Another installment of the Polling Thread.

This is a special installment: It's about getting feedback about you! 

It has been said Don't Be Afraid of Asking Personally Important Questions of Less Wrong. And there is a Curiosity checklist: Looking for feedback. We are in a Tell Culture. So why not learn something about yourself? For some people it is easy to sense how they are perceived. For some it is difficult. Even if you get feedback it is (luckily!) more often positive - but this sometimes leaves out murky key points. Giving constructive personal feedback is difficult. Lets try it.

By focussing this thread on personal feedback I want to prime you and the other participants on giving and receiving constructive personal feedback.

Do not assume that Crocker's Rules apply by default. If you want to operate under Crockers rules you should clearly indicate thus.

The following rules (from Admonymous) should give a guideline on giving feedback: 

  • Be constructive. Make sure the recipient can act upon your admonition. Good: "Please try to make less clicking noises. A lot of people are annoyed by them." Bad: "You suck."
  • Admire. Just as the recipient may need your feedback to change behavior that bothers you, they may not be aware of how other aspects of their behavior please you, and even if they are not blind to it, you could encourage them further by giving explicit praise. Use the site to encourage positive behavior as much as you use it to change negative behavior.
  • Be gentle. As long as you get the message through, there is no need to be harsh. How you express an admonition can be almost as important as the content. Be mindful of wording, and use softer forms over more harsh alternatives (for example, consider using “could” instead of “should”). Good: "Sometimes you smell of sweat. Perhaps you could shower more often." Bad: "You stink!"
  • Be specific. Provide as many details as you can without exposing yourself. Not only is this going to help the recipient identify exactly the problematic aspects of their behavior, it will also encourage them to take you seriously. Good: “When you arrange meetings, sometimes they are ineffective because you don’t stop people when they go off-topic.” Bad: “Your meetings are wasting people’s time.”
  • Be concrete. If you can point out specific actions, it will be easier for the recipient to figure out how to change their behavior. Good: "Please clean up more thoroughly after you use the espresso machine." Bad: "Be more clean."
  • Don't abuse. It's easy to be mean when anonymity protects you. Remember that the goal is helping your friends, not making them feel miserable.
  • Sandwich. People will find it much easier to address your admonitions if you surround them by admirations. Good: "I love your social nature in the office, but sometimes you speak very loudly, and it makes it hard for other people to work." Bad: "You talk loudly in the office all day long."
  • Exercise discretion. You're not here to organize the world's information: there may be things that people don't know and they're better off not knowing. Remember the recipient is not perfect and their self-esteem is at stake along with their behavior. Try to avoid admonitions that are likely to generate more harm than good, and think before you click. For example: "She told me just before she got on the plane that she never really loved you."
  • Be aware of your power. Place yourself in the recipient’s shoes and imagine how you would feel if you were the one to receive the admonition that you just wrote.

I recommend to phrase your question in the form of a poll but you can just ask questions too.

I will start with a simple Big Five query below.


If you want to try more there are sites that assist you in getting feedback like Admonymous. Sometimes a simple Google Form will do too. 

Even if you don't want to participate in personality discussion this is still your chance to ask your multiple choice question you always wanted to throw in. Get qualified numeric feedback to your comments. Post fun polls.

These are the rules:

  1. Each person or poll goes into its own top level comment and may be commented there.
  2. You must at least vote all polls that were posted earlier than you own. This ensures participation in all polls and also limits the total number of polls. You may of course vote without posting a poll.
  3. Your poll should include a 'don't know' option (to avoid conflict with 2). I don't know whether we need to add a troll catch option here but we will see.
If you don't know how to make a poll in a comment look at the Poll Markup Help.

This is a somewhat regular thread. If it is successful I may post again. Or you may. In that case do the following :

  • Use "Polling Thread" in the title.
  • Copy the rules.
  • Add the tag "poll".
  • Link to this Thread or a previous Thread.
  • Create a top-level comment saying 'Discussion of this thread goes here; all other top-level comments should be polls or similar'
  • Add a second top-level comment with an initial poll to start participation.
New Comment
18 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

It's well known that men are better at mental rotation and other forms of spatial reasoning than women. I've always been pretty good at it - my default technique is to carefully check the relations (i.e. count the number of cubes in the segment, note the relative angle of the joint, and make sure they match). It was only recently that I realized that some people actually just rotated it in their head, and 'looked' to see if it was the same.

