All of Ben Pace's Comments + Replies

The value of low-conscientiousness people on teams

I am also someone with very low conscientiousness scores, around 20th percentile, and I've been not sure what to make of it. So I appreciate this post, some food for thought,

larger language models may disappoint you [or, an eternally unfinished draft]

Man, I learned so much about language models from this post. Thanks so much for publishing it, even if it is unfinished.

Yudkowsky and Christiano discuss "Takeoff Speeds"

FWIW "yeah this confirms what we already thought" makes no sense to me. I heard someone say this the other day, and I was a bit floored. Who knew that Eliezer would respond with a long list of examples that didn't look like continuous progress at the time, and said this more than 3 days ago? 

I feel like I got a much better sense of Eliezer's perspective reading this. One key element is whether AI progress is surprising, which it often is even if you can make trend-line arguments after-the-fact, people basically don't, and when they do they often get i... (read more)

4rohinmshah6dWhat examples are you thinking of here? I see (1) humans and chimps, (2) nukes, (3) AlphaGo, (4) invention of airplanes by the Wright brothers, (5) AlphaFold 2, (6) Transformers, (7) TPUs, and (8) GPT-3. I've explicitly seen 1, 2, and probably 4 in arguments before. (1 and 2 are in Takeoff speeds.) The remainder seem like they plausibly did look like continuous progress* at the time. (Paul explicitly challenged 3, 6, and 7, and I feel like 5 and 8 are also debatable, though 8 is a more complicated story.) I also think I've seen some of 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8 on Eliezer's Twitter claimed as evidence for Eliezer over Hanson in the foom debate, idk which off the top of my head. I did not know that Eliezer would respond with this list of examples, but that's mostly because I expected him to have different arguments, e.g. more of an emphasis on a core of intelligence that current systems don't have and future systems will have, or more emphasis on aspects of recursive self improvement, or some unknown argument because I hadn't talked to Eliezer nor seen a rebuttal from him so it seemed quite plausible he had points I hadn't considered. The list of examples itself was not all that novel to me. (Eliezer of course also has other arguments in this post; I'm just confused about the emphasis on a "long list of examples" in the parent comment.) * Note that "continuous progress" here is a stand-in for the-strategy-Paul-uses-to-predict, which as I understand it is more like "form beliefs about how outputs scale with effort in this domain using past examples / trend lines, then see how much effort is being added now relative to the past, and use that to make a prediction".
4Daniel Kokotajlo9dThat's helpful, thanks! To be clear, I think that if EY put more effort into it (and perhaps had some help from other people as RAs) he could write a book or sequence rebutting Paul & Katja much more thoroughly and convincingly than this post did. [ETA: I.e. I'm much more on Team Yud than Team Paul here.] The stuff said here felt like a rehashing of stuff from IEM and the Hanson-Yudkowsky AI foom debate to me. [ETA: Lots of these points were good! Just not surprising to me, and not presented as succinctly and compellingly (to an audience of me) as they could have been.] Also, it's plausible that a lot of what's happening here is that I'm conflating my own cruxes and confusions for The Big Points EY Objectively Should Have Covered To Be More Convincing. :) ETA: And the fact that people updated towards EY on average, and significantly so, definitely updates me more towards this hypothesis!
Christiano, Cotra, and Yudkowsky on AI progress

Wow thanks for pulling that up. I've gotta say, having records of people's predictions is pretty sweet. Similarly, solid find on the Bostrom quote.

Do you think that might be the 20% number that Eliezer is remembering? Eliezer, interested in whether you have a recollection of this or not. [Added: It seems from a comment upthread that EY was talking about superforecasters in Feb 2016, which is after Fan Hui.]

3Greg C2dThere was still a big update from ~20%->90%, which is what is relevant for Eliezer's argument, even if he misremembered the timing. The fact that the update was from the Fan Hui match rather than the Lee Sedol match doesn't seem that important to the argument [for superforecasters being caught flatfooted by discontinuous AI-Go progress].
Christiano, Cotra, and Yudkowsky on AI progress

Adding my recollection of that period: some people made the relevant updates when DeepMind's system beat the European Champion Fan Hui (in October 2015). My hazy recollection is that beating Fan Hui started some people going "Oh huh, I think this is going to happen" and then when AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol (in March 2016) everyone said "Now it is happening".

