All of ahartell's Comments + Replies

Does this create a shortform feed?

It does! Alright I'll leave this here because I think it will make me more likely to start using this feature.

I've enjoyed listening to Nonlinear Library for recent posts.

Something that would really improve my experience would be for links to the original to be included in the description section of each "episode".

3Emerson Spartz1y
Good idea! Will add this to the roadmap.

Indeed, before dismissing it entirely, one would presumably want an account of why it features so prominently in our mental and social lives.

One aspect to this seems to be that clinging is a mechanism by which a portion of the network maintains its own activation.  Given evolutionary dynamics, it's unsurprising to see widespread greediness and self-recommendation among neurons/neural structures (cf Neurons Gone Wild).

1Joe Carlsmith2y
Interesting; I hadn't really considered that angle. Seems like this could also apply to other mental phenomena that might seem self-recommending (pleasure? rationality?), but which plausibly have other, more generally adaptive functions as well, so I would continue to wonder about other functions regardless.


In addition to safety and contact, another dynamic was that I was generally not S1 expecting much value to come out of Dragon Army, so chafing more within the system seemed like pain, effort, and time spent for little expected gain.

Stag hunts, anyone?

Edit: Though, I will note that it can be hard to find the space between "I'm damaging the group by excluding my optimization power from the process" and "I'm being a Red Knight here and should be game for whatever the commander decides." It may seem like the obvious split is "... (read more)

Many of the Dragons who stepped into the role of the Ghost for a time did so softly and gradually, and it never felt like this level of absence was Notably Different from the previous level, in a paradox-of-the-heap sort of way. Set a bar, and set a gradient around that bar, and stay in contact.

As the person who fell most heavily into this role, the above resonates a lot. Below are some other thoughts on my experience.

I had the sense early on that I wasn't getting very much value out of group activities, and felt not very connected to the house. In th... (read more)

... and the hope of the high-commitment, all-in, lock-yourself-in-a-box model was that people would chafe within the frame, without making moves to destroy the frame itself. i.e., once "stuck," things like Adom's dissatisfaction or sense of wasted time would propel him to push things in more productive directions, become more present with the group, make needs known, start making trades, etc., and then we'd iterate toward something better.

But this requires something that I and the house and Adom did not manage to synch up on, whether i... (read more)

[These don't seem like cruxes to me, but are places where our models differ.]


a crux for some belief B is another belief C which if one changed one's mind about C, one would change one's mind about B.


A double crux is a particular case where two people disagree over B and have the same crux, albeit going in opposite directions. Say if Xenia believes B (because she believes C) and Yevgeny disbelieves B (because he does not believe C), then if Xenia stopped believing C, she would stop believing B (and thus agree with Yevgeny) and vice

... (read more)
I guess my overall impression is that including the cases you specify in a double cruxy style look more like epicycles by my lights rather than helpful augmentations to the concept of double crux. Non-common knowledge cruxes I had a sentence in the OP on crux asymmetry along the lines of 'another case may be is X believes they have a crux for B which Y is unaware of'. One may frame this along the lines of an implicit crux of 'there's no decisive consideration that changes my mind about B' for which a proposed 'silver bullet' argument would constitute disagreement. One of the past-times of my mis-spent youth was arguing about god on the internet. A common occurrence was Theist and Atheist would meet, and both would offer their 'pet argument' which they took to be decisive for A/Theism. I'm not sure they were high-quality discussions, so I'd not count it as a huge merit if they satisfy double crux. I guess this ties back to my claim that on topics on which reasonable people differ, decisive considerations of this type should be very rare. One motivation for this would veer along social epistemiological lines: a claim about a decisive consideration seems to require some explanation as others nonetheless hold the belief the decisive consideration speaks against. Explaining why your interlocutor is not persuaded is easy - they may simply have not come across it. Yet on many of the sort of recondite topics of disagreement one finds that experts are similarly divided to the laity, and usually the experts who disagree with you are aware of the proposed decisive consideration you have in mind (e.g. the non-trivial proportion of economists who are aware of the Laffer curve yet nonetheless support higher marginal tax rates, etc.). Although it is possible there's some systemic cause/bias/whatever which could account for why this section of experts are getting this wrong, it seems the more common explanation (also favoured by an outside view) is that you overrate the importa

[Note: This comment seems pretty pedantic in retrospect. Posting anyway to gauge reception, and because I'd still prefer clarity.]