Anyway, I was wondering if maybe the technique used was correlated with gender.

What sex were you assigned at birth? [pollid:798]

With what gender do you primarily identify? [pollid:799]

What method do you use to do mental rotations? [pollid:800](Something else}

I'm not really sure how to answer this question. I can do pretty well at these simply by visualizing the rotation, and in a casual setting, where not much hinged on getting it right, I would probably just use that method because it's a lot faster and easier. But consciously checking relations does improve my performance (or at least feels more reliable), so if I was in a context where it was important to get the answers right, that's what I would do.

It's like asking whether I add up three-digit numbers in my head or work it out on paper. Depends on the context.

When I need to be 95% sure I count the cubes (which is what I answered), but when being 70% sure suffices I visualize the rotation.

I visualise the rotations up until the point where it's too complex, after which I resort to checking relations


Just adding to the "a bit of both" chorus. I visualize and then (if still in more doubt than I'm comfortable with) count cubes and check angles in the supposedly matching bits. In some cases I count/check some parts but not others.

(I think my visualization skills are pretty weak, but I may be comparing myself with other mathematicians rather than the general population, which might well produce skewed results.)

Asking for the answers to (a) and (b) would have been worthwhile.

I chose "consciously check relations", but I'm nearly as bad at doing it that way as at attempting to visualise the rotation. I find these problems almost impossible. (I thiiiink the answers for the examples are a: same and b: different, but I'm a long way from completely sure: I think I'd have to build them with those little cubes they give primary school children in maths classes to be sure.) I guess it makes sense that people who are weaker at mental rotation (or, as other commenters suggest, want to be really sure of getting the right answer) resort to conscious checking, so if women on average do worse at mental rotation, you'd expect to find more conscious checkers among them.

If I want to be really sure than I do both mental rotation and checking details. On the other hand Rotation gives me a greater feeling of certainty if I do just one of them.

Interesting result from misreading the question: I first tried to resolve this as "are the first and second figures in (b) a rotation of the first and second figures in (a)?"

Trying to mentally rotate the first figure in (a) to get the first figure in (b) crashed the entire process, to the point where I began to doubt whether I could mentally rotate things in my mind. On the other hand, it was immediately clear to me on inspection that they weren't the same, in a similar way that it's clear an acute and an obtuse angle aren't the same angle.

However, resolving the question as intended produces the subjective experience of "rotating in my mind".

Exactly the same misreading here.

Your poll is somewhat broken (last option missing). Note that ability to rotate in the mind is very differently expressed. Some people do it effortlessly, some even with multiple elements (Tesla was said to be able to animate whole machines in his mind). Therefore I'd recommend to provide a scaled or indexical poll ("not at all", "partial/limited", "single element single rotation", "single element, multiple motions/changes", "multiple elements interacting (gears)", "whole machines"). As only 4 people (me included) voted I recommend to repost the poll and extend it.

Thanks for catching the error, and I think the rest of your suggestion is good, but unfortunately 32 people have taken it now (wow!) and I don't think I can change it without breaking it.

Like many people have said, I do it in my head except when I don't.

That said, having done a lot of neuropsych testing after recovering from my stroke, I've developed more confidence than I used to have in my mental rotation reliability; I'm more comfortable accepting a "yeah, that seems right" judgment without confirming it.

Telling in advance what results you expect change the results for many reasons (ex.: the pygmalion effect, the golem effect, the stereotype threat, etc.).

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply

I have an idea of my Big 5 score. But just sometimes I get feedback which conflicts with my self-assessment. Therefore I'd like to hear about my outward (LW-wise) appearance on these.

The below lists the Big 5 traints and names standardized facets that you may consider in scoring.

I scored myself on these already and will post my self-assessment if at least 5 people score me. I'm a regular and you can find some of my posts linked on my User Page.

The MD5 of my assessment is 5892090cab1b15ea184825b80f5f60a3.

