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Thanks for your reply and the additional clarification of your original point.

I certainly am not seeking additional identifying information. For one, it would do me no good as I don't have the local context knowledge to map it to anything anyway. Secondly, the gist of my initial comment was really more responding to the sense that taking a few examples and generalizing them to a larger group of people seemed inadvisable to me.

Along those same lines, I'm still really hesitant to get behind a statement that strongly implies that all well-intentioned newbies will start poorly negotiating in only one way (or one set of ways), and that anyone who starts negotiating poorly in a different or particular way (or set of ways) is obviously doing so from a place of poor intentions. The more visibility and reach this community has, the more diversity we're going to see in the new people who are finding it. And in the ways of communication they've learned are effective and acceptable. Additionally, not every newbie who comes into the community is ready or able to identify culture differences as the source of the problems they're encountering. Troubleshooting is its own skillset.

It also feels really important to me to point out that - if we're going to encourage people to ask and to practice asking (both of which are necessary in order to actually improve our asking and negotiating skills) then it creates some counter productive incentives if we then turn around and say things like "oh but folks who are asking in these particular ways are clearly a parasite."

While I agree that the examples you give of how a parasite might ask for something (or the scenarios they propose) don't look like particularly good deals... I still don't understand how this particular kind of ask is an indication of some sort of inherent parasitic nature the part of the asker. If we're going to create or maintain a culture where asking is an OK thing to do, then part of the underlying assumptions that go into it are that the other person is free to say "No."

To be completely fair, this is a legitimately difficult situation. In your initial comment you pointed out that one of the indicators you were looking at was the fact that these asks are primarily going towards newer folks (who may not be comfortable with ask/tell culture and who may feel obligated to say yes.) Which makes me think that perhaps the educational thrust I suggested initially was lacking in some key areas.

Perhaps - in addition to offering resources to new folks who want to learn how to ask effectively and responsibly - it would also be a really good idea to also include resources on things like how to say No/ how to be comfortable saying No, and - also really important for those coming from guess cultures - how to gracefully receive No.

I don't know that this is so much a solution for any particular individuals who are already here as it is a set-up for new people coming in that seems to give space for folks to learn the skills needed to not fall into a pattern of behavior that might be read as parasitic - before passing judgement on whether or not they are parasites.

"Note, the problem here isn't the ask. We do asks in entrepreneur-topia all the time. The problem is the lack of dealcraft: the asks are asymmetrically favouring the asker, and only offer vague lipservice-waving-towards-nice-things as return."

I want to talk about this just a bit. If I've missed a comment that also addresses the same point, I apologize.

So, yes, asks are super common in the culture you're in. But in other cultures - specifically those that are more guess oriented - it's actually really difficult to grow negotiation skills. I'd caution strongly against taking a lack of ability in these areas as some sort of strong indication of a person being a "parasite" or having some other baked-in personality type issue. Which isn't to say that it's not a problem, just that I don't know that this piece of evidence is especially strong given how rare it is to find good examples of tell (or even ask) culture in large portions of the country/internet.

If you're concerned with the lack of dealcraft that comes from newbies, then knowing good resources to point them towards - or offering to be a source of practice in short, low-cost scenarios - may be a more effective way of dealing with this. This will also give you an opportunity to observe how folks respond to those opportunities, which may give you stronger evidence to use to actually identify the parasites/moochers/insert-preferred-term-here that do filter in (because I agree that this is also a thing that happens).

I realize this is super belated and may not actually be seen, but if I get an answer, that'd be cool:

If we see the horns effect in how people talk about Nazis as evidence that our sanity waterline could be raised, wouldn't trying to fight the thing you're calling "bias against the poor Nazis" be like trying to treat symptom of a problem instead of the problem itself?

Examples I can think of that might illustrate what I mean:

Using painkillers instead of (or before?) finding out a bone is broken and setting it.
Trying to teach a martial arts student the routine their opponent uses instead of teaching them how to react in the moment and read their opponent.
Teaching the answers to a test instead of teaching the underlying concept in a way that the student can generalize.

It seems to me that doing that would only lead to reducing the power of the "Nazi response" as evidence of sanity waterline.

sidenote: I'm finding this framing really fascinating because of how I see the underlying problem/topic generalizing to other social biases I feel more strongly affected by.


I'm getting into the Bay area this afternoon for the CFAR workshop starting tomorrow. I'm looking for advice on how to spend the time and also where might be a good place to look for affordable lodging for one evening.

I'd initially thought about crashing at the Piedmont house hostel as it's cheap and close enough that I could visit CFAR before heading over tomorrow, but it appears to be sold out. I figured there are probably folks here who know the area or have visited, so I didn't see any harm in asking for info, or checking to see if anyone was getting up to anything.

:) Kim

I've read this book in the past and am looking at "The Willpower Instinct" right now. Since you seem to have read both, I'd love to hear any other thoughts you might have on the comparative pros/cons of each of them.

As a possible point of clarification:

The underwear itself really just happened to be the first time I recognized an example of aspects of my thinking that I'd been having trouble with. Specifically, that I tend to go about tackling problems in an exceedingly round-about way.

I posted it to this group because I found myself able to express the actual orientations and order of operations that my thoughts went through. It was a relatively isolated example, in that it didn't reference interactions with other people or processes. As such, it seemed ideal for exploring with the specific intent of generating alternative approaches that might generalize to other processes.

It appears that I might have missed a couple of factors in my choice of example. I hadn't considered the likelihood that such a common activity might encourage responses/solutions outside of the (I see now less-than-clearly) specified areas of focus. I also somewhat habitually underestimate the pull to judge examples deemed silly or unimportant.

FWIW, I have found quite a few pieces of useful information in the responses I've gotten, and you all have my appreciation and gratitude for coming with me on this little journey. :)

I run into some of the same problems you listed above in my own use of productivity apps. I look forward to hearing more about your project! If you have a blog or some place you post progress, I'd be interested in following you there as well.

Do you know if the project intends to address that lack of definition in what attributes we see as being similar (in groups and individuals)? I could see how even just having a list of characteristics for a person/group might be an excellent place to start in evaluating choices for where to spend social/networking capital.

Do you still need volunteers to help with the SF event?

I joined a while ago but don't think I ever posted here. I'd lurked for quite some time here and at various blogs a degree or so separation away since before that. I've mostly link-hopped my way around the sequences and various pieces of fiction and followed folks on facebook and recently realized we had a local LW meetup. I'm happy to answer any questions about me, but never really know what kind of information would be relevant to put in an introductory post, so instead I thought I'd make a proposal instead:

I've seen (for a while) a lot of activity regarding AI / Singularities / Existential Risk within these groups of people. For my own part, I have pretty much no background knowledge when it comes to that. So I was looking to really dig into the book Superintelligence as a way to get a rudimentary understanding of it all.

That said, I find that I definitely get a lot more out of learning when I have people to discuss it with. So, with a bit of encouragement, since this is the "get-to-know-you" thread, I figured I'd to put a call out on here to see if there was anyone who might be interested in reading (or re-reading) the book along with me being skype buddies for this process.

My current plan is to go through it a chapter at a time and discuss / do further research / etc before moving on. Message me if that sounds like something you might be interested in doing!


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