It seems from this Metaculus question that people indeed were surprised by the announcement of the match between Fan Hui and AlphaGo (which was disclosed in January, despite the match happening months earlier, according to Wikipedia).

It seems hard to interpret this as AlphaGo being inherently surprising though, because the relevant fact is that the question was referring only to 2016. It seems somewhat reasonable to think that even if a breakthrough is on the horizon, it won't happen imminently with high probability.

Perhaps a better source of evidence of A... (read more)

Yudkowsky and Christiano discuss "Takeoff Speeds"

FWIW I also don’t like the phrasing of my comment very much either. I came back thinking to remove it but saw you’d already replied :P

Yudkowsky and Christiano discuss "Takeoff Speeds"

Why would it move toward Paul? He made almost no arguments, and Eliezer made lots. When Paul entered the chat it was focused on describing what each of them believe in order to find a bet, not communicating why they believe it.

I think I was expecting somewhat better from EY; I was expecting more solid, well-explained arguments/rebuttals to Paul's points from "Takeoff Speeds." Also EY seemed to be angry and uncharitable, as opposed to calm and rational. I was imagining an audience that mostly already agrees with Paul encountering this and being like "Yeah this confirms what we already thought."

8Matthew Barnett10dI didn’t move significantly towards either party but it seemed like Eliezer was avoiding bets, and generally, in my humble opinion, making his theory unfalsifiable rather than showing what its true weakpoints are. That doesn’t seem like what a confidently correct person would do (but it was already mostly what I expected, so I didn’t update by much on his theory’s truth value). ETA: After re-reading my comment, I feel I may have come off too strong. I'll completely unendorse my language and comment if people think this sort of thing is not conducive to productive discourse. Also, I greatly appreciate both parties for doing this.
Base Rates and Reference Classes

I'll clarify two things, let me know if your problem is not addressed.

For automatic crossposting, the posts link back to the original blog (not blogpost) in the place shown here:

Note that this does not appear on mobile, because space is very limited and we didn't figure out how to fit it into the UI.

If a person makes a linkpost by adding a link to the small field at the top of the editor, then you get a link to a specific post. That looks like this:

This process is not automatic, linkposts are only made manually.

3Yoav Ravid11dI think it would make more sense for the blog link to link to the post. If you're interested in the blog itself and not the blogpost, it's just one extra click (on the logo, or home button, or whatever), but if you are looking for the specific blogpost and it just links to the blog then you have to search for it, which isn't always convenient.
4jsteinhardt11dOh okay got it! It looks like the behavior is as intended, but one downside from my perspective is that the blog link is not very visually prominent as is--I would expect most readers to not notice it. I care about this mostly because I would like more people to know about my blog's existence, and I think it could be fixed if there was the option to add a small avatar next to the blog name to make it more visually prominent (I could imagine lots of other fixes too but just throwing a concrete one out there). On a separate not it looks like the latex is not rendering in the post: I used a nd to go in and out of math mode, but I'm not sure the LW editor parses that. (My blog embeds a javascript header that loads mathjax but I assume that is not loaded with the automatic crossposting.)
AI Safety Needs Great Engineers

Can someone briefly describe what empirical AI safety work Cohere is doing? I hadn't heard of them until this post.

6jjbalisan8dThis comment reflects those of me and not my employer (Cohere). We are currently massively growing our safety team on both engineering and product sides and one of our major bottlenecks is the above technical talent. We are currently heavily focused on making our models in production as safe as possible during training and during production. One of the biggest projects to this extent is the safety harness project which should have more information coming out soon. https://docs.cohere.ai/safety-harness/. [https://docs.cohere.ai/safety-harness/.] We are heavily focused on worse-case scenario's especially as anyone can use our models relatively quickly. Here are 2 of the papers the safety team has worked on in the past. We have much more in the timeline. * Mitigating harm in language models with conditional-likelihood filtration [https://arxiv.org/abs/2108.07790] * No News is Good News: A Critique of the One Billion Word Benchmark [https://arxiv.org/abs/2110.12609]
2habryka12dI am also interested in this.
Discussion with Eliezer Yudkowsky on AGI interventions

Thank you for this follow-up comment Adam, I appreciate it.

Attempted Gears Analysis of AGI Intervention Discussion With Eliezer

This has been quite confusing even to me from the outside.

Speaking of Stag Hunts

Just checking, what are X, Y and Z? 

