What You Can and Can't Learn from Games


Seattle Robot Cult

I'm curious, did this meetup actually happen? How was it?

Why aren't we all using Taffix?

I use a P100 mask and have recently taken to stretching a cloth mask over the exhaust valve -- I figure that way my exhalations are filtered about as well as they would be with an ordinary cloth mask, while my inhalations are far more protected.

The quality of these filters is really good, by the way -- at one point I was standing near a small fire in a trash can and could not smell it in the slightest, to the point where I was quite surprised to smell the fire after pulling down the mask to be more clearly audible on a phone call!

Group house norms really do seem toxic to many people.

I quite appreciate you writing this esp. given that it will obviously be unpopular with some. My own group house experiences have been broadly positive, but I nevertheless think it's important to see people pointing out things like this instead of just giving the "rose-colored glasses" view.

Centrally planned war

Having soldiers handle logistics for themselves existed for an extended period, but had major problems. In practice this often looked like soldiers foraging/looting for food, which can work in the short term but has major problems. Foraging parties are vulnerable to attacks, can provoke the populace against you, and eventually deplete easily available resources.

An army relying on foraging/looting could (and some did!) find itself unable to stay in one place for too long as a result of these dynamics, which would be awkward in a siege or similar (sure, you can go plunder the countryside around the castle, but you might run out of stuff to plunder before the guys inside the fort run out of their food stockpiles...). Similarly, if you're besieging the enemy but your guys won't be able to scavenge for food effectively once winter arrives, you might be forced to withdraw prematurely.

Epistemic Progress

Strongly agree and am excited to see this -- this area seems deeply neglected.

Beware Experiments Without Evaluation

Yeah, I should point out that not all cases of experiments without evaluation are "sneaking" by any means -- sometimes one might have a well-intentioned idea for a change and just not go about testing it very systematically. However, in some ways the negative consequences can be similar.

John_Maxwell's Shortform

I've noticed a similar trend in a very different area. In various strategic games there has IMO been a major drop in quality of discussion and content thanks to the shift from "discuss strategy on old-style forums and blogs" to "discuss strategy on group chats (Skype/Discord/Slack) and Reddit".

The former was much better at creating "permanent information" that could easily be linked and referred to; the latter probably has a higher volume of messages sent, but information is much more ephemeral and tends to be lost if you weren't in the right place at the right time. It's a lot harder to refer to "that influential Discord conversation a few weeks ago" than it is to link to a forum thread!

Davis_Kingsley's Shortform

Sure, here's the most recent completed one. I just used the same site I was familiar with from an old Netrunner league, it's trivial to do. (This doesn't show the tournament I ran at the end but that wasn't especially hard either, I just sent people their pairings on Discord etc.)

Davis_Kingsley's Shortform

One thing that perplexes me a bit is the weird veneration given to "content creators" these days, especially in gaming communities and similar. Does anyone have good insights into this? In particular, I've noticed that a lot of it is very easy to do (having done so myself), and also that people don't much do it.

An example:

There's a game that I play and do streams for sometimes. A while back I decided it would be cool to run an online ladder similar to the ones that I'd seen in a few other games. It was very easy to set up and probably took me a few hours of not-very-focused work, then once I ran it a bunch of people signed up and we had a tournament with streamed commentary for the top players at the end.

Recently I started playing another game, enjoyed it, and decided to duplicate my league format from the first game. This time it probably took me like 30 minutes to set up since I mostly just had to rewrite the rules from the first game. Already people are signing up, thanking me for organizing it, etc.

I don't get it. What's the big deal about stuff like this? I basically just copied a format that I'd seen others use successfully and adapted it a bit. It didn't take any technical skill whatsoever to do and many others could have done the same thing I did -- but nobody did.

Is the big thing about "content creators" just one of those "these are the people who bothered to show up" things, or what?

(I feel similarly about "maker culture" -- but at least there there's often some more interesting technical skill involved!)

Rationality for Kids?

It's still around: https://thirdfoundation.github.io/#/main

I haven't read everything on the site and do not necessarily endorse it all, but the Inflection Point curriculum document might be especially relevant.

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