Creator of the Complice productivity system, which hosts the Less Wrong Study Hall:

Working full-time on solving human coordination at the mindset level.

Wiki Contributions


Final Version Perfected: An Underused Execution Algorithm

I've just updated Complice to give it primitive support for FVP directly!

A user sent me this article and asked about some changes to Complice that would make it easier to use FVP. I took a different approach than he suggested (creating a filter to only show starred actions) but I came up with something that I think works substantially better.

First I added a new hotkey (d) to mark a dot next to an intention in your list, which is sort of the bare minimum needed to implement FVP or Mark Forster's other systems, which people have tried using the star ★ feature for. So select an intention with the arrow keys or j/k, then press d to dot it. Pressing d again clears the dot.

Then it became clear that the usual assumption Complice makes about your "next action" (that it's the top item on today's list that you haven't yet done) is completely backwards for Forster mode. So I changed it so that if you've put dots next to any intentions, it'll treat the lowest dotted item on the list (that you haven't done yet) as your next action.

Then I made sure that that algorithm worked on the backend too so that this same next action is used for the new tab page extension as well.

I've added some styles to visually diminish the items between the dotted ones, since those sort of aren't in consideration. I'm intending to make a mode where it hides those altogether, but that's a larger project at this point.

There are still a few other improvements to make, like clearly disambiguating between "do" mode and "prioritize" mode, and at the moment the UI doesn't guide you through the process whatsoever so you need to already know how you're using the dots, by eg reading this guide above.

If anyone has used other systems by Mark Forster and can comment on which are compatible or incompatible with what I've done so far, that would be great. I know he has dozens but I've barely dabbled with them at all. And of course I'm also interested in hearing other ways that this system could be improved.

If you're new to Complice, know that it's very opinionated about a few things, and one of them is that you start with a fresh list every day. That's not likely to change anytime soon, which technically goes against FVP but ultimately seems compatible with what Will describes above where he starts fresh about daily. And it has tons of other people features for tracking progress towards specific goals, and doing daily-weekly-monthly reviews based on what you've worked on in those periods.

Reveal Culture

I've been asked to self-review this post as part of the 2020 review. I pretty clearly still stand by it given that I was willing to crosspost it from my own blog 5 years after I originally wrote it. But having said that, I've had some new insights since mid-2020, so let me take a moment and re-read the post and make sure it doesn't now strike me as fatally confused...

...yeah, no, it's good! I made a couple of small formatting and phrasing edits just now but it's otherwise ready to go from my perspective.

The post is sort of weirdly contextual in that it's partially attempting to clarify something someone else wrote and respond to critiques of how that thing was received. I'd want to have it reviewed for editing by someone who didn't read any of the original posts to make sure it stands on its own (which the post itself notes it was intended to do!)

(We also may want to check in with Logan-formally-known-as-Brienne whether they want to be renamed and repronouned; I'll leave that to the editors.)

We'll Always Have Crazy

The first section prompted me to want to share this piece by David Chapman, "The Court of Values and the Bureau of Boringness", which semi-satirically suggests splitting democracy into two types of vote, of which each citizen must pick one in any given election. One actually makes policy for roads and industry and so on, the other makes claims about some cultural issue. The idea is that this would allow the crazy to not get in the way of getting enough attention on the decisions that are settled enough to be non-controversial but not actually precisely answered. Not likely to work as described, but I've found it inspirational for thinking about how we might be more sane collectively while having pockets of crazy.

Frame Control

Appreciating you pointing out via those first two quotes that some of these dimensions are pointing at someone being submissive rather than sovereign+respectful (not attached to these words).

Feels weird that I missed that when I was reading the draft, actually. Bullet points 2-5 of the "someone isn't doing frame control" list still seem solid to me. On reflection, I actually think bullet 1 is actually completely misleading, because someone frame controlling can also do a bunch of these things, particularly if they have a victim energy as in Raemon's comment.

This also feels off:

They don’t laugh nervously, don’t give tiny signals that they are malleable and interested in conforming to your opinion or worldview.

I might try to steelman it as:

They can't laugh at themselves, and don't seem to give signals that they are interested in learning from you and seeing the world through your eyes.

Frame Control

Yes. (Likewise in Malcolm culture!)

My main approach to this is to focus on honoring distrust:

"I can't personally trust that this is not frame control, so to honor myself, I need to [get out of the situation / let you know that's my experience / etc]".

As with anything, this can also get weaponized depending on the tone & implicature with which it's said, but the precise meaning here points at encouraging a given person to really honor their own frame and their own experience and distrust, while not making any claims that anyone else can agree or disagree with.

Like, if I can't trust that something isn't functioning as frame control, then I can't trust that. You might be able to trust that it's fine, but that doesn't contradict my not being able to trust that, since we're coming from different backgrounds (this itself is pointing at respecting others frames). Then maybe you can share some evidence that will allow me to relax as well, but if you share your evidence and I'm still tense, then I'm still tense and that's okay.

Frame Control

I'd edit "victims" to "weak" in the second header, since I think that expresses your point way clearer. You're not just pointing at the common-ish (& true!) refrains of "abusers are traumatized" or "abusers were once victims" but more specifically "abusers may be doing a bunch of frame control from the role of weak & vulnerable person".

Common knowledge about Leverage Research 1.0

Glad to have helped your blergness snap into place—not taking it personally. I share your concerns here in the specific case and in the general case re the word "knowledge"! And that people understanding the difference between "common knowledge" and other things is important.

More accurately maybe I could say "this matches what I understand to be the widespread model of Leverage known by dozens of people to be held among those dozens"

Some of it I observed directly or was told it by Leverage folks myself though, so "rumor" doesn't feel like an adequate descriptor from my vantage point.

Cup-Stacking Skills (or, Reflexive Involuntary Mental Motions)

I like this a lot, both the videos as a demonstration and the articulation & examples of unique and idiosyncratic skills like this. Have noticed this more the last few years, and my impression is they're remarkably common if you allow for very subtle ones.

I will say though that I'm a bit confused about "cup-stacking" as a metaphor (or name) only insofar as it seems like exactly the opposite of the thing you're trying to point at, with respect to both:

  • "unconsciously/accidentally developed"
  • "can't control when to use it / notice when one is using it"

Would also add that the compulsion to use the skills in certain ways may be separate from the skill! Unlocking the Emotional Brain suggests that what's going on is the person has both a skill and a compulsion to use it in a particular way (in order to feel safe) and the compulsion may be miscalibrated to their current situation, and that it's possible to recalibrate and ease off the compulsion while retaining the non-naivety that the skill (including the perceptiveness involved) grants.

Common knowledge about Leverage Research 1.0

facts that are more-or-less "common knowledge" among people who spent time socially adjacent to Leverage

Yup, sounds right. As someone who visited the rationality community in the bay a bunch in 2013-2018, almost nothing listed in the bullet points was a surprise to me, and off-hand I can think of dozens of other people who I would assume also know almost everything written above. (I'm sure there are more such people, that I haven't met or wouldn't remember.)

I don't have anything in particular to say about the implications of these facts, just seemed worth mentioning this thing re common knowledge.

(The main thing I hadn't heard about was the sexual relationships bullet point.)

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