Open & Welcome Thread - January 2021 2021-01-04T07:39:13.166Z
Reality has a surprising amount of detail 2017-05-13T20:02:35.768Z
Submission and dominance among friends 2017-03-28T02:43:38.494Z
If only we had taller been 2017-03-04T23:15:42.282Z
The "I Already Get It" Slide 2017-02-01T03:11:00.551Z
LessWrong Help Desk - free paper downloads and more (2014) 2014-01-16T05:51:40.710Z
[Link] New prize on causality in statistics education 2012-12-15T23:50:25.709Z
What are you working on? December 2012 2012-12-02T18:49:31.017Z
Meetup : Seattle Meetup: Bayes Theorem Tutorial 2012-11-29T07:31:04.236Z
How well defined is ADHD? 2012-11-15T23:34:02.266Z
Meetup : (Seattle) Conscientiousness 2012-11-09T22:10:45.473Z
LessWrong help desk - free paper downloads and more 2012-10-07T23:45:13.566Z
Review: Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids 2012-05-29T18:00:02.945Z
Papers framing anthropic questions as decision problems? 2012-04-26T00:40:11.266Z
Generic Modafinil sales begin? 2012-04-02T15:53:15.967Z
Meetup : Seattle: Decision Theory 2012-03-31T21:07:52.231Z
Meetup : Seattle, Diseased Thinking and evidence on parenting 2012-01-11T16:33:05.210Z
Meta analysis of Writing Therapy 2012-01-01T02:02:38.425Z
What are you working on? December 2011 2011-12-13T15:27:48.980Z
Meetup : Seattle biweekly meetup: problem solving 2011-12-01T16:37:43.873Z
Is latent Toxoplasmosis worth doing something about? 2011-11-17T17:04:48.138Z
Meetup : The Planning Fallacy 2011-11-11T01:48:58.825Z
Should I get genotyped? 2011-10-24T15:51:56.739Z
Reminder: $250 LessWrong source introduction prize submissions due soon 2011-10-20T02:47:02.800Z
What are you working on? 2011-10-06T16:19:37.266Z
Prize for the best introduction to the LessWrong source ($250) 2011-10-05T00:08:33.404Z
Questions about doing literature searches 2011-09-15T17:27:17.133Z
What are good techniques and resources for teaching bayes theorem hands on? 2011-09-09T15:51:51.543Z
Meetup : Seattle Biweekly Meetup: Occam's Razor, Repetition and Time's Up 2011-09-09T04:46:49.745Z
Free research help, editing and article downloads for LessWrong 2011-09-06T21:13:05.226Z
What are good topics for literature review prizes? 2011-09-02T23:48:09.248Z
Spaced Repetition literature review prize: And the winner is... 2011-08-19T20:35:55.559Z
Anki deck for Cognitive Science in One Lesson 2011-08-16T16:23:35.441Z
What are you working on? 2011-08-15T14:43:48.314Z
Meetup : Seattle Biweekly meetup 2011-08-03T18:26:45.078Z
Requesting low cost/high payoff projects ideas 2011-07-30T20:48:41.757Z
How credible is neuroeconomics? 2011-07-30T18:51:55.943Z
Meetup : Biweekly Sunday Seattle meetup: talking about identity 2011-07-20T23:24:12.252Z
GiveWell interview with major SIAI donor Jaan Tallinn 2011-07-19T15:10:25.905Z
Spaced Repetition literature review contest submissions: August 1st deadline 2011-07-18T15:58:39.237Z
Motivation research presentation 2011-07-11T14:20:45.681Z
Meetup : Seattle Regular Sunday Meetup 2011-07-08T18:27:16.666Z
Has SIAI/FHI considered putting up prizes for contributions to important problems? 2011-07-03T17:26:41.282Z
Volunteers needed to work on LessWrong's public goods problem 2011-07-03T01:08:08.380Z
psychology and applications of reinforcement learning: where do I learn more? 2011-06-26T20:56:26.514Z
Meetup : Regular Seattle Meetup 2011-06-22T13:33:44.523Z
Mostly silly alternatives to the word 'rationalist' 2011-06-22T04:53:00.539Z
[prize] new contest for Spaced Repetition literature review ($365+) 2011-06-18T18:31:48.680Z
Building habits: requesting advice on installing mental software 2011-06-12T04:17:34.791Z
[prize] Spaced Repetition literature review 2011-06-07T03:28:55.842Z


Comment by jsalvatier on “PR” is corrosive; “reputation” is not. · 2021-02-17T20:22:53.312Z · LW · GW

It's like virtue and reputation ("honor") were one thing at the time, and now they're two things.

