Sunday September 20, 12:00PM (PT) — talks by Eric Rogstad, Daniel Kokotajlo and more

Wondering if these weekly talks should be listed in the Community Events section?

In praise of pretending to really try

I like this claim about the nature of communities. One way people can Really Try in a community is by taking stands against the way the community does things while remaining part of the community. I can’t think of any good solutions for encouraging this without assuming closed membership (or other cures worse than the disease)

capybaralet's Shortform

But, that is indeed a clunkier statement

I once heard someone say, "I'm curious about X, but only want to ask you about it if you want to talk about it" and thought that seemed very skillful.

Capturing Ideas

A repeating block I have with increasing capture is the tension between having enough notebooks to be convenient and having one's notes not be hopelessly scattered.

To expand: I strongly prefer paper notes to digital. I want to have notetaking stuff with my everywhere. I want maintaining access to notetaking to be convenient (robust to changing from gym clothes to jeans etc). I want to be able to trust that I will look at / can find a given note in the future.

I've never quite cracked getting all of these lined up. The closest I've come is having a pocket notebook everywhere I can think of, but laundry or removing notebooks to read them at a desk tends to break this system.

The Wiki is Dead, Long Live the Wiki! [help wanted]

I expect "x imported out of y", or "x imported, y remain" to be more motivating than the current "y remain" on the import progress bar.

‘Ugh fields’, or why you can’t even bear to think about that task (Rob Wiblin)

My peevish reaction to this is (sarcastically) "Finally, there's a 1400 word popularization of that 850 word blog post". I dunno why I found that so annoying. It does seem valuable to have multiple explanations available for good concepts

Why would code/English or low-abstraction/high-abstraction simplicity or brevity correspond?

On the literature that addresses your question: here is a classic LW post on this sort of question.

You point out that length of a description in English and length in code don't necessarily correlate. I think for English sentences that are actually constraining expectations, there is a fairly good correlation between length in English and length in code.

There's the issue that the high-level concepts we use in English can be short, but if we were writing a program from scratch using those concepts, the expansion of the concepts would be large. When I appeal to the concept of a buffer overflow when explaining how someone knows secrets from my email, the invocatory phrase "buffer overflow" is short, but the expansion out in terms of computers and transistors and semiconductors and solid state physics is rather long.

But I'm in the game of trying to explain all of my observations. I get to have a dictionary of concepts that I pay the cost for, and then reuse the words and phrases in the dictionary in all my explanations nice and cheaply. Similarly, the computer program that I use to explain the world can have definitions or a library of code, as long as I pay the cost for those definitions once.

So, I'm already paying the cost of the expansion of "buffer overflow" in my attempt to come up with simple explanations for the world. When new data has to be explained, I can happily consider explanations using concepts I've already paid for as rather simple.

romeostevensit's Shortform

Seems like a cool insight here, but I've not quite managed to parse it. Best guess at what's meant: the more at stake / more people care about some issue, the more skilled the arguers that people pay attention to in that space. This is painful because arguing right at the frontier of your ability does not often give cathartic opinion shifts

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