(I'm interested in a concrete answer but would be happy with a brief vague answer too!)

(Added: Please don't feel obliged to write a long explanation here just because I asked, I really just wanted to ask a small question.)

5Duncan_Sabien21dThe same stuff that's outlined in the post, both up at the top where I list things my brain tries to do, and down at the bottom where I say "just the basics, consistently done." Regenerating the list again: Engaging in, and tolerating/applauding those who engage in: * Strawmanning (misrepresenting others' points as weaker or more extreme than they are) * Projection (speaking as if you know what's going on inside other people's heads) * Putting little to no effort into distinguishing your observations from your inferences/speaking as if things definitely are what they seem to you to be * Only having or tracking a single hypothesis/giving no signal that there is more than one explanation possible for what you've observed * Overstating the strength of your claims * Being much quieter in one's updates and oopses than one was in one's bold wrongness * Weaponizing equivocation/doing motte-and-bailey * Generally, doing things which make it harder rather than easier for people to see clearly and think clearly and engage with your argument and move toward the truth This is not an exhaustive list.
A Defense of Functional Decision Theory

Thanks, this comment thread was pretty helpful.

After reading your comments, here's my current explanation of what's up with the bomb argument:

The problem with claiming that taking Left is wrong in the bomb-problem, is in the inference that "because I see the bomb is in the left box" this necessarily implies that "I am in the one-in-a-trillion-trillion situation where the predictor was inaccurate".

However, this is forgetting the other option, where this setup is one of the vastly larger other worlds where I am being predicted by the predictor. In those worl

... (read more)
Discussion with Eliezer Yudkowsky on AGI interventions

Glad to hear. And yeah, that’s the crux of the issue for me.

Discussion with Eliezer Yudkowsky on AGI interventions

Follow-up

One of Eliezer's claims here is

It is very, very clear that at present rates of progress, adding that level of alignment capability as grown over the next N years, to the AGI capability that arrives after N years, results in everybody dying very quickly.

This is a claim I basically agree with.

I don't think the situation is entirely hopeless, but I don't think any of the current plans (or the current alignment field) are on track to save us.

Discussion with Eliezer Yudkowsky on AGI interventions

Thank you for the links Adam. To clarify, the kind of argument I'm really looking for is something like the following three (hypothetical) examples.

  • Mesa-optimization is the primary threat model of unaligned AGI systems. Over the next few decades there will be a lot of companies building ML systems that create mesa-optimizers. I think it is within 5 years of current progress that we will understand how ML systems create mesa-optimizers and how to stop it.Therefore I think the current field is adequate for the problem (80%).
  • When I look at the research we're
... (read more)

Thanks for the examples, that helps a lot.

I'm glad that I posted my inflammatory comment, if only because exchanging with you and Rob made me actually consider the question of "what is our story to success", instead of just "are we making progress/creating valuable knowledge". And the way you two have been casting it is way less aversive to me that the way EY tends to frame it. This is definitely something I want to think more about. :)

I want to leave this paragraph as social acknowledgment that you mentioned upthread that you're tired and taking a break,

... (read more)
Transcript for Geoff Anders and Anna Salamon's Oct. 23 conversation

I appreciate you sharing your perspective. A lot of this is uninteresting and irrelevant to perhaps the majority of readers (though I think that as you weight users by karma you’d start to find for more and more of them this is directly about the social dynamics around them).

I’m pretty pro this discussion happening somehow for the communities involved, and think it’s been pretty helpful in some important ways for it to happen as it has in public.

I wonder if there’s a natural way for it to be less emphasized for the majority for whom it is uninteresting. Pe... (read more)

My experience at and around MIRI and CFAR (inspired by Zoe Curzi's writeup of experiences at Leverage)

I'm glad to hear that you had time to rest a lot while this thread was going on.

Discussion with Eliezer Yudkowsky on AGI interventions

Adam, can you make a positive case here for how the work being done on prosaic alignment leads to success? You didn't make one, and without it I don't understand where you're coming from. I'm not asking you to tell me a story that you have 100% probability on, just what is the success story you're acting under, such that EY's stances seem to you to be mostly distracting people from the real work.

(Later added disclaimer: it's a good idea to add "I feel like..." before the judgment in this comment, so that you keep in mind that I'm talking about my impressions and frustrations, rarely stating obvious facts (despite the language making it look so))

Thanks for trying to understand my point and asking me for more details. I appreciate it.

