weft's Shortform 2020-05-08T20:43:16.231Z
Sophie Grouchy on A Build-Break Model of Cooperation 2018-05-25T14:55:19.043Z
Whose reasoning can you rely on when your own is faulty? 2018-02-18T22:41:53.729Z
Offloading Executive Functioning to Morality 2017-10-14T01:43:39.507Z
Rare Exception or Common Exception 2017-10-13T22:02:49.026Z
Community Capital 2017-10-09T03:49:06.926Z


Comment by weft on Group house norms really do seem toxic to many people. · 2021-01-12T22:48:54.633Z · LW · GW

I lived in DT and it was awful. OTOH I lived in quite a few other Rationalist houses (in both the bay and nyc) and they were all positive experiences.

I think making sure you filter for similar cleanliness levels, adultiness levels, lifestyle, etc is extremely important.

To me, living with random people you just vaguely like is still pretty good if they are a good lifestyle, etc match.

But it only takes ONE person to completely ruin a group house.

Comment by weft on Location Discussion Takeaways · 2020-11-11T00:43:05.240Z · LW · GW

I'm too old to really mesh with university culture, and don't code which makes programmer/startup culture not a good fit either.

(I would also argue that woke culture is taking over coastal programmer culture too, anyways)

Comment by weft on Location Discussion Takeaways · 2020-11-10T21:57:27.321Z · LW · GW

You mention that moving to a rural area would be an "all-in" dynamic, but Berkeley feels more that way to me than most places. 

It's so far-left / woke here that I feel my only option is to hang out with rationalists. It doesn't really feel like I have social options outside of the rationality community that aren't a version of "hold your tongue and fake agree with everything that's said."

I've lived in a lot of places, and there DO exist places with much weaker / nonexistent cancel culture. Blue cities in red states are usually this way. 

Comment by weft on Is Success the Enemy of Freedom? (Full) · 2020-11-02T20:01:47.653Z · LW · GW

If I were to come up with a Clever Title for some of this, I might call it The Trap of the Local Maxima. 

I did childcare and disability care in college, because it was a better option than being a cashier or something. Then I graduated and it was a recession, but I could use my childcare experience to get nanny jobs. And so on, and so on. 

Now I have about 15 years of childcare experience. It is REALLY EASY for me to get GOOD PAYING nanny jobs. I can literally go on to a website, send out 5-10 applications to what I think are the best jobs there, and be working within a week. 

Every now and then I try to do something else, but it is harder to find other types of jobs given my resume, and when I do the job is usually harder than nannying, and pays less. (I was recently an Office Manager, which had expectations I couldn't live up to, and paid less than nannying. Now I do some Virtual Assistant work that is mostly writing / social media which is nice and easy, and a similar amount of pay per hour, but not as many hours per day)

I don't even LIKE being a nanny. I never CHOSE it as a career. I don't PARTICULARLY like children (not in the way most people who choose childcare do). Kids are easy, but my people-skills are mediocre when dealing with e.g. parents or other nannies. 

I tell myself someday I will semi-retire and be a dog walker.

Comment by weft on The rationalist community's location problem · 2020-10-10T01:07:37.506Z · LW · GW

COVID has taught me that I don't need a big physical community, but it's ALSO taught me that I am 100% uninterested in virtual replacements. I still e.g. post on facebook, but have not enjoyed virtual hangouts and the like. 

If I could have a community of 7-200 people that were on the same street / property / very close, I think that would be my ideal. Being close to other similar groupings would be nice but not necessary. I think a community of about 20 is much stronger than a community of about 100 (the larger number necesitates weaker ties). A major issue is finding 7-20 people who would be a good fit and are willing to do it

Comment by weft on The rationalist community's location problem · 2020-10-09T23:39:56.031Z · LW · GW

Yeah, Prague is a definite draw. 

Amusingly, getting a dog is going to be a major issue to a potential move for us, since I'm pretty strongly against travelling with her in cargo which isn't very safe. There isn't a good way to get a dog to Europe. (There's a single international cruise line that takes dogs, but nixes anything pitbull adjacent since they only dock in England which has strong anti-pitbull laws)

You can charter a private plane or yacht cabin, but it's insanely expensive and I can't find anywhere where e.g. 12 people who all want to fly their dogs to Europe but don't care about the exact schedule charter a private plane together (at which point it's pretty affordable, and would definitely be worth it)

Comment by weft on The rationalist community's location problem · 2020-10-09T23:00:19.832Z · LW · GW

I think I would be more happy in a gated / monastery community than in one with easy access to a big city. I love museums and historic architecture and whatnot, but on a day-to-day level I'd rather hedgehog than fox at this point in my life. I'd prefer a lifestyle that was designed to encourage frequent interaction with a small set of people, rather than a lifestyle that was designed to encourage frequent new experiences. 