On honest businesses, I'd expect successful ones to involve overconfidence on average because of winner's curse.

I'm having trouble understanding this application of winner's curse.

Are you saying something like the following:

  1. People put in more resources and generally try harder when they estimate a higher chance of success. (Analogous to people bidding more in an auction when they estimate a higher valu

... (read more)
You get winner's curse even if results are totally random. If you have an unbiased estimator with a random error term, and select only the highest estimate in your sample, the expected error is positive (i.e. you probably overestimated it).

This was a test comment for something very important.

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply
This is a test reply.

Just finished. I'm sure my calibration was terrible though.

Hello Internet is a fun "two guys talking" podcast made by two popular youtubers including CGPGray, the guy who made this great video about the future of automation and employment. Low (almost no) informational content, but really enjoyable, and CGPGray will often say things that make it sound as if he's read at least some of LessWrong/Overcoming Bias. At the very least he's a transhumanist.

There is also the possibility that sex would not have happened anyway but brining it up that that was your intention made them want to distance themselves from the situation. And the possibility that it would have happened if you hadn't asked but only because the flirty/touchy behavior was leading them towards wanting to have sex but asking interrupted the process (this is distinct from the original claim in that the problem wasn't asking but asking too soon).

I'm aware, unfortunately there's no way to tell. Asking does seem to lower the frequency, though, at leas as far as I can tell in my cultural environment. That's surely possible. Based on observations in my personal life though I don't deem it much probable... Anyway, the original point was that there are very important situations in which asking for feelings is very bad and quite far from a solution. In this regard, asking too soon to me is a subset of asking, not just an entirely different issue


Shouldn't the last one refer to the one above it rather that the one two places above it though? I think it should be "and I love being able to recognize the costs and benefits of this uncertainty" rather than "and I love just what this drive to dispel uncertainty can do."

I don't know if they're sure. Mostly I was just responding to the "who are they supposed to have learned that from?". I think there are a lot of social, gender expectation-y things that would lead to women thinking that they were "supposed" to be less assertive.

Who are they supposed to have learned that from? They sure as hell didn't learn that from me. And every man I know wishes women were more to the point. The stereotype criticism is "blah blah blah", not abruptness. If you're in charge, make decisions, and give orders. I'll salute, and we'll get something done.

No citations, but I've heard a lot of times that women in business positions are punished for being assertive or aggressive in situations where men are expected to do the same. I don't know if this is true (I think it probably is), but either way I've definitely heard it enough times that it doesn't surprise me that women would think they should try not to seem abrupt or bossy.

But are they sure that the men aren't similarly punished, even when expected to be aggressive? For example, people may expect men to be aggressive. But other men are expected to be aggressive back. So you can be punished, while still doing what's expected. Basically, it's called losing in a competitive environment. But there is a problem with our discussion. We're talking an undefined categorical situation. Everyone reading it can insert their own scenario as a prototype, leaving no one talking about the same thing. This thread on "hostile unfriendly tone" is suffering from a severe lack of concrete details. Without concretes, we're just projecting the situations we find problematic onto the schema.

To be honest, I'm surprised by the hostility of your comments here. I was bringing a hypothesis to your attention so that you could evaluate it. I suppose I could have read all of your comments but I don't really care that much I guess. "I wonder" was meant to identify this as a passing thought. And in my second comment I updated away from the hypothesis, so I'm not sure why this tone would be present.

I might be misreading it, but your last sentence sounds sort of fake-nice and passive aggressive due to the rest of the comment. I normally wouldn't make an entire comment just about tone, and I actually like the tone on Lessswrong, but this conversation is sort of about it, and like I said, I was surprised.

