All of bgrah449's Comments + Replies

It's not like anything to be a bat

This argument would have to apply to people who were born completely blind, or completely deaf. Just imagine that all humans are echolocation-deaf/blind.

Babies and Bunnies: A Caution About Evo-Psych

I'll have to take your word on how it would bother you, but I think a crucial difference is that in the instance of the cute salt shaker, the instinct is to protect - notice that the word used, "cruel," is dependent upon how it's received by the anthropomorphized salt shaker. If I tell the soup, "You're too cold and have too high a potato-to-clam ratio!" - is it seen as cruel or mean? It seems more like it's seen as, like you said, hostile - a statement more about my feelings in intent than the "feelings" of the salt shaker in... (read more)

6Alicorn12yI think you're on to something - I am more likely to anthropomorphize a cute thing on a relevant level, and it would be my taste rather than the object's imaginary feelings that I hypothesized would come into play if you insulted the painting or soup.
Babies and Bunnies: A Caution About Evo-Psych

My point is that it's perceived as nasty and cruel at all, rather than bizarre or slightly rude or honest. Imagine it was an excessively large salt shaker - say, several feet tall. And faced it and said, "You're worthless because you're too large to be useful." People would give me a quizzical look, like, what's wrong with this guy? But the instinct wouldn't be to protect the large salt shaker.

3Alicorn12yI think this may have to do with liking the object at all, rather than thinking it's cute in particular. If you insulted a painting that I liked (addressing it directly) which I thought was pretty but not cute - "you, painting, have no practical value whatsoever and are too overpriced to justify the space you'd take up on a wall!" - or spoke to a bowl of soup in a restaurant, which I thought was tasty but not cute - "you are too cold, and have too high a potato-to-clam ratio!" - I think that might bother me in the same way it would if you told a cute saltshaker that it was too small to be useful. Expressing harsh opinions of a liked object is seen as hostile.
Babies and Bunnies: A Caution About Evo-Psych

I actually included that because of exactly that response from various girls about objects like hotel shampoo bottles, Japanese candies, a very small salt-shaker, a tiny spoon, etc. It usually goes something like, "Look at that salt shaker; it's so cute." And then I look at the salt shaker and say, "You're worthless because you're too small to be useful." And the girl will go, "Don't say that!" and then immediately grabs the salt shaker.

One time I drew pictures on a piece of scratchpaper in such a way that when a Japanese can... (read more)

0Fronken9yWhy are you mean to candies :( now I feel sorry too for the poor candies. You anthropomorphism their pain and it leaks into us and that makes us sad for their felt pain through empathy. I think anyway, not like I'm strong evidence.
-3[anonymous]9yWhat the hell--
1Alicorn12yThis could have more to do with a reaction to you than to the object. There's no real motivation to love and protect a cute tiny salt shaker, but surely there's also no call to be or simulate being cruel to it. I mean, it can't hear you. If you address it and say nasty things to it, what are the possible motivations for that? Mightn't it make sense on some psychological level to object and work to prevent the outlet of nastiness due to its perceived meaning about and effects on you rather than the saltshaker?
Babies and Bunnies: A Caution About Evo-Psych

tl;dr: Cuteness is the word that we use when we want something to experience a feeling of safety or otherwise be more confident than we think they would feel without special effort to make them feel that way.

Thanks for expanding. I want to throw out a warning that we're treading dangerously close to the foul line, but I think we're still in-bounds.

Using the word "cute" sarcastically is a very different use of the word with a completely different meaning.

