I think this should probably be merged with cognitive reduction, which is more general and (I think?) encompasses this one

LessWrong Jargon

From the old LessWrong Wiki Discussion Page:


Phyg and Phygish

"Phyg" and "phygish" are used a lot. I'm looking for recommendations on how to define them without putting this page in the wrong Google index. --R claypool 15:03, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

What counts as jargon?

I've recently had an addition or two of mine removed form the jargon file that I disagree with. So let me explain why I've been adding them.

I'm happy to take the definition of jargon to be "the language, especially the vocabulary, peculiar to a particular trade, profession, or group"

Now, I'm a reasonably well-read lay-person, but every so often, when I'm reading a discussion in comments, I'll come upon a word that I have to go look up on wikipedia to understand it before I can figure out what the commenters are talking about.

I consider most examples of this happening to mean that they're using a word that is jargon. In most cases - the words I've not understood were philosophical jargon... ie you have to have studied at least a solid base of philosophy to understand what they mean without reaching for the dictionary.

I'd consider words such as utilitarianism, consequentialism and deontology to be good examples of such philosophical jargon. I might guess at what I think they might mean - but to be sure - a definition (and link to a better explanation) is a good idea to have on hand... and therefore I added them to the jargon file.

The reason being that: if a complete newbie (such as myself) doesn't understand them... then so will other newbies - and we are excluded unnecessarily from the conversation.

My argument is in favour of allowing these words in the jargon file for this reason.

Content of this article

Should this article be a list of Jargon with short descriptions or just repeat the contents of Category:Jargon? MrHen 16:42, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Random idea: Make this article a list of Jargon with short descriptions, and transclude the contents of this article onto the category page. The reason for duplicating the content on the category page is because when browsing through the category trees, users will often end up on the category page, rather than the article page. --PeerInfinity 17:40, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Unclear and hard to use

Unless there's overwhelming objection, I'm going to merge the acronyms list to this article and reformat it more like a list of short definitions for the newbie, like most jargon lists I've seen. (Certainly it shouldn't be spread over two pages as it is now, with this page not actually providing any explanations at all.) This should be a single-point info list for n00bs - David Gerard 09:38, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

No objections, so I've done this. Do of course feel free to fix any of my quick definitions you don't like - David Gerard 18:49, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Tags Discussion/Talk Thread

Hmm, ok. I think both courage and evolution I found more difficult because they're less well-defined clusters in postspace (compared to self-deception and superstimuli). I'm glad you found the feedback helpful.

I've also edited gears-level and spaced repetition. I think they're probably C and B class respectively, but I'm still very unconfident about that. Gears-level in particular I'm not sure if it might not just be better to point to Gears in Understanding, as it's pretty well-written and is pointing to an odd (& specific) concept.

Tags Discussion/Talk Thread

Edited the courage tag, think it's C-class (Not sure if it needs integrating somehow with the groupthink and/or heroic responsibility tags? certainly some things in each of these don't fit under the others but there is a fair amount of overlap at present)

Edited self-deception & superstimuli, think they're now C-class (self-deception in particular, I'd like somebody who's actually read Elephant in the Brain to have a look over it, because it seems relevant but I'm not overly familiar)

Edited evolution and think it's now B-class

What are some low-information priors that you find practically useful for thinking about the world?

I'd imagine publication bias priors are helpful, especially with increasing specificity of research area, and especially where you can think of any remote possibility for interference.

Just as an example I'm familiar with (note this is probably a somewhat more extreme example than for most research areas due to the state of pharmacological research): If you see 37 RCTs in favour of a given drug, and 3 that find no significant impact (i.e. 93% in favour), it is not unfounded to assume that the trials actually performed are roughly equal in favour and against, and that there may be a missing 34-odd studies.

A 2009 analysis found that this was almost exactly the case (the studies registered were 36:38 in favour of the drug; one positive RCT went missing before publication. Along with twenty-two non-significant studies that were missing altogether, and a further 11 which were so poorly analysed as to appear significant.

(Bad Pharma, by Ben Goldacre, is a pretty sound resource for this topic in general)

Tags Discussion/Talk Thread

I've updated the Heuristics and Biases tag again btw. I don't think it's A-grade based on "I'd like to see more work done on it", but I think it's about as good as I personally am going to be able to get it. I'd really like somebody (yes you, fellow user reading this) to have a read through and make any adjustments that make sense and/or make it more comprehensive.

re: fallacies, I thought about it, and I think they're actually used pretty similarly, at least here on LW. Planning fallacy could easily be described as a bias generated by an 'imagine your ideal plan going correctly (and maybe add, say, 10%)' heuristic. At the very least, there's plenty overlap. Really what I envisioned for that section was making the point that a heuristic can be good (or just ok), because that was something that I didn't realise for a long time.

Tags Discussion/Talk Thread

OK. So you see the grading as being more of a "neglected-o-meter" in the sense that it describes the gap between how a tag currently is and how it would be in an ideal world? (i.e. a more important tag would have a higher bar for being A-grade than a less important one?)

I think that makes more sense than an absolute-quality stamp, but I think the tag grading post as is currently written should make that clear (if it is the case)-- currently it implies almost the opposite, at least as I read it. For instance phrases like "It covers a valuable topic" in A-grade, and "tagged posts may not be especially good." in C-grade. To me these read as "quality/importance of topic and of posts are as important for grading as description".

I think actually the way you're describing tags now is more useful (for e.g. directing peoples attention for improving tags), but I'm not sure if it came across that way (to me) in the initial post. I would be interested to hear how other people read it.

How do you organise your reading?

This all seems like really helpful advice, so thanks! Multiple-pass reading is something I've made previous attempts at but need to find a way to properly remember to implement, especially for longer things (like, say, books).

I generally timebox specialist reading that has a near-term goal-- reading for university or for a specific paper. The big problem for me personally is that, as a jobless university student, there is definitely a temptation (worsened by lockdown and summer holidays) to let more generic reading expand until it fills my the spare time in my day with little structure. I think your comment has really helped me highlight that as an issue, so thanks.

How do you organise your reading?

Well around half of them are sources I'm currently using to write a paper, and some of the rest I'm reading in preparation for next year of university. But I think I probably could benefit from a little of what you outlined.

Tags Discussion/Talk Thread

I've edited the Heuristics and Biases tag. I think it's probably A-grade (I'm still getting a handle on exactly what an A-grade tag should feel like though, honestly).

That said, I'd like it if somebody could check the specifics of the three definitions, because I'm actually not completely sure, and check that it scans ok.

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