CFAR is taking LW-style rationality into the world, this month, with a new kind of rationality camp: Rationality for Entrepreneurs.  It is aimed at ambitious, relatively successful folk (regardless of whether they are familiar with LW), who like analytic thinking and care about making practical real-world projects work.  Some will be paying for themselves; others will be covered by their companies.  

If you'd like to learn rationality in a more practical context, consider applying.  Also, if you were hoping to introduce rationality and related ideas to a friend/acquaintance who fits the bill, please talk to them about the workshop, both for their sake and to strengthen the rationality community.

The price will be out of reach for some: the workshop costs $3.9k.  But there is a money-back guarantee.  Some partial scholarships may be available. This fee buys participants:

  • Four nights and three days at a retreat center, with small classes, interactive exercises, and much opportunity for unstructured conversation that applies the material at meals and during the evenings (room and board is included);
  • One instructor for every three participants; 
  • Six weeks of Skype/phone and email follow-up, to help participants make the material into regular habits, and navigate real-life business and personal situations with these tools.

CFAR is planning future camps which are more directly targeted at a Less Wrong audience (like our previous camps), so don’t worry if this camp doesn’t seem like the right fit for you (because of cost, interests, etc.).  There will be others.  But if you or someone you know does have an entrepreneurial bent[1], then we strongly recommend applying to this camp rather than waiting.  Attendees will be surrounded by other ambitious, successful, practically-minded folks, learn from materials that have been tailored to entrepreneurial issues, and receive extensive follow-up to help apply what they’ve learned to their businesses and personal lives.

Our schedule is below.

(See also the thread about the camp on Hacker News.)



Friday, November 16: Know the World

8:00 am Breakfast
8:45 am Opening Session. Rationality doesn't mean Spock - the common themes that will bind the workshop together - building accurate models of the world, figuring out which actions lead to preferred outcomes, and managing our brain's internal resources and algorithms. Plus all the practical stuff; how to get the most out of the workshop; and betting games we'll be playing throughout. (Also, this will be the only time in the program where an instructor speaks for more than 5 sequential minutes - the rest is all activities, exercises, and interactions.)
9:50 am Deliberate performance: Explicit predictions. Experiment shows that practice doesn't always lead to learning - you can spend 60 hours per week working and not improve skill! Research into 'deliberate performance' shows that simple changes can vastly increase the power of practice. To discover quickly where our implicit beliefs are right or wrong, we'll get into the habit of making conscious, explicit predictions during work.
11:00 am Curiosity. When it comes to finding out the truth about your life or business, there's no substitute for feeling genuine curiosity about questions. Learn to notice when you're arguing a question without feeling interested in the answer. Make yourself more likeable by being more curious during conversation. Visualize your uncertainty and use simple techniques to remind yourself of what you don't know.
12:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm Bayes's Rule: How much to change your mind 3-person workshops (so you can choose your own technical level), as we examine the powerful and simple rules for weighing the strength of evidence, and the qualitative takeaways for deciding when to change your mind in everyday life.
3:00 pm Break
3:40 pm Professed belief and anticipated experience What we say loudly that we believe isn't always what our brain expects to see. Learn how to routinely notice the difference between claiming that your political candidate will win the election, and being willing to bet money on their winning. How to motivate yourself without trying to deny what your brain already knows.
4:50 pm Quantified trust and advice-taking Are you updating on others' advice too much or too little? Surprising theorems show that rational agents shouldn't be able to predict when they'll disagree. We'll play a game that will show you whether you're updating too much or too little on other people's opinions, with plenty of fast feedback for practice. (Don't worry - it's still possible to disagree with the majority if you know something they don't.)
6:00 pm Dinner
7:30 pm Beeminder, a Tool for Installing New Behaviors When you’re trying to turn plans for change (including plans you form this weekend) into things you actually do, it helps to have the right tool to keep your attention on your goal and your progress towards it. Many of us have found Beeminder to be a convenient, intuitive, motivating software tool for establishing new behaviors, so we have invited Daniel Reeves, co-founder of Beeminder, to explain how to use it most effectively.
7:50 pm Overcoming Procrastination Guest speaker Geoff Anders presents techniques his organization has used to overcome procrastination and maintain 75 hours/week of productive work time per person.
Nighttime Informal discussion Past participants have reported that some of their most valuable hours were the evenings chatting with instructors and other participants about places where their lives and businesses are stuck, and which techniques might apply to them. We've ensured there's an instructor for every three participants, and kept nighttimes free for open discussion.


