Announcing the second AI Safety Camp

2018-06-11T18:59:48.794Z · score: 42 (14 votes)

Event: Effective Altruism Global X Berlin 2017

2017-09-30T07:33:16.866Z · score: 3 (3 votes)
Comment by lachouette on European Community Weekend 2017 · 2017-02-02T16:43:54.343Z · score: 9 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I just signed up. Three years ago this was my entry point into the wider community and I'm looking forward to being around again!

Comment by lachouette on Less Wrong Study Hall - Year 1 Retrospective · 2015-12-05T22:07:25.043Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Malcolm has since created a new chatroom, which runs independently of tinychat! It's still the same link as mentioned in my earlier comment. In addition, a chatroom for effective altruists (the EA Workspace) now exists as well.

The transition has been mostly smooth and everyone's used to the new format by now, I think.

Comment by lachouette on Less Wrong Study Hall: Now With 100% Less Tinychat · 2015-11-09T15:32:19.439Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

ALL HAIL MALCOLM OCEAN THE SAVIOUR.

Seriously though, great work and so many thanks for ridding us from Tinychat. :)

Note that you do not (and will never) need a Complice account to access the page. Signing up for Complice adds, well, the Complice-inherent features that aren't essential to the functioning of the chat itself.

Comment by lachouette on Announcing the Complice Less Wrong Study Hall · 2015-11-05T18:55:08.445Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Update: As of now, we switched to Malcolm's own chat (which is at the same link as he provided). This means it's not an embedded tinychat channel anymore, and the old tinychat room still exists, but is empty.

Comment by lachouette on Announcing the Complice Less Wrong Study Hall · 2015-11-05T18:53:09.693Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

(Note: if you're confused because it's not asking you for a password, that's because Malcolm replaced the embedded tinychat channel with his own chat. So we're finally rid of the bane of tinychat!)

Comment by lachouette on Less Wrong Study Hall - Year Two · 2015-08-23T19:54:21.555Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Unfortunately, these owls are not being produced anymore so the link doesn't lead anywhere useful. Anyone who still wants one can buy up the rests by the resellers (try googling "Mars&More tweed owl" or similar). I think there's still a few Terrys and Levis to be bought, e.g. on Amazon.

Jkadlubo also found a cheaper spinoff with somewhat different design on a Polish interior decor website, so there's that.

[Edit: or contact me and I'll help you find one if I can.]

Meetup : Less Wrong NH Meet-up

2015-08-10T16:50:03.041Z · score: 3 (4 votes)
Comment by lachouette on European Community Weekend 2015 - Followup · 2015-07-06T22:13:38.174Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

We did have 6 owls, one eagle, a duck, an octopus and an angry bird, to count only the plush toys I remember right now. I think we were missing a six feet plush crocodile though. It was oddly bird-centered.

Comment by lachouette on European Community Weekend 2015 - Followup · 2015-07-06T21:31:54.643Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In case you're wondering why there were only 74 participants: 80 people signed up, but 6 did not attend and didn't give notice, so the spaces could not be filled.

European Community Weekend 2015 - Followup

2015-07-06T21:20:29.983Z · score: 18 (19 votes)
Comment by lachouette on Open Thread, Jun. 29 - Jul. 5, 2015 · 2015-07-03T10:48:30.768Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I tried to find some first messages that I liked, to give some better examples, but since I tended to message people first myself, there really isn't that much.

Messages I responded positively to: http://i.imgur.com/HPYo0Eg.png http://i.imgur.com/HPYo0Eg.png http://i.imgur.com/3vXiZqj.png (German)

(longer) messages I disliked: http://i.imgur.com/I2Jkuzd.png (this one is German from a guy trying to be funny. It's so cringey that I actually didn't answer at all. I'm unsure about the match percentage but it was probably < 95%)

I'm not the best person to ask for examples of good first messages by guys.

Comment by lachouette on Open Thread, Jun. 29 - Jul. 5, 2015 · 2015-07-03T10:25:33.695Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't recall individual messages (it was 4 years ago). Trying to look through my messages folder, but I might have deleted some to save space. There were no longer messages I didn't answer. Usually contact broke off after a few messages though.