I enjoy the "small town" feeling of walking down a street and knowing a bunch of the people you pass. Combining this with rationalist values (as opposed to the religious or conservative values frequent in many small towns) seems ideal. 

Comment by weft on The rationalist community's location problem · 2020-10-09T22:08:55.861Z · LW · GW

I'm a Berkeley rationalist. My partner and I have been considering leaving Berkeley, mostly due to the cost of living and the political climate. We're most likely to move back to the midwest where our families are located, but would move elsewhere for similar social support. We're most strongly considering Columbus or Louisville.  Or maybe a smaller town nearby. We've also considered Czechia, Poland, etc. for the low cost of living and beauty. I don't think we'd go to Canada, which has all the difficulties of leaving the States, but none of the cost benefits.

If you have kids, living near grandparents / relatives provides a LOT of free labor. For me to prefer a rationalist community hub, it would have to have similar kinds of support. I'm imagining a circle of parents that takes turns watching ALL the kids. Or passes toys around in an exchange circle. There is also an issue where rationalists often have very particular ideas about child rearing, and they don't all mesh. Even with people filling the child care role for each other, I think I'd strongly miss not having "elders" around. 

COVID has taught me that I don't actually need all the bells and whistles of Berkeley. I'm fine with my partner and my dog and some new hobbies.  So I'm torn between living somewhere like Berkeley where you can walk to cafes and nice little shops and such, and somewhere in the middle of nowhere where I can have chickens and a permaculture garden. 

Things I care a lot about:
- I love autumn. I don't like if it's very cold or very hot a lot. 
- Community. It doesn't have to be the rationalist community, but I like to exist in very tight knit communities.
- Access to relatives, or other people who will fill that role. 
- Cost of living as related to earning potential
- Being able to afford a nice house
- Less political heat. More "live and let live" than here.
- My partner has to be able to do software work.


Comment by weft on How to learn from a stronger rationalist in daily life? · 2020-05-20T20:03:09.817Z · LW · GW

I would expect that if casual levels on interaction with stronger rationalists could feasibly raise your own levels, that Berkeley rationalists would be significantly stronger than their pre-Berkeley selves, or than rationalists elsewhere.

I don't think that's the case, but I guess that can be an open question.

People joining one of the orgs DOES seem to level them up.

The big difference there is 40 hours a week of intensive work on accomplishing an outside goal.

But given that like: living with rationalists, in a community of rationalists, that often talk rationalist, doesn't seem to have much effect, it seems unlikely that weaker versions of the thing would.

(Single datapoint: I did most of my levelling up when I was running a rationality group that was giving frequent public facing classes. I did not level up from moving to Berkeley and immersing in the rationality community there.)

Comment by weft on weft's Shortform · 2020-05-08T20:43:16.574Z · LW · GW

GO TO COMMUNITY COLLEGE THIS FALL: If you were going to be enrolling in school this year, it makes a lot of sense right now to go to community colleges or branch campuses to knock out your gen eds. No matter where you go it is (likely) going to be distance learning, so you won't get the social networking benefit of pricier schools.

Many solid universities have "feeder" schools that you can automatically transfer in and out of at will, and that are a fraction of the cost. They even frequently let you take up to half your courses from the main school.

(Related hack: Branch campuses frequently have almost automatic admission, and generally if you pass your classes there for a year you can automatically transfer to the main campus, so this is an easy way to get accepted to schools you might otherwise not. Probably most people reading this blog in high school have high enough scores they could get into any of those schools anyways (these aren't like Ivy leagues or anything), but still good info to know)

Getting any sort of professor job is really hard, so the professors at lower end schools are almost always really passionate about their subject, and if you show interest are happy to work with you if you want to go more in depth on something or whatnot (possibly even more so than professors at pricy schools, where you'll stand out less).

Comment by weft on The Embarrassing Problem of Premature Exploitation · 2020-04-30T23:59:01.959Z · LW · GW

I just wanted to say that I particularly appreciated your "voice" in this post. While the ideas you covered weren't new, the writing was immensely readable, and amusing, in a way that often the earlier posts exploring ideas are not. I know that takes extra effort that isn't always rewarded around here, so I wanted to explicitly point out my appreciation.

Comment by weft on "Preparing for a Pandemic: Stage 3: Grow Food if You Can [COVID-19, hort, US, Patreon]" · 2020-04-04T02:04:57.462Z · LW · GW

Note: I'm one of those people who has taken up gardening for lack of other activities, and we've probably spent $200 so far, and that's WITH me getting a lot of free stuff from e.g. Nextdoor (which is a big time sink, because it disappears pretty fast)

Comment by weft on "Preparing for a Pandemic: Stage 3: Grow Food if You Can [COVID-19, hort, US, Patreon]" · 2020-04-03T20:54:27.293Z · LW · GW

The run on garden supplies is because people are bored and don't have much else to do.

