"In which PhilGoetz goes meta in insulting everyone who didn't appreciate his genius in the last post while justifying his own rudeness and failure to explain well, explain how all this merely proves his genius, tries to be meta-contrarian on Bayesian statistics to boot, and fails to notice the irony of him burning bridges & self-sabotaging on LW much as he did at his previous places of employment (if his personal anecdotes are at all accurate after allowing for the usual self-serving nature of personal polemical anecdotes)."

/eats some popcorn

I look forward to the next step in the downward spiral. Sockpuppets to agree with him or to push his views, Dmytry-style? A campaign of going after individuals? Setting up a blog where one forgets ever learning about 'reversed stupidity' and does exactly that with what one regards as the stupidities of LW, XiXiDu-style? Spewing absurd bile about how everyone else is a psychopath, Kulisz-style? Possibly a conversion to Catholicism like Wright? Possibly a rare redemption after pondering one's communication styles and past?

I don't know, but now that Bitcoin's price has settled down, this is almost as fascinating to watch.

Anyone who recognizes my name will know I can be pretty surly. I'm even much worse in other places, and enjoy little back and worth pissy wars. So I'm not a delicate daisy when it comes to rhetoric.

But this is the most mean spirited comment I've seen in a long time. This is just unpleasant.

EDIT: Interesting that it is currently 45% positive, which I'm guessing is 11 negative to 9 positive. 9 positive, huh? Okey dokey.

6jimrandomh7yWhile the original post could be interpreted as inviting rudeness, this seems a lot overboard. Also, Bitcoin's price hasn't settled down yet.
2PhilGoetz7yMy previous post is one of several things that got me thinking along these lines. But you are the one going meta here, taking an objective and serious question, and turning it into a personal attack and, perhaps, some LessWrong factional power play. Why did you do that? If it was in order to give me an opportunity to respond politely to a rude comment, I thank you.

Optimal rudeness

by PhilGoetz 1 min read13th Apr 201351 comments


On LessWrong, we often get cross, and then rude, with each other. Sometimes, someone then observes this rudeness is counterproductive.

Is it?

As a general rule, emotional responses are winning strategies (at least for your genes).  That's why you have those emotions.

Granted, insulting someone during your rebuttal of their argument makes it less likely that they will see your point. But it appears to be an effective tactic when carrying on an argument in public.

It's my impression that on LessWrong, a comment or a post written with a certain amount of disdain is more-likely to get voted up than a completely objective comment. A good way to obtain upvotes, if that is your goal, is to make other readers wish to identify with you and disassociate themselves from whomever you're arguing against.  A great many up-voted comments, including some of my own, suggest, subtly or not subtly, with or without evidence, that the person being responded to is ignorant or stupid.

The correct amount of derision appears be slight, and to depend on status. Someone with more status should be more rude. Retaliations against rudeness may really be retaliations for an attempt to claim high status.

What's the optimal response if someone says something especially rude to you?  Is a polite or a rude response to a rude comment more likely to be upvoted/downvoted?  Not ideally, but in reality.  I think, in general, when dealing with humans, responding to skillful rudeness, and especially humorous rudeness, with politeness, is a losing strategy.

My expectation is that rudeness is a better strategy for poor and unpopular arguments than for good or popular ones, because rudeness adds noise.  The lower a comment's expected karma, the ruder it should be.

You jerk.