A few notes about the site mechanics
A few notes about the community
If English is not your first language, don't let that make you afraid to post or comment. You can get English help on Discussion- or Main-level posts by sending a PM to one of the following users (use the "send message" link on the upper right of their user page). Either put the text of the post in the PM, or just say that you'd like English help and you'll get a response with an email address.
* Barry Cotter
A note for theists: you will find the Less Wrong community to be predominantly atheist, though not completely so, and most of us are genuinely respectful of religious people who keep the usual community norms. It's worth saying that we might think religion is off-topic in some places where you think it's on-topic, so be thoughtful about where and how you start explicitly talking about it; some of us are happy to talk about religion, some of us aren't interested. Bear in mind that many of us really, truly have given full consideration to theistic claims and found them to be false, so starting with the most common arguments is pretty likely just to annoy people. Anyhow, it's absolutely OK to mention that you're religious in your welcome post and to invite a discussion there.
A list of some posts that are pretty awesome
I recommend the major sequences to everybody, but I realize how daunting they look at first. So for purposes of immediate gratification, the following posts are particularly interesting/illuminating/provocative and don't require any previous reading:
- The Worst Argument in the World
- That Alien Message
- How to Convince Me that 2 + 2 = 3
- Lawful Uncertainty
- Your Intuitions are Not Magic
- The Planning Fallacy
- The Apologist and the Revolutionary
- Scope Insensitivity
- The Allais Paradox (with two followups)
- We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think
- The Least Convenient Possible World
- The Third Alternative
- The Domain of Your Utility Function
- Newcomb's Problem and Regret of Rationality
- The True Prisoner's Dilemma
- The Tragedy of Group Selectionism
- Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided
More suggestions are welcome! Or just check out the top-rated posts from the history of Less Wrong. Most posts at +50 or more are well worth your time.
Welcome to Less Wrong, and we look forward to hearing from you throughout the site!
Once a post gets over 500 comments, the site stops showing them all by default. If this post has 500 comments and you have 20 karma, please do start the next welcome post; a new post is a good perennial way to encourage newcomers and lurkers to introduce themselves. (Step-by-step, foolproof instructions here; takes <180seconds.)
If there's anything I should add or update on this post (especially broken links), please send me a private message—I may not notice a comment on the post.
Finally, a big thank you to everyone that helped write this post via its predecessors!
I am Falk. I am a PhD student in the computational cognitive science lab at UC Berkeley. I develop and test computational models of bounded rationality in decision making and reasoning. I am particularly interested in how we can learn to be more rational. To answer this question I am developing a computational theory of cognitive plasticity. I am also very interested in self-improvement, and I am hoping to develop strategies, tools and interventions that will help us become more rational.
I have written a blog post on what we can do to accelerate our cognitive growth that I would like to share with the LessWrong community, but it seems that I am not allowed to post it yet.
New to the site. LW came to my attention today in a Harper's Magazine article "Come With Us If You Want To Live (Among the apocalyptic libertarians of Silicon Valley)" January 2015. I hope to learn about rationalism. My background includes psychology, psycho-metrics, mechanics, and history but my interests are best described as eclectic. I value clarity of expression but also like creativity and humor. I view the world skeptically, sometimes cynically. For amusement I often speak ironically and this, at times, offends my listeners when I fail to adequately signal it. I do not hesitate to apologize when I see that I have offended someone. Hello.
Hey! <retracted because I changed my mind about the sensibleness of putting personal info on the internet and more people started recognising my name than I'm happy with>
I'm a long-time user of LW. My old account has ~1000 karma. I'm making this account because I would like it to be tied to my real identity.
Here is my blog/personal-workflowy-wiki. I'd like to have 20 karma, so that I can make cross-posts from here to the LW Discussion.
I'm working on a rationality power tool. Specifically, it's an open-source workflowy with revision control and general graph structure. I want to use it as a wiki to map out various topics of interest on LW. If anybody is interested in working on (or using) rationality power tools, please PM me, as I've spent a lot of time thinking about them, and can also introduce you to some other people who are interested in this area.
EDIT: First cross-post: Personal Notes On Productivity (A categorization of various resources)
EDIT: I've edited the LW-wiki to make a list of LWers interested in making debate tools..
Hello all =)
I am reading LW more that one year. I organized book club meetups about HPMOR in Kyiv, Ukraine in past (https://vk.com/hpmor_meeting and https://vk.com/efficient_reading5)
Now i start to organization process of first general LW meetup in Kyiv, our google group: http://groups.google.com/d/forum/LessWrong-Kyiv
On the first meet we will discuss Daniel Kahneman`s "Thinking, Fast and Slow" book in addition to what we will do in the future =)
Please, if you can - give any useful suggestions about what and how first meetup must be done (i have read LW pdf file about how to organize meetups).
Hi all, I'm new. I've been browsing the forum for two weeks and only now I've come across this welcome thread, so nice to meet you! I'm quite interested in the control problem, mainly because it seems like a very critical thing to get right. My background is a PhD in structural engineering and developing my own HFT algorithms (which for the past few years has been my source of both revenue and spare time). So I'm completely new to all of the topics on the forum, but I'm loving the challenge. At the moment I don't have any karma points so I can't publish, which is probably a good thing given my ignorance, so may I post some doubts and questions here in hope to be pointed in the right direction? Thanks in advance!
Hello and welcome! Don't be shy about posting; if you're a PhD making money with HFT, I think you are plenty qualified, and external perspectives can be very valuable. Posting in an open thread doesn't require any karma and will get you a much bigger audience than this welcome thread. (For maximum visibility you can post right after a thread's creation.)
