All of Said Achmiz's Comments + Replies

Ah, yeah, that makes sense. (I guess this isn’t terribly important information to communicate in this particular context, anyway…)

I do actually think in user testing, seeing people fill the urge to "fill out the picture" by reading a lot of the content, or at least checking it out, seemed like something that brought people a bunch of joy.

Ah, it’s an outdated browser issue. (Mac, Chromium 103.) (Lack of support for the :has() pseudo-class, specifically, in the selector .TopPostsPage-imageGridPostBody:hover:not(:has(.TopPostsPage-imageGridPostHidden)) .TopPostsPage-imageGridPostAuthor, is what’s causing the problem.)

Ah, yeah, we do sure rely on that, and it's really quite hard to work around without moving a lot of stuff into JS, which I wanted to avoid.

The text-legibility here seems a lot better.

Agreed, that’s an improvement. (Must you require hover for that, though? I’d make that change unconditionally, frankly.)

I would also suggest deepening the text shadow, changing it from text-shadow: 0 0 3px #000 to, e.g., text-shadow: 0 0 3px #000, 0 0 5px #000, 0 0 8px #000, which looks like this:

Image alt-text

it’s a bit more complicated since the visual space of the sections overlaps, so if you search for a word that has a hit in more than one section on the same row, we can’t expand both, so I’ll have to think about how

... (read more)
Yeah, I might consider it. I do think it makes the initial pageload a lot more drab, and removes a lot of the beauty from the page (and logged-in users who haven't read most of the posts already have much stronger text-contrast). Oh, that's great, I didn't realize that's how it works.  Oh, this is also a pretty good idea. I had forgotten that you can do multiple text-shadows at the same time. I'll give it a try. 

How do you see the author? Hovering doesn’t do that, for me…

Huh, it definitely should do that. See my screenshot in response to you in this comment:  What browser/device combo are you on?

I would not have guessed that there is any read/unread state marking going on, FYI.

My guess would be that you are one of the few users who has clicked on practically everything in the best of?  For most random users I sampled during testing there is a very clear and identifiable pattern for read-statuses that users understood reliably, but it becomes less obvious as the percentage you've read goes above 80% or so (and indeed I cannot test on my own account for I have read all posts and so am seeing a pretty outlierish UI state).

Well, just for example, I tried to find a post, so I did Cmd-F, and… it didn’t work because the post I was looking for was in a collapsed part. (That is, the browser reported a hit on the search, but nothing changed in the viewport.)

(This is an easy thing to forget to implement; I’ve forgotten this very thing a few times myself. The solution is to listen for the selectionchange event, such that the enclosing section is automatically un-collapsed when the search function highlights text within a collapsed block.)

Then there’s the fact that it can be hard to ... (read more)

Yeah, I also played around a bit with legibility before you posted this, and am likely pushing a change to make it so that when are hovering over something, the text contrast goes up a lot (instead of down). Here is your last screenshot with the new styling:  The text-legibility here seems a lot better. Will probably push in the next hour, curious about more comments from you after you see that change.  Ah, yeah, that's a solid point. I'll see how easy it is to fix something here (it's a bit more complicated since the visual space of the sections overlaps, so if you search for a word that has a hit in more than one section on the same row, we can't expand both, so I'll have to think about how to handle that case).

The art is beautiful; unfortunately, actually navigating the sections is unwieldy and annoying…

Curious which part feels unwieldy and annoying. Navigating it feels definitely less straightforward than just scrolling a list, though it is also a lot denser and allows us to have 6 sections visible at the same time, which allows people to get an overview over the types of content we have on the site without needing to scroll up and down a lot. I do still share a feeling that it's less straightforward to navigate than other stuff on the site. My guess was that the benefit of interactivity and playfulness that comes from the UI choices outweighs that (especially for new users who would probably mostly just be overwhelmed by a huge amount of information, which this page is more aimed at), but not sure.

Your comment assumes that gender presentation translates directly into perception of gender (or, even, perception of sex, which is the vastly more important variable here!), but there is no reason at all for that assumption; indeed, it is precisely what I am questioning in the grandparent!

