I've been hearing about this fic for a long time, and I've been somewhat suspicious of it. I knew that Eliezer is a pretty good writer, but that his attempts to graft Bayes onto his characters are invariably rather inorganic. On top of that, OOC is irritating to me even when I expect it.

Nothing, however, prepared me for this. I just got done reading chapter 6. Up to this point, Harry's greatest sin was dumping a Less Wrong post onto poor Minerva every ten minutes. And she understood everything, including pop culture references (when in the books, most wizards don't comprehend rubber ducks).

Now, in this chapter, Harry thought he heard a strange note in the prof's voice, decided in a split second that she's trying to destroy his parents, and informed her of this suspicion in the form of a hissy fit. Then he started blackmailing her, and finished by implying that she's a nearsighted idiot, but it's alright, most people are. And he started calling her McGonnagal, then switched to Minerva, and is now planning on Minny for the future. I expected her to snap at some point and beat him to a pulp with the first heavy object that presents itself.

I read the reviews pertaining to that chapter. They all proclaimed it to be a masterpiece, the standard by which all other fiction should be measured. To me, it was what people call "epic fail". I cannot find any other way to describe my reaction. Calling it terrible just doesn't have that drop of vitriol that I think is necessary.

But this is Eliezer Yudkowsky. I KNOW he can write. I KNOW that he can detect and neutralize a Black Hole Sue. And yet...

Does he?

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Voted down on grounds of not wanting to see similar content as a top-level post here. This has a tenuous connection with advancing human rationality even by the standards of the discussion section; it would meet a more receptive audience among Methods of Rationality's ff.net reviews, or in the MoR discussion threads here or on tvtropes if ff.net has some arcane policy against less-than-gushing feedback or if you're trying to shame Eliezer among his peers.

In any case, I'm starting to suspect that accusations of Mary Sueishness, among people predisposed to care, produce biased discussion about as reliably as bringing up any of the canonical mind-killers. Let's keep that rotting carcass out of this well, shall we?

I decided to downvote this. Not because you're saying you dislike something that I love, but because you're attacking something period rather than trying to start an interesting discussion based off something like:

"So as we all know a lot of people really like HPatMoR, but for me personally it feels like a prime example of Politics and Awful Art. Does anyone else feel like this? Might there be any interesting patterns in how your attitude towards HPatMoR correlates with other things, like the way you feel about various other fictional works, for instance?"

And started the discussion by sharing some other potentially interesting personal observations.

Why didn't you write that instead? And I don't mean, "what the hell is wrong with you man", I actually do mean, "Why didn't you write that instead?"

Did you just not think of it at the time, and in retrospect you do agree that would have been a cooler way to do it? Or did you have a specific reason for taking the more, uh, 'vitriolic' route in the first place that you would still stand by?

I think this post does not deserve the downvotes it's getting - they appear to be downvotes for simple disagreement. It's a discussion, in the discussion section, of one of the major advertising methods for LessWrong, one which regulars on the site are typically expected to be familiar with.

I like HP:MoR myself. But being an aspiring rationalist does not require liking HP:MoR.

If it were a comment here, I suspect it have gotten downvoted as well, but probably not as heavily.

I strongly disagree with you that this post has been getting downvotes for simple disagreement, and therefore I downvoted your comment :P

I didn't downvote Tiiba, but there's lots of reasons I could have potentially downvoted her, besides simple disagreement -- from the hostile tone all the way to a confusing semi-rhetorical "Does he?" at the end, which didn't make it clear what exactly she was asking us about.

If Tiiba was asking us, if given her hostile reaction, she should anticipate her opinion of the work to improve later on, she could make it far clearer. If Tiiba was asking us if there's justification for the content of the chapters she has read so far, she could ask about that more clearly as well.

I think this post does not deserve the downvotes it's getting

It just got another. It is silly, inflammatory and not well thought out. I don't particularly want to see that level of half considered self described vitriol as a top level post. Tiiba can go flame in a HP:MOR discussion post.

they appear to be downvotes for simple disagreement.

Far from it.

Downvoted it for using "hissy fit" to mean 'evidence of a psychological problem that the other person describes as such'.

