Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on [deleted post] 2017-06-04T16:56:29.637Z

I want to know why you consider Diego Caleiro is evil.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Low Hanging fruit for buying a better life · 2017-03-16T11:36:03.477Z · LW · GW

If you are a Linux user, learn Colemak instead of Dvorak. It's available in almost every distribution (and probably easy to install on Windows as well, but I rarely use Windows). It's both more ergonomic than Dvorak and is much closer to QWERTY, which means it's easier to learn and you retain most of your keyboard shortcuts (e.g. Ctrl+Z/X/C/V etc).

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Low Hanging fruit for buying a better life · 2017-03-16T11:33:39.686Z · LW · GW

Alan Turing chained his mug to battery pipes so people wouldn't steal it.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Revitalizing Less Wrong seems like a lost purpose, but here are some other ideas · 2016-06-16T02:43:13.405Z · LW · GW

Rationality Reading Group was mostly dead, which is very sad (although many thanks to Gram_Stone for doing it anyway!). Mainly, I guess, because it wasn't promoted and advertized in any way.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Rationality: From AI to Zombies · 2016-05-01T22:02:02.311Z · LW · GW

My opinion: remove Bayesian Judo and add Whining-Based Communities. Seriously, Whining-Based Communities is the most powerful article I've ever read on LW, it symbolizes what rationality is about most of all. The point of rationality is achieving your goals despite cognitive biases, signaling, self-delusion, mysterious answers etc. It's very easy to brainwash yourself into thinking that you are “doing a good job”. It's very hard to put extra effort into actually doing what is the most effective, because it might go against your habits, self-image, intuitions, convictions etc.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Abuse of Productivity Systems · 2016-04-06T17:58:09.921Z · LW · GW

I think you are absolutely spot on. Fear is a key to many failures of human behavior, and I want to think more about that.

Interestingly, many time management systems like Zen to Done and Do It Tomorrow do set up a form of commitments for a day or for a week. ZTD has:

3) plan. Habit: set MITs [Most Important Tasks] for week, day. Each week, list the Big Rocks that you want to accomplish, and schedule them first. Each day, create a list of 1-3 MITs (basically your Big Rocks for the day) and be sure to accomplish them. Do your MITs early in the day to get them out of the way and to ensure that they get done.

Do It Tomorrow has a concept of a closed list in contrast to a todo-list. Every time you go to sleep you compile a list of tasks for tomorrow that you absolutely definitely gonna do. It's realistic to expect yourself to not succeed at too many things, so your closed list might contain only one task. But the fact is, you do only things on the closed list, and not add anything on top of it.

The idea of setting up a commitment for a day, or a commitment for a week, sounds sorta like applying the concept of Pomodoro for a larger time frame. During Pomodoro you aren't allowed to not do the task at hand (which implies you aren't allowed being distracted), and here you aren't allowed to not do what you already planned for a week.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Abuse of Productivity Systems · 2016-04-05T15:09:23.903Z · LW · GW

V'z cebonoyl ercrngvat jung ZeZvaq unir nyernql fnvq va bgure jbeqf, ohg V jnag gb guebj vg bhg naljnl, ng yrnfg nf n cenpgvpny rkrepvfr. V haqrefgbbq va lbhe ivqrb gung lbh vzcyl gung qvssrerag gvzr znantrzrag flfgrzf ner tbbq sbe qvssrerag checbfrf, urapr nohfr bs cebqhpgvivgl flfgrzf. Juvyr V guvax r.t. cbzbqbeb pna or nohfrq, vg'f irel irefngvyr naq Fnyyl pbhyq fbyir gur wbo-frrxvat ceboyrz hfvat cbzbqbeb, fb gur ceboyrz vf abg jvgu juvpu rknpg cebqhpgvivgl flfgrz lbh'er hfvat.

Vafgrnq, V guvax vg obvyf qbja gb uvtu rkcrpgngvbaf. Guvf vf n jryy-xabja cbvag, naq znal crbcyr ernyvmr gurl unir haernyvfgvpnyyl uvtu rkcrpgngvbaf naq gung qrzbgvingrf gurz, ohg gurl pna'g svk vg. N sevraq bs zvar fnvq fur jnf n irel tbbq fjvzzre n srj lrnef ntb, ohg fur qbrfa'g jnag gb fjvz ng nyy, orpnhfr vs fur qbrf, fur'yy qb vg cbbeyl, pbzcnerq gb gur crnx fur bapr unq. Fur nyernql rkcrevrapr uhtr qrzbgvingvba nsgre n genhzn, jura fur fgnegrq fjvzzvat ntnva ohg cresbezrq zhpu jbefr. Fur haqrefgnaqf gung vg'f whfg haernfbanoyr qrznaq sebz barfrys, naq fur fubhyq fjvz sbe ure bja cyrnfher, ohg fur'f fgvyy qrzbgvingrq.

Nyyra Pnee va uvf obbx Gur Bayl Jnl gb Fgbc Fzbxvat Creznaragyl erpnyyf n fgbel. Gurer jnf n terng tbysre Urael Ybatuhefg, jub jnf nqberq ol tbys snaf. Jura ur dhvg tbysvat, ur jebgr: “V pnaabg gryy lbh gur hggre wbl bs gur zna jub unf svanyyl tvira hc tbys”. Jura Pnee, nivq tbysre uvzfrys, ernq guvf ur pbhyqa'g oryvrir uvf rlrf. Gung jnf n oynfcurzl! Ubj pna lbh fnl gung nobhg n tnzr lbh qribgrq lbhe yvsr gb?

Ur gura ernyvmrq gung Urael oerngurq jvgu eryvrs orpnhfr jura lbh cynl tbys sbe gur svefg gvzr, lbh znxr zvfgnxrf nyy gur gvzr, ohg lbh qba'g pner, vg'f sha, lbh unir n tbbq gvzr. Ohg jura lbh orpbzr n cebsrffvbany, lbh tebj va fxvyy zber naq zber, lbh fgneg gb rkcrpg lbhefrys gb cresbez cresrpgyl. Naq vs lbh znxr n zvfgnxr, lbh pna'g sbetvir lbhefrys, orpnhfr vg znxrf lbh n znffvir ybfre. Gur fgerff bs jung vf fhccbfrq gb or n sha npgvivgl orpbzrf haornenoyr.

