All of Adam Zerner's Comments + Replies

Something like an internship would be a large investment of time that doesn't feel like it's worth the possibility of finding a startup idea.

I guess talking to people makes sense. I was thinking at first that it'd require more context than a lunch meeting, more like a dozen hours, but on second thought you could probably at least get a sense of where the paths worth exploring more deeply are (and aren't) in a lunch meeting.

I've been in pursuit of a good startup idea lately. I went through a long list I had and deleted everything. None were good enough. Finding a good idea is really hard.

One way that I think about it is that a good idea has to be the intersection of a few things.

  • For me at least, I want to be able to fail fast. I want to be able to build and test it in a matter of weeks. I don't want to raise venture funding and spend 18 months testing an idea. This is pretty huge actually. If one idea takes 10 days to build and the other takes 10 weeks, well, the burden of
... (read more)
2ChristianKl5d
The solution is likely "talk to people". That could involve going to trade events or writing cold LinkedIn messages to ask people to eat lunch together. You might also do something like an internship where you are not paid but on the other hand, will also own the code that you are writing during that internship.

Hm yeah maybe Zvi's posts. Scotts Much More Than You Wanted To Know feel more like research to me whereas journalism is a bit more storytelling and opinion.

Ah, that's good to know about clicking on it. In retrospect I'm surprised I didn't realize that.

And that makes sense about being difficult to come up with a better option. I was thinking of having the comment appear in the middle of the screen to the left of the comment icon. That has the downside of being more intrusive. My sense is that the upsides outweigh the downsides, but I'm not particularly confident. I also think it makes sense to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good with this feature, especially wrt releasing fast and seeing what users think.

Very cool. Thanks for the response.

I am finding it somewhat difficult to work with. As I'm reading the post, scrolling down and first come across the comment icon, I hover over it. But at this point I'm scrolled down such that the comment icon is at the bottom right of the screen, which makes the text of the comment cut off. It's also covered by the Intercom button. So I have to scroll to see the text of the comment. But when I scroll my cursor is no longer over the comment icon, so the comment text disappears.

All of that just means that I have to scroll to the right position first and then... (read more)

2habryka9d
Yeah, I also find this kind of annoying. The "intended" way of using it is to click on the comment icon which "pins" the comment open and then you can do with your mouse whatever you want. We played around with a few different ways of leaving it open, but all of them had more frustrating interactions than the current one.
2MondSemmel10d
That sounds more like a bug [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/A33sgjYoM4Ko9viJv/lw-beta-feature-side-comments?commentId=pQNMoohb2wGhyw9zi] than like intended behavior.

This is very cool. Lining up with the text by matching blockquotes is very clever!

Yeah absolutely. I'm curious: how difficult was it to implement this feature? Utilizing blockquotes that way means you don't have to store side comments any differently really, so maybe it was easy to implement. Then again, things are never as easy as you'd initially expect.

8jimrandomh10d
You can see the PR here: https://github.com/ForumMagnum/ForumMagnum/pull/6023 [https://github.com/ForumMagnum/ForumMagnum/pull/6023]. Calendar-time from first starting on the first prototype to today was ~6 weeks; accounting for unrelated concurrent projects, I'd say I spent 3-4 FTE equivalent weeks on it. The biggest time sinks were HTML-token-stream wrangling to find matches, mark where to highlight, and so on, and UX details of the hoverable comments themselves. There's also a partially-implemented system in there for shifting things left (closing the ToC if necessary) to get a wider right margin and avoid scrolling, at certain screen widths, which might get deployed later.

It's interesting how people's responses can be so different here. I'm someone who gets pretty extreme anxiety from the x-risk stuff, at least when I'm not repressing those feelings.

Ah, that's a really great point about game selection and it totally escaped me! Thanks for mentioning it. Taking it further, nowadays people are moving away from holdem and towards games like PLO and Short Deck because holdem has gotten too competitive.

