All of qazzquimby's Comments + Replies

Thanks for reporting this! Most likely it was because of 'window height' wasn't excluding the parts covered by mobile browsers. I'm now specifically using 'inner height' which should fix it.

Wow I wish I had searched before beginning my own summary project.

They projects aren't quite interchangeable though. Mine are significantly longer than these, but are intended to be acceptable replacements for the full text, for less patient readers.

Thank you, I hadn't noticed the difference but I agree that complacency is not the message.

I think I can word things the way you are and spread a positive message.

Thanks a lot, you've un-stumped me.

I'm in the process of summarizing The Twelve Virtues of Rationality and don't feel good about writing the portion on perfectionism

"...If perfection is impossible that is no excuse for not trying. Hold yourself to the highest standard you can imagine, and look for one still higher. Do not be content with the answer that is almost right; seek one that is exactly right."

Sounds like destructive advice for a lot of people. I could add a personal disclaimer or adjust the tone away from "never feel satisfied" towards "don't get complacent" though that's a beyond ... (read more)

Most advice is contraindicated for some people [], so if it's not a valid Law, it should only be called to attention, not all else equal given weight or influence beyond what calling something to attention normally merits. Even for Laws, there is no currently legible Law saying that people must or should follow them, that depends on the inscrutable values of Civilization. It's not a given that people should optimize themselves for being agents. So advice for being an effective agent [] might be different from advice for being healthy or valuable, or understanding topos theory, or building 5 meters high houses of cards.
For perfectionism, I think never being satisfied with where you're at now doesn't mean you can't take pride in how far you've come? "Don't feel complacent" feels different from "striving for perfection" to me. The former feels more like making sure your standards don't drop too much (maintaining a good lower bound), whereas the latter feels more like pushing the upper limit. When I think about complacency, I think about being careful and making sure that I am not e.g. taking the easy way out because of laziness. When I think about perfectionism (in the 12 virtues sense), I think about imagining ways things can be better and finding ways to get closer to that ideal. I don't really understand the 'argument' virtue so no comment for that.

In future should I post summaries individually, or grouped together like this?
Individual posts is more linkable and discoverable, but having a post for a full sequence of summaries might be more ergonomic to read and discuss.

I think that if the summaries are this short, putting more of them together is okay. The pictures are fantastic, BTW.
What about doing a sequence with individual posts?

Thanks for your thoughts, I'm glad I asked. 
You're right my goal isn't very well defined yet. I'm mostly thinking along the lines of the and projects. I'd need a better understanding of beginner readers to communicate with them well. I'm not confident that I'll write great summaries on the first try, but I imagine any serious issues can be solved with some feedback and iteration.

Would summarizing lesswrong writings to be more concise and beginner friendly be a valuable project? Several times I've wanted to introduce people to the ideas, but couldn't expect them to actually get through the sequences (optimized for things other than concision).

Is lowering barrier to entry to rationality considered a good thing? It sounds intuitively good, but I could imagine concern of the techniques being misused, or benefit of some minimum barrier to entry.
Any failstates I should be concerned of? I anticipate shorter content is easier to immediately forget, giving an illusion of learning.

Thanks for your time. Please resist any impulse to tell me what you think I want to hear :)

I'm sure it'd be a value to some, and a distraction or misleading to others. The problem with summarizing is that you have to decide what to leave out or gloss over, and different readers are coming from different places of prior knowledge and expectation. I don't think lowering the barrier to entry can ever be bad, but I also think that the barriers are multidimensional and "lowering" isn't very well-defined in a general sense. For my own reference, and to make it easier for me to refer people to 'the sequences' generally, I'd love to see something between an index and a summary. Basically, a topic index with a paragraph or so of description for each sequence, and a line or two describing the content of each post in a sequence.

I think that list covers the top priorities I can think of.  I really loved the Embedded Agency illustrated guide (though to be honest it still leads to brain implosions and giving up for most people I've sent it to). I'd love to see more areas made more approachable that way.

Good point on avoiding duplication of effort.. I suppose most courses would correspond to a series of nodes in the wiki graph, but the course would want slightly different writing for flow between points, and maybe extended metaphors or related images.

I guess the size of typical ... (read more)

Inspired by, I logged in to ask if people thought a very-beginner-friendly course like that would be valuable for the alignment problem - then I saw Stampy. Is there room for both? Or maybe a recommended beginner path in Stampy styled similarly to non-trivial?

