All of weathersystems's Comments + Replies

Explorative Questions towards Argumentation + GitHub

There are a few things that sound similar to what you're talking about. The first is the process of writing an RFC: Also wikipedia must need to do many of the things you describe, so looking into how they reach consensus may be interesting for you.  Also, there are attempts to have more of a direct democracy style governance in the US, and they have certain procedures that you may want to look into:

I do like ... (read more)

Explorative Questions towards Argumentation + GitHub

I'm still not clear on what exactly you're wanting to do with Github. 

  • Can you give an example use case for your project?
  • What do you see the "templates" doing in this project?
1cod3d14dHere's an article ( on how Washington DC is using GitHub to update and maintain its laws. The suggestion from the article is that citizens would be able to make changes and take a more active involvement in the creation of laws. I'm not necessarily suggesting the possibility because there's a number of strong reasons why this might not be a good idea (if you read the comments). Could something be applied to collective reasoning? The templates in this sense could be used as the format to reach consensus (like a law?). Let's say a group is discussing a political topic and all parties involved have mutually agreed to a number of objectives of the dialogue. Including mutual respect for differing opinions and the need to upheld rigor and principles to maximize the chances of all agreeing and having the optimal outcome. In this sense, prior to the discussion, there would be formats to follow to reach an agreement. So, depending on the topic and which appropriate template is chosen the chances of success are 'almost' guaranteed because the underlining logic is agreed upon and already proven. Therefore, the question could be, is there a format of taking differing opinions (inputs) at certain stages of an argument, which if the evidence and results (output) are agreed upon can solve the initial topics question and then be applied to any number of topics (if in a certain format). In this sense, you would be 'coding' or adding to the original document your position and reasoning of certain subsets of the overarching logic of the argument. These would be agreed upon prior to when the template is chosen. Meaning you could complete a number of reasoning practices before the different parties are actually engaged in the mental activities of evaluating judgment and critique etc (arguing).
How to make more people interested in rationality?

What do you mean by "reach out to people"? Usually that just means contact them. But here you seem to mean something different.

1mukashi17dYou are right, I will clarify the question. Thank you!
What question would you like to collaborate on?

Thanks. The "drawing what you see" vs "drawing what you think" distinction combined with the images helped me understand the idea better.

This seems somewhat related to what Scott Alexander called "concept shaped holes." So you're saying that some people have a "concept of how to draw what you see" shaped hole, and that Edwards has some techniques of helping you fill that gap.

Are you specifically looking for conceptual shifts that would allow you to do something better? Or is just being able to understand something you previously didn't understand enough? L... (read more)

2cousin_it2moSpecifically looking for conceptual shifts that allow you to do something better.

Thanks for writing up your thoughts here. I hope you wont mind a little push-back.

There's a premise underlying much of your thought that I don't think is true.

But as the world of Social Studies consists of the interactions of persons, places, and things, they are subject to the Laws of Physics, and so the tenants of Physics must apply.

I don't really see how the laws of physics apply to social interactions. To me it sounds like you're mixing up different levels of description without any reason.

Yes, at bottom we're all made up of physical stuff that physics... (read more)

What are your personal (public) Hamming questions?

I think some question in this area would work well for this collaboration I'm proposing:

If you add a question there and it gets picked I'd be happy to work on this with you.

2AllAmericanBreakfast2moHi weathersystems, I like this idea. I have a few reactions to it. First, it sounds like to be a success, you just need to find one other person to collaborate with. If you can find that person, go for it! Secondly, if your goal is to get more people interested and more questions submitted, I think it's worth taking more time to have individual conversations with specific people about topics you think they'd be interested in collaborating on based on their post history. Sussing out their level of interest, availability, and what sort of collaborative partner they'd like to find would be good. When I think about who I'd like to collaborate with via LW, I think about other writers who have independently written insightful posts on topics very close to my own interests. To me, that signals potentially fruitful ground for collaboration. I'm starting to lean away from the model that long comment chains are the best way to do LW discussion, and toward the model that the most meaningful conversation on LW happens with full, well-considered blog posts responding to other full blog posts.
What question would you like to collaborate on?

