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Note that he says if you tell them you're not playing, they respond "It sure looks like you're playing, you're not punching me back." Which I think (at least, unless you can call in Reasonable Authority Figure and have them be punished appropriately without becoming a pariah, but actually even then) makes it a moral obligation to punch them. As hard as you can. Right in the face. And ideally then walk away, silently.

My intuition is that that's neither the moral obligation, nor an effective way to resolve the issue - I would guess that the right thing to do would be to punch back, but roughly in kind (with regard to power and location).

In the case of a "gentle tap", as Duncan describes it, I guess I would probably tend towards verbal rebuke, escalating to a mild punch if they gave me shit over it? Can't say for certain, and context matters, but it feels consistent with my behavior as an adolescent in these sorts of situations. He holds that this can get you ostracized hard, but the world's a big pond, and it doesn't really match my life experience, so I'm tentatively not buying that claim.

Escalating what is meant as relatively playful or mild violence to actual violence is probably not moral under most common belief systems, and is likely to make enemies where you could have asserted yourself at less cost.


Yeah, this makes sense now, thanks for the clarification.

(As a post-mortem of my thought process: I think I failed to make the connection that the second part of the segment was referring the previous article as doing the thing. Perhaps I was thinking of i, ii, iii as being things you learned about demon threads, and so the point about article writing was a round peg for a square hole.)


I agree that in general people can differ pretty substantially in terms of preferences and interactions in a way that makes golden rule style simulations ineffective.

e.g. I seem to prefer different topics of small talk than some people I know, so if they ask me to, say, go into details about random excerpts of my day at work I get a bit annoyed whereas if I ask them mirror questions they feel comfortable and cared for. So both of us put the other off by doing a golden rule simulation, and we've had to come up with an actual model of the individual to in order to effectively care for the other person.

At the same time, some of these examples you give to me feel like inside view vs outside view explanations, in particular this line stood out:

I like to be told where I am wrong, assuming that it comes with a convincing explanation, and is not done as a status move. Other people hate to be told they are wrong, and they are quite likely to punish the messenger.

I think a fairly common failing is for people not to consider closely how the other will feel when some information is related to them (I know I personally am often less considerate in my words than is warranted). I think it's not so uncommon to feel attacked by someone who was merely inconsiderate rather than attacking, partially because it really is hard to be sure of which the other person is until it's too late (being considerate towards an ambiguous person who was attacking often opens up a substantially larger attack surface).


I would appreciate an elaboration or restatement of "ii. Avoid bundling normative claims with descriptive claims." - I felt like I was understanding what you were saying but then "My point was more like: Arguing on the internet about the relative status of things is not effective altruism" felt like a nonsequitur, so I suspect I was misunderstanding the entire section.


I personally find conversations in person to be much more efficient and positive valence, such that if I talk to someone occasionally in real life and often on the internet I tend to save topics I think will be relatively important / high value for in person discussion.

In contrast I find internet conversation is often more conducive to fishing for high value ideas, since there's so much more input.

This isn't to say that high value conversations can't happen on the internet or that that style might not be sufficient for some people, but I don't think I could make texting someone next to me work for me. As an example, in past experience I've found myself crossing the office to make / elaborate on requests initially made over chat.


fyi the jeff kaufman link is broken. Apologies if this has already been pointed out, I searched the page for kaufman and didn't see anything else.