Update: Discussion has moved on to a new thread.
After 61 chapters of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and 5 discussion threads with over 500 comments each, HPMOR discussion has graduated from the main page and moved into the Less Wrong discussion section (which seems like a more appropriate location). You can post all of your insights, speculation, and, well, discussion about Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter fanfic here.
Previous threads are available under the harry_potter tag on the main page (or: one, two, three, four, five); this and future threads will be found under the discussion section tag (since there is a separate tag system for the discussion section). See also the author page for (almost) all things HPMOR, and AdeleneDawner's Author's Notes archive for one thing that the author page is missing.
As a reminder, it's useful to indicate at the start of your comment which chapter you are commenting on. Time passes but your comment stays the same.
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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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.
Well. That settles it for me - Quirrel is based off Robin Hanson.
EDIT: It saddens me a little that this is my most-upvoted comment ever.
And Mad Eye is Bruce Schneier.
Harry missed an opportunity to do good with Lesath. He should have given him orders that would make him behave in a way that might make him happier. Like:
"Acquire friends. Acquire power. Acquire happiness. Try to publicly join a faction, if any will have you, so that you aren't a loner associated with the one Death Eater that even other Death Eaters repudiate, but are instead associated with respectable Slytherins. If Slytherins won't have you because you're worthless as an ally, try moving to Hufflepuff. Note that Neville was willing to defend you from bullies; make him and others like him like you. Publicly repudiate your mother if plausible."
And even more importantly:
"Do not ever try to act on my, the Dark Lord Harry's, behalf, or to help me, without explicit orders from me. Not if you're sure you'd be helping me greatly. Not if you're sure I'd approve afterwards. Not if you're among Death Eaters. Not even if you come face-to-face with your mother. Not if you think I ordered it but you can't be sure because I wasn't talking literally. Not if you get mailed orders from me and you know they're from me because they appear under your pillow while you're sleeping and everybody knows only I can do the impossible. Not ever. If I want you to do something, you'll know."
As it is, my story-pattern-matching is yelling that Harry is going to be exposed by Lesath trying to help him.
Dumbledore is an r-strategist.
He tells Harry to carry around a random object purely on the theory that "it is wiser to do than not", and he tells Blaise that it's important to have multiple plots going at once. His basic strategy is to try as many things as possible, in the hopes that a few of them will work.
Furthermore, he's in pretty much the ideal situation for r-strategy: a highly chaotic environment, and few to no direct rivals or real peers.
Has anybody unscrambled Harry's secret message?
(To avoid spoilers, please give your answer in rot13.)
On a slightly more serious note....
Flitwick: "Yes, Harry, what is the matter?"
Harry: "I have been instructed to deliver a message to you, Professor. "Silver on the tree"."
Flitwick: "I... see. May I ask who sends this message, Harry?
Flitwick:"...the Headmaster? Prof. McGonagall? Prof. Snape?"
Harry's inner Hufflepuff: Next time maybe let's not be so lazy with doing a few extra Caesar shifts, eh?
Chapter 63: The last chapter was very satisfying. I was afraid it might be something along the lines of "and then Harry went to Ravenclaw dorm and glanced at Hermione sadly and then when to bed, the end." Instead I got not one but TWO good Hermione scenes,as well as a nice resolution for literally every character. While I look forward to the next act, I think I can spend the next month in relative peace. So thank you.
One thing that's been concerning me is Harry's view of Hermione. I'm assuming/hoping that you intend to delve into this further, because idolizing someone to the degree that Harry does Hermione is not healthy. I had a friend/romantic-interest (who did not return my affections in that way) that I put on a pedestal. And unlike Hermione, she really HAD been dedicating her life to helping people. I looked at her as a beacon of hope for what humanity could be like. And she knew that's how I looked at her, and it was hella awkward and it (along with other factors) caused us to drift apart for a while.
By now I've successfully split my "beacon of human salvation" mental construct and the "replica of my friend" mental construct into two separate t... (read more)
There's a substantial fraction of the total people who know me who believe I'm a beacon of human salvation, and even though that's exactly who I try to be, it still weirds me out.
I just wanted to note that people take everything you write very seriously and tend to up vote everything. They only go berserk and punish you heavily if you contradict your earlier self from the sequences. Which is funny if you think about it, shouldn't they assume that your.more recent position is the better one?
Anycase, I've thought up of an experiment that might interest you. Try posting all your regular interaction, except the stuff where your represent SingInst or do sort-of-moderator-like stuff, with a sock puppet account for 3 months. I wonder how your experience of LW would change. It would give you some information about how your status influences how people treat you here. Or perhaps you may be better off not knowing...