Unless you already have a good set up, growing your own food is expensive, both in terms of initial investment and time.

Sure plant a tomato or whatnot.

But if your goal is "have veggies in the future", buying a second freezer and stocking it with frozen veg / stocking canned veg is going to get you way more bang for your buck (unless you don't really put a value on your time, or enjoy it as a hobby)

Comment by weft on Weighting Attachment in Relationship Decisions · 2020-03-05T20:58:07.750Z · LW · GW

My strategy in trying to find a life partner has been to do as much filtering as possible early on, keeping my standards as high as I can manage. Lowered standards that let in hundreds of people don't help, since I only need ONE. But I need to keep them low enough that my local options are still numerous enough for some trial and error.

Then, since I filtered strongly early on, I feel pretty comfortable committing to anyone who makes it past the first few months in a "Only break this off if you discover something that will make the relationship work poorly in the long-run" kind of way.

I had the initial thought that failure mode that this runs into, is that the people you end up dating for six months or so are more hesitant to commit for longer, since I'm more of an average person in their dating pool. But after reflecting for a moment, this seems not true. Most of my filters are lateral, such that adding or removing them gets me more or less OPTIONS, but not more or less in demand ones, in general.

Comment by weft on What is operations? · 2019-10-02T05:19:12.802Z · LW · GW

Random thought:

Before working in operations, I was a nanny for many years. Before that I was doing research while in grad school. I've always been bemused by the differences between the way people perceive and treat me in my various roles over the years.

Particularly, operations jobs (and childcare jobs) are possibly not a great idea for people whose identity is strongly centered around being (perceived as) intelligent:

Most of your work isn't the sort of work that proves how smart you are. Coworkers expectations of your intelligence will be much lower. The skills you need run towards conscientiousness and agreeableness, which are traits that people stereotype as correlated with lower intelligence. Because your tasks are so wide ranging, there will always be things you are brand new at, therefore less competent at.

I've pushed my identity over the years more into being "a responsible hard worker", so that people's opinions of my intelligence don't feel meaningful at all. Given that I feel the need to have SOME sort of identity, this seems like a more useful one. Identifying as "smart" can't do anything to change my underlying g factor. But identifying as responsible and hard working is likely to actually make me behave in those ways.

I'm mostly bringing this up because LW readers often highly value being regarded as intelligent, and it might be a thing to take stock of before aiming for a new career in operations.

Comment by weft on The Relationship Between the Village and the Mission · 2019-05-13T04:28:22.974Z · LW · GW

Let's say a bunch of friends hang around a beach on the weekends. There isn't food there and they wish there were. It's really easy to become the person who brings a cooler of goodies and some veggie hot dogs to grill.

The Berkeley community is like a beach that already has a really good taco truck. Sure, maybe it'd be nice if there was another food truck down the beach a ways, or with a different type of food, but food isn't really NEEDED in the same way. The low hanging fruit is taken. It's harder to establish a brand new thing when there's a pre-existing thing. And maybe the person running the taco truck would like to step down, but it's a lot bigger ask to hand off running a fully licensed taco truck, than bringing some goodies in a cooler.

Comment by weft on Status model · 2018-11-27T02:48:17.542Z · LW · GW

This model makes it easier to point out when people are using circular reasoning around status. E.g. "Bob has mates because he's high-status" -What do you mean by high-status?-"He's obviously high status because he has mates!"

Comment by weft on The Third Alternative · 2018-10-18T18:01:19.285Z · LW · GW

Yes, but from my current understanding if you were both Young Earth Creationists when you HAD your children and THEN one of you became atheist (or whatnot), then the court would rule to keep the kids with the Young Earth Creationist parent, and not let the atheist do any atheisting at the kids.

Comment by weft on Paper Trauma · 2018-10-18T06:03:13.653Z · LW · GW

The tin ceiling tiles work well as dry erase boards. I got a few samples, and learned that if the tile is "unfinished" it is much less dry eraseable than one that is finished. So you can get the tiles in any solid color. Note: Even on the finished ones, if you leave writing up for a really long time (multiple months), then it will leave a bit of an afterimage that's hard to get off, but the same is true for regular dry erase boards.

Comment by weft on Reflections on Berkeley REACH · 2018-06-13T20:44:04.768Z · LW · GW

Thanks for all the work on this!

Do you think it's possible for it to be (mostly) self financed through bed/room rentals any time in the near future, or do you think it will always rely primarily on donors?

