All of ShannonFriedman's Comments + Replies

Belief Chains

When talking about the impacts of complex systems, it is useful to pick one that people know, so as to not have to spend a whole lot of words giving background explanation.

I could not think of an example to use for this that was not at all political. I do not think it being slightly political outweighs the value of the description.

Do you prefer only examining elements on a small enough scale that you can get close to perfection in comfort and lack of error (what margin of error is acceptable to you since perfection is generally not actually achievable... (read more)

Belief Chains

Okay, so FDA is one step removed, and is reviewing the research rather than doing it themselves.

8ChristianKl7yTo be fair, you simply spoke about the cluster of beliefs that many people have and many people probably do believe that the FDA does extensive research on their own. Issues like the fraud at Ranbaxy [] aren't well known.
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief


  • Its a large time and energy investment to word a post in a way that does not get shredded in this environment
  • I don't tend to receive much in the way of positive feedback or appreciation for doing it
  • I will almost certainly receive a lot in the way of negative feedback regardless - potentially quite a lot


  • I might be able to share something with someone else that creates value for them
  • Having a reasonable reputation in the community could be good for my business
  • I might receive some positive reinforcement

I ended up deciding to do a rewrite o... (read more)

The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Can you use different words to describe what you are trying to say here? I don't understand but would like to.

7Risto_Saarelma7yIt's just math and parsing theory jokes riffing on an intentional misinterpretation of "a direct opposite of interesting", nothing that relates to the substance of the discussion as far as I can see. (Well, it might be meta-level commentary on the substance. Anything might be a meta-level commentary. Constant vigilance.)
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

I am glad that I didn't realize that people could still reply to the post after I deleted it, since its nice receiving the last responses quite a bit later after I am no longer triggered by the initial general response.

I think the reason that my writing is coming off to you this way is that I have moved into a very different mental space than the Less Wrong community, and forgot the degree to which I needed to tune my thinking/writing for Less Wrongers to understand/appreciate my messages.

Less Wrongers are used to talking to people who think and speak... (read more)

1TheOtherDave7yWhat do you consider the pros and cons?
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Please let me know if what I just wrote makes sense to you. If it does, perhaps this comment might be good as a start for making a second attempt at communication - I think I articulated what I was trying to say better here than before.

0AndHisHorse7yIt does - thank you for clarifying your point.
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Yes. I do see a huge difference between appropriate faith and blind faith.

It is my opinion that everyone functions based on faith far more than we acknowledge. That much of what we believe we have evidence for is actually based on quite flimsy chains of reasoning, that have lower and lower probability of being true with each subsequent link from the evidence we are supposedly basing the chains on.

It is also my opinion that this is pretty much unavoidable in order to function in the world, and that you pretty much have to function on a faith based sys... (read more)

The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Hi Richard,

I just saw this, sorry about the delay in response.

Yes, I was surprised by the response, because my assumptions about other people's assumptions were wrong in this case.

I do of course understand that no one else has the same mental model I do - my mistake was in that I did not model correctly quite how different my mental models are from the majority of Less Wrong readers on this topic.

Given the hostility of the responses I received in response to my attempt to share something I find valuable, I'm really not inclined to keep going.

Yes, I... (read more)

The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

A certain type of self hacking. I added a summary, does it help?

3hairyfigment7yBefore this, I read your post as saying mainly, 'You should believe true claims instead of false ones,' without any non-commercial way of distinguishing truth from falsehood. Likewise, I saw no guidelines for how to choose "functional" belief systems. If I read the summary charitably, it seems to mean that 'When people pride themselves on their rationality due to their atheism, this tends to get in the way of optimizing for truth and/or functionality.' This is technically progress. But I get the impression the LW community already hates people patting themselves on the back for atheism, and may actually discourage it too strongly.
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Of course. For the statistics I used all clients and did not cherry pick, but you only have my word for that. And of course there is selection bias for who gives me a testimonial.

That said, those testimonials and statistics are the best that I have to make my point.