Of course maybe you've already tried this - if so, can you tell us the results? With graphs if you have them. Mainly I like graphs, but if you don't want to you don't have to.
In regards to the nearly empty vial left in Bellatrix's cell:
Back when we first saw the flask, I remember there being confusion over the point of leaving something foreign behind what was supposed to be "the perfect crime." It definitely came in handy once they were found out, but it didn't make sense to leave it behind when there was a serious possibility that they could have gotten away with it. I was thinking about the arc the other day when it (belatedly) occurred to me just what Quirrell might have been thinking.
Just before this point, we are told that in the MOR-verse, a prisoner stays in Azkaban until their sentence is up, even if they die. For those with life sentences, their corpse stays there until they need the cell. Furthermore, snake!Quirrell confirms that she's alone, and thus is the only live prisoner in her particular area. Therefore, it would be reasonable to say that after Bellatrix died, the Aurors would stop frequenting that particular area until the next time someone who does "worse than murder" needs to be locked up. Even then, it's possible that there are other empty cells, or (more likely) that the guards dispose of the older corpses firs... (read more)
Ch. 63, writing as I read:
I wonder what's the Death Eaters' opinion of phoenixes. If they agree that they're a force for good, seeing one of them in Dumbledore's retinue should make them ask themselves a few questions (a generic problem whenever you put a public, physical moral compass in any world, really - it becomes much harder for the villains to delude themselves into thinking they're heroes). Perhaps they think they're just creepy, winged endorphine peddlers.
Cool that Hogwarts has invented onion routing seven years in advance. Although I don't think it's a big improvement in security when the three messengers are so close to each other, and so much more likely to (occasionally) conspire to piece together the connection.
For the couple of seconds I considered Harry's guess on LL, I brightened up considerably. I dearly hope you don't plan for the fic to finish before you get a chance to write Methods!Luna.
Lesath... you know, I always hate pathetic characters in fiction, they make me cringe whenever they show up and I smile when they disappear from the story, but Lesath made me realise that MoR didn't have a truly pathetic character, Neville having "leveled up" extremel... (read more)
It has only just occurred to me that the fact that Harry ultimately proved unable to forgive Quirrell for casting Avada Kedavra is kind of brilliant.
"Unforgivable curse". Or maybe TheOtherDave meant something else?
I thought the way chapter dealt with Hagrid was very appropriate. The fact is Hagrid wouldn't have much to add to the story and Harry wouldn't be able to interact with him well, but that fact IS a little sad. If Harry had been the POV character at the time we might have gotten a little sense of that sadness, but having us experience it through McGonnagal helps remind us that there are real social consequences to the way Harry thinks about things.
I understand, intellectually, why Harry is still working with Quirrel. It's not necessarily rational, but it makes sense for emotional reasons that I can buy. But the fact is there's only so far I can go along with this before the reader-character disconnect becomes too great. Yes, we have information Harry doesn't, but what started out as interesting irony is becoming really frustrating, to the point that I just won't be able to root for Harry if he continues down this path.
On a related note, if Harry is becoming increasingly hard I think the story will need alternate sources of the warmth and humor that defined it in the beginning, to help break up the sheer bleakness. On top of that, I'd already been hoping to see more chapters from the POV of Padme, Hermione and various other secondary characters. The small exchange between them in chapter 65 has me hoping we'll get some of that soon.
Congratulations, you just wrote "Moby Dick and the Methods of Rationality".
"I don't have much to gain from hanging out with Hagrid" and "I don't care about Hagrid's well-being" are radically different statements, and the former doesn't imply the latter.
Harry believes that he is unusually capable of improving the world. That means his time is valuable, and shutting up and multiplying suggests that he should avoid entanglements unless they are expected to improve his chances of success. Harry is acting cold but not evil.
In practical terms, though, he's in danger of losing his anchors to people - going cackling, to use Pratchett's term. He's failing to avoid being so sharp he cuts himself. He's smart, but he's eleven. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.
Agreed, and I move to adopt "cackling" as the official name for that failure mode.
"Harry doesn't value real friendship enough" is a legitimate concern. But the solution is not "be friends with Ron and Hagrid and the other people that canon-Harry liked." The solution is to make better friends with Padme and Anthony and Blaise and Neville and various other people who actually share interests with him. (I'd also like to see some chapters that showcased him actually hanging out with the Weasely twins instead of referring to other times when they hung out. If Harry feels bad about teasing Neville I'm not sure what kind of pranks they pull that he doesn't feel bad about).
