Procedural Executive Function

Wiki Contributions


Much appreciated! I made some quick tweaks to a couple of them, thanks :)

Glad to hear! To expand on the : your ability to engage in "non-doing" is itself a thing that you can train to predict will go better if tried.

And thanks for sharing; any extra details you'd want to add about what makes it harder would be appreciated :)

>I think you're preaching to the choir.

Definitely, but if anyone's going to disagree in a way that might change my mind or add points I haven't thought of, I figured it would be people here.

I'm running a small rationality dojo to try to approach this issue from the rat-for-rat-sake direction in a few weeks, trying to incorporate the things I learned from my Seasons of Growth, my Executive Function research, and stuff like Logan's Naturalism sequence (not to mention years of teaching at rat camps and workshops). I plan to do a writeup after, but would also love to chat sometime about this, either before or after.

FWIW I think my main takeaway here is that if you update at all on any point of untrustworthiness of the original sources, that update should propagate toward the rest of the points.

I think most brains are bad at this, naturally, and it's just a hard thing to do without effort, which is why things like Gish gallops and character assassinations work even when debunked.

My secondary takeaway is that people should not update as hard as they do on people threatening to "retaliate" against social harm done to them unless the claims are very obviously true or the "retaliation" is very obviously false. If we don't know if they're true or not, then what the accuser feels is "retribution" will be felt by the accused as "justice," and I think that both are natural feelings most people would have, but most people have not been publicly pilloried and so cannot connect as easily with the empathy for that position.


I also want to add that I think the community in general has shown a mild failure in treating the legal action threat as evidence of wrongdoing even if the lawsuit would ultimately fail.

It is really bad to treat a libel suit threat as some horrible thing that no one "innocent" would ever do. It's a form of demonizing anyone who has ever used or thought to use the legal system defensively.

Which if intended, seems to be fundentally missing what the point of a legal system should be. It is no doubt a problem that people with lots of power, whether it's fame or money or whatever, are more likely to win legal battles.

But it's also a way more truth oriented process than the court of public opinion. And many people who would have stood 0 chance of getting justice without it have gotten some through it.

Do such threats have a chilling effect on criticism? Of course, and that's a problem, particularly if they're used too often or too quickly.

But the solution cannot be "no one makes such threats no matter what." Because then there's no recourse but the court of public opinion, which is not something anyone should feel comfortable ceding their life and wellbeing to.

I think someone outside the community seeing this sort of reaction of people inside it being shunned, demonized, etc for threatening to use a very core right that they're entitled to would likely find it... pretty sketchy.

Because it can easily be construed as "we resolve these things 'in house,' via our own methods. No need to get Outsiders involved."

And man, it sure would be great if we had that sort of high trust effective investigation capability in the community.

But we really have not shown that capability yet, and even if we do, no one should feel like they're giving up their basic rights to be a member of good standing in the community.

I think many if not most people in Emerson's position, feeling like they were about to be lied about in a life-destroying way, had facts to rebut the lies, and were being essentially ignored in requests to clarify the truth, would think of legal action.

Whether they would be wrong in how easy it would be to win is a different issue entirely from that very (from base society perspective) normal view.


I definitely read all examples as "both at the same time."

1) Whatever X publicly condemned thing you can think of, it exists on a spectrum. 

2) There is a lot more of all instances of it happening than you think there are.

3) A lot of it does not look like the kind you are most likely to notice and condemn.


Thanks for this writeup, still undergoing various updates based on the info above and responses from Nonlinear.

One thing I do want to comment on is this:

(Personal aside: Regarding the texts from Kat Woods shown above — I have to say, if you want to be allies with me, you must not write texts like these. A lot of bad behavior can be learned from, fixed, and forgiven, but if you take actions to prevent me from being able to learn that the bad behavior is even going on, then I have to always be worried that something far worse is happening that I’m not aware of, and indeed I have been quite shocked to discover how bad people’s experiences were working for Nonlinear.)

I agree that it was a bad message to send. I agree that people shouldn't make it hard for others who have a stake in something to learn about bad behavior from others involved.

But I think it's actually a bit more complex if you consider the 0 privacy norms that might naturally follow from that, and I can kind of understand where Kat is (potentially) coming from in that message. This doesn't really apply if Nonlinear was actually being abusive, of course, only if they did things that most people would consider reasonable but which felt unfair to the recipient.

What I mean is basically that it can be tough to know how to act around people who might start shit-talking your organization when them doing so would be defecting on a peace treaty at best, and abusing good-will at worst. And it's actually generally hard to know if they're cognizant of that, in my experience.

This is totally independent of who's "right" or "wrong," and I have 0 personal knowledge of the Nonlinear stuff. But there are some people who have been to summer camps that we've had the opportunity to put on blast about antisocial things they've done that got them removed from the ecosystem, but we try to be careful to only do that when it's *really* egregious, and so often chose not to because it would have felt like too much of an escalation for something that was contained and private...

...but if they were to shit-talk the camps or how they were treated, that would feel pretty bad from my end in the "Well, fuck, I guess this is what we get for being compassionate" sense.

Many people may think it would be a better world if they imagine everyone's antisocial acts being immediately widely publicized, but in reality what I think would result is a default stance of "All organizations try to ruin people's reputations if they believe they did something even slightly antisocial so that they can't harm their reputation by telling biased stories about them first," and I think most people would actually find themselves unhappy with that world. (I'm not actually sure about that, though it seems safer to err on the side of caution.)

It can sound sinister or be a bad power dynamic from an organization to an individual, but if an individual genuinely doesn't seem to realize that the thing holding the org back isn't primarily a mutual worry of negative reputation harm but something like compassion and general decency norms, it might feel necessary to make that explicit... though of course making it explicit comes off as a threat, which is worse in many ways even if it could have been implicitly understood that the threat of reputation harm existed just from the fact that the organization no longer wants you to work with them.

There are good reasons historically why public bias is in the favor of individuals speaking out against organizations, but I think most people who have worked in organizations know what a headache it can be to deal with the occasional incredibly unreasonable person (again, not saying that's the case here, just speaking in general), and how hard it is to determine how much to communicate to the outside world when you do encounter someone you think is worse than just a "bad fit." I think it's hard to set a policy for that which is fair to everyone, and am generally unsure about what the best thing to do in such cases is.

This was crossposted, so I can't edit this version's doc to say:

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