Ya I thought it was worth a try. Looks like exactly one person is putting forward a question so far. Do you have any questions you'd be interested in working on?

What question would you like to collaborate on?

Thanks for being the first person to submit a question! 

It turns people who have "no drawing talent" into people who can easily draw anything they see, not by strenuous exercise, but by a conceptual shift that can be achieved in a few hours.

Did that work for you, or do you know of any evidence that that's the case? I'm skeptical that a few hours can allow anyone to "draw anything they see" but would be happy to change my mind on that. I guess you didn't say how well they'd be able to draw after just a few hours of "conceptual shift." But I read you as... (read more)

3cousin_it2moIt worked on me. The change was surprisingly fast, in a couple days I went from "no drawing talent, stick figures only" to one-minute sketches similar to this [] or this [] (not mine, but should give the idea). Getting to this level doesn't require any technique, it's purely a conceptual shift. You learn how to trick your mind into "drawing what you see" instead of "drawing what you think". Betty Edwards describes this shift very clearly and gives a couple counterintuitive exercises for achieving it. I wouldn't be surprised if some people got it in an hour. The result isn't "drawing very well" (which takes more and different kinds of work [] ), but I'm pretty confident that I can look at anything and make a pencil drawing that looks roughly similar. It doesn't even matter what! When you "draw what you see", you no longer care if it's a person or tree or car or whatever, it's all just a bunch of shapes in your visual field that you copy to paper. In singing, there's a similar concept of "singing with breath support", which is also a kind of primitive indivisible feeling that good singers have. But as far as I know, nobody has found a description of it that would reliably work on beginners.
Which activities do you prefer to better recover productivity?
  • going for a walk
  • taking a long bath or shower
  • going to the gym
  • taking a nap if I'm tired
What question would you like to collaborate on?

I'm a bit worried that my question will be picked and then I'll be the only one working on it. So to give this thing a better chance of at least two people collaborating, I'm not submitting a question.

A Wiki for Questions

Thanks. I'd heard of wikispore, but not wikifunctions. That looks cool.

2Ruby2moThanks for mentioning the typo!
How refined is your art of note-taking?

A really easy way to set up your own wiki is to use a github repo. You can make it private if you don't want people to see it. If you use markdown and use the .md file extension, github will show the pages nicely and will even make links to other pages work.

do you ever go back to old free form notes and find yourself unable to reconstruct what you originally meant?

I don't think I've ever had that problem.

Or find the task of wading through your old free form notes unpleasant, since they're not polished?

I think it's fun. I've never found it unpleasant. And i... (read more)

How refined is your art of note-taking?

Also make sure to check out the other posts with the note taking tag if you haven't seen them already:

How refined is your art of note-taking?

I like using a wiki for notes. Something like this: There are a lot of ways to set up a wiki.

1) How consistently do you take notes when you're reading up on a new skill or subject?

I take notes for things that I want to eventually write something about, so for most things I don't end up taking notes.

2) Do you regularly refer back to old notes?

Sure. Especially keeping track of relevant sources is super useful for future me.

3) Do you approach note-taking differently for different subjects or purposes?

For notes tha... (read more)

2AllAmericanBreakfast2moI like the idea of setting up a wiki or using a wiki-like note taking app. I use Evernote a bit like that, crosslinking pages, but it's not really optimized for that. My main concern with using an app like Evergreen Notes is that a hobby project built by one person seems like a fragile place to leave a part of my brain. With your method, do you ever go back to old free form notes and find yourself unable to reconstruct what you originally meant? Or find the task of wading through your old free form notes unpleasant, since they're not polished?
4weathersystems2moAlso make sure to check out the other posts with the note taking tag if you haven't seen them already:
What is the strongest argument you know for antirealism?