Would it benefit Harry to try and be friends with people who aren't interesting to him from the get-go? Well, yeah. But seriously, that's a lot of work. Just making friends with people you start off liking can be a lot of work.
Now, right now none of that is even really an option, because the whole point is that Harry feels incredibly isolated. He isn't sure he can trust Dumbledore, he's pretty sure he can't trust Quirrel about most things, he doesn't want to burden his existing friends with the stuff he's going through, on top of it simply not being safe to tell anyone. And he doesn't want to risk getting close to new people right now because it wouldn't be safe for them either.
Which is exactly where Quirrel wants him. And that's bad, and he needs to get out of this situation. But if you were up against Quirrel, you'd probably be exactly where he wanted you to be too.
If I think of Harry as a real person in a real situation, I basically agree with you.
Indeed, I asked the question a couple of months ago of whether the rational thing to do would be to stop Harry then, before it was too late, though I had a different mechanism for his corruption in mind. Mechanism aside, it was pretty clear at that point that he had placed himself firmly on the isolate's path; we're just reading about his first stumbling steps on that path now.
But the thing is, Harry is the main character in a rationalist bildungsroman, and we've already seen that literary tropes have power in his world.
And given the author's stated-at-length beliefs about the relationship between rationality and moral behavior, I expect that -- whether it's true of the real world or not -- a constraining principle of this bildungsroman will be that a sufficiently powerful optimizer can preserve morality (in the human sense) given an adequate commitment to rationality, even in the absence of social entanglement.
And the related (and true in the real world) general principle that social entanglement works just as well to enforce immoral-but-conventional ideas as for moral ones (and is therefore u... (read more)
I'm sorry, but "Hagrid is lonely" is not a concern worth five seconds of thought when Harry could be working on getting rid of dementors or Azkaban or Death Eaters or death.
Harry trusts Quirrell less now than ever before, and he spent much of the chapter before this one rhapsodizing about Hermione's exceptional moral behavior, which definitely sounds to me like it could be his something to protect.
Anything evil? I'm still a little dubious of Harry's judgment of late (though it seems to be recovering), but I'm really surprised you're worried about his intentions.
Pish posh. That's what Harry tells himself, but what do his actions say? He's doubled down in favor of Quirrell. His self-reported unease is meaningless because the stakes are on the table and Quirrell is setting up the next round. Harry's resistance to bailing on one of his plans is proportional to the difficulty faced, and so next time around he will be even more in Quirrell's camp then he is now.
I'm worried about his intentions because they suggest his morality is ill-tuned to the problems he faces. They will allow him to excuse himself all the way down to the bottom.
Is it really elitist to not make friends with people you don't like (Ron) or people you might not have time for (Hagrid)? I never befriended any of the janitors at any of my schools (have you?), even if they might have really enjoyed my friendship, and I don't consider myself elitist for that.
I think the term "Dark Lord" is suffering from Sword of Good symptom. If "losing" means deciding to make the world a better place, eliminating Azkaban and/or death, and preventing future atrocities then I'm all for this sort of loss. Call it "becoming a Dark Lord" if you want, it's much better than any alternative.
I suggest that the clock that Dumbledore gave to Trelawney contains at least one recording spell, to make sure that if she has another prophesy, Dumbledore will find out about it.
I further submit that he has placed similar spells on various objects of hers, so that he as this assurance even when she isn't near the clock.
Warning, big swath of text coming through.
I've recently been rereading the story from the beginning. By now the whole thing has a bit of a halo effect and judging things without bias is getting tricky. So kudos on accomplishing that... but there are a few issues that I think harm the piece overall. They didn't hurt my enjoyment of it, but they end up limiting it to a smaller audience. There's a lot of smart people who would love this fic if there weren't certain things that turned them off to it.
The main problem is that Harry too absurdly intelligent to believable at first glance. In the first few chapters people tend to assume that the "primary change" is simply that Petunia married someone different, which isn't enough to justify him not only being saner but being genuinely smarter than the original Harry was. My sister was particularly annoyed by this. I'm not sure how much of that had do with her reading it before you updated the intro-text to say "multiple points of departure." But by now she's internalized Harry as a creepily overintelligent jerk and I can't get her to give it a second chance, despite the clues you've dropped more recently about why he is ... (read more)
On first reading of Ch.1, I got the impression that Harry was giving too much credit to the possibility of magic being real, since the prior must be such that even taking the effort to make the test would be incorrect. But now it's blatantly obvious that the whole cognitive distortion event was caused by magic!
(Notice a reference to belief in belief, distinguishing true anticipation.)
The probability of magic is still vanishingly vanishingly low, but given how useful magic would be it might still be worth Harry's time to test for it.