Finally bit the bullet and made an account-- hi people! I've been "LW adjacent" for a while now (meatspace friends with some prominent LWers, hang around Rationalist Tumblr/ Ozy's blog on the sidelines, seems like everyone I know has read HPMOR but me), and figured I ought to take the plunge.
Call me Vivs. I'm in my early twenties, currently doing odd jobs (temping, restaurant work, etc.) in preparation to start a Masters' this fall. I'm a historian, and would loooooove to talk history with any of you! (fans of Anne Boleyn/Thomas Cromwell/Victorian social peculiarities to the front of the line, please) I've always been that girl who pays waaaaay too much attention to if the magic system is internally consistent in a fantasy novel and gets overly irritated if my questions are brushed off with "But magic isn't real," so I have a feeling I'll like the way this site thinks, even if I'm way out of the median 'round these parts in a lot of ways.
Wow, I'm so glad I stumbled onto slatestarcodex, and from there, here!!! You guys are all like smarter, cooler versions of me! It's great to have a label for the way my brain is naturally wired and know there other people in the world besides Peter Singer who think similarly. I'm really excited, so my "intro" might get a little long...
Part 1-Look at me, I'm just like you!
I'm Ellen, a 22 year old Spanish major and world traveling nanny from Wisconsin, so maybe not your typical LWer, but actually quite typical in other, more important ways. :)
I grew up in a Christian home/bubble, was super religious (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod), truly respected/admired the Christians in my life, but even while believing, never liked what I believed. I actually just shared my story plus some interesting studies on correlations between personality, intelligence, and religiosity, if anyone is interested: http://magicalbananatree.blogspot.com/2015/02/christian-friends-do-you-ever-feel.html The post is based almost entirely on what I've come to learn is called "consequentialism" which I'm happy to see is pretty popular over here. I subscribe to this line of thinking so much t... (read more)
Yep. On the social level I get it, but on another level, it's a trap.
The trap works approximately like this: "I will allow you not to believe in my bullshit, but only if you give me a free check to bother you with as many questions as I want about my bullshit, and you have to explore all of these questions seriously, give me a satisfactory answer, and of course I am allowed to respond by giving you even more questions".
If you agree on this, you have de facto agreed that the other side is allowed to waste unlimited amounts of your time and attention, as a de facto punishment for not believing their bullshit. -- Today you are asked to make to make a well-researched opinion about Historical Jesus, which of course would take a few weeks or months to do a really serious historical research; and tomorrow it will be either something new, e.g. a well-researched opinion about the history of the Church, or about the history of Crusades, or about the history of Inquisition... (read more)
Hello. My name is Tom. I'm 27 and currently working an a PhD in mathematics. I came to this site by following a chain of links that started with TVTropes of all things.
I have been a fan of rational thinking as long as I can remember. I'd always had the habit of asking questions and trying to see things from every point of view. I devoured all sorts of books growing up and shifted my viewpoints often enough that I became willing to accept the notion that everything I currently believe is wrong. That's what pushed me to constantly question my own beliefs. I have read enough of this site to satisfy myself that it would be worthwhile to make an account and perhaps participate in the community that built it.
My name is Rick, and I'm 29. I've been lurking on LW for a few years, casually at first, but now much more consistently. I did finally post a stupid question last week, and I've been going to the Austin Meetup for about a month, so I feel it's time to introduce myself.
I'm a physics PhD student in Austin. I'm an experimentalist, and I work on practical-ish stuff with high-intensity lasers, so I'm not much good answering questions about string theory, cosmology, or the foundations of quantum mechanics. I will say that I think the measurement problem (as physicists usually refer to the question which "many worlds" is intended to answer) is interesting, but it's not clear to me why it gets so much attention.
I come from a town where (it seems like) everybody's dad has a PhD, and many people's moms have them as well. Getting a PhD in physics or engineering just seemed like the thing to do. I remember thinking as a teenager that if you didn't go to grad school, you were probably an uneducated yokel. More importantly, I learned very early that a person can have a PhD and still make terrible decisions or have terrible beliefs. I also formed weird beliefs like "che... (read more)
Hello. New to the active part of the site, I've been lurking for a while, reading much discussions (and not always agreeing, which might be the reason I'm going active). I've come to the site thanks to HPMOR and the quest towards less bias.
I'm a (soon starting a PhD) student in molecular dynamics in France, skeptic (I guess) and highly critical of many papers (especially in my field). Popper is probably the closest to how I define, although with a few contradictions, the philosophy of what I'm doing.
I'm in the country of wine, cheese and homeopathy, don't forget it :)
Hey... I'm Babblefish. Having posted elsewhere I've been directed to this helpful Welcome thread.
How I got here? friends->HPMOR->Lesswrong blogs-> Project suggestion-> Forum.
Much as I'd love to claim I'm here to meet all you lovely folks, the truth is, I'm mainly here for one reason: I was recently re-reading the original blogs (e-reader form and all that), and noticed a comment by Eliezer something to the effect of "Someone should really write 'The simple mathematics of everything' ". I would like to write that thing.
I'm currently starting my PhD in mathematics (appears common here), with several relevant side interests (physics, computing, evolutionary biology, story telling), and the intention of teaching/lecturering one day.
Now... If someone's already got this project sorted out (it has been a few years), great... however I notice that the wiki originally started for it is looking a little sad, (diffusion of responsibility perhaps), and various websearches have turned up nothing solid.
So... if the project HAS NOT been sorted out yet, then I'd be interested in taking a crack at it: It'll be good writing/teaching practice for me, and give me an excuse to rea... (read more)
Greetings, y’all. I’m very excited to take the plunge into the LW community proper. I spent the last six months plowing through the sequences and testing the limits of my friends’ patience when I tried to engage them in it. Besides looking for people to talk to, I am beginning to feel a profound restlessness at not doing anything with all the new ideas in my head. At 27, I’m not a “level 1 adult” yet. I don’t really have something to protect or a purpose I’m dedicated to. I hope that by being active in the community will at least get me in the habit of being active.