If you're just looking for the arguments. This are what you're looking for:

How do you know that disinterested (not game-theoretic or instrumental) altruism is irrational / doesn't make any sense?

What is "disinterested altruism"? And why do you think it's connected to moral anti-realism?

1Michele Campolo3moI can't say I am an expert on realism and antirealism, but I have already spent time on metaethics textbooks and learning about metaethics in general. With this question I wanted to get an idea of what are the main arguments on LW, and maybe find new ideas I hadn't considered. I see a relation with realism. If certain pieces of knowledge about the physical world (how human and animal cognition works) can motivate a class of agents that we would also recognise as unbiased and rational, that would be a form of altruism that is not instrumental and not related to game theory.
A Wiki for Questions

I agree. My two questions with regards to that are:

  1. Would they accept this as a sister project? The last time they took on a sister project was something like 10 years ago (iirc)
  2. Would it be better placed as it's own Wikimedia project or could it be merged with Wikiversity?
4ChristianKl3moLast year a new movement strategy for Wikimedia was decided and part of it is the desire to add new forms of content. One new project that's at the moment in the process of formation is Wikifunctions. I don't know Wikiversity well. Given that WikiJournals decided to work within that umbrellla, it might make sense to do this also under it's umbrella. There's Wikispore []that was created as a testbed for new Wikis.
A Wiki for Questions

StackExchange only flags duplicates, that's true, but the reason is so that search is more efficient, not less. The duplicate serves as a signpost pointing to the canonical question.

Ya I get that. But why keep all the answers and stuff from the duplicates? My idea with the question wiki was to keep the duplicate question page (because maybe it's worded a bit differently and would show up differently in searches), have a pointer to the canonical question, and remove the rest of the content on that page, combining it with the canonical question page.

Also, St

... (read more)
1Nathan Arthur3moYou may also be interested in the StackOverflow Documentation [] project (now defunct []). I think it attempted to do something closer to what you're suggesting.
A Wiki for Questions

Ya I think you're basically right here. Which is why I'm not really hoping to "grow large enough to be comparable to Stack Exchange and still remain good." In fact even growing large enough and being sucky seems very hard.

My goal is just to make something that's useful to individuals. I figure if I get use out of the thing when working alone, maybe other people would too.

A Wiki for Questions

I'm not sure I'm getting your question.

I think mediawiki (the software that runs both wikipedia and this question wiki) only allows text by default. But there's no reason why the pages can't just link to relevant sources. And in fact probably some questions should be answered with just one link to the relevant wikipedia page. 

Ideally pages should synthesize relevant sources but I think just listing sources is better than nothing.

4Viliam3moMediaWiki supports plugins [], so in theory you could write your own plugin with any functionality you need... in practice, this could turn out to be a lot of work.
Challenge: know everything that the best go bot knows about go

Sure. But the question is can you know everything it knows and not be as good as it? That is, does understanding the go bot in your sense imply that you could play an even game against it?

2DanielFilan3moI imagine so. One complication is that it can do more computation than you.
A Wiki for Questions

Ah ya I see what you're saying. Ya that's definitely right. Certainly the most common kind of question asker online just wants to ask the highest number of the most qualified people their question and that's it. Unless/until the site has a large user base that won't really be possible on the wiki.

Still, I think as long as the thing is useful to some people it may be able to grow. But it may be useful to organize my thoughts better on exactly what the value is for single users.

One example that comes to mind is the polymath project. They found it useful to start a wiki to organize their projects. If anyone else wants to come along and do a similar thing, they can just use this wiki instead of making their own.

A Wiki for Questions

By "network effect" do you mean this? I take the network effect to be a problem here only if the wiki requires a large amount of people to be useful. 

My hope is that the wiki should be useful even for a very small number of people. For example, I get use out of it myself just as a place to put some notes that I want to show to people and as a way of organizing my own questions.

