Team Lead for LessWrong


LW Team Updates & Announcements
Novum Organum


Hey, sorry for not saying something sooner. As Screwtape says below, the LessWrong team was aware of this plan to make a survey. Since realistically we weren't going to run one ourselves, didn't make sense to get in the way of someone else doing one (and the questions seem reasonable).

I think putting something in title and prominently in the description like "Unofficial" would be good. Edit: I think if this post for the census got like 100 karma, that'd give it enough legitimacy from the community to be official even if the LW mod team wasn't endorsing it.

I'd say the status is that this not done with the collaboration/support of the LessWrong team, but neither do we wish to block it.

I agree they won't be enough in the long run. I've previously discussed with the team your suggestion for letting everyone post on Alignment Forum, doesn't yet seem like the right strategy, but we'll see. At least for now, a little indication via the tag defaults seems better than nothing.

Without trying to dissect this post carefully, I think there's something off here that'd be addressed by a more rigorous treatment of basic logic.

EDIT: Oops, in a tired state I got muddled between this AMA post and the original introduction of dath ilan made in an April Fool's post in 2014 (golly, that's a while back)

When this was published, I had little idea of how ongoing a concept dath ilan would become in my world. I think there's value both in the further explorations of this (e.g. Mad Investor Chaos glowfic and other glowfics that illustrate a lot of rationality and better societal function than Earth), but also in just the underlying concept of "what would have produced you as the median person?"

Perhaps mundane, but I've gotten great social utility in asking this as a getting-to-know-you. More importantly, it helps me think about my values, ideals, and beliefs about good rules and systems for society. I can ask, in a planet of me's, how would they do this? This formulation in similar to Duncan Sabien's In My Culture but more productive due to make you think about how the entire society functions.

I like this post for reinforcing a point that I consider important about intellectual progress, and for pushing against a failure mode of the Sequences-style rationalists.

As far as I can tell, intellectual progress is made bit by bit with later building on earlier Sequences. Francis Bacon gets credit for landmark evolution of the scientific method, but it didn't spring from nowhere, he was building on ideas that had built on ideas, etc.

This says the same is true for our flavor of rationality. It's built on many things, and not just probability theory.

The failure mode I think this helps with is not thinking that "we are the only sane people". There is much insanity and we are saner than most, but we are descended from people who are not us, and we probably have relatives we don't know. And I think that's worth remembering, thanks to this post for the reminder.

I think I've known about happy/cheerful prices for a long time, (from before this post) and yet I find myself using the concept only once or twice a year, and not in a particularly important way. 

This was despite it seeming like a very valuable concept.

I think this is likely because people's happy prices can be quite high (too high to be acceptable) and yet it's worth it to still trade at less than this.

What I do think is valuable and this posts teaches, even if it's unintentionally, is you don't have to magically tied to the "market price" or "fair price" – you can just negotiate for what you want.

I was aware of this post and I think read it in 2021, but kind of bounced off it the dumb reason that "split and commit" sounds approximately synonymous with "disagree and commit", though Duncan is using it in a very different way.

In fact, the concept means something pretty damn useful, is my guess, and I can begin to see cases where I wish I was practicing this more. I intended to start. I might need to invent a synonym to make it feel less like an overloaded term. Or disagree and commit on matters of naming things :P

Curated. If I've understood correctly, "staring into the abyss" is an evocative way of saying "consider the uncomfortable and/or inconvenient. And I think the ability to do this is foundational to rationality. For most people considering that you are wrong requires considering something uncomfortable. Same for considering that you have room to improve. And the willingness to consider the uncomfortable often comes from having a clear map-territory distinction. You consider the uncomfortable because if it's real, it's real even if you don't consider it.

This post provides more and better examples of considering the uncomfortable/staring into the abyss than I can point to elsewhere. Kudos! This is a good resource I expect to come back to.

This announcement is a weird case for the LessWrong frontpage/personal distinction. I'm frontpaging it despite being an announcement because I expect the content of this podcast just to be pretty good material, the kind of world-modeling stuff I'd like to see on LessWrong.

Indeed ;) Still something about the conjugating feels off. But who knows I also thought "Lightcone" sounded too much like "Ice cream cone" to take off, but well...

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