mr-hire's Comments

Matt Goldenberg's Short Form Feed

My biggest win lately (Courtesy of Elliot Teperman) in regards to self love is to get in the habit of thinking of myself as the parent of a child (myself) who I have unconditional love for, and saying what that parent would say.

An unexpected benefit of this is that I've started talking like this to others.

Like, sometimes my friends just need to hear that I appreciate them as a human being, and am proud of them for what they accomplished and its' not the type of thing I used to say at all.

And so do I, I didn't realize how much I needed to hear that sort of thing from myself until I started saying it regularly.

One could call this Internal Parent Systems. Not to be confused with the default installed one that many of has that judges, criticizes, or blames in our parents' voice :). A close cousin of Qiaochu Yuan's Internal Puppy Systems

BrienneYudkowsky's Shortform

I find this list really helpful. In general, I've found this framework of breaking down fuzzy questions about social skills like this pretty helpful for seeing progress.

Thanks for making it!

Expertise Exchange

I like both foxes and hedgehogs and think we need both to make intellectual progress. I enjoy leggis hedgehoggy take on emobdiment, and suspect that a fox who understands it will make better predictions than a fox who doesn't.

Affordance Widths

Yes, I didn't frame the post in those terms but you doing so made a bunch of things click for me.

One of the converaations I had recently made me realize my affordable widths with risk taking for money were much different from others, because I don't need tons of money for health issues and my parents can and will support me when worst comes to worst (and I don't have to accept something like abuse to get their help).

This made me really conscious of my privilege around money.


These are fairly hard to read with image compression, can you copy paste or share the doc?

Affordance Widths

I don't think those quite get as specific or easy to talk about as this term For instance, the concept of "society isn't made nice for humans" is not new, but having moloch and inadequate equilibria as concepts still pushed forward the discourse

Karate Kid and Realistic Expectations for Disagreement Resolution
People who apply deliberate practice to a working causal model often level up astonishingly quickly.

This is (sort of) true but I think you're overstating it. For instance, TIm Ferris' whole thing is about breaking down skills into functional causal models, and he certainly does a good job of becoming proficient at them, but you'll notice he never becomes EXPERT at them.

Similarly, Josh Waitzkin also wrote a whole book about learning and breaking down skills into causal models, but still wanted at least 5 YEARS to train BJJ 24/7 before being comfortable going to the world finals (he never actually ended up going to the world finals so we'll never be sure if this was enough time).

Your example below is a solo skill, but I wager if it was a competitive skill you'd find that while you outpace your peer newbies, it still feels quite slow to catch up to veterans.

I suspect something similar with disagreements. Someone skilled at disagreements can take a deep disagreement that would have taken 10 years and turn it into 5 years. But that's still 5 years.

Affordance Widths

Since others have done a contextualized review, I'll aim to do a decoupled review, with a caveat that I think the contextual elements are important for consideration with inclusion into the compendium.

Okay. There’s a social interaction concept that I’ve tried to convey multiple times in multiple conversations, so I’m going to just go ahead and make a graph.
I’m calling this concept “Affordance Widths”.

I'd like to see a clear definition here before launching into an example. In fact, there's no clear definition in the whole post as far as I can tell, and would like to see that added to the post.

Let’s say there’s some behavior {B} that people can do more of, or less of. And everyone agrees that if you don’t do enough of the behavior, bad thing {X} happens; but if you do too much of the behavior, bad thing {Y} happens.

I'd like to see a concrete example here, which may just be a stylistic choice but is also I think just easier to follow as a human. A simple example would be something like "If you're over-confident, then you appear arrogant, but if you're underconfident, then you appear weak". This is done way later with the job interview example, but I have the preference to start concrete then generalize.