I hereby dub this class of argument Pascal's Muggle
A prominent academic receiving a letter that claims the existence of magic is less strong evidence than an elementary school aged kid receiving such a letter. In the absence of real magic, a prominent academic is quite likely to receive such letters from crackpots, whereas an elementary school aged kid is not.
As far as simply testing the nature of reality, I'd still say no. However, Harry cares about his mother and wants his parents to stop fighting. This is what justifies the test, IMO.
I wonder how long a ritual can last. If it was started ten years ago but never finished, would that be a loophole?
Ch. 62-63: I think I found a plot hole. Not as big as the one with eagles in LOTR, but close.
Why didn't anyone ask Harry to drop his occlumency shields and check his memories? There are three people who can propose it:
1) Dumbledore: should have done it immediately upon picking up Harry in Mary's Place, because he still suspected him then. Also the Animagus potion isn't evidence that Harry is innocent, why does everyone think it is?
2) Snape: knows about the existence of the covert message-passing network, knows about the Time-Turners given to students, knows about McGonagall's woefully inadequate method of testing Harry's Time-Turner (just giving Harry a tricky task instead of confiscating the device and checking it), knows Harry had a motive for the crime. A natural first step would be to read the minds of all students with Time-Turners to see if they conveyed suspicious messages on that time/day. He may even stumble upon that accidentally while reading students' minds later.
3) Moody: an order of magnitude smarter and more paranoid than Dumbledore. Should suggest inspecting Harry's memories immediately upon learning the details of the story, e.g. the use of Muggle artifacts in the jailbreak.
Final note: unlike the Time-Turner test, this one can be carried out at any later time unless Harry Obliviates himself or something. It took me three days to get the idea, in-universe characters should be smarter and more motivated than me, so I give them three days of story time and then I will officially declare them stupid.
The obvious test I noticed they failed to perform involves Dumbledore asking Harry to summon his patronus.
Ch 62. Holy crap! Dumbledore killed Narcissa in response to the kidnapping and murder of Aberforth?! That doesn't sound right. For one thing, how can he still own the Bird of Good, then?
Should Harry believe what Quirrell told him about the destination of the Portkey?
And where did the Portkey lead to before Quirrell tapped it with his wand?
Nobody trusts anyone to be perfectly honest. In my view, the best time to lie is once you've built up a misleading reputation for being bad at lying.
Thinking about ch63 (which is among my favorite chapters to read so far)...
I am, of course, curious to see what the implications are of Harry's formally declaring opposition to Death.
But more than that, I am curious about the implications of his epistemology.
Ultimately Harry breaks his connection to Quirrell because he realizes Quirrell can maintain a surface appearance that is radically distinct from his deep structure, and consequently Harry can't know what Quirrell "truly" is. As distinct from, say, Hermione or Draco, who (Harry believes) can be read on the surface.
That seems to suggest that Harry has entirely given up on the idea of judging people by what they do... at least, when it comes to Quirrell.
Well, and Hermione. After all, this is precisely Harry's criticism of Fawkes: Fawkes only judges her based on what she has done, rather than on "the notion of there being something that a person is".
Now, in the real world, I know a lot of people who have more or less this attitude; who judge people based on their apprehension of some kind of core self, and believe that core is what really matters, and that judgments based on people's actions are inadequate by comparison. But those people don't describe themselves as rationalists. Indeed, most of them talk about that "core self" in language that soi-disant rationalists dismiss out of hand. Presumably Harry isn't going that route.
I will be interested to see what route he goes instead.
Granting immortality is not the same as preventing suffering. Maximizing life span may in fact maximize the opportunities for suffering.
Future suffering or death must be discounted to provide a present value. It is more valuable to save a life now than to save a life a year from now, all else being equal.
Harry would also have to consider opportunity costs and the likelihood of success. He knows that dementors can be killed now. Finding an acceptable magical approach to immortality is less certain, and may actually take more time to develop than a non-magical approach. Harry's optimal approach may be to kill dementors now, research the nature of magic, and to wait for muggle science to find immortality.
62: Huh, somehow (nearly?) everyone who speculated how Harry would get out of that one forgot that they hand out time machines to children so they can attend more classes.
Including Dumbledore and Snape and McGonnagal! Who really should know better. They speculate that Harry was forced to use his Time-Turner for the Dark Lord, but they don't even think to check up on all the other children who have one? For shame.
I think the missing insight was that there were students who would be willing to convey messages back in time with no explanation and keep their mouths shut.
