All of RTiberiu's Comments + Replies

Hammertime Day 1: Bug Hunt

One strange bug-fix: praying once in a faraway Church in Spain helped daylight some relationship damage I was suffering. I've never been religious and still am not.

This didn't come out of explicitly looking for bugs, but it seemed in keeping with the theme.

This entire project looks very exciting. I hope it yields something life-changing, and I'd love to take part.

Wonderful! I'm really excited about writing a longer sequence like this but have a lot of gaps in my knowledge. Ideally the comments section will be a useful way to fill those gaps.
Boiling the Crab: Slow Changes (beneath Sensory Threshold) add up

This is a good point. I anecdotally hear that crabs don't do this from my parents who cooked crabs, but this may be suspect due to memory issues on my part. If I am understanding correctly, the major objection your comment brings up is: this article presents a faulty anecdote and a 'lesson' that can be abused by the speaker. And that is dangerous.

In particular, I think you are referring to speakers who do misuse the metaphor to achieve group compliance. I agree this seems possible, and I respect your experience with it. Thus, I agree that t... (read more)

Boiling the Crab: Slow Changes (beneath Sensory Threshold) add up

This sounds like the idea that is good in theory, but difficult to implement in practice.

I am not too familiar with the community, but my understanding is that most communities 'drift' into what they are, often by happenstance: not much is a conscious choice.

For example, it is well documented that people tend to live in communities and have friend groups that are ethnically similar to themselves. (Example: Nicky Case's Parable of the Polygons. Few people consciously choose to do this. It happens when people follow... (read more)


I'm mostly thinking of: conversations I've had with Rationalists in Berkeley. They encouraged me to do some exercises involving free-association and idea generation. For example coming up with a list of twenty plants as quickly as possible. Or saying 5 words that I do not mentally associate with each other. Improv-style exercises (perhaps excellent method of training some types of babble).

I see where you are coming from. I agree with your comment w.r.t. what you are pointing at :).

Boiling the Crab: Slow Changes (beneath Sensory Threshold) add up

Hmmm, that may be the case on diets. Positive changes below the sensory threshold. Maybe you can write a post on it :).

There is a heuristic I have heard about PhD studies. A capable mathematics professor once told me: a graduate student should feel like s/he is making progress every day. Even if no new resullts are forthcoming. Experimentally, this is possible, and leads to improved happinness and better results. I am part of the academic system, so my anecdotes are biased in that direction.

I wonder if diets where you can feel improvement every day, work... (read more)

If a balanced Babble and Prune game is supposed to involve one Artist against one Critic, then having an overactive Prune is like pitting a pitchfork-wielding mob of Critics against one Artist. The first three Critics tar-and-feather the Artist and the rest are just there for moral support.

In my internal experience, there are multiple sources of babble. A thousand artists crying out at once.

I suspect a lot of neural machinery is at work here, and that the babbler, like the gates, is secretly many many voices speaking in semi-unison. This goes beyond the ... (read more)


Preliminary comments:

The task of relaxing all of Prune at once is monumental. Instead, relax the Gates individually in order. Simultaneously, shorten the psychological distance between them.

This is intriguing. I want to give it a try sometime. I like the way you set it up. This recommendation naturally follows from the model of the multiple dams, or the multiple tar-and-featherers.

Rationalist training (and schooling in general) slants towards developing Prune over Babble. I'm trying to solve the dual problem: that of improving the quality of your Babb
... (read more)
Regarding rationalist training, I'm referring to the category of error containing Knowing about Biases can Hurt People [] and the "Rationalist Uncanny Valley", [] i.e. that an incomplete random sample of the Sequences will leave the reader with mostly just a toolkit of biases and fallacies to throw at people in debate team, and worse, themselves. This roughly translates to building more logic Gates in your own Prune. I think a substantial majority of rationalist training is this kind of Prune exercise, although there's definitely confirmation bias (see what I mean? That thought almost made me delete the last sentence) going on. Curious to hear the examples of rationalist training encouraging Babble you have in mind.
Some Dynamics around Project Organization

Wow, that sounds great. Can I poke you for a few questions on how those organizations ran? I think that experience is invaluable.

In particular, I'd like to know how wikidata's community reaches a consensus, when I imagine many different players would like many different things for the future of the community.