Also, what TheOtherDave said.

I think you should have left this as a review on FanFiction.net, or in one of the HPMOR threads. By the way, you spelt "Yudkowsky" wrong (easy mistake to make). [Edit: fixed]

What is the point saying "yes" or "no"?

Do as Eliezer suggests in the intro "If you still don't like it after Chapter 10, give up."

As for my own opinion on the work, I'd say it's very very good in some respects, and quite bad in some others.

"What is the point saying "yes" or "no"?"

Um, none for you, I suppose. But it might mean some utilons for me. Anyway, a hint about which way the story might be heading would be good. (Comeuppance? Minister Potter? Furry slash?)

If you go in expecting the standard narrative where hubris is punished and the status quo maintained, you will be vastly disappointed. Harry certainly fails at stuff and succeeds at other stuff, but at no point does he come to accept that the best thing to do is meekly accept the status quo.

My guess, reading between the lines, is that you will like later chapters less and less.

There are points in the story where his arrogance results in severe consequences for him, and when other people call him out on some of his actions.

There also continue to be points where he wins and proves how much smarter he is than almost everyone else. I still enjoy reading it, but I'm not going to force you to.

Ah, I didn't realize that such a hint was what you were asking for.

Okay: He (eventually) does things that go very very wrong, and he (soon) starts understanding there must be something really really off/weird with him.

So, yeah, he does get a comeuppance of sorts, for his arrogance. Though I'm not sure it's yet enough a comeuppance for such arrogance.

I don't think an artistic critique of HP:MOR should be a discussion-level post. Critiquing the message (or whether it is good for the cause of promoting rationality) would be fine.

Eliezer addressed it here

If you saw a character talking like that in a published SF novel, you would know that he was an alien or genetically engineered or that the author meant you to know something was funny about him. In fanfiction they assume that it's either the author's conceit or, more probable yet, you're just a terrible author who can't write realistic eleven-year-olds. I thought it was so blatantly lampshaded that nobody could possibly mistake it for an accident, but no, fanfiction readers just don't think like that - they don't look for clues and they do assume lousy authors.

The infodumps are not what I'm talking about. I wouldn't believe it's Eliezer's writing if people weren't smugly going on about eigenvectors. My concern is that Harry is a complete asshole. And the unrealistic adults.

Aside from Harry's parents, there was only one "unrealistic" adult so far (by Ch6), McGonagall, who assumed Harry might have been abused. Her tolerance is reasonable.

It's irrelevant, though. Harry is behaving strangely, and you assume it's bad writing. I guess, since you have read some fanfiction ("OOC is irritating to me"), you aquired a useful heuristic for filtering out bad fanfic; it's just that it is bound to give some false positives.

In case you didn't notice due to lack of Potterverse familiarity, it was established back in chapter 5 that Professor McGonagall knows the prophecy.

I honestly have no idea how that has anything to do with what I'm saying.

And I read all the books, and watched the first six movies. I know what the prohesy is.

Okay. Professor McGonagall knows that Harry Potter is the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord, that he is marked as the Dark Lord's equal, and that he will have power the Dark Lord knows not. (She has, in fact, heard that Prophecy spoken in the terrible hollow echoing voice of Sybill Trelawney.)

Harry isn't acting like a normal eleven-year-old, or any kind of eleven-year-old, and Professor McGonagall has noticed that as well, in as many words.

That's all. If you think, under those circumstances, that the boy ought to be given the back of your hand and told to shut up, you're welcome to write your own fanfiction where that's what Professor McGonagall does. The further consequences seem predictable enough. The thing is, in my story, Professor McGonagall can see that too.

That's all. If you think, under those circumstances, that the boy ought to be given the back of your hand and told to shut up, you're welcome to write your own fanfiction where that's what Professor McGonagall does. The further consequences seem predictable enough. The thing is, in my story, Professor McGonagall can see that too.

It does sound like a request to make McGonagall behave in an obviously irrational manner. McGonagall would have to be seriously thick if she didn't adapt her interaction style when engaging with Harry.

I honestly have no idea how that has anything to do with what I'm saying.

And I read all the books, and watched the first six movies. I know what the prohesy is.

