matt

Educated as an engineer, I've been a product designer & product designer manager, a factory & tool room manager, a logistics & supply chain consultant, a programmer & software consultancy manager, and a director of a handful of startups. I'm one of the Bellroy founders & executive team members.

We humans don't come with instruction manuals, but if we did they'd have to mention: systematic habit acquisition, conceptual model building, polyphasic sleep, speed reading, optimised exercise & diet and many other uncommonly adopted but excellent things.

My company, TrikeApps, was responsible for the first Lesswrong codebase. I'm very happy to have been involved, and very happy with what our successors have done with the current Lesswrong codebase (for the avoidance of any undue credit, we did not contribute to the new codebase, and would have been proud of the result if we had).

Comments

Common knowledge about Leverage Research 1.0

I'm trying to apply the ITT to your position, and I'm pretty sure I'm failing (and for the avoidance of doubt I believe that you are generally very well informed, capable and are here engaging in good faith, so I anticipate that the failing is mine, not yours). I hope that you can help me better understand your position:

My background assumptions (not stated or endorsed by you):
Conditional on a contribution (a post, a comment) being all of (a) subject to a reasonably clear interpretation (for the reader alone, if that is the only value the reader is optimising for, or otherwise for some (weighted?) significant portion of the reader community), (b) with content that is relevant and important to a question that the reader considers important (most usually the question under discussion), and (c) that is substantially true, and it is evident that it is true from the content as it is presented (for the reader alone, or the reader community), then…

My agreement with the value that I think you're chasing:
… I agree that there is at least an important value at stake here, and the reader upvoting a contribution that meets those conditions may serve that important value.

Further elaboration of my background assumptions:
If (a) (clear interpretation) is missing, then the reader won't know there's value there to reward, or must (should?) at least balance the harms that I think are clear from the reader or others misinterpreting the data offered.
If (b) (content is relevant) is missing, then… perhaps you like rewarding random facts? I didn't eat breakfast this morning. This is clear and true, but I really don't expect to be rewarded for sharing it.
If (c) (evident truth) is missing, then either (not evident) you don't know whether to reward the contribution or not, or (not true) surely the value is negative?

My statement of my confusion:
Now, you didn't state these three conditions, so you obviously get to reject my claim of their importance… yet I've pretty roundly convinced myself that they're important, and that (absent some very clever but probably nit-picky edge case, which I've been around Lesswrong long enough to know is quite likely to show up) you're likely to agree (other readers should note just how wildly I'm inferring here, and if Vladimir_Nesov doesn't respond please don't assume that they actually implied any of this). You also report that you upvoted orthonormal's comment (I infer orthonormal's comment instead of RyanCarey's, because you quoted "30 points of karma", which didn't apply to RyanCarey's comment). So I'm trying to work out what interpretation you took from orthonormal's comment (and the clearest interpretation I managed to find is the one I detailed in my earlier comment: that orthonormal based their opinion overwhelmingly on their first impression and didn't update on subsequent data), whether you think the comment shared relevant data (did you think orthonormal's first impression was valuable data pertaining to whether Leverage and Geoff were bad? did you think the data relevant to some other valuable thing you were tracking, that might not be what other readers would take from the comment?), and whether you think that orthonormal's data was self-evidently true (do you have other reason to believe that orthonormal's first impressions are spectacular? did you see some other flaw in the reasoning I my earlier comment?)

So, I'm confused. What were you rewarding with your upvote? Were you rewarding (orthonormal's) behaviour, that you expect will be useful to you but misleading for others, or rewarding behaviour that you expect would be useful on balance to your comment's readers (if so, what and how)? If my model is just so wildly wrong that none of these questions make sense to answer, can you help me understand where I fell over?


(To the inevitable commenter who would, absent this addition, jump in and tell me that I clearly don't know what an ITT is: I know that what I have written here is not what it looks like to try to pass an ITT — I did try, internally, to see whether I could convince myself that I could pass Vladimir_Nesov's ITT, and it was clear to me that I could not. This is me identifying where I failed — highlighting my confusion — not trying to show you what I did.)

