All of Czynski's Comments + Replies

Clarification:

"Steam" is one possible opposite of Slack. I sketch a speculative view of steam as a third 'cognitive currency' almost like probability and utility.

Are 'probability' and 'utility' meant to be the other two cognitive currencies? Or is it 'Slack', and if so which is the third?

4abramdemski1d
I intended the three to be probability and utility and steam, but it might make more sense to categorize things in other ways. While I still think there might be something more interesting here, I nowadays mainly think of Steam as the probability distribution over future actions and action-related concepts. This makes Steam an epistemic object, like any other belief, but with more normative/instrumental content because it's beliefs about actions, and because there will be a lot of FixDT stuff going on in such beliefs. Kickstarter / "belief-in" dynamics also seem extremely relevant.

This was fairly untested but went very well!

I'll do a better writeup as a Meetup In a Box later, but this is how it went:

For each set, 10m writing things down, then ?20m? discussing, then next set

List a few things that went very well this year. (3-5)

List a few things that went very badly this year. (3-5)

If you were to 80/20 your last year, which 20% gave the 80% you valued most?

If someone looked at your actions for the last year, what would they think your priorities were?

What did you intend your priorities to be?

Do you want to make a

... (read more)

Is there a graph of solar efficiency (fraction of energy kept in light -> electricity conversion) for solar tech that's deployed at scale? https://www.nrel.gov/pv/cell-efficiency.html exists for research models but I'm unsure of any for industrial-scale.

No, I said what I meant. And not just what I meant, but what many other people reading but not commenting here are saying; rather than count I'll simply say 'at least a dozen'. This response, like all her other responses, are making her sound more and more like a grifter, not an honest dealer, with every statement made. The fact that when called to defend her actions she can't manage anything that resembles honest argument more than it does dishonest persuasion is a serious flaw; if it doesn't indicate that she has something to hide, it indicates that she ... (read more)

Rescheduled to the end of the month because I am sick again. Guess maybe I should have worn a mask to the airport in travel season.

Imo this comment is lowering the quality of the discourse. Like, if I steelman and expand what you're saying, it seems like you're trying to say something like "this response is pinging a deceptiveness-heuristic that I can't quite put my finger on". That phrasing adds information, and would prompt other commenters to evaluate and either add evidence of deceptiveness, or tell you you're false-positiving, or something like that. But your actual phrasing doesn't do that, it's basically name calling.

So, mod note: I strong-downvoted your comment and decided to leave it at that. Consider yourself frowned at.

Six weeks, once, with significant counterpressure exerted against her doing so is confirmation of the original claim, not counterevidence.

2KatWoods2mo
I'm having trouble following your logic. Ben's post said "they were not able to live apart from the family unit while they worked with them" and we showed evidence that Alice lived apart from us ~50% of the time she worked for us. Are you disputing when Alice and Ben both said she visited her family? Has Alice disputed this, saying that she didn't actually live and work apart from us from that time?  She didn't live apart once but twice. She also lived/worked separately in the FTX condos (which we did not live in). And if you're counting, the time spent apart seems relevant. It was for ~50% of the entire time she worked for us. Not scraps she had to beg for.  In both cases, she never "asked" to leave. She just informed us. Because it wasn't our place to give "permission", so framing this as something that she only did at great cost to her is incorrect.  Or are you referring to the one sentence where they didn't technically say they weren't allowed to leave. Where they said "Alice and Chloe report that they were advised not to spend time with ‘low value people’, including their families, romantic partners, and anyone local to where they were staying, with the exception of guests/visitors that Nonlinear invited. Alice and Chloe report this made them very socially dependent on Kat/Emerson/Drew and otherwise very isolated." Now, if you read this very carefully, technically it does just say they were "advised" to not spend time with others. But it follows up by saying that "this made them very socially dependent on Kat/Emerson/Drew and otherwise very isolated". This very clearly implies that it was not that once we recommended that Alice postpone visiting her family to have impact. It is saying they were isolated and it clearly implies that it's because we told them to not spend time with others.  This couldn't be the case if it wasn't for the fact that we actually made them isolated. Which is indeed disproven by showing many text messages and screenshots of them ha

Thank you for your response. That seems a tendentious reading to me, but I'm happy to leave it at that.