I understand the general point that words can have different meanings, and I'm open to t... (read more)

4[anonymous]9yInteresting. My empathy seems to be working in a weird way. * TV set: it doesn't sound mean at all -- it's an inanimate fucking object [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWjjViJzfCU]. (I'm assuming the old TV set will be sold or given away, rather than disposed of or destroyed, otherwise it would sound somewhat mean -- towards the hypothetical person who could otherwise use the TV set, not towards the TV set itself. * Baby: not mean at all if the baby is too young to understand, very mean otherwise. By this point, I was thinking that “can they understand?” must be it. * Sexy person: somewhat mean. So far, so good; but... * Bunny: okay, this does sound kind-of mean, and the bunny most definitely doesn't understand English, so my heuristic was broken. (I'm not sure whether me feeling empathy for a bunny is a bug or a feature.) Next: * Cute girl: slightly mean. * Cute boy: not mean at all. (But the fact that in certain ways I'm probably more feminine than usual for males might have something to do with that.) * Hyena: wow, that does sound somewhat mean (more than for the bunny). WTH? Some part of me must be an Azathoth worshipper. * Shampoo bottle: not mean at all. Can't feel empathy for a bottle even if I try to force myself to. (And, as I once already mentioned, I do feel a sliver of empathy for the molecules in this picture [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Translational_motion.gif] when they're hit particularly hard. What's the difference? The fact that I've done moshing [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moshing] which is analogous to thermal collisions but I've never done anything remotely analogous to being a shampoo bottle about to be thrown away? * Old man: OMG, telling him that in front of his wife? 'The hell is wrong with you, Mr Spock? * Creepy old man: the “You give women the creeps” part doesn't sound mean at all, the “you won't have sex again between now and when you die” sounds extremely me
0[anonymous]9yInteresting. My empathy seems to be working in a weird way. (Will elaborate on this later.)
1prase12yResponse: I have weak negative responses in all cases, inanimate objects included. The negative responses are stronger only in case of both old men. Ordering from the weakest to the strongest may be: plasma TV, sexiest person, shampoo, baby, hyena, bunny, creepy man, 90 years man. Few disclaimers: a) I am not a native English speaker, so my understanding of "cute" is probably non-standard. b) I have excluded cute boy/girl from classification, since I have no idea what I may imagine. (Maybe related to a.) c) TV set would score much higher if it were an old black and white model from 1960s. d) I feel a difference in severity of revealed incovenient truths. "You will be cooked" is certainly more harsh than "you will be a resource drain". e) It is difficult to answer, since my initial feelings rapidly change as I think about the situations longer. f) I don't see how relevant is this test to the OP.
2Blueberry12yIt strikes me that tabooing "cute" might be useful here. Regardless of how we use the word, going back to the OP, what is it we mean when we talk about our reaction to say, a picture of a bunny or a kitty or a baby? For me, it's an "awww" response, coupled with a smile and an urge to hold or pet or protect the animal. I don't feel that way about a miniature object, exactly, or an old man, or a sexually attractive person. At best it's a very muted version of the feeling.
1Blueberry12yMy responses: negative emotional response for all the humans, except the baby. Especially negative responses for both the old men. Neutral for the TV, baby, bunny, hyena, and shampoo. Did people seriously feel defensive or protective of inanimate objects?
0Bindbreaker12yReport: No discernible response for anything except the creepy old man (minor positive emotional response). Note that I don't really have a conception of "cute" or "sexy," so disregard my responses for cute boy, cute girl, and sexiest person.
Open Thread: February 2010, part 2

I just failed the Wason selection task. Does anyone know any other similarly devilish problems?

0wedrifid12yFun task. I'll second the request.
6Cyan12yHere's a classic: Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations. Which is more probable? 1. Linda is a bank teller. 2. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement. Answer here [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Cyan/blind_redirect].
5Alicorn12yIt can't be, because I'm willing to reveal my location relative to the Earth.
Babies and Bunnies: A Caution About Evo-Psych

It seems very oversimplified to say, "We think babies are cute because we have to." "Cuteness" casts a pretty wide net when you start thinking of all the things we say are "cute." A sample list of things I've heard described as cute:

  • Babies
  • Bunnies
  • Targets of sexual attraction
  • Small consumer goods, such as tiny containers of shampoo, small forks, etc.
  • Some old men
  • Targets of sarcastic comments ("That's real cute, but .. ")

It seems like we reserve the word for "things that are vulnerable/harmless/ineffective... (read more)