V guvax Obo'f zvfgnxr vf gung ur envfrq gur fgnxrf naq fgnegrq rkcrpgvat uvzfrys gb yrnea Trezna rnfvyl, naq vs vg qbrfa'g eha synjyrffyl, gura ur'f n ybfre.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Abuse of Productivity Systems · 2016-04-05T14:43:09.108Z · LW · GW

Exactly. It's like how classrooms are supposed to work. I'm much more motivated to engage with this post, then those that simply state a certain truth. If an article simply explains a certain mechanism, I'll read it, say “yeah, that makes sense, I agree with this”, close an article and completely forget about its contents. It's like article wasn't effective at all, even though it's technically correct.

I think this post's style combines 2 things: gamification and the fact that you can't learn math without doing exercises. Gamification because it's like solving a logical puzzle, it's fun, and it's also not too hard so that I give up immediately, and not too easy, so that I actually spend some time thinking. And the exercises, well there's a reason why Khan Academy or simply doing exercises in textbooks is crucial to understand math, and it's the same here, I work back and forth, trying to figure out the answer, it helps understanding the idea better and remember it for longer.

I think there's probably a very deep problem with the Web, having to do with how people procrastinate and devote time/effort/flow to things. It may be that internet articles are super-ineffective and will always be, at least in a certain form. When you are on the Web, and you use your browser, you have lots of tabs open simultaneously, your "workspace" is cluttered. Facebook messages there, several interesting articles here. And the computer itself, even if it's a laptop, it's not something you can easily manipulate in the same way you can a book.

So when you read some interesting article, you usually aren't in a state of flow. And even if you are in a flow, you aren't in the mood that says "I'm doing something serious and I should put much intellectual effort into it". Therefore reading a book online is infeasible, but reading some short engaging and humorous article is. When I say infeasible I mean most of the time when we are behind the computer screen, we're in the context, where we don't feel like or don't expect ourselves to concentrate heavily and not distract ourselves.

So articles optimize for clickbaity headlines, easy read, shortness. They adjust to lack of concentration and unwillingness to actively work on the reader's part. And then you read an article, find it interesting and insightful, and its contents are completely washed out from your brain 5 minutes later. Even if the article contained actually valuable knowledge and was technically correct.

There's a deeper thing going. First, recognition is not recall: just because you go "O! I know that! This makes total sense!" doesn't mean you gonna actually remember it. Second, people are very good at pattern-matching. So good, actually, that when they gain new information, they jump to conclusions and think "Your thing X is like the thing Y that I already know or heard of". The moment they prematurely equate two different phenomena based on superficial similarity, they stop paying attention and thinking, because they think they already understood it.

Suppose there is an article with condensed, yet correct and without omissions, information, for example a self-help advice. And there's an equivalent book with the same self-help advice, but it's verbose, long-winded and not necessarily easy to read. I suspect that on average the book will be more effective, not simply because of length or other properties, but mainly because people read books in certain contexts and moods, where they expect to put effort and concentration, where they expect themselves to be in a state of flow. If that is true, maybe we should rethink the whole writing and reading articles on the Web business.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Abuse of Productivity Systems · 2016-04-05T14:03:39.945Z · LW · GW

Is “time management” even a meaningful term? You can't manage time after all, it just flows. You can manage your focus and your actions and spend them more effectively, given allotted time. Mark Forster in a productivity book Do It Tomorrow says that we should call it “attention management” instead. It sounds like a stupid argument about semantics, but there's a point.

Most of the time I'm not that demotivated that I only want to binge watch TV series. Most of the time I feel like I want to do something productive. But there are multitude of things that “I could be doing” in my mind at the same time. I could continue polishing my Haskell skills, or maybe I should go back to theory and revise my knowledge of algorithms, or maybe I should go back to theoretical computer science and fix the holes in my understanding of complexity, computation, type theory and what not, or maybe I should go to StackOverflow and answer someone's question, or maybe I should practice how to use Emacs more efficiently, or maybe I should start writing a video game to improve practical programming skills, or...

Instead of doing any of those things, and it's obvious I can only do one thing at a time, I spend all day browsing StackOverflow, Facebook, MIRI's website, checking email and RSS.

What I should do instead is take one and only one task, turn on my pomodoro and spend 50 minutes doing nothing else than that.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on A Rationalist Guide to OkCupid · 2016-02-06T16:52:36.971Z · LW · GW

My main goal is for my readers to enjoy what they are reading even if the topic isn't at the top of their interests.

Is it correct to say that your explicit goal is to create entertainment/“porn”? Do you optimize for entertainment more than you optimize for other forms of utility?

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Voiceofra is banned · 2015-12-24T22:15:25.502Z · LW · GW

They didn't just bemoan the decline, they stated the precise condition (in their opinion) of LW prosperity. I personally believe that LW needs a hero, and it's necessary and sufficient condition. Someone, who'd basically repeat Yudkowsky's feat. But am I Yudkowsky, or even Luke Muehlhauser, level smart to fulfill that role? Hell no. But there's nothing bad in sharing my opinion, because maybe it would make other people rethink their actions and expectations.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Voiceofra is banned · 2015-12-24T22:12:19.149Z · LW · GW

I've read his Reddit comment. It doesn't seem like he's justifying (as in saying it's OK) mass murder, just claiming mass murder will continue if patriarchy is not restored. I get how you feel about AA, but you're stretching.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Voiceofra is banned · 2015-12-24T20:28:52.783Z · LW · GW

As much as I am a feminist and find Advancedatheist's views insane and super-creepy, “we need to restore a healthy patriarchy where women can't get sexual experience until marriage” is not an advocacy of violence. Maybe he wants to restore patriarchy via peaceful means.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Voiceofra is banned · 2015-12-24T20:21:37.641Z · LW · GW