My name is Jacob, I was born in the Soviet Union and grew up in Israel. My parents are scientists, my dad is probably top 10 worldwide in his field. I grew up playing soccer and sitting at dinner with students and scientists from around the world, I hope I actually did realize even as a teenager how awesome it was. I did my Bar Mitzva at a reform synagogue but God was never really part of our family conversation, I don’t think that I’ve said a prayer and actually meant it since I was 12 or 13. There are just enough Russian-speaking math geeks in Israel to form a robust subculture and I was at the top of it: winning natio... (read more)
I’ve lurked this site on and off for at least five years, probably longer. I believe I first ran into it while exploring effective altruism. Articles that had a definite impact on my thinking included those on anchoring, priming, akrasia, and Newcomb's problem. Alicorn's Luminosity series is also up there, and I keep perpetual bookmarks to "The Least Convenient Possible World" and "Avoiding Your Belief's Real Weak Points."
I earned a B.A. in history, worked for a couple years in a financial planning office, then ended up on the rather weird track of becoming a professional piano accompanist. It turned out to be a far more financially and logistically feasible career move than the other grand idea I attempted at the time (convincing GiveWell I'd be an awesome hire). So piano is what I'm doing now. (GiveWell is admittedly still my longshot/backburner plan B, but I'm focusing all professional development on the music end of things right now).
Some things I've got more than a passing interest in, which I think fit the LW ethos:
Taubman approach. Approach to keyboard technique (and prevention of repetitive-motion-injury) that got the recognition and int
I discovered lesswrong.com because someone left a printout of an article on the elliptical machine in my gym. I started reading it and have become hooked.
I'm a formally uneducated computer expert. The lack of formal education makes me a bit insecure, so I obsess over improving my thinking through literature on cognitive dissonance and biases, such as books from the library and also sites like this.
Nowadays I get paid to be a middle-manager at technology companies. Most of my career has been in Linux system administration as well as functional programming.
I'm a bit of a health nut. I adopted a whole-food plant-based diet (the "China Study" diet) because it seems most well supported in the literature, although a broad consensus on the topic has not emerged. I base this decision in part on my trust of experts with titles after their names, since I'm too out of my element to read and interpret most of the literature on my own. At the same time I have a personal anecdote that this works well, so those two are enough to convince me for now.
There are times when I find reading about rational thinking rather sobering. It's clear that we were born with an irrational, "defective", brain and that we would be so lucky if we could even make a small dent in improving our decision making. Improvements seem very hard to come by, I worry that all I'm really doing is learning to distrust my beliefs.
So that's a nutshell full. How's everyone else? :)
Hello LessWrongers! After discovering the blog and MIRI research papers through a friend (Gyrodiot ) a few weeks ago, I finally decided to register here. For I keep seeing fascinating discussions I want to be part of, and I also would like to share my ideas about IA and rationnalism.
Currently, I am a first year student in an french Engineering school in Computer science and applied mathematics. Before that, I was in "Classes Préparatoires" for two years, an intensive formation in mathematics and physics to pass engineering school contests. Even If it was quite harsh (basically 30 hours of classes + 5 hours exam + homeworks impossible to finish every week), it gave me some kicks to become a post-rigorous mathematics student. (post-rigorous being here the definition of Terence Tao : http://terrytao.wordpress.com/career-advice/there%E2%80%99s-more-to-mathematics-than-rigour-and-proofs/ )
For my interest, I am actually working with one of my teacher on a online handwriting OCR based on a model of oscillatory handwriting he developped. But we also explore the cognitive consequences of the model, mostly Piaget's idea of assimilation, which can be linked to modern discoveries ab... (read more)
Hello. I’m Mark. I’m a 24-year-old software engineer in Michigan.
I found LessWrong a little over a year ago via HPMOR. I’m working through the books listed on MIRI’s Research Guide. I finished Bostrom’s Superintelligence earlier this week, and I’m currently working through the Sequences and Naive Set Theory. I’m not quite sure what I want to do after I complete the Research Guide; but AI is challenging and interesting, so I’m excited to learn more.
P.S. I’m a SuperLurker™. I find it very difficult to post in public forums. I only visualize the futures where future!Me looks back at his old posts and cringes. If you suffer similarly, I hope you will follow my lead and introduce yourself. Throw caution to the wind! Or, you know, just send me a private message (a simple “hey” will suffice) and maybe we can help each other.
Instead of cringing you can think "wow, I made a lot of progress since". It did the trick for me, but well, YMMV.
I’ve lived in Berkeley for about six years. My girlfriend is going to medical school so we’re going to be moving to Boca Raton, Florida (most likely) or Columbus, Ohio in less than a month. I’m sad to be leaving the Bay Area but thrilled to be with my girlfriend when she starts such an exciting chapter of her life. I’m also very fortunate that I can handle nearly all my business online.
I co-founded a startup devoted to making a web game with an old buddy of mine. This same guy introduced me to LW.
Critical thinking and debate has been a focus of mine since I was quite young so LW fit right into my interests. I’m very interested in instrumental/practical applications of rationality. I’ve been lurking for many years and finally decided to make an account to get over my fear of online embarrassment given my unfamiliarity with a lot of the lexicon and protocol on LW.
Some passions of mine are movies, seeking out novel experiences (examples are shooting an AK-47, judging a singing competition, and visiting Pixar), and martial arts.
I’m also interested in effective altruism and AI research but still have a lot of learning to do, especially in the latter.
