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I actually started thinking about how to create something that would work for this as soon as I started reading the comments about the Pomodoro feature. I'm not sure if I'd be the best person to actually make something like this, but I'll share the design requirements that I've come up with so far.

The framework that I'm basing this off of is something like TeamSpeak or Mumble, where there are a hierarchical tree of rooms with people in them. There should probably be an accessible tree view that shows all rooms along with all current occupants.

Inside of each room, each person should be able to choose whether to broadcast video or not. There will probably be a ~10 person cap on how many can broadcast inside of a single room, but there should be a much higher cap on how many can watch. There should also be text and possibly voice only chat features.

Each room should have an optionally enabled feature set, currently only including the ability to set up synced pomodoros. This feature should probably change the look of the room while it is in the 25 minutes, and then change it to "break room" look while in the 5 minutes. There could be a toggle to optionally mute everyone during the working time.

Rooms should preferably be dynamically allocate-able. At the very least, it should not be nightmarish to add new rooms.

The login/user management should not be nightmarish. Possibly password protected access, and disseminate the password as widely as possible here on LW?

The whole thing should be web based, with no client side software.

Does anyone else have any design requirements that they would like to add?

edit: further googling has uncovered OpenMeetings, which might be just the things needed to build this out.

The arguments laid out on the linked page are orthogonal to any questions of value or goodness.

The page's arguments conclude that "life is trying to occupy all space, and to become master of the universe." However, nothing is said as to what "life" will do with its mastery, and thus these arguments are unrelated to the question of why the future might be good, except insofar as most people would rank futures in which life is wiped out as not good.

I believe that it is fairly trivial to show that while evolution is in fact an optimization process, it is not optimizing for goodness. It is a pretty big jump from "evolution has an arrow" to "...and it points where we want it to". In fact, I believe that there is significant evidence that it does not point where we want. As evidence, I point to basically every group selection experiment ever.

I would also disagree that it is "already quite good". While it is certainly not the worst that could be conceived of, there is significant room for improvement. However, the current standing of the universe is less relevant to the article (which I enjoyed, by the way) than that there is room for improvement according to the values that we as people have, which is obvious enough to me as to need no defense.

I also object to the use of the word benign in the comment, as it appears to be there simply to sneak in connotations. On the linked page, the word is used as a synonym for "capable of bearing life", which can be applied to our universe without much controversy. However, when used in a sentence with the words "progressive" and "goodness", it seems that "capable of bearing life" is not the intended definition, and even if it is, it is predictably not the one that a reader will immediately reach for.

The mechanics definitely need to be such that the dominant strategy is to give accurate predictions. I am reminded of Yvain's post on Nash Equilibria and Schelling Points, in which the optimal strategy is to attack/defend each of the cities in proportion to the values of the cities in question. One of the keys is that it is a repeated trial, which the idea of assassination at 8 does not have.

Although, it does sound as if the computer will be tracking the likelihoods by itself, and you only have to decide what to do with the information produced by the fully updated Bayes net. So maybe one of the key skills will be assessing Value of Information.

I also am a writer of code, although not professionally. I have joined the mailing list group thing, even though there seem to be plenty of coders already.

there are also men who'd like a friendlier version.

I cannot agree with this enough.

I also want to be clear that I do not think that this requires putting niceness padding on every statement and interaction. Just enough padding on enough interactions that a new person can believe that they will get a padded response instead of seeing no alternative but that they will receive an unpadded response.

Also, it's much productive to have a higher community standard of niceness-padding, and then take it off when you know the recipient doesn't want or need it, than to adopt more padding when it seems called for, if the goal is a vibrant and expanding community.

I liken this to a martial arts dojo, where the norm is to not move at full speed or full intent-to-harm, but high level students or masters will deliberately remove safeguards when they know the other person is on their level, more or less. If they went all-out all of the time, they would have no new students. This is not a perfect analogy.

I strongly suspect that tone and body language are a key component in whether the statement "that's not right" is interpreted as "I disagree, let's talk about it" or "shut up and think what I think".

I further suspect that a tendency to interpret ambiguous or missing subtext in a negative or overly critical way correlates strongly with being "thin-skinned". This is partly based on having both of these characteristics myself. A potential counter-argument here is that it is not "rational" or useful to always assume the worst in personal interactions if you have evidence to follow instead (Have people generally meant the worst things possible when I have been unsure in the past?), but the important thing to remember here is that we are not dealing with people who have had time to be trained in that way. A martial arts master does not go all out against a beginner knowing that they will one day be able to handle it.

It would be unwise to alienate a group of potential rationalists if there is a relatively simple way to avoid it. If it would cripple the discourse or otherwise be quite detrimental to implement any sort of fix, then I would not advocate that course of action. However, I believe that to not be the case.

At this time, I would like to agree with RichardKennaway's observation that Plasmon's option A was quite different from the situation posited by Submitter B, and further agree with his hypothesis that even option A is some sort of improvement (largely due to the word "may").

My conclusion is that a few changes of word choices would be a low-cost, medium-reward first step in the right direction. This would include using words such as "may", particularly in the context of someone's perceived domain of expertise or cherished belief. Also, explicitly starting an evidence based conversation while voicing your disagreement.

Example: I disagree with your statement that "Most civilized people are [open to being convinced]". As (anecdotal) evidence, I submit the large number of Americans who are closemindedly religious.

I have seen other forums that use this mechanism. They list which users "liked" the post right underneath the post itself. Those forums did not have a karma system, though, and it might seem that the systems are somewhat redundant, but I, for one, would process the two types of feedback differently in my meat-brain.

In short, I sign the above comment without reservation.