See, this is where the whole thing gets confusingly meta, but a lot of what you're saying contributes to my overall point. You're right, my comment was written in a pretty hostile tone (and I apologize), but it was also pretty sparse and direct, and ... how else do you respond to someone who claims that your writing is too cluttered with niceness? It's kind of difficult to balance. This is where I'm not sure what the overall stance on writing things is in the LW community. It seems like there are sequence posts [] that urge people to pay attention to the effect of their writing and how it will be interpreted by others. So I go in with the assumption that most people have read them and are also paying attention to tone and word choice. Which leads me to assume that if their tone is hostile then it's intentionally so. When someone says "I wonder," it's not clear if they're asking a question or if they're just ... content to wonder. And because I personally find it awkward to start offering up answers when someone doesn't want any, it starts feeling like the comment was designed to not have a response. Add in the large, scary-sounding opposition claiming that they come here to talk about intellectual things and don't need to care about people's feelings, and if feels like your stand-alone comment was just going to attract mind-killer-ed people from the other camp even if it wasn't intended to. I also apologize that the last part sounded passive-aggressive, but I also feel like that demonstrates the extent to which the community is intolerant of flawed, biased humans that make mistakes. I really wish we had more of a culture that pointed out a bias, and then responded with a *patpat*, "happens!" (like sneezes!) rather than "you are a bad rationalist, go feel bad now." (Which I'm sure no one ever actually said, but culture gets constructed through things people don't say as well?)

It doesn't seem like that would be the case, no. I expected your alterations to have been deeper than that, including stuff like softening your disagreement.

Here is why your comment strikes me as unfriendly and not particularly rational: You wonder? If you really wanted to know you would either ask me or you could just read through my comment history and determine that, no, I am pretty direct and people still misunderstand me. Or you could identify specific examples where this did happen and let me know in a helpful way where I messed up my argument. Instead, you just sort of demonstratively express your hypothesis so people who already agree with you can see it and pat you on the back. Pretty mind-killery, in my opinion. But it's okay! I understand! These things happen. =]

I wonder if your niceness padding has led to people missing your point and to you being frustrated by their failure to understand you.

Haha, because words like "sorry" and "thank you" and occasional exclamation marks make my writing completely incomprehensible. =P
Right, because words like "sorry" and "thank you" and occasional exclamation marks make my writing completely incomprehensible.

The problem is that the concept of "fairness" you are using there is incompatible with VHM-utilitarianism. (If somebody disagrees with this, please describe what the term in one's utility function corresponding to fairness would look like.)

People care about fairness, and get negative utility from feeling like they are being treated unfairly.

So let's apply Eliezer's "murder pill []" thought experiment to this: If I offered people a pill to make not care about being treated unfairly would they take it? If the answer is no, that means they care about fairness beyond the bad feeling it generates.

I would tend towards the last two, I think, and wouldn't find the forth to be rude (though it might depend on the nature and scale of the clarifications, with this method being most apt for smaller ones). However, I am one of those who likes the style of discussion on lesswrong.

I feel like part of this is not acknowledging that quite a few people will experience non-fuzzy or anti-fuzzy feelings if they are disagreed with in a dismissive way. Or maybe when they feel like they are disagreed with in a dismissive way.

I think that showing respect can stop disagreements from seeming like dismissals.


If you score 70% in an exact, you are not very accurate. If that was the only exact on which you scored 70%...

You mean "exam" here, I think.

You're right though.

Oh, yeah. Thanks for the heads-up! (edited grandparent)

You seem to be confused about "the situation causing her nervousness" and how that relates to the mentioning of her previous experience at a party. I really don't see how

But her reason actually refers to a totally different situation!

seems like strong evidence for the "cause" (I agree with what buybuydandavis says above about the use of the word in this situation) being the woman in question.

It seems obvious to me that she has beliefs based on her experience at the party that make the elevator situation worrying. This is not a ... (read more)

The problem is that her beliefs are inaccurate.

Actually, I think that your analogy is apt. The only difference is that the priors on "someone says "four" whenever asked for a number" and "someone only says the word "four" are really low and the prior for "someone has some misogynist beliefs" is much higher.

(Note that I am definitely not saying that shminux is a misogynist.)

I don't think that would work if you tried (posting links to everything). It may naively seem like that is being incentivized but from my own intuitions about what I would do if someone did that and that fact that that hasn't actually happened, I don't think you need to be concerned.

Thanks. This is exactly what I meant by "systemized."

Does the list of all articles include posts in discussion? If not, is there another list that does? Finally, is there some interesting reason that it stops in August 2012, or is that just a result of people not updating it? Thanks.