Reasons I could imagine for not answering:

  • looking at their profile, not being particularly interested, wanting to answer out of politeness but continually forgetting to (i.e. other things being more important)
  • hm, I remember a really nice guy I wrote back and forth with and eventually I stopped answering, partly because he had a really negative outlook on life and that made it uncomfortable to think about the content of the messages. If a first message sparked any negative feelings (maybe if it sounded very desperate?) I might have felt ughy enough about it to not answer.

It doesn't look like that actually happened for first replies, so those are just guesses. Maybe they are reasons for other people to not reply to a first message.

Also, there are not a lot of people with match factor 95% upwards.

Comment by lachouette on Open Thread, Jun. 29 - Jul. 5, 2015 · 2015-07-01T21:21:04.057Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Agreement on CBHacking's points.

I found the match factor to be very predictive. With an ex-boyfriend of mine, the boyfriend I found via okc and a more recent one I had 99% match, though the maximum height of the match factor is constrained by amount of questions answered and the way you answer them, so you might not get that high in the first place. 95% is really decent, I never found anyone <80% interesting enough to talk to for longer.

For the enemy thing I recommend checking the answers marked "unacceptable" that go into the factor calculation. Sometimes these come merely from interpreting a question differently.

I'm open to describing which strategies would work for me (24, female, white, European), but I am not sure how much they generalise. I rely on profile text quite heavily for getting an impression of the other person and will often send the first message. I'm informed that isn't typical though.

Some types of messages I got: 1.) mass messages Just "Hi" or "Hi :)" or "Hi how r u" or similar. These are very common. I tried to talk to some of those people and the conversations tended to be extremely boring, uncreative and the people lacked raw intelligence (e.g. they would not understand irony).

2.) creepy and/or sexual (mass) messages The usual expected "Are u into casual sex?" or similar, but also "I like your white skin". I haven't seen people be creepy on purpose. But my experience on the site might have been somewhat more sheltered than average.

[Edit: Actually looked through my old messages, found some examples. I think the second person counts as "creepy on purpose. http://i.imgur.com/3eRozU9.png and http://i.imgur.com/iAX9Id9.png ]

My general observation was that > 70% of the people who send short messages appeared to lack what I would have considered baseline intelligence. Some of them are also incredibly desperate. I haven't seen a lot of unfriendly messages and most of them could be declared my own doing, since I tended to get impatient in situations where people evidently didn't read a single line of my profile (e.g. asking "are you single?" when this is literally in the header of your profile).

3.) profile-related comments Not always for dating, just pointing out a single thing they liked or asking a single question. Really appreciated, might lead to talking more but in my experience these often weren't dating-related.

4.) more elaborate (up to several paragraphs) messages Always with reference to something I wrote on my profile. Generally friendly, intelligent people, I enjoyed the conversations (and friendships) resulting from this.

If she has a long profile text, a reference to or question about one or more of those things is strongly recommended. That's what the thing is for - if you don't find any of it interesting, you probably won't find her interesting either. Writing long texts costs a lot of time, so it's disappointing to see people just skip it.

I didn't spend a whole lot of time on okc available, but during that time I got ~8 messages a day. I tried to answer all the longer ones, but it's painful to turn people away and I personally understand if people don't reply at all even to a multiple-paragraph-message. Maybe that helps with understanding the large amount of "silent rejections". I'd recommend making a first message not longer than 2 paragraphs, so you don't have so much sunk cost.

Personally I solved the flood of messages by asking people to send me a short message, after which I'd take a look at their profile and answer if I was interested. This was optimal for me since it reduced the guilt over not answering carefully-crafted messages and I was judging based on profile anyways.

There's an excellent longer post somewhere on LW about how to write a good profile. Okc itself has a few interesting blog posts e.g. about the optimal length of a first message. I'm open to answering questions should that be useful.

Comment by lachouette on Open Thread, Jun. 29 - Jul. 5, 2015 · 2015-07-01T20:35:15.042Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I can confirm that for my case - when I (female) removed my picture from Okcupid, it had the (desirable, then) effect that I didn't get any messages whatsoever anymore, over the space of ~6 months. I might have gotten a non-zero amount if I hadn't stated on my profile that I wasn't looking for relationships at the time, but even with that clear statement I still got messages every once in a while during the time I had the picture up. I didn't try experimenting with a more/less attractive picture.

