What question would you like to collaborate on? 2021-06-02T19:31:11.374Z
Functional Trade-offs 2021-05-19T01:06:08.518Z
A Wiki for Questions 2021-05-11T02:31:03.124Z
What questions should we ask ourselves when trying to improve something? 2021-05-06T19:03:06.638Z


Comment by weathersystems on What question would you like to collaborate on? · 2021-06-04T18:25:41.625Z · LW · GW

Thanks. The "drawing what you see" vs "drawing what you think" distinction combined with the images helped me understand the idea better.

This seems somewhat related to what Scott Alexander called "concept shaped holes." So you're saying that some people have a "concept of how to draw what you see" shaped hole, and that Edwards has some techniques of helping you fill that gap.

Are you specifically looking for conceptual shifts that would allow you to do something better? Or is just being able to understand something you previously didn't understand enough? Like if someone didn't "get" jazz and there were some way to help them appreciate it, would that count?

Comment by weathersystems on [deleted post] 2021-06-04T17:47:20.098Z

Thanks for writing up your thoughts here. I hope you wont mind a little push-back.

There's a premise underlying much of your thought that I don't think is true.

But as the world of Social Studies consists of the interactions of persons, places, and things, they are subject to the Laws of Physics, and so the tenants of Physics must apply.

I don't really see how the laws of physics apply to social interactions. To me it sounds like you're mixing up different levels of description without any reason.

Yes, at bottom we're all made up of physical stuff that physics describes. But that doesn't really mean that the laws of physics are particularly useful when trying to explain human scale phenomena like why people get hungry, or angry, or why people have a hard time coordinating, or (more to your point), why people sometimes believe the wrong things. The fields of psychology, evolutionary biology, sociology among others seem like they'd be more relevant than physics. The different fields of knowledge exist for a good reason.

Comment by weathersystems on What are your personal (public) Hamming questions? · 2021-06-04T17:17:12.136Z · LW · GW

I think some question in this area would work well for this collaboration I'm proposing:

If you add a question there and it gets picked I'd be happy to work on this with you.

Comment by weathersystems on What question would you like to collaborate on? · 2021-06-04T16:46:10.976Z · LW · GW

Ya I thought it was worth a try. Looks like exactly one person is putting forward a question so far. Do you have any questions you'd be interested in working on?

Comment by weathersystems on What question would you like to collaborate on? · 2021-06-04T16:43:30.139Z · LW · GW

Thanks for being the first person to submit a question! 

It turns people who have "no drawing talent" into people who can easily draw anything they see, not by strenuous exercise, but by a conceptual shift that can be achieved in a few hours.

Did that work for you, or do you know of any evidence that that's the case? I'm skeptical that a few hours can allow anyone to "draw anything they see" but would be happy to change my mind on that. I guess you didn't say how well they'd be able to draw after just a few hours of "conceptual shift." But I read you as saying anyone can draw very well after just a little effort.

I guess I'm not really understanding the question. Is the question something like:

"What are some small shifts people can make in their mental model of some skill that would have a very large impact in the skill level of the person making that mental shift?"

Comment by weathersystems on Which activities do you prefer to better recover productivity? · 2021-06-02T21:45:33.113Z · LW · GW
  • going for a walk
  • taking a long bath or shower
  • going to the gym
  • taking a nap if I'm tired
Comment by weathersystems on What question would you like to collaborate on? · 2021-06-02T19:34:33.908Z · LW · GW

I'm a bit worried that my question will be picked and then I'll be the only one working on it. So to give this thing a better chance of at least two people collaborating, I'm not submitting a question.

Comment by weathersystems on A Wiki for Questions · 2021-06-02T00:32:59.002Z · LW · GW

Thanks. I'd heard of wikispore, but not wikifunctions. That looks cool.

Comment by weathersystems on The Case for Extreme Vaccine Effectiveness · 2021-05-24T01:40:51.116Z · LW · GW

"I wrote first wrote"

Thanks for the post!

Comment by weathersystems on How refined is your art of note-taking? · 2021-05-20T01:39:26.168Z · LW · GW

A really easy way to set up your own wiki is to use a github repo. You can make it private if you don't want people to see it. If you use markdown and use the .md file extension, github will show the pages nicely and will even make links to other pages work.

do you ever go back to old free form notes and find yourself unable to reconstruct what you originally meant?

I don't think I've ever had that problem.

Or find the task of wading through your old free form notes unpleasant, since they're not polished?

I think it's fun. I've never found it unpleasant. And if it's on a computer you can always use the search function for topics you're interested in pursuing further.

Comment by weathersystems on How refined is your art of note-taking? · 2021-05-20T01:06:03.391Z · LW · GW

Also make sure to check out the other posts with the note taking tag if you haven't seen them already:

Comment by weathersystems on How refined is your art of note-taking? · 2021-05-20T00:20:38.619Z · LW · GW

I like using a wiki for notes. Something like this: There are a lot of ways to set up a wiki.