EDIT: Actually, given the level of support the above comment is getting, I'd appreciate elaboration from someone. The straightforward reading of "They were not able to live apart from the family unit while they worked with them" is that during the whole duration of working with the family unit, they were required to live in the same location. Are people honestly claiming that that sentence remains true as written if she spent fully a third of her time working for them living apart from them? I don't see where people are coming from on this at all.

This post seems wildly over-charitable toward Nonlinear and their claims. Several things you note as refuted by Nonlinear aren't, e.g. "they were not able to live apart from the family unit while they worked with them" which even given the reply by Nonlinear is accurate (uncertain) is still true and obviously and unambiguously so.

Also, you fail to acknowledge that basically everything about Nonlinear's replies indicates an utterly toxic and abusive work environment and a staff of people who are seriously disconnected from reality and consumed in high-simu... (read more)

Can you explain more how "they were not able to live apart from the family unit while they worked with them" is true if Alice went to live in the EA hotel for three weeks while working for them without them doing anything to the contrary?

I'd be curious to hear your other examples here as well. I think the counterevidence is strong on each point I examine.

Dodging questions like this and living in the world where they go well is something you can do approximately once in your life before you stop living in reality and are in an entirely-imaginary dream world. Twice if you're lucky and neither of the hypotheticals were particularly certain.

A number of Manifold markets under https://manifold.markets/browse?topic=pandemic, looks like most are trading around 10% chance of anything happening outside China.

Possible new pandemic? China's concealing evidence again, looks like the smart money is against 'new virus' but thinks it's drug-resistant pneumonia, specifically resistant to the drugs that are safe for small children.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/11/28/chinese-hospitals-pandemic-outbreak-pneumonia/

7Czynski3mo
A number of Manifold markets under https://manifold.markets/browse?topic=pandemic, looks like most are trading around 10% chance of anything happening outside China.

The LessWrong user who acted as a sounding board over lunch is welcome to be credited if they want to be, or may wish to avoid association with this catastrophe waiting to happen.

I don't think I added anything but encouragement, but that was me. TBH if it's a catastrophe that's an interesting result itself. I wonder if it happens every time

Updated to reflect the new, more regular schedule starting beginning of the year

Interesting. Strikes me as the logical extension of Choices are Bad in some senses.

Censorship always prevents debates. The number of things which are explicitly banned from discussion may technically be small, but the chilling effect is huge. And the fact that ideas and symbols are banned is - correctly! - taken as evidence that they can't be beaten by argument, that people are afraid of the ideas. Also, naturally, the opposite side never has to practice their arguments, so they look like weak debaters because they are.

I tried being more polite many times over the last months on Discord. All it got was dismissal, because anxietybrain is anxietybrain.

2the gears to ascension8mo
That may be why you believe it to have been dismissed. Sometimes reasonable minds can disagree about predictions.

In what sense is that a nitpick or something that doesn't affect the message? It's a substantial drag on the message, data that only supports the conclusion if you already have a prior that the conclusion is true.

I meant in the sense that there were quite a few different pieces of evidence presented in the post  (e.g. this was one index out of three mentioned), so just pointing out that one of them is weaker than implied doesn't affect the overall conclusion much.

This got deleted from 'The Dictatorship Problem', which is catastrophically anxietybrained, so here's the comment:

This is based in anxiety, not logic or facts. It's an extraordinarily weak argument.

There's no evidence presented here which suggests rich Western countries are backsliding. Even the examples in Germany don't have anything worse than the US GOP produced ca. 2010. (And Germany is, due to their heavy censorship, worse at resisting fascist ideology than anyone with free speech, because you can't actually have those arguments in public.) If you wan... (read more)

9ChristianKl8mo
The number of things you can't argue in Germany is tiny. You can't argue that there was no holocaust but that's not central to any ideological debate. Censorship is not preventing ideological debates in Germany.

Explaining is good, but doesn't remove the need to downvote.

6Viliam8mo
I think that flagging new users is a good idea. Less Wrong often seems harsh to beginners. If I see someone with the green flag saying something wrong, I may be more likely to explain rather than downvote. That said, I agree that the flag should not apply to old users with low karma.

The 'new user' flag being applied to old users with low karma is condescending as fuck.

I'm not a new user. I'm an old user who has spent most of my recent time on LW telling people things they don't want to hear.

Well, most of the time I've actually spent posting weekly meetups, but other than that.

7niplav8mo
One could introduce 🌵 for such users.

since it selects from a huge pool of people in large part for the ability to come up with cool ideas and takes

No, it just selects for the ability to be viral on demand. Which is anticorrelated with truth.