The person behind this account is not at all new to the Less Wrong community. He has read all of the sequences multiple times, as well as much of the output of many non-Eliezer figures associated with or influenced by LW, and has been around for more than half the time the site has existed. Suffice it to say he knows his stuff. He used to comment and then stopped for reasons which remain unclear.
The obvious question is, why the new account, especially since I'm not trying to hide who I was? I decline to answer.
Less Wrong is important to me. Reading the sequences caused in me a serious upgrade. LW inspired a lot of meetup groups, one of which I attend every week. It's not the group I wish I was attending, but it's better than the alternative: none. Things fall apart. Roko exploded. Vladimir_M vanished, Yvain seceded; many others of import including Eliezer have abandoned LW. They all have their reasons, some common and others not. There are forces, it seems, driving the best away, leaving behind a smattering of dunces.
I aim to turn the tide. Nate Soares didn't show up until 2013. Less Wrong is still at least theoretically a place that can attract good people. Less Wrong has been na... (read more)
Hello LW World!
I have been reading the writings of Eliezer Yudkowsky for about 2 years now, ever since a friend of mine introduced me to HPMOR. It continues to blow my mind that there is an entire movement and genre dedicated to reason. It's provided a depth of thought that I've always felt different from others for enjoying, and now I can happily say that there's a community for it.
I am currently an unemployed veteran and college dropout seeking to solve the financial problems which prevent me from currently completing my degree. I am halfway finished with an ultrasound tech school and I am also studying programming as a hobby. I'm proud of a lot of my work so far, from making the beginnings of an awesome game on Scratch to completing an advanced challenge on Hackerrank (technically it's incomplete, but it's only the timeout limit on large inputs that I have yet to find a solution for). I'm also learning web design skills on FreeCodeCamp where I have found very supportive mentors and hope to get a basic foot-in-the-door level of skills to gain employment.
What I REALLY wanted to do but failed at due to financial hardship is to work in neuroscience research. I'm more interested... (read more)
Hello, my name is Daniel.
I've wanted to join the rationality community for a little while now, and I finally worked up the courage after a brief but informative discussion with Anna Salamon, CFAR's executive director (who was as kind as I was nervous).
I'm working on finishing up a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, and I plan on continuing to a doctorate in some branch of decision or control theory. I also study philosophy, fiction writing, and computer science.
Since becoming aware of rationality in general, and Eliezer Yudkowsky's way of making everything make sense, I've gotten pretty heavily into cognitive psychology and metacognition.
To be frank, I understand that I'm a rank amateur in the field of rationality in general, but I'm looking forward to trying to get better. So if you're downvoting me, or even upvoting me, explaining why in a comment or message would be extremely helpful, so I can take the time to reinforce my positive cognitive pathways, and prune my negative ones.
See you in the threads!
I am a month long lurker who finally decided to make an account.
I'm 24, and am living as a US expat in Beijing right now. I have a BA in Economics from a top 5 university, where the most important thing I learned was just how little that actually meant. I got pretty disillusioned with academia, and I've only been able to start enjoying intellectual pursuits again in the last year or so; hence, it is nice to find a non-university community where I might be able to discuss interesting ideas without all of the self-important swagger.
I would say that the other important thing my econ background influenced is my rational decision making: I do not vote; I was involved in effective altruism (until I became an ethical nihilist); etc. I think I've experience some significant emotional blunting from this, and have mixed feelings about it. Hopefully being in a community of similarly oriented people (and getting more information about typical outcomes) will help me work through whether this is something that I need to address or not.
I lean somewhat classical-liberal (or pro-market left of center, with significant room for government provisioning for market failure) at the moment, but la... (read more)
Good [insert-time-of-day-here]! My name is Tighe, I'm 16 years old, and I found this site through one of my friends at school. I'm not the most intelligent person, but I am interested in becoming less wrong. I don't expect myself to compare very well to most people on this site, but hey, that's what the point of being an "aspiring" rationalist is, right? Some of my interests in life so far have been writing, programming, math, and science (though I'm not very good at the last two). I've been told that this site helps to improve one's thinking skills, ones that aren't offered in most high schools (or any high schools, really), and I think that could really help me improve in the aforementioned areas. Well, hello.
I'm not new to the site, but new to actually posting. Long time reader, first time poster, etc. I am a somewhat-regular member of the Los Angeles Less Wrong meetup, and I'm excited to keep learning more about rationality in general and Bayesian probability in particular.
Hi everyone! I've been a lurker for a while now, this is my first real interaction. Found LessWrong through HPMOR (read the whole thing over a single weekend; read it again a month later).
I'm sixteen and have just graduated from a high school in India (I'm a US citizen, though). Currently applying to American universities, working through some online college courses and Godel, Escher, Bach; teaching myself Python, writing a novel, and continuing to teach myself Japanese (5th language). Also partying shamelessly.
I'm very undecided about my future, but to generalize, I'm probably going to go into either the film industry or physics, while writing fiction on the side. I have no doubt LessWrong can help immensely in each of my pursuits, and I aim to finish reading all the sequences by the end of the year (currently halfway through How to Actually Change Your Mind).
I love this site. At times while reading the articles I have a feeling of obscure deja vu, almost outright indignation. Like someone has stolen MY personal insights, expanded them exhaustively, and posted them online. (Yes, I realize the actual research is decades old and not solely by EY.) I find my own thought patterns in these articles. Some just click instantly, and I understand every aspect. Others I have to reread a few times to really get. Anyone else know this feeling, or does everyone just understand it with ease?
Can't thank my lucky stars enough that a site like this actually exists: it's a veritable compendium for ascending to godhood.
Hello LessWrong community,
I came to this site after having read Harper's Magazine article "Come With Us If You Want To Live" by LW member @swfrank (@vernvernvern and I have this in common!). I am 21 years old, and am a percussionist living in Omaha Nebraska.