1) How consistently do you take notes when you're reading up on a new skill or subject?

I take notes for things that I want to eventually write something about, so for most things I don't end up taking notes.

2) Do you regularly refer back to old notes?

Sure. Especially keeping track of relevant sources is super useful for future me.

3) Do you approach note-taking differently for different subjects or purposes?

For notes that I don't want people to see because they involve private information, I just use a repository with some files and folders on my computer. For anything that I'd be ok with people reading, I use this wiki:

4) Have you adopted a specific note-taking method and used it consistently for more than a few months?


I'm not sure if the method has a name. For my personal notes I have a folder for free form babble type thoughts. Each filename is just the date that I'm writing. Then I later go through and find anything related to some topic I want to do more work on and copy past the good bits into files separated by topic.

Some of those notes in my private repo end up being something I'd like to share with friends, so I post 'em to my wiki.

5) What role does note-taking play for you? Is it a way to focus your attention? To make extracts from the text for easier reference later? To comprehend the material better through the act of making notes?

The free form writing helps me to get down my thoughts quickly for possible future reference. Sometimes I go back to what I wrote 5 months ago and find some gems.

Sometimes when I'm researching a topic, just copy pasting links and relevant text has been useful.

Taking notes helps me keep track of fragmentary ideas for future processing and helps me do the processing.

Comment by weathersystems on What is the strongest argument you know for antirealism? · 2021-05-12T15:16:25.662Z · LW · GW

If you're just looking for the arguments. This are what you're looking for:

How do you know that disinterested (not game-theoretic or instrumental) altruism is irrational / doesn't make any sense?

What is "disinterested altruism"? And why do you think it's connected to moral anti-realism?

Comment by weathersystems on A Wiki for Questions · 2021-05-11T23:37:08.436Z · LW · GW

Thx. I'll check it out.

Comment by weathersystems on A Wiki for Questions · 2021-05-11T22:14:42.599Z · LW · GW

I agree. My two questions with regards to that are:

  1. Would they accept this as a sister project? The last time they took on a sister project was something like 10 years ago (iirc)
  2. Would it be better placed as it's own Wikimedia project or could it be merged with Wikiversity?
Comment by weathersystems on A Wiki for Questions · 2021-05-11T22:05:52.541Z · LW · GW

StackExchange only flags duplicates, that's true, but the reason is so that search is more efficient, not less. The duplicate serves as a signpost pointing to the canonical question.

Ya I get that. But why keep all the answers and stuff from the duplicates? My idea with the question wiki was to keep the duplicate question page (because maybe it's worded a bit differently and would show up differently in searches), have a pointer to the canonical question, and remove the rest of the content on that page, combining it with the canonical question page.

Also, StackExchange does indeed allow edits to answers by people other than the original poster. Those with less than a certain amount of reputation can only propose an edit and someone else has to approve it, and those who have a higher level of reputation can edit any answer and have the edit immediately go into effect.

Huh. That's new to me. Thanks for the info. That may affect my view on the need for the question wiki. I'll have to think about it. Maybe I gotta take a closer look at stackexchange.

Comment by weathersystems on A Wiki for Questions · 2021-05-11T20:44:44.492Z · LW · GW

Ya I think you're basically right here. Which is why I'm not really hoping to "grow large enough to be comparable to Stack Exchange and still remain good." In fact even growing large enough and being sucky seems very hard.

My goal is just to make something that's useful to individuals. I figure if I get use out of the thing when working alone, maybe other people would too.

Comment by weathersystems on A Wiki for Questions · 2021-05-11T18:28:15.244Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure I'm getting your question.

I think mediawiki (the software that runs both wikipedia and this question wiki) only allows text by default. But there's no reason why the pages can't just link to relevant sources. And in fact probably some questions should be answered with just one link to the relevant wikipedia page. 

Ideally pages should synthesize relevant sources but I think just listing sources is better than nothing.

Comment by weathersystems on Challenge: know everything that the best go bot knows about go · 2021-05-11T06:33:40.443Z · LW · GW

Sure. But the question is can you know everything it knows and not be as good as it? That is, does understanding the go bot in your sense imply that you could play an even game against it?

Comment by weathersystems on A Wiki for Questions · 2021-05-11T06:31:44.399Z · LW · GW

Ah ya I see what you're saying. Ya that's definitely right. Certainly the most common kind of question asker online just wants to ask the highest number of the most qualified people their question and that's it. Unless/until the site has a large user base that won't really be possible on the wiki.

Still, I think as long as the thing is useful to some people it may be able to grow. But it may be useful to organize my thoughts better on exactly what the value is for single users.

One example that comes to mind is the polymath project. They found it useful to start a wiki to organize their projects. If anyone else wants to come along and do a similar thing, they can just use this wiki instead of making their own.

