Neel Nanda


Group debugging guidelines & thoughts

This is an excellent post. Thanks for writing it!

What posts do you want written?

I've written up my thoughts on doing (informal) pair debugging from the debugger perspective here

On Slack - Having room to be excited

Yeah, fair point! Since writing this I've gotten feedback from a few people who think their lives have too much Slack, so I was clearly over-generalising from my own experience and social context.

Though, one supporting point. I think someone can both spend a bunch of time watching TV etc and lack Slack. I'm imagining an archetype of person who both feels always busy and behind, but also has poor executive function and has a lot of aversions, and motivation and procrastination problems (I can think of several friends in this category). Someone who clearly is not actually optimising their time for productivity, but feels overwhelmed. So they don't give themselves permission to use Slack, take time off, etc, even though they implicitly use a bunch of it on procrastination.

On Slack - Having room to be excited

I agree that Moloch is important, but that wasn't what I was trying to point at in this post. I was trying to point at the failure mode where it feels wrong to have available resources, because you could be spending them - very much an internal failure mode. While I see Moloch as an external failure mode, where outside forces push me towards competition

Seek Upside Risk

Fair point that that's somewhat hypocritical, and undercuts my point. I think the point still often stands though - this is a bug I have, but it's far from universal; and even for me, the answer to a choice is often obvious. But in those cases it's uninteresting and scarcely feels like a choice.

On Destroying the World

Oh, thanks! That sounds really useful when LW is being slow on mobile

Moral public goods
(In retrospect people also didn't like the big and unrealistic numbers, so I could have just made them 10 and 100 instead. I generally overestimated the extent to which readers would separate the simple quantitative point, which I wanted to make in the shortest way possible but didn't think about that much, from other features of the scenario.)

For what it's worth, I think the big, unrealistic numbers and framing of the example made this feel like a much more valuable intuition pump to me, so thanks! (Key point I took from it: It is actually perfectly reasonable to favour taxation while being unwilling to donate yourself, and there's a big gap between these two thresholds)

On Destroying the World
Do you agree that the literal monetary value of the site being down for a day is (likely) greater than that? Never mind the symbolism, there's just like two thousand people who visit the Frontpage in a day, around half of whom might pay something in the range of $1-$10 for the site not to be randomly down on them for a day?

Interesting. My intuition was "24 hours isn't a long time, and it's just the front page, people can surely come back later". But while that's a small inconvenience, $1 worth of inconvenience sounds plausible. So yeah, fair point! $1-10k actually seems like a fair value for this, thanks

EDIT: Reading the other comments on that point, it seems reasonable that LessWrong power users are best able to work around the outage, and the people who'd be most inconvenienced. And I expect most of those people to not know about GW (what is GreaterWrong anyway?), but this to correlate with caring less about the existence of LW. So I guess I'd lower the estimate a bit

Babble challenge: 50 ways of sending something to the moon

I got a bit stuck around halfway through, and started to interpret it more and more liberally to squeeze out some more angles on it

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