Yet I feel weird when trying to answer, because my gut reaction to your comment is that you're asking the wrong question? Also, the compression of my view to "EY's stances seem to you to be mostly distracting people fro... (read more)

If superintelligence is approximately multimodal GPT-17 plus reinforcement learning, then understanding how GPT-3-scale algorithms function is exceptionally important to understanding super-intelligence.

Also, if superintelligence doesn’t happen then prosaic alignment is the only kind of alignment.

Discussion with Eliezer Yudkowsky on AGI interventions

Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

(...I'll be at the office, thinking about how to make enough progress fast enough.)

Follow-up

One of Eliezer's claims here is

It is very, very clear that at present rates of progress, adding that level of alignment capability as grown over the next N years, to the AGI capability that arrives after N years, results in everybody dying very quickly.

This is a claim I basically agree with.

I don't think the situation is entirely hopeless, but I don't think any of the current plans (or the current alignment field) are on track to save us.

Good to hear I'm not the only one with this reaction. Well, good isn't the right term, but y'know. The This Is Fine meme comes to mind. So does the stuff about how having strong feelings is often right and proper.

I've always thought this but have never said it to anyone before: I can only imagine the type of stress and anxiety Eliezer deals with. I'm grateful to him for many reasons, but one distinct reason is that he puts up with this presumed stress and anxiety for humanity's benefit, which includes all of us.

Maybe this would be a good time for the commu... (read more)

Speaking of Stag Hunts

It's very worthwhile to understand the ways in which academia has died over the last 60 years or so, and part of it definitely involves failures in the journal system. But the axis of public criticism in journals doesn't seem at all to have been what changed in the last 60 years? Insofar as you think that's a primary reason, you seem to be explaining a change by pointing to a variable that has not changed.

In replying to your proposed norms, it's not odd to point out that the very mechanism of labeling everything that's bad as bad and ensuring we have commo... (read more)

Speaking of Stag Hunts

It sounds to me like posting on your High-Standards-Frontpage is a very high effort endeavor, an amount of effort that currently only around 3-30 posts each year have put into them. I've thought of this idea before with the name "LW Journal" or "LW Peer Review", which also had a part where it wasn't only commenters critiquing your post, but we paid a few people full-time for reviewing of the posts in this pipeline, and there was also a clear pass/failure with each submission. (Scott Garrabrant has also suggested this idea to me in the past, as a publishing... (read more)

3Duncan_Sabien25dI would likely do this from my own motivation (i.e. not necessarily need money) if I were given at least one of: a) guaranteed protection from the badgunk comments by e.g. three moderators willing to be dependably high-effort down in the comments b) given the power to hide badgunk comments pending their author rewriting them to eliminate the badgunk c) given the power to leave inline commentary on people's badgunk comments The only thing holding me back from doing something much more like what Said proposes is "LW comment sections regularly abuse and exhaust me." Literally that's the only barrier, and it's a substantial one. If LW comment sections did not regularly abuse and exhaust me, such that every post feels like I need to set aside fifty hours of life and spoons just in case, then I could and would be much more prolific. (To be clear: some people whose pushback on this post was emphatically not abuse or exhausting include supposedlyfun, Said, Elizabeth, johnswentsworth, and agrippa.)
6Vaniver25dSo I think the Review is pretty good at getting good old content, but I think the thing Said is talking about should happen more quickly, and should be more like Royal Society Letters or w/e. Actually, I wonder about Rohin's newsletters as a model/seed. They attract more scrutiny to things, but they come with the reward of Rohin's summary (and, presumably, more eyeballs than it would have gotten on its own). But also people were going to be writing those things for their own reasons anyway. I think if we had the Eliezer-curated weekly newsletter of "here are the LW posts that caught my interest plus commentary on them", we would probably think the reward and scrutiny were balanced. Of course, as with any suggestion that proposes spending Eliezer-time on something, I think this is pretty dang expensive--but the Royal Society Letters were also colossally expensive to produce.
Speaking of Stag Hunts

I'm pretty confused by your numbered list, because they seem directly in contradiction with how scientific journals have worked historically. Here's a quote from an earlier post of mine:

