JScott

Posts

Sorted by New

Wiki Contributions

Comments

JScott30

Applause lights. You should really read the sequences.

It took me a moment to understand that you were creating a parody. I'm not sure if that moment was indicative of EHeller, in fact, being on to something.

Anyway, on the original comment - yes, there was a little bit of tu quoque involved. How could I not? It was just too deliciously ironic. Even when accusing someone else of failing to formalize and test their ideas, it's easy to fail at formalizing and testing ideas. It's not meant (entirely) as a tu quoque - just as a warning that it really is easy to fall for that, that even consciously thinking testability isn't enough to actually get people to make explicit predictions. So, I decided to spend a few seconds actually trying to dissect the claim, and ask what sort of testable predictions we can derive from the "There also appears to be an unspoken contempt for creating novel work."*

The obvious signs would be a significant number downvotes on posts that deal with original work, or disparaging statements toward anyone presenting work for the first time on LW. Undue or unreasonable skepticism toward novel claims, perhaps, above and beyond what is warranted by their novelty. I have no idea how to formalize this - and, in fact, the more I look at the statement, the more am convinced it really is vague and untestable. I dunno - anyone else want to take a crack at it? EHeller, do you have something more precise that you were trying to get at?

It was an interesting exercise - even if it turns out to be less meaningful or reducible than I thought, it's good exercising in noticing so.

*Of course, there are good reasons why one might not want to spend time and effort trying to formalize and test an idea. The statement "Lots of conjecture that such-and-such behavior may be signaling, and such-and-such belief is a result of such-and-such bias, with little discussion of how to formalize and test the idea" isn't as interesting not only because it's imprecise, but also because it does in fact take effort and energy to formalize and test an idea - it's not always worth it to test every idea; the entire point of having general concepts about biases is that you can quickly identify problems without having to spend time and energy trying to do the math by hand.

JScott40

There also appears to be an unspoken contempt for creating novel work. Lots of conjecture that such-and-such behavior may be signaling, and such-and-such belief is a result of such-and-such bias, with little discussion of how to formalize and test the idea.

Can you think of any ways to formalize and test this idea?

JScott90

Not a large number; this is mostly gathered from discussions on internet forums. The sites I hang around on are generally science-fiction related in nature. While there are a few people who know of LW and think it has something valuable, many (relatively high-status) members think of it as being overly "self-important" or "full of hot air"; most don't outright disagree with the overall point (or never pin down their disagreement exactly), but state that the jargon makes LW useless, or that it states obvious things in a pretentious way, or that it's a close-minded community of "true believers" (the places I hang out are largely atheistic, so this is very much an insult).

In some ways, LW has suffered from HPMoR - anyone who doesn't like the story for whatever reason isn't likely to like the site, and I think it's plausible that some of those people would have liked the site if not for the story - though it's also more likely that many more people wouldn't have found LW without HPMoR.

Introducing people to Less Wrong outside the internet, my much more limited experience is that to most people, it's just an interesting blog. It's shiny, but not useful. I've tried to get a family member to read parts of the Sequences in hopes of getting to a point where we could resolve a long-standing disagreement, but they don't show much interest in it.

JScott350

Long time lurker, first time poster here.

My general impression of the general impression of LW is that it's an Eliezer Yudkowsky fanclub. Essentially, if you ask anyone what they think of Eliezer Yudkowsky, you'll know what they think of LW - which is unfortunate, because lots of people seem to think EY is "full of hot air" or "full of himself" or "a self-important wanker", and this maps on to their attitude about LW.