I got the impression that many people just look at the profile and don't even check the relationship status at the top of the profile.

Comment by lachouette on Open Thread, Jun. 29 - Jul. 5, 2015 · 2015-07-01T20:28:28.625Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I'd have liked you to phrase the first sentence as "I wouldn't recommend online dating to men."

I mean, I'm aware that there are 10-15% women on this site, but let's not accidentally exclude them. Especially for nerdy/geeky/intellectual women, okcupid is in my experience a really great place. I got the impression that I was able to find people that were much more similar to me than anyone else I knew from my university environment - which lead to a few friendships and my longest relationship to date.

It's true that my male friends' experiences were usually less successful. It doesn't have to be your only strategy though.

Comment by lachouette on European Community Weekend 2015 Impressions Thread · 2015-06-29T14:24:42.063Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Christian and Richard already addressed your concerns well. Yes, this was a community event, not a conference. We wanted people to find friends and create (deep) connections - you don't get that nearly as much with intellectual conversations.

We're not rational agents, but sophisticated apes, more or less. Most people have social needs for security, closeness, empathy, sharing emotions and so on. We were trying to address that by introducing the relating games and a space for relaxing and cuddling, while (hopefully) not pressuring anyone to participate. It seems that overall we succeeded at this.

Comment by lachouette on Announcing the Complice Less Wrong Study Hall · 2015-04-26T13:07:19.109Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

As tkadlubo says, most people choose to visit as guests. Otherwise you are free to create an account on tinychat.com and visit the chat after logging in, which is what I do. It allows you to PM people and potentially become a moderator, neither of which are necessary for just participating in the pomodoros.

Comment by lachouette on Less Wrong Study Hall - Year 1 Retrospective · 2015-04-05T10:29:42.009Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

(replying here for visibility)

By the way, Malcolm has fulfilled some of the Study Hall users' wishes by embedding the tinychat hall in his Complice website: http://lesswrong.com/lw/lqz/announcing_the_complice_less_wrong_study_hall/

Unfortunately it's still tinychat and therefore just as buggy, but it now has a timer! And you can see tasks of other users! That means that breaks are cut off somewhat more abruptly, but they no longer run over. Overall the hall got more awesome! Password stays "lw", you don't need to be a Complice user to access the site.

The new room can be found here.

Comment by lachouette on Less Wrong Study Hall - Year 1 Retrospective · 2015-04-05T10:21:46.301Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How would one implement such a thing? Who should I ask to make it happen? I presume someone responsible for the site content, but I don't know who to ask.

... to take this onto a more action-oriented level.

Comment by lachouette on European Community Weekend 2015 · 2015-01-31T10:07:42.611Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Technically that wasn't correct at the time you wrote it (since there were 47 attendants at last year's LWCW), but we now certainly have enough to break that record!

Comment by lachouette on Could you be Prof Nick Bostrom's sidekick? · 2014-12-10T13:02:33.166Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think it's obvious that would be the best approach.

This forum is as internal as it gets without asking potential candidates via email or in person.

Both approaches are valid, but they optimize to attract different people. The gist that I get from this job ad is that they are looking for someone who is a good assistant while being passionate about effective altruism, willing to help indirectly rather than promote their own ego and eager to find creative ways to improve themselves and Bostrom's workflow. My guess is that they would prefer someone less experienced to a person for whom this is just another assistant job, provided that the less experienced person views the role as a challenge to grow into. If the thing that they are optimizing for is work experience/existing skills, I agree that it would be better to match the writing style to standardized assistant job ads. In that case, they might as well post it on the matching sites. Best would be obviously to have someone who fills all the criteria perfectly, but it's going to be hard to come by a person with extensive experience who does not already have a better project to work on or is willing to accept what I'm sure will be a very low salary.

The description as is was much more interesting to me than a standard job ad would have been. I don't think I would have applied if it had read like the standard job ad. That said, I am not trying to argue the description is perfect, just that I prefer the type of description.

tl;dr: If you want excited people to apply, don't post a boring job ad.