Just speculating here, but if you want to enforce any norms, there must be a way to get rid of the people who refuse to follow them.

(a.k.a. selective methods)

You picked an interesting example of an optical illusion, as I maintain that it isn’t one. As noted in the linked comment thread, this can be analogized to philosophical/psychological questions (like the one in the OP)…

What would be an example of an optical illusion then?

you posted an enormous picture of a transphobic article. you know what the relevance is.

Sorry, no, I don’t. I didn’t read the article (nor have any particular interest in doing so). I have no idea whether said article is “transphobic” (or even what you mean by that). My comment was about your specific claim, to which your linked long comment does not seem to me to be relevant.

edited the quote of the article title

Thank you.

Yes, it clearly is the article you’re talking about, except that you misquoted the title, and in such a way as to make it seem like something bad or insulting or some such thing. If you’re going to make claims about what content a site contains, you had better get your facts right.

EDIT: And… I am not sure what is the relevance of the comment you linked?

3the gears to ascension23d
you posted an enormous picture of a transphobic article. you know how it's relevant. anyway, edited the quote of the article title, since that's so important to you.

If there is no reward structure, then neither answer is meaningfully more “correct” than the other. Beliefs are for actions.

The suggestions at the bottom include “the transgender cage”.


Screenshot of “Featured Reading” entry on the City Journal website

3the gears to ascension23d
...true? that is the article I'm talking about. incidentally, here's my standard overview of my hunches of trans stuff

Say I ask you to draw a card and then, without looking at it, show it to me. I tell you that it is an Ace, and ask you for the probability that you drew the Ace of Spades. Is the answer 1⁄52, 1⁄4, or (as you claim about the SB problem) ambiguous?

Correct answer depends on the reward structure. Absent a reward structure, there is no such thing as a correct answer. See this post.

In your card-drawing scenario, there is only one plausible reward structure (reward given for each correct answer). In the Sleeping Beauty problem, there are two plausible reward s... (read more)

If the context of the question includes a reward structure, then the correct solution has to be evaluated within that structure. This one does not. Artificially inserting one does not make it correct for a problem that does not include one. The actual problem places the probability within a specific context. The competing solutions claim to evaluate that context, not a reward structure. One does so incorrectly. There are simple ways to show this.

Sure, that’s possible. Do you have any links to examples?

Switching from a flat map drawn on paper (parchment?), to a globe, would be an example of ontological remodeling.

The map/territory essay:

Thanks for the link!

I have to agree with @Richard_Kennaway’s evaluation of the essay. Also, Chapman here exhibits his very common tendency to, as far as I can tell, invent strawman “mistakes” that his targets supposedly make, in order to then knock them down. For example:

Taking maps as prototypes gives the mistaken impression that simply correcting factual errors, or improving quantitative accuracy, is the whole task of rationality.

Maybe someone somewhere has made this sort of mi... (read more)

2Gordon Seidoh Worley25d
I think you should seriously consider you live in a bubble where you are less likely to encounter the vast valley of half-baked rationality. I regularly meet and engage with people who make exactly this class of errors, especially in practice, even if they say they understand in theory that this is not the whole task of LW-style rationality.

Yes, I’ve seen that quote; but what it means is that Chapman’s use of the terms “rational”, “rationality”, etc., are so different from ours (on LW) that we have to translate anything he writes before we can understand it.

As for the criticized beliefs—well, I also reject utilitarianism as a workable approach to ethics. So do many people here, I think (though probably not most). Bayesianism as complete approach to epistemology seems like at least a bit of a strawman.

The map/territory one is interesting; I can’t easily predict what that criticism consists of. Do you have any links handy, by chance?

Well, I blame Yudkowsky for the terminology issue, he took a term with hundreds of years of history and used it mostly in place of another established term which was traditionally sort of in opposition to the former one, no less (rationalism vs empiricism). As I understand it, Chapman's main target audience wasn't LW, but normal STEM-educated people unsophisticated in the philosophy of science-related issues. Pretty much what Yudkowsky called "traditional rationality". The map/territory essay:

Mostly broadly correct descriptions of patterns, but needs to be emphasized that these perspectives are not mutually exclusive. (You do say basically this—“any rationalist will probably have elements of all theories at the same time”.)