There's a lot of great work going on.

This is a great idea! As an MVP we could well make a link to a recommended Stampy path (this is an available feature on Stampy already, you can copy the URL at any point to send people to your exact position), once we have content. I'd imagine the most high demand ones would be: * What are the basics of AI safety? * I'm not convinced, is this actually a thing? * How do I help? * What is the field and ecosystem? Do you have any other suggestions? And having a website which lists these paths, then enriches them, would be awesome. Stampy's content is available via a public facing API, and one other team is already interested in using us as a backend. I'd be keen for future projects to also use Stampy's wiki as a backend for anything which can be framed as a question/answer pair, to increase content reusability and save on duplication of effort, but more frontends could be great!
This one's pretty good, but on mobile, the bottom buttons are cut off for me on Android / Brave Browser.

I guess it generalizes to: if there's an unsolved problem and the solution looks obvious, you're probably missing something.

  • Beware the natural tendency towards overconfidence
  • It's easiest to think of the easy happy path. The problems are usually more nuanced and less mentally available.
  • Other people thinking about it are probably not being dumb or thoughtless.

I don't think it's caused me to overthink in that if something seems one dimensional it's probably being underthought.

There are learnable exceptions, like a friend might have a mental blindspot to... (read more)

Thank you for making my floundering into something actionable...
I'll first try looking into what people have found before on this thinking. I find it surprisingly difficult to see what my outgroups are or what advice I should be thinking of reversing.

I'm pretty sure it would have been easy to find ten more of most of those, but it would have felt like cheating.

I felt the same way. It's easy to generate something similar to an existing choice, like I included both catapult and trebuchet, but it feels wrong. But when I think about it feeling wrong, that's premature pruning...

  1. find the moon's postal code and mail
  2. catapult
  3. shot-put style
  4. by waterslide - to the moon
  5. hack the package's location value
  6. bring the moon to the package
  7. create a children's book "how the package reached the moon" with a choose your own ending page, and use the most promising submission
  8. space escalator
  9. photoshop the package on the moon
  10. trebuchet - superior to the catapult
  11. just build a bridge
  12. look at the moon, hold up the package, close one eye, and position it just right
  13. close my eyes and imagine the package is on the moon, then leave the room
  14. name your house "the moon"
... (read more)

Thank you! I had been looking through tags, and even thinking "what I really need are 'techniques'" - yet I did not search for techniques.

The "drilling down along a new and different branch of the tree" concept makes me think of tree search algorithms, naively being depth or breadth first searching. It's overly simplified, but might uncover related theory.

The goal is to search from whichever node you estimate to being closest to the goal. Calculating the estimate is difficult, so we tend to only look at a small nearby neighbourhood, which is usually low level. Backtracking forces you to make estimates for earlier nodes.

If I was making this algorithm faster, I'd try to find a way to make the ... (read more)

I'm not certain if this qualifies as a planning fallacy, but I've noticed a class or problem where a large nebulous task isn't made actionable, and we just expect it to happen at some point. More an error of "when it will be done by" than "how long it will take."

For example, my family knew for maybe a year that we would benefit from an exercise machine, and had discussed it many times. It was only when I realized the problem and set a deadline for myself that we actually got it.

The tedx video lost me at the "just get over it" step, which at first glance looked extremely unhelpful. Looking at the CFAR handbook helped it make sense: Ideally at that point the things you're getting over are small, concrete, and approachable.

For minor inconveniences having drastic outcomes, I didn't get a significant haircut for years because I didn't want to hear a day of "oh you got a haircut" comments.

I've never consciously thought in terms of mantras as far as I know, so there's probably a good answer in my brain I'm failing to recollect.
This sounds like a good way of making a thought easy to recall.

Not a series of magic words, but I regularly think along the lines of "it can be done." That people can accomplish amazing things with time and effort. It is not a question of if I can, but if it is worth my unfortunately limited time.

"If I was born in their body, and lived their life, I would make the same choice." - If you believe human behavior is predic... (read more)

Inspired by the SSC post on reversing advice:

How can I tell what should be moderated versus what should be taken more-or-less to an extreme?

Also, is rationality something I should think about moderating? Should I be concerned about not having enough spiritualism in my life and missing beneficial aspects of that?

Tentative plan: look for things I strongly value or identify with, and find my best arguments against them.