Comment by weft on Open Thread June 2018 · 2018-06-02T20:27:08.509Z · LW · GW

Comment by weft on How to talk rationally about cults · 2018-03-25T16:26:51.259Z · LW · GW

I think a more interesting question that comes from this is when we take it to a general level. How do we treat situations where we are certain that individuals are engaging in practices that are harmful to themselves? When do we think it's okay to use whatever individual power we have to make them change their behavior or beliefs? When do we think it's okay for the law to force people to do things "for their own good"?

Some examples:

-A friend is joining Scientology and is about to give them all their savings

-A 14 year old daughter is dating a 45 year old man, and certain they are "in love".

-An acquaintance doesn't want to use modern medicine. They also won't let their kids use modern medicine.

-An adult relative who is somehow impaired (dementia, mental retardation, drug addiction) is being taken advantage of with their own consent, such that it is

Current laws are set up such that things like "engaging in sex work" or "smoking pot" are considered so harmful to the self that the police are allowed to arrest you for them. But denying your children modern medicine is fine, and giving all your money to a sex cult leader in the woods is also fine.

Meta: I feel like I am not framing this question well at all, and if anyone wants to reframe in a more elucidating manner that would be helpful.

Comment by weft on [deleted post] 2018-03-19T13:50:08.776Z

When I tried to actually think of examples where a Stag frame might apply in a housemates sort of situation, the payoff matrix never seemed to match the hypothetical.

Specifically, in every example I could think of that is relevant to a housemates situation, one person choosing stag is a cost to them, but still a benefit to everyone else. So perhaps in a group of 10 choosing stag costs 20, but even if everyone else defects, still results in 5 (to be split among the group... And of course a much higher payout if everyone cooperates). This means everyone else wants you to choose stag, whether they cooperate or not. In fact, their highest payout situation might be to be the sole defector.

The example was given of maintaining a clean bathroom sink. One person trying to do this is still better for everyone else. Their effort does result in a slightly cleaner bathroom.

Can someone give examples relevant to this situation where the payoff of choosing stag (when others defect) is actually zero?

Comment by weft on The Intelligent Social Web · 2018-02-25T13:41:04.408Z · LW · GW

Agreed. "Omega" already refers to too many other things in our discourse. I almost didn't open this post because I thought it would be about decision theory/ Newcomb. One reason Moloch works is that's it's an old reference that wasn't currently being used to describe a hundred other things.

In keeping with the theme, how about calling the social network something like Hestia, Vesta, or Eunomia. You can write a post personifying it in a poetic and mythic way. Omega can be her son with Hephaestus, if you like.

If you wait too long to change it, it's going to stay Omega by default, and I think that would be a BAD thing.

Comment by weft on Yoda Timers 2 · 2018-02-23T01:11:33.671Z · LW · GW

What I originally meant does align more with skillsets. A healthy community has people who fill all the roles a community needs. Hosting, cooking, debating, organizing, leading, etc. An ideal community ALSO has people who fill roles the community MEMBERS need (helping fix your roof, providing childcare, medical consultation for simple things, etc)

We have people who like to blog and program. Not super helpful if you want someone to help plan/ set up your garden.

Things COULD be done to increase diversity along these lines I suppose, but they probably shouldn't. It trades off against other values that are held in too high regard here. My recommendation is to get your "healthy community" needs met elsewhere.

I agree that rationality doesn't belong to the rationality community. The five-minute yoda timer meant I wasn't super-clear that I think the last sentence is an erroneous belief.

Comment by weft on Yoda Timers 2 · 2018-02-22T22:39:20.434Z · LW · GW

Yoda Timed (plus an extra 30 seconds at the end to finish up, and then another minute to edit):

There is a type of diversity that is super important for communities. It isn't race or gender, and it isn't even belief/ tribe. It has more to do with having lots of Different Types of People.

If your car breaks down, is there a mechanic in your community you can trust to not screw you over? If everyone is making high salaries, who in your community would be available to dog-sit in your home for twenty bucks a night?

This is one reason why I don't think the Archipelago solution will work. It is even further sub-dividing an already homogenous group. Let's say some people are more of the social sort, and some people are more of the intellectual conversation sort. The social sorts will hold parties that won't have the interesting conversations they desire. The intellectual sorts will have to be intellectual by themselves since they aren't the "arrange a gathering" type.

This also leads to the (erroneous) assumption that because the rationality community consists primarily of Type X of person, that that specific type of person must be inherently better at rationality as a whole.

Comment by weft on Circling · 2018-02-18T03:46:37.382Z · LW · GW

Of course, there are rather few people whose desires or goals are to intentionally cause harm.

But there is a rather significant amount of people who don't particularly care (much) about you and your boundaries, when those stand in the way of whatever their goals ARE. While they might not actively desire to harm you, they certainly will if that's the path that gets them what they want. I do consider those people to be Bad Actors.

For example, a corporation doesn't have in its mission statement "Pollute the Earth and Engage in Questionable Labor Practices!".... I feel like this has already been covered already somewhere between paperclips and Moloch.