For example, I consider reading the Sequences (and a very few auxiliary texts) to be important (because they contain the core ideas that must be integrated into your worldview and your epistemic/intellectual practices in order to “become more rational” in any sense). I also believe very strongly in object-level productivity. ... (read more)

B: Why do you like friendship? Because evolution hard-coded this in humans

C: You’re mixing “is” and “ought”

He was not, in fact, mixing “is” and “ought”.

Seems like he was, actually. How was he not?

4the gears to ascension1mo
At the micro level, connor should have immediately proceeded to explain why that mixes is and ought, so that people watching the debate would see the mistake, even if beff was just going to abandon the line of argument as soon as he sees he can't win using it. At the macro level, we need someone with skill in highly adversarial debates who also is high skill at explaining things straightforwardly in a way that will be a natural way to communicate for a wide audience. Connor has not been this person consistently enough. He was initially doing pretty well, but it hasn't held up. I mean, for the record, he did better than I could. But that's not saying much, I haven't even participated in debate clubs before. The only benchmark I'd set is "better than Connor". Based on some fuck-your-feelings stuff Connor has said, I would expect him to be on board with me being blunt about this. Beff is a world-class propagandist. Rationalist style debate will not work in response to that.

If a problem has a simple solution, everyone would already be doing it.

This is false, though.

Finding a simple solution can be very hard:
Likely true. The sorts of problems I was thinking about for the razor are ones that have had a simple solutions for a very long time - walking, talking, sending electrical current from one place to another, illuminating spaces, stuff like that. Perhaps a 2x2 grid would be helpful? I feel like this post is standing against the top-left quadrant and would prefer everyone to move to the bottom-left quadrant, which I agree with. My concern is the people in the bottom-right quadrant, which I don't believe lukehmiles is in, but I fear they may use this post as fuel for their belief - i.e. "depression is easy, you attention-seeking loser! just stop being sad, it's a solved problem!"

See also this old Robin Hanson comment:

I have had this experience several times in my life; I come across clear enough evidence that settles for me an issue I had seen long disputed. At that point my choice is to either go back and try to persuade disputants, or to continue on to explore the new issues that this settlement raises. As Eliezer implicitly advises, after a short detour to tell a few disputants, I have usually chosen this second route. This is one explanation for the existence of settled but still disputed issues; people who learn the answer leave the conversation.

I agree that someone who behaves like Bob is almost certainly being performatively-fake-innocent, but I think you’re wrong to say that someone unfamiliar with the stereotypes couldn’t behave that way.

I didn’t say couldn’t, I said would not. Anyone could behave in any way they please; it’s just not likely.

By "couldn't" I didn't mean "would be physically incapable of", I meant "certainly wouldn't", which is what I took your "would not be ..." to be saying. "Usually wouldn't", I have no disagreement with.

Suppose it had been “What do you call an abortion clinic for pianists?” with the same punchline.

Doesn’t work, because there is no ambiguity here (as you note in your other comment); so this transformation does not preserve the joke structure. This refutes your point.