I looked through a volume of the London Mathematical Society, in particular, the volume where Turing published his groundbreaking paper proving that not all mathematical propositions are decidable (thanks to sci-hub for making it possible for me to read the papers!). My eyes looked at about 60% of the pages in the journal (about 12 papers), and not one of them disagreed wit

... (read more)
0Said Achmiz25dThis seems like a very odd response given the fact of the replication crisis, the many cases of scientific knowledge being forgotten for decades after being discovered, the rise of false or inaccurate (and sometimes quite harmful [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/kMdRnWGvrQHviPBRy/the-60-year-old-scientific-screwup-that-helped-covid-kill] !) models, etc. I think that (in many, or most, scientific fields) people often don’t build on the good content, and don’t forget about the bad content; often, the reverse happens. It’s true that it’s “very rarely published that [bad papers/proofs are] unhelpful or wrong or even criticized in the journals”! But this is, actually, very bad, and is a huge reason why more and more scientific fields are being revealed to be full of un-replicable nonsense, egregious mistakes, and even outright fraud! The filtering mechanisms we have are actually quite poor. The “papers in scientific journals” example / case study seems to me to yield clear, strong support for my view.
Speaking of Stag Hunts

Yeah that seems fair. I gave feedback to Jacob at the time that his interpretation of the rules didn't seem like the obvious one to me, and I think the 'streak' framing also meant that missing one week took you down to zero, which is super costly if it's the primary success metric.

2Slider25d7/7 attendance and 6/7 success resulted in 5 stars. I think the idea was that high cost of missing out would utilise sunk cost to keep the activity going. I am not sur whether bending on rules made it closer to idela or would sticking by the lines and making a fail a full reset done better. Or even if the call between pass and fail was compromised by allowing "fail with reduced concequences".
Speaking of Stag Hunts

I am generally in favor of people running polls and surveys about information they're interested in. 

(Here's a very random one I did, and looking through search I see people have done them on general demographics, nootropics, existential risk, akrasia, and more.)

Speaking of Stag Hunts

So yes, Said, I am broadly opposed to substantially increasing the standards applied to each individual comment or paragraph. I am much more in favor of raising the amount of reward you can get for putting in remarkable amounts of effort and contributing great insights and knowledge.

After finishing writing, I did have a further note to add on where I actually think I am more open to raising standards.

As well as rewarding people more for their entire body of contributions to LessWrong, I am also more open to negatively judging people more for their entire b... (read more)

Speaking of Stag Hunts

On the topic of standards

On the current margin, I am interested in users taking more risks with individual comments and posts, not less. People take more risk when the successes are rewarded more, and when the failures are punished less. I generally encourage very low standards for individual comments, similar to how I have very low standards for individual word-choice or sentence structure. I want to reward or punish users for their body of contributions rather than pick each one apart and make sure it's "up to standard". (As an example, see the how this ... (read more)

Re: standards:

What you say makes sense if, and only if, the presence of “bad” content is costless.

And that condition has (at least) these prerequisites:

  1. Everyone (or near enough) clearly sees which content is bad; everyone agrees that the content is bad, and also on what makes it bad; and thus…

  2. … the bad content is clearly and publicly judged as such, and firmly discarded, so that…

  3. … nobody adopts or integrates the bad ideas from the bad content, and nobody’s reasoning, models, practices, behavior, etc. is affected (negatively) by the bad content; an

... (read more)
4Slider25dThere was the issue with the babble challenges where I felt like effort was not being seen [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/C9xAy4fY7DjSS5ELB/babble-challenge-50-consequences-of-intelligent-ant-colonies?commentId=aPFtivdwzeAradrt5] . "Not knowing which norms are materially important feels capricious.". There is a difference between giving a prize to a valued act and giving valued acts prizes. While it was not a total unmitigated catastrophe I became wary and became suspicious of claims like "hey if you do X I will do Y".

As a note on balance, I think you addressed the (predicted) costs of raising standards but not the costs of the existing standards.

I know of at least three people that I believe Ben Pace would consider high-quality potential contributors who are not writing and commenting much on LessWrong because the comments are exhausting and costly in approximately the ways I'm gesturing at.

(We have some disagreement but more overlap than disagreement.)

And I myself am quite likely to keep adding essays but am extremely unlikely to be anything other than a thought-dropp... (read more)

So yes, Said, I am broadly opposed to substantially increasing the standards applied to each individual comment or paragraph. I am much more in favor of raising the amount of reward you can get for putting in remarkable amounts of effort and contributing great insights and knowledge.