Saturday, November 17: Know Your Self


8:00 am Breakfast
9:00 am Goal-factoring: Fungible goods in everyday life Figure out all of the goals being achieved by your daily behaviors and brainstorm how they can be achieved least expensively. Are you incurring large costs to buy a friend's goodwill on one occasion, while declining to purchase it much more cheaply the next day?
10:10 am Expected value of information Quantify and guess the expected value of new information you can easily gather, and new policies you can try out to see what happens. Find the $20 investments that might return $2,000 of value, and learn to try the affordable experiments that 'probably won't work'.
11:10 am Break
12:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm Panic Physiological techniques for noticing and controlling your body’s instinctive fight-or-flight response so that you can remain calm, clear-minded, and open to new information in stressful situations.
2:10 pm Overcoming aversions: Comfort Zone Expansion In a staggeringly huge universe of possible actions, we usually limit ourselves to choosing from among a tiny subset that are known and comfortable. What are some simple things you've somehow "never gotten around" to doing? Would it be all that painful to try doing some of them? Sometimes the most useful actions are those we've never tried before.
3:10 pm Break
3:40 pm Expanding social comfort zones Our social ranges are often constricted to what we feel comfortable doing - and startups need to be comfortable asking venture capitalists for 10 million dollars. Figure out what your brain is afraid will happen, and do simple experiments to find out what actually happens.
4:50 pm Productive arguments Frames of mind for noticing valuable information even when it feels like bad news, and even when it’s presented by someone who isn't going out of their way to make you like them. A family of practical techniques for keeping debates collaborative and truthfinding (or deciding when to give up).
6:00 pm Dinner
7:00 pm Comfort Zone Expansion - In the Field Hone your new appreciation for slightly uncomfortable social actions by testing them with total strangers. Surprises and entertainment guaranteed! (No, really, this unit is always popular afterward.)
Nighttime Informal discussion Past participants have reported that some of their most valuable hours were the evenings chatting with instructors and other participants about places where their lives and businesses are stuck, and which techniques might apply to them. We've ensured there's an instructor for every three participants, and kept nighttimes free for open discussion.


Sunday, November 18: The Big Picture


8:00 am Breakfast
9:00 am From lifehacking to life-programming Guest speaker Yan Zhang explains how to use the principles of deliberate performance and the behavioral psychology of games to restructure your life for maximum fun and skill acquisition.
10:10 am How to actually change your mind Status quo bias, sunk costs, motivated skepticism - there's a long litany of experimentally discovered biases that prevent us from changing our minds. Learn to beat some of the worst obstacles to pivoting your business, dropping the hire who predictably won’t work out, or admitting that your cofounder was right all along. (This will make you surprisingly popular compared to never changing your mind. Really.)
11:10 am Break
12:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm Expected value of thinking styles You spend thousands of hours running various default thought processes, some that are curious and accumulate knowledge, some of which are making up more and more reasons why you don't need to worry about that project coming up tomorrow. Try some simple value calculations for which thought processes are most helpful, and learn to spend more background time in those.
2:10 pm Optimizing self-presentation Guest speaker Liron Shapira describes the social presentation signals you send every moment whether you intend to or not, and how to make them say what you mean.
3:10 pm Break
3:40 pm Installing Habits Use some of the simplest and best-tested principles in experimental psychology to reinforce the behaviors you want to want, and avoid punishing yourself for doing things you want to do again. Operant conditioning advises us to pay attention to immediate rewards and punishments (like thinking of everything that could go wrong, the moment after you press 'Send' on an email). Learn to train your “inner pigeon”.
4:50 pm Closing session Connections between the units that wouldn't have made sense previously (e.g., taking an algorithm-based view of yourself; asking which algorithms you want to be running).  Set-up for the six weeks of follow-up, and for applying the material in your daily life.
6:00 pm Dinner
Nighttime Party Fun, decompression, and further discussion.