I agree about comparative advantage, but I'm not sure that it'd be going down that path. There's a lot that can be said about what makes a dish good/better. My sense is that it's better to restrict the scope of the post to the idea that it's often worth looking for a better dish than how to go about doing so.

Yeah, it's not the best analogy. It's not obvious enough that moving from the French omelette to the Thai-style one is in fact a significant upgrade. The whole idea of the post is that sometimes moving to a different "dish" yields much better results than improving the current one, so I wanted the "significant upgrade" part to be visceral and clear. I don't feel like I was able to get to that point though. I messed around with the omelette example and also tried thinking of different examples but wasn't able to get to a point where I was particularly satis... (read more)

Unironically eating the french omelette is bad... and that it's silly to order french omelettes at restaurants

Huh, really? I didn't realize that, I thought it was considered to be both a good chefs test and a good dish. I just skimmed through the Serious Eats post again though and am not actually seeing a claim that it is such a good dish though, so maybe you're right. I've never actually had one myself.

but by virtue of being such a good idea it will tend to apologize for the imperfections of the chef making it. If the Thai omelette is a 20x multiplie

... (read more)

Yeah, I have very similar thoughts.

That's an interesting point/question. My thinking is that there's a tradeoff: if you make decisions in the moment you benefit from having that more up to date information, but you're also going to be more tempted to do the wrong thing. I suppose that OP and others believe that the latter side of the tradeoff has more weight.

1LVSN15d
I don't think your future self has the disadvantage of being more likely to be tempted to do the wrong thing and I don't know where that assumption comes from. I will concede that I think meanness and suffering of others makes children sad whereas adults are more likely to rationalize it. That's why I am hugely skeptical when people tout maturity as a virtue. For the sake of capturing the benefits of childishness, it may be better to set rules early. Yet idealistic children, such as I have been, would be tempted to redistribute wealth so that no one has to be homeless, even though for a child it may not feel good to steal someone's money whether they acquired it through luck or by work. (Here's where I will get political for the rest of this post; your mileage may vary about my examples.) I still don't know the specifics of why not to redistribute wealth, but my heroes are economically literate, have managed to keep their idealism, and yet loudly disavow coercive redistribution; I assume they have learned that economic reality was not as morally simple as I would have expected it to be. In that case, it would seem that childish idealism could be misleading, but childish open-mindedness would be helpful. (When you try to capture the benefits of childishness by writing down your deontology, it is very important to remember the benefit of open-mindedness. But a deontology with strict open-mindedness added to it is a set of guidelines, not rules; can it really be called a deontology at that point?) Another example of people making better moral judgment as they learn more: future to-be parents in 1995 would never have guessed the prominence that trans rights has gained in the 2010s, and would never have guessed that A) their own children would want to be trans, B) they would be very serious about it, and C) many respectable, middle-to-upper-class educated people would actually think it's deeply important for you to respect their identity. Many of those parents, obser

That claim seems pretty strong to me. In general, biases are tough, but it is accepted we have at least some ability to mitigate them. It sounds like your position is saying the opposite wrt moral decision making and that seems overly pessimistic to me.

1Anon User13d
I am actually agreeing - but I am saying that the way we'd actually accomplish it is by relying on the meta-level as much as possible. E.g. by catching that the object-level conclusion does not reconsider with our meta-level principles, or noticing that it's incongruent in some way.

Yeah that's an interesting question as to why it isn't happening already. As you point at there are probably lots of reasons, but my best guess is that the biggest one is the perception that a real professional wouldn't let it impact how hard they work.

I actually experienced this myself. Ie. when working on that side project where I initially was using Webpack instead of Vite (slow build tool that takes 10 seconds instead of 1), when taking a first stab at the calculus for whether it was worth moving to Vite, I was mostly just thinking about how it'd impac... (read more)

I don't really know about this or about this type of stuff in general, but my instinct is to disagree with your guess due to Occam's Razor reasons.