I'm not sure whether the ambiguity you're referring to is (1) the black paint / black skin one (which I mention in my other comment) or (2) something else. If (1), I flatly disagree that that ambiguity is essential to (or even relevant to) the joke. I think Alice is expecting Bob and Carol to understand "black" as meaning "for black people" right from the outset. If (2), then I'm not sure whether you mean (a) something to do with the alleged criminality of black people, or (b) something else. If (a), then I think you misunderstand what I'm doing with the comparison. (Also, I don't think "there is no ambiguity here" is a good way of describing the difference between the two jokes.) If (b), then perhaps you could do me the favour of explaining more clearly what you have in mind, because in case (2b) I have clearly failed to grasp it. I should justify "I think you misunderstand what I'm doing with the comparison". (Here I'm assuming we're in case 2a.) I'm not saying "the black-people version of the joke isn't funny, because the pianist version of the joke isn't funny and there are no relevant differences between them". I'm saying "since the pianist version of the joke is uncontroversially not-funny, any funniness in the black-people version of the joke must depend on what's different about the two versions of the joke" -- more specifically, I think it depends mostly on the idea that black people are criminals -- which is relevant because you claimed that (apparently as a matter of objective fact) the black-person version of the joke "is funny", and I don't think that's an accurate way to describe something whose funniness is completely dependent on particular ideas or attitudes that many people don't hold. People who think that pianists are criminals would (I think) find the pianist version of the joke about as funny as people who think that black people are criminals find the black-people version. The difference isn't in (what I at least would call) the structur

The reason I said “not funny” is not my sideways way of saying “I don’t approve of that sort of thing” but is more related to the point in your second paragraph. You can’t just state your opinion in the form of a joke and turn it into a joke that way.

What does that have to do with the point in my second paragraph?

Frankly, it’s absurd to suggest that the joke in question amounts to simply “stat[ing] your opinion in the form of a joke and turn it into a joke”. It’s very obviously not that. As I said, it has a very straightforward, classic, “subversion of ... (read more)

I agree that someone who behaves like Bob is almost certainly being performatively-fake-innocent, but I think you're wrong to say that someone unfamiliar with the stereotypes couldn't behave that way. For one thing, Bob-as-portrayed isn't impervious to explanation or flatly uninterested in understanding. He asks for explanations and doesn't really get them, and if he ends up not understanding it's mostly because Alice hasn't really tried to help him understand (perhaps because Alice thinks, as you do, that he can't be sincere). If someone told the "abortion clinic for pianists" version of the joke in my other comment in this thread, I can imagine responding very much like Bob. (Aside from the black paint / black people misunderstanding, which wouldn't have a parallel in that case.) I'd be assuming that there was some relevant thing about pianists that I didn't know, or some pun I was failing to detect, and I'm not sure I could do much better than "I still don't get it".

The “joke” Alice told — even if you put aside the offensiveness of it — isn’t funny. It isn’t really a joke, but a shibboleth in the form of a joke.

But of course the joke is funny. It’s got a classic joke structure: setting up an expectation, then subverting it by means of some sort of semantic ambiguity. The only reason to claim that such jokes simply aren’t funny is cheap virtue signaling.

Now, what we can say is that the joke isn’t funny to those who have heard it already (unsurprising), or that it’s not funny to those who already expect a punchline o... (read more)

Having the form of a joke is not sufficient to make something funny. I think you're right that David goes too far when he says it "isn't really a joke" -- it is really a joke -- but to whatever extent it's even meaningful to say "this is/isn't funny" without appending "to me" or "to the average 21st-century San Franciscan" or whatever, you can't refute "it isn't funny" just by saying that the thing is joke-shaped. Suppose it had been "What do you call an abortion clinic for pianists?" with the same punchline. There would be the exact same structure, the exact same "subverting by means of semantic ambiguity" at the end. But I am fairly sure that essentially no one in the world would find it funny. And the only difference between this version and the one in the OP is that some people think black people are very often criminals and no one thinks that about pianists. Maybe that's enough to make the joke funny for people who think black people are very often criminals. (I'm inclined to think not.) But I don't think you can claim that "of course it's funny" if its funniness depends on a belief that not everyone shares. ("But black people are more likely to be criminals than white people, I've seen the statistics!" Maybe so, but I don't think that's enough. Suppose it turns out that pianists are a bit more likely to be criminals than the general population; would that make the pianist version funny? Nope. I think the joke depends on equating "black people" and "criminals"; of course that doesn't mean that to find it funny you have to think all criminals are black and all black people are criminals, but I think you do need opinions that can round off to that; part of the humour, such as it is, comes from the exaggeration involved in doing so.)
5David Gross1mo
The reason I said "not funny" is not my sideways way of saying "I don't approve of that sort of thing" but is more related to the point in your second paragraph. You can't just state your opinion in the form of a joke and turn it into a joke that way. (Except perhaps in some rare edge cases: "Knock knock. Who's there? Epstein didn't kill himself.") It's like if I said "What do you call a ladder? An accident waiting to happen." Have I said anything funny, or have I just chosen a strange way to say "I think a ladder is an accident waiting to happen"? And in the case of Bob, I can certainly imagine someone from another culture, or who is young and sheltered, etc. not being up on American stereotyping and for whom such innocence would not be merely affected innocence.