Note: Ordering shown is typical rather than actual. To allow each session to have only 6 participants, each session is held at multiple times during the day. (Session groups will be frequently remixed; everyone gets a chance to meet everyone else.)

Click here for the workshop overview

Click here to apply

[1] Many attending the camp will be entrepreneurs; but there will also be folks from finance, programmers, managers, and others who combine analytic thinking with an interest in ambitious, real-world projects.

New to LessWrong?

New Comment
58 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 10:41 AM

Let me expand on my comment from the Hacker News thread.

I went to the July workshop. I think it was probably the most useful week of my life in terms of exposure to things I could be doing to be more productive and effective. Since then, I've mainly been trying to incorporate the low-hanging fruit---the obviously good simple ideas---into my life. Some examples:

  • At work, I realized I wasn't doing anywhere near enough planning. My employees were spending time on the wrong things because I hadn't planned things out in enough detail to make it clear what was the most important thing to do next. I fixed this immediately after the camp.
  • Again at work, I now document most discussions as they happen. It slows down the discussion a bit, but it's a net win because next time you can just have the delta of the discussion and avoid rehashing things.
  • Val explained to me how he changed his diet in order to decouple the relationship between his energy levels and when he last ate. I hadn't actually realized such a thing was possible. It also works for me.
  • I realized that it's a waste of time to learn things/watch video lectures and not put what I want to remember into anki. I make the cards while I watch the lectures, and have trained myself to review them on my phone when waiting in lines, walking down the street etc.
  • I'm training myself to no longer think things like "I should go to the gym tomorrow." Instead I decide to go at X o'clock and set an alarm on my phone to remind me. (I apparently haven't got this one completely down yet, because yesterday I thought "I should go to the gym tomorrow" and didn't catch myself: it's now 11pm and I never went.)

I feel like I'm still a beginner at instrumental rationality and have an enormous amount to work on (I haven't even started trying to adopt most of the actual curriculum!). Since attending, I've been getting considerably more work done: my brother, who is also my business partner, has noticed too.

When I got back I was super busy and have been really bad at staying in touch with the instructors and other attendees, but there are a few people I met at the camp who I would really like to have more contact with.

I realized that it's a waste of time to learn things/watch video lectures and not put what I want to remember into anki. I make the cards while I watch the lectures, and have trained myself to review them on my phone when waiting in lines, walking down the street etc.

This is an excellent idea!

Val explained to me how he changed his diet in order to decouple the relationship between his energy levels and when he last ate.

Have you/has he written about this somewhere? If not, could you expand? This seems potentially very useful.

Paleo + intermittent fasting + read Kevin's posts on supplements.

Maybe get someone to blur out the lower half of señor dropbox's shirt.

I agree - right now it looks like you're affliated with dropbox or something. This applies regardless of whether the guy has anything to do with dropbox, even if he's the founder it needn't be in the middle of the image, right above your actual text.

I didn't notice it at first, but it became really obvious and jarring once it was pointed out.

Meh. To me, it just looks like he just happened to be wearing that T-shirt for no reason in particular, or for some reason having nothing to do with CFAR.

tl;dr - I went to the July minicamp, met interesting, ambitious people and am still applying things I learnt at camp months later to a subjectively great effect. Also, instructors and speakers were good, the food was good and I had lots of fun.

I went to a previous CFAR camp, and so can help give evidence regarding how helpful this might be from my personal experience. (I am not affiliated with CFAR).

I signed up for the July minicamp, not really knowing what to expect (and flying half-way around the world to get there). Having gone, I'm very happy that I did (although that might just be me rationalizing my choice). Here are some things that are more objective that happened (Note: That camp had a different syllabus than the workshop):

  • I learned new skills I use every day. For Example - Curiosity (I think about how to be more curious often), Value of information and micro-econ related things (Which I now use to convince my friends to do research before buying expensive things and gauge how much effort to put into negotiating with clients), habit forming and how to have more rational discussions. Its hard to assess whether they brought me a significant improvement (I don't know how life would be not knowing them), but for the more concrete ones (GTD, Anki) the results are immediate. I feel that the fuzzier ones are also helping me (measured for example by how I feel better when using them compared to not) - but that's harder to say for sure.

