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Merry Christmas

I don't think I've ever commented on one of your posts, but I've probably read about fifty of them! Seeing your name listed as the author of a post is a good guarantee that I'll find it interesting and thought-provoking.

Bad names make you open the box

"Regression to the mean" is also known as "reversion to the mean," by the way, which I think is a clearer name.

A voting theory primer for rationalists

I'm quite interested in voting systems, but I was surprised to discover that the general consensus is that score beats approval! I checked it out and it seems to be a robust finding that in real life people understand & are happier with score, but this surprised me. 

I'd think that since there are so many options for score, it'd be a bit overwhelming and hard to figure out how to optimize.  Whereas with approval it's basically "vote for the minor candidates you like better than the major ones; and also vote for your least unfavorite major candidate." Which is simple enough.

I can more clearly see the argument for three to five scoring options instead of approval. If you're, say, a Warren supporter in the 2020 election (which of course is now a free-for-all approval voting bonanza) do you vote for Biden or not? If you don't vote for him, you risk throwing the election to Trump; whereas if you do, you may end up giving the election to Biden over Warren. So a middle-ground-y thing seems reasonable here. (A counterargument here is that with polling, it can be more clearly seen whether a mass effort by the Democratic Party Establishment to get liberals in line is necessary, or whether people can coalesce behind Warren or Sanders or whoever.)

Three options nicely correlates with "like, neutral, dislike" and five nicely with "love, like, neutral, dislike, hate" as heuristics for honest voting. I'm just apprehensive about a hundred. I don't even know how I'd vote with more than three candidates to rate on such a high scale, I shudder to think how a low-information voter would do it.

Norms of Membership for Voluntary Groups

I thought this provided a lot of clarity about membership norms! I definitely have had the experience of arguing with people based on different understandings of which norms the server/group operated under.

To me, the textbook example of something that runs under Coalition Norms is a for-profit business. Does this not fit in that category cleanly, an oversight, or just omitted to keep the list of examples minimalistic?

It's hard to use utility maximization to justify creating new sentient beings

I think I have a pretty simple solution to this: treat 0 as the point when each being is neither happy nor unhappy. Negative numbers are fine. You can still take the sum. In the example, this seems like just subtracting 10 from everyone, which is 0 in the dogless state and -3 with the dog. Thus: no puppy.