:12:40.518Z · score: 14 (7 votes) · LW · GW

"Rely more on other people's views in the rationality community" is inherently a bias-variance tradeoff. It's also collectively self-defeating, with a potential to become a death spiral. As such, it may be a reasonable thing to do, but it is potentially very dangerous as a principle to state for others to follow. The selfishly-first-order-rational thing to do would be to do more of it yourself, and encourage others to do less of it; of course, this is free riding, and may not be meta-rational.

My point is: this may be wise, but you should beware, and you should definitely not encourage others to do this without cautioning them against the risks.

One way to beware about this is to ask the question: "which of the biggest differences between rationality community conventional beliefs, and general 'smart non-explicit-rationalist' conventional beliefs, have the weakest support?" I have personal answers to that question but in the spirit of this comment, I won't share them here.