The first rational thought I can recall occurred in Kearney, NE. I was about 8 years old, I was walking across a soccer pitch on my way home from school. I was singing a modern christian worship song, looking into the sky. As I stared into space, I realized how meaningless my words were. I was alone and I sang to no one (time seemed to slow, it was a surreal experience). I began questioning the existence of a watchful god (this was a hard thing to do in my highly christian family). After that I struggled to involve myself in worship. This was a cornerstone event for me, leading to a more rational way of life.
I am now a junior at University of Nebraska at Omaha working toward a percussion performance degree. My diet consists of about 60% Soylent. I look forward to the connections I will make on LessWrong.
I have compiled some individuals who have played a large role in my rationality and progress: Bjork (musician), Omar Rodriguez Lopez (of The Mars Volta), Stanley Kubrick, C.S. Lewis, Ralph Ellison, Friedrich Nietzsche, George Orwell, Ludwig Van Beethoven, György Ligeti (composer), David Lang (composer), Elon Musk, and Steven Schick (percussionist).
I'm Matt, 32, Living in Los Angeles. I first read Less Wrong sometime in 2012, and attended the CFAR Workshop in February 2014, and finally now am getting around to signing up an account, because while i am not as wrong as I used to be, I'm still mostly wrong much of the time, but I'm working on fixing that. Sometimes I make overly complicated jokes that misuse mathmatical language, because I'm a programmer, not a mathematician. Sometimes I host rationalist rap battles, which in practice are a bit more like ratioanlist group hugs than the thing you saw in 8 mile. I'm an atheist who will gladly debate educated theists. I like board games and short walks on the beach. I'm @matt2000 on twitter.
Hi I'm Harsh Gupta I'm an undergraduate student studying Mathematics and Computing at IIT Kharagpur, India. I became interested in Rationality when I came across the wikipedia article for Conformational Bias around 2 years ago. That was pretty intriguing, I searched more and read Dan Ariely's book Predictably Irrational. Then also read his other book Upside of Irrationality and now I'm reading hpmor and Khaneman's Thinking Fast and Slow. I also read The Art of Startegy around the same time as Arliey's book and that was a life changer too. The basic background of Game Theory that I got from The Art of Startegy helped me learn to analyze complex real life situation from mathematical perspective. I came to know about lesswrong from grwern.net, which was suggested by friend who is learning functional programming. I want to get more involved with the community and I would like to contribute some articles in future. BTW is there any community todo list?
Hello all. My name's Tom and I'm a second-year undergraduate mathematics student in Adelaide, Australia. I rediscovered LessWrong a few months back after a conversation with friends about charitable donations where I referenced a post here about effective altruism. I had previously read only a few of the Sequences posts, having been directed here by Eliezer's fanfiction, but since signing up I've made my way through about 80% of the major sequences.
If anyone has any questions about my background or interests, please feel free to ask.
I'm currently attempting to read through the MIRI research guide in order to contribute to one of the open problems. Starting from Basics. I'm emulating many of Nate's techniques. I'll post reviews of material in the research guide at lesswrong as I work through it.
I'm mostly posting here now just to note this. I can be terse at times.
See you there.
I am brand new to this site and really to the topic of rationality in general. A friend recommended HPMOR to me a few months ago and I loved it. I then read Cialdini's 'Influence' on recommendation from these forums, and I am now reading Rationality: from AI to Zombies.
My background is in science, having studied oceanography at university, graduating about ten years ago. I am currently thinking about training as a science teacher. I look forward to becoming better acquainted with this topic, and being involved in the discussions.
I'm a long-time lurker of this site, but I haven't posted anything before. I've read all the sequences twice over the past few years, along with almost all non-sequence posts. The list of all posts was really not in an obvious location, but I eventually managed to find it!
So I'm new to the idea of actually communicating with people over the internet; I've never actually been a member of any forum before. Though I have a Reddit account, I've only made about ten posts in the year that I've been there. It's really weird; I often find myself think... (read more)
I've been following EY and LW for about four years now. I'm fairly new to posting though. I started out as a "republican" in elementary school, then turned into a "libertarian" in high school because I didn't care for many conservative positions. Then an "objectivist" in college, because I didn't care for the fact that libertarianism only extended to politics and not ethics. Then I became frustrated with the Objectivist community and their inability to adapt to the real world so I became a "all the people I've met... (read more)
I am have been a Less Wrong user with an anonymous account since the Overcoming Bias days. I decided to create this new account using my real name.
We'd love to know who you are:
What you're doing:
What you value:
How you came to identify as an aspiring rationalist
Hey everyone! I'm a longtime lurker but I've never gotten around to making an account before now. I think my introduction to this site was actually someone linking to the Baby-Eating Aliens story a few years ago, which I guess isn't a common way to find this site. I've since read all of the sequences twice, and most of the other posts. Recent (unfounded, I hope) discussion about the site dying have made me finally get an account.
I'm a physics PhD student working in biophysics and computer simulations, and I also read philosophy and psychology in my free t... (read more)
New to this site... Have studied very little about logic and philosophy starting with some big famous papers that talk about how we know nothing for certain (thanks, Descartes), going through whether All Ravens are Black, studying the Perfect Island argument, learning about Famine, Affluence, and Morality, and ending somewhere along the lines of whether justified true belief is knowledge. That is to say, I'm not that educated on logic or rationality, but entertaining ideas is a great hobby of mine.
I came to Less Wrong because I found it on Harry Potter MO... (read more)
A Challenger Has Arrived! Hello, yes, I'd like to announce that I am successfully existing for the first time in forever. I've been a lurker for quite some time, and have finished Eliezer's book. As I've stepped up my studies and plan to continue doing so, I've decided that scouting for a party to join would be wise.