Yeah, from what I remember Bryan Caplan talks about this in his book The Case Against Education.

Sal Khan of Khan Academy talks about this in his book The One World Schoolhouse.

That is common in American universities as well, but if you asked a university administrator about it they wouldn't endorse it. Would a university administrator for German universities say "yes, go right ahead and skip all the lectures if you want" or would they say "no, we strongly advise against that"?

2Dagon1mo
For many universities, there's a maximum courseload they'll let you register for. You can probably get a 4-year degree in 2.5 years if you're actually willing and able to study well enough to pass tests and the required not-only-test classes. But no matter how good you are, I don't know any that will give you a degree in one-shot if you already can ace all the tests.
3habryka1mo
Don't know, I literally never talked to one during my studies. My guess is they would advise against it, but be pretty clear that it's ultimately up to you.

In American universities some smaller classes would take attendance. Bigger classes worked pretty much like you described, where there are lectures and stuff but you could ignore them, and what ultimately matters are the exams.

But the "party line" is that you're not supposed to do that. You're supposed to go to the lectures. Ie. if you asked some university PR representative, they wouldn't say "it's totally up to you whether or not you want to go to lectures". Is that how it is in German universities as well, or is the party line that it truly is up to you?

2localdeity1mo
(American here, talking about American universities) I had resented the mandatory attendance and homework in high school, and some people told me that college would be better in that regard, but others told me that this varied and it was up to individual professors whether to enforce a mandate. This was one of the reasons I didn't try to enter college.
3habryka1mo
I did a bit of a weird thing because I started university while I was still in high-school, but I had many friends who never attended a single lecture, and maybe did like 15% of the homework, and nobody cared and they didn't seem to feel bad about it. For context, at Berkeley (where I actually finished my undergrad) more than half of my classes had mandatory labs, and maybe 30% of my grade was determined by homework grades in almost all classes, so it was a very different experience.

I think that is a fine but suboptimal approach. Suppose that the team has a disagreement in a change request but agrees that it is worth an appetite of 10 minutes of discussion. In that case, it is worth having a quick discussion. The problem is when when the discussion goes (way) beyond that, but setting an appetite should hopefully prevent that problem from happening. 

In practice it could be difficult to stick to such an appetite even if it's agreed that that is the appetite, so I think the risk of not sticking to it is something that should be fact... (read more)

Thank you for that feedback, I appreciate it and find it useful. Given the feedback in the comments, I now feel pretty strongly that the way I wrote that poker section was a mistake. I'm really happy that I learned this lesson though.

Yeah that also makes sense about leading with the example that is most likely to be engaging to readers. Here I feel like that'd probably be the programming example actually, but maybe not since basketball is simple enough to make sense to anyone.

I also agree with the introductory sentence being a good idea. I think I just overlooked that, actually.

I claim the right move is to target robust bottlenecks: look for subproblems which are bottlenecks to many different approaches/plans/paths, then tackle those subproblems.

This reminds me of Paul Graham's idea of flying upwind.

Suppose you're a college freshman deciding whether to major in math or economics. Well, math will give you more options: you can go into almost any field from math. If you major in math it will be easy to get into grad school in economics, but if you major in economics it will be hard to get into grad school in math.

Flying a glid

... (read more)

On the other hand... man, that high-schooler is gonna be shit outta luck if they decide that medicine isn't for them. Or if the classes or residency are too tough. Or if they fail the MCAT. Or .... Point is, reality has a way of throwing bricks through our plans, even when we're not operating in a preparadigmatic field.

This reminds me of a Paul Graham quote (but it's not the same thing):

A friend of mine who is a quite successful doctor complains constantly about her job. When people applying to medical school ask her for advice, she wants to shake them and

... (read more)

The way I think about this is more "sometimes it makes sense to lower your standards for trying things". Ie here the upside is incredibly large: if trying the thing works, it means a significant improvement to quality of life. OTOH, the downside is relatively small: some non-crazy amount of money and/or weeks of unwanted side effects. With that as the upside/downside, I think an eg. 1% chance of something working is plenty.