I almost wonder if the problem is less "people stopped caring about being truly-intrinsically-virtuous" and more: People stopped rationalizing their reputation-management as virtuous; which fed into a "it's impractical and uncouth to care about virtue" cycle; which resulted in people having too many degrees of freedom, because it's easier to rationalize arbitrary actions as practical than to rationalize arbitrary actions as virtuous.

Yeah,  I was having similar thoughts.

Comment by jsalvatier on “PR” is corrosive; “reputation” is not. · 2021-02-17T20:20:29.868Z · LW · GW

That's a good point. Reputation is less naturally spiritual. I think you can experience it both ways. Imagine someone who thinks about reputation as painted on their heart. Versus someone who is is fine with trying to manipulate their reputation.

Comment by jsalvatier on “PR” is corrosive; “reputation” is not. · 2021-02-16T22:16:59.861Z · LW · GW

Modernity has made people quite averse to talking about and dealing with spirituality. I think maybe a big part of what's going on is that while PR is a material concept, honor is a spiritual concept. It deals with meaning directly rather than only indirectly. Honor matters for its own sake (or can), matters to your soul. Whereas PR can only ever matter indirectly, only as a consequence of other things. No one has PR in their soul.

That would mean that people end up avoiding thinking about and relating to things like honor and reputation because it just feels weird. It feel like the sort of thing that you're not supposed to deal with. It feels like something that science and technology have vaguely disproven.

Comment by jsalvatier on Open & Welcome Thread - January 2021 · 2021-01-09T22:42:33.669Z · LW · GW

>Thus, I think that the process is relatively reliable but not totally reliable. 

Absolutely. That's exactly right. 

>My Christian friend claimed that atheists/rationalists/skeptics/evolutionists cannot trust even their own reason (beacuse it is the product of their imperfect brains in their opinion).

It sounds like there's a conflation between 'trust' and 'absolute trust'. Clearly we have some useful notion of trust because we can navigate potentially dangerous situations relatively safely. So using plain language its false to say that atheists can't trust their own judgement. Clearly they can in some situations. Are you saying atheists can't climb a ladder safely? 

It sounds like he wants something to trust in absolutely. Has he faced the possibility that that might just not exist?

Comment by jsalvatier on Open & Welcome Thread - January 2021 · 2021-01-08T22:00:35.973Z · LW · GW

Consider how justified trust can come into existence. 

You're traveling through the forest. You come to moldy looking bridge over a ravine. It looks a little sketchy. So naturally you feel distrustful of the bridge at first. So you look at it from different angles, and shake it a bit. And put a bit of weight on it. And eventually, some deep unconscious part of you will decide that it's either untrustworthy and you'll find another route, or it will decide its trustworthy and you'll cross the bridge. 

We don't understand that process, but its reliable anyway.

Comment by jsalvatier on Open & Welcome Thread - January 2021 · 2021-01-04T16:49:12.102Z · LW · GW

Thanks, I forgot to make it clear I'm looking for digital versions.

I'm making an online museum of ethos (my ethos). I'm using good and bad art and commentary to make my ethos very visible through aesthetics.

Comment by jsalvatier on Open & Welcome Thread - January 2021 · 2021-01-04T07:46:39.426Z · LW · GW

I am doing an art criticism project that’s very important to me, and I’m looking for high res digital versions the art in the following books. 

Help with getting these via a university library, or pointers to where I could buy an electronic copy of any of these is much appreciated. 

Comment by jsalvatier on Where do (did?) stable, cooperative institutions come from? · 2020-11-04T05:30:11.458Z · LW · GW

Attempting to blindsight the answer: 

In the past I imagine that people were usually trying to 'be a serious person'. And that's still true. But somehow being a serious person is now faker. And I think maybe its because they're being a very scared serious person. Somehow they're a lot more vulnerable from every direction. Or there's a lot more directions they're vulnerable from.

