Open thread, September 16-22, 2013

I wonder why addiction is common among celebrities

Are you sure this is true?

P/S/A - Sam Harris offering money for a little good philosophy

ask whether "Ma" means Mother (English) or Horse (Chinese).

"Ma" also means mother, depending on the tone. Actually, this example backfires since the word "mama" or some variation of it (ma, umma) means "mother" in almost every language in the world.

I haven't read the book but this sounds pretty good to me. Since Harris himself is the judge calling his argument "stupid" might not be the best idea.

New censorship: against hypothetical violence against identifiable people

Implying that whether his post should be censored hinges on the conclusion reached and not just the topic?

Gun Control: How would we know?

What I would do? Probably nothing. I can't vote and I've never been very interested in politics. This question does not have the same confusing unfathomable quality as the examples in the article (souls and god existing). The world looks the about the same either way. Though I admit I misremembered what a line of retreat is, just extrapolating from the name I guess.

Gun Control: How would we know?

Lines of retreat are for offering to other people during arguments. I think I can trust myself to be neutral.

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More Cryonics Probability Estimates

To me this just looks like a bias-manipulating "unpacking" trick - as you divide larger categories into smaller and smaller subcategories, the probability that people assign to the total category goes up and up.

How do you know the raised estimate with this "trick" is worse than the estimate without?

I could just as easily say, "As you merge smaller categories into larger and larger categories, the probability that people assign to the total category goes down."

Poll - Is endless September a threat to LW and what should be done?

I'm not sure... I think the topics I find most interesting are simply used up (except for a few open questions on TDT or whatever). Also the recent focus on applied rationality / advice / CFAR stuff... this is a subject which seems to invite high numbers of low quality posts. In particular posts containing advice are generally stuffed with obvious generalizations and lack arguments or evidence beyond a simple anecdote.

Also, maybe the regular presence of EY's sequences provided a standard for quality and topic that ensured other people's posts were decent (I don't think many people read seq reruns, especially not old users who are more likely to have good ideas).

Poll - Is endless September a threat to LW and what should be done?

I think this site is dying because there's nothing interesting to talk about anymore. Discussion is filled with META, MEETUP, SEQ RERUN, links to boring barely-relevant articles, and idea threads where the highest comment has more votes than the thread itself (i.e. a crappy idea). Main is not much better. Go to and compare (date chosen randomly, aside from being a while ago). I don't think eternal september is the whole explanation here -- you only need 1 good user to write a good article.

PROPOSAL: LessWrong for Teenagers

I am 16 and I think I started reading this site 13. I think there is no need for another site. I also oppose any new forum/category of LW simply because interesting content here is getting thinner and thinner, half the discussion page is [META] ("Italics formatting is broken!") or [SEQ RERUN] and a new forum would dilute that even further.

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