If you want me to provide you a perfect, infallible argument to persuade you to change your life, you are going to be waiting a very long time, because I am neither interested nor possessing the time and energy to do it.

If you want evidence that has signal, then that is what I have give... (read more)

3Lumifer7yOh, dear. No, I certainly do not want that. I mostly want a coherent description of the point, if there is a point other than "come to me and I'll fix you".
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

The summary has been added, thank you for the suggestion.

The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

I added the summary to the main post.

1Lumifer7ySo, the really important thing is to find right things to believe in? As you are saying, Any reason why that shouldn't be Jesus?
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

I added the summary, does this clarify for you sufficiently?

The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Thank you. I just now posted the summary (at -12). Rewriting the post from scratch sounds like a good idea. Is that done frequently on this blog?

5shminux7yThis post comes across as a direct opposite of your usual interesting, clear and insightful entries. It feels to me as if it was written by a novice to this site who is also bad at writing. Normally I'd simply downvote and move on, but you are neither new, nor a poor writer, so I am hoping that somewhere inside this post there is a worthwhile point. However, it failed to materialize in the comments I checked, hence my suggestion to rewrite (and maybe run by someone in your local LW crowd, before posting again -- I hear you know a lot of high-profile regulars who would be happy to oblige).
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Here is what I actually said:

I'm also very positive reinforcement and appreciation oriented, so its pretty jarring to run into so much hating and so little appreciation. Not that I can't handle it, but its certainly a lot less pleasant to have all of the imperfections picked apart than to have the effort and signal appreciated. There are a lot of different ways to say the same things and reach the same (or better) results.But that is a different post, which I will probably write elsewhere.

I do this professionally and know that my systems are far more e... (read more)

2Lumifer7yYou don't think there might be a wee bit of a selection bias there..? :-)
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

I'm not really sure where you are going with this. For one thing, it sounds like we need Viliam to clarify what it is that he was trying to prove in his statement:

"In the world of science, I can reason by the results. My microwave oven works. What is the chance it would work, if we got physics wrong?"

Regarding the rest, you're making a lot of generalizations about religion and religious people, which I don't personally find to be on the same topic that I was speaking about. That said, apparently I was nowhere near as clear as I thought I was in... (read more)

The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Depends on the goal.

  1. Its not an either/or. You can give the same feedback that people give here with appreciation. The "ripping apart" style of giving feedback is entirely cultural, and does not add value in and of itself IMHO.

  2. Showing kindness and appreciation does add value, as this is the sort of thing we desire as human beings, and it calms and relaxes people, and thus makes it far easier for people to assimilate the feedback given.

  3. Sometimes getting the feedback that is paired with having things ripped apart on this site is useful.

... (read more)
2Lumifer7yWell, that's how you have framed it :-/ As to "entirely cultural", so is the "kindergarten" style of giving feedback. Gold stars for participation to everyone! It also makes it far easier for people to ignore the (negative) feedback, focus on the positive, and decide that everything is fine and nothing needs to be changed.
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Umm... why does this need to be pointed out?

To me, I was being nice and empathizing with the point made. This feels like I expressed vulnerability and you decided to sink your teeth in and/or rub my nose in shit to tell me what I've done wrong, except I don't actually understand what you're even trying to show me.

0RichardKennaway7ySorry, I didn't mean to be so abrasive. It's just that communication is, practically by definition, communication with people who are not oneself. It seemed to me that you were surprised to come up against this. As for the original post itself, it seems to me, as it has to some others who have commented, that it talks around something that sounds like it might be interesting, but never says the thing itself.
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Yes. My understanding of Less Wrong is that there is a general viewpoint that everyone is biased and people on this site are "Less Wrong." Its not an official viewpoint, but its the attitude I see.

