It's that time of year again.

If you are reading this post, and have not been sent here by some sort of conspiracy trying to throw off the survey results, then you are the target population for the Less Wrong Census/Survey. Please take it. Doesn't matter if you don't post much. Doesn't matter if you're a lurker. Take the survey.

This year's census contains a "main survey" that should take about ten or fifteen minutes, as well as a bunch of "extra credit questions". You may do the extra credit questions if you want. You may skip all the extra credit questions if you want. They're pretty long and not all of them are very interesting. But it is very important that you not put off doing the survey or not do the survey at all because you're intimidated by the extra credit questions.

It also contains a chance at winning a MONETARY REWARD at the bottom. You do not need to fill in all the extra credit questions to get the MONETARY REWARD, just make an honest stab at as much of the survey as you can.

Please make things easier for my computer and by extension me by reading all the instructions and by answering any text questions in the simplest and most obvious possible way. For example, if it asks you "What language do you speak?" please answer "English" instead of "I speak English" or "It's English" or "English since I live in Canada" or "English (US)" or anything else. This will help me sort responses quickly and easily. Likewise, if a question asks for a number, please answer with a number such as "4", rather than "four".

Last year there was some concern that the survey period was too short, or too uncertain. This year the survey will remain open until 23:59 PST December 31st 2013, so as long as you make time to take it sometime this year, you should be fine. Many people put it off last year and then forgot about it, so why not take it right now while you are reading this post?

Okay! Enough preliminaries! Time to take the...


2013 Less Wrong Census/Survey


Thanks to everyone who suggested questions and ideas for the 2013 Less Wrong Census/Survey. I regret I was unable to take all of your suggestions into account, because of some limitations in Google Docs, concern about survey length, and contradictions/duplications among suggestions. I think I got most of them in, and others can wait until next year.

By ancient tradition, if you take the survey you may comment saying you have done so here, and people will upvote you and you will get karma.


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Surveyed. Having everyone participate in a Prisoner's Dillema is extremely ingenious.

Edit: Hey, guys, stop upvoting this! You have already falsified my answer to survey's karma question by an order of magnitude!

Edit much later: The lesswrong community is now proved evil.

Edit much more later: Bwahaha, I expected that... Thanks for the karma and stuff...

Taken. It was relatively quick; the questions were easy. Thanks for improving the survey!

Two notes: The question about mental illness has no "None" answers; thus you cannot distinguish between people who had none, and people who didn't answer the question. The question about income did not make clear whether it's pre-tax or post-tax.

Are you planning to do any analysis on what traits are associated with defection? That could get ugly fast.

(I took the survey)

Well, remember that that's a zero sum game within the community since it's coming out of Yvain's pocket. I was going to reflexivly cooperate, then I remembered that I was cooperating in transfering money from someone who was nice enough to create this survey, to people who were only nice enough to answer.

This was my initial thought, too. But then it occurred to me that Yvain wants to incentivize people to take the survey, and more people will be so incentivized if the reward is larger. Thus, I can acausally help Yvain achieve his goal by cooperating. This will only influence people who know something about how the reward works before they decide to take the survey, but it still seemed worth it, so I cooperated.
Cooperating for reasons other than "I expect cooperating to make other people cooperate" gives people a reason to defect and make the total (and your expected) reward lower. I've done the math elsewhere in this thread, and if at least a third of all respondents decide to cooperate no matter what, the optimal solution is to just defect and take their money.
Yes. And I did cooperate because I expected that it would make other people cooperate (acausally). I was explaining why I wanted more people to cooperate, even though it would mean that Yvain would lose more money. Good. Then a defector has been enticed to take the survey.

I have taken the survey (and answered, to a good approximation, all the questions).

Note that if you take the survey and comment here immediately after, Yvain can probably identify which survey is yours. If this possibility troubles you, you may wish to delay. On the other hand, empirically it seems that earlier comments get more karma.

I conjecture that more than 5% of entrants will experience a substantial temptation to give SQUEAMISH OSSIFRAGE as their passphrase at the end. The purpose of this paragraph is to remark that (1) if you, the reader, are so tempted then that is evidence that I am right, and (2) if so then giving in to the temptation is probably a bad idea.

I have taken the survey and done exactly this. I have also chosen COOPERATE. I figure doing so is cooperating in two ways; assuming a large number of people give SQUEAMISH OSSIFRAGE, Yvain will either discard those tickets or split the prize between them. If it is split, then the squeamish people are cooperating with each other by making it more likely that all of us will receive something, albeit a smaller amount. If the tickets are discarded, then we are cooperating with non-squeamish people. Gifting them, really; they are more likely to win a prize because we have opted out, and it will be marginally larger because I chose COOPERATE. Of course this procedure is probably defection against Yvain, who will have to deal with his system being subverted. Oops.
My guess is that if lots of people give the same passphrase and one of them wins the draw, Yvain will simply hold another draw among the people who claim to have won. Also, for the sums we're talking about I bet your utility is close enough to linear that the difference between (say) "certainly $5" and "$60 with probability 1/12" is very small. (Perhaps it feels larger on account of some cognitive bias, though introspecting I think the two really feel basically equivalent to me.)
Hrm. Damn, that would be a sane solution and obviates both my mucking about and your own. My net utility for winning is as close to zero as makes no difference; I make enough that it's unimportant, so the marginal value of the money is probably worth less than the time it would take to arrange the exchange. My utility for playing amusing games with systems of this sort is rather higher, however.
I was temped, but didn't for the obvious reasons.
Is the karma related to actually taking it? Or should I post "took the survey" now, and then take it later to preserve my privacy?
If you don't mind lying about something trivial for karma+privacy, that seems like a fine idea.
Then one just has to post as early as possible, and then take the survey at one's leisure :P

I took the survey. My apologies for not doing so in every previous year I've been here, and for not finding time for the extra questions this year.

The race question should probably use checkboxes (2^N answers) rather than radio boxes (N answers). Biracial people aren't that uncommon.

Living "with family" is slightly ambiguous; I almost selected it instead of "with partner/spouse" since our kids are living with us, but I suspected that wasn't the intended meaning.

The race question should probably use checkboxes (2^N answers) rather than radio boxes (N answers)

Same with the diagnoses question. But I don't think that Yvain's software deals well with checkboxes. They seem to have much more radiobuttons this year.

Yes. I, who proposed the question, had worded those answers “with parents (and/or siblings)” and “with partner/spouse (and/or children)” respectively.

Surveyed. Left several questions blank.

Incidentally, while I answered the "akrasia" questions about mental illnesses, therapy, etc. as best I could, it's perhaps worth noting that most of my answers related to a period of my life after suffering traumatic brain injury that significantly impaired my cognitive function, and therefore might be skewing the results... or maybe not, depending on what the questions were trying to get at

I took the survey.

However, this question confused me:

Time in Community How long, in years, have you been in the Overcoming Bias/Less Wrong community? Enter periods less than 1 year in decimal, eg "0.5" for six months (hint: if you've been here since the start of the community in November 2007, put 6 years)"

(emphasis mine)

The wording confused me; I almost put "6 years" instead of "6" because of it.

Also, I was sorely tempted to respond that I do not read instructions and am going to ruin everything, and then answer the rest of that section, including the test question, correctly. I successfully resisted that temptation, of which fact I am proud.

Also, I was sorely tempted to respond that I do not read instructions and am going to ruin everything, and then answer the rest of that section, including the test question, correctly. I successfully resisted that temptation, of which fact I am proud.




Nice to see the reactionaries got their bone thrown to them on the politics section.


Survey taken. The very last question made me laugh out loud. It also proved to me that this is truly my type of community.

Taken, Answering all questions. I answered the last question (Co-operate or Defect) only after coming back and reading the comments, but I think I forgot to put in my passphrase so it doesn't really matter.

Finally decided to register for an account here. That reward structure will be fun to watch.

Made an account here to comment that I filled out the survey, and to make future participation more likely.

I have never posted on LW before, but this seems like a fine first time to do so.

I am really very curious to see the results of the real world cooperate/defect choice at the bottom of the test.

Surveyed. Put a humorous pair of Lojban lujvo as a passphrase. I cooperated, knowing that regardless, I was unlikely to win no matter what strategy I pursued, and that priming myself by forcing myself to cooperate now would possibly make me unknowingly want to cooperate in the future to my benefit.

Survey taken.

I found the Europe question awesome because I, incredibly luckily, had checked Europe's total population for a Fermi estimate just yesterday, so I got to feel like a high accuracy, highly calibrated badass. Of course, that also means it's not good data for things that I learned greater than ~1 day ago.

Having seen this map [] a couple months ago hugely helped me with that question, BTW.

Survey Taken.

dude, no "jewish" religious background? seems like a serious omission unless my priors are all screwed up.

I'm sorry. I'm not sure how that happened. Must have accidentally gotten deleted when I was adding in the Eastern Orthodox stuff. The question has been fixed and "Jewish" is now an option.

Sorry I blew the conspiracy :-p
0Said Achmiz10y
I assume having written in "Jewish" under "Other" will properly place my response in the correct bucket?
Probably not for the 'official' analysis that Yvain runs - it's an awful lot of work to go through and clean up hundreds (thousands?) of long survey results so IIRC in past years all "Other" fill-in-the-blanks have been essentially discarded. However, the data (or that which was not asked to be kept private) is released after the fact you'd be welcome to do the analysis yourself.

Survey completed in full. Begging for karma as per ancient custom.

I choose DEFECT because presumably the money is coming out of CFAR's pocket and I assume they can use the money better than whichever random person wins the raffle. If I win, I commit to requesting it be given as an anonymous donation to CFAR.

EDIT: Having been persuaded my Yvain and Vaniver, I reverse my position and intend to spend the prize on myself. Unfortunately I've already defected and now it's too late to not be an asshole! Sorry about that. Only the slightly higher chance of winning can soothe my feelings of guilt.

The money is coming out of my pocket, it is not funging against any other charitable donations, and I am in favor of someone claiming the prize and using it to buy something nice that they like.