Harry picked up the message in the empty class room while invisible, decoded it and told Flitwick the message. He was already waiting there because Quirrel had anticipated that he would be subjected to a test of this sort. It's all in the chapter.
That is an oddity. However, note that they don't have computers, and setting up a schedule properly for everyone who's signed up for whatever classes seems like it might well be incredibly difficult without same. It could be that someone saw this and said 'F* it, just give them time machines.' That would certainly fit with the level of sense shown so far in magical Britain.
I now declare this MoR!canon.
The rules are not that simple. School timetabling is NP-hard and even stimulated annealing is unlikely to get it completely correct.
I should probably have been clearer: the reason classes are often scheduled at the same time is because it's impossible not to. You have some amount of staff, each of whom have to teach some amount of lower level and/or elective classes, and then you have a couple hundred students each of whom pick 5-7 (or whatever it is, I haven't read the books recently) electives in whatever combination most appeals to them. The chances of not having a collision anywhere in the whole timetable are pretty damn low. Non-magical schools deal with collisions by forcing students with unpopular combinations to change one of their options (which is what my school did), or by offering a an extra class during lunch or outside regular school hours (which I've heard of other schools doing)
Harry has decided, I'm sure correctly, that Quirrell's ability to flawlessly adopt any persona and simulate any intention for long stretches of time while simultaneously furthering his own (true) goals makes him impossible to trust. But if Harry buys into Quirrell's claims, Harry is equally capable of perpetual, undetectable duplicity and therefore equally unworthy of trust. And if he believes that's the case, it's just going to isolate him further, since he'll conclude that anyone who wants to be his friend is either irrational or overlooking the factors that make him an untrustworthy person. So Quirrell may have just convinced Harry that literally all of his relationships, present or future, are tantamount to a sort of deception. Good job!
Oddly enough, salvation here might come from Draco, with his arguments that influence/manipulation/persuasion is, far from being evil, actually a good thing and you can't have healthy relationships without it.
I am very interested in what the effect of magics to nullify "opposite reaction science" will be. Biochemistry cannot work in such a regime, and unless the witch actively puts in something to account for this, you're going to get a lot of dead Aurors and prisoners; although I suppose they'll learn this as they experiment with the jinx. Even if it does work in the sense of not instantly killing everyone in the area of effect, there will be much weirdness; whatever humans expect when they start to consciously think about physics, our reflexes have to be tuned for Newtonian mechanics. I will look forward to seeing how plausibly weird this can get.
On another note, I wonder if we can create a repository of links to other Internet discussion of the fic? I'll start with this thread on Orson Scott Card's discussion site.
Should we maybe add a prominent note to the prior threads that current discussion is here? New users who aren't aware of the discussion sections may have trouble locating the new thread.
I was bothered by the irrationality preceding the whole prison sequence. Harry thinks of himself as one of the first people able to adequately investigate an entire branch of previously unknown human capabilities. capabilities so powerful that they have the promise of significantly speeding up human progress toward nullifying existential threats and eliminating vast swaths of needless suffering. and then he puts himself in personal danger of death to save one innocent person.
now from a story telling perspective it was great. I even regard it as a worthy trade off since we got some choice anti-democracy bits out of it.
In his author's notes, Eliezer said that MoR was the 5th or 6th most reviewed HP fanfic (or something like that). How does he know? Is there a list of top-reviewed fanfics somewhere?
An inconsistency (handing Harry an unnecessary Idiot Ball).
In Ch. 61, Harry uses the following as an impostor recognition precaution:
But in Ch. 12, Harry announced this fact publicly, thus making the weight of evidence of the correct response lower than... (read more)
I finally realized what all this slithering reminds me of! If you want to experience the same emotions as Harry and the other kids when they weave Slytherin-style plots, lying to X about Y and to Y about X, brilliantly escaping from detection... just try juggling two or three concurrent girlfriends or boyfriends.
Or if you want to do it in a way that isn't unethical, you can play Illuminati or Diplomacy or The "A Game of Thrones" Boardgame.
I'm actually rather curious as to what that would be like, specifically how difficult it would be to keep the intrigue from exploding. I'm actually thinking that these days Facebook would be most irritating hurdle.
Honest N-way relationships involve less plotting, lying, and escaping from detection than dishonest ones, which was my point. But, agreed, they still involve work.
Well, that was interesting.
I'm wondering whether the general opinion of Harry as dark is going to change as a result of a freaking phoenix following him around.
Incidentally, I've honestly got mixed feelings about this issue. Dumbledore is completely correct in his "it's not that simple" sentiment but Dementors are evil.