But what are those beliefs exactly? I mean, the actual, historical, early-20th-century positivists had some pretty specific beliefs, some of which were (now-)clearly wrong in their strongest forms… but do very many people believe those strongest forms now? Or are they logical positivists in the same way that Scott Alexander is a logical positivist?

This is why I find David Chapman’s “vagueblogging” so annoying. This whole conversation doesn’t need to be happening; it could all be avoided if he just, like, linked to specific people saying specific things.

Ind... (read more)

It seems very weird to write a whole website-book, in the 21st century, arguing against early 20th-centry logical positivism, of all things. Besides, Chapman often writes as if the “rationalists” he takes as foils are, you know, still around!

4Gordon Seidoh Worley1mo
I'd say they very much are, they just aren't as prevalent on Less Wrong (and I think there are still plenty of them on LW!). My experience is that you can't throw a stone without hitting a logical positivist (even if they don't know that they are, if you talk to them it's clear those are their beliefs) in any STEM university department, engineering company, etc.

Chapman isn’t really part of the rationalist community, and was working in parallel on something different that has now intersected because both Chapman and Eliezer are trying to reach similar audiences.

Probably the strangest thing about Chapman’s writing has always been the way that he would rail against “rationalists” and “rationality”, and then, when it was pointed out that his characterization doesn’t match the actual beliefs and behavior of Less Wrong style rationality and its adherents, would respond along the lines of “oh, I didn’t mean those ‘ra... (read more)

Here's Chapman's characterization of LW: Among the (arguably) core LW beliefs that he has criticized over the years are Bayesianism as a complete approach to epistemology, utilitarianism as a workable approach to ethics, the map/territory metaphor as a particularly apt way to think about the relationship between belief and reality.
As I understand it, Chapman is promoting some form of Buddhism. (I think he might even be a leader of some small sect? Not sure.) The bottom line is already written; now he is adding the previous lines to make it seem like this is something that a sufficiently smart modern thinker would discover independently. Here he is using an ancient Dark Arts technique, which in our culture is known as Hegel's dialectic, but it was already used by Buddha -- to win a debate, create two opposed strawmen, classify all your competitors as belonging to one or the other, and then you are the only smart person in the room who can transcend the strawmen and find the golden middle way of "it is actually the reasonable parts of this, plus the reasonable parts of that, minus all the unreasonable parts". Congratulations, you win! Buddha classified his philosophical/religious competitors into two groups, and Chapman translated one of those words as "rationalists". (The reference to early 20th-century logical positivism is just another nice trick, where Chapman is promoting an ancient belief, but he is rebranding it as a cool modern perspective, as opposed to the outdated and therefore low-status ideas of positivism.)
In the sidebar of his website, the section "Positive and Logical" under "Part One: Taking Rationalism Seriously" says

The problem is not that Fake Creators are bad people

I think that this is wrong, actually; Fake Creators are bad people, precisely in virtue of being Fake Creators. Value for Creators and True Fans is real value; value for Fake Fans is fake value. Destroying value is bad.

Counterpoint to “the stuff is good and it’s improving all the time”. (More.)

Do you have any evidence at all that this sort of use of webcams is happening or has happened…?

Also, can you say more about what you mean by “finding information that makes you uncomfortable because it is supposed to be secret, by comparing it to labelled past instances of people’s facial microreactions to reading information that was established to be secret” and “millions of hours of facial microexpression data in response to various pieces of content”? You are suggesting that photos are being taken constantly, or… video is being recorded, and also activity data is being recorded about, like… what webpages are being browsed? Is this being uploaded continuously, or…? Like, in a technical sense, what does this look like?