In that case, I pre-commit that if I win, I'll spend it on something leisure-related or some treat that I otherwise wouldn't be able to justify the money to purchase. I co-operated; I'd already committed myself to co-operating on any Prisoner's Dilemma involving people I believed to be rational. I'd like to say it was easy, but I did have to think about it. However, I stuck to my guns and obeyed the original logic that got me to pre-commit in the first place. If I assume other people are about as rational as me, than a substantial majority of people should think similarly to me. That means that if I decide that everyone else will co-operate and thus I can defect, there's a good chance other people will come to the same conclusion as well. The best way to go about it is to pre-commit to co-operation, and hope that other rational people will do the same. Thanks for the chance to test my beliefs with actual stakes on the line :)
My reasoning on this is in complete agreement of yours.
I am not sure I follow. If you predict that majority of 'rational' people (say more than 50%) would pre-commit to cooperation, then you had a great opportunity to shaft them by defecting and running with their money. Personally, I decided to defect as to ensure that other people who also defected won't take advantage of me.
That's the correct response when playing against rational players who are also trying to win, but if you actually look at the comments you'll see that most people are deciding to cooperate or defect for a variety of reasons. So I think in this case cooperation is (sadly) not the best move.
Sure other survey-takers may be roughly as rational as you, but that doesn't mean they're likely to do something as specific as precommitting to cooperation on prisoner's dilemmas.
Well, I can't argue with that. I'm editing my previous comment to reverse my previous position.

presumably the money is coming out of CFAR's pocket

I think the money is coming out of Yvain's pocket, actually.

I cooperated, and I precommit to waiving my prize if I win.

I believe there is a strong argument for taking the prize, even if you don't need it, and not donating the prize, even if you would like to, so that people who are actually motivated by prizes do not feel they are obligated to waive or donate their prize. (A prime example of this is George Washington, one of the richest men in America at the time, who thought it was silly that he was getting a salary as president, and that it would be more public-minded of him to not collect his salary. He was convinced that if he did so, he might set a precedent, and this would prevent anyone but the independently wealthy from seeking the presidency.)

Schelling had something to say about that too.
I defected, for similar reasons (without having read the comments, I just assumed that I'd be likely to prefer funds to whoever volunteered to fund this than to a random survey-taker, particularly weighted towards a survey-taker who defected). I'm afraid Yvain's answer here would not be enough to get me to switch. If the rest of the $60 prize was to be burned -- effectively a wealth redistribution among capital holders -- I'd cooperate.

I can't wait to see the Cooperate/Defect ratio. I, for one, chose to cooperate.

Oh wow, you really cut down on the extra credit questions this time- no links to external tests! Not sure if I like that or not; in particular, now we only have one IQ source to look at. But oh well.

(I took the survey.)



The IQ question should, like with the SAT/ACT, make it clear you should leave it blank if you've not been tested. And the same with the follow-up in calibration.


The occupation thing could have been a checkbox, for us who are e.g. both students and doing for-profit work.

The income question could have used a clarification of whether it was pre- or post-tax. (I assumed pre-.)

Yeah, I'm both a student and am self-employed. I guessed pre-tax, but the number is going to be very different otherwise (for me anyway).
I am both studying and working for profit. I am studying STEM and working in [other] areas. I desired an option to choose this.
2Said Achmiz10y
Seconded on "occupation should be checkboxes" thing.
When I run into a radio button group [] that I have multiple answers for I select one randomly. (While taking this survey I literally flipped a coin.) Edit: I'm not particularly arguing that occupation shouldn't have been checkboxes, but for something where most people will have a single answer, radio buttons do make the data a bit simpler to deal with.

Done. I'm glad there was nothing about Schrodinger this time around.

Surveyed, requesting free internet points.

I took the survey.

I completed every question on the survey that I could.

And was that at least one?

I've taken the survey.

By the way, nice game at the end. I didn't do the math but it seemed evident that defecting was the logical choice (and by reading the comments below I was right). I cooperated anyway, it just felt right. So, defectors, I probably just made one of you a few hundredths of a cent richer! Lucky you! ;-)

I'm doing the survey while I should be in a lecture, and I just reached the akrasia questions.

Took the survey. Note: "average" is not a very precise term. For one, "average person" is probably a mediocre stand-in for "typical person" (since there isn't actually a commonly accepted way to take averages of people). Furthermore, questions like "How long, in approximate number of minutes, do you spend on Less Wrong in the average day?" are actually highly ambiguous. The arithmetic mean of times that I spend on Less Wrong over days is substantially different from the median time.

I think it was supposed to mean arithmetic mean.

It seems that I only comment here when I take the survey and remain a lurker otherwise.

(Survey taken)

Survey taken. Defected since I'm neutral as to whether the money goes to Yvain or a random survey-taker, but would prefer the money going to me over either of those two.

It seems that the fate of the prize money is having a huge effect on people's choice to cooperate or defect. Yavin could modify the numbers by some potentially large percentage by offering to either donate the remainder of the prize to a charity, or to do something near-equivalent to burning it. I chose to cooperate because the good feelings are worth more to me than a fraction of a cent, and I expect people to prefer cooperation even if it is the anti-game theory response.

Took the survey. Surprisingly short.


Notes taken while I answered.

What is your family's religious background, as of the last time your family practiced a religion?

We're Ashkenazi Jews, but AFAIK the last time any ancestor of mine practiced a religion was in my great-grandparents' generation. (And then only because I knew only one of them personallyh, so it's reasonable to assume at least one of the others could have been religious.) I get that every human is descended from religious ones, but conflating this datapoint with someone whose actual parents practiced a religion once seems wrong.


For some of these my confidence was so low that I didn't answer. For some questions, there are also semantic quibbles that would affect the answer:

  • Supernatural: AFAIK there is no agreed-on definition of "supernatural" events other than "physically impossible" ones which of course have a probability of 0 (epsilon). OTOH, if you specify "events that the average human observer would use the word 'supernatural' to describe", the probability is very high.
  • Anti-Agathics: what counts as reaching an age of 1000 years? Humans with a few patched organs and genes? Cyborgs? Uploads with 1000 s
... (read more)
7Scott Alexander10y
I endorse you still putting your background as Ashkenazi Jewish, as this gives interesting ethnic information beyond that in the race question.
Maybe you could have split “White (non-Hispanic)” into “White (Jewish)” and “White (other)”.
(Then again, it would be unclear which one a Sephardi Jew from Argentina currently living in the US would pick.)
IIRC the poll choice only specified 'Jewish', so 'Ashkenazi' was lost.
Somewhere on LessWrong I have seen supernatural defined as "involving ontologically basic mental entities". This is imho the best deffinition of supernatural I have ever seen and should probably be included into this question in the future. Other definitions do not really make sense with this question, as you allready pointed out.
I don't think the concept of "ontologically basic" is coherent.
I personally think it's a strawman, but I don't see why it's necessarily incoherent for people who reject reductionism. Can you expand?
Here I understand "ontologically basic" to mean "having no Kolmogorov complexity / not amenable to reductionistic exlanations / does not posses an internal mechanism". Why do you think this is not coherent?
Assuming the standard model of quantum mechanics is more or less correct which enteties are ontologically basic? 1) Leptons and quarks 2) The quantum fields 3) The universal wave function 4) The Hilbert space where said wave function lives 5) The mathematics used to describe the wave function
Interesting, but this does not exactly mean the concrete is incoherent, more that QM isnt playing ball.
I could do this with any other theory of physics just as easily, e.g., in Newtonian mechanics are are particles ontologically basic, or are points in the universal phase space? Edit: Also, I never said the concrete was incoherent, I said the concept of "ontologically basic" was incoherent.
You're arguing issues of cartography, not geography.
No, I'm saying that the people asking whether something is "ontologically basic" are arguing cartography. Also it's funny how they only ask the question of things they don't believe exist.
Ok I'm in agreement with that.
I don't that is clear cut, because space and points have often often been denied any reality Concrete was my tablets version of concept.
Before I knew of Hilbert space and the universal wave function, I would have said 1, now I am somewhat confused about that.
There are good reasons not to consider particles ontologically basic. For instance, particle number is not relativistically invariant in quantum field theory. What looks like a vacuum to an inertial observer will not look like a vacuum to an accelerating observer (see here []). If the existence of particles depends on something as trivial as an observer's state of motion, it is hard to maintain that they are the basic constituents of the universe.
Thanks! Did not know that.
So, I understand what it would mean for something to not be amenable to reductionist explanations and maybe what it would mean to not have internal mechanisms. What does it mean to not have Kolmogorov complexity? Do you mean that the entity is capable of engaging in non-computable computations? That doesn't seem like a standard part of the supernatural notion, especially because many common supernatural entities aren't any smarter than humans.
What I meant is, that (apart from positional information) you can only give one bit of information about the thing in question: it is there or not. There is no internal complexity to be described. Perhaps I overstreched the meaning of Kolmogorov complexity slightly. Sorry for that. No.
There's a quite popular view hereabouts according to which the universal wave function is ontologically basic. If that view is correct, or even possibly correct, your construal of "ontologically basic" cannot be, since wave functions do have internal complexity.
Interesting thought. So how would you define ontologically basic?
I don't think that' a slight overstretch: how many bits you can give about something doesn't have much to do with its K-complexity. Moreover, I'm not sure what it means to say that you can only talk about something being somewhere and its existence. How then do you distinguish it from other objects?
2Said Achmiz10y
Likewise here, the last time my family practiced a religion was when my grandparents were children (my family is also Ashkenazi Jewish). I wasn't raised religious at all, but there was certainly a good deal of cultural effect.
How about "events that the average human observer would use the word 'supernatural' to describe, even given some knowledge about their nature (regardless of whether that knowledge would be available to the average human observer)"? So a ghost that is a spirit is supernatural while a ghost that is a hallucination is not, even if an average human observer would be unable to tell them apart.
How about messages from outside the simulation? The simulation itself may be running in an orderly material universe (we could call this "exonatural"), and may run according to fixed orderly rules most of the time ("usually endonatural"), but still allow the simulators to tweak it. As an analogy, consider what happens in Conway's Life when you pause it and draw or erase a glider.
We can discuss it and maybe agree on an interesting meaning that we could ask people about. The problem is that I don't think all participants in this poll interpreted the question in the same way. As for your example, it doesn't illuminate a general rule for me. If supernatural things can actually happen, what is the definition of "supernatural"?
I just realized that I parsed the quoted question wrong in the survey - I assumed that it meant the last time your immediate family practiced religion, not the most recent ancestral practice of religion.
I answered about the politics of immigration in my country, for consistency with the other questions.