I'm actually wondering whether Wizards in general agree with Azkaban torture or if they just feel that Dementors have to be dealt with somehow. Since everyone 'knows' they're invulnerable, they decided to deal with them... (read more)
Were I involved in the decision-making, and assuming the Dementors are not just indestructible but also unimprisonable, unteleportable-to-the-surface-of-Jupiter, and so forth, I'd like to think I would present the following argument: "Right now, we can't defeat the Dementors, so we do best to negotiate some kind of agreement with them. We ought to continue researching a way to defeat them, and implement it when we find one. If we negotiate an agreement that we find convenient or easy to ignore, our odds of doing those things decrease, so Azkaban is a bad solution. I propose instead that we institute a lottery and feed the selected people to the volcano god -- um, I mean, the Dementors. I further propose that we do so publicly, and that the only exception we allow is for people who are actively and effectively working on solving the Dementor problem."
But I would expect to be voted down.
At which point I would be briefly tempted to "walk away from Omelas," but wouldn't follow through on it.
it's the same shoddy reasoning we see applied to nuclear waste.
"but the current containment will only last 1000 years!"
okay, reseal it every thousand.
Maybe I missed something here, but what reason does Harry have to be so certain that phoenices follow good people in the first place?
Given Dust Specks vs Torture, at what level of dis-utility to everyone else alive (adjusting both disutility-per-person and total-number-of-people-in-existence) should Harry's multiplications tell him to shut up and accept the torture in Azkaban as preferable to whatever inconveniences everyone else may suffer by implementing a less torturous prison system?
Well, for my own part I don't find the two arguments comparable, because they talk about different things.
Harry's situation, like real-world situations, is about expected utility calculations. He's asking the question: "given my best estimates of the probabilities of various outcomes to my actions, and of the utility of those outcomes, including my best estimates of my estimates being wrong, what actions provide the most expected utility?"
But DSvT isn't like that at all. If I Introduce imperfect information and human cognitive limitations to the dust-specks argument and the whole thing collapses... how do I know there's actually a choice between torture and lots of dust specks? How do I know how many dust specks there are? How likely is it that whoever gave me this information is lying? And so forth.
This isn't unique to the dust-specks argument. Any thought experiment that depends for its force on a really really big disutility, but which doesn't take into account the magnitude of the probability of that disutility or the associated expected disutility, is hard to translate into a world of imperfect information and human cognitive limitations, where probability and expec... (read more)
What were the two fanfics you recommended for their beauty?
Did Fawkes' "caw!" mean "yes" or "no"?
I interpreted it as meaning "no", then Harry says he's ... (read more)
I believe we should turn this over to RoosterTeeth.
"Fawkes, does caw mean yes?"
"Holy shit! He just said caw means yes. I speak phoenix!"
"Yeah, unless caw means no. In which case, he just said no, caw does not mean yes."
"What, no way. Hey Fawkes, am I right?"
62: The ending very nearly made me cry.
The LotR fanfic has a same basic theme as the MoR: Rationality leads to power and corruption. Both have an evil villain who is smarter, more rational, and more conventionally evil than the protagonists. LotR makes it more explicit: The ring makes you more rational, and this is synonymous with making you more evil.
But "corruption" is a word wielded by the less-smart. MoR portrays Voldemort with much more sympathy than any conventional fantasy would.
And we must remember that Eliezer's CEV depends on the supposition that there is no absolute mo... (read more)
See, I'd give 99:1 odds that he'd strongly disagree with this as well (as do I). Now, your position is that you must be one or the other (if you're to be coherent), but I hope you can admit of the possibility that Eliezer sees that as a false dichotomy. From your perspective, this makes his metaethics a hopeless muddle of absolutism and relativism, but this should give you different predictions about how MoR turns out than would the assumption that he's a standard moral relativist.
I hope we can at least agree on that much, before we turn to arguing anything else.
What's the policy/netiquette on fanfiction based on HPMoR?
I have a small story idea (not big, one chapter long) but I don't know how Eliezer feels about such things.
Chapter 65, HP on PQ: "I think maybe that's what he's getting wrong - that he's cynical about everything else, but not about cynicism itself."
Did anyone else remember this exchange?
I just noticed something that surprised me. In chapter 16 of MoR, you'll recall, Harry comes up with a long list of ways to use random things in the classroom for combat. One of them was to ram a wand into someone's eye socket.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, someone actually does attack someone by ramming a wand into their eye socket. The attacker is Neville Longbottom. (And as it happens he has pretty good reasons for doing it.)
So far as I am aware, no one in canon ever sharpens Hufflepuffs' bones to make weapons.