No. [] It seems useless to me, but I sometimes still update the list when people bring it up (I've just updated it). The original purpose was to have a place to reference concepts that correspond to articles, but people are no longer doing that (for the most part, references to the concepts only got filled in for the earlier posts from the Sequences).
Pretty sure it's just because of people not updating it.

More broadly, I'm interested in hearing about the workflow of those who use Anki or some alternative regularly. I've used it intermittently but never felt like I was using it very efficiently. It may be that making cards always feels like that and SR's efficiency makes up for it but I'm curious to see how people have systemized the process if at all.

Also, this probably belongs in the open thread.

. wrong click, couldn't find delete - posted above.
Not sure if this is what you meant by "systemized", but here's my basic workflow for textbooks: 1. Read chapter (or, more likely, some 4-5 sections of a chapter) 2. Summarize/analyze chapter in an emacs org-mode document 3. Generate anki cards from the summary 4. (Optional) Expand summary with notes from lecture Writing new cards takes a long time, so I try to spread out the work. Roughly speaking, one textbook chapter usually takes two days, and will generate 20-30 cards. (This is for physics and math, where I'm generating a lot of cards that are relatively basic formulas and constants.) Also, most of the work is in reading, understanding, and summarizing. Making the Anki cards does take time, but it tends to be less than the other parts. I haven't done much to automate the process, although I'm working on autogenerating cards from the emacs documentation to learn emacs shortcuts. The most important modification I made to vanilla Anki was writing a very kluge-y plugin to allow full use of my commonly used emacs keybindings (mostly movement, killing, yanking, and deleting). A few quick pieces of advice: * Learn the shortcuts. It's a lot less painful when editing to type Cmd-T + M to get into Latex math mode than it is to use the mouse. * On a related note, if you're doing math, physics, or anything else with formulas, learn Latex if you don't know it. It's for more pleasant to review cards with pretty formatting than with ugly formatting. It also makes cloze deletion of formulas a lot easier (although I'm not sure how effective Cloze formulas are yet). * Batch the steps of whatever process you choose. So, I do all the reading, then all the summarizing, then all the anki additions, then all the anki reviewing. It's much faster, and way less painful to review. * I've found it to be easier to review old material and learn new material at the same time. Learning 10 or 20 new cards can sometimes be frustrating, especially when I

I use Anki to learn material from textbooks, with great results. Creating the cards takes time, but so does summarizing the material (as Luke suggests); and the benefits associated to a SRS (specifically, the testing and spacing effects) make this approach clearly superior to any of the alternatives I tried.

Briefly, I write one note every paragraph, with a question on one side whose answer, written on the other side, is the main idea of that paragraph. Sometimes a note summarizes the content of more than one paragraph, if discussion of a single idea is sp... (read more)

I’m interested in discussing this as well. I recall a LW thread asking for links to SRS forums and such but can’t find it now. I have issues with formulating cards. The idea of creating a suboptimal card that I will then remember forever is so daunting that I often give up. For example I found cloze deletion convenient, but gwern’s review advises to use free recall instead, which I am unsure what is exactly. Or I get obsessed with automating the process, like pulling definitions from a dictionary, google translate, or pydoc. Math concepts are also hard to break down into flashcard-sized chunks. It's all so agonizingly tedious. I sound whiny. Please inspire me with SRS success stories.
Each time you find content you like, just copy-paste it in its raw form to a new Anki card and don't do further processing. Eventually, when you are studying Anki and this card shows up, you can then edit it and turn it into a properly formatted card that can be studied.

Hah, thanks. So one cannot use the word to reference their own "subjective feeling" but can use it to reference others'?

(Sidenote: If you're right, I guess most of its usage here is incorrect, and perhaps misleading, but it seems like we'd be wrong in an silly, pedantic, "what silly rules for word" sort of way. We'd still be wrong though.)

I think the idea is that affect is the outward appearance of a feeling or emotion or whatever. You could tell what your own affects are, but you'd have to look in a mirror or something.

There was recently a discussion of Lesswrong's use of the word "Signaling," and it seemed to me that upon consideration it was shown that we're pretty much using it to mean what it means in a broader academic context. See this comment in particular.

With respect to the use of "affect," I again disagree but there aren't really any examples I can point to. I think its use in many cases is very similar to "emotion," but I also think that its use fits pretty perfectly with your stated definition. For example, someone might say,... (read more)

This example supports Warrigal's claim 'affect' as a psychology term is used incorrectly on the site. Vide beoShaffer's link to the psychology wiki, particularly: The statement with correct usage would then become:

Trivial point: Do you mean "Site-wide Taboos?" The current title is "side-wide taboos."


