All of TiffanyAching's Comments + Replies

Metrics to evaluate a Presidency

It means things like not giving preferential treatment to one sex or gender over another when there isn't an actual reason for doing so, and finding ways to reduce disadvantages faced by one sex or gender even if they are (incidental) consequences of real differences.

gjm already stated what he meant by gender equality quite clearly. I see no justification for putting words in his mouth.

Metrics to evaluate a Presidency

To stick my oar in for a minute, as I am wont to do, I didn't find your comment offensive. That which is true should never be offensive, and those are some real metrics by which gender inequality can be measured.

However I didn't get "humorous". I thought it was intended to be serious, though I could interpret the intended message in several different ways - interpretations to which my responses could range anywhere from "total agreement" to "not even worth engaging", so I decided to see where the discussion went before joining... (read more)

Evaluating Moral Theories

The problem with your moral theory, as I see it, is that it also fails to meet (c), because there could be many plausible, but horrific in my view, arguments you could make [...]

I was expecting this response either from you or someone else, but didn't want to make my previous comment too long (a habit of mine) by preempting it. It's a totally valid next question, and I've considered it before.

Criterion (c) is that the principles of my moral system must not lead when taken to their logical extent to a society that I, the proponent of the system, would co... (read more)

I have nothing to add, it just delights me to see that someone out there is still using the diaeresis.

Evaluating Moral Theories

Hey, I appreciate your ability to engage constructively with a critique of your views! Rare gift, that.

if your theory rests on arbitrary principles, then you admit that it's nothing more than a subjective guide

As other people have pointed out, maybe we should consider here what we mean by "arbitrary". In your initial statement you said that non-arbitrary was that which was derived logically from facts on which everyone agrees. So to avoid ambiguity maybe we should just say that criterion (b) is "the principle(s) of the moral system must... (read more)

0ArisC5yThanks for the continuing dialogue! I am fine to tweak the definition of (b) to be facts-based as you say. And you are right to say that there may be many facts to choose from - I never said libertarianism is definitely the only possible theory to meet all criteria, just the only one I could come up with. So, yes, Douchetarianists, as you call them, could also claim that their theory meets (b), but I'd argue it fails to meet (c). The problem with your moral theory, as I see it, is that it also fails to meet (c), because there could be many plausible, but horrific in my view, arguments you could make: e.g. that eugenics would improve the species' odds of survival, as would assigning jobs to people based on how good they would be at them vs letting them choose for themselves &c.
Evaluating Moral Theories

Hi ArisC! Gratz on your first post. A few thoughts:

I can't agree with your b) criterion - non-arbitrary. The fundamental principle has to be arbitrary or you end up in a turtles-all-the-way-down situation where each principle rest upon another. "The fundamental principle is to not infringe on the liberty of others". Why not? "Because everyone agrees there's no way to prove moral authority". No they don't. Billions don't. "Well they should, because it's true." Well so what if it is? "That means you have no right to impose ... (read more)

0TheAncientGeek5yYou need to distinguish between arbitrary foundations and unfounded foundations. By definition, the most basic foundations of a theory are not going to be rendered non arbitrary by deeper foundations, but that does not mean they are arbitrary....arbitrariness may be removed by other means, such as by choosing your axioms to lead to the results you want.
0ArisC5yThanks for your response! First, re the suitability of (b) as a general criterion: if your theory rests on arbitrary principles, then you admit that it's nothing more than a subjective guide... so then what's the point of trying to argue for it? If at the end of the day it all comes down to personal preference, you might as well give up on the discussion, no? With regards to liberty meeting that criterion, it is at least a fact on which everyone can agree that not everyone agrees on an absolute moral authority. So starting from this fact, we can derive the principle that nothing gives you the right to infringe on other people's liberty. This doesn't exactly presuppose a "fairness" principle - it's sort of like bootstrapping: it just presupposes the absence of a right to harm others. I am not saying that not being violent is right; I am saying that being violent isn't. Your point on the fact that this theory leaves a lot of moral dilemmas uncovered, you are right. Sadly, I don't have an answer to that. Perhaps I could add a 4th criterion, to do with completeness, but I suspect that no moral theory would meet all of the criteria. But to be clear here - you are not rejecting criterion a as far as I can tell; you are just saying it's not sufficient, right? As for your personal principle - I cannot say whether it meets criteria a and c because you have not provided enough details, e.g. how do you balance justice vs honesty vs liberty? If what you are saying is "it all comes down to the particular situation", then you are not describing a moral theory but personal judgement. But I appreciate the critique - my arguing back isn't me blindly rejecting any counter-arguments!
0.999...=1: Another Rationality Litmus Test

Of all the different explanations and interpretations people have been giving in this thread this is the most satisfying to my mathematically illiterate brain. It's troublesome for me to grasp how 0.999... isn't always just a bit smaller than 1 because my brain wants to think that even an infinitely tiny difference is still a difference. But when you put it like that - there's nowhere between the two where you can draw a line between them - it seems to click in. 0.999... hugs 1 so tight that you can't meaningfully separate them.