  • I met a diverse group of people. Some of them I would call ambitious, and most I would call interesting, but that's a judgment call. They did include managers of small companies, programmers, software freelancers, scientists of various fields, journalists and a movie producer. Also, I think I gained from talking to every single one of them. I am still in touch with a couple of them.

  • I learned about X-Risk. While I am very into the instrumental rationality area of Less Wrong, I was never very sold on the FAI-Cryo subjects, and at camp I got to talk to smart people with opinions different than mine and explore the subject. I am still not sold, btw.

  • I learned about subjects outside curriculum, from neuroscience to professional poker. This came from casual discussions with other participants.

  • I had lots of fun. Hanging out with cool, smart, rationality minded people is awesome.

From a personal perspective the CFAR staff did a tremendous job. The speakers were good at speaking, prepared and cared about their material. The camp instructors were constantly available to talk to one-on-one and were knowledgeable and passionate about rationality in general and improving me as a camp-goer specifically. The environment was clean and the food was good. (I think the workshop is in a different venue, so no guarantees on the food :) )

Again, all in all I am very happy that I went and think it was a good investment. This doesn't mean you should go - but given that you are similar to me (analytic, loves instrumental rationality, software entrepreneur, doesn't already know the subject matter, doesn't hang out with lots of rationalists day to day, social), I would give an over 50% probability that you would be happy that you did.

Would you be interested in a session on anti-akrasia techniques for entrepreneurs? As the co-founder of Beeminder the danger would be that it would come off as a Beeminder infomercial. On the other hand, OMG BEEMINDER IS SO GREAT. Especially for surviving down cycles in the rollercoaster that is startupland, as we can attest from dogfooding the living crap out of Beeminder. Like our one-user-visible-improvement-per-day goal, which has kept us moving inexorably forward for 629 days now.

Here are 3 things that may convince you that this may be a good idea:

  1. Katja Grace's "On the Goodness of Beeminder":
  2. Robert Wiblin on beeminding your way to greatness:
  3. My own manifesto on "How to Do What You Want": and sequel on "Flexible Self-Control":

(I just pitched that to the organizers and thought I'd repeat it here to gauge interest.)

There may be some overlap with the Overcoming Procrastination session, but this could be much more general.

I think dreeves background at Yahoo and success in founding Beeminder makes him well-placed to talk about getting things done.

Thanks so much, Robert!

And breaking news: I'm now part of the program!

(I'm really excited about this!)

I attended the June rationality camp, and had mixed feelings about it. But I've also attended parts of it (such as sessions to test new units) before and after, and I've seen a significant improvement over time.

For instance, the unit that's called Panic here is one of the best, but hadn't been developed in June. I've attended two versions of it, and the second one was clearly better than the first.

The Comfort Zone Expansion convinced me that I have irrational fears that may cause problems and that I didn't understand well before taking it. But I'm skeptical of the "entertainment guaranteed" - I found the June version unpleasant. They've improved it since then, but I still don't see how it can entertain a group of people with widely varying comfort zones.

It's hard to tell how much benefit I got from it, because the changes are subtle and likely to build slowly as I alter my habits. (Rereading this comment, I see that I've only made a little progress on the "be specific" advice).

I would love to attend, and the $6k price tag (including estimated transportation and the value of the leave I would have to take to attend) is not a bar.

However, I need several weeks in order to secure time off, and the expected value of the summit is significantly less than the expected loss of my current employment from not showing up on those days.

Is there a way to become informed of these type of retreats at least a month in advance?

We'll try. Also, do sign up for our newsletter if you want to keep abreast of things, and aren't already signed up.