Bob understands that {B} can be an important behavior, and that there’s a minimum acceptable level of {B} that you need to do to not suffer {X}, and a maximum amount you can get away with before you suffer {Y}. And Bob feels like {X} is probably more important a deal than {Y} is. But generally, he and Adam are going to agree quite a bit about what’s an appropriate amount of {B}ing for people to do. (Bob’s heuristic about how much {B} to do is the thin cyan line.)
Charles isn’t so lucky, by comparison. He’s got a *very* narrow band between {X} and {Y}, and he has to constantly monitor his behavior to not fall into either of them. He probably has to deal with {X} and {Y} happening a lot. If he’s lucky, he does less {B} than average; if he’s not so lucky, then he tries to copy Bob’s strategy and winds up getting smacked with {Y} way more often than Bob does.
Poor David’s in a situation called a “double bind”. There is NO POSSIBLE AMOUNT of {B} he can do to prevent both {X} and {Y} from happening; he simply has to choose his poison. If he tries Bob’s strategy, he’ll get hit hard with {X} *AND* {Y}, simultaneously, and probably be pretty pissed about it. On the other hand, if he runs into Charles, and Charles has his shit figured out, then Charles might tell him to tack into a spot where David only has to deal with {X}. Bob and Adam are going to be utterly useless to David, and are going to give advice that keeps him right in the ugly overlap zone.
Then there’s Edgar. Edgar’s fucked. There is no amount of behavior that Edgar can dial into, where he isn’t getting hit hard by {X} *and* {Y}. There’s places way out on the extreme - places where most people are getting slammed hard by {X} or slammed hard by {Y} - where Edgar notices a slight decrease in the contra failure mode. So Edgar probably spends most of his time on the edges, either doing all-B or no-B, and people probably tell him to stop being so black-and-white about B and find a good middle spot like everyone else. Edgar probably wants to punch those people, starting with Adam.

The word choice here is editorializing in a way that feels not useful for truthseeking. Its' clearly saying Bob is an asshole for not understanding poor Edgar's plight, when it should be working to get across the concept that people have different allowances for their behavior.

Why I think this concept is useful:

So, I think the post is not amazing at getting across the concept. But I think the concept itself is quite useful, here's why:

When I read Scott Alexanders "Different Worlds" post, I was not at all surprised or amazed or enlightened by the post. I knew people had vastly different experiences of the world, and one of the reasons for that was having shifted my affordance widths in various domains in the past.

I had shifted things so that I could be more clear about my desires without seeming pushy, or less manic in my work without seeming lazy, for example. When I told other people about this, they had never even realized there was such a thing as an affordance width they could shift.

In comparison to them, I had seen how by changing my affordance width, it changed my experience of the world. I feel like if the concept of an afforadance width was in more people's vocabulary, they would both me more understanding of people with different worlds, and have more agency to realize they could change the experience of their own world.

In addition, I've also experienced the phenomena of different affordance widths in different contexts. For instance, when I moved to the UK, the affordance width for confidence leading to arrogance was much narrower, whereas the afforadance width for talking about certain topics without being ostracized was much higher.

Being able to point at that thing as a concept is certainly useful, both to be able to talk about the thing, as well as to be able to shift the thing (for instance, the affordance for consensual touch without being perceived as weird was too low for my tastes at the EA hotel, and I worked to raise that affordance width).

So, I think this post talks about a concept that's important, and useful, and I'd like to see it reworked to do a better job of getting across the underlying concept without editorializing too much about how awful it is to have low affordance widths.

Decoupling vs Contextualising Norms

The core of this post seems to be this

  • Decoupling norms: It is considered eminently reasonable to require your claims to be considered in isolation - free of any context or potential implications. An insistence on raising these issues despite a decoupling request are often seen as sloppy thinking or attempts to deflect.
  • Contextualising norms: It is considered eminently reasonable to expect certain contextual factors or implications to be addressed. Not addressing these factors is often seen as sloppy or even an intentional evasion.

As Zack_M_Davis points out in his review, one of the issues with this definition is that there are infinite variations of "context" that can be added in any given situation "I'm wearing a hat while saying this", and there are infinite implications that any given thing you say can have "this implies that the speaker has a mouth and could therefore say the thing.

However, I do think that there is an actual, useful, real distinction here that's both important and doesn't have another thing to describe. The thing I think this is pointing at is "How much you and others are willing to think about the consequences of what is said seperate from its' truth value."

This split is quite important in a community that cares strongly about truth, and strongly about the outcomes of the world, and being able to say "we're in a decoupling space" or "this is a contextualzing conversation" or "I generally support decoupling as an epistemic norm" is quite an important shorthand to point at that thing.

I'd love to see the post cleaned up to make it clear that you're talking about "contextualizing as understanding how your words will have an effect in the context that you're in" and decoupling as "decoupling what you say from the effects it may create."

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