Polling Thread January 2017

I would think that for the purposes of the poll that doesn't count, because it's more a "guided thinking" thing - you're helping yourself to organize your thoughts by framing your problem as an imaginary dialogue. I do it too, with mixed results (I sometimes just end up scolding myself which I don't think is particularly constructive). But I would think it's qualitatively different to an actual dialogue with another mind which has at least the potential to introduce solutions or perspectives that you would not have come up with on your own. Maybe you should create a similar poll to see how many people talk to themselves and whether it helps!

2lifelonglearner5yHm, I think that might actually just be good for seeing how prevalent this is, esp. around here. I suspect that a high frequency of talking to yourself or high quality of internal conversations is strongly associated with good introspection or focusing (in the Gendlin sense).
0.999...=1: Another Rationality Litmus Test

Cool, another one! I'm supposed to be sleeping now rather than working, so I can engage with this.

(b), "there are mysterious forces at work here"

we would have to multiply by infinity and that wouldn't prove anything because we already know such operations are suspect.

Infinity is weird, and it makes math weird. I think a fuzzy version of this belief is pretty widespread - look what you get when you do an image search for "divide by zero", for example. For me, and I suspect for a lot of people with a very little general math knowledge... (read more)

1Gurkenglas2yHere's how dividing by zero leads to results like 1=2: You may have heard that functions must be well-defined, which means x=y => f(x)=f(y). This property of functions is what allows you to apply any function to both sides of an equation and preserve truth doing it. If the function is one-to-one (ie x=y <=> f(x)=f(y)), truth is preserved both ways and you can un-apply a function from both sides of an equation as well. Multiplication by a factor c is one-to-one iff c isn't 0. Therefore, un-applying multiplication by 0 is not in general truth-preserving.
2cousin_it5yInfinities are okay if they come with a definition of convergence. For example, we can say that an infinite sequence of real numbers x1, x2, x3... "converges" to a real number y if every interval of the real line centered around y, no matter how small, contains all but finitely many elements of the sequence. For example, the sequence 1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4... converges to 0, because every interval centered around 0 contains all but finitely many of 1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4... Some sequences don't converge to anything, like 0, 1, 0, 1..., but it's an easy exercise to prove that no sequence can converge to two different values at once. Now the only sensible way to understand 0.999... is to define it as whatever value 0.9, 0.99, 0.999... converges to. But that's obviously 1 and that's the end of the story for people who understand math. You can use the same procedure for infinite sums. x1+x2+x3+... can be defined as whatever value x1, x1+x2, x1+x2+x3... converges to. For example, 1+1/2+1/4+1/8+... = 2, because the sequence of partial sums is 2-1, 2-1/2, 2-1/4, 2-1/8, ... and converges to 2. By now it should be clear that 1+2+3+4+... doesn't converge to anything under our definition. But our definition isn't the only one possible. You can make another self-consistent definition of convergence, where 1+2+3+4+... will indeed converge to -1/12. But that definition is complex, esoteric and much less useful than the regular one, which is why that viral video really shouldn't have used it without remark. Most paradoxes involving infinity are just pulling a fast one on you by not specifying what they mean by convergence. If you try to use the common sense definition above, or really any self-consistent way to assign values to infinite expressions, the paradoxes usually go away.
Thoughts on "Operation Make Less Wrong the single conversational locus", Month 1

It's awesome that you guys are really considering ways to incorporate changes people want.

I wonder, since you're going to have to put a lot of work into the refurbishing project and resources are finite, would it be worth generating some kind of survey for members to take about what kind of features/alterations/options they'd most like to see? I ask because it occurs to me that soliciting ideas in open threads, while absolutely useful as far as encouraging discussion and exchange of ideas goes, might present a patchy or unduly-slanted picture of what the ... (read more)

Marginal Revolution Thoughts on Black Lives Matter Movement

So the cop can create a self-consistent time loop, where he predicts that you will resist arrest, arrest you for this specific crime, and if you resist that arrest, that retroactively makes the arrest legal. (Sorry, I don't have a link, but at least in one situation the court said that such reasoning was okay.)