Comment by jsalvatier on Coronavirus: Justified Key Insights Thread · 2020-04-14T18:36:07.880Z · LW · GW

Is there a good source for many things we know from the Diamond Princess data? Or even just the numbers so far from DP? I'm not sure how to find that data.

Comment by jsalvatier on Naming the Nameless · 2018-03-23T08:45:09.022Z · LW · GW
Double crux is hard enough with arguments, and here I'm trying to advocate something like double-cruxing aesthetic preferences, which sounds absurdly ambitious.  But: imagine if we could talk about why things seem beautiful and appealing, or ugly and unappealing.

My work is basically about this; extracting aesthetic preferences from people (and S1 based inside views more generally).

I haven't done specifically artistic aesthetics, but most thinking relies heavily on aesthetics about which problems are interesting or important, ways of behaving, ways of thinking about the world, what counts as 'simple', etc. If you want to resolve disagreements about big things, you're going to have to wade into aesthetics.

Comment by jsalvatier on [deleted post] 2018-03-19T18:06:02.386Z

Thanks for writing this. Inferential distance + inoculation is a huge problem for transmitting large bodies of understanding in domains that previously didn't look like domains to the student. The student frequently getting a smaller version of the ideas before they can get the full version and that shuts off further interest because they've "got it".

Comment by jsalvatier on List of civilisational inadequacy · 2017-12-05T03:24:10.913Z · LW · GW

>nobody has done studies measuring hormone levels over time and fitting a differential-equation model of how hormones affect each other's levels

What in the everloving fuck? That really seems like the first thing you should do. Has that at least been done for the shared hormones?

Comment by jsalvatier on Living in an Inadequate World · 2017-11-10T17:53:34.249Z · LW · GW

The point was to raise nominal prices in the first place

Comment by jsalvatier on Living in an Inadequate World · 2017-11-10T17:52:42.389Z · LW · GW

That is not how it works.

Comment by jsalvatier on Moloch's Toolbox (2/2) · 2017-11-10T08:48:44.457Z · LW · GW

I don't buy the idea that voters are not the main source of problem and that its voting systems. Voters don't have good incentives to have sensible opinions that go against natural prejudices.

It seems to me that if you found the median political opinion of people, you would have much worse policies in a lot of areas. Probably some would be better, but I would be surprised if it were many.

Comment by jsalvatier on Living in an Inadequate World · 2017-11-10T08:39:23.185Z · LW · GW

This is great, I love it

Comment by jsalvatier on Moloch's Toolbox (1/2) · 2017-11-06T06:54:24.528Z · LW · GW

Do you know if they normalize for case difficulty? If a hospital patients seems like it will get worse outcomes.

Comment by jsalvatier on Moloch's Toolbox (1/2) · 2017-11-06T05:50:22.834Z · LW · GW

I just did this and it was pretty easy! And in fact I decided to change the hospital I go to by default.

Comment by jsalvatier on Inadequacy and Modesty · 2017-10-29T00:07:35.416Z · LW · GW

Genuinely held austarity-type ideologies are popular among people who care a lot about central banking (possibly due to the great depression?), and I'm guessing that's what happened at the BoJ. It seems to be what happened in the US, which made similar mistakes, though less badly.

Comment by jsalvatier on Probabilistic Programming and Bayesian Methods for Hackers · 2017-05-24T02:42:28.070Z · LW · GW

There's not that many that I know of. I do think its much more intuitive and lets you build more nuanced models that are useful for social sciences. You can fit the exact model that you want instead of needing to fit your case in a preexisting box. However, I don't know of too many examples where this is hugely practically important.

The lack of obviously valuable use cases is part of why I stopped being that interested in MCMC, even though I invested a lot in it.

There is one important industrial application of MCMC: hyperparameter sampling in Bayesian optimization (Gaussian Processes + priors for hyper parameters). And the hyperparameter sampling does substantially improve things.

Comment by jsalvatier on Probabilistic Programming and Bayesian Methods for Hackers · 2017-05-23T03:45:27.904Z · LW · GW

Funny enough, as a direct result of reading the sequences, I got super obsessed with Bayesian stats and that eventually resulted in writing PyMC3 (which is the software used in the book).

