Member of the LessWrong 2.0 team. I've been a member of the rationalist/EA communities since 2012. I have particular rationality interests in planning and emotions.

Ruby's Comments

Tag Index [Beta]

Oops, that's a mistake. Fixed now. Thanks.

Literature Review For Academic Outsiders: What, How, and Why

Curated (with multiple endorsements from the mod team). As noted in my previous comment, this post includes lots of links and references to further resources, but it also motivates the need for lit reviews well. It's not just a "how to guide", but also a "why guide" as well. It's a timely post too.

Go back a few years, and lukeprog was the champion/symbol of scholarship on LessWrong. Unfortunately for us, he's not able to contribute to LessWrong as much anymore; which it makes great that others are taking up the banner and reminding us of the need to build on existing knowledge (and helping people know how to do so).

I say this post is timely, that's because making LessWrong more scholarly continues to be a major focus of my work on the LessWrong team. Scholarship/Lit Reviews are actually a major goal of the new Tagging/Wiki system, whose larger goal still is increasing LessWrong's intellectual output. The hope is to make it much easier for writers on LessWrong to discover and build upon LessWrong's decade of previous work. "Shoulder of Giants", etc. 

Obviously, the overwhelming supermajority of the world's knowledge isn't in LessWrong's posts (though the very best insights might be), and our thinkers absolutely need to the skills (and virtue) to mine the troves of knowledge outside our shores. Hence the value in this post.

[At the same time, I do think we shouldn't let a requirement of lit review become too high a barrier to contributing on LessWrong. There's a lot of value in thinking through things for yourself fresh, and sometimes just getting random uninformed thoughts published stimulates discussion and provides motivation to then go for a thorough survey of the literature.]

All in all, kudos.

(And thanks for the recommendation of Intellectual Foundation of Information Organization, that was a good one.)

Open & Welcome Thread—May 2020


The dictionary definition of "persuade" misses some of the connotations. Persuading someone often means "get them to agree with you" and not "jointly arrive at what's true, which includes the possibility that others can point out your mistakes and you change your mind." Explaining usually means more something like "explain your reasoning and facts, which might lead someone to agree with if they think your reasoning is good."

The key difference might be something like "persuade" is written to get the reader to accept what is written regardless of whether it's true, while "explain" wants you to accept the conclusion only if it's true. It's the idea symmetric/asymmetric weapons in this post.

Sorry if that's still a bit unclear, I hope it helps.

Literature Review For Academic Outsiders: What, How, and Why

Many thanks for writing this. Great overall and I really like the large number of links and references to other resources too (and would have said that even if it wasn't actually the whole topic :P). I'm so pleased when LW gets another thing about how to study/research. I gave this a strong tag relevance vote on the Scholarship & Learning wikitag.

Coping and Cultures

I believe that military stuff, including and maybe especially culture, is a long-term interest of LW user, Lionhearted. You could message him, also look at his writing on mental toughness within the Strategic Review series.

[Site Meta] Feature Update: More Tags! (Experimental)

Rationalist culture and life extension might make sense. We have a Cryonics tag already. If we can round up a few posts on either of those topics, would create these.

[Site Meta] Quick Guide to Tagging

To remove a tag, just downvote (it might look like it's gone to -2, which is fine, upon refresh it will be gone).

Yeah, some of those definitely seem like good tag. I've had the idea for Coordination/Cooperation, Group Rationality, and Communication.

The others I think we'd want to ensure there isn't too much overlap with existing things. There's a programming tag, does that do the thing for Software? And then curious about what you seeing going in tools vs the existing techniques (which might also cover "soft skills")

It's good to see all these suggestions though. Even if we don't make a tag because of an existing one, soon we might send up "redirects" for terms towards things that are almost the same, or at least the closest match.

[Site Meta] Feature Update: More Tags! (Experimental)

It's reasonable to mention "there's this comment which is relevant to this topic..."

[Site Meta] Feature Update: More Tags! (Experimental)

These are really good. 

Embedded Agency is a clear win. 

Mechanism Design/Aligning Incentives seems good too. Agree there are choices about the name, and I guess scope too. Do you mean it to be material about how to align incentives but exclude related stuff of examples where incentives failed to be aligned. Would Boeing 737 MAX MCAS as an agent corrigibility failure be part of it?

"Resource Bounded Epistemics" sounds like a cool category. So does "Interdisciplinary Analogies", or should it be "Interdisciplinary Applications"? 

Anyhow, these are great. More are welcome.

Fake Frameworks, yeah, hmm. We might consider "only authors can apply these tags", I'm not sure. Those might make sense for general "epistemic state" tags.

[Site Meta] Feature Update: More Tags! (Experimental)

These are great! I'll make these soon. Those posts definitely justify doing so in my mind. Re: Wei Dai's comment, I think it's reasonable to mention in the tag description text (and those will soon be everyone-editable wiki entries and should include extra info relevant to the tag/wiki/concept, including "notable comments"). 

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