Here's an example via one of my favorite blogs, if you'd like to have a look. Summary - a lawyer who was verbally objecting (calmly) to a cop's interaction with her client was told that she would be "arrested for resisting arrest" if she... (read more)

Thoughts on "Operation Make Less Wrong the single conversational locus", Month 1

This would be a problem with an obvious solution if Discussion was structured anything like a normal forum.

Main is one thing. The "community blog" structure works there. But Discussion in reality functions like a forum and it suffers from the lack of basic, common forum-features like sticky threads, posts bumping based on activity, and the ability to create sub-fora.

If politics had its own sub-forum, people could choose to enter it or not, simple as that. Nothing fancy about it - political discussion available, but cordoned off behind one more cl... (read more)

0Qiaochu_Yuan5yYeah, I agree that it would be really great if Discussion had subreddits.
Infinite Summations: A Rationality Litmus Test

I'll try to come back and engage more substantively with the material later when I'm not actually supposed to be working, but for now just wanted to say bravo - this is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to see when you mentioned making math posts. I'd take posts like this every day if I could get 'em.

6shev5yThanks! Validation really, really helps with making more. I hope to, though I'm not sure I can churn them out that quickly since I have to wait for an idea to come along.
Universal Hate

That's not helpful. One definition is "being willing to oppose someone even at personal cost", but that doesn't include cases like "I hate chocolate ice cream."

Okay - what would you say is the best way to articulate what you mean by "hating" liars, for example, as opposed to "hating" chocolate ice cream?

(You don't really hate chocolate ice cream, do you?)

Marginal Revolution Thoughts on Black Lives Matter Movement

Well, your original point was that Black Lives Matter is justified in insisting upon Black Lives and that countering with All Lives Matter was a bad thing to do. I would guess that BLM would strongly object to e.g. Poor Lives Matter as well.

Maybe they would, but I don't think I would be quite so quick to dismissive Poor Lives Matter, as they would have legit beef, so to speak.

Actually if a real movement sprung up with the intention of uniting poor blacks and poor whites in a shared resistance to police brutality and systemic injustice generally, that co... (read more)

What would you like to see posts about?

Absolutely. There are link posts to decent content sitting with no discussion. There was an article about octopuses a couple of days ago that I really enjoyed and would have liked to discuss - plenty of LW-relevant material in it about how brains work - but I couldn't think of anything to start the ball rolling other than "aren't octopuses cool?" which I think would have been Frowned Upon.

(To be fair to morganism, who posted that link, they do at least create a comment on each one with a relevant quote from the article, which is more than some people do.)

What would you like to see posts about?

Could you maybe consider creating "split-level" math/physics/computer science posts? A few interesting bits of beginner-level information or introductions to basic concepts for the noobs like me, and then proper meaty technical stuff for the well-informed. There'd be something for everyone that way - no need to choose between turning off the beginners or boring the advanced.

2lifelonglearner5yI know it's not exactly what you're looking for, but you might find arbital [https://arbital.com/] very cool if you haven't checked it out yet. It's a wiki for math and cs topics that tries to scale with what you know, and it has lots of cool features like confidence intervals from experts for controversial claims, among other things.
Thoughts on "Operation Make Less Wrong the single conversational locus", Month 1

Well, I've been here two weeks now and it's been good. Interesting. Learned some things, had some decent discussions.

I don't mind the links, I just don't think they should be posted one by one, and I don't think the post title should be the link. Put the link in the body of the post. And users who like to contribute lots of links to random articles rather than their own blogs - that's fine, good even, but maybe consider collating a week's worth into one post. So you might have a few different conversations going on in the comments, so what? Better than hal... (read more)

0waveman5yWell rationality is hard work and demanding; maybe that is confusing you. It is hard work to put out a small amount of well researched and well-reasoned material and very easy to churn out a lot of low quality material. I am not suggesting that your material is low quality but I think you could probably move somewhat in the direction -volume +quality.
Universal Hate

Well, Science having pointed out above that membership in a political party is a choice made by an adult, rather than a group people are born into like nationalities or - I'd argue - many religions, I conceded the point you're making. It was in among a bunch of other stuff so here's the quote:

With big demographic groups, your hate cannot be directed at a specific action that they all, by definition, must have taken - except, as you pointed out, in the case of freely-chosen political party membership, but then only in the case that you consider membership of that party in and of itself, regardless of other actions or beliefs, such an awful thing as to deserve hatred.

Thoughts on "Operation Make Less Wrong the single conversational locus", Month 1

FWIW, I was linked to a SSC post today about "race and criminal justice in America" - so, five-alarm hot button topic - and I quickly read through about half of a super-long comments section, and it was great. Plenty of debate, minimal spittle, collaborative and civil, fact-based and in good faith.

