Should it be a research paper or a blog post? 2020-09-24T08:09:08.179Z
Book Review: Fooled by Randomness 2020-07-13T21:02:36.549Z
Don't punish yourself for bad luck 2020-06-24T21:52:37.045Z
Dietary Debates among the Fruit Gnomes 2020-06-03T14:09:15.561Z
Sherrinford's Shortform 2020-05-02T17:19:22.661Z
How to navigate through contradictory (health/fitness) advice? 2019-08-05T20:58:14.659Z
Is there a standard discussion of vegetarianism/veganism? 2018-12-30T20:22:33.330Z
Cargo Cult, Self-Improvement, and What to Do 2018-08-07T12:45:30.661Z


Comment by sherrinford on Avoid Unnecessarily Political Examples · 2021-01-22T06:05:13.875Z · LW · GW

Please explain.

Comment by sherrinford on Avoid Unnecessarily Political Examples · 2021-01-21T22:34:01.016Z · LW · GW

I guess I can't suggest a rule here; I seem to misunderstand the rules that are valid on LessWrong. With respect to the more-or-less explicit ones ("unusually high standards of discourse" etc, and "explain not persuade"), my understanding seems to be different from yours. There are also implicit rules which I thought existed as a standard or as an ideal, but they would not fit the preferences revealed by frontpaging or by popularity.

Comment by sherrinford on Avoid Unnecessarily Political Examples · 2021-01-21T11:49:26.522Z · LW · GW

After some reflection, I still do not understand the reasoning why the new rule is that Covid-19 content is forbidden except for Zvi's? Why are more level-headed posts banned from the frontpage, making spicing up articles with a certain rhetorics a necessary condition for Covid-19 frontpage posts?

Comment by sherrinford on Covid: The Question of Immunity From Infection · 2021-01-21T11:24:12.063Z · LW · GW

"Over and over and over again, I’ve been told we should expect immunity from infection to fade Real Soon Now, or that immunity isn’t that strong. ... the inevitable media misinterpretations ... Naturally, the public-facing articles all seem to quote the 83%, and ignore the 95% and 99%. ... (And again, they also take something presented after five months of follow-up, and report it as ‘immunity lasts five months’ because journalism.)"

While this may be true (who knows), can we maybe make it a norm to back up major empirical claims and generalizations with evidence?

Comment by sherrinford on Are there examples of rationalists getting censored for COVID-19 related communication? · 2021-01-16T15:54:31.921Z · LW · GW

What's the background to this question?

Comment by sherrinford on Avoid Unnecessarily Political Examples · 2021-01-15T07:39:28.043Z · LW · GW

Another way you can follow the new posts of all kinds is the RSS button on the frontpage (together with an RSS feed reader). You can also select to see all kinds of posts above a certain threshold of "karma", e.g. this. (I think that is independent of whether it's just a personal blogpost, but I currently have a technical problem and cannot really check that.)

Comment by sherrinford on Avoid Unnecessarily Political Examples · 2021-01-13T23:19:25.241Z · LW · GW

I did not mind the amount of "coronavirus-related content" in April, and I do not remember the site being overwhelmed with political content.

Comment by sherrinford on Avoid Unnecessarily Political Examples · 2021-01-13T10:56:21.887Z · LW · GW

I did not interpret Zvi's delenda calls as calls for killing people. However, the usage of historical phrases is not innocuous. When you do that, you explicitly refer to the context, including the modern usage. I think it's not useful to make up new interpretations of words on the fly, otherwise we might end up in a Humpty-Dumpty usage of language.

Moreover, I know that the LW community, like every community, likes to use a lot of insider language (which may be signalling, which I explicitly note here also to include an example). But then you should expect that outsiders do not understand it, and give it a different interpretation. 

Comment by sherrinford on Avoid Unnecessarily Political Examples · 2021-01-13T10:27:23.569Z · LW · GW

If I recall the old days and my memory does not fail me, back in the era of the first wave, LessWrong had a a lot of useful Covid-19 content, a bit like an wiki and newsfeed for understanding the situation and getting some tips for self-care. In the comment by Habryka you link to, he explains that it's "Player vs. Environment" and therefore seemingly not as political; in any case, I would understand that description as a normative call. (Of course, putting it in a World War 2 / Manhattan Project context is a bit risky, and at some point some historic explanations for the desire to take action may also be used to summon, say, a taskforce against certain anti-American foreign powers; but I think as of now that is hypothetical.)