Also, spoiler: the reward is too small and unlikely for me to bother thinking through the ethics of defecting; in particular, I'm fairly insensitive to the multiplier for defecting at this price point. (Morality through indecisiveness?)

I took the survey. Thanks for putting this together, Yvain!

I chose DEFECT: CFAR/MIRI can keep their money. Furthermore, if I win I precommit to refusing payment and donating $120 * (1 - X) to MIRI, where X is the proportion of people who answer COOPERATE. I humbly suggest that others do the same.

Taken, answering all of the questions I was capable of answering. I will be very interested to see the results on some of the new questions. (The shifts on existing questions could also be interesting, but I don't expect much to change.)

First survey and comment, and I liked it too! (Including the bonuses, especially the reward question :)

I took the survey. Also just realised that my choice of pass phrase was really silly... I was trying to make it easy for myself to remember what the second word would be, but failed to observe that the first word could become public and therefore it would be sensible to choose something that wouldn't be obvious to just about anybody from knowing the first word! Ah well, in the unlikely event that I win the draw, whoever gets in first can have the prize, I guess...

Um, I might be being stupid but I think you can just announce your pair of words now in order to "lay claim to them".
The only reason I wouldn't want to do that would be if Yvain is going to publish the pass phrases along with the data, for the curious. Then it would be publicly obvious which were my responses (not that I said anything I particularly care about keeping private on there, I suppose...).

Survey taken.

taken. I did the whole thing! it actually wasn't that long.

I took the survey.

I realized while answering one of the questions that the comments that I make for free karma are one of my main interactions with the LW website.

Survey taken, answered all questions I could. This excluded the IQ question set. I've never taken an IQ test. I've never been offered an IQ test, nor considered taking one. Is that strange? The survey seemed pretty confident that I'd have measured my IQ.

A previous incarnation of the test just asked what your IQ was. We got both people who had taken official tests responding, and people who were just estimating their IQ. The second group is really noisy, and made it difficult to meaningfully talk about the IQ of LWers. I suggested the current question as a way to get high-quality information out of survey-takers, but I also wanted a question where people estimated their IQ (maybe as two questions, for the lower and upper bound of a 50% CI) so that we could still get the low-quality information.
I consider also professional/scientific, despite being taken online. (I understand the general aversion towards online tests, and don't mind the current wording.) Respondents with high IQ seem more likely to have taken official tests, though; doesn't this overestimate LW's mean?
Any self-report will overestimate LW's mean, even if there is no disproportionality among test-takers. I've taken this into account with various assumed population means in the analysis of previous surveys, but there's fudging involved (if the average IQ of responders is 130, is it really sensible to expect non-responders have an average IQ of 100?).
I've never taken an IQ test either. However in the US the usual standardized tests (SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT) are highly correlated with IQ and going by percentiles you can get a reasonable IQ estimate easily enough.
This is no longer true for high IQs, and most of the conversion tables are only for the old SAT. A 1600 just ain't what it used to be.
Measuring high IQs is difficult in general, but a rough estimate on the basis of, say, SAT scores is better than no data at all.
My point is that the renorming in the 1990s (if I remember correctly) chopped off the right tail of the SAT distribution. It used to be that about 1 in 4000 people got SATs of 1600, and so that implied a commensurately high IQ, but now about 1 in 300 do (only looking at M+CR), so the highest IQ level that the SAT is sensitive to has dropped significantly. If I remember correctly from the last year's survey, the mean SAT score of LWers who reported it implied that the mean LWer was about 98th percentile, which seemed about right to me (and suggests that the SAT is a decent tool at discriminating between most LWers).
I haven't taken any official IQ test nor have I taken any standardized tests. The only sort of official intelligence test I took was the ASVAB [], though I forgot what my score was. I did score high enough to take the DLAB [] though (I was originally tasked to be a Turkish linguist in the Air Force).

I have taken the survey, also the extra part. Although I was never tested for IQ in professional way and since it was a question in the non-extra part, I assume that most LW readers were. Interesting observation (if true). Maybe it is a nationally dependent thing? This ad-hoc hypothesis can be validated by the survey if only enough people from enough countries take it

Cooperator here.


Surveyed. Is it okay to answer commited theist/pastafarian? :)

Surveyed. Thank you.

I took the survey! Great set of questions. I felt like it was rather well designed,

It is done.

Short comments:

(Calibration Question) Without checking a source, please give your best guess for the current population of Europe in millions (according to Wikipedia's "Europe" article)

This is ambiguous! While strictly speaking "Europe" defaults to "the continent of Europe" spanning to the Ural, in common parlance "Europe" is used interchangeably with "European Union", similar to how you interpret "American student" in your very survey, a totum pro parte. Stahp with the totums pro parte for calibration questions, I beseech thee! (Of course I wouldn't have minded had I not given the correct answer for the European Union...)

(Akrasia: Elsewhat 1) Have you ever other things to improve your mental functioning?

Has Anyone Really Been Far Even as Decided to Use Even Go Want to do Look More Like?

(Human Biodiversity) (...) are in fact scientiically justified

I took the survey as well

Took the survey.

I surveyed.

COMPLAIN! I have one partner but I'm definitely not monogamous. Sorry :)

I guess that's why there were separate questions asking whether you prefer monogamy or whatever else, and how many partners you happen to have.

Took the survey. Can't wait for the results.

I took the survey.

I think most of my answers were the same as last year, although I think my estimates have improved a little, and my hours of internet have gone down, both of which I like.

Many of the questions are considerably cleaned up -- much thanks to Yvain and everyone else who helped. It's very good it has sensible responses for gender. And IIRC, the "family's religious background" was tidied up a bit. I wonder if anyone can answer "atheist" as religious background? I hesitated over the response, since the last religious observance I know of for sure was G being brought up catholic, but I honestly think living in a protestant (or at least, anglican) culture is a bigger influence on my parents cultural background, so I answered like that.

I have no idea what's going to happen in the raffle. I answered "cooperate" because I want to encourage cooperating in as many situations as possible, and don't really care about a slightly-increased chance of < $60.

I could and did answer atheist as background. My parents are both inspoken* nonbelievers, though they attended a Unitarian Universalist church for two years when their kids (me included) were young, for the express purpose (explained well after the fact) of exposing us to religion and allowing us to make our own choices. *The opposite of outspoken.


Taken the survey. Thanks for doing this, Yvain.

Taken for the first time. 'Twas fun.

Congratulations for putting the dilemma to test. That was the hardest survey I've taken since the 2012 one.

Took the survey.

I'm interested in seeing what sort of interventions ended up working for people with akrasia.

Have you seen the akrasia tactics review threads []?

I took the survey. Thanks for running it.

Should Muslim be divided into types?

I'm not sure what supernatural means for the more arcane simulation possibilities. I consider it likely that if we're simulated, it's from a universe with different physics.

I would rather see checkboxes for global catastrope, since it's hard to judge likelihood and I think the more interesting question is whether a person thinks any global catastrophe is likely.

Would it be worth having a text box for questions people would like to see on a future survey? I'm guessing that you wouldn't need to tabulate it,-- if you posted all the questions, I bet people here would identify the similar questions and sort them into topics.

So far no one of several hundred people has identified Muslim, so I think finer gradations there would be overkill.

I can't do checkboxes.

I ask every year what questions people want in a future survey on this site. That way the good ones can get updated and people can hold discussions about them.

I'm curious: why? (Not necessarily disagreeing, just wondering.)

Because the simulations we make have simpler physics than we do.

Sensible. On the face of it, I would expect that if a physics P1 is the result of some agent A that lives under some other physics P2 constructing a simplified physics for simulation purposes, it would have characteristically different properties from a physics P3 that is not the result of such a process. Put differently... if our physics is P1, it should be more likely to be easily understood by A's cognitive processes than if it's P3. That said, I don't understand the general constraints on either physicses or cognitive processes well enough to even begin to theorize about what specific properties I would expect to differentially find in P1 and P3. Still, I wonder whether someone a lot smarter and better informed than me could use that as a starting point for trying to answer that question.
I agree that it seems more likely that if we're in a simulation, it's got a simplified version of our simulator's physics rather than some drastically different physics. On the other hand, this is very much guesswork. And on yet another hand, if you assume that our simulators have huge amounts of computational power, they might be exploring universes with possible laws of physics thoroughly enough that the proportion of simulations with simplifications of the home physics isn't very high. I'm faintly horrified at the idea of physics which is much more complicated than ours-- ours is complicated enough.

Survey taken, all of it!

Thanks Yvain, for all the time and work you put every year into this. Can't wait to see the results!


I took the survey.

I completed the survey.

Second time taking the survey. I think a lot of my answers to the probability questions have changed in the last year — I think I've discovered more about myself and my beliefs since the first survey.

Took it.

Could you add a question asking how many of their donations people gave to non-x-risk EA charities? The EA movement would appreciate the information!

Surveyed. I liked the game.

If there are any naturalistic neopagans reading this, I'm curious how they answered the religion questions.

Answered them all as best I could :^)

I left the 'Singularity' question blank because it was I'll-defined - I treated it like a question specifically on the IE, but anyhu, my Priors on that are totally wacky. I expect it to happen, but I have no knowledge of the time at all really.

Took the survey.

Took the survey and cooperated.

Did the survey.

If possible, I'm interested in how unique the passwords were.