Open thread, Jan. 16 - Jan. 22, 2016

The urge to protect and prioritize children is partly biological/evolutionary - they have to be "cute" otherwise who'd put up with all the screaming and poop long enough to raise them to adulthood? The urge to protect and nurture them is a survival-of-the-species thing. Baby animals are cute because they resemble human babies - disproportionately big heads, big eyes, mewling noises, helplessness.

But from a moral perspective I'd argue that there is a greater moral duty to protect and care for children because they can neither fend nor advocate for... (read more)

0Elo5yYes. I agree with most of what you have said. I would advocate a "do no harm", attitude. Rather than a "provide added benefit" just because they are children. I wouldn't advocate to neglect children, but I wouldn't put them ahead of adults. As for what we should do. I don't have answers to these questions, I suspect it comes down to how each person weighs the factors in their own heads, and consequently how they want the world to be balanced. Just like some people care about animal suffering and others do not. (I like kids, definitely, but moral value is currently subjectively determined)
John Nash's Ideal Money: The Motivations of Savings and Thrift

...that's a very plain-vanilla story with little drama -- compared to the baseline of 'net forums and online communities in general.

Well yeah, I suppose that's true. But the screenwriter can zhuzh it up a bit, throw in a murder somewhere.

It would be... regrettable if LW turned into an ideologically homogeneous place where everyone sees the world in a basically similar way.

Absolutely. I didn't come here for everyone to agree with me. But disagreement, even passionate ideological disagreement, isn't the same as obsessively following people around to d... (read more)

Marginal Revolution Thoughts on Black Lives Matter Movement

Good point well made. I have nothing to add but agreement. Also I may steal this analogy and use it in future, just so you know.

Especially because you've noted that getting rid of the third guard does help. The argument that I see often but don't understand is that trying to ditch the third guard is not worth doing because it doesn't solve the wider peasant-injustice issue.

I don't mean just with the police brutality/American race-relations thing either - it seems almost any time people want to put work into fixing Specific Issue X, there are other people standing back and saying it's a waste of effort because it won't solve Larger Issue Y. Winds me right up.

Universal Hate

As far as "rational" in some situations in may not be worth spending the effort to determine if this person is one of those extremely rare "good X's".

Granted - but it's not necessary to determine that. It's only necessary to recognize that there are "good Xs" and direct your hate to what you hate about the "bad Xs". If some but not all Blues are thieves and you hate theft, it's only necessary to recognize that and say "I hate thieves" instead of "I hate Blues" in order to make your real meaning... (read more)

0Jiro5yBy this reasoning, one should say "I hate people who want to kill the Jews", but not say "I hate Nazis", on the grounds that there may be an extremely rare good Nazi who is only a Nazi because he was raised in a town where Nazis happen to be so common that he was a Nazi for cultural reasons or something like that.
John Nash's Ideal Money: The Motivations of Savings and Thrift

Thanks gjm! Once again you have used your presumably-valuable time to give me a really thorough explanation. Jeez, what a story.

Eugine's new account was banned. Another one appeared. That was banned. Another appeared. After a while, new Eugine accounts were appearing faster than the old ones were closed down.

There's movie material here. A dark psychological indie-thing about obsession and rage. "Troll", starring... Steve Carrell? He was dead creepy in Foxcatcher.

I mean, to mess with a community once or twice is one thing. To keep coming back ... (read more)

0Lumifer5y...that's a very plain-vanilla story with little drama -- compared to the baseline of 'net forums and online communities in general. It would be... regrettable if LW turned into an ideologically homogeneous place where everyone sees the world in a basically similar way.
Marginal Revolution Thoughts on Black Lives Matter Movement

Let me offer you alternative hypotheses. One is that victimization is determined by the socioeconomic status -- basically your wealth and/or ability to demonstrate high-class markers. For example, I doubt that white trailer trash is treated particularly gently by the cops.

Actually I think that's true too. There's nothing mutually exclusive about them, as you point out yourself. When I said "disproportionately determined by race" I didn't mean determined only by race. I'd guess - just a guess, no data - that there's a gender disproportion too -... (read more)

1Lumifer5yWell, your original point was that Black Lives Matter is justified in insisting upon Black Lives and that countering with All Lives Matter was a bad thing to do. I would guess that BLM would strongly object to e.g. Poor Lives Matter as well. The thing is, there are systematic selection biases. People with certain character traits (note: not clinical mental health issues) self-select into specific jobs. Yes :-D
Marginal Revolution Thoughts on Black Lives Matter Movement

Thanks for the link, that's an interesting and useful article. Updated my probabilities in a few areas. Also an amazingly civil, rational comments section given the nature of the material.