Edit 6hrs after posting: formatting only (I keep expecting Github Flavoured Markdown, instead of vanilla Markdown).

Common knowledge about Leverage Research 1.0

I've read this comment several times, and it seems open to interpretation whether RyanCarey is mocking orthonormal for presenting weak evidence by presenting further obviously weak evidence, or whether RyanCarey is presenting weak evidence believing it to be strong.

Just to lean on the scales a little here, towards readers taking from these two comments (Ryan's and orthonormal's) what I think could (should?) be taken from them…

An available interpretation of orthonormal's comment is that orthonormal:

  1. had a first impression of Geoff that was negative,
  2. then backed that first impression so hard that they "[hurt their] previously good friendships with two increasingly-Leverage-enmeshed people" (which seems to imply: backed that first impression against the contrary opinions of two friends who were in a position to gather increasingly overwhelmingly more information by being in a position to closely observe Geoff and his practices),
  3. while telling people of their first impression "for the entire time since" (for which, absent other information about orthonormal, it is an available interpretation that orthonormal engaged in what could be inferred to be hostile gossip based on very little information and in the face of an increasing amount of evidence (from their two friends) that their first impression was false (assuming that orthonormal's friends were themselves reasonable people)).
  4. (In this later comment) orthonormal then reports interacting with Geoff "a few times since 2012" (and reports specific memory of one conversation, I infer with someone other than Geoff, about orthonormal’s distrust of Leverage) (for which it is an available interpretation that orthonormal gathered much less information than their "Leverage-enmeshed" friends would have gathered over the same period, stuck to their first impression, and continued to engage in hostile gossip).

Those who know orthonormal may know that this interpretation is unreasonable given their knowledge of orthonormal, or out of character given other information about orthonormal, or may know orthonormal's first impressions to be unusually (spectacularly?) accurate (I think that I often have a pretty good early read on folks I meet, but having as much confidence in my early reads as I infer from what orthonormal has said in this comment, that orthonormal has in their reads, would seem to require pretty spectacular evidence), or etc., and I hope that readers will use whatever information they have available to draw their own conclusions, but I note that only the information presented in orthonormal's comment seems much more damning of orthonormal than of Geoff.
(And I note that orthonormal has accumulated >15k karma on this site… which… I don't quite know how to marry to this comment, but it seems to me might cause a reasonable person to assume that orthonormal was better than what I have suggested might be inferred from their comment… or, noting that at the time I write this orthonormal has accumulated 30 points of karma from what seems to me to be… unimpressive as presented?… that there may be something going on in the way this community allocates karma to comments (comments that do not seem to me to be very good).)

Then, RyanCarey's comment specifically uses "deadpan", a term strongly associated with intentionally expressionless comedy, to describe Geoff saying something that sounds like what a reasonable person might infer was intentional comedy if said by another reasonable person. So… the reasonable inference, only from what RyanCarey has said, seems to me to be that Geoff was making a deadpan joke.

I think I met Geoff at the same 2012 CFAR workshop that orthonormal did, and I have spent at least hundreds of hours since in direct conversation with Geoff, and in direct conversation with Geoff's close associates. It seems worth saying that I have what seems to me to be overwhelmingly more direct eyewitness evidence (than orthonormal reports in their comment) that Geoff does not seem to me to be someone who wants to be a cult leader. I note further that several comments have been published to this thread by people I know to have had even closer contact over the years with Geoff than I have, and those comments seem to me to be reporting that Geoff does not seem to them to be someone who wants to be a cult leader. I wonder whether orthonormal has other evidence, or whether orthonormal will take this opportunity to reduce their confidence in their first impression… or whether orthonormal will continue to be spectacularly confident that they've been right all along.
And given my close contact with Geoff I note that it seems only a little out of character for Geoff to deliver a deadpan joke, in the face of the very persistent accusations he has fielded, on evidence that seems to me to be of similar quality to the evidence that orthonormal presents here, that he is or is felt to be tending towards, or reminiscent of, a cult leader, a joke “that he would like to be starting a cult if he wasn't running Leverage”. RyanCarey doesn't report their confidence in the accuracy of their memory of this conversation, but given what I know, and what RyanCarey and orthonormal report only in these comments, I invite readers to be both unimpressed and unconvinced by this presentation of evidence that Geoff is a "cult-leader-wannabe".