This also reminds me of something I read but can't find about problems arising from "broken alarms" in self inspection, such as a person being... (read more)

Can they be tested against reality? In the same fashion: is it working in a way that gets the best returns? Can it be improved? What is its return? (I have seen arguments about optimizing, to the tune of, the improvements of productivity research should exceed the costs (and this depends on how long you expect to live), though I haven't seen stuff on: how much groups should invest, or more work trying to network people/ideas/practices, so that the costs are reduced and the benefits are increased.) Relevant xkcd. [] (Though its answer on how long should you spend making a routine more efficient, is based on how much time you gain by doing so. It's also meant as a maximum, a breakeven. It doesn't take into account the group approach I mentioned.) Advice about this might take the form of 'go for the low hanging fruit'. I don't actually know what the returns, or beneficial aspects, are. For both, there might be arguments that, if that's what you want, then go for practices. (Meditation may have risks.)

I spent 2 timers writing down approximately nothing. My brain mostly generated large projects I'm already interested in (like itavero's), and things where I have no interest or potential benefit. Many of the examples like "shout as loud as you can" felt like this.

I understand forcing myself to do things I'm slightly uncomfortable about for practice, and in entertaining more ideas to avoid under exploring. 

Looking at my recent history I have asked strangers for help with something, joined and started posting here, and started trying to mashup melodies ... (read more)

I had a hard time with this one for a few reasons.

I have a very unusual living situation that gives me very little space that control. Pretty much just a desk. I've already optimized my desk pretty hard. I adjusted my startup-apps, but otherwise my phone and pc are both very streamlined.
I think noticing and being irritated by repeated time costs may be related to me being a programmer.

I think taps are great any time you actually want to act some way automatically, but often things are more contextual than that, and the miss rate would make the tap unproductive. Sapience seems like such a tap, as Raemon says. Maybe a better solution would be more specific taps for avoiding common automatic failures, like learning what status quo bias feels like, and practicing detecting that so you can tap it to a fix.

I'd be interested in seeing other's experiences with picking up many taps, and which ended up being useful.

I've decided I should be less intimidated by people with qualities I admire, and interact with them more.

Recently I've been thinking about how certain ways of reframing things can yield quick and easy benefits.
- Reversal test for status quo bias.
- Taking an inside or outside view.
- And in particular, deliberately imagining that you are another person looking at yourself, to advise from outside yourself. In my experience that can be very helpful for self compassion, and result in better thinking than I would have had in first person. I recommend tryin... (read more)

You could check out the Techniques tag [] on LW - a few of the most highly upvoted posts probably touch on what you're looking for. For instance, the recent post on Shoulder Advisors [] could partially be seen as an unconventional way of getting access to a different perspective.

Scout Mindset is a recent book that has tons of practical tests / advice like that.

Most of the bugs were solved through rapid googling, which felt a little like cheating, but was probably the best method.

- Realized the shelf on my desk was only used ~ once per month, and removed it, giving me more work space.
- Found trivially easy healthier breakfasts.
- Resolved to continually add gratitude notes to anki at least once a week. Method is to appreciate the item on the card, visualizing life without it to better feel the value.
- Learned about linters for technical writing like vale, and plan to incorporate. Found a book to skim later.... (read more)

"if a solution to someone's problem looks obvious, assume it isn't and try to understand why." This struck me pretty hard. I was wondering though, how effective this is. How much has it improved your listening skills and maybe even your empathy? I find that it could also be counterintuitive - how much has it made you overthink?

Strangest bug fix is willfully changing perspective often, similar to how this page suggests imagining the perspective of a friend, or looking at the far future, or taking an outside view.
While it feels a little silly in principle, changing perspective often gets immediate results in overcoming a bias or seeing things I would have missed.

Obsidian's dataview plugin might have all the database features you're looking for.

Strongly agree with sync and publish though. The free solutions I out together for each are ugly.

2Hans R1y
Thanks for pointing me to it, if I make the jump in the future, that might come in handy. Although it does slightly take away from the appeal of pure markdown files.

Software: Zenhub

Need: Agile project management for multiple projects.

Other programs I've tried: jira, Monday, clickup, trello, etc

I use scrum to manage my general productivity (not just professional work) and other programs have tended to be painful when managing multiple projects, or have been fiddly in ways I didn't need. A downside to zenhub is it's only free for public projects, so someone inclined could read through your tasks. Zenhub's main selling point is github integration, but I largely ignore that and just use it for standard issue management.


Need: Knowledge management system.