Comment by weathersystems on A Wiki for Questions · 2021-05-11T06:10:47.168Z · LW · GW

By "network effect" do you mean this? I take the network effect to be a problem here only if the wiki requires a large amount of people to be useful. 

My hope is that the wiki should be useful even for a very small number of people. For example, I get use out of it myself just as a place to put some notes that I want to show to people and as a way of organizing my own questions.

Comment by weathersystems on Challenge: know everything that the best go bot knows about go · 2021-05-11T06:01:50.511Z · LW · GW

I'm a bit confused. What's the difference between "knowing everything that the best go bot knows" and "being able to play an even game against a go bot."? I think they're basically the same. It seems to me that you can't know everything the go bot knows without being able to beat any professional go player.

Or am I missing something?

Comment by weathersystems on Open and Welcome Thread - May 2021 · 2021-05-11T02:56:36.446Z · LW · GW

Hi y'all.

Recently I've become very interested in open research. A friend of mine gave me the tip to check out lesswrong. 

I found that lesswrong has been interested in trying to support collaborative open research (one, two, three) for a few years at least. That was the original idea behind Recently Ruby explained some of their problems getting this sort of thing going with the previous approach and sketched a feature he's calling "Research Agendas." I think something like his Research Agendas seems quite useful. 

So that's what brought me here. But I've had a lot of fun reading through old top rated posts.

I just made my first post about a question centered wiki I've been working on. I guess it's a sort of self promotion, so I hope that's ok. I felt that it's the sort of thing that people here may be interested in. I'm also very interested to hear critiques of the argument I put forward in that post.

Comment by weathersystems on What questions should we ask ourselves when trying to improve something? · 2021-05-07T00:25:14.409Z · LW · GW

I added in a few more of the questions from the template that seem relevant. Including the one about possible difficulties. I think what's there cover's your trade-off.

Comment by weathersystems on What questions should we ask ourselves when trying to improve something? · 2021-05-07T00:08:40.515Z · LW · GW

I was thinking that the template would be something where you could just keep the sections that seem relevant and delete the rest. 

But I guess even that would start to get annoying if the thing was super long. That's a good consideration to keep in mind.

Comment by weathersystems on What are the greatest near-future risks or dangers to you as an individual? · 2021-05-06T21:36:17.961Z · LW · GW

What factors do you expect have the highest likelihood of severely compromising your own quality and/or duration of life, within the next 1, 5, or 10 years?

A family member dying.

Contracting a serious disease, or becoming severely injured from an accident. 

Some incident (medical or otherwise) will use the rest of my savings and put me in financial instability.

How do these risks change your behavior compared to how you expect you'd act if they were less relevant to you?

I basically never think about these risks. I guess the money one I do a bit. I use far less money than I could to protect against potentially very costly events.

If those greatest personal risks are not things you categorize as existential risks to all of humanity, how do you divide your risk mitigation efforts between the personal-and-near-term and the global-and-long-term ones?

I rarely think in terms of risk mitigation. Maybe I should more.

Comment by weathersystems on What questions should we ask ourselves when trying to improve something? · 2021-05-06T21:27:50.400Z · LW · GW

I added "Given these problems, why are people still tolerating the status quo (if they are)?" to the template. Does that capture your idea well enough?

Comment by weathersystems on What questions should we ask ourselves when trying to improve something? · 2021-05-06T21:24:24.771Z · LW · GW

You have spelled "stakeholders" as "steak-holders", which is charming but may reduce credibility in some circumstances.

Heh. Funny mistake. Thanks.

A suggested improvement to the template: When examining the status quo, also ask "for what related problems does the status quo have a built-in solution?".

I want to make sure I understand your point here. Is the idea that sometimes we see that a system isn't solving some problem well enough, and so try to fix it. But we don't take into account the fact that the system isn't just trying to solve that problem, but other problems as well. And maybe our "fix" may be an improvement to the system in regards to the problem we're interested in, but hurt the system in regards to the other problems the system is trying to solve? (god that was long winded)

If that's the idea. I think I was trying to capture the same type of thing with "What are the strengths of the status quo (that we want to try and keep)?" But maybe I can improve the wording to make that more clear? Or do you still think you're making a separate point?

The template might benefit from a section asking what preconceptions or stereotypes surround the topic.

I like this. Not sure where to include it. From your description it seems like it should be either a top level question, under "What are the possible difficulties in making improvements in this area?", or under "What is the status quo?".

Comment by weathersystems on Is January AI a real thing? · 2021-03-26T04:49:30.188Z · LW · GW

Maybe it would help if you shared what you've been able to find out so far?

Comment by weathersystems on Is January AI a real thing? · 2021-03-26T04:41:17.625Z · LW · GW

[This is what I've found so far:]

What is January.AI?

It seems to be some sort of continuous glucose monitor 

Possibly relevant discussion:

[todo: summarize findings, find more discussion]