Criticism originating from unqualified people should be encouraged. People don't like criticism from people, who don't do what they propose others to do, for social, not rational, reasons. “You think this band's music is rubbish, well write your own music then” is a fallacy. If I go to a restaurant and get terrible food, there's no reason I should become a cook before being allowed to rebuke it.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on LessWrong 2.0 · 2015-12-24T10:54:21.446Z · LW · GW

I somewhat support what you're saying, but I also believe that 100% filtering would lead to a filter bubble. Suppose you were much smarter than you are now and upon reflection realized Effective Altruism is super-duper important. But now you've filtered EA-related articles on LW and you will no longer be exposed to it.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on LessWrong 2.0 · 2015-12-06T06:26:07.146Z · LW · GW

rewriting the Sequences

Not just rewriting them. My biggest problem with LW-rationality is that I haven't and probably can't internalize it on a very deep, systematic level, no matter how many times I re-read the articles. Instead of a long chain of blog-posts about everything on Earth, there should be a very focused rationality textbook with exercises, with spaced repetition and all that science of teaching and learning baked it. Luke Muehlhauser argued LW is a philosophy blog. Yet after reading RAZ I don't feel like I understand LW epistemology on a deep level. I still don't feel confident arguing with philosophers, even if I intuitively understand they are full of shit.

While I have many intuitions about how to be rational, and I'm ridiculously more sane and productive, than I was a year before, thanks to LW, my understanding of LW maths, science and philosophy is vague and not at all transparent.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on LessWrong 2.0 · 2015-12-06T06:11:23.773Z · LW · GW

I would love there to be a single, canonical rationality-related link aggregator (with tags and other ways of categorizing!), but I don't want it to be on Reddit. Reddit has an implicit culture of transience. You can't discuss too old posts. Links are ordered chronologically. Links can't be grouped, categorized. It's hard to search for old or obscure links.

OTOH maybe a link aggregator should be transient, because the nature of blogs, news sites, Facebook feeds, and tumblr posts is transient too. Today Qiaochu Yuan or Scott Alexander found this particular article interesting; in a year's time this article is irrelevant.

There's also link rot, and many old links for interesting material are 404.

Maybe we shouldn't aggregate links at all, but aggregate the knowledge itself. Therefore something similar to LW wiki. But I strongly believe wiki is an overrated model for aggregating knowledge and it wouldn't work for aggregating rationality-related knowledge.

There should be a rationality knowledge base, something that transcends wikis, FAQs, tutorials, blog posts, link posts, Stack Overflow, Wikipedia outlines. Maybe it would require thinking intensely for 5 minutes (like how CFAR teaches), maybe it would require coming up with completely new concepts and code.

But this knowledge base would have to heavily incentivize people to contribute to it, otherwise the actual knowledge is never going to be written. Counter-intuitively, wikis are terrible at incentivizing contribution.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on LessWrong 2.0 · 2015-12-06T05:53:15.364Z · LW · GW

While I'm not against LW wiki itself (it already exists, for starters), I'm very much against making LW “something like a wiki”, because I'm >50% confident it will fail. I flinched when I read “community-maintained wiki pages with explanations and links” in the original post, because “community-maintained wiki” are almost universally dead before reaching maturity.

Michael Snoyman wrote a small article on why people are willing to contribute to free software documentation via pull requests, but not via wiki edits. I wholeheartedly recommend everyone to read the article, but the gist is as follows.

For a wiki:

  • maintainers think they are encouraging the community to write documentation
  • contributors are intimidated by the wiki, because they are afraid they aren't justified in editing it
  • readers rightly expect incomplete, unstructured, and messy information.

For documentation that is improved through pull requests:

  • maintainers deal with documentation in atomic fashion using tools they know
  • contributors don't worry about inadvertently doing harm, because their contributions are checked by the maintainers
  • readers know that the information is canonical, because somebody reviewed the contribution before publishing it.

Why LW-as-a-wiki would discourage contributing (writing wiki-like articles)? Of all wikis I remember, the only successful are Wikipedia and very narrow-focused wikis (e.g. UESP for The Elder Scrolls or Ring of Brodgar for Haven and Hearth video games). In both cases they are thriving because there are very clear expectations of what a final article is supposed to look like.

LW is far away from being definitive canonical reference, which is good. Every rationality-relevant topic could be explained from different perspectives, so I would hate there to be the one definitive article on, say, control theory.

Then you'd have all the Wikipedia problems: edit wars, deletionism, constant arguing over the rules and article layout, slowly corrupting powers of wiki moderators, censorship. On a wiki everything is supposed to be canonical, so much effort will be wasted on arguing over canonical definitions and phrasings, or on referencing more and more rules and guidelines. Wiki model has bad incentives: wins the one, who is more stubborn.

LW-as-a-wiki would stagnate very quickly, as there will be huge psychological and social obstacles for people to contribute. I will go into these obstacles in greater detail in follow-up comments. For now I want to say that we should analyze what is wrong with the wiki model from cognitive psychology and science of human motivation perspective, and see how we can do better.

The most important revolutionary idea behind LW (and more specifically lukeprog era LW) is that science is a superweapon, and if diligently learn relevant science and then try to fix the problem, you can outdo your competitors by a large margin (see also: beating the averages). So maybe we should figure out psychology of motivation, incentives for contributing, that kinds of things, before patching LW codebase. Maybe LW should be a community blog, a Reddit-style site, a wiki; or maybe it should be something completely different.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on On saving the world · 2015-10-18T22:44:37.860Z · LW · GW

One hypothesis I have is that when you have a very bad epistemology and your beliefs consist of memorized atomic propositions, handed down from an authority figure, you eagerly want more people to agree with you, but not agree with you on everything except this one important atomic belief.

Religious parents and priests probably have this subconscious fear that the kid might go astray with their own theology. It's like you're a member of The People's Front of Judea and the person you'd really want to join you, joins The Judean People's Front instead.

The bit from The Life of Brian above is inspired by actual Marxist groups, which constantly splintered on all kinds of issues all the time. Marxist epistemology is nonsense, any explanation of it is just word salad. Dialectical materialism is a mysterious answer for a mysterious question. Therefore, if you're a member of Socialist Appeal, it's impossible to argue a member of a Socialist Party to switch allegiance, because there's no real epistemology, and therefore no possible inference.