Right now I'm finalizing my grasp of Rationality: From A.I. to Zombies, and organizing some notes I have on my personal struggle with willpower depletion. I would really appreciate if anyone knows of any site-external sources I could devour,... (read more)
Introduction comment, as requested.
I've been coming back to this site over and over again, for one or two years now I would say, for any number of topics, and today it dawned on me that there's something great about this site, the community / comments, and material, and that - maybe - I would like to become a part of it.
One email confirmation later, and the goal is achieved in its entirety.
EDIT: One minor technical question... the comment system seems to be more or less a straight port from reddit, correct? But, unlike reddit, comment score starts at 0, it seems. Or did my other comment immediately receive a negative vote, seconds after going live?
My name is Kabelo Moiloa, and I graduated from the Anglo-American School of Moscow three weeks ago. My deep interests are math, computer science and physics, in fact I might consider doing a series of posts here on Homotopy Type Theory, since I've been going through the HoTT Book. I first came to this website likely four years ago, so I don't remember well how it was. As I recall, I came here soon after I deconverted from Catholicism, and have found the discussions and content here fascinating ever since. For example, although I had already ... (read more)
I'm a recently graduated aerospace engineer. First came upon LW via HPMOR a couple years ago, been through the Sequences once since then, currently going through Rationality: A to Z mostly as a refresher.
Gravitated toward aerospace as a sort of proto existential risk mitigation effort, but having spoken with Nick Beckstead via 80,000 hours and comparing the potential of various fields to mitigate X-Risk within the next ~100 years which resulted in my discounting space development relative to other fields, currently more open to other avenues.
Very in... (read more)
Hi All, I live at the LW Boston house, the Citadel. My undergrad and grad was in Biology, and I am switching into programming. I am interested in psychology and cognitive biases. I value self-improvement and continuous learning. I recently started blogging at https://evolvingwithtechnology.wordpress.com.
I just registered and I don't quite know how this works, but the HPMOR Wrap Party Organizers Handbook said to post here, and so here I am.
Venue: Griffith Observatory front lawn
2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Date/Time: March 14, 2015: 6:00pm
Cost: Free access to the complex, planetarium shows are $7
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1585754024996915/
Contact email: ladyastralis at gmail youknowtherest
Please bring: A (picnic) blanket, some snacks/food, some way to read HPMOR that has its own light source (I called ... (read more)
Dear All (or whatever is the appropriate way to address the community here),
Reading Star Slate Codex kindled my interest in this community. I do not (yet) consider myself a Rationalist, largely because I don't put a disproportionately high value on the truth value of statements as opposed to their other uses, but I might be something sort of a fellow traveller because I think we have one thing in common: curiosity and the desire to investigate and analyze everything.
About me: not actually Dutch (although European, never been to the USA), my nickname is a b... (read more)
Hi! Lesswrong first came to my attention when I read HPMOR. I took a 2-year course in Knowledge and Inquiry - which includes critical thinking and epistemology (also includes philosophy of science). I was a Christian but reading some articles on Lesswrong and reading counter-arguments to Christianity convinced me otherwise (trying to reduce confirmation bias and trying to falsify the belief of Christianity).
Pardon me for taking this opportunity to express one concern I've had for more than a year. I'm a college student and I am concerned that I am not sma... (read more)
Hello everyone – I’m a new member of LessWrong. I consider myself to be a rationalist and humanist. I’m interested in applying rational analysis to help the general public understand complex problems. To help achieve this goal, I’ve been working on a wiki-style website to explain the key nuances of various controversial issues.
The concept is designed to provide meaning and clarity to a wide variety of complex issues, rather than simply enumerating the facts as Wikipedia already does decently well.
I’m wondering if: 1) Anyone in the LessWrong community has thought about something like this; and 2) If there is any interest in learning more about this project
Newcomer, mathematician by species; freethinker, secularist and rationalist by nature. Abrasive and irreverent, if I haven't annoyed off at least five pompous people in any given day, it's a day utterly wasted.
I'm Sam, 22. Lurked here for two years after first stumbling upon the Sequences. Since then, I've been trying to curb inaccurate or dishonest thought patterns or behaviors I've noticed about myself, and am trying to live my life more optimally. I'm making an account to try to hold myself more accountable.
I joined a while ago but don't think I ever posted here. I'd lurked for quite some time here and at various blogs a degree or so separation away since before that. I've mostly link-hopped my way around the sequences and various pieces of fiction and followed folks on facebook and recently realized we had a local LW meetup. I'm happy to answer any questions about me, but never really know what kind of information would be relevant to put in an introductory post, so instead I thought I'd make a proposal instead:
I've seen (for a while) a lot of activity... (read more)
Hi, I'm new here. I find this site while looking for information about A.I. I read a few articles and couldn't help but smile to myself and think 'wasn't this what to the Internet was suppose to be. I had no idea this site existed and I'm honestly glad to have found stacks of future reading, you know that feeling. I never really post on sites and would have usually have lurked myself silly but I've been promted into action by a question. I posted this to reddit in the shower thoughts section because it seemed appropriate but I'd like to ask you (more).
I ... (read more)
I love teaching, especially interacting with my students and their thinking, and I love philosophy, especially ethics. Understandably, I'm a philosophy teacher. I also enjoy politics, history, biology and the great outdoors.
I'm not exactly new: I discovered this at around time HPMOR started (wow 3 years ago). I've always liked thinking about how thought works; Hofstadter's GEB was a big influence. I've started the sequences several times, but never seem to finish. So I'm actually registering to see if that helps motivate me to read them all.