It didn't help me very much on police shootings though - lot of way-out-of-date data that points both ways depending on area. No racial bias in shooting recorded in New York, seriously significant effect in Tennessee. Given what I know about American racism-by-state that's almost disappointingly obvious. (Again though, out of date - relevant laws in Memphis have changed ... (read more)

3Viliam5yOh, I heard some crazy examples. Like, in theory a cop needs a legal reason to arrest you, but in practice you can be arrested for a crime, and resisting arrest is itself a crime. So the cop can create a self-consistent time loop [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novikov_self-consistency_principle], where he predicts that you will resist arrest, arrest you for this specific crime, and if you resist that arrest, that retroactively makes the arrest legal. (Sorry, I don't have a link, but at least in one situation the court said that such reasoning was okay.) And how does the cop prove that you resisted the arrest? That's trivial; his word against yours is enough. But if a technical proof on camera is needed, he can just kick you or pinch you in a place away from camera, have your reaction recorded, and interpret it as your spontaneous attack. But this is a problem separate from racism. Agreed. Just the fact that something is too complicated to prove, doesn't make it automatically false. Doesn't make it automatically true, either. It's true that higher average racism in general society most likely implies higher average racism among cops. It's also true that innocent black people are going to be killed disproportionally more often whether there is a racism or not. So... further research is needed?
1Science5yThis analogy would work if there was only one cop. However, if all the other cops are only looking for black criminals, you will have a much easier time finding white criminals because no other cops are looking there. The equilibrium distribution is that cops look for white and black criminals in proportion to their criminality. What do you mean by "racist"? Is someone who, correctly, believes that blacks are more likely to commit crimes than whites "racist". What about someone who's internalized this true belief?
2niceguyanon5yI'm not disagreeing with you but I just want to add to the conversation that I think the SSC comment is closest to the issue when he/she said: Let's say you and another guard are manning a castle gate, and there is a serial killer outside in the village of 100 people. A peasant knocks and says "let me in". You reply "I am sorry I value my life more than yours I can not let you in, even if you are probably not the killer". The other guard says "I despise all peasants, I would never let you in" This repeats again and again. Both you and the other guard have caused a disproportionate amount of impact on innocent peasants, and your actions are indistinguishable, yet you are not prejudiced. If you change the mind of the other guard to not hate peasants, the predicament of the poor peasants do not change – you both still refuse entry. That doesn't mean reducing prejudice can't help. Imagine a third guard that is also a peasant hating misanthrope but he takes his hate to another level, so that when a peasant knocks, the third guard says to the others "Hey this guy is a peasant, let's just kill him". You and the second guard relieve the third guard of duty and that really did help the situation of the peasants, you saved them from violent prejudice, but the problem of innocent villagers stuck outside the wall remain. Getting rid of the third guard does help, but doesn't solve everything.
2Lumifer5yA couple of things for you to ponder. You take for granted that Is it? Let me offer you alternative hypotheses. One is that victimization is determined by the socioeconomic status -- basically your wealth and/or ability to demonstrate high-class markers. For example, I doubt that white trailer trash is treated particularly gently by the cops. If you want something, um, more innate, I can offer you IQ. I bet that low-IQ people are disproportionately more victimized by police. Of course these three metrics -- race, socioeconomic position, IQ -- are correlated with each other. Why did you pick race? The other thing to consider is that America is a multiracial society. You say Sure. But a fair number of cops are black. Some of them are racist, right? You are arguing that this must lead to disproportionate impact on non-blacks. Is that so? You might argue that black racism is not racism and that you're talking specifically about some variation of white supremacism. OK, then consider Asians. They are not white and a white supremacist should be strongly biased against them (as indeed white supremacists are). So, are Asians brutalized by police more than whites? No? Why not?
Marginal Revolution Thoughts on Black Lives Matter Movement

Why? Because I'm showing that your position is BS?

Believe it or not, there are other reasons for considering the usefulness of continuing a discussion. But if you've decided I'm "afraid of losing" there's not much I could say to convince you otherwise, is there?

In that case the OP doesn't belong on LW.

You're right - it doesn't at all, and that's the first and last thing I should have said on the topic here. I don't think political posts never have a place on LW, but they have to clear a certain bar of relevance to be worth the potential do... (read more)

Universal Hate

I'd say the most important property is whether being Catholic is part of one's identity. Specifically "I admire those who are better Catholics than myself and consider them to be holier and more virtuous people than myself. I feel somewhat guilty about not being more like them."