I used a random password generator (set to 'readable', because the survey asked for 'words' or some such). Why would you do anything else?
0Paul Crowley10y
Hassle? I couldn't be arsed to make a record anywhere, so I just used some "name of first pet" type information I wouldn't forget.
I was sorely tempted to use "squeamish ossifrage []". But with more than a thousand regulars, many of whom are interested in computing trivia, I figure it's likely that someone else thought that would be clever.
I'm pretty sure mine was unique - I went into my Ruby interpreter, loaded the dictionary I'd been using for class projects and used "sample" twice.
Second that :)
I used a random number generator for mine. Not so much because I think someone else could claim my prize, but on general principles that it is the correct choice.
I'm pretty sure mine was unique - I went into my Ruby interpreter, loaded the dictionary I'd been using for class projects and used "sample" twice.

I took the survey - extra credit and everything!

I meant to skip some of the extra credit questions (the ones about the changeability of personality in particular), but wound up stuck answering one of them by software glitch on my computer (I couldn't uncheck it entirely, but at least tried to keep it from being noise).

I took the survey. I didn't really know how to answer the "relationship" part since I'm not really poly right now, but have a number of "friends with benefits". So I answered it zero.

1Paul Crowley10y
That seems like the "right" answer to me. I didn't count FWB when answering.

Taken the survey!

Suggestion: If you are upvoting people who took the survey, sort comments by "New" first so that late takers get their upvote.

Cool. Survey taken.

Survey complete.


Minor nitpick: I think it is better to clarify definition of Europe in calibration question. Because if you go to Wikipedia to check which definition of Europe survey authors had in mind, you will immediately see Europe population on the same page.

I interpreted that as "Include uncertainty about Wikipedia's definition of Europe."


I finished and had fun even if parts of it made me feel dumb (I never thought about that calibration question before and am pretty sure I got it wildly wrong). The monetary reward at the end looks interesting but even in the unlikely case that I won I might have too much trouble claiming any kind of prize right now...

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

I found myself geuinely confused by the question "You are a certain kind of person, and there's not much that can be done either way to really change that" - not by the general vagueness of the statement (which I assume is all part of the fun) but by a very specific issue, the word "you". Is it "you" as in me? Or "you" as in "one", i.e. a hypothetical person essentially referring to everyone? I interpreted it the first way then changed my mind after reading the subsequent questions which seemed to be more clearly using it the second way.

(Dan from CFAR here) - That question (and the 3 similar ones) came from a standard psychology scale. I think the question is intentionally ambiguous between "you in particular" and "people in general" - the longer version of the scale includes some questions that are explicitly about each, and some others that are vaguely in the middle. They're meant to capture people's relatively intuitive impressions.

You can find more information about the questions by googling, although (as with the calibration question) it's better if that information doesn't show up in the recent comments feed, since scales like this one are often less valid measures for people who know what they're intended to measure.

I answered that section quickly and on the basis of intuition in the hope that those questions were chosen because there is some interesting cognitive bias affecting the answers that I was unaware of. :D

Surveyed. Amused at the final part. I hope we can look forward to more such fun in the future surveys!

I took the whole survey.

I took the survey.

I was within a factor of 2 on the Europe question, which is pretty good, I think.

As a general rule I "cooperate" on prisoner's dilemmas where the prize is of a trivial size, regardless of my opinion about the incentives and people involved. An interesting experiment might be to take people familiar with the prisoner's dilemma, flip the "cooperate" and "defect" incentives, and see if it makes a difference.

I have taken the survey, as I have done for the last two years! Free karma now?

Also, I have chosen to cooperaterather than defect was because even though the money technically would stay within the community, I am willing to pay a very small amount of money from EV in order to ensure that LW has a reputation for cooperation. I don't expect to lose more than a few cents worth of expected value, since I expect 1000+ people to do the survey.

I've taken the survey.

Did the survey. Thanks, Yvain.

Survey taken. Nearly all questions answered, except for the Akrasia ones, since I haven't implemented many formal practices to fight akrasia.

Taken. Quite tickled by the prize question.

Survey taken, can't wait to see the results :-)

Answered the entire survey (except questions for U.S. residents). I can't see why Newcomb's problem is a problem. Getting $1,001,000 by two-boxing is an outcome that just never happens, given Omega's perfect prediction abilities. You should one-box.

What's the method for submitting proposals for next surveys?
Yvain usually posts a post in Discussion about a month before the survey asking for such proposals.
I asked a question about this in a previous open thread [] but no one responded.
The conditions of the problem state that Omega is a failproof predictor. If that's the case, the paradox vanishes. Attempts to second-guess Omega's choices only make sense if there's a reason to doubt Omega's powers.
If one outcome never happens (i.e. it is known that it will not happen in the future), then saying what you "should" do is a type error. There is only what you will do. One-boxing becomes a description, not a prescription.

One-boxing is not necessarily what you will do. You can still judge incorrectly, and choose to two-box, and end up with $1,000. That's something you can still choose to do, but not what you should do.


I worry that I harmed the results by mentioning that I have meditated for cognitive benefit reasons, without a way to note that it wasn't to deal with Akrasia. I wanted to answer truthfully, but at the same time the truthful answer was misleading.

Searched for a comment on this, found yours, and upvoted because I share the test design concern.... In my case I ended up saying "No" to all technique questions other than "Other", despite having dealt in the past with something that might be called "akrasia" and also despite having taken vitamins, and tried therapy and meditation in the past. I assumed, because of each "How well did X help with akrasia?" followup question that there was an implicit "Have you done X for akrasia?" whenever it asked about "doing X", and I've never thought vitamins or therapy or meditation would help with akrasia and didn't do them for that and didn't track how they interacted.
Likewise, I've "other things to improve your mental functioning" that have nothing to do with akrasia, and, conversely, other things about akrasia which have nothing to do with mental functioning (e.g. Beeminder and LeechBlock).
If you didn't record yourself as having akrasia, this seems like it's still useful information. It can be interesting to compare "these are the things akratics try for cognitive self-improvement" and "these are the things non-akratics try for cognitive self-improvement," and the survey didn't specify to skip that section if you don't consider yourself as having serious akrasia. If you do consider yourself as having had serious akrasia, and meditated for unrelated reasons, then I'm not sure what I would respond there, although it seems like you might have some information about whether or not meditation helps with akrasia.

Survey taken.

took the survey, enjoyed the PD

Thanks for running these, I took it. :) Love the prize question.

...I'm way off on the population of Europe, as I expected.

Took the survey.

Survey taken. I defected, because I am normally a staunch advocate of cooperation and the stakes were low enough that it seemed like a fun opportunity to go against my usual inclinations. If I had read the comments first, I would likely have been convinced by some of the cooperation arguments advanced here.

Suuuuure. :P

Took the survey.

Took the survey. I definitely did have an IQ test when I was a kid, but I don't think anyone ever told me the results and if they did I sure don't remember it.

Also, as a scientist I counted my various research techniques as new methods that help make my beliefs more accurate, which means I put something like 2/day for trying them and 1/week for them working. In hindsight I'm guessing this interpretation is not what you meant, and that science in general might count as ONE method altogether.

Surveyed. Looking forward to the data and analysis, as per every year.

Survey complete! I answered ALL the questions. ^_^

Survey taken, as always. It sure was well prepared. It's worth starting it for the first option (ruining everything), and continuation is always just one click away...

Took it.

I definitely gave a finite probability for "God" if "God" defined as a super-intelligent being that created the universe. This is of course quite different from an intervening god who is interested in say, human affairs.


Took survey. Reminded me that I've never had an IQ test; is it worthwhile?

I found the WAIS helpful, but only because it factored it into multiple components and the structure of my scores was illuminating. (I had a severe discrepency between two groups of components, and very little variation within them)
Value of information is zero. Do it if you are curious, or take the money and watch some movies with friends.
IQ tests are mostly useful for other people evaluating you. Compare to, say, taking the SAT without wanting to go to college. It's mildly useful for you to know how your SAT score compares to other peoples', but it's very useful for colleges deciding whether or not to admit you. Most tests will give you your subtest results, so you can see "okay, I'm better at doing visual processing than auditory processing" or related things, but this will rarely be a surprise; in that case, you probably already preferred reading books to listening to audiobooks, and in the reverse case you probably preferred the reverse.

Took the survey. I was unusually confident of an incorrect number for the population of Europe because I looked it up recently, but remembered it wrong.

Guess I learned something, in that I should adjust down my confidence in recalled figures after a few weeks.

I took the survey.

This is, incidentally, my first comment on LessWrong. I've lurked for years, and pretty much thought I'll probably stay as a lurker for good. For some reason taking the survey made me want to break my silence.So that's a bonus, I guess.

Another lurker that took the (full) survey and signed up...

I discovered LW last year through

My biggest barrier to registration was the risk of more procrastination. So, thanks in advance for any encouragement!

I recommend not procrastinating! (I'm one to talk)

I have been surveyed.

I definitely appreciate being asked to assign probabilities to things, if for no other reason than to make apparent to me how comfortable I am with doing so (Not very, as it turns out. Something to work on.)

Done! Phew

I should mention that I've taken the survey.

I have taken the survey. Thank you Yvain for running it.

Took the survey.

Surveyed! I noticed that someone said that they cooperated on the prisoner's dilemma problem, so I'll balance the odds and tell you all that I defected. Am curious to see if this will reflect in the karma people give this comment.

Also, I wouldn't do this, but you leave the option open of someone poisoning the well and taking the survey a bunch of times to improve their chance of winning the money. Are you screening for duplicate IP addresses?

I took it, and even did the bonus questions. Yay me!

Survey completed! Also, everyone, please cooperate!

Yvain, will you reveal who won the money? Whether they cooperated or defected?

That would be rather unfair to defectors, I think.
as a wise man once said, "Not fair? who's the *uc&ing nihilist around here?" and by nihlist I mean defector
I think the value of LW's reputation for treating people fairly (even those with rather different ethical systems than us) is rather more than $30.

Took the survey yesterday and forgot to comment here afterwards. I chose to cooperate since the small chance of winning a little money mattered less to me than the pleasure I would get though even such a minor show of benevolence. I also have never taken an IQ test, and am glad to see at least a fair number of other people in the comments who have not either.

