I agree that Pinker' advice is moderate — e.g. he doesn't prohibit authors from self-reference.
But this isn't because classic style is moderate — actually classic style is very strict — e.g. it does prohibit authors from self-reference.
Rather, Pinker's advice is moderate because he weakly endorses classic style. His advice is "use classic style except in rare situations where this would be bad on these other metric.
If I've read him correctly, then he might agree with all the limitations of classic style I've mentioned.
(But maybe I've misread Pinker. Maybe he endorses classic style absolutely but uses "classic style" to refer to a moderate set of rules.)
This happened with EURISKO.
When reading an academic paper, you don't find it useful when the author points out their contributions? I definitely do. I like to know whether the author asserts ϕ because it's the consensus in the field, or whether the author asserts ϕ because that's the conclusion of the data. If I later encounter strong evidence against ϕ then this difference matters — it determines whether I update against that particular author or against the whole field.
Writing can definitely be overly "self-aware" sometimes (trust me I know!) but "classic style" is waaaayyy too restrictive.
My rule of thumb would be:
Write sentences that are maximally informative to your reader.
If you know that ϕ and you expect that the reader's beliefs about the subject matter would significantly change if they also knew ϕ, then write that ϕ.
This will include sentences about the document and the author — rather than just the subject.
Avoiding hedging is only one aspect of classic style. I would also recommend against hedging, but I would replace hedging with more precise notions of uncertainty.
I think classic style is bad for all the situations that Pinker endorses it:
This is because I can't think of any situations where the five limitations I mention would be appropriate.
Quick emarks and questions:
EA is constrained by the following formula:
Number of Donors x Average Donation = Number of Grants x Average Grant
If we lose a big donor, there are four things EA can do:
(Cross-post from EA forum)
Are you saying that it's too early to claim "SBF committed fraud", or "SBF did something unethical", or "if SBF committed fraud, then he did something unethical"?
I think we have enough evidence to assert all three.
Thanks for the comments. I've made two edits:
There is a spectrum between two types of people, K-types and T-types.
I've tried to include views I endorse in both columns, however most of my own views are right-hand column because I am more K-type than T-type.
You're correct that this is a spectrum rather than a strict binary. I should've clarified this. But I think it's quite common to describe spectra by their extrema, for example: