I've been a LessWrong organizer since 2011, with roughly equal focus on the cultural, practical and intellectual aspects of the community. My first project was creating the Secular Solstice and helping groups across the world run their own version of it. More recently I've been interested in improving my own epistemic standards and helping others to do so as well.


Privacy Practices
The LessWrong Review
Keep your beliefs cruxy and your frames explicit
Kickstarter for Coordinated Action
Open Threads
LW Open Source Guide
Tensions in Truthseeking
Project Hufflepuff
Rational Ritual
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The case for aligning narrowly superhuman models

I had formed an impression that the hope was that the big chain of short thinkers would in fact do a good enough job factoring their goals that it would end up comparable to one human thinking for a long time (and that Ought was founded to test that hypothesis)

Seven Years of Spaced Repetition Software in the Classroom

Curated. It's great to see such detailed notes on a such a long project. I appreciated insights about Spaced Repetition in Particular, as well as more general reflections on a longterm project and how you related to it.

John_Maxwell's Shortform

Seems true. Notably, if I have my cynical hat on (and I think I probably do?) it depended on having Paul say a bunch of things about it, and Paul had previously also established himself as a local "thinker celebrity". 

If I have my somewhat less cynical hat on, I do honestly think our status gradients do a decent job of tracking "person who is actually good at figuring things out", such that "local thinker celebrity endorses a thing" is not just crazy, it's a somewhat reasonable filtering mechanism. But I do think the effect is real.

Takeaways from one year of lockdown

Something I notice: I know one person who seemed to be following a strategy of "say semi-publicly that they are planning to bunker down for a month and then re-evaluate." They were doing that in a way that wasn't aiming to be authoritative, and I think relying on wisdom-of-crowds to update on that. (Or, just not making in their main responsibility to be authoritative)

I think I may also have been trying not to be too authoritative about the whole thing. I think even just being authoritative about "the plan is re-evaluate later" would have helped a bunch.

LW Open Source – Getting Started

Definitely appreciate the show of interest. I've become less optimistic about open source in the past few years, but I do still think it's good on the margin to have people fluent with the LW dev setup.

I think I can't commit in the foreseeable future to doing tutoring or helping that much with the setup. If you were on mac/linux I'd recommend going ahead and trying to install the setup and see how it went. I'm not sure what to recommend for windows. I'll ask other LW devs and see if they expect that to possibly-go-smoothly, or if it's overdetermined to be a huge pain.

Takeaways from one year of lockdown

On the other side of the equation: 

I think people essentially have a responsibility to make sure they have enough slack, so that they don't burden each other unnecessarily. i.e don't pursue strategies that'll reliably make you constantly need help from people around you, if other strategies are available. This includes noting how easily stressed out you are, and accounting for it. But, the thing is that covid was just a huge slack cost that was overdetermined to overwhelm many people's usual slack buffer. 

I think it'd probably have been a mistake to be maintaining enough slack for covid not to fuck you* up (that'd mean you're just leaving value on the table most of the time. You can't be prepared for every single type of emergency that might come up. I think people should maintain enough slack to weather, like, 3 minor emergencies coming up in a given week without having to dip into reserves, and covid just continuously soaked up more than that allocation each week, for months on end)

*for many values of 'you'. Obviously some people vary here.

Takeaways from one year of lockdown

By default, most relationships are not like this. People have their own lives to live. Imposing a year of strict lockdown on my roommates because I cannot handle a day of negotiations would not be fair to my roommates. They are not an umbrella whose purpose is to keep me dry of rain.

I think a major disconnect between your outlook here, and me (and I assume maia's) outlook is... while it's true that most relationships are not about being umbrellas to keep you dry, friendships are to some degree that, and housemates are disproportionately friendships. 

They don't have to be, and some people have different ways of conceptualizing friendship. But... basically insofar as I have roommates I'm not friends with, I think I'm making a mistake, or doing a temporary thing I hope will change. (Because: why would you want to live with people who you aren't also cultivating some longterm relationship with? It's a huge lost opportunity)

I think friendship is complicated. And, it's certainly the case that I don't want to subject my friends to a year of unnecessary precautions. (It's my responsibility as a friend to try not to do that, and if I can't not do that, get help minimizing the damage). But, yes, my friendships also explicitly come with my responsibility to help make sure they are okay when they are dealing with tough times, and to not drop people when they become inconvenient.

(If I was housemates with a friend who it turned out I was incompatible with during a crisis, I'd consider my goal to be to somehow refactor our living arrangement such that we were not imposing those costs on each other, so that I could continue to help them and be their friend from a position of slack and security. This might include helping them process their feelings and getting intellectually oriented, or renting temporary airBnBs while we sort things out, or each moving out)

(And it's not just imposing a burden on the roommates! Subjecting oneself to a year of strict lockdown, to avoid a day or even a week of hard/stressful thinking and negotiating, is not a good tradeoff. It's a tradeoff which clearly reflects stress-impaired judgement. If I can't handle the problem, outsourcing decision-making isn't just good for those around me, it's good for me too.)

This seems to be assuming "it's possible to make outsource decisions in this way", which just seems mostly false to me. You can outsource these decisions by giving up on your agency, but I think that's a really big deal that would probably mostly make things worse.

Firming Up Not-Lying Around Its Edge-Cases Is Less Broadly Useful Than One Might Initially Think

If I wrote a sequence about it it'd be my SuperDuperMetaHonestEpistemicOpus

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