The reason I gave the examples and not the platitude is so that people might actually get it, and not just consider it a platitude that they dismiss. I seem to have failed on this blog at this time :)

3Lumifer7yPlatitudes are platitudes not because people don't get them -- they are platitudes because everybody has already heard them many times and repeating them once more is not helping. I am still not sure what are you trying to get to. Is it, basically, better living through self-hacking? Or through being hacked by you?
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Thank you for explaining. I've explained a bit in some of the other comments. It is true that the things I am attempting to communicate are very foreign to this crowd, and I haven't spoken to rationalists at large in quite awhile, especially on a heated topic like this one and am out of practice.

I'm going to do my best to do a more thorough summary in the morning after sleeping on it. Although I am a native Californian and English speaker, I am culturally very different than Less Wrong at this point, and thus forgot quite how thorough I need to be in... (read more)

2Lumifer7yA lot less pleasant and a lot more useful.
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Depends how you define central. There are several different definitions of Faith if you look on Google. Personally, I think the fact that you choose to get up every morning, in some ways makes this more central than religious faith, which people think about far less frequently. Although I do of course get what you are pointing at.

What I am pointing at in this post, is that people take things on faith all of the time, that impact their quality of life, without realizing it.

As an example, if you were to question your reasons for why you get out of bed... (read more)

The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

One of several. I wrote a couple of others here. In retrospect, it is a very good point that I was writing my thoughts more than writing to a specific conclusion, and that I made a writing error in not specifying an action oriented conclusion.

I want to add one in, but since there are actually several different points I'm making in the article, I need to think it through and decide which to include or not in the official conclusion.

I somewhat wish I could help many people on this site learn to be a lot nicer about pointing these things out, as you ... (read more)

The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Keep in mind that we live in a country with "One nation under God" written on the money supply - we're in a religious country, even though there is for the most part separation of church and state. Physics is taught in high schools in the same country, so odds are that the majority believe both in God and Physics.

The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

The point of the playing with words is to show that all four of those words are pointing at roughly the same concept. Each of the words has their own bias.

The different people who use the different words generally think that their way of thinking is superior, so I'm trying to demonstrate that this is not the case, and that it is a bias to think that your perspective is superior when you are simply looking at the biases of the other perspectives and not your own.

The points at the end were meant to illustrate the "everyone is biased" theory. ... (read more)

1hairyfigment7yAgain, Brienne's post suggested doing what you imagine a more rational version of yourself would do. I've used this technique to some benefit. It serves as a testable and useful way of demonstrating bias, though I still can't tell if it supports your thesis. She posted before you did. And she put the technique in the title and conclusion of her post, rather than making us guess what the Hell she was talking about!
1Lumifer7yVery VERY roughly. Too roughly for any use, I think. In particular, these words are not interchangeable -- to say that deciding to get out of bed in the morning is a matter of faith is a misuse of the language. That's a non sequitur. That theory is generally accepted on LW and has people like Kahneman popularizing it in the wide world :-) That's a platitude and a part of all self-help advice since times immemorial. So what else is new?
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

The other two commenters who beat me to it named the most common logic I hear from people who believe in miracles. I have never heard anyone attribute it to the laws of physics being incorrect.

The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

What he said about microwaves is noteworthy.

My understanding was that he gave the example to show why there is a problem with all religion and mystical thinking - that it is less reasonable than how rationalists and scientists think.

If what Viliam said was true regarding all mystical thinking, then he would have been giving what would be more or less a proof of how rationalists are more reasonable in their thinking than religious people.

That's why his comment was interesting.

The truth is, that the assumption that all religious and mystical people d... (read more)