At some (relatively early) point of time, the systematic covid-19 coverage was discontinued. Among some other posts, there were Zvi's (personal blog) posts. For these, Habryka's explanations are not valid because they are to a large degree political in the ordinary sense; nonetheless, as you note, one was curated. In my opinion, there would not be much of a need for explaining the reasons for frontpaging if the reasons for curating were clear. 

In the linked comment by Habryka and the comments around it, it is claimed that LW's corona coverage has a lot of influence. If that is correct, then calling for the dissolution of the WHO may have had an impact, who knows. But in any case, it seemed and seems to me that LessWrong as a website/community/brand or whatever you may call it embraces the political conclusions when such posts are curated. 

For the record, when the first Zvi covid-post curation took place, the explanation was this. I noted my discomfort with the curation. Zvi shrugged. Rob seems to have agreed that Zvi's post was full of "heated rhetoric" but stated that it would probably be fine to people with a lot of insider knowledge and/or deeper insights. At this point, it seemed to me that the criteria for what constitutes an exemplary lesswrong post are applied in a somewhat subjective manner. Rob then said that in a utopian world, politics would be standard LW content; I had no idea what to do with that. The discussion ended. Meanwhile, jacobjacob also saw long-run costs even if he explicitly felt the need to note that he somehow disagreed with me. 

I would like to note that the justification for encouraging/frontpaging covid content and the discussion about whether political texts should be encouraged and frontpaged are two very different animals. I welcome covid posts (e.g. this, this, this). I don't even mind politics-related posts very much if they try to be factual, objective, neutral, explanatory, open and avoid to be one-sided, straw-manning, sarcastic, and pandering to insider opinion and requiring club knowledge. I do not say that I never enjoy one-sided, sarcastic essays, or that Zvi's posts are all like that and not useful; and this is not statement about the extent to which I agree with Zvi. But I feel discomfort when rules are applied to everybody except the gold-star club members. I'm not sure I agree with the claim that "once you make enough exceptions then the rule is lost"; I'd rather say "once you make an exception then the understanding of the word 'rule' changes". The previous behavior may have been compatible with a strict understanding of the word, but once you make an exception the meaning changes. I would have preferred a regime of "topics that may have political implications: yes; gray tribe op-eds on American politics: no". (After all, AI safety stuff is also politics-related.)

And let me note that those "in the LessWrong community" who "do not have good information sources during this crisis" and agree that "Zvi's updates are high-quality, honest, readable, and trustworthy" usually see them whether they are frontpaged or not, and whether they are curated or not. I assume frontpaging and curation is more about presentation of the website to the outside. (Though currently, this display window is constituted by curated and shortform posts...)

Comment by sherrinford on Avoid Unnecessarily Political Examples · 2021-01-12T09:59:13.406Z · LW · GW

I endorse the current LW system where you can talk about politics but it's not frontpaged.

Would you please briefly define what you consider to be politics? I would assume that posts calling for the "delenda" of the WHO or using wordings like "Second-worst person New York Mayor DeBlasio" or affirmatively citing this tweet are political. And these posts seem to be frontpaged.

Comment by sherrinford on What currents of thought on LessWrong do you want to see distilled? · 2021-01-11T16:07:08.433Z · LW · GW

To "fact-checked" and "compelling examples" etc, I would add the request that it would actually try to steelman these institutions' actions.

Comment by sherrinford on COVID-19: home stretch and fourth wave Q&A · 2021-01-08T10:08:21.969Z · LW · GW

"but it may mean a few months of never leaving the house without a positive-pressure suit"

This suggests that the air outside your house is densely infected with corona viruses? Which reminds me of the pictures of Chinese large-scale disinfection spray in cities. Is there any evidence that that is sensible and effective?

Comment by sherrinford on COVID-19: home stretch and fourth wave Q&A · 2021-01-08T10:05:47.211Z · LW · GW

"Overshooting herd immunity" means we achieve herd immunity in the space of a few weeks, with perhaps 60+% of  all Americans getting sick; and then (because the total number of infectious people is so high) a large portion of the rest of the population gets infected too even though the virus's effective reproduction number R is much lower now.

 I don't understand what that means. How is herd immunity in this context formally defined?