Comment by jsalvatier on Reality has a surprising amount of detail · 2017-05-14T22:57:50.523Z · LW · GW


Comment by jsalvatier on Reality has a surprising amount of detail · 2017-05-14T08:35:41.144Z · LW · GW

If you want to see a billion examples of details mattering, watch anything about shipbuilding by this guy:

Comment by jsalvatier on Reality has a surprising amount of detail · 2017-05-14T08:32:37.116Z · LW · GW

Great description. Yes, I think that's exactly why people are reluctant to see other people's points.

Comment by jsalvatier on Reality has a surprising amount of detail · 2017-05-14T06:41:59.627Z · LW · GW

Yeah, I wasn't too specific on that. I do endorse the piece that jb55 quotes below, but I'm still figuring out what to tell people to do. I'll hopefully have more to say in the coming months.

Comment by jsalvatier on Reality has a surprising amount of detail · 2017-05-13T20:31:15.281Z · LW · GW

John Maxwell posted this quote:

The mystery is how a conception of the utility of outcomes that is vulnerable to such obvious counterexamples survived for so long. I can explain it only by a weakness of the scholarly mind that I have often observed in myself. I call it theory-induced blindness: once you have accepted a theory and used it as a tool in your thinking, it is extraordinarily difficult to notice its flaws. If you come upon an observation that does not seem to fit the model, you assume that there must be a perfectly good explanation that you are somehow missing. You give the theory the benefit of the doubt, trusting the community of experts who have accepted it.

-- Daniel Kahneman

Comment by jsalvatier on Submission and dominance among friends · 2017-03-30T01:48:25.036Z · LW · GW

I want you to come up to me, put your arm around me, ask me how I am and start telling me about the idea you’ve got. Show me you ought to be in charge, because right now I’m a little lost and you’re not.

My desire is not for some permanent power structure, but for other people to sometimes and temporarily take leadership with the expectation that I will probably do so in the future as well. I think one of the most valuable things I do is sit people down and say 'look, there's this problem you have that you don't see, but I think its fixable. You're stuck thinking of things as X, but actually Y.' And I wish people would return the favor more often.

In retrospect, I should have way more clear about this.

Comment by jsalvatier on Submission and dominance among friends · 2017-03-29T18:14:01.884Z · LW · GW

Yes, I was trying mostly to talk about #2. I like the dominance frame because I think this kind fluid dominance roles is the something like the Proper Use of Dominance. Dominance as enabling swift changes status to track changes in legitimate authority.

Seems like that wasn't really very clear though.

I think I want to additionally emphasize, people being comfortable temporarily taking responsibility for other people. Sometimes I want someone to come in and tell me I have a problem I don't see and how to solve it. I try to do this for others because I think its one of the most valuable services I can provide for people. Letting them see outside themselves.

Comment by jsalvatier on Submission and dominance among friends · 2017-03-29T17:49:41.996Z · LW · GW


Comment by jsalvatier on Submission and dominance among friends · 2017-03-29T03:34:32.164Z · LW · GW

Thanks :)

Comment by jsalvatier on Submission and dominance among friends · 2017-03-28T02:44:03.887Z · LW · GW

Thanks, had to make a new link.

Comment by jsalvatier on The "I Already Get It" Slide · 2017-02-10T22:35:45.961Z · LW · GW

There are certainly people who meet it better than others.

Comment by jsalvatier on The "I Already Get It" Slide · 2017-02-10T21:21:08.268Z · LW · GW

This comment on that post is especially relevant.

Comment by jsalvatier on The "I Already Get It" Slide · 2017-02-10T21:18:33.699Z · LW · GW

(Sorry for the long delay)

Ah, I see why you're arguing now.

(And an idea that works for central examples but fails for edge cases is an idea that fails.)

Ironically, this is not a universal criteria for the success of ideas. Sometimes its a very useful criteria (think mathematical proofs). Other times, its not a very useful idea (think 'choosing friends' or 'mathematical intuitions').

For example the idea of 'cat' fails for edge cases. Is this a cat? Sort of. Sort of not. But 'cat' is still a useful concept.

Concepts are clusters in thing space, and the concept that I am pointing at is also a cluster.