2fubarobfusco7yOh, I completely agree! In fact, that was my point, which I took to be an elaboration or variation of Viliam's. It wasn't about scientific people versus religious people. It was about the wide diversity of religious belief versus the relative unity of physical belief. Christians, Hindus, and atheists may completely disagree on matters of theology or metaphysics, but may completely agree on matters of everyday physical reality. (I say "may" because of course there are exceptions, such as young-earth creationists.) The same is pretty much true for, say, elementary mathematics. We are all more-or-less equally capable of getting on with the physical world, even if we believe things about gods or spirituality that completely contradict one another. I suggest that this is precisely because we all interact with the same everyday physical reality, and our physical beliefs are constantly tested by that interaction. If we come up with a wrong belief about everyday physical reality, we will encounter contrary evidence. If we come up with a belief that implies that airplanes shouldn't be able to fly, we can look up and notice that in fact they do. The sorts of beliefs that we call exclusively religious (as opposed to, say, beliefs about psychology that we happen to have learned in religious terms) are pretty much those which are not tested by our interactions with everyday reality. That is why they are able to drift so far from one another, from person to person, or culture to culture. If the likes and dislikes of the gods were as testable as the composition of rocks, then theology would have the degree of consensus that geology does.
1NancyLebovitz7yAnyone who believes in miracles doesn't believe the laws of physics are entirely reliable. This is most but not all religious people. On the other hand, it's probably more important to find out how often, in what way, and under what circumstances someone believes the laws of physics break down rather than whether they believe the laws of physics are absolutely true all the time.
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Yes. I will come back to this and fill in the missing piece, as I said to hairyfigment when they brought it to my attention.

To me the conclusion is obvious, but I can see how it is not to people who are not me, now that this has been pointed out to me. I want to take my time to figure out how to word it properly, and have been very busy with work. I will be getting to it either later tonight or tomorrow.

That said, I personally find it laughable that hairyfigment linked a piece that is clearly advertising propaganda IMHO after claiming that my post s... (read more)

0RichardKennaway7yWell then, I would like to point out a more general fact. Everyone that you will ever deal with, in any way, is someone who is not you.
2Cyan7yIt's not clear to me -- I'm not even sure what you think it's advertising! ( ETA: I wrote a bunch of irrelevant stuff, but then I scrolled up and saw (again, but it somehow slipped my mind even though I friggin' quoted it in the grandparent, I'm going senile at the tender age of 36) that you specifically think it's advertising for CFAR, so I've deleted the irrelevant stuff. ) Advertising for CFAR seems like a stretch, because -- although very nice things are said about Anna Salamon -- the actual product CFAR sells isn't mentioned at all.
227chaos7yIs the intended point simply that people have more confidence in their beliefs than would be optimal? People should change their assumptions more often and see what happens?
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Taking what you said one piece at a time:

In the world of science, I can reason by the results. My microwave oven works. What is the chance it would work, if we got physics wrong?

So, I assume the reason you’re asking this is because you assume that belief in physics and mystical beliefs are incompatible. This is a false assumption.

As one of my favorite examples of this being false, I happen to be friends with someone who is a Tibetan grand master of Reiki, who is also a quantum physicist, with a Ph.D from Oxford. She is obviously extremely spiritual... (read more)

5fubarobfusco7yHuh ... I don't see that assumption there at all. The contrast I see Viliam_Bur making is between ideas that are constantly re-tested and those which are not. In religion, what we see is that people have vastly different beliefs from each other ... but this doesn't really affect their effectiveness in the world all that much. For the most part, Christians in Christian culture function about as well as atheists in secular culture, or Hindus in Hindu culture ... despite the fact that they have vastly different beliefs. Whereas, if someone had beliefs about physics that were much different from the consensus ones, they'd be predicting things like "microwave ovens won't work" and "airplanes should fall out of the sky". They would be proven constantly wrong all the time; and the physics consensus proven constantly right. Technology works because we (socially) have really accurate beliefs about physics, chemistry, etc.; whereas there doesn't seem to be such a thing as being "really accurate" about religion. (There does seem to be such a thing as being "really obnoxious" about religion, e.g. religious terrorism or persecution.) Physics beliefs get constantly tested and re-confirmed by the fact that we use them to make effective predictions about the world. People who get the idea that rocks fall up do not persist in this belief for very long because, well, rocks do not fall up. Religious beliefs don't get tested in this way: people with belief X and people with contradictory belief Y do not have all that much difference in effectiveness. Of course there are religious differences that do matter. Anyone whose religion tells them to kill people is going to be at great tension with most societies today. People who have a different religion from the surrounding society are going to be at some tension too, unless secular tolerance memes are quite strong in the area. But these matter because people disagree with each other, not because they disagree with reality.
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

I do appreciate the request for more clarity of purpose and useful suggestion.

