Anatoly_Vorobey

Anatoly_Vorobey's Comments

Lesswrong, Effective Altruism Forum and Slate Star Codex: Harm Reduction

Note how all the exodus is to places where people own their particular space and have substantial control over what's happening there. Personal blogs, tumblrs, etc. Not, say, subreddits or a new shinier group blog.

Posting on LW involves a sink-or-swim feeling: will it be liked/disliked? upvoted/downvoted? many comments/tepid comments/no comments? In addition, you feel that your post stakes a claim on everybody's attention, so you inevitably imagine it'll be compared to other people's posts. After all, when you read the Discussion page, you frequently go "meh, could've done without that one", so you imagine other people thinking the same about your post, and that pre-discourages you. In addition, a few years' worth of status games and signalling in the comments have bred to some degree a culture of ruthlessness and sea-lawyering.

So, these three: fretting about reactions; fretting about being compared with other posts; fretting about mean or exhausting comments. One way to deal with it is to move to an ostensibly less demanding environment. So you post to Discussion, but then everyone starts doing that, Main languishes and the problem reoccurs on Discussion. So you post to open threads, but then Discussion languishes, open threads balloon and become unpleasant to scan, and the problem reoccurs, to a lesser degree, on them too. But if you go off to a tumblr or a personal blog or your Facebook: 2nd problem disappears; 3rd problem manageable through blocking or social pressure from owner (you); 1st problem remains but is much less acute because no downvotes.

It's useless to say "just don't fret, post on LW anyway". The useful questions are "why didn't this happen in the first 4-5 years of the site?" and "assuming we want this reverted, how?" For the first question, because as the site was growing, the enthusiasm for this exciting community and the desire to count your voice among its voices overrode those feelings of discomfort. But after a few years things changed. Many regulars established lateral links. The site feels settled in, with an established pecking order of sorts (like the top karma lists; these were always a bad idea, but they just didn't matter much at first). There's no longer a feeling of "what I'll post will help make LW into what it'll be". And there's a huge established backlog that feels formidable to build on, especially since nobody's read it all. So the motivation lessened while the dis-motivation stayed as it was.

How to fix this? I think platformizing LW might work well. Everybody prefers their own space, so give everybody their own space on the common platform. Every user gets a personal blog (e.g. vaniver.lesswrong.com) on the same platform (reddit code under the hood). The global list of users is the same. Everybody gets to pick their reading list (tumblr-style) and have their custom view of new posts. There's also RSS for reading from outside of course. Blog owners are able to ban users from their particular blog, or disallow downvotes.

Then bring back Main as a special blog to which anyone can nominate a post from a personal blog, and up/downvotes determine pecking order, with temporal damping (HN style). Would also be cool to have a Links view to which everyone can nominate links from other rationality blogs and LWers can discuss.

(I realize that this would require nontrivial programming work, and have a good understanding of how much of it would be required. That isn't an insurmountable challenge).

Stupid Questions May 2015

It's a bad idea. Don't do it. You'll be turned off by all the low-level grudgery and it'll distract you from the real content.

Most of the time, you'll know if you found a solid proof or not. Those times you're not sure, just post a question on math.stackexchange, they're super-helpful.

Mental Context for Model Theory

The fifth axiom is the only one which requires some effort to understand. Intuitively, it states that parallel lines do not intersect.

No. This is bad and you should feel bad. Parallel lines do not intersect, and the fifth postulate has nothing to do with it. What do you imagine the definition of "parallel lines" is?

Parallel lines do not intersect by definition, in any geometry, Euclidean or non-Euclidean. The parallels postulate talks about something completely different.

Status - is it what we think it is?

I just want to note here that Johnstone's book is amazing and I'm grateful to you for introducing me to it.

HPMOR Wrap Parties: Resources, Information and Discussion

"Herzelia, Israel" should now be "Tel Aviv, Israel" as the location changed, The link to the FB event stays the same. Thanks!

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107

The entire point of that whole battle is to encourage Harry to commit his hidden resources (Lesath under the Cloak). The whole brawl is basically a show put on for Harry's benefit. Since Quirrell controls the time of Harry's coming to the scene, he could easily take out Snape himself and move him out of the way earlier. He didn't need to bring Sprout or manipulate others to come.

Since Quirrell neglected to ask Harry in Parseltongue whether he still has hidden resources Quirrell doesn't know about, it's still just about possible that Cedric Diggory, Time-Turned, is following them under the second Cloak. I hope he does.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107

Seems a bit strange that Quirrell didn't ask Harry to confirm in Parseltongue that Harry didn't have any contingency measures beyond those Quirrell already knows about (Lesath under the cloak). In the last chapter's discussion there were theories that Cedric Diggory might be around, time-turned with Harry. Even if not, why wouldn't Q make sure H doesn't have anyone else around to help or set up any other measures? Harry's promise "shall call for no help" isn't enough, if things are already set in motion for someone to help him.

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Weekly LW Meetups

Tel Aviv has had regularly scheduled meetings for a while now, please add it to the regular list.

Rationality Quotes January 2015

I do not see how this suggestion could be positively refuted. It enjoys a status well known in academic circles and doubtless elsewhere,—that of the Remotely Conceivable Alternative, contrary to the obvious implication of the facts, incapable of proof or disproof.

-- Denys L. Page (1908-1978), History and the Homeric Iliad (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966), p. 57

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