Comment by sherrinford on My Model of the New COVID Strain and US Response · 2020-12-28T21:11:48.299Z · LW · GW

Update. Doing a quick search led to this:

"The U.S. public’s overall trust in Fauci, the National Institutes of Health’s top infectious disease doctor, has declined 10% since April. Republicans have particularly soured on him: His favorables dropped nearly 30% among Republicans since April. Democrats’ confidence in Fauci, meanwhile, has increased from 80% to 86% since April." (Statnews, Sep 10)

"79% of Democrats said Fauci has done a good or excellent job handling the pandemic, compared with 56% of independents and 54% of Republicans." "Voters have consistently rated the WHO, the CDC and their state governors above lawmakers and the president." (Oct 14, Morning Consult)

I would be very interested in knowing whether you use more up-to-date polls for your statement.

Comment by sherrinford on My Model of the New COVID Strain and US Response · 2020-12-28T14:14:33.883Z · LW · GW

 Thanks for explaining your assessment of the situation.

They all have negative credibility at this point with many Americans.

 Are there polls supporting this view? (Negative credibility would mean that people assume the opposite of what is said by these people is true, right?)

Comment by sherrinford on What trade should we make if we're all getting the new COVID strain? · 2020-12-26T21:48:43.806Z · LW · GW

"I think the modal outcome is that ~50% of Americans will get it by the early summer"

What is the model for that expectation?

Comment by sherrinford on Sherrinford's Shortform · 2020-12-17T14:19:19.854Z · LW · GW

Yes maybe an ITT tests a fleshman instead of a steelman or a strawman...

Comment by sherrinford on Sherrinford's Shortform · 2020-12-16T18:21:17.824Z · LW · GW

Yes, though I assume the best test for whether you really steelman someone would be if you can take a break and ask her whether your representation fits.

Comment by sherrinford on Sherrinford's Shortform · 2020-12-16T16:49:19.212Z · LW · GW

What I mean is: 

I would like to see that people who write articles about what the supposed actions or motivations of other people - or government agencies, firms, or whatever - are to actually try to present their actions and motivations in a way that at least assumes that they are not completely dumb or evil or pathetic. It seems to be fashionable that when people do not see the sense behind actions, they do not try hard but jump to the conclusion that it must be due to some despicable, stupid, or at least equilibrium-inefficient behavior (e.g. some claims about "signalling"; no proper analysis whether the claim makes sense in a given situation required). This may feel very insightful; after all, the writer seemingly has a deeper insight into social structures than the social agents. But supposed insights that feel too good can be dangerous. And that a model is plausible does not mean that it applies to every situation.

Comment by sherrinford on Open & Welcome Thread - December 2020 · 2020-12-16T13:58:11.705Z · LW · GW

 THIS is still true: looks really weird (which you get from googling for curated posts) because the shortform posts are not filtered out.

Comment by sherrinford on Sherrinford's Shortform · 2020-12-16T13:22:35.743Z · LW · GW

I would love to see examples of contributions with actual steelmanning instead of just seeing people who pay lipservice to it.

Comment by sherrinford on Parable of the Dammed · 2020-12-11T08:56:58.938Z · LW · GW

I agree in general, though afaik there is just no really rigid theory for what constitutes a focal point - it can be anything that is salient. If you let people play in a lab and give them game matrices with multiple equilibria with identical payoffs, then coloring one equilibrium can make it focal point; but in reality many things can seem salient. Maybe it's somehow built into our genetic and cultural code what we coordinate on - e.g. what's best for "all" or what's best for "our group" etc. (IIRC, Ken Binmore suggests something along the lines of "Evolution makes us find Nash bargaining solutions fair" in the book Natural Justice, but I don't remember what his evidence is to support that.)

Concerning symmetry and Nash: you can model the Nash bargaining solution asymmetrically, but of course it's unclear whether that helps. Models like Rubinstein's are elegant but not really realistic in their assumptions and neither in their implications.

Comment by sherrinford on Parable of the Dammed · 2020-12-10T19:30:46.414Z · LW · GW

That is very interesting. I have not read Schelling's book, and having worked a lot with and/or read things applying Nash's bargaining solution as an axiomatic version of bargaining and Rubinstein-like alternating-offers games over the years, it seemed to me that agreeing on sharing rules should be considered distinct from uncoordinated behavior. In this sense, I do buy the point that a river can be an "agreement focal point", but only if it is roughly in the middle. It seems to me that the fairness focal point would be a 50:50 split, and using a river instead is a pragmatic deviation from that, because of the fact that the river is a barrier and any crossing and violation of the agreement can be observed easily. I doubt that you could "shift the focal point" by damming because that constitutes such a violation, and then the focal point becomes non-cooperation. (Concerning the incomplete contracts I mentioned: In practice not even that will work, because when the other side sues you, a judge would probably rule against you but that may depend on the legal system.)

