April Fools - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality Joke Chapter

by shokwave1 min read2nd Apr 201243 comments


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This was an april fools joke.


This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky’s my chapter of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. This thread is intended for discussing the fake April Fools chapter, which is now published. I suggest refraining from reading comments here until you read chapter 82. After you've read chapter 82, I suggest all discussion of this chapter to be kept here, with links to comments in the previous thread.

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I will decide what to do with the joke website/domain tomorrow morning. Doing anything with the actual joke text would require approval from the other authors.

Personally (as in not at all representing everyone responsible - as in this is my own opinion, and I'm not speaking for shockwave or anyone else) I sort of feel like rationalist/ even more general HJPEV admirers should be able to notice the confusion** they have upon finding the joke, and then think it through by themselves. If there was ever an audience who would be well served by and able to appreciate a friendly reminder to apply critical thinking to their everyday lives, wouldn't it be this one? I kind of hope so.

Also, I find the (overwhelmingly positive) responses this has been getting to be fantastically enjoyable to read.

Anyway, most likely we will at least put up some kind of warning on the places where people are finding the joke URL. This should give people with language differences, or barriers of any kind, a fair chance.

**such as the writing style being off, the content somewhat absurd, the URL being different, the chapter not being due for a few more days, the page behaving differently, the real chapter not existing on fanfiction.net, being unable to leave a review of the chapter, the April fools message at the bottom, the lack of any authors notes, the absence of a new chapter alert email (or on the rss feed, twitter) and the lack of a matching post on the new hpmor website the fic has moved too.

[-][anonymous]9y 5

Probably the AI stuff. Harry never talks/thinks about AI.

Read Eliezers coming of Age and Lawful Intelligence.

He thinks about it at least a little: "artificial intelligence" shows up in chapters 6, 10, 25 and 27.

[-][anonymous]9y 2

oops. He doesn't use it much though. He doesn't take it as seriously as nano.

[-][anonymous]9y 1

Is the idea that he would break the story by transfiguring an FAI? (Is that possible?)

What pedanterrific says. There’s lots of artifacts that display computing abilities (the Sorting Hat being the foremost example) which suggest that you don’t need to explicitly transfigure computing hardware (which is suggested not to work around magic anyway), you can probably just specify the software requirements and they get implemented somehow.

I'm gonna go with "no".

I don't think that it would be necessary to literally transfigure an AGI. Since it's possible to cast spells which react in a certain way to a trigger/specific change in surroundings, there's likely potential for creating artifices on the complexity level of scripts/programs using spells.

I think it would take quite a while to advance this science to the point where it could create an AGI (perhaps sped along depending on how easily it was integrated with Muggle computer science), but I think that if HJPEV thought about creating powerful optimization processes using magic which actually did what he intended, a huge power boost would result. Especially because AFAIK, the wizarding world has no parallel to programming, so only Muggleborns would really have a hope of understanding what he was doing.

[-][anonymous]9y 0

I dunno how he would break the story but the AI stuff is the only stuff I can think of that Harry doesn't draw on that would have external story-breaking power.

Maybe I'm just not creative enough to break the story with metaethics or fun theory.

I believe that page is the first time I've seen "shalln't" rather than shan't. Am I missing a reference, or...?

The story will next update on Tuesday, April 3rd, at 7PM Pacific Time.

I knew something was wrong when this was posted...

I think that by this time, it's April 2nd on the whole globe, with the possible exception of Hawaii and Alaska, which don't count, being fictional places.

As such, shouldn't the chapter be removed or atleast heavily titled "April Fool's Chapter" or something, so that it doesn't actually fool anyone beyond April 1st?

Isn't "Aprilis Foolios!" at the end enough to make it clear ?

People generally reach the end only after they've read the previous bits. By then people may have been fooled improperly (at a time other than April 1st).

As such my point stands.

I may add some warning to the beginning; it depends on whether we continue maintaining the spurious website. I'm a little concerned that so closely imitating the actual fanfiction.net will be problematic, but I also don't want this story to become unavailable.

but I also don't want this story to become unavailable.