Currently no. My argument focuses on the incentives for tech companies or intelligence agencies to acquire this data illicitly, in addition to existing legal app permissions that people opt into. My argument makes a solid case that these incentives are very strong; however, hacking people's webcams at large scale is risky, even if you get large amounts of data from smarter elites and better targets that way, and select targets based on low risk of detecting the traffic or the spyware. My argument is that the risk is more than sufficient to justify covering up webcams; I demonstrate that leaving webcams uncovered is actually the extreme action. Yes. A hypothetical example is the NSA trying to identify FSB employees who are secretly cheating on their spouses. The NSA steals face and eyetracking data on 1 million Russians while they are scrolling through twitter on their phones, and manages to use other sources to confirm 50 men who are cheating on their spouses and trying very hard to hide it. The phones record video files and spyware on the system simplifies them to facial models before encrypting and sending the data to the NSA. The NSA has some computer vision people identify trends that distinguish all 50 of the cheating men but are otherwise rare; as it turns out, each of them exhibit a unique facial tic when exposed to the concept of poking holes in condoms. They test it on men from the million, and it turns out that trend wasn't sufficiently helpful at identifying cheaters. They find another trend, the religious men of the 50 scroll slightly faster when a religion-focused influencer talks specifically about the difference between heaven and hell. When the influencer talks about the difference, rather than just heaven or hell, they exhibit a facial tic that turns out to strongly distinguish cheaters from non-cheaters among the million men they stole data from. While it is disappointing that they will only be able to use this technique to identify cheating FSB e

Can you explain the camera tape thing? I clicked the link and it didn’t really explain anything. What’s the idea here, that someone has planted malware on my computer and they are using it to watch me through my camera without my knowing about it? And… this is the biggest threat (in… some larger category of threats? I don’t entirely grasp what this category is supposed to be)?

Yes, the NSA stockpiles backdoors in windows and likely every other major operating system as well (I don't think that buying one of the security-oriented operation systems is a solution, that is what the people who they want to spy on would try, and you still have to worry about backdoors in the chip firmware anyway). I think intelligence agencies and the big 5 tech companies are likely to use those video files for automated microexpression recognition and eyetracking, to find webs of correlations and research ways to automate optimized persuasion. For example, finding information that makes you uncomfortable because it is supposed to be secret, by comparing it to labelled past instances of people's facial microreactions to reading information that was established to be secret. This becomes much easier when you have millions of hours of facial microexpression data in response to various pieces of content. This is the biggest category of threat in anyone who tries to use modern systems to manipulate you, for any reason, at some point in the 2020s or beyond. I think that people in the AI safety community are disproportionately likely to be targeted due to proximity to AI which is a geopolitically significant technology (for these reasons, and also for military hardware like cruise missiles, and for economic growth/plausibly being the next internet-sized economic paradigm). This is a greater risk than the 2010s because the tech is more powerful now and the ROI is higher, resulting in more incentives for use.

Just to give the intuition: discussions with a hint of antipathy get bogged down in pointless argument as people unconsciously try to prove each other wrong. Establishing goodwill leads to more efficient and therefore more successful truth-seeking.

“If I am wrong, I desire to believe I am wrong.” In other words, if you think someone’s wrong, then you should consciously try to prove it, no? Both for your own sake and for theirs (not to mention any third parties, which, in a public discussion forum, vastly outnumber the participants in any discussion!)?

3Seth Herd2mo
Yes, absolutely. I'm not advocating being "nice" in the sense of pretending to agree when you don't. Being nice about disagreements it will help you do convince people when they're wrong better. For instance, if they're obviously rushed and irritable, having that discussion briefly and badly may very well set them further into their mistaken belief. In public discussions with more third parties it does change a lot. But it's important to recognize that how nice you are in public has a large impact on whether you change minds. (Being cleverly mean can help win you points with the already-converted by "dunking", but that's not helping with truth seeking).