You honestly can't see how knowing someone is the chosen one destined to save the world from the evil one and who quite possibly already stopped a war impacts on the likely behaviour of a character? Implied via that same knowledge is that Harry has the favour of McGonagall's immediate superior.

It should be overwhelmingly obvious to you how this information is relevant to what you are saying. Any judgement made without considering this context is absurdly ill-informed.

As in she knows they need him, so she's making an extra effort to make him like her, and by association, the wizarding world.

My concern is that Harry is a complete asshole.

It's worse when he's trying to make Harry not a complete asshole. That just gets painful.

Not counting the Minerva case (on which your view is obvious), what incidents do you consider to involve him being an arsehole?

Not counting the Minerva case (on which your view is obvious), what incidents do you consider to involve him being an arsehole?

Good point. He hasn't actually been an asshole at that stage. He gets to it later on...

I think you failed to notice that harry is ENTIRELY wrong and massively overreacting in this situation. He's specifically being the opposite of a mary sue in that his big brain is actively backfiring on him.

No, he is a Black Hole Sue, because, as I said, the abuse and condescension he gave to McGonnagal did not result in any consequences. She's his goddamn TEACHER. Teachers don't expect to be treated like idiots.

And WHERE is his brain backfiring? And I know he's wrong. That's the point. But so far, he's winning anyway.

But so far, he's winning anyway.

Who do you believe serves as his antagonist?

EY says on the author page that if you make Frodo a Jedi, you have to give Sauron the Death Star in order to have a story.

I'm not quite sure the extent to which you're right or wrong, but a few points: 1- Once Minerva sees what she does of Harry's talk with Draco (realistic or not), it seems plausible she'd be impressed and give him slightly more slack because of it. In addition, once she begins to believe Harry has been abused it is possible she'd feel sorry for him. 2- Prior to this, I agree that she should have been significantly more annoyed- unless wizarding culture is very different for some reason, she should at least have been trying to restrain herself. 3- Part of the point of the fic was to attempt to popularise rationality (and it has at least extended the audience for Less Wrong's ideas). Given the necessity of that, changing Harry's backstory was probably the best way to do it.

To an extent, I agree; however, two quasi-defenses:

1: It does actually get less Mary Sue-ish as time goes on; a large part of the purpose of the starting chapters is to establish Harry as a rationalist badass, and once that's been established that element of his character becomes less prominent- see, eg chapters 10, 18, 30-31, the whole Azkaban story arc, and probably a few more.

2: A major purpose of the story is to be awesome/to show a rationalist being awesome. (Also, it's explicitly influenced by another story often accused of Mary Sue-ish ness, Shinji and WH40K.) If it didn't skirt close enough to the edge of Mary Suedom to be perceived as an outright Mary Sue by some, it wouldn't achieve its goals.

So, having thought about it today, I realized that I did overreact. Some of the justifications offered made sense. But I still find McGonnagal's reactions odd. Yes, a kid genius has special needs. But that doesn't mean he should be able to treat others like imbecils. It might've been just shock, but at some point it should have occured to her: I'm letting a prepubescent kid run circles around me. Even if he keeps being right, he's gonna get himself in trouble running his mouth all the time.

I know that she's supposed to be special, that most adults Harry knows DO put him in his place, but I see no reason to think that she is THAT special. She is not used to dealing with such situations (she can't even describe the one she had), and of all the teachers in the books, she's probably the one who values discipline the most.

Also, she never said: "Can you repeat what you just said? And this time, in English?" Sometimes, the situation seemed to call for a Point of View Gun from the Hitchhiker's Guide.

And there is REALLY no excuse for the temper tantrum.

And that's what a Black Hole Sue is: people act strange around her, so she might be happy.

Given its popularity on FF.net, you should be able to empirically state that whatever it is about Mary-Sue-ishness that people dislike he has avoided including. Isn't that really enough? Most of the people reading it are doing so for fun, after all. You might feel differently personally, or perhaps you wandered into a trigger without realizing it, but people are enjoying it.

I don't downvote for anything, so I won't downvote this.

Edit - please disregard this post

[-][anonymous]11y -2

Downvoted because "Yudkowski", will upvote if fixed.