You wouldn't necessarily have known you were taking an IQ test. I learned I was administered IQ tests in elementary school only by accident, when I found a summary in my parents' papers. 'So', I thought, 'that's why my speech therapist kept asking me questions any fool would know, like the meaning of the word "gyp".'

Apparently even then, little gwern spent all his time searching out data to organize and summarize.


I took the survey.

Took the survey. Prisoner's dilemma was a nice addition - would be interesting next year to have 'would you co-operate in a prisoner's dilemma situation' earlier in the survey before the for-stakes version, and compare how often people co-operate in the for-stakes then as compared to this year (also compare across who has taken a LW census before, since this one might bias that a bit).

Took the survey. Yvain, thanks for doing this.

Took. Definitely liked the shorter nature of this one.

Cooperated (I'm OK if the money goes to someone else. The amount is such that I'd ask that it get directly sent elsewhere, anyway.)

Got Europe wrong, but came close. (Not within 10%.)

I took the survey.

Took the survey.

Would probably not have defected a year ago, and it would not have been an easy decision for me at that time.

I appear to be getting better at estimating.

I think the IQ questions should probably just be dropped from future tests. A number of people get tested as kids and get crazy numbers and never get tested again (since there's no real point, and people are generally afraid of seeing that number dive, people who get a crazy number are probably less likely to retest than others). That's a charitable explanation for the results in last year's survey, which I didn't take.

If I recall rightly, Scott checked the IQ results from last year's survey against SAT data and concluded that they were as expected.

I just took the survey. Thanks for spending time on making and evaluating it! A few questions/comments:

When you asked for time spent on less wrong, did you mean mean time or median time? I assumed mean, which resulted in a higher number since I occasionally come here to procrastinate and spend way too much time in a single sitting...

Am I interpreting the agathics question correctly in that a person dying, getting frozen cryonically, and then being unfrozen and living for a 1000 years would count?

Singularity question, which starts by asking when the Singularity (with capital letter S) will occur seems a bit leading to me. I'd expect that if you asked "Do you think a singularity will occur, and if so, when?" that people would give lower probabilities.

Taken to completion.

The Cryonics Status question really needs an "other" answer. There are more possible statuses one can be in than the ones given; in particular there are more possible "I'd want to, but..." answers.

I took the survey, and look forward to the results.

Took the survey.

Got the Europe question right, unless Yvain rounds -- I was off by 9.90%.

I was off by quite a bit. I really underestimated non-EU Europe.

Survey (mostly) done. My answers about the future were based on this comment

and assigned equal probabilities to the five listed outcomes over the next few centuries

Survey taken. It seemed shorter than the previous one.


Having completed the survey, I took this as an opportunity to register an account.

I hereby take part in the tradition and note that the tradition makes the following moot for relatively low levels of karma. You may round off your karma score if you want to be less identifiable. If your karma score is 15000 or above, you may put 15000 if you want to be less identifiable.

Income question: needs to specify individual or household. You may also want to specify sources, such as whether to include government aid, only include income from wages, or separate boxes for different categories of income.

I have done professional survey design and am available to assist with reviewing the phrasing of questions for surveys, here or on other projects.

Income question needs to be explicit about if it's pre-tax or post-tax, since it's a huge difference, and the "default measurement" differs between cultures, in some places "I earn X" means pre-tax and in some places it means post-tax.

Also, in many European countries it means "pre- and post some different tax". Because one part is payed by the employer, and the other by the employee. Populism, Politics and Economics. Good results guaranteed.
Yeah, and don't forget VAT [] and similar taxes.
US also does this.

Took the survey. Cooperated.

For the Prize Question, you should use a random number generator and cooperate with probability 0.8. Why? Suppose that the fraction of survey-takers that cooperate is p. Then the value of the prize will be proportional to p and there will be p + 4(1 - p) raffle entries. The expected value of Cooperating is p/(p + 4(1-p)) and the expected value of Defecting is 4(1-p)/(p + 4(1-p)). In equilibrium, these must be the same: if one choice were more profitable than the other, then people would switch until this was no longer the case. Thus p = 4(1 - p) and thus p = 4/5.

Addendum 29 November: Actually, this is wrong; see ensuing discussion.

The expected value of defecting is 4p/(p + 4(1-p), to within one part in the number of survey takers. Whether or not you defect makes no difference as to the proportion of people who defect.

The solution is to determine how likely it is that a random participant is going to defect, conditional on your choice of cooperate or defect. If you're playing with a total of N copies of yourself, you cooperate and get the maximal payout ($60/N). If you're playing against cooperate bots, you defect and get $60*4N/(N-1).

We can generalize this to partial levels. If you play with D defectors and C cooperators whose opinion you can't change, and X people who will cooperate when you cooperate (and defect when you defect), then the payouts are as thus:

C: (C + X)/(C + D + X) D: 4(C /(C + D + X)

You can solve for the break even point by setting C + X = 4 * C

So the answer is that you should defect, unless you think that for every person who is going to cooperate no matter what, there are at least three people who are thinking with similar enough reasoning to come up with the same answer you come up with (regardless of what answer that is).

I think you've got the denominators of your fractions wrong. There are 4 raffle tickets for everyone who defects. I get the values C: (C + X)/(C + 4D + X) D: 4(C /(C + 4D + 4X) which solves to a horrible quadratic surd. If we wanted to we could combine your method with Zack's and assume that C people cooperate, D defect and X make the same choice I do, which is to cooperate with probability p. I think this gets kinda ugly though.
The fractions I wrote are payout * number of tickets, not the chance of winning. But you do have a point: changing many people from cooperate to defect does dilute the total pool of tickets, and not be an unnoticeable amount. The corrected answer is Payout * Chance to win, which is: C: (C + X)/(C + D + X) * (1 / (C + 4D + X) D: (C/(C+D+C)) * (4 / (C + 4D + 4X)) And you don't want to combine my method with Zack's. You don't want a probabilistic strategy - you want to figure out what your beliefs are as far as "how many people do I expect to be in categories C, X, and D". Given your beliefs about how your choices affect others, there's exactly one right choice.
(By the way, the numbers I gave are the same as the ones you gave, only I cancelled a common factor of (C+D+X)) I think that your "one right choice" might sometimes be a probabilistic one. To make this more obvious, consider a game where the value of the prize is maximal when exactly half of the participants choose C, and the value goes down as the proportion gets further from a half (and any of the participants is equally likely to win the prize). Then I think it's obvious that the correct strategy is to estimate C, D, and X as before, and then cooperate with probability p so that C+pX=D+(1-p)X. Then because everyone else in X acts as you do you'll end up with exactly half the people choosing C, which is what you want. Note that even some of the people in X who you are "acausally controlling" still end up choosing a different option from you (assuming that your random number generators are independent). This allows you to exactly optimise the proportion of people who choose C, which is what makes the strategy work. I think the same thing applies in Yvain's game. In particular, if we thought that C=D=0 then I think that Zack's analysis is exactly correct (although I wouldn't have used exactly the same words as he does). EDIT: I retract the last sentence. Zack's calculation isn't what you want to do even in the C=D=0 case. In that case I endorse cooperating with p=1. But I still think that mixed strategies are best in some of the cases with C or D non-zero. In particular what about the case with D=0 but C=X? Then I reckon you should pick C with p=0.724.
I think this is it. Suppose there are C CooperateBots, D DefectBots, and X players who Cooperate with probability p. The expected utility of the probabilistic strategy is (proportional to) (p(C + pX) + 4(1-p)(C + pX))/(C + 4D + pX + 4(1-p)X). Then (he said, consulting his computer algebra system) if C/X < 1/3 then p = 1 (Cooperate), if C/X > 3 then p = 0 (Defect), and p assumes intermediate values if 1/3 < C/X < 3 (including 0.7239 if C/X = 1, as you mention).
Unless you're using timeless decision theory, if I understand TDT correctly (which I very well might not). In that case, the calculations by Zack show the amount of causal entanglement for which cooperation is a good choice. That is, P(others cooperate | I cooperate) and P(others defect | I defect) should be more than 0.8 for cooperation to be a good idea. I do not think my decisions have that level of causal entanglement with other humans, so I defected. Though, I just realized, I should have been basing my decision on my entanglement with lesswrong survey takers, which is probably substantially higher. Oh well.
I defected for the same reasons as you. We're entangled! Reading the responses of the other survey takers I think it's clear that very few people are entangled with us, so we did indeed make the right choice!
Nevermind, you already covered this, though in a different fashion.
Yeah, and the math is a little different, three entangled decision makers for each cooperate-bot you can defect against (the number of defectors don't matter, surprisingly). You get three extra chances to get the money generously donated to the pool by the cooperate bots by defecting, compared to causing a certain number of people to help you make the pool even larger.
I think that way to get maximum reward is doing the survey (at least) four times and always answering cooperate.

Well that was the most interesting survey I have taken in a long time - looking forward to seeing the results. I was a little concerned at the start, as it seemed like some sort of dating service so the comment 'hang in there - this bit is almost over' was well placed.

One survey (and bonus questions!) completed.

I took the survey.

Thank you for putting this together Some of the questions were unclear to me, for example: does living with family mean my parents or my spouse and children? (I guessed the former, but was unsure) For the politics question, there should be an option for not identifying with any label (or if that will lead to everyone not wanting to be labeled an option for disinterest in politics could be an alternative.) Should an atheist who practices a religion (e.g. buddhism) skip the question on religion? P(aliens), this question leaves out the time dimension which seems important to establishing a probability for aliens, e.g. if aliens live 5 bilion light years away, are we asked the probability that there were aliens there 5 billion years ago such that we could receive a message from them now, or whether there are aliens now, which we will not be able to discover for another few billion years. P(supernatural) its not clear what counts as a supernatural event, e.g. god is included even though most would not define god as an event nor as occurring since the beginning of the universe (since if god created the universe he is either nontemporal or prior to the universe) for the... (read more)

That was shorter than I expected. I peevishly admit to having to look up a few things I should have known.