After finishing writing, I did have a further note to add on where I actually think I am more open to raising standards.

As well as rewarding people more for their entire body of contributions to LessWrong, I am also more open to negatively judging people more for their entire b... (read more)

Transcript for Geoff Anders and Anna Salamon's Oct. 23 conversation

Geoff’s reply sounds super aggressive. I suspect he said “I believe it” or “I can believe it”.

3Rob Bensinger1moOh, I think he said 'Believe it' (in a joking tone of voice) as a shorthand for 'I believe it.'
Speaking of Stag Hunts

This is groundhog day Ray; we just found out that it doesn't work on Opera and Firefox.

(And apparently Chrome Incognito on Windows? I'm confused about the exact line there, because it works on my Chrome Incognito on Mac.)

4Said Achmiz1moSo far, this problem has replicated on every browser on every platform I’ve tried it on, in both regular and private windows. Chrome, Firefox, Opera, on Mac, Windows, Linux… I have not been able to view any of the given posts in any way at all.
Speaking of Stag Hunts

Yeah, I don't act by that norm, and I did update negatively on the judgment of people I knew who supported Brent in the community. (I don't think of Duncan centrally in that category.)

Speaking of Stag Hunts

Yeah that's why I added the primary source, I went and read it and then realized that was what you were doing.

Speaking of Stag Hunts

For a bit more primary source, here's some Duncan quotes from his post atop the second FB thread:

I focused yesterday's conversation on what I suspected would be a minority viewpoint which might be lost in a rush to judgment. I wanted to preserve doubt, where doubt is often underpreserved, and remind people to gather as much information as they could before setting their personal opinions. I was afraid people would think that helping those who were suffering necessarily meant hurting Brent—that it was inextricably a zero-sum game.

and

I want to reorient now t

... (read more)

I also had nothing to do with the Burning Man group (have never been to Burning Man, came out to a beach in San Francisco once along with [a dozen other people also otherwise not involved with that group] to see a geodesic dome get partially assembled?) and the confidence with which that user asserts this falsehood seems relevant.  

Speaking of Stag Hunts

Duncan hosted 2+ long FB threads at the time where a lot of people shared their experiences with Brent, and I think were some of the main ways that Berkeley rationalists oriented to the situation and shared information, and overall I think it was far better than the counterfactual of Duncan not having hosted those threads. I recall, but cannot easily find, Kelsey Piper also saying she was surprised how well the threads went, and I think Duncan's contributions there and framing and moderation were a substantial part of what went well.

It is public record he

... (read more)
7Duncan_Sabien1moI also note that I was lodging a defense of "not leaping straight to judgment" far more than I was lodging a defense of Brent, i.e. I think the text above is much more consistent with "Duncan wants us to track multiple possible worlds consistent with the current set of observations" than with "Duncan has a strong and enduring preference for believing one of those worlds." This is exactly the sort of nuance that is precious, and difficult to maintain, and I am still glad I tried to maintain it even though it ultimately turned out that the null hypothesis (Brent is an abuser) proved correct.

For a bit more primary source, here's some Duncan quotes from his post atop the second FB thread:

I focused yesterday's conversation on what I suspected would be a minority viewpoint which might be lost in a rush to judgment. I wanted to preserve doubt, where doubt is often underpreserved, and remind people to gather as much information as they could before setting their personal opinions. I was afraid people would think that helping those who were suffering necessarily meant hurting Brent—that it was inextricably a zero-sum game.

and

I want to reorient now t

... (read more)
Speaking of Stag Hunts

But also strong upvoted for an exciting and original idea.

Speaking of Stag Hunts

My sense is that the basic UI interaction of "look at a price and judge it as wrong" has the potential to be surprisingly simple for a comment section. I often have intuitions that something is "overpriced" or "underpriced".

But I find the grounding-out process pretty hard to swallow. I'd be spending so much of my time thinking about who was grounding it out and how to model them socially, which is a far more costly operation than my current one that's just "do I think the karma number should go up or down".

3Ben Pace1moBut also strong upvoted for an exciting and original idea.
Speaking of Stag Hunts

This suggests to me a different idea on how to improve LessWrong: make an automated "basics of disagreement" test. This involves recognizing a couple of basic concepts like cruxes and common knowledge, and involves looking at some comment threads and correctly diagnosing "what's going on" in them (e.g. where are they talking past each other) and you have to notice a bunch of useful ways to intervene.