That seems the least difficult of concerns. You can post it normally to fanfiction.net, under your own nickname, titling it "An April's Fool's presentation of Methods of Rationality" or whatever -- so that nobody gets fooled, but still everyone can get to read it.

I think this is an amazing and timely contribution, too bad I have but one upvote per comment.

I would like to Strongly Urge everyone to move to another thread before the next chapter is posted, to avoid the confusion of two different chapters being discussed in the same thread.

I think we can just change the title of this thread to "HPMOR April Fools' thread".

ncevy sbbyf, tbbg wbo fubpxjnir.

I totally called it! It was fairly bad quality though, I wonder if someone else submitted it to Eliezer ahead of time?

It's a fake site pretending to be fanfiction.net, not fanfiction.net itself. It wasn't Eliezer who posted it, it was shokwave.

Okay, wow? I am so not used to April Fools' day being this awesomely constructed.

[-][anonymous]8y 0

Does anyone have a copy for posterity?

I don't, and it looks like the Internet Archive and WebCite don't either. Sorry.

(Why did my archiving system fail in this case? Inspecting my copy and the URLs in the Internet Archive, the actual content was loaded as an iframe, so we both wound up archiving only the wrapper and the not the content-containing frame.)

Harry had lost all his allies

This surprised me, and (among other things) tipped me off that this was fake. Related thought, what would be the real impact of an accusation that Harry was/contained Voldemort? I imagine a lot of people would discount it coming from professor Quirrel, and it might gain him allies among the ex-death-eaters.

So, this isn't going to be the actual new thread, right?

[-][anonymous]9y 0

I'm not on facebook. Is there a link to the April Fools story somewhere?

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In all seriousness though, should we take this

The Defense Professor - Hat-and-Cloak, Quirrell, Voldemort - raised his wand

As Word of God that Quirrell is H&C? Or just a trick within a trick?

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No, you definitely should not. I wrote that line, I don't know if it's true, I just made it up.

Could you please rename this thread to something like “HPMoR April Fool’s discussion thread”? We’ll need to create a new thread for the actual chapter 82 later today (unless you have information that Eliezer decides to include this as omake), and we’ll have confusion in all time zones.

You don't think Eliezer wrote that, do you?

I think either someone else wrote it, or he wrote it really quickly.

I thought it was a prank pulled by Eliezer until now, since the Facebook page linked to it. I suppose shockwave controls that Facebook page...

Definitely. At least for the next 42 minutes.

So, I was truly shocked that V ernq fb zhpu bs gung orsber V tbg vg. Jryy qbar, fve. Zl nccynhfr. :D

I think it is bad taste to cynl cenaxf jura gur fvgr'f pybpx qbrf abg fnl gung vg vf gur svefg bs ncevy. Vg'f onq rabhtu yvivat va tzg cyhf gjryir.

Vg qbrfa'g svg jvgu gur pybpx'f gvzr, ohg vg'f Ncevy 1fg, 7cz - v.r., gur gvzr n puncgre vf hfhnyyl eryrnfrq, ba Ncevy 1fg. Gurer jnf ernyyl ab bgure jnl.

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V'z abg fnlvat gung lbh fubhyq qryrgr vg. V qvq rawbl vg, ohg V qba'g nccebir bs vg.

V nffhzr gung guvf puncgre jvyy or ergnvarq naq znexrq nf na Bznxr nf fbba nf gur arkg puncgre vf cbfgrq, vs abg fbbare. Gur jevgvat fglyr vf tbbq, naq vg jvyy nyfb or vagrerfgvat gb pbzcner guvf jvgu gur znva fgbelyvar.

In this case, the timing is simply not possible. That would mean, here, you shouldn't have done it.

I disagree. Letting such a good idea go to waste just because of a time-zone issue is a clear case of the perfect an being enemy of the good. (I do think it makes sense to edit the title to say April Fools, now that it's no longer April 1, though.)