I'm Xavier, a 20 year old student from France. I've known about this site for a while. A week ago, I finally decided to start digging into the sequences for some useful insights. I'm interested in various topics such as philosophy, futurology, history and science. However, I'm almost certain my understanding of the world is seriously lacking compared to the average poster here. For example, I have no STEM background at all aside from the most basic knowledge, which is likely to become a problem in the future.
I've been obsessed with the idea ... (read more)
My name is Tim Cohen and I wanted to say hello! I am new to lesswrong and I am excited to be here.
Hi. I'm a long time lurker (a few years now), and I finally joined so that I could participate in the community and the discussions. This was borne partly out of a sense that I'm at a place in my life where I could really benefit from this community (and it could benefit from me), and partly out of a specific interest in some of the things that have been posted recently: the MIRI technical research agenda.
In particular, once I've had more time to digest it, I want to post comments and questions about Reasoning Under Logical Uncertainty.
More about me: I'm... (read more)
Hello. I am new to this site as well. My background includes physics, mathematics, and philosophy at graduate level, which I am studying now.
I do not identify myself as a "rationalist", but that does not mean that I may not be a rationalist or that I am not trying to follow some of the advice that is given here to be a rationalist. I discovered LW after reading the story "Three Worlds Collide", which I discovered thanks to tvtropes.org. Lately I have been thinking and writing a lot about my own goals, and when I took a look around LW I ... (read more)
My name is Fox, and I am an actor and magician...well...In actuality, I guess those are both the same thing. I know how you all love concision, so I'll try again... ahem
My name is Fox, and I am a liar. Empathetic to a fault, highly spiritual, and emotionally driven--still an emo boy at heart--I live as far from consciously as it gets. My main passions are girls, music, and service to others. Core values are: love, kindness, beauty, passion, immersion, and evolution.
For the past year I have studied and practiced magick. It is very real ... (read more)
I am a long-time lurker and reader of LessWrong, and I have finally worked myself up to making an account and writing some comments. I am looking forward to participating in the discussions more, and hopefully writing some posts and contributing to the thought-bank here. So far, LessWrong have been a great resource for me, helping me to get a sturdier basis for my ideological framework, and exposing me to some good new ideas to think about.
For a little bit about myself: I am 29 years old, Russian, bachelors’ degree in Chemistry and Math and... (read more)
I do economics, working on an interesting problem that might involve computer logic and recursion, but I am not a computer logic and recursion man. Thought to write a series of articles on economics aimed at building up to my current confusion, then thought to post them somewhere, would be convenient if audience with some knowledge of computer logic and recursion...
~12 articles in, should be fun....
Hello, everybody, and happy belated solstice.
I used to post here from a different account until some time ago, then I decided it was not anonymous enough (also, the username was quite silly) so I deleted it. Here I am again, but this time I'll be more careful about privacy.
BTW, the only reason for the underscores in my username is that the software won't let me use spaces, so don't bother with them. Also, in case you need to refer to me with a gendered pronoun, I'm a "he".
I'm new to the site. I'm a grad student with a science background hoping to learn more about rationality and science. I've read posts on LW for quite some time (~ 3 years). I'm an atheist and a skeptic with some knowledge about theoretical physics.
See you around! ~dajoker
My name is Mikhail, and I have been lurking on LW for a several months, mostly reading sequences. I have discovered this site after reading HPMoR, as no doubt many had.
I'm a practitioner of GTD, and I am looking for
supplementing understood low-level practices of performing things with metaalgorithms for decision making and planning
improving tactics / learning tricks for handling low-level tasks which don't come naturally to me (such as learning languages), and hence cannot be efficiently done by regular planning / execution process
A bit of pe... (read more)
Hi. I've been lurking here for a couple of months, reading up on some of the sequences and so forth, I made an account because I wanted to post a few things on the discussion board. Mainly to do with why I'm pretty convinced that immortality is already a thing, and how that has badly damaged my belief in a utilitarian system of ethics. Finally, I wanted to ask about something to do with FAI; essentially, why wouldn't X work. I'm curious to see how FAI will reveal itself to be more fiendish than I already thought.
Hello, everyone! I've been lurking for about a year and I've finally overcome the anxiety I encounter whenever I contemplate posting. More accurately, I'm experiencing enough influences at this very moment to feel pulled strongly to comment.
I've just tumbled to the fact that I may have an instinctive compulsion against the sort of signalling that's often discussed here and by Robin Hanson. In the last several hours alone I've gone far out of my way to avoid signalling membership in an ingroup or adherence to a specific cohort. Is this sort of compulsion co... (read more)
My name is Tommi, and I'm a 34-years old Finn living in Berlin at the moment. I work as a freelance developer, focusing on the Unity development environment, making educational games, regular games, virtual art galleries, etc. for an hourly fee (so that's the skill set I bring into the community). I found Less Wrong some years ago via HPMOR (I forget how I found HPMOR). I've read it occasionally, but over the last year or so I've been slowly gravitating towards it, and decided now to make the effort to try on this community.
I've always valued reason ... (read more)
Hello, I'm new to LessWrong. I was hoping someone could help me with a technical problem I'm having. I posted this same problem on the open thread under the discussion page, but I thought I'd be more likely to get a response here. It's to do with the LessWrong wiki. I made an account called Tryagainslowly on it; it wouldn't let me use my LessWrong account, instead making me register for the wiki independently. I wanted to post in the discussion for the wiki page entitled "Rationality". The discussion page didn't have anything posted in it. I wrot... (read more)
Hello to all, although I am quite new to this site I have been exploring it ever since I first found it. I am an undergraduate mathematics and physics student with the goal to get a PhD in mathematics with a specialization in game theory and/or decision theory. Throughout my schooling I have constantly been bored with the lackluster mathematics that have been shoved in my face so consequently I have constantly been doing extra studying and research on my own. During one of my information binges I came across what is known as 'timeless decision theory' that... (read more)
Hello, I am Connor (18) from Victoria, Australia. I have been at LW a few times before but usually only as a brief look after being drawn into it from a link. As of today, I have decided to actually stay and properly look into it all (The Sequences, discussions, etc) and learn.