Related: Pascalian Medicine

When I reviewed Vitamin D, I said I was about 75% sure it didn’t work against COVID. When I reviewed ivermec

... (read more)

The broader problem here is more one of predictive validity, and only accidentally or as a special-case 'you should try more things' (the value of that is doing it in a human, not the more-things per se). Appropriately, a new Scannell paper just came out, further discussing the logic of pipelines/screening/selection.

Why did they discover so many amazing drugs back in the 1930s-1950s? Why do we discover so few now? Why is the late Shulgin so influential? Well, it's because they were 'testing' all of the drug candidates (where the n is extremely, extremely s... (read more)

To me what would make the most sense is some sort of survey of the opinions of experts. It's a very difficult thing to form an opinion on from first principles. And looking at expert opinion is what we usually do in other scenarios.

For example, I have had Achilles tendinitis for about eight years now. Recently the doctor proposed PRP injections or stem cell therapy. To form an opinion of whether this is worth it, I could have looked at it from first principles, digging into the biochemistry, but that just doesn't seem very practical. It'd require an amount... (read more)

2Liron2mo
Good point. I think the reference I’m imagining should include a section on “what do the experts think?” And show how a significant number of very smart experts think this and there’s arguably a trend toward more and more of them agreeing. I still think most of the resource should be presenting arguments themselves because I think most people in tech largely convince themselves on their own intuitive arguments like “AI just does what we tell it” or “a smart enough AI won’t be mean”.

Haha np :) That makes sense about euthanasia. I think most people would agree actually that there is a point where life isn't worth living anymore. I think that and I can't really think of too many people who are more anti-death than me.

Yeah that's an interesting thought. I like to think of myself as an adaptable person who can derive happiness from a wide variety of circumstances. But a Hatchet-style life is pretty extreme. My model of myself says it's a good amount beyond my ability to adapt to circumstances and derive happiness. And as a reference class, thinking about what I recall from positive psychology studies, people tend to not be very happy when their basic needs aren't met, and I think that points towards it being a thing the average person isn't very good at.

1CraigMichael2mo
Yeah... if this happens everyone will have to make their own choices. I may or may not regret mine. Sometimes I feel like the old man here. Like I'm not sure if you were around the Internet when it was a little more wild west. Sites with content like this [https://web.archive.org/web/20030417030941/http://www.churchofeuthanasia.org/coefaq.html] (CW: euthanasia) were more common. I don't want to be macabre or maudlin or put ideas in anyone's head, but I thought about keeping some of the proven materials to implement that at my disposal given current events... But with the acceleration of things recently, it's like there's a pep in my step that I don't remember feeling before. If there is a fight against Neo-Eurasianism [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YsErQOWa08] (CW: novel left- and right-wing memetic miscegenation), I feel like it's worth fighting against. If most people die and I survive, I feel like I have a duty to the future. Maybe you could call it a kind of Longtermism. That being said, pep isn't a reason to paint the devil on the wall. I really don't want people I love to die. I don't want innocent people to die. It could just be a happy death spiral [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/hwi8JQjspnMWyWs4g/resist-the-happy-death-spiral] and I don't want to get carried away with it. Anyway, that's probably more self-disclosure than anyone signed up for. :)

It is easy to see why improving government policy would be impactful.

I agree that it's easy to see why it has some impact, but I'm confused about why Balsa is considering it to be high impact. Or, perhaps the highest impact thing they could be doing.

  • Are the issues particularly important? Compared to things like x-risk reduction?
  • Is this a first step towards a larger goal of Raising the Sanity Waterline? Of the US government? Other governments? Society in general? With the idea being that doing so will reduce x-risk?
  • Maybe something Slytherin is going on here
... (read more)

But the terminology in the dialogue was very tough: button, Rainbow, LAGgy, bdfs, AX, nut flush, nitty - I understood none of these. (I’ve played poker now and then, but never studied it). So keeping the example but translating it a bit further to more widely-used language (if possible) might be good.