I attended the July minicamp and found it quite useful. I've read through the Sequences, so not all of the material felt new, but interacting with the instructors and other campers made me a lot more attentive to opportunities to optimize in my day to day life. Here are some benefits:

  • Thinking more about ways to use fungibility to reach a desired outcome more cheaply/easily/painlessly - I already tended to think this way with regard to monetary expenditures ("You're not getting a drink?" "No, it doesn't give me one chocolate lava cake unit of pleasure, and they're the same price") but minicamp helped me apply this to decisions where the units aren't so clearly denominated (Can I make my friend happy by doing a different thing for her? etc)

  • Breaking tasks and decisions into small tasks - instead of blaming myself when I don't do something I want to want to do, coming up with ways to make it easier to get the task done. Maybe rewards, maybe beeminder, maybe thinking about TDT. But not just thinking "I should be willful enough to get this done without crutches"

  • Getting things done/efficiency advice - the tools I've found most helpful are beeminder, remember the milk, and pomodoros. I do freelance writing/blogging and the time it takes me to write posts has declined by easily 50% since minicamp. (I've promptly filled the spare time with other tasks, so I'm still stressed). RTM means I don't drop casual committments ("I'll send you the article when I get home") and am better about assigning tasks to specific days ("I'll clean the shower Saturday morning, not 'by the end of the week'"). That means they're more likely to get done and it's easier for me to notice when I've overscheduled.

There are a lot of places to pick up getting-more-done advice, but what was really useful about CFAR's camp was they didn't just give you a list of skills. They taught you how to spot triggers that a skill was relevant to a problem you're facing. Remembering the skills is no good if you don't know when to deploy them. (Just thinking "I should think about fungibility more" isn't as useful as "When I think 'I wish I didn't need to X, but I have no choice' I should think specifically about fungibility and see if that's true).

Also: the people were nice, the food was excellent (dill ricotta bread as a side dish, nom nom), and there was a fun prediction market game going through the week where the incentives got really screwy. "Probability that a randomly selected prediction market will be settled at False" "Probability that [specific instructor] will have been thrown in the pool by Tuesday noon"

We came up with a betting strategy to form a thowing the instructor in the pool posse which prompted the following conversation:

“What if someone writes a higher estimate than it’s their turn to?”
“Then we all defect and they’re on the hook for their high guess.”
“Will that be enough of an incentive?”
“Ok, we’ll also all commit to throwing defectors in the pool.”

I had a lovely, productive time, and I'm glad to answer questions in reply comments.

Some train-the-trainer session in future? I am interested in teaching this to my students.

What kind of students do you have?

regular university students. I am a professor

V_V, this is a prime example of what people consider "trolling" on your behalf, and it's fully accurate.

You not only seem to have failed to notice the big three "CFAR" "Singularity Institute" "Future of Humanity Institute" logos at the forum's banner, you're trying to assert a moderator-like role in determining what is or isn't appropriate usage of the forum.

I can't believe you're doing this because you care about the presence of spam in LessWrong, you're doing this just to offend, to stir shit. To label something as spam, much like you label other things "religious" or "cultish" or whatever, for the purpose of insulting.

Your presence has finally tipped me over into fully supporting the latest changes about the karma-penalty of replying to massively downvoted comments. You're a troll.

I'm very interested in hearing details about Geoff Anders's claims about productivity. Their website doesn't seem to say anything about it; is there any way I can learn more without going to this event?


Email him?

I'm a little skeptical about this: "Attendees will be surrounded by other ambitious, successful, practically-minded folks"

Can I get some evidence?

I attended the July camp, and it would be reasonable to say that I was "surrounded by other ambitious, successful, practically-minded folks". Quite a few of the other attendees were entrepreneurs, though it was not targeted specifically at entrepreneurs like this one seems to be. Many others were computer programmers (like myself) and academics. The opportunity to interact with the other attendees was a valuable part of the camp.

Also at the July camp; I second what JGWeissman says.


Hang out with us! Seriously though - the minicamp in 2011 included people involved in Microsoft, Valve, Google, some hedge funds, Addepar, The High Impact Network, and a variety of entrepreneurial endeavors. At least half of the attendees were successful in academia, though I can't brag as much since I don't know anything about academia.