I think that there is quite a lot that is implicit if you are reading this from an open rather than defensive perspective. However, I am in agreement that I could be much more explicit and that this would be of benefit. Rather than giving an off the cuff response, I will think this through and craft something more useful. Thanks!

I think that there is quite a lot that is implicit if you are reading this from an open rather than defensive perspective.

One thing that I have noticed - as a general rule - is that, in any debate, no two debaters will ever agree on what is implicit in any argument. Anything that needs to be said, that forms an important part of the desired point, pretty much has to be stated explicitly, or most of the readers will fail to notice it.

Or, to put it another way; I, too, agree that your post would be much improved if you were a lot more explicit about precisely what you meant.

0Cyan7y...containing an immediately useful (or at least, immediately practicable) suggestion, as, er, advertised.
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Thank you for giving me something challenging to work with that I cannot instantly respond to :) I will process and respond over the next day or two.

I can tell you a couple of elements the response will include. One is that men of science tend to over-extrapolate. Ie: that your microwave works means certain things, which are more probable to relate to other certain things. However, you can take these chains of logic out very far to where they become very flimsy, but justify the flimsy parts with the word SCIENCE.

Another element is something I will... (read more)

men of science tend to over-extrapolate. Ie: that your microwave works means certain things, which are more probable to relate to other certain things. However, you can take these chains of logic out very far to where they become very flimsy

In other words: Physics is highly reliable. You believe in the standard scientific explanation of physics. This creates a feeling of great confidence in "what you believe"... and then you are prone to apply this confidence mistakenly to everything that seems to belong to the literary genre of science. -- Ev... (read more)

0ShannonFriedman7yTaking what you said one piece at a time: So, I assume the reason you’re asking this is because you assume that belief in physics and mystical beliefs are incompatible. This is a false assumption. As one of my favorite examples of this being false, I happen to be friends with someone who is a Tibetan grand master of Reiki, who is also a quantum physicist, with a Ph.D from Oxford. She is obviously extremely spiritual, identifies as a believer in the laws of physics, and knows what the laws of physics are in far more detail and with greater understanding than almost anyone who may read this blog. Okay, so this is more elaboration based on the first assumption made, which I already addressed. Okay, so this is said to contrast the initial statement, again, doesn’t need a response now. Perhaps time to start asking? :) Agreed that the true secret may be different than that given. Agreed that people also sometimes compartmentalize. True of everyone whether a rationalist or not. Gathering data and finding ways to test for truth and compartmentalization seems like a good idea. True. Also, a strategy could be good, but not the only ingredient necessary. Funny religious story: There’s a big flood, and a priest is stuck on top of a roof as the water is gradually covering up the ground and the buildings. He is praying reverently. Eventually the water is up pretty high on the roofline, and a boat comes by. They invite the priest to come with them. The priest says "no no no, God will save me!" This happens a couple more times as the water gets higher and higher, and he eventually drowns. When he eventually meets God, he asks “Why didn’t you save me? I still had work to do!” God responds: “I sent you three boats, why didn’t you get on one?!” One moral of this religious story is that you need to take opportunity when it comes to you, not assume its going to happen through magic. Another aspect I find important is that it can take many different elements to ge
3hairyfigment7yI don't even know the question. The OP's comparison with religious faith serves no clear purpose; the whole post seems more like an advertisement than an immediately useful suggestion. Compare and contrast this post [].
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Point #1:


You are making the point for me very well about how much of everything we do is not rational thought or grounded. You can call it habit, or you can call it faith that getting out of the bed is the correct thing to do.

Whether you re-think your logic or not every morning or not does not make much difference in whether or not the action is faith based in my book. You are acting on the belief/perspective/point of view that getting out of bed is the appropriate thing to do.