I feel like you only engaged with the weakest strawman of what I said.

Comment by weft on Circling · 2018-02-18T02:07:55.387Z · LW · GW

It's been my experience that when I encounter someone using NVC, or that general area of speech-type, that they are Bad Actors who are using it as a... tool to enforce their will, or make it seem like they are being reasonable and making reasonable requests when they aren't. And it often reads as general passive aggressiveness to me, even when people possibly don't mean it that way (I prefer more directness). I don't think it's inherent to the tool, but I can see how it could attract those sorts of people.

Circling seems really interesting and possibly useful to me, but only in specific settings, and a random meetup group is NOT one of them (unless it's staying really superficial, or I guess strangers you will never see again). For a closed group of friends, it sounds like it could be great though, and the sort of thing I'd be really into. If everyone was like me that would make it more difficult to spread, but then people with higher risk tolerances could go to larger/public circling events to learn and then take the skill back to their smaller/private groups.

If anybody DOES do it as a meetup topic, I strongly suggest that RSVP is required so that people can see who else is going, and can choose to stay away if an individual they specifically distrust would be in attendance (or can choose to go if they see that everyone who has RSVPd is a person they would feel comfortable with)

Comment by weft on Paper Trauma · 2018-02-17T20:04:36.608Z · LW · GW


For a while I have been wanting something on the wall by my bed where I could write stuff down (this is easier for me than typing it into an app, and keeps it visible). This post motivated me to get started on acquiring something, so thank you for that!

I decided a whiteboard would suit my needs better, but the problem is that most whiteboards are REALLY UGLY and I DO NOT want them in my room. So I did some poking around on ways to make whiteboards more attractive looking, and here are some results:

-Glass is dry erasable (duh! I knew that, but hadn't previously thought about how to turn that into a nice dry erase board). Something like decorative paper or burlap in a nice frame (with a glass surface) works well as a pretty dry erase board. The plastic material that's sometimes in frames also works, but not as well. You can also just use any piece of glass (old window, glass table top, etc) and mount it on your wall. Or put an empty frame on your wall so that the background color is your paint color.

-There exists dry erase paint that makes walls dry erasable. It is a clear coat, so you can keep whatever color wall you like. My friend has this, but it is moderately hard to wipe off because they didn't sand down the wall first (so it's a mottled surface).

-Metal is generally dry erasable (but uncertain about sealants that might be used on various metals), and you can get it in sheet metal form to make a dry erase board. Galvanized steel sheet metal is ALSO magnetic, if that's useful to you. It's also sharp though, so put it in a frame or whatnot.

-Tin ceiling tiles are really decorative, come in lots of colors, and some have a big flat space in the middle ( like this ). I am uncertain how the sealant or coloring (some have something swiped or mottled on) would effect its dry eraseability though, and the internet doesn't seem to have answers. I expect the untreated one should work just fine, but then you don't get the color choices. I just bought a five dollar sample though, and will tell you how it works.

-Plastic sheet covers are also dry eraseable. I wouldn't want them on my wall, but might be useful to keep in mind.

Comment by weft on "Just Suffer Until It Passes" · 2018-02-14T01:21:43.878Z · LW · GW

I used to do fire performances that would include some "light yourself on fire for the fun and amusement of others" bits. The longer the fire is on you the more it hurts. In the beginning, I would be constantly self monitoring for when it hurt "too much", and then put myself out. I knew though, that although the fire caused pain, it did not at this level cause any serious damage .

Eventually I got to a point where instead of putting out the fire myself, I could hold it long enough that it would go out on its own (all the fuel would burn off). This actually made it hurt a bit less. It turns out that a lot of the perception of pain is from:

1) Worrying that this is causing damage. Pain is much more significant if you are worried that it is causing actual damage ("Oh shit, is my ankle sprained??"). Being fully cognizant that there is no actual damage is helpful. Pain is just your body bringing your attention to potential damage. It's telling you something is wrong, but you already KNOW what's wrong.

2) Constantly checking in for if you have to take action. "Should I turn it off now? How about now? Now?" This is putting your attention on the pain. If you accept that you will not take action, then you do not have to constantly be pinging your pain (and if it ever gets to a point where it pushes past the barriers, you can always take action anyways, relatively instinctively)

These can be replaced with acceptance.

Comment by weft on Why everything might have taken so long · 2018-01-15T15:35:19.600Z · LW · GW
Rope might be difficult to imagine if you weren't already using something similar from nature.

Non-homo sapiens started making some sort of string (which is very similar technology to rope) at least 50,000 years ago. The earliest needle we've found is Denisovan (not homo sapien)(50k y.a..) and the earliest thread we've found is Neanderthal (30k y.a.). The needle is evidence of thread, but needles are more likely to have survived the time span than thread, which disintegrates.

