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Does the rationalist community have a membership funnel?

Do others agree with the pattern? Do you also see it as a problem?

Yes. Somewhat, yes.

Any suggestions for what we could do about it?

In the ideal world, EY and others would launch into writing fun and interactive fiction!

That's probably not going to happen, so in the real world: be the change you want to see.

If you think it's a good idea, and you have the time and the inclination to do it — do it :)

Does the rationalist community have a membership funnel?

Don't over-index on this particular answer being refutation of your hypothesis!

I came to LessWrong via HPMOR, and I've thought in the same vein myself (if HPMOR/equivalent = more incoming rationalists, no HPMOR/equivalent = ...less incoming rationalists?).

Jetlag, Nausea, and Diarrhea are Largely Optional

If there's something wrong that's causing recurring issues (e.g. diarrhea), then taking medication to prevent diarrhea is fixing the symptom and obscuring the cause. It obscures any signal that might lead to identification of the cause while exposing you to the medication's side-effects.

For example, someone with lactose intolerance (but who doesn't know it yet) goes from "I notice that when I eat x, I get diarrhea for the next week" without medication, to "I eat what I want and experience no symptoms, but I do notice I have been feeling more tired and low in energy over the past few months" with medication.

(briefly) RaDVaC and SMTM, two things we should be doing

Having not apparently the energy to write this longly, I write it shortly instead, that it be written at all.

Just a comment on writing for understandability — compare Benjamin Franklin, writing in 1750:

I have already made this paper too long, for which I must crave pardon, not having now time to make it shorter.

Shorter is (almost always) better, please don't write things longly just for the sake of it!

Business Writing Example #2

These business writing emails are great.

I do agree though that they tend to be examples of customer service (assisting a customer to place an order), rather than sales (generating interest in ordering).

Don't make the mistake of thinking that all sales is "manipulative, high-pressure sales!". This appears to be a mental stumbling block for many technical-type people.

Here's a fictional, non-strawman example of sales activity:

I sell steel manifolds (blocks of steel with 'pipelines' cut out).
A lot of potential customers don't use manifolds in their manufacturing equipment, they use plastic pipes to transfer fluids... these are prone to breaking, and causing production delays.
Switching to a steel manifold is a larger cost upfront, but will keep them operating seamlessly for many years with no issues... saving them time and money.
This is a great buying decision, but due to inertia, there aren't customers beating our doors down to buy our manifolds!
It is my job as a salesperson to contact a potential customer, alert them to the sub-optimal state of their current situation (a lot just accept it!), talk to them about the benefits of using steel manifolds, and walk them through the decision-making process.
This is very much salesperson-driven, not customer-driven, and ends with both happy.

Business Writing Example #2

Strong upvote! We need more posts that make things like this legible.

We'll Always Have Crazy

I felt this whole section was a false equivalence — it is mixing claims about Christianity specifically, with claims about whoever was in power at a certain point in history.

500 years ago, Christianity was the dominant power.

If the dominant power at that time was society of atheists, they would also take care to retain sole power to:

  • Appoint legitimate monarchs
  • Free people from their oaths of loyalty
  • Execute people at a whim
  • Exonerate members of their clique from being tried in regular criminal courts

500 years ago, if you had power, you kept it and did what you could to retain it! You're talking about the wider category of "group of people in power", rather than "Christianity" (which is an example of a group of people that was in power, but is no longer).

How could a friendly AI deal with humans trying to sabotage it? (like how present day internet trolls introduce such problems)

The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect covered this — the AI treated human sabotage like a kindly parent would treat an angry child: tolerance for the sabotage attempts, in the knowledge that it would be entirely futile.

I guess it depends on exactly how friendly the AI is, how much it wants to avoid non-existence, and how vulnerable it is.

Use Tools For What They're For

Haha, I'm seeing a lot of people noticing confusion between the prevailing opinions of the society they live in (Ivermectin is a HORSE DEWORMER and DOESN'T WORK) and their own thoughts (there's weak evidence that it may work in some cases, perhaps we shouldn't treat it with such vitriol).

This post is a good attempt to reconcile the two.

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