Margaret Bulstrode was being watched and/or later questioned, and Dumbledore just put Harry in jail.
A question: In canon, Dumbledore is satisfied with letting Harry go home to the Dursleys' in the summers because the magic that Lily imbued Harry with on the night of her death somehow extends to the home of her blood relatives. Shouldn't this effect happen in MoR as well? Assuming so, why is Dumbledore paranoid about allowing Harry to go home? Is it simply that canon!Dumbledore doesn't know about the ritual of the blood of the enemy?
Also, why isn't Hogwarts warded somehow against Portkeys? In canon, Voldemort gets Harry off for the blood of the enemy rit... (read more)
Is there any chance of moving the 5 older threads to the discussion section as well? That would make it easier to find them all by tag and unclutter the main section.
The first post-hiatus chapters are up.
Is there anyone around who has some money to throw around for anyone who'll write Tenga Toppa Gurren Rationality 40K? I'm afraid I don't at the moment and lack the skills/canon familiarity to do so myself. Fiddling with Ramna Reasoning 1/2 but can't find a good title.
Inspired by the omake:
A fragment from a lost folio of Hamlet.
Concur that that is the most amazing crossover I have ever imagined.
I'd really like to write a Buffy fic called "Once More, With Thinking" and have it focus on cooperative rationality, but I lack the skillset and have no idea how to plot it.
In some attacks it's okay to hold of on proposing solutions. In others, it's not. Presumably, there actually are some bad people in Azkaban, and not just, say, people responsible for an accidental death. Before Harry destroys the prison, he needs to think carefully about what is to become of these people.
What's required of a maximum security wizard prison? You clearly need to subdue any magical powers which would allow the prisoners to revolt or escape. At a minimum then, confiscate wands and put up anti-Disapparition charms. This might not be enough, as i... (read more)
Allow the worst prisoners to choose between Askaban, taking an unbreakable vow not to escape the normal prison and execution.
Is Harry already aware of the Horcrux's and the need for a servant to revive Voldermort? He seemed to completely ignore that bit of information when Dumbledore mentioned it to him.
I haven't read the books - is Minerva's incredible ignorance of the Muggle world here canonical?
Is Dumbledore obsessed with manipulating dramatic archetypes because he figured out that he's actually living in a work of fiction?
Is there any consistency in which works of speculative fiction exist in MoR (as works of speculative fiction) and which ones actually happened (in some warped way) in MoR?
I had vaguely formed the hypothesis that Harry has read only things that appeared before 1991, so that anything after that is fair game for shout-outs. But I never seriously tested that. Seeing Peter Pevensie in Ch 65 has ruled this out (which means that probably lots of things already ruled it out that I didn't notice or forgot).
So how does it work? If Peter Pevensie was a real person... (read more)
rot13ed because I am convinced I am correct and so this counts as a spoiler ;-)
It's pretty obvious to me that Santa Claus is fvevhf oynpx, nffhzvat gung "v'z abg frevbhf" zrnaf ur vfa'g va nmxnona.
Has this been discussed? It seems to fit, especially given the way things worked out in canon.
We don't know what he's like when he's stalking his prey. The guy is basically a serial killer who targets powerful wizards--even with Memory Charms, you can't pull that off without some level of restraint.
In the conversation with Hermione at the chapter's end, is Harry breaking his promise to Quirrell to "speak...in exactly the fashion you would speak if you knew nothing"?
Ch. 38 typo: Veritaseum -> Veritaserum
The website hosting MoR now has a popup with audio when you go to it, so it is now NSFW.
It bugs me that Harry instantly dismissed the idea that Voldemort was behind the Azkaban breakout, without considering the possibility that Voldemort might be in some way behind Quirrell.
Ironically, he lacks the necessary information that would falsely exonerate Quirrell (i.e, that the most direct Voldemort-centered plan would go directly to the ritual rather than to the healer).
Dumbledore refers to Moody's eye as the Eye of Vance, and says that 'if the Eye of Vance does not see a thing, it does not exist' (or some such). Does this mean that Eliezer has decided to go with the 'more specific artifact' reading of his dichotomy in an earlier AN? (Discussing the power of the Cloak, and how in canon Moody's eye can see through it.)
Also, is it significant that one of the Aurors in the response team is named Emmeline Vance?
The link at the top of the (newly edited) OP doesn't work; it goes to http://lesswrong.com/lw/364/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/r/discussion/tag/harry_potter/ but should go to http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/3rb/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/.
Since we're within 1% of 500 posts right now, and another two chapters were just posted, I think that someone who knows how/is authorized to create a new discussion thread should do so now.