Comment by sherrinford on Parable of the Dammed · 2020-12-10T15:36:01.361Z · LW · GW

I like the story as illustrating inefficient fighting over resources and entitlements. However, I am not sure your interpretation of moving focal (or Schelling) points works?

In general, a focal point is needed when you have to choose something without being able to explicitly coordinate on it (and when there are multiple equilibria). Here the families do coordinate - they negotiate. As a fairness norm, I'd guess that choosing the middle of the river works because the river "ran roughly through the middle of their territories". When one conflict party afterwards manipulates the river, the river becomes useless as a border, and trust is destroyed (ending 1), or one conflict party just does not notice what happened and seemingly has limited attention or limited information (ending 2), or the destruction of trust again leads to wasteful fighting (ending 3). Endings 1 and 3 can be interpreted as the "bad" Nash equilibrium of a repeated game. Standard game theory does not offer convincing solutions for why one of the possible equilibria (cooperate or don't) is chosen, so focal points may be part of the answer, but then the river is not the focal point; rather, "cooperation" is the focal point.  

Since the parties agreed to use the middle of the river as the border and then one of the parties had the idea to manipulate it, the story may illustrate a problem of incomplete contracts.

Comment by sherrinford on Open & Welcome Thread – November 2020 · 2020-11-09T15:12:57.257Z · LW · GW

Great vaccine news!

Comment by sherrinford on Sherrinford's Shortform · 2020-11-06T19:08:05.960Z · LW · GW

At least you didnt write a long longform post :)

Comment by sherrinford on Notes on Industriousness · 2020-11-06T17:41:27.320Z · LW · GW

About that Warren Buffett advice: It seems to be made up, or at least wrongly attributed.

Comment by sherrinford on Sherrinford's Shortform · 2020-11-06T08:17:01.105Z · LW · GW

It would be great if people first did some literature research before presenting their theory of life, universe and everything. If they did not find any literature, they should say so.

Comment by sherrinford on Sherrinford's Shortform · 2020-10-25T17:48:27.423Z · LW · GW

Among EA-minded people interested in preventing climate change, it seems Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is seen very favorably. Why? The "Climate Change Cause Area Report" by Founders Pledge (PDF) gives an overview.

CATF's work is  introduced as follows:

"It was founded in 1996 with the aim of enacting federal policy reducing the air pollution caused by American coal-fired power plants. This campaign has been highly successful and has been a contributing factor to the retirement of a large portion of the US coal fleet." (p. 5)

On p. 88, you will read:

"Do they have a a good track record? CATF have conceived of and led several successful advocacy campaigns in the US, which have had very large public health and environmental benefits. According to our rough model, through their past work, they have averted a tonne of CO 2 e for around $1.

Is their future work cost- - effective? Going forward, CATF plans to continue its work on power plant regulation and to advocate for policy support for innovative but neglected low carbon technologies.

Given their track record and the nature of their future projects, we think it is likely that a donation to CATF would avert a tonne of CO 2 e for $0.10-$1."

On p. 91:

"CATF was founded in 1996 to advocate for regulation of the damaging air pollution produced by the US coal fleet, initially focusing on sulphur dioxide (SO 2 ) and nitrogen oxide (NO x ). They later advocated for controls on mercury emissions. The theory of change was that the cost of emission controls for conventional pollutants and mercury would result in the retirement or curtailment of coal plant operation resulting in reductions in CO 2 (and other) emissions. CATF conceived of the campaign goal, designed the strategy, and led the campaign, in turn drawing in philanthropic support and recruiting other environmental NGOs to the campaign."

How does the evaluation work? A spreadsheet with an evaluation shows benefits of the policy impact.