3philh10mo
Experiment: It seems to me that Czynski is just plain wrong here. But I have no expectation of changing his mind, no expectation that engaging with him will be fun or enlightening for me, and also I think he's wrong in ways that not many bystanders will be confused about if they even see this. If someone other than Czynski or Said would be interested in a reply to the above comment, feel free to say so and I'll provide one.

Version 1 is probably not the same content, since it is mostly about the speaker, and in any case preserves most of the insultingness. Version 2 is making it entirely about the speaker and therefore definitely different, losing the important content. Version 3 is very obviously definitely not the same content and I don't know why you bothered including it. (Best guess: you were following the guideline of naming 3 things rather than 1. If so, there is a usual lesson when that guideline fails.)

Shifting to sharing the speaker's experience is materially differ... (read more)

2ambigram10mo
Hmm interesting. I agree that there is a difference between a claim about an individual's experience, and a claim about reality. The former is about a perception of reality, whereas the latter is about reality itself. In that case, I see why you would object to the paraphrasing—it changes the original statement into a weaker claim.  I also agree that it is important to be able to make claims about reality, including other people's statements. After all, people's statements are also part of our reality, so we need to be able to discuss and reason about it. I suppose what I disagree with thus that the original statement is valid as a claim about reality. It seems to me that statements are generally/by default claims about our individual perceptions of reality. (e.g. "He's very tall.") A claim becomes a statement about reality only when linked (implicitly or explicitly) to something concrete. (e.g. "He's in the 90th percentile in height for American adult males." or "He's taller than Daddy." or "He's taller than the typical gymnast I've trained for competitions.") To say a stated reason is "bizarre" is a value judgment, and therefore cannot be considered a claim about reality. This is because there is no way to measure its truth value. If bizarre means "strange/unusual", then what exactly is "normal/usual"? How Less Wrong posters who upvoted Said's comment would think? How people with more than 1000 karma on Less Wrong would think? There is no meaning behind the word "bizarre" except as an indicator of the writer's perspective (i.e. what the claim is trying to say is "The stated reason is bizarre to Said").  I suppose this also explains why such a statement would seem insulting to people who are more Duncan-like. (I acknowledge that you find the paraphrase as insulting as the original. However, since the purpose of discussion is to find a way so people who are Duncan-like and people who are Said-like can communicate and work together, I believe the key concern shou

I'm curious, what do you think of these options?

Original: "I find your stated reason bizarre to the point where I can’t form any coherent model of your thinking here."

New version 1: "I can't form any coherent model of your thinking here." 

New version 2: "I don't understand your stated reason at all." 

New version 3: Omit that sentence. 

These shift the sentence from a judgment on Duncan's reasoning to a sharing of Said's own experience, which (for me, at least) removes the unnecessary/escalatory part of the insult.

3Jasnah Kholin10mo
somewhere (i can't find it now) some else wrote that if he will do that, Said always can say it's not exactly what he means. In this case, i find the comment itself not very insulting - the insult is in the general absent of Goodwill between Said and Duncan, and in the refuse to do interpretive labor. so any comment of "my model of you was <model> and now i just confused" could have worked. my model of Duncan avoided to post it here from the general problems in LW, but i wasn't surprised it was specific problem. I have no idea what was Said's model of Duncan. but, i will try, with the caveat that the Said's model of Duncan suggested is almost certainly not true : I though that you avoid putting it in LW because there will be strong and wrong pushback here against the concept of imaginary injury. it seem coherent with the crux of the post. now, when I learn the true, i simply confused. in my model, what you want to avoid is exactly the imaginary injury described in the post, and i can't form coherent model of you. i suspect Said would have say i don't pass his ideological Turning test on that, or continue to say it's not exact. I submit that if i cannot, it's not writing not-insultingly, but passing his ideological turning test.

Owing people a good-faith effort to probe at cruxes is not a result of anything in this conversation. It is universal.

I do not think that is the usual result.

6Vladimir_Nesov10mo
This might be true, but it doesn't follow that anyone owes anyone anything as a result. Doing something as a result might shift the evidence, but people don't have obligations to shift evidence. Also, I think cultivating an environment where arguments against your own views can take root is more of an obligation than arguing for them, and it's worth arguing against your own views when you see a clear argument pointing in that direction. But still, I wouldn't go so far as to call even that an actual obligation.

