Final Version Perfected: An Underused Execution Algorithm

At least partially it seems like part of the benefit of the system forces you to look at and confront things that you've been trying to avoid.

Definitely agree with this.

In my own life and also in my work as a procrastination coach, I've found these sorts of methods that through brute force cause you to have to look at things you're avoiding often have a shelf-life. Eventually, it seems like people's avoidance mechanisms reassert themselves through meta-avoidance like avoiding using the technique, or avoiding adding certain items to your list.

I'm curious how long you've been using this algorithm, and if you've encountered any of this meta-avoidance.

My usage of FVP has fluctuated a fair amount over time; I used it a lot in the last year of my PhD, then not much in the year after that, then have since started using it regularly again. I think this is at least partly due to my life in the intervening time being very unstable, which disrupted a lot of my systems.

I don't think I've started avoiding adding items to the list. I do think my usage of FVP may have become gradually less effective at having me do difficult tasks. As using the technique becomes more routine, I become less agent-y while doing it, which leads to that aspect of the technique becoming less effective. In particular, if the same item is on the list day after day, it becomes increasingly easy to skip over it until the rest of the list is empty (which never happens).

I don't think this decay effect is all that strong so far: I think I'm still substantially better at doing important-but-aversive tasks with FVP than I'd be without it. But I wouldn't be too surprised if the decay was stronger than I thought, or gets substantially stronger in the future. I do think I could probably "refresh" this aspect of the technique's effectiveness if I put some effort into it, e.g. by forcing myself to use an explicit verbal question to choose between tasks, or mixing up the phrasing of that question.

Final Version Perfected: An Underused Execution Algorithm

Mark Forster (who originated the technique) puts a lot of emphasis on the exact phrasing of the question you use to decide between tasks. I'm sceptical that it's all that important; I think it's fine to experiment with different phrasings and see what works for you. There might even be benefits to switching up the exact phrasing from time to time, e.g. to keep you focused and agent-y while doing it.

After using the technique extensively, it's become more of a nonverbal feeling for me than an explicit question. It's nontrivial for me to exactly describe the feeling: some combination of desire, obligation, and endorsed choice-worthiness. The nonverbal version is both faster and mentally easier, but it's plausible to me that explicitly switching back to a verbal question from time to time is worth it.

Spoiler-Free Review: The Stanley Parable

Worth noting that there's a new expanded version coming out next(?) year.

Not sure how that should affect first-time players, but I'm delaying a replay until it comes out.

Property as Coordination Minimization

A major quibble with a minor point:

[The first patents were for restaurants, giving them exclusive rights for a year to new dishes they invented.]

According to Wikipedia, this is not true for patents in Europe, nor for patents in English-style common law, nor for patents in English-speaking North America, nor for patents in the USA.

The Wikipedia article on the history of patent law doesn't even mention the word "restaurant", nor indeed "food". In general it seems like the concept of patent has meant roughly what it currently does for many centuries.

What's your source for this claim?

The New Frontpage Design & Opening Tag Creation!

I don't have especially strong feelings on the functional aspects of the new layout, but I do find the white-on-grey colour scheme quite dramatically more ugly than the old white-on-white scheme. I thought the old look was unusually elegant for a website and am sad that the site is now so much less pleasant to look at.

SlateStarCodex deleted because NYT wants to dox Scott

The dispute here, then, is whether doxing is a concept like murder[1] (with intent built into the definition) or homicide (which is defined solely by the nature of the act and its consequences).

I think it is useful to have a general word for "publicly revealing personal information about someone without/against their consent in a manner that is likely to foreseeably damage them". Calling that thing "doxing", and saying that doxing is generally bad unless you have a very compelling reason, seems more useful to me than restricting the use of "doxing" to malicious cases and being left without a good handle for the other thing.

That said, I am generally pretty opposed to label creep; I think it's often very harmful when terms that were previously restricted to very bad things get applied to less bad (or just differently bad) things (Scott's own work has plenty of good examples of this), especially when this is done as a rhetorical technique to coerce action. So I'm in agreement with the general spirit of the objection, I'm just not convinced it applies in this particular case.

  1. Murder in the UK, that is; I think the US does things differently? ↩︎

SlateStarCodex deleted because NYT wants to dox Scott

I don't think I agree that a central example of doxxing requires intent to do harm. I think if you carelessly reveal, say, someone's home address on the internet, you have doxxed them. If the person first asks you not to, and you do it anyway in spite of them, then the fact that you didn't intend to do harm seems fairly irrelevant to me. I don't buy the intend/foresee distinction at the best of times, and this one seems especially shaky.

Revealing someone's name against their will isn't as bad as revealing their address or workplace or so on, but it seems close enough in spirit that I don't think splitting hairs over the definition of doxxing is very useful.

SlateStarCodex deleted because NYT wants to dox Scott

I fear the growing Twitter storm will have the same effect, even if successful.

Open & Welcome Thread - June 2020

How much rioting is actually going on in the US right now?

If you trust leftist (i.e. most US) media, the answer is "almost none, virtually all protesting has been peaceful, nothing to see here, in fact how dare you even ask the question, that sounds suspiciously like something a racist would ask". 

If you take a look on the conservative side of the veil, the answer is "RIOTERS EVERYWHERE! MINNEAPOLIS IS IN FLAMES! MANHATTEN IS LOST! TAKE YOUR KIDS AND RUN!"

So...how much rioting has there actually been? How much damage (very roughly)? How many deaths? Are there estimates of the number of rioters vs peaceful protesters?

(I haven't put much effort into actually trying to answer these questions, so no-one should feel much obligation to make the effort for me, but if someone already knows some of these answers, that would be cool.)

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