I am a student learning economics and business management. I mostly got interested in rationalism because of two fundamental reasons. Firstly through my upbringing and in extension personality, where my father taught me to be highly sceptical of assumptions (Ironically, he himself is... (read more)
Hi there everyone, happy mid-winter festive period.
I'm V (not from the film), 33, and living in the wilds of the UK, for now. I became very sick when I was 16 and essentially slept through my late teens and 20s so I'm playing catch up with a vengeance. I found the site through a friend and I've been a (silent, shadowy) member for a while but hadn't been able to carve out the time to get through the sequences, until now.
I'm a final year Applied Maths and Computer Science student but I'm also really interested in cognitive science, rationality, philosophy an... (read more)
Hi! I am socially retarded... There are many things the standard human was born with the capacity to grasp that I never can. The word "autism" appears to me to be being thrown around a lot lately, mostly as a meaningless word used to convey that one thinks another is simply not normal but when I first noticed how heavily users on the internet threw around the word two years ago I identified as such for a bit to make conversation more expedient. I am able to comprehend metaphors and similes and such for some reason, but things such as having the c... (read more)
Hello folks! I'm new to your site here and still trying to get my bearings. :) The navigation is pretty nonstandard, hence somewhat confusing to me. I found this website from a link my friend posted on a Facebook discussion we had. Since then I've got one question that keeps bugging me, so I decided to ask it here. As I understand, this thread (is this the equivalent of a forum thread?) is a good place to do it. :)
The question is this: I've got a theory which seems (to me) so simple and obvious and able to explain all human behavior that I'm surprised that... (read more)
Short introduction to navigation: Clicking the "Discussion" link at the top of the page will show you (most of) the new articles. If you write comments there, you are most likely to receive replies.
If there is something called "Open Thread", that pretty much means: feel free to ask or say anything (as long as it is at least somewhat relevant to this website, but even that is not always necessary). Also, posting in the most recent open thread will give you more visitors and thus more replies than posting in a three months old article. As of today, the most recent open thread is here, but tomorrow a new one will be started, and it may be strategic to wait.
Well, if you put it this way, it is almost impossible to find a counterexample, because for literally any situation where "a person X did Y", you can say "that's because X somehow believed Y will bring them most pleasure / least pain", and even if I say "but in this specific situation that doesn't make any sense", you can say &q... (read more)
Thank you for this article. I'm finding it still difficult to navigate the site in terms of comments and posts. Would it be possible to edit some more explanation in the "site mechanics" portion of this article to include an explanation of what open threads are and how to use them?
LW came to my attention not so long ago, and I've been commited to reading it since that moment about a month ago. I am a 20-year old linguist from Moscow, finishing my bachelor's. Due to my age, I've been pondering with usual questions of life for the past few years, searching for my path, my philosophy, essentially, a best way to live for me.
I studied a lot of religions, philosophies, and they all seemed really flat, essentially because of the reasons stated in some articles here. I came close to something resembling a nice way to live... (read more)
I am new to the community, but I have read through the most part of the major sequences before I registered. I found this site by reading Eliezer´s Harry Potter fanfic hpmor. It was really good by the way. I am happy to learn about biases and how to overcome them and how to optimize certain things.
I am fairly intelligent and I am a VERY philosophical person.
Hello everyone, first post. My education level is Associate's. My special skills include mathematics and reading comprehension.
I come to this website, because as I look at the rationalist techniques I can't think to myself, "This is a skill that would be beneficial to learn." I have done some preliminary reading of some of the posts here and find that while a lot of it is rather chewy (that is, taking extra time to process mentally), it is genuinely enjoyable to peruse and be made to think.
I have a question. Considering that I am religious,... (read more)
Hello all, I'm new to this site. I've stumbled across this website a few times, and have been interested in its implications on philosophy. I am here in a position of scepticism about the claims and projects this site wishes to advance. I suspect most of my posts in the recent future will be critiques of other things found on this website. I hope I make some friends, and not too many enemies.
Been looking for this for a few moments. I don't see much to expand on myself. I found out about LW when someone pointed me to the 1000-year old vampire post which I really liked.
And that's almost enough for now. I tried using the search but I didn't get the thing I wanted. All or fucking nothing I guess: What's the best way to ask a girl out?
"Best" means a lot of things that I'm naturally not aware of otherwise I wouldn't be asking this :) But true, I feel like there's a lot of things to account for in "best" that I might not be realis... (read more)
Hey guys, I'll ask something I've been thinking about here since I don't have the karma to make a thread yet:
Does slowing the population growth decrease existential risk?
With fewer people around it's less likely any of them will use dangerous technology, and thus more time to get the technology under control and make counter-measures.
If that's the case, then the next question is whether there are any effective ways of reducing population growth, like access to birth control for example.
Less people may slow down the progress of science, but not that much I'... (read more)
HI. Curt Doolittle. I follow LW via Feedly, but today someone asked me to comment on a LW article. I write analytic philosophy in epistemology (specifically truth), ethics, law, politics and science. I'm reasonably well known and easy to find on the web.
Here is my response to the recent post on Signaling by Outliers (Hipster analogy). You can use it as a test of worthiness.
All, Thank you for asking me to respond. I'll convert it from signaling (the author's criticism and somewhat humorous demonstration of signaling), from moral justification, to ... (read more)