Hm yeah, maybe this exchange was pushing things too much. I'm not sure though.

I thought that even if you don't know the terms, it's clear that they are passionately discussing whether it should have been a call or a fold. I felt like this was sort of important... (read more)

1Pranay1mo
I personally thought it was slightly distracting. I found myself thinking a lot about the terms (like whether I should know the words already), amd after comcluding no, I barely paid attention to the rest od the dialogue and missed almost all of the nuance. I think hyper specific content works only when it makes sense to the audience or if the lack of understanding is part of the point.
9maia2mo
I skipped through 90% of the text of this example without it detracting much from the main point of the post. I think it would be better with much less text and with translation of the jargon used.

I was in a similar-ish situation and can empathize. First I'll tell my story, and then offer some thoughts. The story is long and not really an answer to your question, but I figure that concrete experiences like this are helpful to hear about as a complement to more general stuff.

Story

https://www.linkedin.com/in/adam-zerner-55564490/

I taught myself to code when I was a sophomore in college. I wanted to start startups. It was a big struggle. I learned some HTML, CSS, JS and Rails. I was terrible. I graduated in 2013.

Starting junior year I started this star... (read more)

Thank you for this comment and to others who replied to it. It was something that I was uncertain about and seems like a thing that can help me as a writer if I get better at it, so it's great to get some data points of feedback here.

Here's how I see it. I've got a high context example that is really fitting for the post. It is in theory possible for someone without the context to read through that example, ignore the parts they don't have the context for, and pick up on the large point. I also suppose that it's possible for those without the context to en... (read more)

2Sea1mo
I enjoyed the overall article, but if it hadn't been curated I probably would have given up at the poker example. (Because I doubt an article where deep familiarity with poker was necessary would have been curated, and so I felt fine skipping over the word salad and looking for the general idea.) The basketball one was easy to understand albeit not really engaging for me, and the code review one felt familiar and easy. It's hard (maybe impossible) to come up with examples that will speak to everyone, so I think having several examples is a good strategy. My only note would be to try to start with whichever example you think will be more engaging for the readers you want to attract. Of the three, I would say that is probably the Basketball one, because it’s the least technical, but this is just a guess. Alternatively, start with some kind of introductory sentence that lets the reader know that what follow are examples of a common theme.

I think the poker example is OK, and paragraphs like

“The second decision point was when the flop was dealt and you faced a bet. This time you decided to fold. Maybe that wasn't the best play though. Maybe you should have called. Maybe you should have raised. Again, the goal of hand review is to figure this out.”

made sense to me. But the terminology in the dialogue was very tough: button, Rainbow, LAGgy, bdfs, AX, nut flush, nitty - I understood none of these. (I’ve played poker now and then, but never studied it). So keeping the example but translating it a bit further to more widely-used language (if possible) might be good.

5gwillen2mo
That's pretty much where I'm at on it. Although, I have played enough poker that I know all the vocabulary, just not any strategy -- I know what the button is but I don't remember how its location affects strategy, I don't know what a highjack is, but I know the words "flush", "offsuit", "big blind", "preflop", "rainbow" (had to think about it), "fold", etc. etc. But it's maybe telling that I have played this game, and I found your example flavorful but mostly skimmed and didn't try to follow it. For someone who has never played I think it's just word salad, and probably fails to convey flavor or really anything at all. EDIT to add: Perhaps to some degree a case of https://xkcd.com/2501/ [https://xkcd.com/2501/] ?

Epistemic status: Meh. I'm not an expert on this, just a LessWronger who spent some amount of hours looking into this some amount of months ago.

Relocating is one thing you could do. I spent some time thinking about this in When should you relocate to mitigate the risk of dying in a nuclear war? and came to the rough conclusion that if you value life at the typical $10M, it'd make sense to relocate if you assign >10% chance of being attacked.