Where do the numbers come from? The spreadsheet states "subjective input" in several cells. The "Climate Change Cause Area Report" by Founders Pledge (p. 129--) states that "CATF is typical of research and policy advocacy organisations in that it has worked on heterogeneous projects. This makes it difficult to evaluate all of CATF’s past work, as this would require us to assess their counterfactual impact in a range of different contexts in which numerous actors are pushing for the same outcome." The report then asks e.g. how much CATF "brought the relevant regulation forward", and the answers seem to rely strongly on assessment by CATF. Nonetheless, it makes assessments like "Our very rough realistic estimate is therefore that CATF brought the relevant regulation forward by 12 months. The 90% confidence interval around this estimate is 6 months to 2 years." On p. 91 you can read: "Through each of these mechanisms, CATF increased the probability that regulation was introduced earlier in time. Our highly uncertain realistic estimate is that through their work, CATF brought regulation on US coal plants forward by 18 months, with a lower bound of 9 months and a higher bound of 4 years. CATF believe this to be a major underestimate, and have told us that they could have brought the relevant regulation forward by ten years."

While of course it's fine to give subjective estimates, they should be taken with a grain of salt. It seems the comparison is much more reliant on such subjectivity than when you evaluate charities with concrete, repeatedly applied health interventions.

What, if anything, could be biased?

Additional to the (probably unavoidable) reliance on self-information, the following paragraph made me wonder:

"CATF have told us that at the time the campaign was conceived, major environmental organisations were opposed to reopening the question of plant emissions after the Clean Act Amendments of 1990, as they feared the possibility that legislative debate would unravel other parts of the Act. 216 This is based on conversations at the time with the American Lung Association, Environmental Defense Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council."

How can we know whether such fears were justified ex ante? How do we guard against survivorship or hindsight bias?

Comment by sherrinford on The Treacherous Path to Rationality · 2020-10-19T22:16:47.816Z · LW · GW

Hey Ben, given that you are able to keep track of 100s of friends and acquaintances, and assuming that you also have lots of other friends and acquaintances who are not rationalists but similar in other respects (probably: young; high income and education; jobs that can be transformed to remote jobs if they aren't already; not too uncomfortable with staying at home because they do not spend every weekend in a soccer stadium or dancing all night?):

How large do you estimate the differential impact of "being rationalist" to be?

Comment by sherrinford on The Treacherous Path to Rationality · 2020-10-19T22:01:08.067Z · LW · GW

Is "some of us" more than Wei Dai? Because it seems to me that only Wei Dai is mentioned as an example but it is implied that more people profited - not only by you, but in general when I see that claim.

Comment by sherrinford on How much to worry about the US election unrest? · 2020-10-15T08:41:59.745Z · LW · GW

Sources / Link Brainstorming:

Comment by sherrinford on Should it be a research paper or a blog post? · 2020-10-15T08:39:43.672Z · LW · GW

This is a helpful link, thanks.

Comment by sherrinford on Should it be a research paper or a blog post? · 2020-09-25T07:22:50.528Z · LW · GW

So you do both, but you blog pseudonymously?

Comment by sherrinford on Link: Vitamin D Can Likely End the COVID-19 Pandemic - Rootclaim Blog · 2020-09-18T22:27:02.970Z · LW · GW

I really like the Vitamin-D inquiries made.

I only stumbled a bit about this: "Of course, there may be another source for the dramatic difference between the two groups, which has not yet been identified. This would usually be the responsibility of the publishing journal to expose. In this case, the publication has been peer-reviewed and published in a small journal specializing in vitamin D. The publisher is Elsevier, which also publishes the Lancet and Cell."

Many people nowadays are stating that peer-review processes are problematic, but IMHO they are still a really important standard. Yet I do not find it a compelling argument to say that the publisher also publishes Lancet and Cell. Yes, Elsevier usually does not publish predatory crank journals. But concluding from the publisher being Elsevier to the quality of one article in a "small journal specializing in vitamin D" is quite a jump.

Comment by sherrinford on Open & Welcome Thread - September 2020 · 2020-09-18T07:19:42.182Z · LW · GW

I do not know whether this has already been mentioned on Lesswrong, but 4-6 weeks ago you could read in German news websites that commercially available mouth wash has been tested to kill coronavirus in the lab and the (positive) results have been published in Journal of Infectious Diseases.

You can click through this article to see the ranked names of the mouth wash brands and their "reduction factor" though I found the sample sizes seemed quite small. You can also find a list in this overview article. In an article I saw today on this topic, the author warned against using the stuff permanently because it also kills the desirable part of your oral flora. But it was suggested that it may help once you are infected, and may possibly help prophylactically (of course only in the sense of helping when you are possibly infected).