Members of these organizations join based on incidental reasons, not independent inference. I suspect that members know that, at least at the corner or their minds. That's why at least some of them might not be as enthusiastic about recruiting new members, because every time you give your friend a book of Marx, you're afraid that they might acquire beliefs that are not entirely compatible with your set of Marxist beliefs.

This hypothesis might not apply though to this particular situation. Maybe religious parents want their kid to be devout, but not devout enough, so they become a celibate monk or nun instead of a patriarch or housewife of a traditional Christian family.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Fighting Akrasia: Finding the Source · 2015-10-15T18:40:47.682Z · LW · GW

Everywhere I see the term “akrasia” used, people mean procrastination or laziness. Indeed, it makes no sense to just add a fancy Greek name to signal sophistication or belonging to rationality tribe. But akrasia can succinctly denote a whole cluster of things “you do against your better judgement”: procrastination, depression, anxiety, jealously, envy, alcoholism, tobacco smoking, drug addiction, compulsive lying, sex addiction, insecurities, self-harm, self-hatred, bitter hatred for something, constant arguing, seeking external validation, etc.

Things, that people do, realise on reflection are harmful or wasteful, but can't control themselves and do it anyway, again and again. Any destructive feeling or behaviour that people want to control but can't, fits the definition of akrasia. CBT claims that many of these are related, have the same origin and can be treated similarly. It's nice to have an umbrella term.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on The Temptation to Bubble · 2015-09-24T15:06:49.352Z · LW · GW

Your writing is good, much better than mine, even though I came up with the same idea before. Please continue writing.

There is one thing I disliked, the mentioning of “liberals” and “conservatives” as the only 2 possible political positions, 2 “sides”. You already understand the package-deal fallacy, that one who identifies as a “liberal” and supports most stereotypically “liberal” policies, might still not support all of them, or support some of the “conservative” policies.

But there are policies that you can't pigeonhole into “liberal” and “conservative”. Many policies and ideas are not even binary: there are not 2 contradictory positions, but 10 contradictory positions. Therefore even the idea of a 1-dimensional continuum of left-centre-right is fallacious.

It's also important to note that not all English-speaking Internet users are from the US. There are well-educated people who live in countries you don't even know exist. So mentioning US political trends or personalities without brief explanation is an additional obstacle to understanding. If you want your texts to be widely read by non-Americans, you should make them more general, so that they don't require local American intuitions and background knowledge.

Finally, there is a point that is rarely brought up on LW, but is very important. The reason Luke Muehlhauser is so cool, is that he raised attention to the neglected virtue of scholarship, the fact that, in some sense, there is no “royal road to science”. Strictly speaking, this is not true, some roads are definitely more effective than the others. A good textbook or study methods might accelerate your learning tenfold, hundredfold.

But at the end of they day, once you have your rationality, your effective study methods, your time-management system, your Pomodoro, your Bayesian epistemology and what not, the only way you can actually understand something on a deep level is to sit your ass on the chair and read a freaking book. Sometimes more than once, with exercises, whiteboard and discussions.

You can optimize learning and thinking, for sure, but you can't skip the dumb “hard work” part. And this leads us to the fact that we have 24 hours a day. Most people have stupid jobs, little money, kids, commitments, social status to maintain. The little free time they have they can't spend efficiently on self-education, because they are tired after work, they are stressed and anxious and have lots of psychological barriers that make them think “nah, I'm too stupid to ever learn physics on my own”. And I'm not even talking about billions of people living in complete squalor, I'm talking about people with access to the Internet and books.

A middle-aged US conservative has enough time to read one book a month. Not because he's a “stupid redneck”, but because all other time is spent raising kids, fixing his car, going to the job, inviting friends for a meal etc. So when he goes to the bookstore, he sees a nice-seeming book by Ann Coulter. He has no training in political science, so how would he ever know that the book is the waste of time? He has no point of reference, no background knowledge. One might say he buys this book to assuage his tribal evo-psych desires or because he's biased. I say he simply can't make huge inferential jumps that would make him conclude reading Ann Coulter is a waste of time.

You see, saying that someone is biased, or a product of evolution in the ancestral environment, or prone to signaling and status-oriented behavior, and so on, is just a very elaborate way of saying someone is stupid. And stupid is a grave insult. People near-universally hate stupid people, and treat them with either condescension or hostility by default. It's like we constantly trying to prove that their stupidity is their “fault”. You'd think, if somebody is stupid, that is, has not enough knowledge or mental skills to come to a right conclusion, definitely the results of their stupidity are not their fault? But that's not how people think automatically, and it takes conscious effort to rewrite this default attitude towards stupid people.

Suppose the above-mentioned US conservative somehow magically decides to buy Bill Maher's book instead. He read somewhere that it's no harm to sometimes read what your political enemies write, that even in the worst propaganda might be a grain of truth, that it's virtuous to try to learn the position you dislike and evaluate it on your own. Somehow, his cognitive, social, evo-psych forces didn't stop him from buying that book. Would he now be able to support views that are closer to the truth? Most likely not, except if slightly or by epistemic luck.

Some political positions, like gay marriage, might be a “no-brainer”. But open borders is not a “no-brainer”, and so aren't negative income tax, raising minimum wage, military interventions, increasing inflation, decreasing inflation. You need to read books for that, and think with concentration for hours, and consult various sources, and maybe write down equations, and maybe even use statistical methods. Most people literally don't have time for that.