2benjaminikuta3moIt could very well be useful for that, but most people want to reach a larger audience when asking questions.
Challenge: know everything that the best go bot knows about go

I'm a bit confused. What's the difference between "knowing everything that the best go bot knows" and "being able to play an even game against a go bot."? I think they're basically the same. It seems to me that you can't know everything the go bot knows without being able to beat any professional go player.

Or am I missing something?

2DanielFilan3moYou could plausibly play an even game against a go bot without knowing everything it knows.
Open and Welcome Thread - May 2021

Hi y'all.

Recently I've become very interested in open research. A friend of mine gave me the tip to check out lesswrong. 

I found that lesswrong has been interested in trying to support collaborative open research (one, two, three) for a few years at least. That was the original idea behind Recently Ruby explained some of their problems getting this sort of thing going with the previous approach and sketched a feature he's calling "Research Agendas." I think something like his Research Agendas seems quite useful. 

So that's... (read more)

What questions should we ask ourselves when trying to improve something?

I added in a few more of the questions from the template that seem relevant. Including the one about possible difficulties. I think what's there cover's your trade-off.

What questions should we ask ourselves when trying to improve something?

I was thinking that the template would be something where you could just keep the sections that seem relevant and delete the rest. 

But I guess even that would start to get annoying if the thing was super long. That's a good consideration to keep in mind.

What are the greatest near-future risks or dangers to you as an individual?

What factors do you expect have the highest likelihood of severely compromising your own quality and/or duration of life, within the next 1, 5, or 10 years?

A family member dying.

Contracting a serious disease, or becoming severely injured from an accident. 

Some incident (medical or otherwise) will use the rest of my savings and put me in financial instability.

How do these risks change your behavior compared to how you expect you'd act if they were less relevant to you?

I basically never think about these risks. I guess the money one I do a bit. I use fa... (read more)

What questions should we ask ourselves when trying to improve something?

I added "Given these problems, why are people still tolerating the status quo (if they are)?" to the template. Does that capture your idea well enough?

2nim3moI think that's a good snapshot of the concept I'm trying to get at. It asks what benefits the status quo may silently be providing, which a competitor would have to match or exceed to gain acceptance.
What questions should we ask ourselves when trying to improve something?

You have spelled "stakeholders" as "steak-holders", which is charming but may reduce credibility in some circumstances.

Heh. Funny mistake. Thanks.

A suggested improvement to the template: When examining the status quo, also ask "for what related problems does the status quo have a built-in solution?".

I want to make sure I understand your point here. Is the idea that sometimes we see that a system isn't solving some problem well enough, and so try to fix it. But we don't take into account the fact that the system isn't just trying to solve that problem, but ... (read more)

1nim3moYikes, I see why -- I worded the concept quite poorly. The example I was trying to describe is in software engineering, where you have an ancient crufty mess that you're trying to rewrite in some snazzy new language. You think you can rewrite it and make it super simple, and so you write the new thing the simple way that "should work", but when you run the old code's tests against it (or when you put it to use in the real world...) you discover that the reason the old code was such a mess was partly that it had a bunch of logic to handle various edge cases that the application had hit in the past. An alternative phrasing might be: "Where are the gaps between how I think the status quo 'should' work, and how it actually does?". Often, established systems are silently compensating for all kinds of problems that happen infrequently enough for any one person to forget that the problem exists when trying to replace the system.
2karlkeefer3moNot OP, but I read their comment about related problems as something more like this: The system in question likely already has feedback or correction mechanisms that respond to other potential problems - asking about those mechanisms might reveal strengths of the system that can be easily adapted for your purposes. I'm not sure how easy it will be to find these, though, as the best-functioning ones might be invisible if they actually eliminate the other problems completely. That might not be their intent, but I think it's also a useful consideration so even if my interpretation isn't matched I hope this comment is still useful :)
Is January AI a real thing?

Maybe it would help if you shared what you've been able to find out so far?