And that minicamp was FREE. The $3.9k pricetag this time around seems to strongly filter in people who are serious about self improvement (ambitious, practically minded) and who have access to money (successful).

Not sure what kind of evidence you're looking for here; that's just a description of our selection criteria for attendees.

I have attended the very first workshop last summer, and it was filled with very intelligent, very driven, and very passionate people. The level of sanity was much higher than anywhere else.

As another data point, I attended the May camp, and one of the most valuable things (though certainly not the ONLY valuable thing) I got from it was being around, and conversing with, all the Awesome People there, and plugging into that social network.

Because there is a pretty intensive application process (I think less than half the applicants were selected), the attendees were all People I Wish I Could've Spent More Time Talking To, and the teachers themselves were exemplars of the characteristics listed.

OK, firstly, you're circumventing the karrma penalty and should be ashamed of yourself >:-(

In any case, as I already pointed out, the purpose of this site is "refining the art of human rationality", yes? And this is a course in rationality, yes?

There should be a branch of CFAR on the east coast.

There should be a branch of CFAR within easy reach of every human on Earth. But failing that, an east coast branch would still be good.

(going by the principle that every human should have access to the best resources to live their life in the best possible way)

I went to the very first rationality workshop in May of 2011, and it was literally life-altering. See here for my review and discussion about it in the context of a similar post for the workshops that happened earlier this year:

I have attended the very first workshop (last summer, it was a full week) and the first workshop this summer (3 days). Both have been extremely helpful in terms of broadening my understanding of what is possible, and how I can get there. This workshop will supply you with all the tools to succeed. It will even teach you how to use those tools in the most effective way possible. And it will even motivate you to actually use them! I can say without over-exaggeration that both of the workshops I attended were life-changing for me, and now I'm doing so much better than I could have without them. I use the skills I learned in those workshop every day, for things big and small: value of information calculations, fermi estimation, noticing rationalizations, optimizing and modifying my mood, noticing when I'm not being strategic, updating on evidence, and noticing the big irrationalities in my life, like not interacting with enough people. I could go on, but I hope I made my point pretty clear. :) I hope you'll sign up for this, and I'll see you at the after-party!

CFAR is a spinoff of SI, as you could have discovered from the SI web site. Anna Salomon is Executive Director of CFAR and a Research Fellow of SI, as you could have discovered from their web sites. The organisations' respective goals are closely related, as you could have discovered from their web sites. The posting is absolutely appropriate here, as you could have discovered by having any inclination at all to check your beliefs against reality before blurting them out.

If this behavior is consider appropriate here, then I'll update my expectations and I apologize for causing such a fuss (least people accuse me of "trolling"), but in this case I'll suggest explicitely stating in the forum policy that advertising is allowed here, since that's not the standard expectation on a typical internet forum.

"This behavior" isn't considered appropriate as a general rule. However, the history of CFAR's creation reveals that CFAR is pretty much an effort to bring LessWrong material into practical application. Nearly all of the CFAR material is built from or inspired by LessWrong content AFAIK, and some of the more recent LessWrong official posts are closely linked to discussions that happened around CFAR.

As such, it's reasonable to expect that most people on LessWrong would like to know what's going on with CFAR and would like to be informed about services CFAR provides, since CFAR is (so far) the best platform we have for structured training of LessWrong skills.

On the other hand, I agree with army1987 that it is questionable whether this belongs in the "Main" section of LW, and I think it belongs more in the Discussion section, even if that would risk getting it less exposure.

Do you know any other meaning [for "commercial"]?

I often hear and use the term to mean "where a provider of goods or services is attempting to maximize profit by getting more customers or getting customers to pay more", taking the context of advertising into account. By these connotations of the term, CFAR is not a commercial organization, and this advertising isn't "commercial" because they don't aim to make as much profit as they can from people who attend the training.

This meaning is often used to put contrast between "commercial intent" and "altruistic intent", or similar comparisons.

You're trying to circumvent the rules of the forum, so you're effectively waging war: much as if you had attempted to hack into the database or smash the servers with a hammer.