As for how to judge the probability of an attack, you can keep an eye on the ISW's updates and what forecasters ha... (read more)

Having an emergency kit and supplies is valuable in enough situations to be worth it for most people, even if war is very unlikely to affect you. Do that now.

Evacuation or migration is a lot more limited. If change fees are zero, it may be worth maintaining a ticket outbound that you roll over every week, or at least figuring out where you’d go and having a plan for how to execute and what would trigger it.

If we do not address the deep dysfunctions of our government and its policies, we put our democracy and entire civilization at risk.

...

My new project, together with Moshe Looks and Alyssa Vance, is to chart paths forward to improve federal policy, and lay groundwork to implement those improvements. That means taking into account political feasibility. It means getting the proposals and messaging into the hands of candidates. It means commissioning academic studies quantifying costs and benefits and advance drafting of legislative language.

I'd be interes... (read more)

That all makes me very happy to hear. Happier than I remember being in a long time.

For the purpose of this post, it's something like "desirable feelings that you value".

I feel like this is where taste comes into play though. If you have good taste, you can find the resources/people that are worth paying attention to. And similarly, you can ask the right people to point you to the right resources. No?

Relatedly, a working hypothesis of mine is that a big benefit of reading peoples blogs is that you develop an epistemic trust in them, and could then use them for reasons like this. Or maybe use them indirectly: you trust Alice, Alice thinks highly of Bob, Bob thinks Carol is a good resource on operations and recommends a give... (read more)

The Neglected Virtue of Scholarship comes to my mind here. I've never been in a position where I've been responsible for these sorts of managerial/operational questions, but if I were, the first thing I'd do would be to survey whatever (formal and informal) literature is out there (or hopefully delegate that). It's the sort of thing many organizations face, so I'd assume that there's some research on it, or at least smart people with opinions that can be surveyed and consolidated. Shoulders of giants to be stood on.

7jacobjacob2mo
Things I've read / advice I've gathered that influenced me a lot, are: * Paul Graham's essays and YCombinator's startup philosophy * lean manufacturing philosophy * Elon Musk's operational principles (there's a ton of junk content about this online, but I've been able to find some good first-hand accounts from people who work at tesla and spacex, as well as probably the single best piece of content, which is the 2-3h starbase tour https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t705r8ICkRw [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t705r8ICkRw] ). Tesla also has a "25 Guns" team that runs on a to-me very similar philosophy * first-hand or second-hand conversations with the founders of FTX * honorary mention, because it's not advice inasmuch as a benchmark: https://patrickcollison.com/fast [https://patrickcollison.com/fast]
2johnswentworth2mo
Sadly, it's a leprechaun/ribbon situation [https://medium.com/swlh/a-fun-parable-about-leprechauns-and-information-manipulation-8ffea5a544c8] .

In general, even in the rationality community, people's reactions, including my own, to the fact that doom seems imminent -- whether it's in 5 years or 50 years -- seems much too small. I wonder how much of this is because it feels science fiction-y.

If it was nuclear war, would that change things? An asteroid hitting? What about whether it is mainstream people vs non-mainstream people pulling the alarm? If a majority of mainstream academics were pulling the alarm on an asteroid hitting in the next 5-50 years, would reactions be different?

2jacob_cannell2mo
In the worlds where we have AI doom it's likely because of large amounts of easy optimization slack that AGI exploits leading to hard takeoff, or perhaps coordination failures and deceptive alignment in slower takeoff scenarios. Either way there doesn't seem to be much one can do about that other than contribute to AI safety. Contrast to nuclear war, where more concrete conventional preparation like bomb shelters and disaster survival preparation has at least some non-epsilon expected payout. Also, most of the current leaders/experts in AI don't put much probability on doom compared to LW folks.

I was just watching this YouTube video on portable air conditioners. The person is explaining how air conditioners work, and it's pretty hard to follow.