I took the survey!


I took the survey.


No, I don't read instructions and am going to ruin the survey results for everyone.


Also, wow, the population of Europe is wildly lower than I thought it was, it's outside my 90% range...

Random math: one way of deciding whether or not to cooperate in the reward question is plot reward versus percentage-UDT-users in the LW community (under the assumption that everyone in that set will do the same thing you do, and everyone else splits 50-50). If that percentage is larger than about 65% (which I'm 70% sure it is), cooperating is superior to defection, but defection actually has the higher maximum expected value - if the entire community chooses randomly, anyway.


blink blink

Aw, darn it, I should've flipped a coin...

Edit: No, wait, nevermind, that would halve my expected reward.


I did the survey, mostly.

I took the survey, my first, and answered all the questions and extra credit. I did not defect on the monetary reward.

I predict my survey will show me as highly confused. :-)

Surveyed, including bonus. Only just remembered to comment.

I see the logic, but did think that the Prisoner's Dilemma question was overly complicated - possibly leading to some participants not making the connection to their beliefs about How To Behave In Prisoner's Dilemmas (well, I see now from below that it led to at least one.)

I have no idea if this is a good or bad thing.

I have taken the survey, thanks a lot Yvain!

I wouldn't have minded if it was shorter.

One minor nitpick for next time: there were a couple questions where the title was the opposite of what the question was about: P(Global catastrophic risk) was actually about P(no global catastrophic risk), and Defect calibrate were about how many people cooperated.

I suspect a couple people might not read the questions and answer the opposite of what they meant.

Took the survey.

A few observations:

  • Family's religious background should probably include an 'Athiest/Agnostic' answer, rather than just lumping in with 'Other'. At the very least, it would be interesting to see what kinds of patterns the 'Other' box breaks down into.

  • I computed P(Supernatural) as dependent on P(Simulation), based on my understanding of the two concepts. Would anyone be interested in a Discussion page on whether those probabilities can be logically separated?

I did the same with god first, but then realized that god was already lumped in with ghosts and fairies and stuff as supernatural and didn't want to make that group look more probable.
Why not? Once we've established that 'Simulation' allows 'Supernatural', why limit the allowed Supernatural agents to only come from Superuser/root accounts?
I would have envisioned that anything outside the simulation is supernatural, not that simulations allow supernatural things as they're usually understood. I don't remember whether the god question meant just a creator or also an intervener. The usual simulation hypothesis is sufficient to establish that a supernatural creator exists. For an intervening god, or for unicorns and goblins you'd need extra evidence as it seems we live in a universe where empiricism works well.
To me, the simulation hypothesis definitely does not imply a supernatural creator. 'Supernatural' implies 'unconstrained by natural laws', at least to me, and I see no reason to expect that the simulation creators are free from such constraints. Sure, it means that supernatural-seeming events can in principle occur inside the simulation, and the creators need not be constrained by the laws of the simulation since they are outside of it, but I fully expect that some laws or other would govern their behaviour.
To me, "Supernatural" needs to be evaluated from within the framework of the speaker's reality. Otherwise, the term loses all possible semantic meaning.
But don't you think there is an important distinction between events that defy logical description of any kind, and those that merely require an outlandish multi-layered reality to explain? I admit I can't think of anything that could occur in our world that cannot be explained by the simulation hypothesis, but assuming that some world DOES exist outside the layers of nested simulation I can (loosely speaking) imagine that some things really are logically impossible there. And that if the inhabitants of that world observe such impossible events, well, they will wrongly concluded that they are in a simulation, but actually there will be truly supernatural happenings afoot. I mention this somewhat pointless story just because religious philosophers would generally not accept that God is merely supernatural in your sense, I think they would insist on something closer to my sense, nonsense though it may be.
Really good point. But I still enjoyed the conversation.
A bold, but reasonable expectation that I agree with. There MUST be SOME laws, even if we don't know what they are.


Thanks for putting this together.

Perceived flaws:

Percentages are probably not the best way to elicit well-calibrated guesses about very probable or very improbable events. (The difference between 1/1,000 and 1/1,000,000 is a lot bigger in reality than it looks, when you put them both between 0 and 1 on a scale of 0 to 100.)

Computing P(Many Worlds) requires assuming that the phrase "Many Worlds" refers to a specific set of concrete predictions about the nature universe, which admit the possibility of truth or falsity. I tend to disagree with that presumption.

P(Anti-Agathics) seems, from the name, not to be intended to include cryonics, but does seem to include it in the actual text. I predict paradoxical answers in which people give P(Cryonics) > P(Anti-Agathics), even though cryonics is a way of allowing a person alive today to reach the age of 1000 years.

P(Simulation) may or may not actually be a well-defined question. If, as some people are surely visualizing while answering it, there are aliens somewhere hovering over a computer terminal with us running on it, certainly the answer is 'yes'. Whatever the reality, it seems likely to be a lot stranger than that. Eliezer's own "Finale of the Ultimate Meta Mega Crossover" describes a scenario (admittedly fanciful) in which one would be hard pressed to answer the "simulation" question with a simple yes or no.

None of the questions in the survey sound to me like ones where one could easily get more than 99% sure of (outside an argument []) Thanks for the spoiler. ;-|

Took it. It's a good survey with a lot of interesting questions.

I took the survey, and wanted it to be longer.

Done. There were a few questions that were iffy, but overall I think this year's survey was a significant improvement from previous versions. Thanks Yvain for doing this.

I'm seconding the request for next year to include a Monogamish option. I'm in a basically monogamous relationship, but we both sometimes sleep with friends.

(also I took the survey)

Why do you want this to be a separate option, rather than "other"?
Because I think it's one of the three major relationship models. Pure Monogamy is traditional, and Polyamory is the reaction against it, but Monogamish is how a lot of relationships actually work (while operating under the cloak of monogamy). It's like a worldwide religion survey allowing only "Christian" and "Muslim", and lumping Hinduism under "Other". There's another major option here that should be broken out.
Last year [] there were 2% "other" answers, versus 13% "polyamorous" and 30% "uncertain/no preference" ones. This suggests there is no need to break down "other" any further, unless people in relationship models like yours pick "uncertain" rather than "other" and would switch if "monogamish" was an option.
Personally I picked "monogamous" because it's the closest to how my relationship actually works. Aside from sex with other people, we are a monogamous couple.
LOL. Imagine that sentence outside of the LW context :-)

Ok, went and took the survey.

And I only lied about one question!

I have taken the survey. Whoot!

Taken and look forward to seeing the results. Thanks for putting this together.

Took the survey, including all questions. Hope it is not discarded for contradictory elements.

I took the survey.

The answer to how many minutes I spend here is a bit lower than you might expect, in that my robots scan the RSS feeds and send me interesting stuff so basically it's almost zero, unless you count my robots time somehow.

I completed the survey & had to look up the normative ethics choices (again). Also cisgender. I cooperated with the prisoner's dilemma puzzle & estimated that a majority of respondents would also do so, given the modest prize amount.

Also, based on my estimate of a year in Newton's life in last year's survey, I widened my confidence intervals.

Took the survey. Cooperated because most puzzles which explicitly use the words "cooperate" and "defect" have been created in such a way as to make cooperation the better choice.

(Considering my fairly low chances of winning, a deep analysis would have had only recreational value, and there were other fun things to do.)

Completed survey.

I took the census. My answers for MWI and Ailens were conditional on ¬Simulation, since if we are in a simulation where MWI doesn't hold, the simulation is probably intended to provide information about a universe in which MWI does hold.

I'm a European, and the thought that geographical Europe might be meant didn't even occur to me,since in most of my daily interactions (media consumed, small talk, etc.), "Europe" is used interchangeably with "European Union". Teaches me to read such survey questions more thoroughly.

I want to congratulate you on how well you integrated the many suggestions you got, I see many improvements compared to the 2012 (for example, the introductory text convinced me to take the survey right away, when I was one of those who put it off last year).

I'm European (EU member state) and it didn't occur to me anyone would be interested in the combined population of EU member states.
Might have something to do with the fact that your country hadn't entered the EU until relatively recently. (Mine was one of the founding members of the EEC, but I'm quite familiar with the Wikipedia article naming conventions so I correctly guessed what the question was about.)

Done. Loved the prisoner's dilemma.

I took the survey.

Surveyed! And for the first time, too. This survey was pretty interesting and definitely not what I expected

Yay, survey taken!

I loved the Prisoner's Dilemma at the end, I wonder how that will turn out?

Did all of it. Monetary reward questions made me laugh.

I did it!

Done, all questions answered. Yvain, well done on clear questions and good design.

Took the survey. Very interesting questions overall, especially the site-wide Prisoner's Dilemma.

I'd like to note that I was very confused by the (vague and similar) CFAR questions regarding the possibility of people changing, but I'm assuming that was intentional and look forward to an explanation.

Mission complete.

Boomshanked! (aka done)

Excited to see the results.

Took the survey, and continued to finally make an account. Some questions were ambiguous though (as some other people partially pointed out). I had most problems with:

  • Having more children. Over which period of time? As an adolescent I'm not really keen on having children just yet, but I might be in 15 or 20 years.
  • Time on LW: I've recently finished reading almost all posts on LW, which meant I spent several hours a day on LW. But now that I have finished reading all those I am only reading new posts, which takes no more than 5-10 minutes a day on average. So there is a large difference between a best estimate of the amount of time I spent on LW any previous day and the best estimate of the time I will spend tomorrow. Which of these is the average day?
  • Hear about: I had problems interpreting the question. Taking the wording literally the category specified is extremely broad, including even casual comments by colleagues along the lines of: 'Try checking the batteries more frequently.' (which is a technique to improve your productivity, provided batteries are important in your line of work).
  • Akrasia: meditation. I've meditated after sporting frequently in the past, which had nothing to do with akrasia. I decided not to mention the meditation (contrary to Keller, whose comment I only noticed after filling in the survey).

Surveyed, including bonus.

