Rana Dexsin

You see either something special, or nothing special.

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Slack Budget: 3 surprise problems per week

I think “tiered levels of reserves with increasing costs” is a more general description, out of which the “frequently dip into short-term reserves during normal operations” (even biological cycles of sleeping and eating involve that) and “hesitate before dipping into longer-term reserves because it might signal either something else avoidably wrong or the need to change other plans to compensate” fall from different points in the continuum.

How was your decade?

The person “I” “was” in 2009 is subjectively a grandparent to me now.

I believe I am now slowly progressing toward the level of maturity “I” “should have” had ten years ago. Most of the intervening time has consisted of a combination of stagnation and disastrous missteps.

I'm not sure there's much advice I'd give those past selves in practice, since most of the important bits I think they would have inevitably misinterpreted out of context. What I would most want to do is try to compress their necessary experiences so they'd require less overall time, leaving someone like me showing up in, say, 2014 instead; this would have given a very high positive delta in expected value of my life. There are certain people and situations I would have warned them not to wait on; there are certain elements of material life I would have warned them to attend to more thoroughly to avoid me being mired in their executive debt; and there are certain gestalts which I would like to transmit to them which I would have to think for a very long time to be able to put into a form that can be unpacked from words. But the specifics are all too high-context to be useful here.

If I tried to generalize the most useful bits, I would say something like: seek out ways in which your developmental environment didn't provide useful examples of things that people who are good at having the sort of life you want to have do, and then force yourself through any discomfort necessary to acquire new examples, with a heavy lean toward visceral examples and experience, as well as not being afraid to try synthesizing examples yourself (while avoiding clinging to these as authoritative just because you made them in a way comfortable to you). For people with more directly material desires than mine, this may read as applying more to superficial cultural traits, in which case I would still say, don't be afraid to assimilate if the people you're assimilating to are admirable to you. Contrariwise, make sure they aren't just expressing attributes you like on the surface, because that signal will get drowned out by posers being louder than achievers (used broadly, including in senses that don't read to the dominant culture as “achievement”); look for deeper evidence that they are good at following through.

The problem with all this is that upon rereading it, it sounds like pretty vapid Normal Life Advice, and this reminds me of how I currently think these sorts of personal retrospectives are best handled in the context of people who've already been following each other's life tracks, are loosely aligned, and have enough of a subconscious-layer (“system-1”, I suppose) emotional bond with each other to avoid most of the message getting lost to internal misalignment friction. Which would imply that if you don't have such people, having them can have a very high mutual long-term value, which in turn is just another phrasing of “make and keep close friends, dammit”, which is yet another piece of Normal Life Advice…

The doing is always the problem, isn't it?

AI Safety "Success Stories"

Aside: If you want all alliteration, “Pivotal Performer/Predictor” (depending on whether tool or oracle) and “Rapid Researcher” might be alternative names for types 2 and 5.

Diversify Your Friendship Portfolio

[Epistemic status: synthesis of observation, intuition, advice from other people]

I don't think the “rather than” in that second paragraph is workable. Strong ties usually grow out of weak ties, so if you don't have a broad buffer of weak ties (or if it goes away, or if you let it go away), your replenishment pool for strong ties also goes away. Even strong ties frequently don't last forever, so if you have only strong ties, you're in an unstable position in the long term. Sometimes strong ties can give you access to more weak ties, but sometimes they can't, and even when they can, you still have to step up to take advantage of this.

I also vaguely think the investment metaphor might go wrong places for reasons similar to what Dagon mentions, but I don't think I can unpack that now.

Welcome and Open Thread June 2019

I'm looking for some clarification/feelings on the social norms here surrounding reporting typo/malapropism-like errors in posts. So far I've been sending a few by PM the way I'm used to doing on some other sites, as a way of limiting potential embarrassment and not cluttering the comments section with things that are easily fixed, but I notice some people giving that feedback in the comments instead. Is one or the other preferred?

I also have the impression that that sort of feedback is generally wanted here in the first place, due to precise, correct writing being considered virtuous, but I'm not confident of this. Is this basically right, or should I be holding back more?

Welcome and Open Thread June 2019

How many of you are there, and what is your dosh-distimming schedule like these days?

Welcome and Open Thread June 2019

What sort of better are you hoping to become?

FB/Discord Style Reacts

“Wariness, thoughtfully following, should think about this more.”

FB/Discord Style Reacts

I intuitively believe that anonymous reactions will be more likely to lead to gaming, becoming a way to snipe or brigade from the sidelines in a more emotionally impactful way than downvotes and upvotes. Being able to weight the reactions by status is important.

There is also less pushback possible versus toxic anonymous uses of emoji-like reactions, because they often encode emotions less abstractly than votes do, and norms like “you should vote based on certain criteria that promote the purpose of the space” don't translate well to “you should emote based on certain criteria” (even though the latter does happen in human societies).

A place where I see private information as potentially beneficial, in a way that isn't reflected in any previous reaction systems I've seen, is actually “reacting user reveals reaction only to comment owner”. This would be to a PM response as a visible reaction would be to a comment response, and would serve a similar function when someone doesn't feel comfortable revealing a potentially low-status emotional reaction to the group nor being clear enough about it to raise the interaction stakes, but where such information especially in aggregate could still be useful. If a lot of people have a good or bad feeling about something, but few of them feel comfortable showing it in public, that can be very useful dynamics information.

(My previous comment's caveats about how I'm not sure how well any of this works in a comment-tree situation apply.)

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