By nice I do mean actually caring about someone a little bit. That’s needed to make sure we’re cooperative vs. combative in discussion. I think this is a lower bar than you are thinking. I care enough about everyone I pass on the street enough to save them a minute if it takes me a couple of seconds to do it.

Alright, but if what you mean by “caring about” someone is only this very low bar, then where, in rationalist spaces, are you meeting people who don’t “care about” you…?

In fact, this seems to me to be such a low bar that determining whether someone ... (read more)

Forgive me if I am missing something obvious, but: how exactly can you steelman someone’s ideas if you do not understand them in the first place? In other words, isn’t ITT-passing a prerequisite to steelmanning…?

(Not that I necessarily endorse steelmanning as a practice, and consequently I am taking no position at this time on whether ITT-passing is necessary; but the above seems to me to be a basic confusion of some sort. Perhaps on my part, though…? What am I missing?)

In the limiting case where understanding is binary (either you totally get it, or you don't get it at all), you're right. That's an important point that I was remiss not to address in the post! (If you think you would do very poorly on an ITT, you should be saying, "I don't get it," not trying to steelman.) The reason I think this post is still useful is because I think understanding often isn't binary. Often, I "get it" in the sense that I can read the words in a comment with ordinary reading comprehension, but I also "don't get it" in the sense that I haven't deeply internalized the author's worldview to the extent that I could have written the comment myself. I'm saying that in such cases, I usually want to focus on extracting whatever value I can out of the words that were written (even if the value takes the form of "that gives me a related idea"), rather than honing my ability to emulate the author.

By “nice” do you mean something like “polite” or “courteous”? If so, then I do agree that it’s a basic principle of rationalist discourse to be “nice”; but on the other hand, in that case I do not agree that it is necessary to care about someone in order to be “nice” to them in this sense.

On the other hand, if by “be nice” you mean something that does require caring about someone, then I do not agree that it’s a basic principle of rationalist discourse. (Indeed it may be actively detrimental, in some cases; and certainly any attempt to mandate such a thing... (read more)

2Seth Herd2mo
By nice I do mean actually caring about someone a little bit. That's needed to make sure we're cooperative vs. combative in discussion. I think this is a lower bar than you are thinking. I care enough about everyone I pass on the street enough to save them a minute if it takes me a couple of seconds to do it. If you've ever noticed how two people that clearly don't care even that much have a discussion, I think you'll agree that they aren't as productive as when people are in disagreement but cooperatively inclined.

Managing your own emotions is clearly a prerequisite to successful epistemic rationality practices, but other people’s emotions? That seems straightforwardly irrelevant.

What do you see as the prototypical problem in epistemic rationality? I see the prototypical problem as being creating an environment of collaborative truth-seeking, and there managing other's emotions is perfectly relevant.

There’s a pretty straightforward mechanism by which this happens:

In order to make it possible for everyone (i.e., the spouse, the kids, the friends, etc.) to participate in your thing, you have to dilute your thing until it’s tolerable (never mind appealing, even; just tolerable!) to everyone.

No rationalist organization can have everyone participate and remain a rationalist organization, because rationality is not appealing, nor even tolerable, to everyone.

The path forward is either “exclude most people” or “abandon all that is ‘rationalist’ about your group and what it does”.

And indeed this is what we see in practice.

But also, my experience is this doesn't work either (in particular if your goal is "people show up every week." People showing up every week is a lot, and you need to be offering them something they can't get anywhere else for that. The groups I've seen attempt to go this route didn't work either because they were too generic to matter.
Two adjacent rooms, one only for members, the other for everyone (that's where you drop off your spouse and kids).

in Christianity there’s a lot of good stuff like “don’t judge lest ye be judged”

Is that really “good stuff”??