I take your point, but that gives the notional I-hate-Catholics guy a pretty difficult task of differentiation, since plenty of people who identify as Catholics - if you asked them if they were Catholics, they'd say yes - don't mean that. They mean "I was baptized&... (read more)

Marginal Revolution Thoughts on Black Lives Matter Movement

But why is it fair to focus on "Whichever Lives Are Most Affected By Police Brutality At The Moment" when that's a tiny subset of the lives being affected by brutality. The number of lives affected by the "brutality" of blacks is much much larger, yet focusing on that would be racist.

In the specific context of police brutality in America, victimization - of the innocent, by the way, as well as the guilty - is disproportionately determined by race. This disparity is the specific problem BLM was set up to address. By the logic that say... (read more)

Universal Hate

What about practicing membership? What about identifying as?

Well, what about it? There are people who practice Catholicism and people who don't. There are people who say "I am Catholic" meaning "I actively follow the rules of Catholicism", and and people who say "I am Catholic" meaning "I was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church when I was a kid". They all go down as Catholics on the census. Practicing Catholics are a subset of the number of people recorded as Catholics in the world.

How so? What's the r

... (read more)
Universal Hate

Okay. I assume you mean religions and political parties. Nominal membership in a religion requires no specific action. 90% of Irish people would be considered "Catholic" by virtue of having been baptized and confirmed as children. They need not have taken any specific action as adults to be afforded that designation, nor do they need to be "practising" in any active sense - going to Mass, for example. Many don't. They still go down as Catholics.

In the case of political parties, you're right that an individual needs to register, or vote... (read more)

Universal Hate

Perhaps I should have been more specific - I did not mean groups in the sense of "people who have all performed a certain action", like murder. I meant "groups" in the sense of things likes nationalities, ethnicities, major religions, large political parties. The kind of groups that are not morally uniform, if only by virtue of their size - even if membership in that group correlates to some degree with a negative action or attribute. Russia has the highest rate of alcoholism in the world, but saying "I hate Russians because they'r... (read more)

Marginal Revolution Thoughts on Black Lives Matter Movement

I think there's some miscommunication here regarding the quoted sentence. You used the phrase "Whichever Lives Are Most Affected By Police Brutality At The Moment". I stated that this group, right now at the moment, is "black Americans". I wouldn't have thought you would disagree with that statement given that you said it was acceptable for "Black Lives" to be used as a "convenient shorthand" for WLAMABPBATM, and you've just reiterated that being black is highly correlated with being unfairly victimized. Where's the... (read more)

Marginal Revolution Thoughts on Black Lives Matter Movement

I don't know if this is the right place to have this conversation but I can't help myself. Mods - feel free to kill this.

Disclaimer, I'm not American. I don't have a dog in this fight one way or another, but I can pattern-match.

People object to "All Lives Matter" because it derails the discussion and implies that it's somehow unfair to focus, as you said, on "Whichever Lives Are Most Affected By Police Brutality At The Moment" - which in America means black people specifically. It's the same reason people object when a discussion of se... (read more)

0bogus5yUm, nope it doesn't. For example, a black person who lives in an affluent, low-crime area and adopts high-status signifiers such as wearing a suit-and-tie is extremely unlikely to be affected by police brutality. This is not to say that being black isn't highly correlated with being victimized in this way, but the whole point of the previous comment is that correlation is not certainty, and there's nothing 'specific' about it. This is also why your criticism of the "All Lives Matter!" meme is rather off track - the whole notion that such things can "derail the discussion" is unproven and quite possibly meaningless. In all probability, it's little more than what we here at Less Wrong would call a cached thought, or even more pointedly a semantic stopsign, or thought-terminating cliché.
John Nash's Ideal Money: The Motivations of Savings and Thrift

I'm dying to know, who the heck is this Eugine character? I keep seeing the name but I don't know the backstory.

8gjm5yOK, here's the back story. Once upon a time, there was an LW user called Eugine_Nier. (Not, I believe, the person's actual name, but a pun on "engineer".) Eugine was on the whole a valued LW contributor. There was at least one respect in which his positions tended to be some way from those of the typical LW user; he was considerably to the "right" on various sociopolitical issues, and quite outspokenly so. Eugine got into arguments about race, gender, feminism and the like from time to time. After a while, some people noticed that after getting into such arguments they were mysteriously getting an awful lot of downvotes: it seemed that someone was going through their old comments and voting them down regardless of content. It didn't take long to figure out that it was almost certainly Eugine doing it. The people this happened to were mostly ones who had had arguments with Eugine, but in some cases the trigger seemed to be merely expressing views markedly different from his. (Anything smacking of feminism or "social justice" was liable to attract the Wrath of Eugine.) After a while, Eugine got banned from LW; I think it was for a combination of this mass-downvoting behaviour (which is generally considered improper; votes are "meant" to be expressions of opinion about particular comments rather than particular users; but note that this opinion is not universally agreed with on LW). Soon after, another account popped up whose behaviour was notably similar to Eugine's, and the mass-downvoting was observed not to have stopped. Eugine's new account was banned. Another one appeared. That was banned. Another appeared. After a while, new Eugine accounts were appearing faster than the old ones were closed down. While this was going on, Eugine's behaviour changed a bit too. More and more of his comments were on those sociopolitical issues, they were more and more consistently hostile in tone, and he had less and less to say about anything else. And his mass-downvoting be
Universal Hate