Comment by sherrinford on Open & Welcome Thread - September 2020 · 2020-09-18T07:11:53.384Z · LW · GW

Additionally, I'd like to know whether people are warned before they are banned, and whether they are asked about their own view of the matter.

Comment by sherrinford on What Does "Signalling" Mean? · 2020-09-17T18:35:00.065Z · LW · GW

Sorry, I think that's a misunderstanding. I will edit the part about cheap talk.

Comment by sherrinford on Open & Welcome Thread - September 2020 · 2020-09-17T18:33:42.291Z · LW · GW

I agree to your first paragraph.

Whether someone is "good fit" already should be visible by the Karma (and I think Karma then translates into Karma points per Vote?) and I don't see why that should additionally lead to a ban or something. A ban, or a writing ban, could result for destructive behavior.

I think there is no real point in having people blocked from reading. Writing - ok (though after all things start out as personal blog posts in any case and don't have to be made frontpage posts).

Comment by sherrinford on Open & Welcome Thread - September 2020 · 2020-09-17T15:15:38.294Z · LW · GW

I welcome the transparency, but this "I don't want others to update on this as being much evidence about whether it makes sense to have curi in their communities" seems a bit weird to me. "a propensity for long unproductive discussions, a history of threats against people who engage with him" and "I assign too high of a probability that old patterns will repeat themselves" seem like quite a judgement and why would someone else not update on this? Additionally, I think that while a ban is sometimes necessary (e.g. harassment), a 2-year ban seems like quite a jump. I could think of a number of different sanctions, e.g. blocking someone from commenting in general; giving users the option to block someone from commenting; blocking someone from writing anything; limiting someone's authority to her own shortform; all of these things for some time.

Comment by sherrinford on Open & Welcome Thread - September 2020 · 2020-09-17T13:06:57.418Z · LW · GW

"What if Trump Loses..." is just the title of the article, but the article also discusses scenarios where "Biden might be the one who disputes the result".

Comment by sherrinford on What Does "Signalling" Mean? · 2020-09-17T10:49:32.238Z · LW · GW

Signaling theory as a term in economics or game theory usually refers to the analysis of situations where an agent takes an action that transmits information that some other agent (or rather, the "principal") does not have, and which influences the principal's behavior. The agent is also often called the sender and the principal the receiver of the signal.

Often, this is information about the agent, but sometimes it is information about something else, so we can generally just say it is information about "the state of the world" or "the state of nature". Usually, signaling theory is concerned with situations in which the information cannot be transmitted by "mere assertion" (or "cheap talk", see below) but only by a costly action, and the cost of transmitting information about certain states of the world has to be different from transmitting information about other states of the world in certain ways; e.g. in Spence's job-market signaling model, low-ability workers must have a higher cost of attaining education than high-ability workers, otherwise low-ability workers would also do it and the signal is worthless. (Note that in these models, the agent moves first and the principal second, but still the principal offers a contract based on the received information. If the principal moves first and offers a contract to the informed agent, we are in contract theory. Signaling theory and contract theory together are sometimes referred to as "information economics", "economics of asymmetric information", or sometimes the "theory of incentives".)

Situations in which there are no such costly signals are usually called "cheap talk" models. Of course, if there is no conflict of interest, the informed party can always just transfer the information (and there would also be no need for costly signals then). But suppose there is a conflict of interest between the informed sender and the uninformed receiver. Then which kind of information is transmittable? The seminal paper is by Crawford and Sobel. They show that, basically, very fine-grained information transmission does not work when there is a conflict of interest.

Finally, if a sender can send costless credible signals but can strategically choose which ones, we are in the domain of "Bayesian persuasion" models.

(If you can send signals that are costless and there is no conflict of interest, then we are maybe back in basic statistical theory if the signals are noisy, but I guess there is no room for an economic analysis.)

Comment by sherrinford on Open & Welcome Thread - September 2020 · 2020-09-14T18:21:46.582Z · LW · GW

Do those of you who live in America fear the scenarios discussed here? ("What If Trump Loses And Won’t Leave?")

Comment by sherrinford on Training Regime Day 0: Introduction · 2020-09-08T07:38:27.798Z · LW · GW
This sequence might be thought of as an updated version of the hammertime sequence, with a slightly broader scope.

Could you please briefly explain the differences between these sequences?