The thing that is similar to rope in nature is just vines or roots, and indeed we have impressions of twined or braided vines left on clay-fired pots. Twined vines or other natural cordage would meet most of your rope-like needs until you had to do things like lift very heavy stones.

Comment by weft on Raemon's Shortform · 2017-12-31T17:02:31.565Z · LW · GW

One of the things that makes Realistically Probably Not Having Kids sad is that I'm pretty much the last of the line on my Dad's side. And I DO know stories (not much, but some) of my great-great-grandparents. Sure, I can write them down, so they exist SOMEWHERE. But in reality, when I die, that line and those stories die with me.

Comment by weft on Why did everything take so long? · 2017-12-31T03:11:02.857Z · LW · GW
Books used to be written on parchment and that's really expensive

I bet people don't quite realize HOW expensive it is. Even today, a single piece of parchment the size of a piece of notebook paper is going to run you about 50 dollars. Now make a book of them.

Comment by weft on Melting Gold, and Organizational Capacity · 2017-12-11T21:05:45.159Z · LW · GW

The "bus factor" you mention reminds me of "The Secret Life of Passwords" , a NYT article that discusses, among other things, how a financial services firm went about trying to guess business critical passwords after most of their employees were killed in the 9/11 attack.

Howard Lutnick, the chief executive of Cantor Fitzgerald, one of the world’s largest financial-services firms, still cries when he talks about it. Not long after the planes struck the twin towers, killing 658 of his co-workers and friends, including his brother, one of the first things on Lutnick’s mind was passwords. This may seem callous, but it was not.
Like virtually everyone else caught up in the events that day, Lutnick, who had taken the morning off to escort his son, Kyle, to his first day of kindergarten, was in shock. But he was also the one person most responsible for ensuring the viability of his company. The biggest threat to that survival became apparent almost immediately: No one knew the passwords for hundreds of accounts and files that were needed to get back online in time for the reopening of the bond markets. Cantor Fitzgerald did have extensive contingency plans in place, including a requirement that all employees tell their work passwords to four nearby colleagues. But now a large majority of the firm’s 960 New York employees were dead.
Comment by weft on Sunset at Noon · 2017-11-30T01:14:56.667Z · LW · GW

This was a great post, and I know this is probably a particularly busy time for you, so thanks!

For some reason, reading this made me deeply sad. I think because I DON'T feel like I've experienced significant gains, or that those gains I have experienced are traded off against losses. For example, I made some long-distance moves knowing that I was trading things like strong relationships and cultural fit for financial stability (and I underestimated how much I was losing and how unable I would be to regain it). Other marginal improvements in my agency are mainly just a result of getting older.

I thought the "fhafrg ng abba" was poetic license. My "Huh, weird" was that the picture wasn't of the actual forest. My previous impression was that you could find practically anything under a Creative Commons license, but now I suppose it is only of generic things and not specific things.

I've tried various daily gratitude journaling, and it didn't seem to help. I feel bad when it is HARD to come up with specific things to be grateful for at the end of the day. But I do have success with noticing in the moment when I am experiencing a Nice Thing, and fully appreciating it at that time. I would not have expected that things like greenery, flowers, trees, and strong winds on sunny days would be particularly important to me, but after cultivating that habit it turns out that those are things that I am most likely to notice in the moment and savor.

Comment by weft on The Craft & The Community - A Post-Mortem & Resurrection · 2017-11-06T22:45:38.208Z · LW · GW

> A $40,000 salary for a teacher seems roughly market rate. says: "The median annual Teacher Elementary School salary in Berkeley, CA is $66,364, as of October 30, 2017, with a range usually between $54,362-$78,713 not including bonus and benefits."

It's probably beside your main point, but people being way off base on middle class salaries is a pet peeve of mine.

Comment by weft on Continuing the discussion thread from the MTG post · 2017-10-29T16:15:07.133Z · LW · GW

Personal support:

I do not think that comment should have been negative. I upvoted to counteract. I take you at your word that you meant what you say. I see similar problems you do with the R-community and their trendsetters/decision makers.


I loved your articles. In fact, they turned out to be the only thing that was making LesserWrong interesting to me as opposed to just a bunch of AI/Machine Learning stuff I totally don't care about (I am not the target audience of this site). If you leave, I probably will too, by which I mean going back to checking it once a month-ish to see if anything particularly interesting has been written. Without your articles there really isn't much here for me, that I can't get by checking individual blogs, which it turns out I have to do anyways since not everything is crossposted to frontpage.


The Green in me doesn't like that you aren't just letting this go. The problematic signs you see I think are true, but you aren't going to be able to change it by having neverending debates. Accept the community as-is, or move on (but tell me where you're going, so I can read you elsewhere).

