Building a Community Institution In Five Hours A Week 2017-10-09T21:12:29.119Z · score: 23 (8 votes)
Happiness Is Not A Coherent Concept 2017-09-29T15:48:08.113Z · score: 18 (6 votes)


Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Leaving beta: Voting on moving to · 2018-03-13T14:58:44.362Z · score: 27 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I've had many of our newcomers tell me that they showed up because of that feature (not because they went looking for in-person meetups). Discoverability matters.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Leaving beta: Voting on moving to · 2018-03-12T14:58:48.371Z · score: 59 (18 votes) · LW · GW

Here's the main consideration from my point of view as an organizer: is still the #1 source of newcomers to the San Francisco meetup.

We haven't had much chance to try out the new meetup functionality on yet, but we really need it to work. This is our community's primary source of new blood, and it is super important for that to be all set before the migration happens.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Meta-tations on Moderation: Towards Public Archipelago · 2018-02-25T18:59:13.436Z · score: 11 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If people are leaving as we speak, then scaling it to the size it already is may indeed require change.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Circling · 2018-02-21T17:49:15.330Z · score: 29 (7 votes) · LW · GW

A sense that other people are paying direct attention to you, noticing important and real aspects of you, and not rejecting those aspects.

This is rare in my experience because people mostly don't actually pay attention to each other, they just notice some vague surface-level details that are easy to remember and not much else.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Nonlinear perception of happiness · 2018-01-08T16:02:18.849Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Have you looked at possible empirical bases of "raw happiness" such as Kahneman's Day Reconstruction Method?

(see also: Happiness is Not a Coherent Concept)

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on In Defence of Meta · 2018-01-08T05:35:18.285Z · score: 18 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I see. In that case

This can only be seen as a failure of rationality.

seems very non-obvious to me. Though of course the decline of LW1 was very bad for people not near any in-person community or involved with any of the LW diaspora online, I am not sure that it had a bad effect on the community as a whole.

But then, I'm not sure how to define "bad effect on the community as a whole," either, short of the entire thing dissolving.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on In Defence of Meta · 2018-01-08T02:27:15.568Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · LW · GW
We saw that the community was in a steep decline until recently, despite the fact that many rationalists wanted the community to thrive.

Why do you believe this? Or by "community" do you mean "the LessWrong website"?

From my vantage point, it looks like the overall, in-person+online community has been growing slowly ever since I joined it ~6 years ago.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Mana · 2017-12-21T00:21:30.389Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, ok, "I don't have time for that" is definitely a valid response to this.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Mana · 2017-12-20T19:19:17.893Z · score: 13 (3 votes) · LW · GW

So, not having access to the original post you linked to on Facebook, here is how I would summarize the thing you're saying here. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

"Social reality" is a reference to the idea that everything that humans say to each other is mediated by political or social concerns, such that truth is being constantly warped as it passes through people's brains, without the people involved even being aware of it. The term "social reality" specifically refers to the "alternate reality" that is created by these truth-warping distortions.
"Mana" means "ability to see the world as it genuinely is, without being affected by social reality." When you have a lot of this ability, you gain the miraculous power to affect other people's perception of reality, because they are still existing in a reality-distortion field even if you aren't - so their social conceptions will move out of the way to make room for yours.
Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Mana · 2017-12-20T19:05:10.179Z · score: 31 (9 votes) · LW · GW

As a piece of general feedback: I find your writing useful but hard to understand, even though I have a general sense of how your brain works and what kinds of things you usually say. I think if I didn't have those, your writing would be pretty much impossible to understand (edit: for counterfactual me, specifically). It's very dense with jargon that means a lot to you but other people don't have context on.

My guess is you could fix this by doing something that feels like "dumbing it down almost to the point of uselessness," so that only very small concepts are presented in each post. In actuality I think this would make it much more useful.

I hope you find a way to make it work, because I think there's a lot of value in it that is difficult for others to extract.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Bay Solstice 2017: Thoughts · 2017-12-19T16:07:41.522Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's called "Bold Orion." (I found it in your Giant Epic Rationalist Solstice Filk spreadsheet.)

I think Bold Orion was supposed to be the "winter-themed" song for the evening. But it's subtle and doesn't explicitly use the word "winter." edit: no wait, "Old Man Winter" is in the lyrics once. But just once.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Bay Solstice 2017: Thoughts · 2017-12-19T06:11:47.830Z · score: 17 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Nitpick: might give people a slightly better sense of what it's like, but mostly it's a meta-discussion that's gone way off the rails and has little to do with what actually happened on Saturday, and is more about What Is Or Should Be The Ultimate Idea Of Solstice, Really.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Bay Solstice 2017: Thoughts · 2017-12-18T18:58:27.214Z · score: 27 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for sharing. As is often the case, I find myself agreeing with you on most concrete points but unhappy with the overly negative tone you're taking. I hope that none of the core organizers are reading this now, because if I were them I'd want to take some more time to decompress before diving into criticism this harsh.

So, on to specific points:

I agree that this year was pretty scattershot, and didn't feel like the arc pulled together well. Have you talked to next year's organizer about helping out with creative direction? Running a Solstice and getting the tone of the arc right is pretty hard. Not just to say "Hey, don't complain if you can't help," because that's a legitimate thing to do - but I legitimately believe that having strong opinions about how the arc should be is really helpful for someone doing that work. And you clearly have strong opinions.

Similarly, my sense is that the quality of speeches is heavily dependent on having people available and willing to not only perform, but to write original speeches.