I really liked the monetary reward prisoners dillema. I am really curious how this turns out. Given the demographic here, I would predict ~ 85% cooperate.

The free text options were rendered in german (Sonstige). Was that a bug or does it serve some hidden purpose?

My confidence bounds were 75% and 98% for defect, so my estimate was diametrically opposed to yours. If the admittedly low sample size of these comments is any indication, we were both way off. Why do you think most would cooperate? I would expect this demographic to do a consequentialist calculation, and find that an isolated cooperation has almost no effect on expected value, whereas an isolated defection almost quadruples expected value.
I expected most of the LessWrong comunity to cooperate for two reasons: 1. I model them as altruistic as in Kurros comment. 2. I model them as oneboxing in newcombs problem. One consideration I did not factor into my prediction is, that - judging from the comments - many people refuse to cooperate in transfering money form CFAR/Yvain to a random community member.
You don't think people here have a term for their survey-completing comrades in their cost function? Since I probably won't win either way this term dominated my own cost function, so I cooperated. An isolated defection can help only me, whereas an isolated cooperation helps everyone else and so gets a large numerical boost for that reason.
It's true: if you're optimizing for altruism, cooperation is clearly better. I guess it's not really a "dilemma" as such, since the optimal solution doesn't depend at all on what anyone else does. If you're trying to maximize EV, defect. If you're trying to maximize other people's EV, cooperate.
I think it's Google Docs's fault -- they were in Italian for me.

Took it. Comments:

  • Hopefully you have a way to filter out accidental duplicates (i.e. a hidden random ID field or some such), because I submitted the form by accident several times while filling it out. (I was doing it from my phone, and basically any slightly missed touch on the UI resulted in accidental submission).

  • Multiple choice questions should always have a "none" option of some kind, because once you select a radio button option there's no way to deselect it. Most of them did but not all.

  • I answered "God" with a significant probability because the way the definitions is phrased, I would say it includes whoever is running the simulation if the simulation hypothesis is true. I'm sure many people interpreted it differently. I'd suggest making this distinction explicit one way or the other next time.

It defined "God" as supernatural didn't it? In what sense is someone running a simulation supernatural? Unless you think for some reason that the real external world is not constrained by natural laws?
Maybe my definition of "supernatural" isn't the correct definition, but I often think of the word as describing certain things which we do not (currently) understand. And if we do eventually come to understand them, then we will need to augment our understanding of the natural laws...Assuming this "supernatural" stuff actually exists. I suppose a programer could defy the laws he made for his virtual world when he intervenes from outside the system....But earthly programers obey the natural physical laws when they mess with the hardware, which also runs based on these same laws. I understand this is what you mean by "constrained by natural laws".
There are no "correct" or "incorrect" definitions, though, are there? Definitions are subjective, it's only important that participants of a discussion can agree on one.
Well... Definitions that map badly onto the underlying reality are inconvenient at best and actively misleading at worst. Besides, definitions do not exist in a vacuum. They can be evaluated by their fitness to a purpose which means that if you specify a context you can speak of correct and incorrect definitions.
That's true, though I think "optimal" would be a better word for that than "correct".
Even agreement isn't necessary, but successful communication would be nice.
When A says X to B, it helps if A and B agree on what X refers to at that time, even if X refers to something different when B says X.
True. There's also the option "B implicitly understands what A means by X although it usually means something else to B" which is different from "A and B explicitly agree on what X refers to at that time". Consider also the possibility that A says X to B correctly predicting that it means something else to B. This would also be sufficient for successful communication, no explicit agreement needed. Perhaps you meant these to be contained in your statement, and NNOTM did too. In that case we both failed to understand eachother without explicit agreement :)
Yes, I agree that (case 1) A and B explicitly agreeing on what X means is different from (case 2) B implicitly understanding what X means to A, or (case 3) A implicitly understanding what X will mean to B. And, yes, I meant "A and B agree on what X refers to [when A says X to B]" to include all three cases, as well as several others. And yes, if you understood me to be referring only to case 1, then we failed to understand each other.
Could be a language issue. The Finnish word for agreement pretty much always refers to explicit agreement, whereas there is no simple word for implicit agreement in Finnish language that isn't directly translatable to "mutual understanding" or something like that.
In English, "agree" often means something like "coincide". (And Romance languages sometimes say "coincide" for "agree", as in opinions coinciding.)
1Yaakov T10y
For a discussion of the meaning of supernatural see here: []
If everything in your universe is a simulation, then the external implementation of it is at least extra-natural from your point of view, not constrained by any of the simulated natural laws. So you might as well call it supernatural if you like. If you include all layers of simulation all the way out to base reality as part of the one huge natural system, then everything is natural, even if most of it is unknowable.
I'm no theologian, but it seems to me that this view of the supernatural does not conform to the usual picture of God philosophers put forward, in terms of being the "prime mover" and so on. They are usually trying to solve the "first cause" problem, among other things, which doesn't really mesh with God as the super-scientist, since one is still left wondering about where the world external to the simulation comes from. I agree that my definition of the supernatural is not very useful in practice, but I think it is necessary if one is talking about God at all :p. What other word should we use? I quite like your suggested "extra-natural" for things not of this world, which leaves supernatural for things that indeed transcend the constraints of logic.
Well, I can't find any use for the word supernatural myself, even in connection with God. It doesn't seem to mean anything. I can imagine discussing God as a hypothetical natural phenomenon that a universe containing sentient life might have, for example, without the s word making any useful contribution. Maybe anything in mathematics that doesn't correspond to something in physics is supernatural? Octonions perhaps, or the Monster Group. (AFAIK, not being a physicist or mathematician)
Hmm, I couldn't agree with that later definition. Physics is just the "map" after all, and we are always improving it. Mathematics (or some future "completed" mathematics) seems to me the space of things that are possible. I am not certain, but this might be along the lines of what Wittgenstein means when he says things like "In logic nothing is accidental: if a thing can occur in an atomic fact the possibility of that atomic fact must already be prejudged in the thing. If things can occur in atomic facts, this possibility must already lie in them. (A logical entity cannot be merely possible. Logic treats of every possibility, and all possibilities are its facts.)" (from the Tractatus - possibly he undoes all this in his later work, which I have yet to read...) This is a tricky nest of definitions to unravel of course. I prefer to not call anything supernatural unless it lies outside the "true" order of reality, not just if it isn't on our map yet. I am a physicist though, and it is hard for me to see the logical possibility of anything outside the "true" order of the universe. Nevertheless, it seems to me like this is what people intend when they talk about God. But then they also try to prove that He must exist from logical arguments. These goals seem contradictory to me, but I guess that's why I'm an athiest :p. I don't know where less "transcendant" supernatural entities fit into this scheme of course. Magic powers and vampires etc need not neccessarily defy logical description, they just don't seem to exist. I agree that in the end, banishing the word supernatural is probably the easiest way to go :p.
I'd like to keep the word supernatural in my (inner?) vocabulary, but "unconstrained by physics" makes absolutely no sense to me, so I tried to choose a definition that doesn't make my brain hurt. If we inspect the roots of the word, you can see it roughly means "above nature", nature here being the observable universe whether it's a simulation or not. I find this definition suits the situation pretty well.
I can't disagree with that :p. I will concede that the survey question needs some refinement.
We had some discussion of this here [].

Taken. Thanks for putting in the effort to do the surveys. I noticed that the question on IQ calibration asked about "the probability that the IQ you gave earlier in the survey is greater than the IQ of over 50% of survey respondents", and I wondered if you meant to ask instead about (the probability that the IQ given earlier is greater than the reported IQ of over 50% of survey respondents). I recall that people tended to report absurdly high IQs in earlier surveys.

Did the survey.

Results: I'm better at estimating continental populations than I had thought; I am frustrated by single-option questions in many cases (e.g. domain of study, nothing for significantly-reduced-meat-intake-but-not-strict-vegetarian, interdependent causes of global catastrophe) and questions that are too huge to be well-formulated, let alone reasonably answer (supernatural/simulation/God).

Also the question about aliens made me unaccountably sad: even if I retroactively adjust my estimates of intelligent alien life upwards (which I would never do), I have to face the incredibly low probability that they're in the Milky way.

Huh, I put svir uhaqerq zvyyvba sbe Rhebcr'f cbchyngvba. Turns out I was thinking of the Rhebcrna Havba, (svir uhaqerq naq frira zvyyvba) engure guna Rhebcr vgfrys, which is substantially higher.


Please rot13 this (and spell out the numbers)!

ETA I have not yet taken the survey yet - skimmed through it yesterday - but when I do, I'll skip the calibration question.

Oops, sorry! Fixed.
I wish you hadn't posted that-- I read the comments before taking the survey.
Sorry, I thought it would be buried near the bottom ;c
Did the same mistake :/

Several of these questions are poorly phrased. For instance, the supernatural and god questions, as phrased, imply that the god chance should be less than the chance of supernatural anything existing. However, I think (and would like to be able to express) that there is a very small (0), chance of ghosts or wizards, but only a small (1) chance of there being some sort of intelligent being which created the universe-for instance, the simulation hypothesis, which I would consider a subset of the god hypothesis.

I believe it was worded specifically to exclude simulation from the god hypothesis. That is the only sensible conclusion from the wording used, which I assume was thoughtful.
I interpret a (a steel-manned) supernatural (above or outside of nature) event to be something like the Simulator changing program variables from outside the simulation in contradiction with its normal rules of operation. But, my priors said that there are more simulations without interference from the Simulator (besides "natural laws", named constants in the source code, initial condition values passed in before run-time, etc...) than with interference, so I assigned a higher probability to the God Hypothesis than to supernatural events having occurred (in our world). Although, having written this down, I'm not sure my priors made as much sense as it felt like they did beforehand.

I took it. I was surprised how far I was off with Europe.

I already commented on other people's comments and got Karma while not stating that I took it. Am I still supposed to just say "I took it" and get more Karma without commenting anything more of value? Well, I took it. All of it. And I chose to "cooperate" because it seemed more ethical. 30$-60$ isn't enough to arouse my greed anyway.

