GuySrinivasan's Comments

[ELDR Tactics] Consider switching to (mostly) decaf.

I used to overuse caffeine. Every few months I would go cold turkey for a week or two, to (a) prove to myself I easily could, but also (b) mostly reset the amount I needed or thought I needed for the same benefits. I figured this worked all right.

Then a change in my home life made it necessary to sometimes be able to stay or quickly become alert and useful at odd hours of the night/morning, and a moderate amount of caffeine just wasn't enough to break through. So my partner and I instituted a new rule: (basically) no caffeine after noon, and at most one cup of coffee's worth before that; but all the decaf I wanted.

Benefits: radically better sleep quality, one dose during nighttime emergencies is sufficient, and I no longer participate in the tolerance/turkey cycle.

Couple of other ELDRs:

  • we only buy a very specific brand of eggs, vetted to be the most ethically produced available locally
  • I play as many sedentary games as I like, but incur a certain amount of exercise debt per [session]
"But It Doesn't Matter"

On the contrary, one of my go-to techniques for decision-making is to examine questions that seem relevant to see if I can tell by the magnitude of their possible answers whether I care about what their possible answers are. If my choice boils down to "if X > 100, yes, otherwise no" and I am pretty confident that X is somewhere around 90-110 and I find a question that seems relevant but it turns out any answer sways X by at most a tenth of a point, I will dismiss that question and look for more important questions.

It is a flag to check for rationalization, sure.

Nash equilibriums can be arbitrarily bad

If your strategy remains unchanged, I can change my strategy to "999,999.99 please" and come away with 1,000,000.01 in total, so that's not a Nash equilibrium.

Karma-Change Notifications

These notifications just showed me a very old thread I did not know existed. The thread made me laugh. Thank you, I think.

Some Thoughts on My Psychiatry Practice

Do you have a way of seeing your expenditures for the past year, categorized and summed? Use Mint or something similar. Take a day every couple years to go through and look at _all_ of them and determine which are simply extraneous, which you don't endorse.

Playing Politics

Good point. I can't really imagine being several hours late and still showing up, except for events where that is explicitly the norm, like a long party.

Playing Politics

What I have learned as to do as an organizer both private and professional life:

  • Always assume the buck stops with you*, that people you're trying to organize will not effectively volunteer the information you need to make an informed decision. If you want to know what the best date is, one of the most effective ways to find out is to choose a date, then ask everyone individually "does this date fail for you?"
  • To gather useful data rather than making a Dictator's Decision, first go abstract: declare, as Dictator, that this meeting is a brainstorming session. Then tell them exactly how to brainstorm, like "okay in the next 3 minutes we'll write down everything we can about X". Dictate that they must spend this time giving you useful data. Then use it to make decisions. Other methods include creating a poll, sending it out, pinging everyone the next day to please fill it out, then two days after that pinging individually everyone who hasn't yet filled it out. Or having a 1:1 with each person for 5 minutes to discuss.
  • Never ask for people to take initiative unless you are asking a specific person or are prepared to very soon after designate a specific person.

Recent examples: we're having Christmas with 10 people. I told one "you are responsible for acquiring materials for communal cookie decorating. Do you accept or should I pick someone else?" I'm putting some people together for a game this weekend and needed exactly 1-2 more. I emailed a couple asking if they wanted to join. The day after, rather than waiting, I emailed again, specifying one of them, saying "reply yes, no, or maybe-but-we're-not-sure so that if no I can email others". I needed a design for a project at work. It is not my responsibility to produce the design. So I wrote up a design, put a meeting on relevant people's calendars, and said "hey let's discuss the design, here's a proposal", knowing my design was definitely flawed but someone had to produce a seed for others to critique. Two coworkers were supposed to lead a meeting to bring our team up to speed on some work they'd done in the past few months so that we could all participating in planning the followup. One said he had a fire to put out; the other said there are no more free times this week so let's meet next week; I said that sounds awful, pick one of meet anyway, meet tomorrow missing one person, or meet two days from now missing one other person.

All this has a common theme, I think.

  • No one wants to risk imposing, so in the absence of hard constraints, no one makes low-stakes decisions where any decision is far better than no decision, and any reasonable decision is at most a bit worse than any other reasonable decision. Whenever it's super easy to change the decision if it turns out it's actually really bad, like choosing a date and then the main event says they're busy that day, just make a decision. It's pro-social. You're providing a ton of value by allowing everyone else to avoid feeling bad about risking imposition. Far more value than the value lost by not having great coordination first.

*buck stops with you, or with someone else who is actually engaged in making this thing happen. Just never with a mere participant.

No Really, Why Aren't Rationalists Winning?

I went from borderline nonfunctional to pretty functional. This is not at all obvious even to those who knew me because I had been masking the growing problems really well using just raw intellectual brute force. More "attracts the walking wounded" anecdote.

Further, I kind of expect that Really Winning in the sense you're talking about is far more likely when (a) you get lucky, and/or (b) you're willing to stomp on other people. The first is not increased and the second is actively decreased by LWing (I think and hope).

Also, we have funded, active research into the not-so-covert true goal of original LW.

Can we do better? Yeah, definitely. Is it really so bleak? I don't think so.

In favor of tabooing the word “values” and using only “priorities” instead

I don't like it. To me, very broadly, "values" are what I want, "priorities" are what I will go after given that I have limited resources and it costs things to go after what I want and succeed at getting it.

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