Every further comment by you that seems to do the same by responding to a different thread than it's placed in, will be downvoted by me, unread -- and I also encourage the moderators to delete such comments on sight.

EDIT TO ADD: If you're really burning to respond to people's individual responses in downvoted threads, you can just PM them. Or just accumulate enough positive karma in other threads to be able to endure a 5 karma point penalty. But ofcourse in reality, and given the ludicrous ease by which people upvote people, it tends to be only absolute jerks that tend to hold negative karma scores.

Agreed. I've started vaporizing downvoted posts by V_V or posts that might be evading the threading principle. I don't have time to do this carefully, so might've caught some other comments by accident.

V_V, further comments by you may be deleted by any moderator at any time on any suspicion of bad behavior. If you don't like the thought of your painstakingly crafted comments randomly disappearing at future points when some moderator gets around to it, I strongly recommend finding somewhere else to hang out.

Considering that V_V's attempts at circumventing the toll were heavily downvoted, I think it would have been more effective to simply let the community demonstrate that such tactics are unacceptable. The negative karma accrued during this little spat far out weighs the toll, but then without a reserve of positive karma it was impossible - not merely expensive, but impossible - to defend his admittedly foolish position. Your actions give the impression that dissenting voices will be vaporized by moderators, which is hardly going to do wonders for our phygish image. I appreciate that our garden needs keeping, but I really think that as far as possible this should be accomplished "naturally" by the community, not "imposed" by moderators, if only for PR reasons.

EDIT: Wait, deleted comments cost karma to reply to?

Spam is defined as unsolicited advertising on Internet media.

By you maybe. Not by anyone else.

EDIT: Fixed link.

What exactly is meant by the phrase "LW-style rationality?"

It simply means what cognitive scientists mean by "rationality", as opposed to the everyday meaning of "rationality", which is something like "analytical thinking". You can read about the kind of "rationality" that the Center For Applied Rationality teaches here.

Jargon/concepts for one: there are a lot of Less Wrong-specific terms and concept clusters that aren't found in the cognitive science literature. To a degree, associating rationality with existential risk, AI, cryonics, etc–not everyone on LW endorses these, but they are talked about.

I would hope that they're not going to focus on X-Risk, AI, and cryonics much at all, given that it's not mentioned in the schedule and does not seem to fit with the material they are promising to deliver.

No, and it wasn't in the curriculum of the spring and summer minicamps either, which I think is a good thing–those topics tend to be polarizing. However, there was a fair amount of casual discussion among the participants on these topics. This workshop is targeting a different subset of the LW population (at the very least, it's definitely not targeting me) so I don't know if that would still be the case.

You are wrong. CFAR helps operate LW as well; you can see its logo in the upper right corner.

Correct me if I'm wrong, I thought this site was about rationality?

Yes, websites often show logos and links to other websites which the authors consider interesting. That doesn't mean that by visiting one website you are giving implicit consent to receive advertising from all the websites it links to.

This is a site about rationality. They are telling people about a course in rationality. Where's the problem? If you just hate the idea of reading something that was written by someone who might not be objective, well, you're screwed anyway, but no-one forced you to read this particular article.

EDIT: "Goodbye"?

Ok, firstly, this. With that said, it was unsolicited, in the sense that I personally did not track down the author and ask them to publish it. However, since I chose first to browse LessWrong, which implies I am interested in rationality-related articles, and while doing so saw the title "Nov 16-18: Rationality for Entrepreneurs" and clicked on it. That kinda implies I want to read about it, don't you think? As for commercial ... what exactly is a "commercial message"? Is it one made by anyone affliated with a company regarding that companies product? Is it any message intended to encourage use of a particular product? Is it one that is biased? Do you have a new defenition of "commercial message" that would preclude it from being posted here?

To the extent that you would take "unsolicited" to mean "not explicitly and specifically requested beforehand by user V_V", then everyone here does agree that this was an unsolicited message at the very least, and an unsolicited commercial one to the extent that you take "commercial" to mean "anything for which you have to expend money in some manner".

If it's a rationality course, yeah, it kinda does. A few examples.