Neuroticism (N)

How neurotic do I appear? [pollid:793]


  • N1: How ancious do I appear?

  • N2: How angry or hostile do I react?

  • N3: How depressive do I seem?

  • N4: How self-conscious do I appear?

  • N5: How impulsive am I?

  • N6: How vulnerable do I appear?

Extraversion (E)

How extroverted do I appear? [pollid:794]


  • E1: How much warmth do I show?

  • E2: How social do I appear?

  • E3: How assertive do I come across?

  • E4: How active am I?

  • E5: How much excitement do I seek?

  • E6: How positive do I appear?

Openness (O)

How open am I? [pollid:795]


  • O1: How much fantasy to I show?

  • O2: How much beauty do I create?

  • O3: How sensitive to feelings do I appear?

  • O4: How many new things do I try?

  • O5: How curious do I appear?

  • O6: How open-minded do I seem?

Agreeableness (A)

How agreeable am I? [pollid:796]


  • A1: How trusting do I appear?

  • A2: How straightforward am I?

  • A3: How altruistic do I appear?

  • A4: How calm do I react?

  • A5: How modest do I seem?

  • A6: How sympathetic do I come across?

Conscientiousness (C)

How diligent am I? [pollid:797]


  • C1: How competent am I?

  • C2: How much order do I show?

  • C3: How ethical do I appear?

  • C4: How much ambition do I show?

  • C5: How much self-discipline do I show?

  • C6: How deliberate do I act?

I don't have a good idea what "a bit" and "moderately" mean in this context. Is someone who is a bit extroverted more introverted than the average person and the average person is moderately extroverted?

In general it doesn't make sense to role out your own test for the Big Five. There are existing tests developed by capable psychologists.

As promised my self-assessment (rot13, "not at all" is 1, "very much" is 5). I think it matches the perceived state quite well - except for neuroticism. I wonder why that is? Does it result from posting such a self-centered question? Superiority bias at work? Probably I should consider in which area(s) of neuroticism I should have to watch out for myself.


Arhebgvpvfz (A)

A1: Ubj napvbhf qb V nccrne? 2

A2: Ubj natel be ubfgvyr qb V ernpg? 1

A3: Ubj qrcerffvir qb V frrz? 1

A4: Ubj frys-pbafpvbhf qb V nccrne? 2

A5: Ubj vzchyfvir nz V? 2

A6: Ubj ihyarenoyr qb V nccrne? 1

Rkgenirefvba (R)

R1: Ubj zhpu jnezgu qb V fubj? 3

R2: Ubj fbpvny qb V nccrne? 4

R3: Ubj nffregvir qb V pbzr npebff? 2

R4: Ubj npgvir nz V? 4

R5: Ubj zhpu rkpvgrzrag qb V frrx? 3

R6: Ubj cbfvgvir qb V nccrne? 5

Bcraarff (B)

B1: Ubj zhpu snagnfl gb V fubj? 3

B2: Ubj zhpu ornhgl qb V perngr? 3

B3: Ubj frafvgvir gb srryvatf qb V nccrne? 3

B4: Ubj znal arj guvatf qb V gel? 5

B5: Ubj phevbhf qb V nccrne? 5

B6: Ubj bcra-zvaqrq qb V frrz? 5

Nterrnoyrarff (N)

N1: Ubj gehfgvat qb V nccrne? 3-4

N2: Ubj fgenvtugsbejneq nz V? 3

N3: Ubj nygehvfgvp qb V nccrne? 3

N4: Ubj pnyz qb V ernpg? 4

N5: Ubj zbqrfg qb V frrz? 2

N6: Ubj flzcngurgvp qb V pbzr npebff? 3

Pbafpvragvbhfarff (P)

P1: Ubj pbzcrgrag nz V? 4

P2: Ubj zhpu beqre qb V fubj? 3

P3: Ubj rguvpny qb V nccrne? 3-4

P4: Ubj zhpu nzovgvba qb V fubj? 4

P5: Ubj zhpu frys-qvfpvcyvar qb V fubj? 4

P6: Ubj qryvorengr qb V npg? 4


[Meta] Discussion of this thread goes here; all other top-level comments should be polls or personality questions or similar