Teaching the dangers of death spirals and how politics can be a mind-killer to everyone would make the world a much better place. But I don't even think a next-door fundamentalist Christian, trained in LW rationality, would necessarily accept evolution. Because accepting evolution is not about rational thinking, it's about actually understanding how it works. Yeah, you can also accept it without understanding, and that's what happens most of the times. I'm pretty sure most /r/atheism subscribers don't actually understand evolution's mechanism and thus aren't justified in their belief.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Original Seeing · 2015-09-21T18:56:27.593Z · LW · GW

It says:

The video is private.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Book Review: Linear Algebra Done Right (MIRI course list) · 2015-09-10T12:09:46.218Z · LW · GW

Please correct this typo:

⟨Tv, v⟊

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Rational approach to finding life partners · 2015-09-08T08:10:47.915Z · LW · GW

Maybe, maybe not. Can you give an example, a summary of what manosphere is all about, anything? So far you were unable to contribute to the discussion at all.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Rudimentary Categorization of Less Wrong Topics · 2015-09-07T23:28:35.388Z · LW · GW

This is cool! Why didn't I stumble upon that earlier?

Actually, I think a decent goal for one who wants to thoroughly learn rationality from the Sequences would be to write several different summaries for each article. For example, it could be 3 summaries per article:

  • One sentence summary (must be extremely short and concise)
  • One paragraph summary
  • A summary that condenses the content as much as possible but doesn't lose it

There could also be different techniques of summarizing, e.g. summarizing every paragraph of an original text into a short sentence. Another idea would be to rewrite every article from scratch using own words (this might be too time consuming). Another idea is to summarize multiple articles over the same content “arc” (not necessarily corresponding to a Sequence).

I don't know how cost-effective any of these ideas are.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Rational approach to finding life partners · 2015-09-07T22:48:40.665Z · LW · GW

Except that in most men it doesn't, it just makes them more depressed, more self-hating, more bitter, more hateful towards women, more insecure. What a typical young man with no popularity among women believes is not “sex is good, therefore I should try to have more sex”. Instead, what goes through their mind is thoughts like:

  • I'm a loser
  • I should have more sex
  • If I don't lose virginity, people would laugh at me or treat me with disrespect
  • Life would be worthless, if I don't seduce [this girl]
  • I deserve to have [this sex act] at least once
  • Why life is so unfair to me

...and all kinds of stressful, self-beating, epistemologically meaningless crap. Young men routinely create arbitrarily difficult challenges and end up in terrible emotional state and empathy-less relationships. Examples are having first sex at a certain age, or seducing that particular woman, or persuading a woman into a certain sex act, or having sex with certain amount of women, and so on.

You know how I know this? Go to 4chan, or any subreddit that has an angsty young male lamenting virginity. It has nothing to do with utility maximization, but all kinds of arbitrary internal demands or social pressure. The machismo culture doesn't make it better. The social expectations about how and when and whom with and how much sex should a young man have are constantly reinforced. I mean, seriously, the only argument you came up with in the other thread was about me not having sex. Suppose that I don't have sex. And that makes me wrong... how exactly?

Of course sex is good, and pleasurable, and helps bonding, and desirable. And of course, consequently, the more people have sex, the better. If you decide that sex is good and therefore you should strive to have more sex, then go for it. But the way most angsty young virgins strive for sex, the incentives they have, the beliefs they hold about themselves and other people, are dangerous for them and sometimes other people.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Rational approach to finding life partners · 2015-09-07T21:58:17.369Z · LW · GW

Just replacing words and saying “see what this reminds you now of!” doesn't work, because the words might not type-match. Otherwise you could replace some words in any atheist speech and say “now that looks like a religion!”

Moreover, you miss the point. It's not that sex is bad or non-important or should be discouraged or whatever.

  • Not having sex and feeling unhappy about it is strictly worse than not having sex and being ok with it.
  • Believing that men deserve sex (whatever that means), women owe men sex, it's women's duty to satisfy men's want for sex, it's women's fault that men have less sex and so on is irrational, as in it's meaningless epistemologically and consequentially.
  • If we accept CBT, these beliefs are actually what cause depression, anxiety, and other psychological problems.
  • Sex is not a need, as in people don't die without it, and it's questionable if lack of sex causes any irreparable psychological damage.
  • Even if it causes certain psychological damage, it most likely happens under certain conditions, which might be easy to avoid.
  • Having low self-esteem about lack of sex doesn't necessarily increase sex.
  • Having sex doesn't necessarily solve insecurities and anxieties concerning sex.
Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Rational approach to finding life partners · 2015-09-07T21:41:03.565Z · LW · GW

you apparently still can't actually get sex

FYI, I'm 7 years in a relationship. Not that would matter, 'cause your comment is a terrible ad hominem.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Rational approach to finding life partners · 2015-09-03T16:41:36.144Z · LW · GW

Ok, the idea, that the existing problem doesn't imply the existence of an immediate solution, is very insightful. Thank you for writing all this.

Too bad I don't know much modern cognitive and social psychology to confidently state why I believe that sexual deprivation might not have real psychological effects (under certain conditions) or that these effects may be overcome. So let's have this conversation again in a year or two. :)

What I base my current beliefs about “sex is not a need” is mostly CBT. CBT's core idea is the “cognitive model”, the statement that many of our moods and behaviors are influenced by the beliefs we have. For example, you believe that you're a horrible person, a loser, therefore you feel depressed and unmotivated. You believe that you were responsible for some bad event, therefore you feel guilty and ashamed. You believe that somebody or the world itself was unfair to you, therefore you feel angry and betrayed.

Moreover, the beliefs that cause destructive feelings and behaviors happen to be irrational in one way or another. They may be positivistically meaningless, overgeneralizing, vague, emotionally loaded, arbitrarily judgemental, black-and-white, not supported by evidence and so on. So what CBT researchers found out is that most of the time when people are depressed, anxious, insecure, compulsive and so on, they have corresponding irrational beliefs. But when they are productive and have healthy joy, sadness or remorse, their beliefs happen to be rather rational and grounded in reality.

And CBT works, it treats depression, anxiety, marital problems, drug addiction and many other things. Yes, it doesn't treat them well enough, otherwise we would make people superhuman on a daily basis. And I don't know why it doesn't work fanstastically yet, although I have some hypotheses. But it works somewhat well for some people.

What I hate is that we still treat human psyche as a black box, as magic. Why lack of sex causes psychological problems? Nobody knows, but people treat it as a simple one-step causation: less sex -> more problems. But “lack of sex causes psychological problems” becomes a sort of mysterious answer to mysterious question. Therefore instead of trying to reduce human psyche into smaller blocks and finding the root cause of psychological problem, we just conclude that people must have more sex.