Point #2:

Hedonistic examples are simple and thus easy to describe. I ... (read more)

2shminux7yThis would be a very non-central example of faith.
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Interesting. I personally find current usage more useful than original meaning, although both can be good to know.

The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

Having processed this a little more, I want to address some a couple of your implicit questions:

Q: Would you prefer to have faith in a guru and a community of likeminded people, or is it better to have faith in leprechauns?

A: I would prefer neither. My belief is that it is optimal to have faith in what you can determine to be true at the most fundamental level you are capable, and have openness to updating your opinion as you search for truth at a more and more fundamental level.

Q: If you must choose between leprechauns and gurus/communities, isn't i... (read more)

0AndHisHorse7yActually, the point of my response was to illustrate that to say "all of these things are faith" is an incorrectly simplifying assumption. I did deliberately choose an absurd example of faith, not to attribute it to you, but to show the difference between one thing which you did explicitly claim is faith - trust in people - and another thing which would have to be an example of blind faith - belief in leprechauns. If you acknowledge that there is a real difference between the two, it would seem that I have misinterpreted your thesis.
The Puzzle of Faith and Belief

My actual statement was that

"putting your trust in "a guru and a bunch of other people" "

Is a form of faith.

All of the rest of your comment is all arguing with assumptions you have made about what I am saying and thinking regarding conclusions you drew on my behalf.

I am not going to try to dig into what you say here to respond. However, if you want to ask me a couple of simple questions about what I actually do believe, to clarify about whether we are actually in agreement or disagreement, I am happy to answer.

The Anti-Placebo Effect

The way that I came up with the name, was that someone was suggesting that my taking metrics might create a placebo effect, where people would believe that they were doing better than they actually were.

So, my response to this was that I was not trying to create a placebo effect, but rather, to avoid a placebo effect in the opposite direction.

So while I agree with you that this effect is not an opposite (why I referred to it as related instead of reverse), I do think that it is the opposite of what a lot of people fear - that they are experiencing a place... (read more)

The Anti-Placebo Effect

Yes, a lot of it has do to with having the parts of your mind that are action oriented not in alignment with the ones that want to have fun. If you're in that state for a long time, or in any way that ingrains the patterns hard, eventually you get to more extreme states like lack of interest in anything.

I use non-medication techniques to get people out of these states as my profession. You might find this audio helpful.

The Anti-Placebo Effect

What you're describing sounds like the results from the anti-placebo effect, although I didn't go so far as naming that. Basically, you don't realize its working (anti-placebo effect), and then you stop and regress (what you're pointing to). Since you've figured this out, you should have a much easier time avoiding it with the next intervention you try, especially if you track the metrics you're most interested in seeing changes in.

One place that things get tricky is that your negative reinforcement loops can get started while you're still tracking metr... (read more)

0hyporational8yEdited the original to clarify. The video link didn't work, it's here [], pretty descriptive of the basic attitudes. Changing attitudes to me feels like changing beliefs, you can't simply choose them by tricks of imagination. Medication helped with that. These days my problem is more simple avolition than depression, any non pharma tips on that? (I'm a physician.) It would be nice to know how much of imagined SSRI poop out doesn't actually happen. Unfortunately there aren't similar tracking tools in finnish to give to my patients. Maybe pen and paper should suffice.
The Anti-Placebo Effect

Yeah, hard to know in retrospect, I would love to hear more about your results in as much as you can tell. For future such attempts where you're trying something like this, I recommend taking a baseline on a mood tracking site for a week or two before starting, if you can manage it, and then tracking for at least however long they claim it takes to get results. I also recommend just generally taking baselines, maybe every couple to few months - that way, even if you don't want to mood track all the time, you at least have some reasonable random sampling ... (read more)

Who Wants To Start An Important Startup?

I appreciate your follow up. I couple of things did happen with other projects too:

  • one is that one of the better versions of Anki did get created - you can see up in the newer comments somewhere, where it was linked by hacker news.

  • Peter is also collaborating with someone working on his version, although I don't know whether or not this post had a impact on their collaboration.