Comment by lachouette on Could you be Prof Nick Bostrom's sidekick? · 2014-12-10T09:18:20.278Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you for voicing your worries. It's important we discuss this aspect as well, and I hadn't taken that into account when I posted the comment about "sidekicks".

The "sexual innuendo" part was surprising to me - I (female, 24y) didn't get that impression from reading the post and neither did any of the smart, young people I showed it to. Maybe we were talking with people in different social circles (my friends are already EAs for the most part). You're right that phrasing it as "sidekick" makes it look more cultish. I'm not sure what the tradeoff is between making a joke/attracting people for whom this sounds appealing and not appearing sketchy/culty.

I would assume that it's phrased in a very general way because it's not actually determined yet. It depends on what the candidate is able to do well. Nonetheless, more examples could have been given. Would you have preferred that?

Do you have suggestions to rephrase the quoted parts? I have trouble coming up with something more professional that says the same thing myself.

Comment by lachouette on Where is the line between being a good child and taking care of oneself? · 2014-12-05T10:02:49.955Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

hugs

There's a lot of good comments on this already, so I won't add another one in the same spirit. I feel with you and I hope you can resolve this conflict in a way that's good for you.

I know we've talked about this briefly in the Study Hall, but I'd like to mention it again here: Your mileage may vary, but I got a lot out of reading "Dance of Anger". It's exactly about how to navigate situations in which you feel angry or frustrated and how to use that anger constructively without lashing out or letting it boil internally while not showing it to anyone.

It's not expensive as a kindle version, and an easy read. You can probably get most value out of it in two hours.

Comment by lachouette on Could you be Prof Nick Bostrom's sidekick? · 2014-12-05T09:49:09.931Z · score: 27 (28 votes) · LW · GW

I would hope that this is exactly the right forum to for this approach. Acknowledging that their own "impact per working hour" is probably less than Bostrom's... is the least I would expect from someone claiming to honestly evaluate their own skills.

I agree that the approach as summarized by you isn't very appealing, but to me the ad doesn't read like this. It's a difficult job to do well, and can be prestigious. Whether it is depends on the framing you apply.

Comment by lachouette on Could you be Prof Nick Bostrom's sidekick? · 2014-12-05T09:39:49.374Z · score: 20 (20 votes) · LW · GW

Better framing: "Want to be Nick Bostrom's sidekick?"

... I'd take it.

Comment by lachouette on 3-day Solstice in Leipzig, Germany: small, nice, very low cost, includes accommodation, 19th-21st Dec · 2014-10-19T15:57:59.977Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm happy to take part this year! :)

On a different note, this would read a lot better if you'd spellchecked it before posting.

European Community Weekend 2015

2014-10-19T15:02:46.069Z · score: 25 (26 votes)
Comment by lachouette on Cryonics in Europe? · 2014-10-11T17:16:31.485Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Hi Roland, since I'm currently in the process of signing up for cryonics I have looked into this a bit too. There are indeed no other options (yet), and I would personally be wary about trusting a new institute, anyways. There has been a number of institutes before that went bankrupt before or failed due to personal conflict amongst the founders, so this is definitely a concern. I also don't know how a for-profit model like KrioRus's will work for cryonics. I live in Germany and I've been informed that the transportation of the body over the border is tricky, but they might have added more options by now. That said, in some cases where institutes failed to survive, the bodies were transported and stored with Alcor before, so not all might be lost.

About your questions: 1.) This seems to be a question of what you think future technology is capable of. I've heard that considering what medicine is capable of at present, the damage cannot be repaired. There is still formation of ice crystals and macroscopic breaks of the tissue when the body freezes from outside to inside. That of course doesn't mean it will be impossible in the future too, though. However, it might be more practical to scan the body and build a new one or upload rather than repairing the broken one.

2.) It depends on your country. I know there are efforts to work together with embalmers in Germany, so if that goes well they would be able to perform the vitrification process in Germany and fly the body to the US without further damage. I think there is a working team in England that will provide first care, but I'm unsure what that entails and whether they will fly to other countries as well.

Take my words with a grain of salt - a lot of this information is what I recall from a presentation on the topic I recently heard and I don't have in-depth knowledge of the topic. If you want to talk to a better-informed member of the German cryonics association (DGAB), I will happily put you in contact.

