Personally I've found a lot of the show's lessons to be overly one-sided and applause-lightish.

Of course. The issues with rewriting them to be rationalist are twofold: first, they're primarily about friendship, where rationality is mostly silent on direct advice, and second, they're on features where one-sided advice is generally better than two-sided advice.

Consider, for example, Twilight's nerdy scholarship. It's shown to be useful (it's a major source of her magical power and she'll often know things because of it) but have its limits (let's learn how to do a slumber party from a book!). Which, of course, is the sort of thing you'll find in any of lukeprog's articles on relationships here. Rationality's primary lesson is "learn from successful examples and build up experience" rather than "book smarts are sufficient to interact with other people in real-time."

As an example of one-sided advice, take the lesson of Bridle Gossip:

Never judge a book by its cover. Someone may look unusual, or funny, or scary. But you have to look past that and learn who they are inside. Real friends don't care what your "cover" is; It's the contents of a pony that count. And a good friend, like a good book, is something that will last forever.

Obviously, appearances can provide useful information. The standard human bias, though, is to overweight appearance- and so advice to humans should generally be along the lines of "discount appearance" rather than "use appearance optimally," because the first is harder for humans to twist than the second.

The fact that the Potter books have concluded is one of the advantages to setting a rationalist/munchkin fic there.

I personally dislike the "rationalist fic = munchkin fic" association, but suspect that is atypical of LW users.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9

by Oscar_Cunningham 1 min read9th Sep 2011725 comments


(The HPMOR discussion thread after this one is here.)

The previous thread is over the 500-comment threshold, so let's start a new Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread.  This is the place to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter fanfic and anything related to it. The latest chapter as of 09/09/2011 is Ch. 77.

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.  The author page is the central location for information about updates and links to HPMOR-related goodies, and AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author's Notes.

As a reminder, it's often useful to start your comment by indicating which chapter you are commenting on.

Spoiler Warning:  this thread is full of spoilers.  With few exceptions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, without warning or rot13.  More specifically:

You do not need to rot13 anything about HP:MoR or the original Harry Potter series unless you are posting insider information from Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

If there is evidence for X in MOR and/or canon then it's fine to post about X without rot13, even if you also have heard privately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that "Eliezer said X is true" unless you use rot13.