I really can't wait until the next army fight, and I hope it's described rather than just alluded to. Be interesting to see whether the intuition of the others is correct that his mental upgrade will make him even better at mock battle, or whether his new focus will simply make him not care.
I love the unexplained references when I get them. :) The Princess Bride took me by surprise and made me lol. But I can't figure out what book/movie/whatever this is a reference to, any help?... (read more)
63: I suppose we should take Moody's not finding Voldemort's wand as evidence that their suspicion about moving the graveyard is correct, but they are wrong on not telling even Bellatrix? Or did Dumbledore already find the wand years earlier?
You know, I know it was just an omake, I could actually see Shirou using Unlimited Bayes Works in a serious fic. Reality Marbles derive from minds which are alien to the common sense of humanity, and as we all know, humans are anything but properly rational. Kiritsugu Emiya already told Shirou the basics of his moral system in canon; it wouldn't take too much more elaboration for Shirou to pick up "Magi are supposed to be rational about doing good" as well as "Sometimes, in order to save people, people have to die."
Then he'd just throw ... (read more)
Why does Harry not give Dumbledore any hints that Quirrell may be Voldemort, or at any rate is highly suspicious? Why does Harry not fear Quirrell more?
According to Half-Blood Prince, magic can't create "true love" - the closest thing to a "love potion" that exists in canon would more be described more accurately as an "obsession potion" or "stalker potion". Which means the throwaway line in chapter 63 about Belldandy and a love potion doesn't really make sense.
This passage bothers me because it implies that people have 'true' dispositions sometimes masked by external factors, rather than being a result of their brain activity at any given time.... (read more)
Chapter 63 is up.
The resolution of Harry's problem is good, except that we should have had Margaret Bulstrode's time turner hinted at. (Maybe it was, I should check, but I don't think that she's appeared before.)
And as soon as they burst into the Slytherin common room, Tracey Davis took a deep breath and shouted, "Everyone! Harry Potter couldn't cast the Patronus Charm and the Dementor almost ate him and Professor Quirrell saved him but then Potter was all evil until Granger brought him back with a kiss! It's true love for sure!"
It was ordered storytelling of a sort, Daphne supposed.
The news failed to produce the expected reaction. Most of the girls glanced over and then stayed in their couches, or the boys simply kept reading in their chairs.
"Yes," said Pansy sourly, from where she was sitting with Gregory's feet in her lap, leaning back and reading what seemed to be a coloring book, "Millicent already told us."
Thank you, I remember that now, although the name didn't stick with me. Excellent!
And you did say (in this chapter) that she used it for gossip, so I should have been reminded, even if I forgot the name.
ETA: Actually, we've got a name mismatch here. Ch 62 says ‘Margaret Bulstrode’ (twice), while your quotation says only ‘Millicent’. The Wikia says that ‘Millicent Bulstrode’ is correct, and also that she's in Harry's year (not a 4th year student as Ch 62 says).
So is Margaret actually Millicent's older sister (not from canon), and if so then why did she let little Millie get the credit for such a nice scoop?
Another Headmaster/Deputy Headmistress mixup in ch. 33:
Ch. 14. Still says "Deputy Headmaster" instead of "Headmistress".
somewhat unrelated question: I've been recommended the Shinji and Warhammer fanfic as another whose main point of departure is a removal of the idiot ball. Has anyone read a significant fraction of this fanfic and would you recommend it?
My brain's pattern-matching response to this: "If Harry's a stand-in for (young) Eliezer..."
How will harry solve the time travel problem?
The first step will be to use the last hour of the time turner, so he has an extra hour to break this law of magic, or otherwise transmit the message. Having an hour to figure this out should seem easy compared to the rest of the day, but:
The last step should be to also transmit to himself the rest of the plan. But if it were that easy we'd be robbed of listening to harry think. So I suspect there are more constraints here.
The time-turner could be (should've been!) tested without Harry's participation.
You must mean: for some reason that didn't look accidental at all.
A Death Eater sent to gather Harry's blood would work quite well, since it fits in and supports quite well any model of reality in which the prison break involved Voldemort and not Harry (the two options being complementary in Dumbledore's thinking).
But if an unrelated accident were to happen, all of the Order of the Phoenix would ask themselves "how high are the chances that Harry randomly ends up incapacitated during the exact evening in which he is to be put to a critical test of good behaviour?", answer "pretty damn low" and treat it as a 95% chance of guilt.
It appears there's an inconsistency in what the Sorting Hat says to Harry and what it does. In particular, the Hat claims to only have access to a rough statistical summary of prior students but then it remembers precisely what it said to McGonagall.