Comment by weft on [deleted post] 2017-10-24T22:19:45.505Z

Reading how you model the colors makes me think that I probably have something wrong, because our models don't line up, and I assume yours is closer to MtG canon for the obvious reasons.

You say:

The AIs and AGIs we are worried about are white and we're trying to make sure they're blue.

My interpretation would have been that the AIs we're worried about are blue (cold, perfect logic. Helps that blue is also the color of technology), and we're trying to make sure that they're white (compassionate, pro-social, caring).

I don't understand how Slack is not at all white, when much of the discussion and practice is coming out of the religious tradition of Sabbath. (If you say that just because something comes from religion it doesn't make it white, then I would say that just because something comes from emotion or sex it doesn't make it red.)

And saying that polyamory is red, full stop, seems obviously wrong from the perspective of my model. I'd agree that cheating is red. One night stands are red. (Marriage is white.) But polyamory is almost never entered into impulsively. It often comes from a very Blue deliberative thought process about the philosophy and effectiveness of monogamy.

Many asexual people are also polyamorous, so it is obviously not just a sex thing, although I'd disagree that anything dealing with sex is red.

I'd agree that polyamory as practiced by many NYC and Bay types has more red in it than it does elsewhere

Comment by weft on [deleted post] 2017-10-24T17:31:28.212Z

In the Meantime by Spacehog just came on my music feed. I had previously wondered why everyone else seems to think it's meh, while I think it's wonderful. Now I realize it's because it's a strongly Green/White song.

Comment by weft on [deleted post] 2017-10-24T01:11:50.923Z

I think I am Green-White which would make me your polar opposite. I totally agree with you that people should be doing more cool shit, but where you would say "instead of focusing on being righteous/pure" I would say "instead of sitting around theorizing and philosophizing about the optimal shit to do and the optimal methods."

What I get out of Green is an acceptance for the world as it is. THIS is my situation. I can learn to be satisfied with it or try to change it, but this is what it currently is, and this is what I have to work with. I have pretty low tolerance for whining. I also dislike the tendecy to make grandiose plans for oneself that are obviously above your capabilities. Growth is good. Self-delusion is not.

My Greenness ties to my Whiteness. I like community because I am a human. It is the natural state for me to desire strong communal bonds. Millions of years of evolution made me that way, and I couldn't change that even if I wanted to. (Oftentimes my rationality plays out as "How do I-as-a-human function and can I use that to my advantage?")

I don't feel formal, but seeing lots of individuals moving in perfect unison is a special kind of thrill. I don't feel hung up on things like purity, but I do feel very anti-Black. Things like selfishness, self-centeredness, and not thinking of others is very aversive for me to interact with.

I have a pretty decent amount of Blue in me (I'm hanging out here, aren't I?) but my Blueness is more of a tool and a source of amusement than my driving force. There are issues where I can follow the Blues intricate logic chains, conclude that their reasoning is sound, but it turns out that I don't actually care.

Comment by weft on [deleted post] 2017-10-24T00:10:40.423Z

Some rationality culture things:

Solstice: White
Burning Man: Red
AI discourse: Blue
Slack: Green/White?
Living in the Bay/NYC/Boston/Oxford (and liking it): Blue
Having kids: Green
Deciding to have kids based on philosophical reasons: Blue
Dark Arts, etc: Black
Effective Altruism: White/Blue
Veg*nism: Green/White/Blue
"Animals don't experience qualia/ have consciousness" - Black/Blue
Self-hacking, nootropics, CRISPR: Blue
Polyamory: Hmmm...Maybe Red for other people, but Blue for the people who hang out around here, and it feels Green to me personally?

"It is good to make life better for the top 1% because it is raising utility"- Black
"It is bad to make life better for the top 1% because it is raising inequality"- White
Anti-deathism: Blue/ Black
Seasteading: Black/White??

Comment by weft on [deleted post] 2017-10-21T15:01:54.089Z

Thank you for this.

When I first discovered LW and rationality culture it opened up a new way of thinking to me. But this post is one of the first times that reading something here instead makes me feel *heard and understood* (even though I didn't say anything), and I deeply resonate with it. This is how rationality plays out *for me* and it feels validating seeing someone else write explicitly about it.

I am going to be sad to see your 30 say challenge end.

Comment by weft on [deleted post] 2017-10-19T21:59:09.615Z

If I could upvote this twice, I would.

I think it's a common-but-harmful thing when people choose a community by maximizing along the "people who think like me/ are similar to me/ are interested in similar things as I am" axis. I posit that many people would be much happier if they instead chose the best d*mn community they can access (most functional, most fulfilling, etc.), and just satisficed along the "people who think like me" axis.

