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I think this EA forum post explaining Shapley Values encapsulates my current opinion better than my comments above.


Actually I was saying that if only tie breaks matter, then in the case of a tie-break, everyone who voted for the losing party also saves 10,000 lives each. Because if they didn't vote against saving lives, then it wouldn't be a tie break, and then no individual would save any lives at all.

Of course, I don't actually believe that - I think voting matters even if it wouldn't break a tie.

In the scenario where you vote last in the tie-break, it is true everything depends on you. But everything depended on everyone else too, even though they already voted. In terms of expected utility of your decision, you get to tell your utility function that you saved 10,000 lives. In terms of moral credit though, everyone who voted SAVE still gets a fraction of the credit, because without their vote you couldn't have done it.

Let's consider a smaller scale vote, like a supreme court decision. Even if you know exactly how other justices will vote, and you know it's going to be 5-3 not including you, well your decision still matters, and not just for signalling reasons. 6-3 is different from 5-4 because in the former case, two of the five would have to flip in order for it to change and in the latter case, only one of the five would have to flip for it to change. Even if everyone knew how everyone else was going to vote ahead of time, still each justice's preference for one ruling over another still matters.

Also, I don't think it makes sense to say that one ballot matters more than another ballot, based solely on the order that they are counted. Votes are votes.


In one sense, "Rationality" is used to signify that something is part of the community that is associated with EA, Lesswrong, SSC, rationalist tumblr, secular solstice etc. If someone asked me "I have a successful life, what use is Rationality?" in this sense, I would probably reply there might not be any use at all. I happen to like rationalist tumblr and SSC and I like going to the SSC meetups at David Friedman's house, but you may or may not. Whatever floats your boat.

Now, if somebody ACTUALLY asked me "what use is rationality?" then I might say that I think education (not just schooling) is important because it helps us make better decisions, or I might say that scientific progress helps bring about new technologies that save lives and increase wealth. Or maybe, depending on context I may say something specific like "you're not going to solve your emotional issues with your ex by wishful thinking" or "if you don't understand your code how are supposed to debug it?" but only if I actually think they need to improve this region of their map in order to achieve their goals. If someone says, "No wait, what I really meant is, what use is instrumental rationality?" and actually means it, I would just facepalm because they're essentially asking why they should bother trying to get better at achieving their goals.

My point, is regarding what rationality actually is, I see no reason to exclude things that aren't part of Lesswrong et al. in trying to achieve my goals or in trying to learn. Should there be a community that is focused on giving people the cognitive skills to become more knowledgeable and more formidable? Yes, but we are not the only the only community focused on that, nor should we be. This is okay.


I don't get the sentiment of "your vote only matters if it would be an exact tie otherwise." By that logic, if the outcome of a US presidential election would either save 10,000 lives or not, then the altruistic thing to do is to get the vote as close 50/50 as possible, so that every voter can save 10,000 lives each for a total of 3 trillion lives saved, as opposed to the normal outcome, where no lives are saved at all.


Don't know if anyone still follows this 7 year old thread but-

I strongly recommend Marie Kondo's book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The gist is you declutter by category of item instead of by room: first do all of the dishes, then do all your clothing items, then books, etc. For instance, to declutter your closet, take out all the clothes and sort into two piles: clothes that make you happy and clothes that don't.

I've also found that goodwill will accept lots of different kinds of items not just clothes.

And remember, it's not about becoming angry about all the useless garbage you have in your house, but about choosing to keep what makes you happy and being surrounded by lovely things that you appreciate.


I personally found this post to be quite insightful. I previously made plenty of vague goals that I never did, such as "apply for internships", "fill out this form", and shower more often." I have heard the advice "set specific goals" before, but the idea of turning vague goals into if-then" goals has never occurred to me before.

Of course, since I just read this post a few minutes ago, I don't know whether the idea actually translates into increased productivity or not.


Maybe rss feeds?


I just performed this experiment assuming I wouldn't be able to discern tap water from water cooler water, but I was able to--my tap water is slightly more metallic tasting.

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