1ikrase9yLet me break that down Targets of sexual attraction: I think that most people (Moderate confidence) see different targets of sexual attraction with wildly varying levels of cuteness, and I know that for myself, cuteness is inversely correlated with how directly, physically sexual my attraction is. Furthermore, after I inadvertently modified myself to be attracted to power, cuteness became a bit of horns rather than a halo. Targets of sarcastic comments: I think that is clear and simple insulting for childishness. Inanimate objects: I tend to feel protective of quaint equipment, even if it is unlikely to be a valuable historical artifact in the future, but it doesn't seem related to the cuteness response to those objects. I think that the most important distinction in your list is between cute adult humans and all the others except for sarcasm, which doesn't belong with the rest of them.
8Blueberry12yThis is confusing the map with the territory. We use the word "cute" for all those things, but we don't feel the same way about them all, and we don't mean the same thing by that word in most of those cases.
Things You Can't Countersignal

You can barely signal humility, though.

2[anonymous]9yYou signal humility by refraining from signalling arrogance when other people in the same situation would likely do so. (What Pope Francis seems to want to appear to be doing, essentially.)

A priest goes before the altar and prostrates himself before it and says, "I am nothing before you God." A rich man comes in after him, prostrates himself before the altar and says, "I am nothing before you God." A beggar comes off the street and prostrates himself before the altar and says, "I am nothing before you God."

The rich man then whispers to the priest, "Look who thinks HE'S nothing."

0Liron12yYou should try to find a better scientific institution for testing article promotion hypotheses.

A link about how people are attempting to be less wrong is off-topic on LessWrong? /me is puzzled.

Welcome to Less Wrong!

Out of curiosity, are you an actuary?

0Leafy12yActually no I am not. I began studying the Actuarial exams when I started work and have passed the ones that I took but stopped studying 3 years ago. I found them very interesting but sadly of only minor relevance to the work that I was doing and, since I was not intending on becoming an Actuary and therefore was not being afforded any study leave in which to progress in them, I decided to focus my spare time on my own career path instead. Why do you ask?
Open Thread: February 2010, part 2

Doesn't that work for math proofs, too?

0gwern12yCould you enlarge?
Open Thread: February 2010, part 2

You really think puns are "the formula" for making jokes? You think hunter-gatherers were making puns before they were telling funny stories?

0SilasBarta12yI mean "the formula" (like I said) in the sense that it's guaranteed to produce a recognizable (though not good) joke, not that all jokes are puns.
Open Thread: February 2010, part 2

Puns are a hard fit, I admit. I especially have a hard time with them because they don't produce laughter in me; I have a hard time recognizing them as humor unless they're presented in the same way as other jokes, or pre-identified as jokes.

But that joke has status built into it, as well - for example, it's not funny to say "star-mangled spanner sounds like star-spangled banner."

Personally, I call these "Bob Hope Humor," which is when people laugh to demonstrate that they "get" the joke, not because it actually tickles them.

0CronoDAS12ySometimes puns are funny, and sometimes they're just punishing. And a lot of people really, really hate puns.
Hayekian Prediction Markets?

taw's question-wrapped-in-barbed wire is how you keep wealth level despite killing people, since presumably those people were adding to the economy by both producing and consuming goods.

0thomblake12yThat is a good question, but I don't see it in taw's comment, even between the lines. taw seemed to think someone was implying that the economy would actually get better by killing poor people, thus the reference to Malthus. I could easily contrive a scenario where one kills 20 million people without significantly decreasing wealth, and I noted that I don't know whether this was such a case. Note CarlShulman's observation below.
Open Thread: February 2010, part 2

I have spent a great deal of time thinking about humor, and I've arrived at a place somewhat close to yours. Humor is how we pass on lessons about status and fitness, and we do that using pattern recognition. I heard a comedian describe comedy by saying, "It's always funny when someone falls down. The question is, is it still funny if you push them?" He said for a smaller group of the population, it is. Every joke has a person being displayed as not fit - even if we have to take an object, or an abstraction, and anthropomorphize it. This is the b... (read more)

1CronoDAS12yHow do puns fit in? [http://www.awpi.com/Combs/Shaggy/557.html]
Open Thread: February 2010, part 2

I think so, but it's important to identify the time at which it became predictable - for example, you could only predict that you were painting yourself into a corner just prior to when you made the last brushstroke that made the strip(s) of paint covering the exit path too wide to jump over. This seems hard.