If you're not even willing to attempt the thing you say should be done, you have no business claiming to be arguing or negotiating in good faith.

You claimed this was low-effort. You then did not put in the effort to do it. This strongly implies that you don't even believe your own claim, in which case why should anyone else believe it?

It also tests your theory. If you can make the modification easily, then there is room for debate about whether Said could. If you can't, then your claim was wrong and Said obviously can't either.

I think it's pretty rough for me to engage with you here, because you seem to be consistently failing to read the things I've written. I did not say it was low-effort. I said that it was possible. Separately, you seem to think that I owe you something that I just definitely do not owe you. For the moment, I don't care whether you think I'm arguing in bad faith; at least I'm reading what you've written.

I'm sure there is an amount of rudeness which generates more optimization-away-from-truth than it prevents. I'm less sure that this is a level of rudeness achievable in actual human societies. And for whether LW could attain that level of rudeness within five years even if it started pushing for rudeness as normative immediately and never touched the brakes - well, I'm pretty sure it couldn't. You'd need to replace most of the mod team (stereotypically, with New Yorkers, which TBF seems both feasible and plausibly effective) to get that to actually stick, ... (read more)

9Viliam10mo
I am probably just saying the obvious here, but a rude environment is not only one where people say true things rudely, but also where people say false things rudely. So when we imagine the interactions that happen there, it is not just "someone says the truth, ignoring the social consequences" which many people would approve, but also "someone tries to explain something complicated, and people not only respond by misunderstanding and making fallacies, but they are also assholes about it" where many people would be tempted to say 'fuck this' and walk away. So the website would gravitate towards a monoculture anyway. (I wanted to give theMotte as an example of a place that is further in that direction and the quality seems to be lower... but I just noticed that the place is effectively dead.)

You haven't even given an attempt at rephrasing.

9benwr10mo
Nor should I, unless I believe that someone somewhere might honestly reconsider their position based on such an attempt. So far my guess is that you're not saying that you expect to honestly reconsider your position, and Said certainly isn't. If that's wrong then let me know! I don't make a habit of starting doomed projects.

you seem to think there's this sort of latent potential for people to overcome their feelings of insult and social attack

Of course there is! People can and do overcome that when it's actually important to them. At work, as part of goals they care about, in relationships they care about. If we care about truth-seeking - and it's literally in the name that we do - then we can and will overcome that.

It is a plus that some people are not worrying about other people's feelings. Worrying about other people's feelings is a liability for truthseeking.

(To which the counterargument is humans are humans, conversation does not proceed better when people feel threatened or attacked, we have to work with who we are, and that means perhaps putting some thought into how people feel.)

If the counterargument is that humans are humans... then, well, we must become more. And isn't this the place for that, particularly on the particular axis of truth-seeking?

8RobertM10mo
Yes, of course - while not forgetting that we should not create systems that only function if we have already acheived that future state.  (While also being wary of incentivizing fragility, etc.  As always, best to try to solve for the equilibrium.)

Personally, the thing I think should change with Said is that we need more of him, preferably a dozen more people doing the same thing. If there were a competing site run according to Said's norms, it would be much better for pursuing the art of rationality than modern LessWrong is; disagreeable challenges to question-framing and social moves are desperately necessary to keep discussion norms truth-tracking rather than convenience-tracking.

But this is not an argument I expect to be able to win without actually trying the experiment. And even then I would expect at least five years would be required to get unambiguous results.

5Viliam10mo
It would definitely be an interesting experiment. Different people would make different predictions about its outcome, but that's exactly what the experiments are good for. (My bet would be that the participants would only discuss "safe" topics, such as math and programming.)

If you care more about not making social attacks than telling the truth, you will get an environment which does not tell the truth when it might be socially inconvenient. And the truth is almost always socially inconvenient to someone.

So if you are a rationalist, i.e. someone who strongly cares about truth-seeking, this is highly undesirable.

Most people are not capable of executing on this obvious truth even when they try hard; the instinct to socially-smooth is too strong. The people who are capable of executing on it are, generally, big-D Disagreeable, a... (read more)

7Viliam10mo
Yes, caring too much about not offending people means that people do not call out bullshit. However, are rude environments more rational? Or do they just have different ways of optimizing for something other than truth? -- Just guessing here, but maybe disagreeable people derive too much pleasure from disagreeing with someone, or offending someone, so their debates skew that way. (How many "harsh truths" are not true at all; they are just popular because offend someone?) (When I tried to think about examples, I thought I found one: military. No one cares about the feelings of their subordinates, and yet things get done. However, people in the military care about not offending their superiors. So, probably not a convincing example for either side of the argument.)