(I want to note that while readers may react negatively to me characterising orthonormal’s behaviour as “hostile gossip”, I am in the process of drafting a more comprehensive discussion of the OP and other comments here, in which I will try to make a clear case that my use of that term is justified. If you are, based on the information you currently have, highly confident that I am being inappropriately rude in my responses here, to a post that I will attempt to demonstrate is exceedingly rude, exceedingly poorly researched and exceedingly misleading, then you are, of course, welcome to downvote this comment. If you do, I invite you to share feedback for me, so that I can better learn the standards and practices that have evolved on this site since my team first launched it.)
(If your criticism is that I did not take the time to write a shorter letter… then I’ll take those downvotes on the chin. 😁)

Instead of however we might characterise the activity we’re all engaging in here, I wonder whether we might ask Geoff directly? @Geoff_Anders, with my explicit apology for this situation, and the recognition that (given the quality of discourse exhibited here), it would be quite reasonable for you to ignore this and continue carrying on with your life, would you care to comment?

(A disclosure that some readers may conclude is evidence of collusion or conspiracy, and others might conclude is merely the bare minimum amount of research required before accusing someone of activities such as those this post (doesn't actually denotationally accuse Geoff of, but very obviously connotationally) accuses Geoff of: In the time between the OP being posted and this comment, I have communicated with Geoff and several ex-Leverage staff and contributors.)

Design 2

Schedule a script to nuke your history every X minutes?

Group rationality diary, 8/20/12

Dropbox broke old public links with no way I could see of preventing the link rot (https://www.dropbox.com/help/files-folders/public-folder). See https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BxlExVbPZSCRdUNaZUFId05YY1k for all of my audio tracks.

Open thread, Sep. 21 - Sep. 27, 2015

Anyone else having trouble with keyboard input on Lesswrong? (Arrow keys and page up & down work for me on OSX Chrome, Firefox & Safari.)

Solving sleep: just a toe-dipping

I'm polyphasic on Everyman 3 since about March 2011 (Jan and Feb spent unsuccessfully trying to make Uberman work). According to my aging Zeo I get approximately the same REM and SWS as I did on 7.4hrs of monophasic sleep before I adapted. Nearly all of the SWS is in my 3hr core. On Uberman I never achieved enough SWS in my naps to get me through. The adaptation was ridiculously hard - both for how very unpleasant it was and for having to get through that while sleep deprived.

Post ridiculous munchkin ideas!

Actually, I would suggest not focusing your attention on evolutionary anthropology while you're supposed to be piloting a multi-ton vehicle at high speeds.

When you're driving a daily commute your mind is going to wander unless you have extraordinary focus control / mindfulness training. It's not obvious to me that it's more dangerous to have it directed to evolutionary anthropology than to what you're going to do when you get home (or wherever else it wandered).

A Ketogenic Diet as an Effective Cancer Treatment?

people with late stage cancers often have enough trouble eating as is (a large fraction actually die of starvation), and getting them to eat anything is an accomplishment. So at that level, for a lot of post-metastasis patients, this will be happening naturally anyways.

Starvation does not equal ketosis. If cancer patients are suffering from nausea and lack of motivation to eat anything, they and their carers may not select high fat low carbohydrate foods that would promote and sustain ketosis and may instead choose simple and easy to digest carbohydrates and sugary treats.

(Your comment upvoted.)

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