ETA: I specifically got back into Ballooning after about five years out of it because after I moved to a big city, I was dissatisfied and unhappy with the level of commitments and intertwininess in interpersonal relationships and communities. I thought "What is the strongest community I have access to?" and that's where I joined. If one of any number of other activities I enjoy had better communities I would have gone there instead.

Comment by weft on "Focusing," for skeptics. · 2017-10-16T23:13:58.490Z · LW · GW

Firstly, thanks Ben for promoting this, because I hadn't seen it the first time through.

I don't know if the thing I am doing is too unrelated, but often when I notice myself feeling something generally negative, I will trace it back to its root cause. These are usually specific things that happened or that I'm worried about, and not big overarching things.

But figuring out what it is or naming it doesn't make the feeling go away. I'll KNOW why I'm feeling anxious/ frustrated/ whatever, but there doesn't generally seem to be anything useful to do with that information, and I have to continue feeling the negative emotion until it fades away on its own with the passage of time.

Comment by weft on Offloading Executive Functioning to Morality · 2017-10-14T18:26:19.669Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the response!

Can you expand what you mean by internal violence? If it means what I intuitively read it as, then it hasn't been my felt experience (though there's always the possibility that it's occurring and I'm not recognizing it, and if so I'd like to know)

From the inside, it feels like setting up my life so that it's natural to act. I sometimes do fall short, but I don't beat myself up about it because I feel like I put in the appropriate effort. I don't blame myself if I get sick and can't do something, or forget something on a one-off (particularly if I figure out why I forgot and make actions to change it.)

Rationality/CFAR instrumental techniques such as urge propagation or TAPs or whatnot never worked for me. They felt like fighting myself and then feeling bad for failing.

To get past it I had to go through a time where I completely gave up accomplishing anything but basic Adulting, and learn to be completely okay with that. “I went to work. I paid my bills. It's totally okay if that's all I accomplish this week. Anything else is extra.” During this time I got really annoyed at anyone pushing productivity techniques because it was actively harmful to me.

It was only once I totally accepted low level functioning that I was able to add more on. Everything I do today, I do with an acceptance of being low level functioning, even though in practice I manage to generally not be.

Comment by weft on Creating Space to Cultivate Skill · 2017-10-13T23:09:09.676Z · LW · GW

I find something offputting about covering things up with sheets, and am uncertain why. A large part is possibly along the lines of unfolding all my sheets, and then having to fold them back up later. Also, I've worked moderately hard to make my room a nice and comfortable living space. It might be that covering everything up with sheets is better than being surrounded by a cluttery mess, but making your space actually nice and clean with clear surfaces is best.

One thing that works for me when there are skills/ projects that are hard to get started on is to have a day where you get together with friends and work on <x> all day. This presupposes that you have friends who also want to work on the same sorts of thing you want to work on.

Comment by weft on Alan Kay - Programming and Scaling · 2017-10-12T18:59:54.577Z · LW · GW

I downvoted, because for an hour long video that doesn't have a transcript, I'd expect a front page link post to have at least a decent summary. If you add a few paragraphs of summary, I'll switch it to an upvote.

Comment by weft on Signal seeding · 2017-10-12T18:40:26.405Z · LW · GW

I think that the general idea of Signal Seeding is both useful and true, but I agree that sleeping late is not a great example (although for different reasons than quanticle).

I used to have the belief of "who cares when I sleep, as long as I get the same amount of work done?" But now I think sleeping late is actually inherently harmful, and pointing to an unhealthy state of being that isn't just from signalling or other social reasons.

Times when I have been depressed it is really hard to both go to bed and get out of bed. Times when I am well functioning, it's hard to sleep late. If I am camping or spending large amounts of time outdoors it's also hard to sleep late (so I don't think this is a product of the Industrial Revolution).

Comment by weft on Community Capital · 2017-10-12T11:23:35.420Z · LW · GW

If it's helpful, in my head I was thinking like "blowing up (regular) balloons" and then making balloon art or something. I could change it, but I don't know if that would be the most useful now, since a lot of the comments mention it.

Comment by weft on [deleted post] 2017-10-09T23:09:22.295Z

I think one of the results of Escalating Asks is that instead of a community being something you put work into FIRST in order to be paid back LATER somehow, that most community members actually start out in debt to the community. If they hang around a while and become regulars then they break even, where they are starting to do their equal share. And it's only until they've been around a long time that they are net contributors that are paying it forward.

A dojo isn't a good example for this, because new members are paying money to compensate. But for a free martial arts club: A new person is receiving instruction and maybe some free nunchuks. They are in debt to the community. A regular helps out the new people, but gets helped by older members. They break even. An older member is putting more resources into the community than they take out, but in exchange they tend to have large amounts of social status given to them.

A strong community has the resources built up to invest in many new people, even if only a fraction stick around to be net contributors.