Comment by lachouette on European Community Weekend 2014 retrospective · 2014-05-04T14:48:32.164Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That was one of the cases where my preferences were too nuanced for the keywords/stickers. I was fine with hugs from everyone, but would have preferred to be asked for cuddles first. And the long hug you gave me was, from my point of view, cuddling. It prompted thoughts like "Why is he the cuddling right away? Is he trying to initiate more than just friendly conversation? Should I get some distance between us to signal that I'm not interested?" and that made me uncomfortable though system II agreed that there wasn't any way you could have told that I would have preferred you to ask (before reading my physical reaction). Talking about it fixed that system I feeling of "needing to get some distance", so it's good that we did that. :)

Did you consider asking me whether your impression (that I was uncomfortable with the cuddling) was true, before I gave you that feedback?

(For clarity, where you say "Hugging is at the rand of my comfort zone" you mean "... at the edge of my comfort zone". It might not be obvious to non-German readers, so I'm pointing it out.)

Comment by lachouette on Tell Culture · 2014-04-06T10:39:02.822Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Actually when a person is hurt they might not be in a state of mind to phrase it like that. I know that I tend to focus on the feeling of being hurt first, and it is incredibly difficult to not react indirectly with defensiveness which would be directed at something other than "I guess you don't find me interesting", because that shows vulnerability. A person (like unreflected me) might instinctively attack in a different area to "retaliate" to what they felt was a surprise attack on their self-worth. I am working on this, but I doubt most people with this problem are.

Which should be kept in mind, I think: I agree with ChristianKI that open communication is preferable here, but in a situation where you create emotions in the other person they might find it impossible to stay rational even if their system 2 wants to.

Solution? I actually do like the idea of ending useless conversations very much. I would rephrase it less bluntly which reduces the confrontation. What bothers me about this one is definite statements, e.g. "We should stop". It implies you expect the other person to have the same opinion as you, which isn't in the spirit of Tell Culture.

Suggestion: "I got the feeling that this conversation is not really helping me right now. What is your impression on this? If you agree with me, perhaps we could switch topics?" (or offer to shift the conversation into a specific direction that you would enjoy)

Generally I would match the carefulness to my impression of how much the other person enjoys the conversation.

Comment by lachouette on Less Wrong Study Hall - Year 1 Retrospective · 2014-04-02T19:30:15.619Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Tkadlubo has used this at work consistently (and with video) in the past year. Marcel can't broadcast a video from his office, but he shares his screen instead, which is perhaps even better for productivity. Both are comporate employees. It probably depends on your employer if you can have it running, but it seems worth a shot to ask (or to just try and see if someone complains).

Comment by lachouette on Less Wrong Study Hall - Year 1 Retrospective · 2014-03-10T16:33:33.479Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In fact, there is another try going on right now - the post was written before it happened. :) Anyone who wants to take part can contact me, redacted, tkadlubo or error.

I am hopeful that this time we will be able set up something awesome. ^_^

Comment by lachouette on Less Wrong Study Hall - Year 1 Retrospective · 2014-03-10T13:39:27.884Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you for writing this excellent post, error. I know a lot of time went into this in the last months. The Study Hall does need to be more visible and posts like this, especially on main, help in showing more people that this exists.

Comment by lachouette on Less Wrong Study Hall - Year 1 Retrospective · 2014-03-10T13:22:42.435Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I would be happy to see you back in the Hall, hamnox! :)

Comment by lachouette on Akrasia Tactics Review 2: The Akrasia Strikes Back · 2014-02-21T16:04:42.637Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Concerning the Study Hall, it's still active and we get way better coverage now. It might not work for everyone but it's definitely worth a try.

Comment by lachouette on Breaking the chain of akrasia · 2014-01-10T09:24:32.919Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Incidentally, I know a place where a lot of productive people spend their time and that is a good setting to discuss akrasia while already tackling the problem: the Lesswrong Study Hall. The password is "lw".

It is a tinychat room made in March 2013 as a 24/7 surrounding for co-working and we get pretty good coverage by now, so there should be someone around at most times of time zone. It is for people who struggle with procrastination, but obviously the regulars who are around most are productive people themselves.