You still haven't actually attempted the challenge Said laid out.

4benwr10mo
I'm not sure what you mean - as far as I can tell, I'm the one who suggested trying to rephrase the insulting comment, and in my world Said roughly agreed with me about its infeasibility in his response, since it's not going to be possible for me to prove either point: Any rephrasing I give will elicit objections on both semantics-relative-to-Said and Said-generatability grounds, and readers who believe Said will go on believing him, while readers who disbelieve will go on disbelieving.

And hopefully it might push EA back toward an equilibrium of having individuals who are dedicated and well-spoken but basically ordinary in-the-trenches EAs being the face it presents to the world, rather than people who make it their job to be spokespeople. That was better for EA internally, and given the whole FTX debacle and PR-focused mistakes, probably better for the world as well.

Do it! You've always been a better spokesman for EA than any of the people with the big audiences and big platforms. I think your book would, correspondingly, be a better book than any of the ones we've seen published so far. Less prestigious, probably, but higher quality.

4Czynski1y
And hopefully it might push EA back toward an equilibrium of having individuals who are dedicated and well-spoken but basically ordinary in-the-trenches EAs being the face it presents to the world, rather than people who make it their job to be spokespeople. That was better for EA internally, and given the whole FTX debacle and PR-focused mistakes, probably better for the world as well.

The type of problem I predicted has occurred. There has been a runaway groupthink spiral of social desirability bias and common knowledge of false consensus (creating enforced real consensus). I did not specifically predict that outgroup-respectability would be the target but it is not a surprising target.

I noted that most actions are more status-motivated than they appear, even to the people doing them, and that this warps nearly everything we do; the problem noted here is that LW and the community are warping their actions and perceptions to accrue respe... (read more)

[...]that a lot of my work over the past few years has been bad for the world (most prominently transforming LessWrong into something that looks a lot more respectable in a way that I am worried might have shrunk the overton window of what can be discussed there by a lot, and having generally contributed to a bunch of these dynamics).

While I did not literally claim this in advance, I came close enough that I claim the right to say I Told You So.

I think weighted voting helped on average here. Indeed, of all the things that I have worked on LessWrong is the one that feels like it has helped the most, though it's still pretty messy.

We should definitely not expect the "true fraction of beef consumption" to be proportional to impact. Steaks are consumed basically the same way as they were before subsidies (though in much larger quantity); they don't respond much to the subsidy to take advantage of it. Fast food isn't restricted to being prepared or sourced in a particular traditional way and therefore will change itself to best exploit subsidy. Estimating that effect as a 2.5x multiplier seems like a perfectly good conservative approximation, so you should just stick with 1%.

1% isn't high. If they're 0.4% of beef consumption, and Big Macs (like most fast food) are heavily optimized for cost, then we should expect them to be far more efficient at benefiting from subsidies than traditional means of beef consumption. A factor of 2.5 seems like a perfectly good conservative estimate for that efficiency.

3Adam Scherlis1y
Beef is far from the only meat or dairy food consumed by Americans.

The current mobile ecosystem is a vindication of everything RMS warned would happen in a world where free software was a minority, and proof that copyleft is absolutely not "less important" than in the 90s.

I don't think it's reasonable to say that it became harder to define, either. The natural definition just got more inconvenient. And so people stopped using it, free software shrank to nothing, and the vast majority of computer users now have devices that they cannot program, cannot program on, and are only dimly aware that they could, in theory, program... (read more)

-4[anonymous]1y
Because this is a conservative platform, and he wants to seek validation from like-minded people.

Huh, an extra reason why the golden ratio is the "most irrational"/most unusual irrational number.

7Oscar_Cunningham1y
I tend to view the golden ratio as the least irrational irrational number. It fills in the next gap after all the rational numbers. In the same way, 1/2 is the noninteger which shares the most algebraic properties with the integers, even though it's furthest from them in a metric sense.

Anonymous feedback form for those who can't attend or have comments they don't want to give in person: https://forms.gle/7ncZ5GTKRbP15VVe7

Better to make a PDF that you can share by email/Discord.

It was the former. Was, unfortunately.

(I don't check LW very often, sorry. Email is more reliable.)

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