I think we really need to focus on what the organizers of Solstice can do to help prevent disruptions, rather than blaming the audience. One huge problem is that this year's venue has no acoustically isolated indoor space to take kids, let alone having onsite childcare. We really do need to find an alternate venue.

I'm not really sure what to do to prevent applause other than just saying "please hold your applause till the end." Maybe organizers of previous years could speak to how well that works, and/or other strategies they've used.

edit: One more thing re: candles: I wonder why we haven't used LED candles at venues that don't allow them? They're obviously not as good as the real thing, but I do think they add to the atmosphere - I've run a couple small Solstices where we used them, and it went well.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Qualitative differences · 2017-12-14T19:16:42.395Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There are some guidelines on what sort of content belongs on the frontpage.

I think, based on these guidelines, that the issue with this particular post would be "crowdedness" - people here have discussed this topic a lot already.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Notifications bubble should look different when there are notifications · 2017-12-12T23:32:39.350Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Aw man, and here I assumed it was because you were avoiding giving LW the addictive quality of a normal social network.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Trolley Problem Experiment Run IRL · 2017-12-07T23:15:51.441Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Because it's spoilers? ... and not in rot13.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Any Good Criticism of Karl Popper's Epistemology? · 2017-12-01T19:25:58.433Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I assume you have read Myth of the Framework. Doesn't Popper himself emphasize that it's not necessary to share an epistemological framework with someone, nor explicitly verbalize exactly how it works (since doing that is difficult-to-impossible), to make intellectual progress?

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on The Craft & The Community - A Post-Mortem & Resurrection · 2017-11-03T15:31:34.664Z · score: 19 (6 votes) · LW · GW
It's kind of a convergent thing to do, among people of a certain level of success and awareness of how the world works.

Relatedly, my parents helped found an elementary school that my oldest sibling was in the founding class of. That school is now about as expensive per-year as out-of-state tuition at a nice university. (Still a nice school, though.) It has about 200 students at any given time.

My takeaway from this is that scaling schools at all at a reasonable cost is really hard.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Nightmare of the Perfectly Principled · 2017-11-03T15:06:50.459Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · LW · GW
There’s a reason why the culture that produced an outsized number of science Nobelists is not an engineering culture, but a rule of law one.

What do you mean by an engineering culture, and how is it distinct from the "rule of law" culture you described earlier?

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on In defense of common-sense tribalism · 2017-11-03T14:59:42.867Z · score: 11 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think most rationalists are way more in favor of tribal stuff than you're implying. The Solstice is just one example.

We're not shunning it because it's what normies use, it's just hard to start it from scratch. If you start doing these things, I bet a lot of people would be interested in them.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on [deleted post] 2017-10-20T21:56:04.237Z

3. Safety versus standards.

The dichotomy feels very specific to companies. I don't see why most communities couldn't have both, with people simply having various levels of engagement.
Most communities have a lot of idlers and lurkers.

I strongly disagree. All communities have to face up to this tradeoff in one way or another. Just as one example, the LW community has been low-key having this debate for a long time now; "should we be about Being Real Ambitious or just focus on being nice to the people here?"

Hobby communities have to think about how much they prioritize Being Good At Hobby vs. Just Having Fun. Church communities have to set standards of behavior and parameters under which you can say you 'are a member.' These standards and priorities for things other than community cohesion often mean that individuals feel less safe (if I'm not Good At Hobby I'll be ostracized! if I do [church-disapproved behavior] I'll be ostracized!), but serve other goals for the community that are also important.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Gnostic Rationality · 2017-10-12T17:27:13.863Z · score: 33 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I'm missing a lot of context here. How is this post connected to the other things you're referring to as a "cancer" and what is wrong with those things and this post?

Meta note: I don't like that your comment has a lot of "this is bad" but not a lot of why.

edit: To be clear, I'm genuinely curious. This post is also extremely confusing and bizarre, so I would appreciate hearing your take on it as someone who is skeptical but also seems to understand what it's pointing at.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Community Capital · 2017-10-09T17:49:25.584Z · score: 11 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'd actually be very interested in hearing what specific community this is, as a case study in How To Do This Right.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Things you should never do · 2017-10-03T14:38:13.840Z · score: 6 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Feedback: This link would be a lot more useful if it had any concrete context or commentary related to the link. "A common fallacy among programmer-types" could be anything, not even related to programming, and the link title is even more vague. I clicked on it only to realize I'd already read it several years ago.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Prosocial manipulation · 2017-10-02T17:55:28.297Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Normally, facial expressions and body language and tone of voice are credible signals. They are hard to fake for most people, which creates trust.

If you know that a specific person is good at faking those signals, they instantly become less trustworthy. They could have your best interests at heart, sure, but how would you know?

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Musings on Double Crux (and "Productive Disagreement") · 2017-09-29T21:05:43.592Z · score: 14 (7 votes) · LW · GW

For me, the world is divided into roughly two groups:

1. People who I do not trust enough to engage in this kind of honest intellectual debate with, because our interests and values are divergent and all human communication is political.

2. Close friends, who, when we disagree, I engage in something like "double crux" naturally and automatically, because it's the obvious general shape of how to figure out what we should do.

The latter set currently contains about two (2) people.

This is why I don't do explicit double crux.

Comment by spiralingintocontrol on Blind Goaltenders: Unproductive Disagreements · 2017-09-28T22:37:35.777Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · LW · GW

+1, I feel like this post is getting at something useful, but I'm too confused by the use of terminology to understand it.