I'm confident that a very large majority of the target audience would also find it hard to follow. And I'm also confident that this would be extremely easy to discover with some low-fi usability testing. Before releasing the video, just spend maybe 20 mins and have a random person watch the video, and er, watch them watch it. Ask them to think out loud, narrating their thought process. Stuff like that.

Moreo... (read more)

0Zian3mo
To the degree that people do things only to signal, I don't expect your idea to take off.

I just came across something that seems similar: how they say "past performance is not an indicator of future results" in finance.

Uh... yes it is! It's not a perfect indicator. It might not even be a good indicator. But it is an indicator. In other words, it is not zero Bayesian evidence.

That's really awesome to hear, I appreciate the compliment! I don't think I ever got over the public speaking anxiety though. I say "don't think" because it's been such a long time since I've had to do public speaking, so it's possible that it has gone away, but I doubt it.

Oh that stuff is good to know. Thanks for those clarifications. I actually don't see how it's related to randomization though, so add that to the list of things I'm confused about. My question feels like a question of what to do with the data you got, regardless of whether you utilized randomization in order to get that data.

3gwern5mo
It's the same question because it screens off the data-generating process. A researcher who is biased or p-hacking or outcome switch is like a world which generates imbalanced/confounded experimental vs 'control' groups, in a Bayesian needs to model the data-generating process like the stopping rule to learn correctly from, while pre-registration and explicit randomization make the results independent of those and a simple generative model is correct. (So this is why you can get a decision-theoretic justification for Bayesians doing those even if they are sure they are modeling correctly all confounding etc: because it is a 'nothing up my sleeve'-esque design which allows sharing information with other agents who have nonshared priors - by committing to a randomization or pre-registration, they can simply take your data at face-value and do an update, while if they had to model you as a non-randomized generating process generating arbitrarily biased data in unknown ways, the data would be uninformative and lose almost all of its possible value.)

Meta: This seems like a 101-level question, so I ask it in the Open Thread rather than using the questions feature on LW.

Suppose you are designing an experiment for a blood pressure drug. I've heard stuff about how it is important to declare what metrics you are interested in up front, before collecting the data, not afterwards. Ie. you'd declare up front that you only care about measuring systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol. And then if you happen to see an effect on heart rate, you are supposed to ignor... (read more)

3gwern5mo
FWIW, I think this is well above 101-level and gets into some pretty deep issues, and sparked some pretty acrimonious debates back during the Sequences when Eliezer blogged about stopping rules & frequentism. It's related to the question "why Bayesians don't need, in theory, to randomize", which is something Andrew Gelman mentioned for years before I even began to understand what he was getting at.
2ChristianKl5mo
Bayes has nothing to do with the concept of statistical significance. Statistical significance is a concept out of frequentist statistics. A concept that comes with a lot of problems. Nobody really argues that you should ignore it. If you would want drug approval you likely even would have to list it as a potential side effect. That's why the increased lighting strike risk of the Moderna vaccine was disclosed. It's just that your study doesn't provide good evidence for the effect existing. If you want that evidence, you can run another study to look for it.

That sounds awesome! I have similar feelings. This is how I think about it. I don't feel great about this as a way of explaining it, but perhaps it'd be useful.

Think about posts as forming some sort of spectrum. On one end (let's say the right side) you've got something like a book. The ideas have been refined. The author spent a ton of time researching it, coming up with great examples, revising it, doing user testing on people, having professional editors look at it, etc. Next to a book maybe you've got something like an academic journal article. Next to... (read more)

Interesting, thanks for pointing that out! I'll look into it.

But if I was saying that about a hundred pretty-uncorrelated agendas being pursued by two hundred people, I'd start to think that maybe the odds are in our favor.

Wait a minute − excuse my naïveté, but that doesn't seem that hard!

I assume it is though and thus ask: why is it? Is it that hard to come up with such agendas? What if we had $100B to pay people and/or set bounties with?

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