Also, you'd have to know what your utility function was going to be in the future to know that some event was even worth predicting. This seems hard, too.

Open Thread: February 2010, part 2

Thanks! I won't be able to do the work required on this right now, but will later tonight.

Boo lights: groupthink edition

I can edit my comment, if that helps - "This comment does not apply to the current version of the post."

Open Thread: February 2010, part 2

I guess because our experience contradicts your experience.

Open Thread: February 2010, part 2

The reason ancient Greek writers thought women were like children is the same reason men in all cultures think women are like children: There are significant incentives to do so. Men who treat women as children reap very large rewards compared to those men who treat women as equals.

EDIT: If someone thinks this is an invalid point, please explain in a reply. If the downvote(s) is just "I really dislike anyone believing what he's saying is true, even if a lot of evidence supports it" (regardless of whether or not evidence currently supports it) th... (read more)

4gwern12yThe article suggests a direct counter-example: by having high standards, the men forfeit the labor of the women in things like 'help[ing] with finance and political advice'. Much like the standard libertarian argument against discrimination: racists narrow their preferences, raising the cost of labor, and putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Men may as a group have incentive to keep women down, but this is a prisoner's dilemma.
5Roko12yLW doesn't like to hear the truth about male/female sexual strategies; we like to have accurate maps here, but there's a big "censored" sign over the bit of the map that describes the evolutionary psychology of sexuality, practical dating advice, the burgeoning "pick-up" community and an assorted cloud of topics. Reasons for this censorship (and I agree to an extent) are that talking about these topics offends people and splits the community. LW is more useful, it has been argued, if we just don't talk about them.
0CronoDAS12yIs that true? What are the incentives and rewards? Are there circumstances under which this is a bad idea - for example, do relative ages or relative social position matter? (For example, what if the woman in question is your mother, teacher/professor, employer, or some other authority figure with power over you?) Are there also incentives for men to treat other men as children, or for women to treat men or other women as children?

This conversation has been hacked.

The parent comment points to an article presenting a hypothesis. The reply flatly drops an assertion which will predictably derail conversation away from any discussion of the article.

If you're going to make a comment like that, and if you prefix it with something along the lines of "The hypothesis in the article seems superfluous to me; men in all cultures treat women like children because...", and you point to sources for this claim, then I would confidently predict no downvotes will result.

(ETA: well, in this ... (read more)

4Paul Crowley12yWhy do so many people here believe that? It strongly contradicts my experience.
Boo lights: groupthink edition

I don't want to disrespect the graciousness of conceding this minor point, but I also don't have a great suggestion. Maybe something as simple as

someone at least making an attempt at substantiating their accusations of groupthink

becoming

someone backing up their accusations of groupthink

? But up to you, I just wanted to point out that "attempt" was bringing in some probably-unintended judgments.

0Morendil12yEdited, with strikethrough. I wish one could mark comments as applying to a past version of a post - just making the edit would make this exchange meaningless.
Boo lights: groupthink edition

ADBOC - People refer to successful attempts as "successes," not as "attempts."

2Morendil12ySo conceded. Suggest an edit to the post?
Boo lights: groupthink edition

A position can be well-supported by facts and still be well-supported by a group for reasons other than facts.

EDIT: The statement above is a truism. I also don't think a group's support for or opposition against evolution is a sufficient indicator of all other group opinions being correct.

Boo lights: groupthink edition

I didn't accuse anyone of groupthink or demand any particular proof opposing or supporting claims of groupthink. I said it warranted a rebuttal before being dismissed as an attempt.