Comment by jsalvatier on The "I Already Get It" Slide · 2017-02-03T23:52:08.641Z · LW · GW

Maybe I'm still misunderstanding.

Comment by jsalvatier on The "I Already Get It" Slide · 2017-02-03T23:16:41.712Z · LW · GW

Ahhhh, maybe I see what you're complaining about

Are you primarily thinking of this as applying to creationists etc?

The part of the reason I put the caveat 'people about as reasonable as you' in the first place was to exclude that category of people from what I was talking about.

That is not the central category of people I'm suggesting this for. Also, I'm not clear on why you would think it was.

Comment by jsalvatier on The "I Already Get It" Slide · 2017-02-03T20:51:21.178Z · LW · GW

There's a point intermediate between "completely new" and "just being difficult".

Fair enough. To me, your previous words pattern matched very strongly to 'being difficult because they think this is dumb but don't want to say why because it seems like too much work' (or something). My mistake.

I didn't mean new to LW, I meant new to the questions you were posing and the answers you got.

Back on the topic at hand,

In order to do that I would have to assume that I know what questions are the right ones and that he does not. Assuming this would amount to assuming that I am right about the subject and he is wrong.

Consider the following: you meet a friend of a friend who seems reasonable enough, and they start telling you about their startup. They go on and on for a long time but try as you might, you can't figure out how on earth they're going to make money. Finally, you delicately ask "how do you intend to make money?". They give some wishy washy answer.

Here they have failed to ask a question that you know to be important. You know this quite definitely. Even if they thought that the question were somehow not relevant, if they knew it was usually relevant, they would probably explain why its not in this particular case. Much more likely that they are just not very good at thinking about startups.

Similarly, if they anticipate all of your objections and questions, you will probably think they are being pretty reasonable and be inclined to take them more seriously. And rightfully so, that's actually decent evidence.

in which case I am again assuming I am right about the subject

There's a middle ground between 'assuming I am right' and 'assuming they are right'. You can instead be unsure how likely they are to be right, and try to figure it out. One way you can figure it out is by trying to assess whether they seem like they are doing good epistemic things (like do they actually pause to think about things, do they try to understand people's points, do they respond to the actual question, do they make arguments that later turn out to be convincing, do they base things on believable numbers, do they present actual evidence for their views, etc. etc.)

Are you familiar with the idea of 'latent variables' from Bayesian statistics? Are you used to thinking about it in the context of people and the real world? The basic idea is that you can infer hidden properties of things by observing many things it affects (even if it only noisily affects them).

For example, you go to a small school and observe many students doing very impressive science experiments, you might then infer some hidden cause that causes the school to have smart students. Thus you might also guess that in several years, different students at the same school will do well on their SATs, even though that's not directly related to your actual observations.

I suspect thinking a bunch about latent variables in the real world might be useful for you. Especially as it relates to inferring where people are reasonable and how much they are. Especially the idea of using data from different topics to improve your estimate for a given topic (say using test scores from different students to improve your quality estimate for a specific student).

This might be a good starting point: (read until sec 2.3).

Comment by jsalvatier on The "I Already Get It" Slide · 2017-02-03T17:32:59.531Z · LW · GW

Your points have what seem to me like pretty obvious responses. If this is actually new to you, then I'm very happy to have this discussion.

But I suspect that you have some broader point. Perhaps you think my overall point is misguided or something. If that's the case, then I think you should come out and say it rather than what you're doing. I'm totally interested in thinking about and responding to actual points you have, but I'm only interested in having arguments that might actually change my mind or yours.

But again, if this is actually new, I'm very interested.

On your actual points:

Not being as sensible as me on these topics isn't the same thing as not being as sensible as me in general.

Sure, but they are also very closely related, and knowing about one will help you make inferences about the other.

without (in effect) first concluding that he's wrong on the topic

There are plenty of excellent ways to make educated guesses about how sensible someone is being in a given area.

For example, you might look at closely or not so closely related topics and see if they are sensible there. Or you might look at a few of their detailed arguments and see if they ask the questions you would ask (or similarly good ones). You can see if they respond to counterarguments in advance. You can see if they seem like they change their mind substantially based on evidence. etc. etc. etc.

