tl,dr: Discuss utility of writing down a portfolio of bayesian evidence for/against your skills, and keeping it for personal reference.

Last night, I applied for the Write/Design Rationality Curriculum Position. I am the sort who sincerely needs the continuous requests to err on the side of applying to actually apply, and some part of me is still gobsmacked that I went ahead and did it. I do not regret applying in the smallest amount, because raising the sanity waterline is a dear little obsession of mine. At the moment, all that drive is going in circles for lack of clear direction. Although I feel supremely unqualified rationality-wise, I think this would be a fantastic opportunity to GET qualified and improve the world at the same time. By the time I finished the application I was much more confident in my own ability to be helpful.

But judging my application a net positive doesn't mean I can't analyze the heck out it.

I woke up this morning and realized that I'd listed a lot of conclusions about myself while barely even hinting at the evidence behind *why I thought those things*. That's something one shouldn't do on a regular job application, let alone when it's going to be read by professional rationality enthusiasts.

So I'm making an informal skills reference catalog for myself, because this needs to REALLY not happen with the next opportunity I sign up for. Like a resume, except focusing on quantity and bayesian evidence influencing your belief rather than what sort of self-presentation is most likely to get you hired. It differs significantly from a resume in that it should also include -negative- evidences against having certain skills, for evenness and self-honesty's sake. I suspect caching more evidence in a readily available format will be helpful for mitigating availability heuristic errors, and writing the reasoning process down instead of (only) resolving to keep a more accurate self-image in my head is useful because thoughts are slippery. [anecdote]I notice I get a lot more useful reasoning done when I write down my thoughts approximately as my inner monologue voices them. It prevents backtracking, as I can go back to quickly and confidently determine whether or not I've already thought of a point, and makes it substantially easier to notice when I've retro-actively edited a thought, either because I've contradicted myself or because I've literally gone back a few words/sentences to edit. [/anecdote]

I very nearly posted this as a lamenting comment on that page, but this idea seemed a little more discussion worthy and too tangential for a comment. So Huzzah for learning experiences! Is there anything amiss in my reasoning? Perhaps I also need to work in a heuristic of 'sleeping on it'.

New Comment
1 comment, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

Wow, this sounds impressive. I was worried that the SLC LWers wouldn't take their LW-ness seriously enough to build a community; but now I'm the one honestly realizing that I'm not (yet) involved enough in Taking Ideas Seriously. I haven't even read most of the Sequences, yet, for example. But I'm committing to reading every post in the Major Sequences by the end of March. And willing to take a bet on it too :)

But I digress - if you want to lead a SLC LW meetup, or help to, please, just volunteer something you can do at the next meetup.

... As or the content of the post, I think it's a great idea, but I don't know what there is to say about it.