3Morendil12yCalling it an attempt is no dismissal. Successful attempts are a subset of all attempts.
Boo lights: groupthink edition

At the time I posted this comment (and at the time I post this one), the post to which I'm referring still has no rebuttals. I will be very disappointed if someone posts a very weak rebuttal which is subsequently held up as sufficient for no reason other than it exists.

0prase12yIn some sense, absence of rebuttals can be viewed as silent agreement, thus implying the presence of groupthink (both because it is an agreement with the accusation thereof, and more so because the agreement is silent). On the other hand, if there was a real groupthink, people would be trying hard to rebut all accusations, so the lack of the rebuttals may be interpreted as evidence against groupthink. Which leads me to think that playing devil's advocate may not be the best way to detect groupthink. Perhaps the groupthink hypothesis is not testable, in the same way conspiracy theories aren't. Is it correct? If not, are there some reliable tests, some questions whose anwers (or lack of answers) would tell us whether there is groupthink present inside the group or not?
Boo lights: groupthink edition

It seems dirty to say, "It raises a bunch of good points," and then, without answering any of them, say, "See? I just said it has good points. No groupthink here, thus disproving his points."

0Unknowns12yMaybe that's true, but still, given groupthink, you would have expected negative karma for the post.
Boo lights: groupthink edition

EDIT: This comment does not apply to the current version of the post.

Considering the post to which you linked (about labeling the cryonics opinion on LW as groupthink) has no attempts at rebuttal, it seems like it merits an answer instead of merely dismissing it as an "attempt" - which is just saying, "This isn't sufficient" without any statement about what would be sufficient.

1wedrifid12yIt merits an answer the first time. After the tenth time it does not. There is sufficient discussion already available on both cryonics and accusations of groupthink regarding cryonics. Just downvoting the cry of a groupthinking wolf is adequate.
0bgrah44912yAt the time I posted this comment (and at the time I post this one), the post to which I'm referring still has no rebuttals. I will be very disappointed if someone posts a very weak rebuttal which is subsequently held up as sufficient for no reason other than it exists.
3Morendil12yConsider the full facts about that comment. It starts thus: "I'm only posting this to play devils advocate" - which is a good reason (see ciphergoth's forthcoming list of phrases to never use) to not even attempt a rebuttal. It suffices as an example of what I want an example of, which is someone who is at least trying, and acknowledging groupthink as a technical term. I don't have to set the bar at "trying and succeeding", not for cryonics: the debate on cryonics has enough evidence of being a debate, so we already know that groupthink isn't happening on that particular topic. Don't demand particular proof [http://lesswrong.com/lw/1ph/youre_entitled_to_arguments_but_not_that/] that groupthink isn't happening, such as someone saying "groupthink!" with strong evidence plus rebuttals of their points. (Hey, I'm agreeing with Eliezer, and linking to his post. Groupthink!)
2Unknowns12yThe fact that that post is presently at +5 karma is actually evidence against groupthink.
Open Thread: February 2010

It's only productive inasmuch as it takes advantage of the halo effect - trying to make your argument look better than it really is. How is that honest?

How Much Should We Care What the Founding Fathers Thought About Anything?

There has to be another example of this phenomenon that doesn't come from such a political issue.

How Much Should We Care What the Founding Fathers Thought About Anything?

I strongly endorse the perspective on karma this comment displays.

I don't. Karma is a proxy for whether the community wants to hear from you. You can predictably go against that - I sometimes do - but there should generally be a strong reason behind it. Karma is a proxy sign for whether you're being helpful, not an accumulated resource that can be burned.

Common Errors in History

You're the judge here; you tell me! Although FWIW, I don't see the point of merely reshuffling the ambiguity to a phrase or variation in emphasis that already exists.

Shut Up and Divide?

This is a form of cognitive dissonance, where you notice your actions and your values are incongruent, and the resulting discomfort motivates you to reduce the gap between them. You can change your actions and leave your values the same, leave your actions the same and change your values, or somewhere in between.