I must state that I don't think this meets the general "relevance" standard for political posts on LW, and I don't personally want to see that standard lowered.

That said, I do agree with the central point - in fact it's because it seems so ethically obvious that I don't think it clears the relevance bar. Is there anyone here on LW who is likely to disagree with the statement "hating every member of a group X on principle is irrational and counter-productive"? I'm not trying to be sarky, it's a good post, I just don't see how it's likely to provoke a discussion or a debate here.

The trolleycar dilemma, an MIT moral problem app

They're allowing users to build their own scenarios and add them as well, so it looks like the intention is to let the complexity grow over time from a basic starting point.

Actually, I wonder whether they might find that people really don't want a great deal of complexity in the decision-making process. People might prefer to go with a simple "minimize loss off life, prioritize kids" rule and leave it at that, because we're used to cars as a physical hazard that kill blindly when they kill at all. People might be more morally comfortable with smart cars that aren't too smart.

Open thread, Jan. 16 - Jan. 22, 2016

Yes, that's the sort of idea I was getting at - though not anything so extreme.

Of course I don't really think Elo was saying that at all anyway, I'm not trying to strawman. I'd just like to see the idea clarified a bit.

(We use substitution ciphers as spoiler tags? Fancy!)

0Elo5yI am not keen on a dystopian thought police. We have at the moment a lot more care given to children than to adults. For example children's hospitals VS adult's hospitals. The idea is not drawn out to further conclusions as you have done, but I had to ask why we do the thing where we care about children's hospitals more than adult's hospitals, and generally decided that I don't like the way it is. I believe common behaviour to like children more comes out of some measure of, "they are cute" and is similar to why we like baby animals more than fully grown ones. Simply because they have a babyness to them. If that is the case then it's a relatively unfounded belief and a bias that I would rather not carry. Adults are (probably) productive members of society, we can place moralistic worth on that life as it stands in the relative concrete present, not the potential that you might be measuring when a child grows up. Anyone could wake up tomorrow and try to change the world, or wake up tomorrow and try to lie around on the beach. What causes people to change suddenly? Not part of this puzzle. I am confident that the snapshot gives a reasonably informative view of someone's worth. They are working hard in EA? That's their moral worth they present when they reveal with their actions what they care about. What about old people? I don't know... Have not thought that far ahead. Was dealing with the cute-baby bias first. I suppose they are losing worth to society as they get less productive. And at the same time they have proven themselves worthy of being held/protected/cared for (or maybe they didn't).
Open thread, Jan. 16 - Jan. 22, 2016

Could you explain this a little more? I don't quite see your reasoning. Leaving aside the fact that "morally valuable" seems too vague to me to be meaningfully measured anyway, adults aren't immutably fixed at a "moral level" at any given age. Andrei "Rostov Ripper" Chikatilo didn't take up murdering people until he was in his forties. At twenty, he hadn't proven anything.

Bob at twenty years old hasn't murdered anybody, though Bob at forty might. Now you can say that we have more data about Bob at twenty than we do about Bob ... (read more)

0Viliam5yThat reminds me of a scene in Psycho-Pass [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psycho-Pass] where... ...va gur svefg rcvfbqr, n ivpgvz bs n ivbyrag pevzr vf nyzbfg rkrphgrq ol gur cbyvpr sbepr bs n qlfgbcvna fbpvrgl, onfrq ba fgngvfgvpny ernfbavat gung genhzngvmrq crbcyr ner zber yvxryl gb orpbzr cflpubybtvpnyyl hafgnoyr, naq cflpubybtvpnyyl hafgnoyr crbcyr ner zber yvxryl gb orpbzr pevzvanyf va gur shgher. (rot 13)
Open thread, Jan. 16 - Jan. 22, 2016

Fair enough. Kindest thing to do really. I think people have a hard time walking away even when the argument is almost certainly going to be fruitless.

John Nash's Ideal Money: The Motivations of Savings and Thrift

Flinter, I'd like to know what you want to happen here. I know that people aren't reacting to you the way you think they should. So what if they did?