How it works: We do pomodoros together, each on their own project, and spend the breaks chatting. A more elaborate explanation can be found here. It's not only a great way to get to work, but also a social space that allows to exchange advice (on procrastination, but also a variety of other topics) and build friendships.

Comment by lachouette on Co-Working Collaboration to Combat Akrasia · 2013-11-19T10:47:06.098Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Please note that the Study Hall is password-protected as of today. The password is "lw". The relevant discussion post (explaining why we chose a password) is available here: link

Comment by lachouette on LW Study Hall - 2 Month Update · 2013-11-19T10:37:07.701Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Please note that the Study Hall is password-protected as of today. The password is "lw". The relevant discussion post (explaining why we chose a password) is available here: link

Comment by lachouette on LessWrong Study Hall will be password-protected · 2013-11-19T10:26:22.636Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

No, unfortunately not. I don't know tinychat well, but I don't think data on that is available anywhere, so the only way to estimate it would be to ask people. (I also keep a list of new additions in the order I met them, so I can roughly say if there have been more or less new people around lately, but this is not accurate/complete/what you asked for.)

Comment by lachouette on LessWrong Study Hall will be password-protected · 2013-11-19T10:22:12.302Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The password is in place now. If you know someone who does not frequent LW and might not have read this, please contact them.

Comment by lachouette on LW Study Hall - 2 Month Update · 2013-10-04T12:11:38.607Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, tinychat isn't really optimal.

The idea to move it to google hangouts has been around for a while. The problem with it was that creating a permanent hangout is difficult, as far as I know.

You're welcome to look into solutions for that problem though! :) Maybe you can also find a solution for the library not allowing it for now. Maybe a proxy?

Comment by lachouette on Zombies! Zombies? · 2013-08-11T09:27:20.179Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Replying to (1):

That misses the point. No one can possibly show any logical contradiction in the hypothesis that zombies exist, because those who postulate it have not made their claim falsifiable. As in, there is no observable difference between a world with zombies versus one without them. Similarly, I could claim my room is filled with scientifically undetectable, invisible fairies and you would not be able to logically refute this claim. I don't believe your inability to disprove it would make it any less laughable, however. The fact that the hypothesis is unfalsifiable says something about Chalmer, not about Eliezer.

To be honest, I wonder why a philosopher would go on those lengths to argue for something that has no impact on the world whatsoever.

Comment by lachouette on Heat vs. Motion · 2013-08-04T13:33:22.371Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I've searched all those comments because I couldn't believe I'm the only one bothered by that. The difference is actually hardly trivial; "H20" suggests there is a molecule made from 20 connected hydrogen atoms! The missing subscript doesn't help (isn't there a way to make subscript the number?). Of course I know it wasn't deliberate, and I guess no reader would interpret is as anything else but "water". For the sake of completion I would appreciate an edit, though.

Comment by lachouette on LW Study Hall - 2 Month Update · 2013-05-12T21:38:51.841Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Personally I've actually already covered the university spring break with this chat. I'm not sure how it's for other students, but I don't actually get fixed holidays, I get "lecture-free time", with a lot of internships, exams and such. Then those lecture-free times aren't synchronized in different countries, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. I'm actually looking forward to using my pomodoros for things that are more about personal development than university in the summer break.

Comment by lachouette on LW Study Hall - 2 Month Update · 2013-05-12T21:34:01.247Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with BerryPick on the optimal amount of people. Usually it gets more fun with more people, but for disciplined working you don't need more than two people that are actually around. You should maybe try and see for yourself what works best. The schedule for the following week should be full enough to pick a time where at least one person is around.

Comment by lachouette on LW Study Hall - 2 Month Update · 2013-05-12T16:13:45.642Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks, it should be fixed now.

Comment by lachouette on LW Study Hall - 2 Month Update · 2013-05-12T10:12:45.709Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I reposted this comment on discussion because I think more people need to consider visiting the chat, but as someone who almost never posts anything, I wasn't sure if that's proper "posting protocol". I'd be glad about feedback concerning that.

LW Study Hall - 2 Month Update

2013-05-12T10:03:12.547Z · score: 30 (33 votes)
Comment by lachouette on Co-Working Collaboration to Combat Akrasia · 2013-05-11T13:47:52.554Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Two months have passed and I’m glad to say the LW Study Hall on tinychat is still active and alive. Since judging from the comments it kind of looks like we’ve moved on from tinychat, a review like this might be useful for anyone who hasn’t been there yet.