Then if you pass, your username on comments gets a little badge next to it, and your strong vote strength gets moved up to +4 (if you're not already there).

The idea is to make it clearer who is breaking the rules that they know, versus who is breaking the rules that they don't know.

3Duncan_Sabien1moInterestingly, my next planned essay is an exploration of a single basic of disagreement.
Speaking of Stag Hunts

This comment is surprising to me in how important I think this point is.

4Duncan_Sabien1moNot surprising to me given my recent interactions with you and Romeo, but I agree it's quite important and I wouldn't mind a world where it became the main frontier of this discussion.
Ruling Out Everything Else

Aww thanks Duncan :) I am v happy that I wrote my comments :)

I had noticed in the past that you seemed to have a different empirical belief here (or something), leading you to seem to have arguments in the comments that I myself wouldn't care enough to follow through on (even while you made good and helpful arguments).

Maybe it's just an empirical disagreement. But I can imagine doing some empirical test here where you convince me the majority of readers didn't understand the norms as much as I thought, but where I still had a feeling like "As long as your ... (read more)

5Duncan_Sabien1moI happen to be writing exactly this essay (things that would change stuff on the margin). It's ... not easy. As for exploring the empirical question, I'm interested/intrigued and cannot rule out that you're just right about the line of "mattering" being somewhere other than where I guess it is.
Ruling Out Everything Else

When I've written things like tag descriptions for LW or prefaces for LW books, Jim Babcock has been really great (when working with me on them) at asking "Okay, what things will people instinctively think we're saying, but we're not saying, and how can we head them off?" And after coming up with 2-4 nearby things we're not saying and how to distinguish ourselves from them, the resultant write-up is often something I'm really happy with.

Ruling Out Everything Else

Just up top I'll share my opinion re CronoDAS's comment: my opinion is that it's way more helpful to provide literally any context on a URL than to post it bare, and it's within the range of reasonable behavior to downvote it in response to no-context. (I wouldn't myself on a post of mine, I'd probably just be like "yeah whatever" and ignore it.)

I posit that, humans being what they are and LW being what it currently is, the net effect of the above comment is to convey mild disapproval, but without being explicit about it.

I was surprised by you writing this... (read more)

Okay well this isn't very specific or concrete feedback but the gist of my response here is "I love ya, Ben Pace."

I also feel "sod them," and wish something like ... like I felt more like I could afford to disregard "them" in this case?  Except it feels like my attempts to pretend that I could are what have gotten me in trouble on LW specifically, so despite very much being in line with the spirit I hear you putting forward, I nevertheless feel like I have to do some bending-over-backward.

Ruling Out Everything Else

Oh! Right.

I'll execute my go-to move when someone potentially-critizes what I did, and try to describe the cognitive process that I executed:

  • I read your second paragraph from "But also" to "read and hear."
  • It sounded to me like you said Hanson was saying "It would be good if this unhelpful behavior just went away", and that to you this seemed empty of gears or helpful advice.
  • [This is what I read you as saying, which might not be identical to what you said, nor what you meant. Neither of us are perfect at explaining ourselves nor at understanding each other
... (read more)

Just up top I'll share my opinion re CronoDAS's comment: my opinion is that it's way more helpful to provide literally any context on a URL than to post it bare, and it's within the range of reasonable behavior to downvote it in response to no-context. (I wouldn't myself on a post of mine, I'd probably just be like "yeah whatever" and ignore it.)

I posit that, humans being what they are and LW being what it currently is, the net effect of the above comment is to convey mild disapproval, but without being explicit about it.

I was surprised by you writing this... (read more)

[Book Review] "The Bell Curve" by Charles Murray

(Appreciate you spelling it out like this, the above is a clear articulation of one of the main perspectives I have on the situation.)

[Book Review] "The Bell Curve" by Charles Murray

+1 it would have been funny, especially if you'd opened by lampshading it.

Covid 11/4: The After Times

I'm so sorry about your kid having to wear a mask 8hrs/day :(

The Opt-Out Clause

Thanks for the empirical results!

I would replicate myself, but I'm not sure I actually endorse taking the stance in general against being simulated. I would be interested to hear of others' replications though.