Say everyone here shut up and let you make as many posts as you need to give us this important information. Then what? What do you want everyone to do then? It seems to shock and upset you when anyone raises a counterargument or looks for flaws in the argument or even expresses doubt. And it appears to be tantamount to heresy to suggest that John Nash might have had an idea that is imperfect or inapplicable.

So what is there left for us to do, if we're not supposed to argue or debate the question?

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply
Feature Wish List for LessWrong

I don't know if this has been discussed before, but what's the argument against the standard response-bumps-thread model? You've got active threads falling off the first page while threads that haven't successfully started a discussion are just sitting there.

Thread-bumping also allows for the creation of long-term threads - threads that might not be worth turning into stickies but are worthy of being resurrected many times when somebody has something new to contribute to them. "Your Favorite Rationality-Related Books", just as an example. Somebod... (read more)

Feature Wish List for LessWrong

I agree totally about sticky threads. I'd never even seen a forum without them until I came here. Having to repost the Welcome thread and the open threads over and over seems like such a PITA.

The trolleycar dilemma, an MIT moral problem app

This is pretty fun in a sick way. Suck it, pedestrians! I wonder how much their results will be skewed by people answering flippantly?

For the record I didn't mess with the test, I honestly tried to judge the scenarios, even though trolleycar problems drive me nuts. I swear if I'm ever in that freakin' trolley I'll run over the five kids on one track then go back and beat the other one to death with a shovel.

If a consensus emerges I predict that it would go "kids over adults, humans over animals, law-abiders over law breakers" and maybe "old ... (read more)

1cousin_it5yAmusingly, the test also wants to know your preferences on men vs women, overweight vs healthy, and poor vs rich. Or at least it's happy to insinuate such preferences even if you answered all questions using other criteria. I'm surprised the smart folks at MIT didn't add more questions to unambiguously figure out the user's criteria whenever possible.
0morganism5yAm not able to load game myself but how about adding a scenario: You have a computer researcher who is planning to pitch an upgrade to the trolley car system logic and computation systems on one track.....
Welcome to Less Wrong! (11th thread, January 2017) (Thread B)

Then write a clear and cogent post about Ideal Money - in one single thread, not three - that meets the posting standards.

That's your only option right now. You can stamp your foot about it all you like but that is the case. Show people that you can behave sensibly and they will listen to you. If you keep allowing your frustration to override your common sense you'll just keep having discussions like this.

I've tried to be helpful because you're new, but I don't think there's any more I can say. I'm tapping out.

0Flinter5yYou don't understand what I am saying. But others reading our dialogue will. I'll say it like this: Nash doesn't need me to jump through YOUR hoops to make his argument correct and valueable for this community and the world. You said you were going to read his 8 page essay, you could have read it by now...why are you still attacking my character, the delivery, and the messenger?
Welcome to Less Wrong! (11th thread, January 2017) (Thread B)

I think the problem here is that this a place for people who accept the possibility that they could be wrong and look to others to check and maybe improve their ideas - so that we can all help each other be "Less Wrong".

You have an idea that you're certain is right, and you don't think anybody here can possibly improve it or contribute anything to it. That's why people are questioning whether this is the right place for your material.

You also haven't had time to build up credibility - not John Nash's credibility, your credibility. That's why I suggested participating in the community a bit before insisting that people listen to you.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (11th thread, January 2017) (Thread B)

Okay, I hear you, but the site has its own rules about presentation and dialogue. Given that you've said it's something that only you can explain correctly to people, maybe you'd actually be better off starting a blog and putting it in there? Then you could do it your own way and present your information as you see fit. Because if you explain it here people might not listen the way you want them to, and that might be very frustrating for you.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (11th thread, January 2017) (Thread B)

Hi Flinter, welcome to Less Wrong.

Don't be too upset about a mod moving your post. You just need to get a bit more familiar with the site rules before you dive in. I'm sure it's nothing to do with their views on John Nash. If I made a post about how much I love Terry Pratchett, a mod would take it down for being irrelevant, but that wouldn't mean they necessarily disapproved of Terry Pratchett, would it?

Maybe take a day or two to read some threads, make a few comments and settle in here. You've got plenty of time to make your arguments once you've found your feet a bit.

X Is Not About Y: Technological Improvements and Cognitive-Physical Demands

And then every job applicant needs a WOC (Widget Operations Certificate) before they'll even be considered for the role, and then there's a whole quasi-academic professional body set up to provide training courses and administer the WOC test, and so that provides employment to a bunch of Widget Operations Instructors... Economics is weird.

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