CBT is an attempt at reducing human moods and behaviors. It lays out a causal network. It explains which beliefs cause which moods and actions, what is wrong with these beliefs, how to change them. And suddenly it works, to some extent, in some people.

Allen Carr's quitting smoking method is a good example: it's pure CBT and it demonstrably effective. When you read academic literature on smoking, there's lots of mysterious answers, high-level observations with no causality. Stuff like “when people quit smoking, they experience anxiety, agitation, heartbeat, digestive problems, nausea, etc”. Yes, they do, I don't argue with that. But the same people, who quit smoking using Carr's method, don't experience this. Not all, but many. So there are more factors at work that previously weren't understood. People do feel certain way under certain conditions, but don't under others.

So let me make myself clear. I don't necessarily know the perfect way to make a sexually deprived person fully psychologically healthy, nor do I think that if this way exist it's easy. Except, I can point to a CBT book and promise a significant probability of it helping.

But due to CBT I strongly believe that for people, who hold certain beliefs about women or sex, the best step is to rationally combat their beliefs, not to have more sex. It has much better chance of working, because it already has precedents.

How is this relevant to sexual deprivation? Because CBT works for it too. It worked for me, some people I know, and its underlying mechanism makes sense. It's convincing. Can I point to an authoritative peer-reviewed study that confirms my point? Not yet. Can I at least provide a more complex causal explanation, as to convince you as I am convinced? Probably not until I understand CBT and psychology in general better. So yeah, we can all just agree that we can admit it's all sad without implying any sexual obligation. And hope that science would solve this problem one day.

But yeah, sexual obligation is just wrong, and this idea should be explicit.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Rational approach to finding life partners · 2015-09-03T14:46:21.086Z · LW · GW

I wasn't dangerous at 16, nor do I don't think advancedatheist is, not for women, not for anyone else. I don't even think advancedatheist is a bad person or deserve our hatred or anything else. I don't even believe it's appropriate to think there exist bad people or there is someone who “deserves” anything bad. I think it contradicts with consequentialism, and I agree with Yudkowsky, when he said that “Hitler doesn't deserve a stubbed toe” (but it still might've been a very good idea to kill him early, because again consequentialism).

I just find it very sad that there are so many men, young and old, who have low self-esteem, bitterness, depression, anxiety, sense of loneliness and many other mental issues and destructive behavior patterns, simply because they have irrational beliefs about women, relationship and sex.

For the record, I don't want to diagnose advancedatheist with any mental issues, it's just he repeats the same trope about women not giving to men what they owe, from comment to comment, and I believe he happens to be wrong.

I am no men-hating feminist lickspittle and I don't want to win brownie points from feminists by saying stuff they want to hear. I view this strictly from male perspective: believing certain things about women, relationship and sex makes you unhappy, bitter, unproductive and sometimes harmful for women. That's stupid and gotta go.

Scott Alexander in his blogpost Untitled called a feminist Amanda Marcotte a “Vogon spy in a skin suit” for lacking any empathy for male nerds who had problems with relationship. I'm not like that, I have empathy, because I was just like that at some point. Maybe, most men, who are happy to describe themselves as feminists, were just like that at some point.

I have empathy for women too. Many of them get crap on a daily basis from some subset of these bitter, insecure men, and I'm not even talking about rape. These beliefs that sex is a need for men, that you can't be happy and self-confident without sex, that women must satisfy men sexually, that men have a say in women sexual behavior, are destructive for both men and women. And even if in some parallel reality, where all women suddenly decided to “altruistically” satisfy all men's sexual desires, I don't believe it would solve any problems.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Rational approach to finding life partners · 2015-09-03T13:13:35.286Z · LW · GW

most men don't deserve sexual relationships with women any more

No woman owes sex to no man. If you think that women have any kind of duty to sexually satisfy men, you are deluded and have very unhealthy and dangerous attitudes.

After reading your other comments it becomes clear, that your belief that women as a group should be encouraged to have sex with men against their will stems from your own insecurities. I know how it feels from the inside. It feels like “wrong” men unfairly get more sex than me, like I'm broken or worthless because women specifically choose other men or celibacy, like there is some worldwide women conspiracy to make my life miserable.

The problem is, I felt this way when I was, like, 16, and I don't feel that way anymore. It frightens me that there are men, who are no longer teenagers, who still live in a constant state of anxiety, that women are there to “get you” by refusing to have sex with you.

But you can be happy without sex, and sex is not a need. Of course sex is a good thing, and it's great, when there's more of it (consensual, obviously). But so can be said of video games, or action films, or hiking, or chess playing. People can be happy without them, and these are not needs, and so is true of sex.

The only problem I see with young male virgins in today's world is not lack of sex, but terrible self-esteem, depression and anxiety around the belief that they ought to have sex, but because there's something wrong either with them, or the world, they don't have it. Get rid of that crap from their minds, and you'll make young men happy, confident, self-respecting, motivated and self-reliant. And maybe, just maybe, this might even make them more attractive in eyes of women.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on [deleted post] 2015-08-24T03:48:37.327Z

“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”― Adolf Hitler

Just in case somebody starts quoting Hitler in attempt to appear sophisticated, this quote is actually misattributed. Moreover, variations of this quote were actually said by Hitler and Goebbels, but about the Jews and anti-German propaganda, not themselves (see big lie). Indeed, why would Hitler say anything incriminating himself publicly enough, so it could be quoted much later?

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on We really need a "cryonics sales pitch" article. · 2015-08-08T13:33:30.329Z · LW · GW

Reminds me of Anybody can be cool, but awesome takes practice.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Rationality: From AI to Zombies · 2015-08-04T10:56:27.781Z · LW · GW

Is it possible to make the book available on Google Play Books? What might be reasons not to include the book there?