My first sessions on the chat were driven more by curiosity than anything else since I didn’t believe it would be really effective for me – I’ve felt that I procrastinate too much, but it never occurred to me that working together with other people might make me more effective. I was proven wrong.

Since those first sessions I’ve been online almost every day and got to see different people come and go, and some people stay. It didn’t take long for me to feel like a part of the “chat community”, and to feel motivated to work to see the regulars more often, some of which I might even consider friends now. The atmosphere is friendly, people make an active effort to integrate newcomers in the “community” and I have yet to see an argument that isn’t constructive. Though the breaks are a bit flexible, people usually don’t overstretch it and it’s generally good practice not to chat during a working phase. More introverted people can participate without taking part in the chat much and without broadcasting video.

So, what makes this chat so effective in combating procrastination? Pomodoros are the “flow” of the chat. Since you’re working with other people, you are much more likely to stick to the pomodoro cycle than if you set those constraints for yourself. That doesn’t just mean you keep the breaks relatively short, but you also don’t work too long. I find that if I work alone, I tend to keep at it for longer than I can keep concentrated. When I do take a break I don’t really have anything else to do, so I might start to procrastinate, leading to a work cycle where the “breaks” can be as long as the working phases. This has been my main issue with structuring my working day, and I was more surprised than I probably should have been to see that problem solved by working in a group. Judging from my own experiences and those of others I believe everyone struggling with akrasia should at least try if it works for him/her. For those who struggle with akrasia more, it might be useful to combine several techniques such as precommitting to fixed working dates, showing your screen on camera or finding someone on the chat who will remind you (e.g. via skype) to show up again if you’ve been absent for longer (or any number of other methods like beeminder).

There are a few issues with the chat, especially that tinychat isn’t always stable. The limited options have also been subject of complaints, but it’s so far the best thing we’ve found. I’m optimistic that a better option will be found or created in the long term – the more people frequent the chat, the more likely it gets. Covering all time slots hasn’t worked out perfectly, but we usually have good “coverage” during the UTC afternoon/evening, so that is probably a good time to try. In case the chat is empty, don’t be discouraged, just try again later. I will try to put as many of my working hours in the precommitment schedule (link on top of the chat window) and hope others will do so more often too, so it’s possible to sync up working time.

Over these two months the lesswrong chat has become a substantial part of my life that I really want to keep, ideally for much longer. While it is no longer an experiment for me, I want to invite you to try it, if you haven’t already. I’d be glad to welcome you on the chat anytime. :)

Comment by lachouette on Vegetarianism · 2012-11-05T19:58:00.939Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Okay, I realize I'm pretty late for a reply to this post, but anyway: Yes, I did try to make a rational decision about my diet. In my case that was a step to being a vegan, but I don't think that's very relevant in this context.

I'm surprised no one else commented on this, but maybe that's due to other reasons than lack of people who decide on their diet using rational thinking.

About 2 years ago, I heard of a book called "Eating animals" by Jonathan S. Foer and felt that this might be an okay source to get some insight in a subject I didn't know much about; the live of farm animals. The book provided a lot of insights and sources and the author seemed to try being as unbiased as possible, while giving a very close insight in how animals live under different farming conditions. I reacted very emotionally to the book. So I guess my decision wasn't completely rational, but I do think the arguments are watertight if you look at factory farming and your premises are the same as mine (as in, definition of suffering, whether suffering (of animals) should be diminished, ...). I did make a conscious effort to decide rationally.

Actually the author was in favor of becoming a vegetarian (which I was already, for more vague reasons, when I read the book) but from the arguments alone I immediately thought going vegan was the best option. It was a significant hurdle to go from that thought to being a vegan in practice, with thoughts like "But I like [unvegan food option]!" "Me a vegan? I never associated with that label" "Won't I be a pain for other people to live around?".

Anyway: Feeling the appropriate emotion about the facts doesn't make a decision less rational. I am a very empathic person and that made it easier for me to stay with the choice. Two other people I know switched to a vegan diet after I spoke to them, both involved with rational thinking. So that would make three.