But as I said, If this is actually new to you, I'm actually super excited to describe further.

Comment by jsalvatier on The "I Already Get It" Slide · 2017-02-03T16:05:39.801Z · LW · GW

At the very least, Jiro believes that they are not as sensible as him on those topics.

Comment by jsalvatier on The "I Already Get It" Slide · 2017-02-03T00:13:36.656Z · LW · GW

From the article

If Paul is at least as sensible as you are and his arguments sound weak or boring, you probably haven’t grokked his real internal reasons.

Comment by jsalvatier on The "I Already Get It" Slide · 2017-02-02T03:09:52.254Z · LW · GW

Not sure! If it was in the last couple months there's a good chance.

Comment by jsalvatier on The "I Already Get It" Slide · 2017-02-02T02:53:07.454Z · LW · GW


this disparity in strength of beliefs is in itself good evidence that there is information we are missing

That's a nice way of summarizing.

I would emphasize the difference between parsing the arguments they're explicitly making and understanding the reasons they actually hold the beliefs they do.

They may not be giving you the arguments that are the most relevant to you. After all, they probably don't know why you don't already believe what they do. They may be focusing on parts that are irrelevant for convincing you.

By the way, nice job trying to summarize my view. As you'll see in the coming weeks, that's close to the move I recommend for extracting people's intuitions. Just repeatedly try to make their argument for them.

Comment by jsalvatier on Funding the Reproducibility Crises as effective giving · 2017-01-27T06:50:48.448Z · LW · GW

Thanks, this was super useful context.

Seems like its more that the institutions are broken rather than few people caring. Or could be that most scientists don't care that much but a significant minority care a lot. And for that to cause lots of change you need money, but to get money you need the traditional funders (who don't care because most scientists don't care) or you need outside help.

Comment by jsalvatier on Thoughts on "Operation Make Less Wrong the single conversational locus", Month 1 · 2017-01-20T19:17:24.018Z · LW · GW

Reddit/HN seem like examples of extreme success, we should probably also not behave as if we will definitely enjoy extreme success.

Comment by jsalvatier on Thoughts on "Operation Make Less Wrong the single conversational locus", Month 1 · 2017-01-20T04:56:07.078Z · LW · GW

I make the suggestion because precisely because we will definitely lose that war.

Comment by jsalvatier on Thoughts on "Operation Make Less Wrong the single conversational locus", Month 1 · 2017-01-19T19:57:18.151Z · LW · GW

I wonder if we could find a scalable way of crossposting facebook and g+ comments? The way Jeff Kaufmann does on his blog (see the comments:

That would lower the frictions substantially.

Comment by jsalvatier on Improve comments by tagging claims · 2016-12-26T18:49:31.677Z · LW · GW

I think you may be misunderstanding why people focus on selection mechanisms. Selection mechanisms can have big effects on both the private status returns to quality in comments (~5x) and the social returns to quality (~1000x). Similar effects are much less plausible with treatment effects.

Claim: selection mechanisms are much more powerful than treatment effects.

I think people are using the heuristic: If you want big changes in behavior, focus on incentives.

Selection mechanisms can make relatively big changes in the private status returns to making high quality comments by making high quality comments much more recognized and visible. That makes the authors higher status, which gives them good reason to invest more in making the comments. If you get 1000x the audience when you make high quality comments, you're going to feel substantially higher status.

Selection mechanisms can make the social returns to quality much larger by focusing people's attention on high quality comments (whereas before, many people might have had difficulty identifying high quality even after reading it).

Comment by jsalvatier on LessWrong Help Desk - free paper downloads and more (2014) · 2015-05-30T23:44:39.069Z · LW · GW

It turns out Cochrane does provide their data. Very nice of them.

Also, at least in this case my own metanalysis based on their data perfectly replicated their results. The inefficiency I thought was there was not there.

Comment by jsalvatier on LessWrong Help Desk - free paper downloads and more (2014) · 2015-05-30T23:43:24.133Z · LW · GW

Metamed went out of business recently.

Comment by jsalvatier on Announcement: The Sequences eBook will be released in mid-March · 2015-03-03T05:53:53.858Z · LW · GW

Ah, I didn't realize you were also doing a print version.