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Some Heuristics for Evaluating the Soundness of the Academic Mainstream in Unfamiliar Fields · 2015-07-14T02:16:17.302Z · LW · GW

Somehow your post is worse than your original comment. It has the same content, but is long-winded and states well-known generic truisms like “there are sometimes dishonest ideologically charged crap passing as science”. Your article would benefit with actual evidence or at least more elaborate examples.

In other words, I do not criticize the content, I agree with the idea. I just find the article rambling, with statements like “However, venal influences are nevertheless far from nonexistent, and a fascinating question is under what exact conditions researchers are likely to fall under them and get away with it.” Yes, it's a fascinating question, now can you answer it? And saying “far from nonexistent” is the same as saying “it exists”, and this could be said of so many things, it yields little new information.

You say macroeconomics is bunk. But how exactly? How do you know it's bunk, can you give me an outline, or direct me to some other high-level review of its fiasco? How to proceed from that? I remember how a comment on LW explained in a few paragraphs how praxeology works and how it ultimately makes Austrian economics decidedly unempirical. It was amazing, and something like that would greatly improve your article. Or sociobiology: what should I know about sociobiology to avoid getting into the trap of unsound theories? What are good examples of ideologically motivated fraud?

Also, Moldbug's article on CS is great for your emotional health, and I really-really liked it, but its arguments are crap. Type theory is bunk because Benjamin Pierce wrote 2 books — how the hell is that a good argument? And currying is such a simple concept I have no idea what he complains about, it can be explained on a piece of paper to anybody who knows 1 year undergrad discrete math. And lambda calculus, which underpins functional programming, is so simple, you can learn it from a Wikipedia page in half an hour. Also, his argument against research in, say, Haskell can be easily refuted by the following argument. CS research is supposed to be impractical, because it's scientists wandering in dark territories, trying to bump into something very good. If they do, this goodness trickles down to the practical programming. Now witness how mainstream languages gradually move towards functional programming.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Some Heuristics for Evaluating the Soundness of the Academic Mainstream in Unfamiliar Fields · 2015-07-14T01:52:19.113Z · LW · GW

I also immediately recognized Kazakhstan, where I am from. We were part of Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991, so the extremely corrupt, dictatorial and plutocratic government struggles with a coherent ideology to legitimize itself. Therefore you have some interest to make Kazakhstan and Kazakh history look big, impressive, and most importantly, prove how great the incumbent president is.

So in Kazakhstan the whole field of "History of Kazakhstan" is made fun of by people daily, because there are either paid propagandists who paint Nazarbayev's 17th century ancestors as really important, or miserable crackpots, who in hopes of getting money and love from the government, churn books after books how Nazarbayev descends from Genghis Khan himself. Then there are people who write books about their own ancestors, trying to paint them as more important for Kazakh history, than they actually are. Then there are even crazier people, writing newspaper articles and books about how Kazakhs were the first people on the planet, and how the whole history of Asia is indebted to Kazakhs one way or another.

There's also the problem of a completely incoherent ideology. Communism is used as a bugaboo, government tries to present itself as a spiritual successor of Alash Orda, the national discourse is framed in terms of irrelevant historical events or people. But then in school history textbooks you read about a national-liberation movement leader and later Bolshevik Amangeldy Imanov in the same paragraph with Mirzhakip Dulatov, an anti-Bolshevik, both described as very good noble men. The problem is, they were both enemies, and the latter executed the former during Russian Civil War.

Now I love my country and I love Kazakh culture. I really want to sit one day and devote lots of time learning the history of my people. But I have an intense disgust spot for the whole field, because I know that 99% of it ideologically or personally motivated worst type of political dishonest crap. And all of this crap is written in either Russian or Kazakh, so no Western historian would ever come and publicly debunk it.

But then, I heard the same thing about current situation with Ukrainian academic history and specifically history textbooks. I suspect it's the same absolutely for every “small nation” on the planet. (But then again, Russia systematically revisions history for years now, and the bookstores are inundated with amazing “theories”, so maybe the small nation bit is irrelevant?)

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Some Heuristics for Evaluating the Soundness of the Academic Mainstream in Unfamiliar Fields · 2015-07-14T01:14:39.750Z · LW · GW

This however still doesn't mean that there aren't entire bullshit subfields of CS

Name 3 examples. Note, I'm not disagreeing or criticizing, as a future CS researcher I'm honestly interested in what fields are crap and what are fruitful.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Some Heuristics for Evaluating the Soundness of the Academic Mainstream in Unfamiliar Fields · 2015-07-14T00:57:03.086Z · LW · GW

Historical Jesus studies

Does anyone know whether Tim O'Neill is legit, when he talks about historical Jesus? He claims to have studied Jesus for 25 years, but he also an amateur historian. (He's also atheist)

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Beyond Statistics 101 · 2015-07-09T07:48:59.720Z · LW · GW

Thank you for sharing your story, it was moving and it was candid. My question is, are you planning to be successful now? Suppose you gonna die at 80, you have 40 bloody years, that's a lot of time. Most likely you won't win Fields Medal, but science and human life has so many low-hanging fruit yet not picked. Do you plan to gain maximum productivity and do something to change the world? Or maybe you already doing it?

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Top 9+2 myths about AI risk · 2015-07-01T08:26:51.969Z · LW · GW

I meant I can't imagine Friendliness-researchers seriously taking the stance for the same reason you subscribe to third-best choice.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Solving sleep: just a toe-dipping · 2015-06-30T21:22:52.824Z · LW · GW

Never heard of sleep apnea and nasal strips before, thanks! I'll try them out. Sleep quality can be influenced by lots of factors, one of them is depression and anxiety. For example, on Bipolar II disorder Wikipedia page it states that type I bipolars sleep less, while type II bipolars sleep much more. Another example is that many depression scales such as Beck Depression Inventory actually consider lack of sleep or oversleeping as one symptom of depression among others. So, counter-intuitively, some people, who have sleep problems, might benefit from reading Feeling Good :).