Oh, btw. Hi everybody, I'm new here even though I created this account years ago when I was lurking. I knew I'd come back.

Yup. Your points on the earlier comments were just the "ordinary" kind.

Fun as always. Looking back at my answers, I think I'm profoundly irrational, but getting more aware of it. Oh well.

Took the survey, and finally registered after lurking for 6 months.

I liked the defect/cooperate question. I defected because it was the rational way to try to 'win' the contest. However, if one had a different goal such as "make Less Wrong look cooperative" rather than "win this contest", then cooperating would be the rational choice. I suppose that if I win, I'll use the money to make my first donation to CFAR and/or MIRI.

Now that I have finished it, I wish I had taken more time on a couple of the questions. I answered the Newcomb's Box problem the opposite of my intent, because I mixed up what 2-box and 1-box mean in the problem (been years since I thought about that problem). I would 1-box, but I answered 2-box in the survey because I misremembered how the problem worked.

Heh. I also didn't care about the $60, and realised that taking the time to work out an optimal strategy would cost more of my time than the expected value of doing so. So I fell back on a character-ethics heuristic and cooperated. Bounded rationality at work. Whoever wins can thank me later for my sloth.
Same thats pretty much why I choose cooperate.
Lol, I cooperated because $60 was not a large enough sum of money for me to really care about trying to win it, and in the calibration I assumed most people would feel similarly. Reading your reasoning here, however, it is possible I should have accounted more strongly for people who like to win just for the sake of winning, a group that may be larger here than in the general population :p. Edit: actually that's not really what I mean. I mean people who want to make a rational choice to maximum the probability of winning for its own sake, even if they don't actually care about the prize. I prefer someone gets $60 and is pleasantly surprised to have won, than I get $1. I predict that overall happiness is increased more this way, at negligible cost to myself. Even if the person who wins defected.
Agreed, I think that the rational action in this scenario depends on one's goal, and there are different things you could choose as your goal here. I also think I shouldve set a higher value for my 90% confidence of the number of people who would cooperate, because its quite possible that a lot more peopel than I expected would choose alternate goals for this other than 'winning'.
So if a group using your decision-making-process all took this survey, "rationally" trying to win the contest, they would end up winning $0. :)
Correct, just like people trying to 'win' a single iteration prisoner's dilemna problem would defect. I'm not claiming its the morally correct option or anything, just that its the correct strategy if your goal is to win.
I don't think we're using the same definition of 'win'. This is the same thinking that leads to two-boxing.
If you had to play Newcomb's problem against the Less Wrong community as Omega, would you one-box or two-box? The community would vote as to whether to put the money in the second box or not; whichever choice got more votes would determine whether the money was in the second box or not. Each player from the community would be rewarded individually if e guessed your choice correctly.

Well I took this year's survey, answering as many questions which I felt comfortable answering (nice one on the last question).

I'm confused by the CFAR questions, in particular the last four. Are they using you as 'the person filling out this survey' or the general you as in a person? "You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are" sounds like the general you. "You are a certain kind of person, and there's not much that can be done either way to really change that" sounds like the specific you.


The ambiguity is intentional, apparently [].
Huh! Now I'm even more confused. How can my answer be useful if they don't know how I interpret the question? Esp. since my answers are pretty much opposite depending on the interpretation... My bad for not finding that comment. I skimmed through the thread, but didn't see it.

I tend to dismiss Steven Landsburg's critique of the standard interpretation of experiments along the lines of the Ultimatum Game, since nobody really thinks it through like him. But I actually did think about it when taking this survey (which is not the same as saying it affected my response).

I took the survey, after having found out about the site a mere 15 minutes prior. As you might imagine this is my first comment.

Census'd! And upvoted! But an upvote isn't really quite strong enough to demonstrate my appreciation for this work. Thank you.

Did the whole thing. Cheers to all involved. :)


I made an account after taking this survey.

I wanted an ADBOC answer to the HBD question. Lacking that, I answered the question about the belief (regardless of whether I endorse policies that people with the same belief typically endorse -- like I did for the AGW question), but given that (unlike the AGW question) it was in the politics section and that it mentioned a movement, I felt a bit uncomfortable doing that. Also, I interpreted "we" in the Great Stagnation question as "American", given that that's what the cited Wikipedia article says.

In the income question I only counted my PhD scholarship after taxes, and not the "reimbursement" of travel expenses (which often exceed the amount I actually spend while travelling) nor the private tutoring I've very occasionally done (I kind-of consider the money a gift in exchange of a favour).

I rounded my top-level contributions to Main and Discussion down to zero.

In the US, at least, this would be taxable income. (I find this amusing in the context of the sibling comment about tax evasion being a problem.)
Other comments to my answers: In the Living With question, what's the point of the “most of the time”? These days I probably spend more time at my girlfriends' than at my own place (though neither makes up the absolute majority of hours in an average week), but I wouldn't consider myself to be living in the former because I don't have the keys to that place, don't pay the rent there, don't do homework there (other than setting and clearing the table when I eat there), and don't spend any nontrivial amount of time without my girlfriend there. So I answered “With roommates” (where I do do all of those things), but given the “most of the time” I'm not sure that was what I was supposed to answer. “Are you planning on having more children? Answer yes if you don't have children but want some” -- we want some children some day, but we're not planning on having children now. (I'm not even sure how I answered anymore.) There's no such thing [] as a minimum wage law in my country. Rather than spending time trying to figure out what the answers should be supposed to mean in this situation, I just skipped the question. “How would you describe your opinion of social justice, as you understand the term? See also” [”] -- as I understand the term before or after reading the lede of that WP article? On reading it, I realized there's a mostly kind-of sort-of sane mainstream social justice movement that social justice warriors on Tumblr and the like aren't representative of any more than the likes of Dworkin and Daly are of kind-of sort-of sane mainstream feminism, so I answered 4/5 -- but would have probably answered somewhere around 2/5 hadn't I seen that WP article.
Also, in the taxes question, I think that the tax revenue is too low in my country, but the tax rates are about right or even slight too high -- it's tax evasion which is way too big (and I'm not sure how I'd go about reducing that). I averaged my answer answer if the question had been about tax revenues and my answer if it had been about tax rates, weighed by my probability assignments for each meaning, and picked the middle answer.
From what I hear, your country is in a vicious cycle where high tax rates encourage tax evasion so the government raises taxes (and creates new taxes) to compensate which further encourages tax evasion.
Yes, that's essentially correct (now that we have technocratic governments; before that, no politician dared raise taxes or reduce public spending (because either would be unpopular) sending the public debt up towards infinity).

Survey completed. I cooperated without thinking about it much. I believed that TDT-like reasoning would probably lead a significant number of others to cooperate too, and I felt I should support the group.

Always lurking, never commenting, but I'm happy to participate in the survey since the results are interesting to read.

Regarding the preferred relationship status I'm not sure that combining uncertain with no preference was ideal. I have no strong preferences on that issue and I'm very certain of that.

Also, the religion question was difficult, in that I had to choose between "atheist but spiritual" and "atheist and not spiritual"- I'm an atheist but go to religious services regularly. But it isn't out of anything "spiritual" which is at best a hideously ill-defined term, but rather out of emotional and communal attachment.

The Singularity question is also broad, since there are so many different meanings. I interpreted it as about an intelligence explosion (partially since I consider the others to be much less likely).

Overall, this version was well-done. Thanks for putting in the effort, and thanks for everyone who helped contribute questions.

I would have interpreted it as “I realize that I am not a monkey brain, but am a timeless abstract optimization process to which this ape is but a horribly disfigured approximation []”, but IIRC I was told that was not the actual meaning.
Hah, that's amusing. I had that kind of sentiment in mind as well, but I perceived it as wanting a "religious-but-not-spiritual" option. Which we totally ought to have.
Who told you the actual meaning, and what was it? I interpreted as interested in seeking out the sort of mental state associated with a "religious experience", and put down "atheist but spiritual" because of my curiosity about meditation.

Survey taken. I'm particularly interested in what the ratio between an individual's estimate of alien life in the milky way vs observable universe is (not just the individual averages)

Answered the survey, including the bonus questions. Took me 32 min altogether. Comments:

How many people are aware of their IQs? I'm from Germany and have never taken an IQ test. Is knowing about one's IQ common enough in the US that not making that question a bonus question made sense?

There were quite a few questions (e.g. estimate weekly internet consumption, estimate how often you read about ideas for self-improvement) which felt pointless - how could you possibly get accurate estimates from people, given how ambiguous these questions were, and how difficult these estimates are?

The money question: After I failed to come up with a unique passphrase, I chose cooperate and left the rest blank. This kind of stuff tempts my perfectionism, and that's a lose-lose situation for me.

Finally had time to take the survey. I missed the on-line IQ test from the previous survey. Since I haven't taken any professional IQ-test I had to leave the question blank.

I defected, and then afterwards I realized that the proportion of people cooperating could likely have a causal effect on future in-group cooperativeness among LWers. Dammit, I should have thought of that earlier.

Yeah, that's why I always take the option called "cooperate" if the prize is small enough that my expected winnings are a rounding error either way. I'm not sure what I'd do if the names were flipped relative to the incentives.

Some notes on my answers:

  • I put 0 for supernatural, God, and religion, not because I think the answer is literally zero but because I didn't think Yvain wanted us answering using exponential notation.
  • Some of the other probability estimating questions deeply confused me, and I'm pretty sure I didn't base my answer on any kind of consistent assumptions. Like I based my cryonics answer on the assumption that uploading counts without even really thinking about it, but then assigned a lower probability to anti-agathics by assuming it required keeping the original meat alive. Also I'm really confused by the simultation hypothesis debate.

It was noted that for our convenience, 0 is interpreted as epsilon and 100 as 100-epsilon.

Ah, I saw that but wasn't familiar with the terminology.
In case you are still unfamiliar: epsilon is a common symbol in mathematics used to designate any negligibly small number.
Small and positive. (Nitpick).

This has been the most fun, satisfying survey I've ever