And that's exactly why I'm against donating to cancer research.

I think opposition to donating to cancer research (as opposed to donating to more cost efficient options) is obvious and accepted (here). Still, I'm selfish enough that if I had cancer I would treat it, which is what was actually being considered/compared to cryonics.

I'm sure this has come up before, but I think there are some cases in which cancer research donations make sense. Often donations geared towards the curing of specific diseases is prompted by some personal emotional connectio... (read more)

I often do the selfish thing when I don't have enough willpower to do the right thing, but it doesn't take a whole lot of willpower to not sign up for cryonics. Based on the fact that someone coined the word "cryocrastination", I'm betting it takes quite a bit of willpower to sign up.

I would just like to register my preference that those who retract comments leave the original text in place. In most cases, I believe the retraction itself serves the purposes of retraction pretty well, whereas replacing the text is sort of overkill and detracts from the conversation.

I generally agree, but I can see the point of making an exception in cases such as disclosure of confidential information, potential basilisks, etc.

To those wondering, the first definition for rube I found was "an unsophisticated person from a rural area; a hick."


Is that why you chose her specifically to be voiced by Zoe Chace?

Hm... not consciously. I just felt like she'd be a good match, and wouldn't take too much time.

Judging by Kodos96's user page, the same is the case for posts, i.e., they are still visible after being "censored."

Or an exploration of its bounds.

Edit: Oops. Silly grammar/spelling mistake.

"its" (Whose bounds? Its bounds!), not "it's" (What is it? It is bounds!).

Do you remember the first time he lost for real? He put a dark torture spell on Harry and locked him in an unused classroom.

The argument she's making is that the silliness of the girls is all uniform and dependent on them being girls, namely that they all gossip about Harry, Hermione, and Draco in a romantic context. Now this isn't true if you take the SPEW members into account, but I can sort of see it if you only consider unnamed or cameo female characters in their dining hall conversations. She's also saying that the silliness shown by the male characters isn't so obviously determined by their gender (see: lack of silly conversations about Quidditch and other suggestions mentioned in the comments of this post).

I was being somewhat sarcastic there. On reflection, it seems like we do see the girl NPCs being silly ore often, but we see them more often period (perhaps because Hermione cares more about reputation, and she's a girl,I dunno) and all NPCs are shown similarly silly. But that's just my general impression, I haven't exactly counted.
All of that, plus the girls' gossip being so heavily underlined for humor-- and to be fair, I thought a good bit of the humor was funny. This is bigger deal than it sounds like since I think almost all humorous fantasy and science fiction is more like a sequence of humor-shaped objects than anything that makes me want to laugh.

You can't use the fineness thing as a reason for the Philosopher's Stone to be unique to Flamel as it says explicitly in the chapter that all alchemical magic has the same requirements, and it doesn't sound at all like Flamel is the only one who can do alchemy.

Padma had the subplot where she was mean to Hermione and Harry "reformed" her or whatever. She is put as second in command in Dragon Army and is respected enough by Draco to make him realize why his father said that Ravenclaw was an acceptable House from which to choose one's wife. She is shown to be powerful and loyal in both the armies and in SPEW (her prismatic sphere or whatever is mentioned to be particularly strong; she doesn't hesitate when Hermione tells her to go find help). Finally, she sort of kind of notices that something is wrong... (read more)

Hm. This suggests that an important factor might be reader bias as well. Though really, all anyone remembers Blaise Zabini for is his moment-of-badassery. Anyone without an in-writing moment of badassery is going to seem less memorable no matter what.
3Eliezer Yudkowsky10y

Is this no longer showing up on the discussion page for other people? I'm not complaining, and I can imagine the reasoning behind that choice, but I was a bit confused when I tried to find it and couldn't see it.

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Showed up for me.

Is your edit saying that (in retrospect) what is being lampshaded is obvious or that it's obvious that it is a lampshade? If the former, what is behing lampshaded?

Edit: You're obviously talking about latter. Oops.

Oh yeah, obviously it would be more powerful since it was made before or after the cloak.

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