5AnthonyC1moI'm not sure this is actually evidence. Or at least, it's only very weak evidence Obviously, witnessing someone leave the simulation this way would be strong evidence, but anyone who themselves conducts the test wouldn't be around to report the result if it worked. Alternatively, you have no way of knowing what fraction of the people you encounter are NPCs, for whom the phrase wouldn't do anything. Plus, for you to experience a faultless simulation, where you can't detect you're in one, you would need to not become aware of other participants leaving the simulation. Plausibly, the easiest way to do that is to immediately insert a simulated replacement to fill in for anyone who leaves. (Although, if simulated NPC people are themselves conscious/sentient/sapient, a benevolent Matrix lord might respect their requests anyway - and create a real body elsewhere in addition to continuing their simulation here. (Other variant situations, like trying to use the code phrase to escape torture, might require a deeper change to the world to remove a person in a way no one notices). For myself, I suspect my being in a simulation at all, if it's voluntary, would only happen if 1) conditions outside are worse than here, and/or 2) my death or sufficiently bad torture here would result in automatically leaving (restored to a recent save point of my mind-state when I would consider it in good condition). Relying on being able to pick up a code phrase and trust I'll be able to say it at the right time would be truly terrible UI design if it were the only way out.
6Raven1moI did it, nothing happened.
Ruling Out Everything Else

I see. I mean, all interactions have virtues on both sides. If someone insults me needlessly, the virtue for them to practice is avoiding unnecessary cruelty, and my virtue to practice is not letting others' words affect me too much (e.g. avoiding grudges or making a big deal of feeling attacked).

Similarly, if someone communicates with me and I read into it nearby meanings they didn't intend, their virtue is to empathize more with other minds in their writing, and my virtue is to hold as a live hypothesis that I may not have fully understood what they intended to say (rather than assuming I did with 100% certainty and responding based on that, and then being sorry later when I discover I got them wrong).

4Duncan_Sabien1moI agree with all of the above, and also... ...there's a strong "fallacy of the grey" vibe in the above, in cultures where the fallacy of the grey isn't something that everyone is aware of, sufficiently so that it need no longer be mentioned or guarded against. "All interactions have virtues on both sides" is just true, denotatively. Connotatively, it implies that all interactions have roughly equivalent magnitudes of virtues on both sides, especially when you post that here in response to me making a critique of someone else's method of engagement. I posit that, humans being what they are and LW being what it currently is, the net effect of the above comment is to convey mild disapproval, but without being explicit about it. Which may not have been your intention, which is why I'm writing this out (to give you a chance to say one way or the other if you feel like it). It's sufficiently close to always-true that "both sides could have done better" or "both sides were defending something important" that the act of taking the time to say so is usually conveying something beyond the mere fact. Similar to how if I say "the sky is blue," you would probably do more than just nod and say "Indeed!" You would likely wonder why I chose that particular utterance at this particular moment. The fact that each person always has an available challenge-of-virtue does not mean that the challenge presented to each is anything remotely like "equally fair" or that both are equally distant from some lofty ideal. Mostly this is a muse, but it's a relevant muse as I'm thinking a bunch about how things go sideways on LW. I'm not sure that you're aware that "all interactions have virtues on both sides" could be read as a rebuke of "I think CronoDAS's interaction with me was sub-par." And if I wanted to engage with you in world-modeling and norm-building, it would be a very different conversation if you were vs. if you weren't (though both could be productive).
Ruling Out Everything Else

My story is that the OP is a guide to successful communication, and the OB is arguing that it should not be required or expected, as that imparts unfair mandatory costs on communicators.

5Duncan_Sabien1moTo the extent that story is accurate, I largely agree; you can read [In Defense of Punch Bug] and [Invalidating Imaginary Injury] and similar as strongly motivated by a desire to cut back on unfair mandatory costs. But also I smell a fabricated option in "what if we just didn't?" I think that the OB essay points at a good thing that would be good, but doesn't really do anything to say how.Indeed, at the end, the OB essay seems to be turning toward locating the problem in the listener? Advocating not projecting a bunch of assumptions into what you read and hear?
[Book Review] "The Bell Curve" by Charles Murray

Okay. Maybe not the ideal goal, not sure, but I think it's pretty within range of fine things to do. There's a fairly good case that people will search the author's name and want to understand their ideas because he's well-known, so it helps as a search term.

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