Other programs I've tried: Roam, dynalist, tiddlywiki, lightweight or physical note taking systems.

If you're not using a personal knowledge management system I highly recommend you read about what they can do for you, possibly under "zettlekasten" or "digital gardening". I wish I'd started earlier. is sadly closed source, but it works entirely on standard markdown with locally stored files. It has a thriving thriving plugin community supporting things like sql queries of your notes, kanban boards, and spaced repetition.

7Rudi C1y
I have tried Obsidian, Joplin, Logseq, Notion, Evernote, Onenote, Google Notes, Apple Notes, and various other markdown editors. I have ultimately found emacs’ org-mode plus git (for syncing, backups, and, well, version control) plus ripgrep/fzf (for searching and quickly jumping to a file/section) plus org-super-links (which provides automatic backlink insertion/deletion) plus gpg (for encrypting sensitive files/sections; emacs and org-mode support for gpg is superb) to be leagues ahead of the competition. Its mobile story is pretty sad though (There are some options, but by its very nature org-mode shines when it is run by emacs. And emacs isn't too mobile-friendly. iOS also doesn't let us run emacs directly (Ask yourself how an OS could be allowed to exist that doesn't allow you to run GPL software.), and so SSH needs to be used.) Emacs (and org-mode) reward investment and self-extensions, so if someone is adamant not to invest in their tooling, I would recommend Obsidian. Beware that Obsidian is a closed source tool and any investment you do make in it is likely to become obsolete in ten years. Some examples of extended usages I have had with org-mode this week, to give you a taste of possibilities: * Managing my various irregularly recurring bills (no credit cards or any kind of auto money retrieval here) * Doing some NLP work, I marked up different words via a custom markup extension. This visualizes the words differently and lets me jump between specific classes of words (e.g., command verbs). Screenshot: [] * Doing some other NLP work, I easily changed the execution machine of the code cells in my notebook to a remote machine. Did I mention that org-mode notebooks support multi-language, multi-session notebooks, and that you can use Jupyter kernels or code your own backend(s) to support a new language? * Whenever I like the music currently pl
The things that are most valuable to me in roam (other than the obvious) are: * the daily notes page * phone2roam * each block is its own unit I assume since Obsidian has such a great plugin community, that the phone2roam functionality exists there. But last time I checked, there was nothing like the daily notes page in Obsidian and it also wanted to treat each page as a unit rather than each block. Have those shortcomings been overcome yet?
I'm using Obsidian as well. IIRC there is an open source alternative that aims to work with Obsidian markdown files (with features still being added the last time I looked). I forgot what it's called, though, and it doesn't have the same plugin ecosystem either.
This is an important but tricky category. I liked Notion for a while, and it certainly has done well, but it has pivoted to the Enterprise market and away from individual consumers, and more importantly, it is just too slow.

Software: Pycharm, and other jetbrains IDEs

Need: Programming environment

Other programs I've tried: Vscode, atom, sublime, etc.

Jetbrains ides make so many things easier that I would have a pretty bad time if forced to work without them. In particular their debuggers probably save me hours of pain every week. I also appreciate the perpetual license, where any version owned for at least a year is kept for life.

1Phoenix Eliot1y
Having used both PyCharm and VS Code for quite some time now, but working for a bootcamp that uses VS Code, I've switched to mostly using VS Code for things. It is certainly missing a few nice things from PyCharm, but here's a few comparisons I notice often: * Much less resource intensive * Much faster startup time (so I can use it for quick text edits with the power of IDE text editing) * Almost-as-good debugger (the interface arrangement is just a bit worse, but functionality is very similar for my uses) * Strong extension ecosystem * Especially well-tuned for web development languages (HTML/CSS/JS, and TypeScript, which has first-class support) It is not as good at working with Python as PyCharm, but it's passable. The advanced language-aware features (like smart refactoring / extraction of code) work OK but are a little crunchy at the moment.
Strongly agree. As a relative beginner I've found the automatic code completion and method listing/descriptions incredibly useful.
Strong agreement from me. I really hope CoPilot and Codex or similar comes to their IDEs.
++++ Anytime I try a new language, first question is "Is there a JetBrains IDE or plugin for it?"
+1, CLion is vastly superior to VsCode or emacs/vi for capabilities and ease of setup, particularly for C++ and Rust
2Maxwell Peterson1y
Seconded - I spent years in emacs then tried PyCharm for my Python coding and it's just so great. The static analysis is so useful.