  • I worked for awhile with one of the people Eliezer mentioned.

  • The backwards kickstarter folks were talking for awhile, and someone ended up working on a similar project

... (read more)
Changing Systems is Different than Running Controlled Experiments - Don’t Choose How to Run Your Country That Way!

I just re-read this and realized the important information I completely glossed over, and that this totally changes my analysis.

That said, I recall thinking that the comments had gone up and down many times when showing 50%, and that perhaps either it was a case that numbers were just more even since they were smaller, or that the calculation was done differently with the comments than the post. I don't feel up for doing the math to check this with so many comments, but if I had infinite time and energy it would be interesting.

Changing Systems is Different than Running Controlled Experiments - Don’t Choose How to Run Your Country That Way!

In addition to whatever other voting is going on, my guess is that there is either one person doing this with multiple accounts, or several who have been going down the line and down voting the majority of my comments.

During the day that I was watching the patterns frequently, my karma would stay relatively stable with slow fluctuations most of the time, and the maybe around 5 times would quickly drop 10-20 or so points. I haven't been writing much lately and am pretty sure I was at 0 for monthly karma before this post, so my current score reflects sp... (read more)

1RichardKennaway8yHere's the MATLAB code I wrote, although for looking at your recent posts, the numbers were small enough that it wasn't necessary to run this, e.g. +1 and 67% has to be +2-1. For those who know programming but not MATLAB, the code should mostly be clear. The line "a = (ceil(a2):floor(a1))';" sets a to a column vector of every integer between the two bounds, and all subsequent lines are operations on entire vectors at once. "[b,a,a+b]" is a matrix of three columns: b, a, and a+b. function v = lwvotes( net, frac ) %v = lwvotes( net, frac ) % Calculate votes for and against, given upvotes as both % net difference and fraction positive. frac can be expressed % as a proportion or a percentage. if frac > 1 frac = frac/100; end neg = net < 0; if neg net = -net; frac = 1-frac; end frac1 = frac-0.005; frac2 = frac+0.005; a1 = net/(2-1/frac1); a2 = net/(2-1/frac2); a = (ceil(a2):floor(a1))'; b = a-net; if neg v = [b,a,a+b]; else v = [a,b,a+b]; end end
Changing Systems is Different than Running Controlled Experiments - Don’t Choose How to Run Your Country That Way!

The exact questions they used were in the article linked in the post body. There were four different ones, the one of which I'm asking about is #2. My understanding is that someone could check as many or few of the four questions as they wanted, and that several checked the box for #2. The word rape was not used in any question.

Changing Systems is Different than Running Controlled Experiments - Don’t Choose How to Run Your Country That Way!

Okay, yes, I can believe that some people may have down voted for this reason.

Personally I think the side track has been very interesting and am glad it has happened. While it was not my intent to talk about rape as more than a removed example of a complex issue, I think it is a very important topic where most people are ignorant even regarding what is known, and that there is a lot unknown about, where really awful things happen to many people in the present. What the study I linked reports fits with my personal observations as I have learned more an... (read more)

1DSimon8ySure. Here's the most-viewed question on SO: [] If you click the score on the left, it splits into green and red, showing up and down votes respectively. Interestingly, there are very few down-votes for such a popular question! But then again, it's an awfully interesting question, and in SO it costs you one karma point to downvote someone else.
Changing Systems is Different than Running Controlled Experiments - Don’t Choose How to Run Your Country That Way!

Does that answer your questions (both explicit and implicit)?

Yes, thank you.

Incidentally: do you assume I'm not one of those men? If so, on what basis?

I assume you are most likely not one of those men based on the assumption that they are only somewhere around 6% of the population. I'd put the odds slightly higher since you are interested enough in the topic to write in the comments and initially said something dismissive, but not a whole lot higher. Most likely you're a nice and respectful guy in control of your impulses in as much as the rest of the population, and I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt.

0[anonymous]8yFor certain people, being in control of one's impulses may be easier in writing than in meatspace.
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