Comment by sherrinford on 10 Fun Questions for LessWrongers · 2020-08-19T07:12:50.427Z · LW · GW

There was a smaller one here: It was not promoted to frontpage post, but had some interesting results nonetheless.

Comment by sherrinford on Tools for keeping focused · 2020-08-05T18:10:09.871Z · LW · GW

I recommend using - whenever I find something interesting to read in the web, I (try to remind myself of doing the following: I) click the "save to pocket" button to read it later. Then in pocket (in the web version or in the smartphone app), the reading environment is with much less distraction and you can stop and continue easily.

Comment by sherrinford on Sherrinford's Shortform · 2020-08-03T21:13:31.201Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the history overview! Very interesting. Concerning the wikipedia dynamics, I agree that this is plausible, as it is a plausible development of nearly every volunteer organization, in particular if they try to be grassroots-democratic. The wikipedia-media problem is known ( though in this particular case I was a bit surprised about the "original research" and "reliable source" distinction. Many articles there did not seem very "serious". On the other hand, during this whole "lost in hyperspace", I also found "A frequent poster to LessWrong was Michael Anissimov, who was MIRI’s media director until 2013." ( which was news to me. In internet years, all this is so long ago that I did not have any such associations. (I would rather have expected lesswrong to be notable for demanding the dissolution of the WHO, but probably that is not yet clickbaity enough.)

Comment by sherrinford on Sherrinford's Shortform · 2020-08-03T06:02:51.603Z · LW · GW

Interesting. I had maybe read the Wikipedia article a long time ago, but it did not leave any impression in my memory. Now rereading it, I did not find it dramatic, but I see your point.

Tbh, I stilĺ do not fully understand how Wikipedia works (that is, I do not have a model who determines how an article develops). And the "originated" (ok maybe that is only almost and not fully identical to "first grew") is just what I got from the article. The problem with the association is that it is hard to definitely determine what even makes things mentionable, but once somebody publibly has to distance himself from something, this indicates a public kind of association.

Further reading the article, my impression is that it indeed cites things that in Wikipedia count as sources for its claims. If the impression of lesswrong is distorted, then this may be a problem of what kinds of thing on lesswrong are covered by media publications? Or maybe it is all just selective citing, but then it should be possible to cite other things.

Comment by sherrinford on Sherrinford's Shortform · 2020-08-02T19:20:25.174Z · LW · GW
"My model is that in USA most intelligent people are left-wing. Especially when you define "left-wing" to mean the 50% of the political spectrum, not just the extreme."

I agree. (I assume that by political spectrum you refer to something "objective"?)

And there seem to be many Americans on Less Wrong, just like on most English-speaking websites.

Given the whole Bay-area thing, I would have expected a higher share. In the survey, 37 out of 60 say they are residing in the US.

So, I would expect Less Wrong to be mostly left-wing (in the 50% sense). My question is, why were you surprised by this outcome?

Having been in this forum for a while, my impressions based on posts and comments led me to believe that less than 50% of people on lessrong would say of themselves that they are on values 1-5 of 1-10 scale from left-wing to right-wing. In fact, 41/56 did so.

For example, "neoreaction" is the only flavor of politics that is mentioned in the Wikipedia article about LessWrong. It does not claim that it is the predominant political belief, and it even says that Yudkowsky disagrees with them. Nonetheless, it is the only political opinion mentioned in connection with Less Wrong. (This is about making associations rather than making arguments.) So a reader who does not know how to read between the lines properly, might leave with an impression that LW is mostly right-wing. (Which is exactly the intended outcome, in my opinion.) And Wikipedia is not the only place where this game of associations is played.

The wikipedia article, as far as I can see, explains in that paragraph where the neoreactionary movement originated. I don't agree on the "intended outcome", or rather, I do not see why I should believe that.

Comment by sherrinford on Sherrinford's Shortform · 2020-08-02T06:19:57.788Z · LW · GW

I don't think that fits what I am talking about:

  1. The survey was non-binary. Your first claim does not distinguish extremes and moderates.
  2. The survey was anonymous. You cannot ban anonymous people.
  3. I see no reason why people should have overstated their leftishness.
  4. If your statement is meant to explain why my perception differs from the result, it does not fit. My perception based on posts and comments would have been relatively more rightwing, less liberal / social democratic / green etc.
  5. I don't see where leftwing lesswrongers are denounced as rightwing extremists. In particular, I don't see where this explains people identifying as leftwing in the survey.