AspiringRationalist's Comments

Cambridge Prediction Game

We don't have well-defined stats on how well people's prediction skills have improved over time. From my anecdotal observations, pretty much everyone (myself included) starts out vastly overconfident, and then after losing a lot of points in their first few predictions, reaches an appropriate level of confidence. I'm not sure if anyone goes from ok to great though.

Cambridge Prediction Game

There have been few times that we've been able to take actions based on the predictions, because that requires the following combination of factors that tends not to occur together:

  • The answers are sufficiently clear-cut to make the prediction scorable
  • There are specific actions that depend on those well-defined answers
  • Enough people in our local community have enough insight to get some sort of wisdom of crowds.

The examples where the predictions led to decisions are:

  • Scott Alexander visited Boston and we hosted a meetup that he came to, and we wanted to run a survey at the meetup. We took predictions on how many people would attend, along with a conditional prediction market on the survey response rate for paper vs for tablet. Based on this, we went with paper. Attendance was much higher than anticipated, and we ended up running out of forms (but were able to make copies, so it worked out ok).
  • When our apartment had some maintenance issues and the landlord was giving us mixed signals about whether we'd be able to renew the lease, we took predictions on when/whether the issues would be resolved and whether the landlord would offer a renewal. Based on these, we decided not to look for a new place. The issue was in fact resolved and we were able to renew the lease.
  • One of our housemates has moved away, with some ambiguity around whether it's temporary permanent, and we have predictions on whether they will return. TBD how this one will go.
Cambridge LW/SC Meetup

For this month's meetup, in the interest of self-improvement, we will be making new year's resolutions, and in the interest of epistemics, we're going to be predicting how likely each other are to succeed at our resolutions.

Sharing new year's resolutions is strictly optional, and if you choose to share them, having people predict how likely you are to succeed is also optional.

Cambridge SSC Meetup

There aren't any activities currently planned for that date range, but we're always eager to meet visiting rationalists so maybe you could stop by.

Feedback on LW 2.0

What if weight were capped at 1?

Polling Thread October 2017

If you're in a conversation at a party and there is another conversation next to you, how does that affect...

... your ability to follow the conversation you're in


... your enjoyment of the party


How likely are you to switch conversations?


Can anyone refute these arguments that we live on the interior of a hollow Earth?

No. The Ottoman Empire started in 1299. Islam, and various very powerful caliphates, had existed for centuries before that.

Can anyone refute these arguments that we live on the interior of a hollow Earth?

The Qur'an wasn't written down until a while after Muhammad's death, by which time there was an incentive for leaders to edit it for their own benefit.

See also Emperor Constantine I's efforts to quash dissent within the Christian community in order to make it more politically unified.

Open thread, July 10 - July 16, 2017

Because I think it would be useful to be able to weigh in explicitly on each option rather than just pick a favorite:






In support of yak shaving part 2

I'm curious - what have you outsourced to Fancy Hands? I know in theory that I should be outsourcing stuff to services like that, but I really don't know what stuff I can effectively outsource in practice.

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