Other people much, much prefer you change your actions - this is because your values are the guilt-free way of manipulating you. If I want Albert to make a paperclip, and I know Albert also wants to make a paperclip, then I can motivate Albert by ... (read more)

Common Errors in History

"Have read" is already a separate grammatical tense.

1SilasBarta12yHow about "did read", which is the same tense, but with excessive emphasis on the act?
0Bo10201012yHow about "have read"?
Epistemic Luck

It does make sense. I think it's as likely to get rid of crime as it is to get rid of the cause of religion.

0MrHen12yThen when you ask the police to clean up the slums they will respond by saying, "We are," instead of, "But that will make it harder to fight the disease!"
Epistemic Luck

Here's some metaphors I use; if it's bogus, someone please crush them.

Imagine a city with a slum. People ask why the police don't clean up the slum. The police know that if they come in and break up the slum, they'll decentralize the crime - better to keep it fenced in, under watchful eyes, than run wild.

I see a lot of people working roughly with the model that religion is an infection. Sometimes atheism is presented as antibiotics, but regardless of what the prescription is, there seems to be an impression that religion is some kind of foreign force, wh... (read more)

2tut12yAnd if I was a medieval commander then I'd certainly prefer to fight a tribe of nomads to fighting an army in a castle.
3MrHen12yIf religion is an infection, than removing the infection would solve the problem. What you are describing is that something is causing the infection of religion. In this case, cure the cause and the infection goes away. Rationality is making the promise of curing the cause of infection, not just dressing up the infection and sending the diseased on their way. To drift this backward into your police analogy, if you could get rid of the crime than the slum would disappear. If this doesn't make perfect sense than the analogy is broken.
Illusion of Transparency: Why No One Understands You

It's because a key component of humor is someone's status being lowered, and someone just learning the culture won't be fluent in the status signals yet.

… sometimes. This seems like a vastly overly broad requirement for humor. First off, there are puns. Some people don't find them to be humor, but I don't have to look far to find a non-pun exception - I fail to see a status lowering in today's Square Root of Minus Garfield, for instance, and even if it's not a masterpiece, it's somewhat funny.

I could find many other examples which only incidentally involved social status changes - Today's xkcd is a put-down, but the relevant status (dominance of chemical elements over Greek elements) is so drastic that no ... (read more)

Epistemic Luck

Robin Hanson just ended a post with the phrase "overcome bias." This feels momentous, like theme music should be playing.

0orthonormal12yhttp://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TitleDrop [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TitleDrop]
2roland12yMay I suggest the following? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSZ55X3X4pk [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSZ55X3X4pk]
Open Thread: February 2010

If it's not a game, why punish me? What's so offensive about me having high karma?

5Jack12yThere is nothing offensive about you having high karma. It is offensive that you you abused a system that a lot of us rely on for evaluating content and encouraging norms that lead to the truth. Truth-seeking is a communal activity and undermining the system that a community uses to find the truth is something we should punish. It's similar to learning that you had lied in a comment. I imagine the vast majority of your karma is not ill-gotten, I have no problem with you having it. Anyway, I haven't voted you down for precedent setting reasons.
0Kevin12yIt's a game; people take themselves too seriously sometimes. They also think that their moral system is superior to your moral system.
Open Thread: February 2010

If my debate partner is willing to change his mind or stop debating because the community disagrees, I want to know that. I also don't think a) the community's karma votes represent some sort of evidence of an argument's rightness or b) that anyone has a right to such evidence that this tactic denies them.

0wedrifid12yYou could make better arguments for your tactic than the ones you are making. It does. Noisy, biased evidence but still evidence. If I am downvoted I will review my position, make sure it is correct and trace out any the likely status related reasons for downvoting that would give an indication on how much truth value I think the votes contain.
Open Thread: February 2010

(General "you") Only if you see the partner who is the target of aggression as your equal. If you get the impression that target is below your status, or deserves to be, you will reward the comment's aggression with an upvote.

Open Thread: February 2010

I am insincerely up-voting someone: True.

They are using this as peer information about their rationality: People are crazy, the world is mad. Besides, who really considers the average karma voter their peer?