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Top 9+2 myths about AI risk · 2015-06-30T21:01:08.085Z · LW · GW

Can you expand on the Point #7, if that's possible? There are some people, who honestly think Friendliness-researchers in MIRI and other places actually discourage AI research. Which sounds to me ridiculous, I've never seen such attitude from Friendliness-researchers, nor can even imagine that. But this was the primary reason for Mark Friedenbach's leaving LW: he said that there's a massive tendency against solving world problems on LW, specifically because actual AI research is supposedly dangerous. He considered LW a memetic hazard that he doesn't want to participate in. Although I completely disagree on his evaluation of current memes of LW and MIRI, he claimed he received 2 separate death threats on #lesswrong IRC channel, when mentioned that he wants to do actual AI research.

So if there's somebody who is actually against ongoing AI research, I want to know that. And if that's not an isolated event, but a tendency, even small, MIRI or somebody should make a statement. I mean, people are getting ridiculous distorted ideas of MIRI and LW, and little effort is done to correct them.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Solving sleep: just a toe-dipping · 2015-06-30T20:35:35.800Z · LW · GW

I'm definitely interested in subsequent posts on sleep, so please continue posting. I don't want to practice polyphasic sleep or super-optimize sleep anyway, rather just generally improve the quality of sleep, because I sleep much and still wake up feeling like crap.

I kindly ask you, however, to change the font to defaults and break paragraphs with 2 lines instead of indentation, it makes it much more readable.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Beyond Statistics 101 · 2015-06-29T07:51:14.809Z · LW · GW

I didn't question that you were interacting with many members of the community. I'm saying you're projecting. Maybe people are either normal or slightly depressed/anxious/bitter/etc, meaning, they have same emotional problems just like any human being. You, however, see them as unusually emotionally damaged.

Typical Mind Fallacy, to understand other people we model them just like ourselves. You said yourself you had emotional problems before, so I believe your perception of the community is skewed. Maybe you see signs of emotional damage in other people, just like insecure promiscuous people seemingly spot depravity in other people.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Beyond Statistics 101 · 2015-06-28T19:49:41.740Z · LW · GW

In my experience there's an issue of Less Wrongers being unusually emotionally damaged (e.g. relative to academics) and this gives rise to a lot of problems in the community.

I think you're just projecting.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on How my social skills went from horrible to mediocre · 2015-05-25T18:05:02.810Z · LW · GW

All of your assumptions are highly questionable. Let's define nerds and normals as somebody with non-mainstream semi-weird interests (anime, Warhammer figurine painting, tabletop games, sci-fi and fantasy, you name it) and somebody without them. Anime nerds do not want to hang out with normals, who are not into anime, unless these normals have other intersecting interests. Anime nerds would not be enthusiastic about a not fan of anime joining their community, and a not fan of anime won't get any high status.

The only exception I can think of is when nerds try to gain something from normals. For example, a male heterosexual nerd would tolerate a non-nerd woman with a tiny hope to get sex.

Nerds do not hang out with normals not necessarily because normal communities ostracize them, but because for nerds normal communities are boring.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on How my social skills went from horrible to mediocre · 2015-05-23T12:29:19.713Z · LW · GW

Charitable reading: socializing for extraverts is relaxation, for introverts — work.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Leaving LessWrong for a more rational life · 2015-05-22T18:30:24.666Z · LW · GW

I don't know exact process either, but I always thought somebody deliberately chooses them each week, because often they are around the same topic. So somebody thought it's a good idea to encourage everybody to read an LW-critical article.

My point is, I don't believe LW community suddenly became intolerant to criticism. Or incapable of dialog on whether FAI is a good thing. Or fanatically believing in FAI and Yudkowsky's ideas. Oh, and I'm happy to be proven otherwise!

Seriously, look at top 30 day contributors:

  • Lumifer (629)
  • JonahSinick (626)
  • Vaniver (355)
  • ChristianKl (329)
  • DeVliegendeHollander (251)
  • Richard_Loosemore (242)
  • NancyLebovitz (232)
  • Viliam (209)
  • gjm (184)
  • So8res (180)
  • VoiceOfRa (178)
  • IlyaShpitser (166)
  • Error (162)
  • Mark_Friedenbach (146)
  • John_Maxwell_IV (135)

Only So8res is associated with MIRI, AFAIK. My impression from comments of the people above is that they are pretty much capable of dialog and are not fanatical about FAI at all.

Meaning that in Mark's map LW community is something different than in territory. He think he leaves a crazy cult producing a memetic hazard. I think he leaves a community of pretty much independent-thinking people, who could easily counter MIRI's memes.

That is, even if Mark is completely correct about MIRI, his leaving is irrelevant, it's not a net improvement, but some strange unrelated act with negative utility.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on How my social skills went from horrible to mediocre · 2015-05-22T18:11:05.698Z · LW · GW

I'm baffled. People say that nerds have bad social skills, but nerds create nerd communities and don't show any social ineptness. Anime fans create fan clubs, sci-fi and fantasy geeks create sci-fi and fantasy societies, even math nerds get together to solve some math. Granted, there are people who are really bad at social skills, or extremely shy, or have social anxiety, but even among nerd communities they are minority. However, it might be selection bias, real nerds indeed stay at home and don't even go to nerd communities.

I think there are different social skills for different communities, I guess. 2 nerds can talk for hours about Warhammer without any need for conversation starters or tricks to keep conversants interested. But 1 male nerd will not have any idea what to talk about with 1 non-nerd woman.

Even social anxiety is context-dependent. In some contexts I feel extremely uncomfortable and can't even start talking with anybody, in other contexts I'm the most outgoing.

I guess there are communication habits and skills that become part of System 1 in different communities, when the same people are talking to each other in the same community for months. Then once you end up in another community with different internalized habits and social rituals, there's massive dissonance and miscommunication. People clusterize into subcultures with different rituals, quirks, behaviors, memes, get used to each other inside subcultures, but at the expense of being able to understand people from different subcultures.

Comment by Mirzhan_Irkegulov on Leaving LessWrong for a more rational life · 2015-05-22T17:57:48.613Z · LW · GW

Crap, I had to notice that I am confused once I've read about CFAR paying to Eliezer. In the back of my head I thought “that's too much!”, but I shrugged it off and believed.

Thank you for pointing this out. I think Mark should edit his comment to make clear he erred.