… ok, I don’t actually want to start a debate about Christian morality here in this comment section, but I do want to note something else: you say that “the best parts of something are rarely the most disputed parts”—but might it not also (or instead? or separately?) be true that… hm… maybe something like, “the most disputed parts are not the parts that it might be most fruitful to dispute”? Like, it’s pretty obvious that it would be a colossal w... (read more)

2[comment deleted]2mo

Say you and your co-worker disagree about whether you should create a code of conduct policy for your organization. One of you is strongly against it, and the other one is strongly for it. Despite rehashing your reasoning multiple times, you cannot reach an agreement. The bot might help you to understand that your co-worker thinks a code of conduct policy might be counterproductive if it isn’t enforced well, whereas you think that, even without enforcement, it has a positive net effect on overall culture. The double crux here might be whether conduct poli

... (read more)
I can see why you think it would be contradictory. The idea in the example was that both of you want better working environment in your workplace, but you have different opinions on how to get there. Whereas the disclaimers were about situations where this is not the case. For example, a situation where the other person doesn't care about a safe working environment. Does that make it clearer? We are probably going to change the example if it's unclear though
-3Spencer Chubb2mo
This post is interesting but it does not mention markets, and I argue that markets are intelligent. Not merely a team, or a company, or a civilization. I'm specifically talking about a collection of entities who transact with each other and behave in their own self interest. A market is an organizational technology that allows greater intelligence than could otherwise be achieved.

No, it’s not just you, and it’s not just Firefox. Substack comments really are hideously slow to load. (That’s one of the reasons why they don’t all load at once—which really only makes them worse, UX-wise.)

I don't really understand why Substack became so popular, compared to eg WordPress. Is Substack writing easier to monetize?

So, “move fast and break things”, but with your own mind?

Yeah, it feels like an accurate and succinct description of what hippies are (anecdote: my grandfather was at Woodstock and he's pretty cool). Not saying I endorse it, but there are certainly some good aspects. I'm not sure and it would be interesting to find out if being a hippy seriously messes up a fraction of people who try it and we just don't hear about it due to selection bias. My guess is that this happens, especially with drugs.
Though see also the author's essay "Lena" isn't about uploading.

If this is true, why continue to engage with them? Why try to convince them with rationality on that same topic where you acknowledge that they are operating as soldiers instead of scouts?

I think the point is that Zack isn’t continuing to engage with them. Indeed, isn’t this post (and the whole series of which it is a part) basically an announcement that the engagement is at an end, and an explanation of why that is?

I'm too dumb to understand whether or not Zack's post disclaims continued engagement. He continues to respond to proponents of the sort of transideology he writes about so he's engaging at least that amount. Also just writing all this is a form of engagement.

Finding a trusted third-party to make a call on it removes the incentive problems that the transgressor and harmed parties have, and is a good solution if possible.

Indeed, although I would like to emphasize that the way this solution works is by having a pre-existing trusted third party which is already, to begin with, integrated into the framework, and which is seen by the transgressor, the transgressed-against, and all relevant bystanders, as the appropriate arbitrator.[1] If you have to search for some mutually trusted third party after the fact, tha... (read more)

I’m not aware of any ethical system that aligns better with moral intuitions.

Whose moral intuitions? Clearly not everyone’s. But most people’s? Is that your claim? Or only yours? Or most people’s on Less Wrong? Or…?

My preferred way of dealing with this is not to say “I have decided that I have been forgiven for my act” but instead to say “I believe I have done enough to make up for my behavior, and while Bob has not forgiven me, I’ve made the decision to move on. I’m sad this is the outcome but I think this is the right call.”

Is there any material difference between these…? On your preferred method, you are still deciding that you don’t, after all, care that the party wronged by you believes that you haven’t earned forgiveness. The same check on self-deception is ... (read more)

2Ben Pace2mo
Finding a trusted third-party to make a call on it removes the incentive problems that the transgressor and harmed parties have, and is a better solution than the one I named (if involving such a third-party with an appropriate cost is possible). There is not a material difference, but from my definition of forgiveness the first epistemic state involves deceiving yourself about whether you have been forgiven. Another way of phrasing my point: you may decide to give up on being forgiven by the person you have wronged, but for goodness' sake don't also deceive yourself about whether you actually have been forgiven.
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