Encouraging a person C to down-vote them: Also, person D who only upvotes because they see someone else already upvoted, so they know they won't upvote alone.

2Unknowns12yIt isn't crazy or mad to consider people who vote on your comments as on average equal to you in rationality. Quite the opposite: if each of us assumes that we are more rational than those who vote, this will be like everyone thinking that he is above average in driving ability or whatever. And in fact, many people do use this information: numerous times someone has said something like, "Since my position is against community consensus I think I will have to modify it," or something along these lines.
Open Thread: February 2010

Descriptively. I'll dig some up.

9CannibalSmith12yDing! This is a reminder. It's been 12 days since you promised to dig some up.
Open Thread: February 2010

Sorry about your insecurities.

Does this count as honest or visibly inappropriate feedback?

I value 1 over 2. Quality of feedback is, as expected, higher in 2, but comes infrequently enough that I estimate 1 wins out over a long period of time by providing less quality at a higher rate.

5loqi12yMy last sentence was a deliberate snark, but it's "honest" in the sense that I'm attempting to communicate something that I couldn't find a simpler way to say (roughly: that I think you're placing too much importance on "feeling right", and that I dismiss that reaction as not being a "legitimate" motivation in this context). I have no problem making status-tinged statements if I think they're productive - I'll let the community be the judge of their appropriateness. There's definitely a fine line between efficiency and distraction, I have no delusions of omniscience concerning its location. I'm pretty sure that participation in this community has shaved off a lot of pointless attitude from my approach to online discourse. Feedback is good. I disagree quantitatively with your specific conclusion concerning quality vs quantity, but I don't see any structural flaw in your reasoning.
Open Thread: February 2010

Excessively aggressive comments may not themselves contain objectionable content, but they tend to have a deleterious effect on the conversation, which certainly does affect subsequent content.

(General "you") Only if you see the partner who is the target of aggression as your equal. If you get the impression that target is below your status, or deserves to be, you will reward the comment's aggression with an upvote.

0loqi12yAre you speaking descriptively, or normatively? Your "karma is really about" statement led me to believe the latter, but this comment seems to lean toward the former. Could you link to some aggressive comments whose upvotes appear to be driven by status rather than the content they're replying to?
Open Thread: February 2010

For who? Quote from my comment:

Publicly failing in the quantity necessary to maximize your learning growth is very low-status and not many people have the stomach for it.

We have preferences for what we want to experience, and we have preferences for what those preferences are. We prefer to prefer to be wrong, but it's rare we actually prefer it. Readily admitting you're wrong is the right decision morally, but practically all it does is incentivize your debate partners to go ad hominem or ignore you.

2michaelkeenan12yBut how can you have any self-respect, knowing that you prefer to feel right than be right? For me, the feeling of being being wrong is much less-bad than believing I'm so unable to handle being wrong that I'm sabotaging the beliefs of myself and those around me. I would regard myself as pathetic, if I made decisions like that.
7loqi12yWell, if I prefer to prefer being wrong, then I plan ahead accordingly, which includes a policy against ridiculous karma games motivated by fleeting emotional reactions. So my options are: 1. Attempt to manipulate the community into admitting I'm right, or 2. Eat the emotional consequences of being called names and ignored, in exchange for either honest or visibly inappropriate feedback from my debate partners. I'll go with 2. Sorry about your insecurities.
6Paul Crowley12yWhy are you concerned that you win the debate? I'm sure this sounds naive, but surely your concern should be that the truth win the debate?

I thought about it further, and decided that I would have moral qualms about it. First, you are insincerely up-voting someone, and they are using this as peer information about their rationality. Second, you are encouraging a person C to down-vote them (person B) if they think person B's comment should just be at 0. But then when you down-vote B, their karma goes to -2, which person C did not intend to do with his vote.

So I think this policy is just adding noise to the system, which is not consistent with the LW norm of wanting a high signal to noise ratio.

3loqi12yBut it's preferable to be wrong [http://lesswrong.com/lw/1co/rationality_quotes_october_2009/173m].
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