bendini's Comments

Raemon's Scratchpad

I agree, but I also think there's a bit of a chicken and egg problem there too. Leaders fear that enforcing order will result in a mutiny, but if that fear is based on an accurate perception of what will happen, telling leadership to grow a pair is not going to fix it.

Raemon's Scratchpad

Thinking about my own experiences of seeing these bottlenecks in action, I don't think either is a subset of the other. It seems more like there's a ton of situations where the only way forward is for a few people to grow a spine and have the tough conversations, and an adjacent set of problems that need centralised competent leadership to solve, but it's in short supply for the usual economic reasons plus things like "rationalists won't defer authority to anyone they don't personally worship unless bribed with a salary".

How Doomed are Large Organizations?

It was meant to include Canada (because I suspect it still applies to them and I was unsure if they were included in Moral Mazes) but not Mexico or any countries south of Mexico which are technically in North America. This was not clear in retrospect and I have edited my comment in light of that.

How Doomed are Large Organizations?

Fortunately or unfortunately, this problem seems much worse in America compared to other western countries. Unfortunately, because most of the audience lives and works there. Fortunately, because it means large organisations aren't destined to become hellholes. By no means are they absent, but when I researched this they seemed far less intense.

Have you looked into the workings of large organisations outside of the US or Canada?

How to Escape From Immoral Mazes
As George Carlin says, some people need practical advice. I didn't know how to go about providing what such a person would need, on that level. How would you go about doing that?

The solution is probably not a book. Many books have been written on escaping the rat race that could be downloaded for free in the next 5 minutes, yet people don't, and if some do in reaction to this comment they probably won't get very far.

Problems that are this big and resistant to being solved are not waiting for some lone genius to find the 100,000 word combination that will drive a stake right through the middle. What this problem needs most is lots of smart but unexceptional people hacking away at the edges. It needs wikis. It needs offline workshops. It needs case studies from people like you so it feels like a real option to people like you.

Then there's the social and financial infrastructure part of the problem. Things such as:

  • Finding useful things for people to do outside of salaried work that don't feel like sitting at the kids table. (See: every volunteer role outside of open source.)
  • Establishing intellectual networks outside of the high cost of living/rat race cities. (Not necessarily out of cities in general.)
  • Developing things that make it cheaper to maintain a comfortable standard of living at a lower level of income.
  • Finding ways to increase productivity on household tasks so it becomes economically practical to do them yourself rather than outsource them.
How to Escape From Immoral Mazes

I've been following your whole series on moral mazes. I felt the rest of them were important because they explained why "working for the man" was bad in explicit terms, but this one was a pleasant surprise. Until about halfway through this post, I was under the impression you were articulating the dangers of moral mazes in the abstract while carefully ignoring any implications it would have for your own career on Wall Street. The point I realised you'd actually quit was a jaw-dropping moment, given that I already knew you weren't staying in that situation because you had a good use for the money.

My only complaint about this post would be that the intellectually detached way that it's written and lack of object-level game plans will prevent it from feeling like a real option to a lot of readers. Most people know that something is wrong with these systems, but when the rubber meets the road, they default to the familiar script the same way you did. Intellectual understanding of a problem is necessary for a certain kind of person to take action, but it isn't sufficient, and in some cases it can leave people dangerously unprepared for reality the same way that learning karate does for a street-fight.

Please Critique Things for the Review!
Often what needs reviewing is less like "author made an unsubstantiated claim or logical error" and more like "is the entire worldview that generated the post, and the connections the post made to the rest of the world, reasonable?

I agree with this, but given that these posts were popular because lots of people thought they were true and important, deeming the entire worldview of the author flawed would also imply the worldview of the community was flawed as well. It's certainly possible that the community's entire worldview is flawed, but even if you believe that to be true, it would be very difficult to explain in a way that people would find believable.

Please Critique Things for the Review!

Those numbers look pretty good in percentage terms. I hadn't thought about it from that angle and I'm surprised they're that high.

FWIW, my original perception that there was a shortage was based on the ratio between the quantity of reviews and the quantity of new posts that have been written since the start of the review period. In theory, the latter takes a lot more effort than the former, so it would be unexpected if more people do the higher effort thing automatically and less people do the lower effort thing despite explicit calls to action and $2000 in prize money.

Please Critique Things for the Review!

I'm not surprised to learn that is the case.

This is my understanding of how karma maps to social prestige:

  • People with existing social prestige will be given more karma for a post or a comment than if it was written by someone unknown to the community.
  • Posts with more karma tend to be more interesting, which helps boost the author's prestige because more people will click on a post with higher karma.
  • Comments with high karma are viewed as more important.
  • Comments with higher karma than other comments in the same thread are viewed as the correct opinion.
  • Virtually nobody looks at how much karma you've got to figure out how seriously to take your opinions. This is probably because by the time you have accumulated enough for it to mean something, regulars will already associate your username with good content.
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