All of Liam's Comments + Replies

I'm nervous about mapping elements from the taxonomy onto existing techniques. You risk rationalising this way. But, for the sake of argument, one could say that internal double crux amounts to application of BCT 1.2 (problem-solving), BCT 4.3 (re-attribution), BCT 13.2 (framing/reframing), and BCT 13.3 (internal inconsistency). There are probably other ways of making it fit; therefore, I agree that the taxonomy, as it stands, isn't very useful.

Now, one of the stated aims of the human behaviour change project is this:

The Knowledge System will co
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If an ontology can't distinguish important distinctions that are needed to get certain existing techniques to be effective, I don't think there a good reason to believe that it will be useful for designing new techniques. This is like the psychiatrists who have the same DSM-V category for a depression that's caused by a head trauma and a depression that's caused by someone having a burnout (the DSM is an ontology that's designed to be cause-neutral). If an ontology can't distinguish important categories that matter for clinical practice from each other it can't effectively guide actions.

Yeah, I agree; still, if you decided that being a host is something you really wanted to do, you'd probably want to do some basic asshole proofing beyond setting the terms of the background check with Alicorn. Just in case Mark's scenario comes up.

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Also want to add: I've already seen Mark's scenario come up at least once (at least, the general version of "person doesn't leave when they say they're going to") [ramble that I don't think makes sense but don't have time to word properly] I think there's still a bunch of value left on the table in terms of people who could benefit from staying on a couch for a bit and people who are (usually) willing to do so, but the tail risks are nontrivial. I've gone from being willing to host random people on my couch to no-longer-willing-to (although I think I mostly endorse having originally been willing to. This doesn't feel very consistent of me and I'm not sure how to disentangle that) [/ramble]

Researchers at UCL, NICE, Aberdeen, Dublin and IBM are building an ontology of human behavior change techniques (BCTs). A taxonomy has already been created, detailing 93 different hierarchically clustered techniques. This taxonomy is useful in itself; I could see myself using this to try to figure out which techniques work best for me, in fostering desirable habits and eliminating undesirable ones.

The ontology could be an extremely useful instrumental rationality tool, if it helps to identify which techniques work best on average, and in which combinations... (read more)

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It might also be a ontology that's more distorting than helpful. The ontology looks like it tries to be agnostic about mental processes and as a result makes no assumptions about the moving parts that can be effected. If you take a technique like CFAR's internal double crux, it doesn't fit well into that framework.

That's an important point to clarify: the above only applies to single family lodgers. It looks like if there is more than one lodger (such as a mother and child) then the usual eviction process must be followed. I also found out that some local police departments don't get involved with lodger disputes as a matter of policy. If you're really concerned that potential lodgers will abuse the rules, then maybe it's safest to take on a single lodger at a time, after finding out whether your local police will deal with any problems? Extra pr... (read more)

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5Said Achmiz5y
These are good suggestions, I think, but they reveal a problem: “candid character references” are likely to (often though not always) anti-recommend taking on exactly the sorts of people who are intended to benefit from the OP’s plan. To be clear, I say this not to argue against your suggestions, but rather to point out a fundamental problem with the plan in question: that the personal qualities that make one a risky couch-surfer candidate either are, or are highly correlated with, those qualities which make one a couch-surfer candidate at all.

In most countries, a person sharing accomodation with the owner of a dwelling is classed as a lodger, with limited to no tenancy rights.

The lodger can be evicted with reasonable notice (usually ~30 days), after which they are treated as a trespasser. The police can remove them.

A quick search brought up the relevant sections of the CA civil code and penal code.

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It's worth knowing that the linked code says: " This section applies only to owner-occupied dwellings where a single lodger resides. Nothing in this section shall be construed to determine or affect in any way the rights of persons residing as lodgers in an owner-occupied dwelling where more than one lodger resides. "

1) I think it would be absurd to have a comfort zone that dosen't preclude things to which you have a lot of emotional resistance. Anything physically or psychologically traumatising should definitely be outside of the circle for example. My assumption would be that the optimal size is always that small delta beyond your current comfort zone (dipping your toes in the water), up to the fixed point where you think things really become too uncomfortable to consider.

2) Basically covered in (1) by extension. A person who is too comfortable making high-risk... (read more)

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Seems to me that this habit is there to help you be more like the kind of person who will satisfy their harmless curiosity on a whim. Not so much the burning desire to pursue truth that Yudkowsky wrote about; rather, a simulacrum of the same virtue we could (should?) apply to our daily lives in order to prevail over the status quo, as mentioned by another commenter.

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Ok. Follow-up questions:

  1. Should one’s comfort zone be as large as possible? Or is there an optimal comfort zone size?
  2. Is it possible to have too large of a comfort zone? Are there any people who would benefit from the opposite technique: Comfort Zone Contraction?
  3. How does one know whether one’s comfort zone is too small, too large, or just right? Are there any rules of thumb or heuristics for determining this?

Bonus question:

How harmless does “harmless curiosity” have to be, in order for it to be a good thing, to satisfy it on a whim? Must it be totally harmless? Or can it just be mostly harmless? If so, how mostly is ‘mostly’?

I'm forcing myself to act on each suggestion in Hammertime as they arise and this one was suprisingly helpful. The biggest time-sink by far for me was the piano I had in my bedroom. I wasted a ridiculous ~20% of my waking hours playing without realising until today; so I've just moved it into the garage to disincentivise my largest waste of time. It's also freed up some space for me to excercise and meditate when I can't go somewhere else, and it lets me access my whiteboards without climbing on top of furniture!(?)

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Sweet! I was talking to a friend the other day about Design and he said something along the lines of "I can never work in my room, it feels so bad." I felt a bit sad about that - the one space he has absolute power over to fit his own goals and idiosyncracies was significantly worse to work in than a generic computer lab or common room.

A further (slightly obvious) suggestion for improving the effectiveness of implementation intentions.

From research by Oettingen/Gollwitzer (I'm thinking of this paper in particular it seems that visualising concrete failure modes before implementing a TAP is a good strategy for improving long term commitment, in that subjects who used both mental contrasting and implementation intentions were better able to resolve bugs than subjects who only used only one technique. Think of ways you have ... (read more)

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Absolutely, I plan to cover CFAR's take on visualizing failure modes, Murphyjitsu ("everything that can go wrong will go wrong") on Day 10, Planning. After that it'll definitely be helpful to apply Murphyjitsu to bulletproof every single other technique.