There are cases where Wikidata has ways to find consensus because it has actual policies and there are cases where it doesn't. The creation of new properties is for example a process that's well-defined. At some time a policy was written that a property proposal has to be open for at least 7 days to be created and has to have a majority of support for being created. The person who makes the actual creation decision also has to be either an admin or have the special right of property creator so that not every user can simply go ahead and get a new property created. On the other hand, there's a case like interwiki links. Wikidata has different items for the tomato fruit and the tomato plant. A lot of Wikipedias however have only either an article for the tomato fruit or the tomato plant and one Wikipedia article can only be linked to one Wikidata item. All Wikipedia articles have interwiki links to all Wikipedia article in other languages that link to the same. Various Wikipedia users in small languages care very much about their very short articles having interwiki links to the other Wikipedias. When some Wikipedia articles are linked to the tomato fruit and others to the tomato plant a lot of them won't have interlinks and as result those users want all articles interlinked to the same article. On the other hand, two taxonomists on Wikidata care very much about linking certain articles to the fruit or the plant and there's conflict. Unfortunately, we don't have a good policy to resolve that conflict and as a result new conflicts about this topic pop up regularly. A way to reduce this problem would be to write an actual policy for how the conflict should be handeled. When it comes to writing new policy, the idea is to have an Request for Comment (RfC) that declares the new policy and people being able to vote SUPPORT or OPPOSE and when a proposal gets high support an admin can mark it as being accepted after some time has passed. At the moment, the policy abo
Something about Status Ladders in Berkeley

I suspect you might get more traction on comments like these if you provided examples, and/or reasons for taking this more seriously. As it stands, it's not clear to me why I should be taking it more seriously other than taking your word for it [and I say this as someone who wrote the section you just commented on :)].

Something about Status Ladders in Berkeley

The first point is a good question. The goal is personal: feeling out whether such thoughts find a place in the LW space, and if so, engaging with this community more :). Altenately, it's a reflection/"blog post", whose partial intention is to throw some thoughts out there and hear alternative perspectives that may cause me to update.

The second point: yeah, that's a great point and sadly I don't know how to elaborate effectively. I'll think on it and update this comment if that changes. Thanks for the point on body language -... (read more)

Some Dynamics around Project Organization

Do you have experience being one of the leads in an organization where this worked? Just curious. (If you have, I have some questions to ask about pitfalls you ran into and how you avoided certain failure modes that I encountered.)

I spent time in a bunch of different organizations that worked more or less well. I spent 4 years at the board of a toastmasters club. Another 4 years as part of the moderator of a personal development internet forum. I started the Berlin Quantified Self Meetup and at the moment I'm involved in Wikidata as an administrator. On the other hand, I don't see myself as an expert at leadership either.
Some Dynamics around Project Organization

I think telling this to volunteers runs into natural difficulties: in the volunteer setup, people naturally expect to be compensated with something (whether that's money, status, college-app material, or the feeling of being part of something larger than themselves). Otherwise why would they put the reliable dedication time in?

This was something I'll be thinking on more next time I organize something. I'm curious if you have any suggestions or thoughts.

The work should be it's own reward. If you need external incentives do you really want to be doing it? A lot of my writing was so rewarding because I wanted to get it out of my head onto paper. Without external reward. (caveat of course people sometimes work for money, etc. But that's not what volunteers do it for)
Something about Status Ladders in Berkeley

Fwiw I didn't think ChristianKL's comment was in bad faith, but I could see how it could be taken as such. Agree with the decision to shut down that thread though. There was some kindling ready for a flame war there :).

While this comment seems positive and good to me, I think it’s important to have a policy of not commenting on closed-down threads anywhere but meta. So I am closing down comments here as well, and am dutifully giving you a warning to not do that again.
Something about Status Ladders in Berkeley

Thank you for the comment. I know Elizabeth somewhat well, and I'm really happy that she became CFAR's community manager :). Her position came after my time in the physical community. Perhaps I'll feel more at home at Berkeley nowadays.

Something about Status Ladders in Berkeley

The vibe was: person felt kind of "rapey" (and I mean this in the most serious sense). It is unclear whether this vibe was presenting more than pure noise.

Something about Status Ladders in Berkeley

Thank you! I apologize about the confusion. Duly noted for the future!

4Ben Pace4y
No worries :-) Also, I'd only skimmed it when I moved it back to your personal blog. Rereading I notice you said Yeah, so the personal blogs are for anyone to write what they please. In general I'm happy to hear about the sorts of info that I'm biased not to hear about (like this). For example, I just gave someone low-confidence, strongly negative feedback on a significant project in large part because I expected them to not get that sort of feedback where it existed (and also because I believed them to care about the truth of the matter). It's hard to know how much to trust your impressions from the lack of details and your anonymity, but sometimes the data you get is just going to be like that shrugs. My initial guess is that, while it's hard to update a great deal on a single data point, it is valable so that patterns can emerge over time. The post does feel genuinely written in good faith, so I'll keep it as a data point - thanks. Regardless of what community I might be in, it's good to have little nudges about the sorts of biases I'm naturally subject to regarding overly trusting those who are high status.