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'oy, girls on lw, want to get together some time?'

31 Post author: MBlume 02 October 2009 10:50AM

2:45:24 PM Katja Grace: The main thing that puts me off in online dating profiles is lack of ambition to save the world
2:45:35 PM Katja Grace: Or do anything much
2:48:03 PM Michael Blume: *nods*
2:48:07 PM Michael Blume: this is indeed a problem
2:57:55 PM Katja Grace: Maybe there is a dating site for smart ambitious nerds somewhere
2:58:25 PM Katja Grace: Need to set up lw extension perhaps
2:59:02 PM Michael Blume: haha, yes ^^
3:00:40 PM Katja Grace: Plenty of discussion on why few girls, how to get girls, nobody ever says 'oy, girls on lw, want to get together some time?'
3:01:14 PM Michael Blume: somebody really should say that
3:01:34 PM Michael Blume: hell, I'm tempted to just copy that IM into a top-level post and click 'submit'
3:01:48 PM Katja Grace: Haha dare you to

Comments (172)

Comment author: cousin_it 02 October 2009 10:55:21AM *  41 points [-]

So there's this very complicated moment of a group coming together, where enough individuals, for whatever reason, sort of agree that something worthwhile is happening, and the decision they make at that moment is: This is good and must be protected. And at that moment, even if it's subconscious, you start getting group effects. And the effects that we've seen come up over and over and over again in online communities...

The first is sex talk, what he called, in his mid-century prose, "A group met for pairing off." And what that means is, the group conceives of its purpose as the hosting of flirtatious or salacious talk or emotions passing between pairs of members...

The second basic pattern that Bion detailed: The identification and vilification of external enemies. This is a very common pattern. Anyone who was around the Open Source movement in the mid-Nineties could see this all the time...

The third pattern Bion identified: Religious veneration. The nomination and worship of a religious icon or a set of religious tenets. The religious pattern is, essentially, we have nominated something that's beyond critique. You can see this pattern on the Internet any day you like...

So these are human patterns that have shown up on the Internet, not because of the software, but because it's being used by humans. Bion has identified this possibility of groups sandbagging their sophisticated goals with these basic urges. And what he finally came to, in analyzing this tension, is that group structure is necessary. Robert's Rules of Order are necessary. Constitutions are necessary. Norms, rituals, laws, the whole list of ways that we say, out of the universe of possible behaviors, we're going to draw a relatively small circle around the acceptable ones.

He said the group structure is necessary to defend the group from itself. Group structure exists to keep a group on target, on track, on message, on charter, whatever. To keep a group focused on its own sophisticated goals and to keep a group from sliding into these basic patterns. Group structure defends the group from the action of its own members.

-- Clay Shirky, "A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy"

Comment author: GreenRoot 26 May 2010 07:11:51PM 6 points [-]

This is some of the best writing on online societies I've ever read. Thanks for link and excerpt. I think this is worthy of a top-level post (if we want top-levels to ever go meta), because I'm worried for LessWrong.

Comment author: Alicorn 02 October 2009 01:30:34PM 14 points [-]

I live in Western Massachusetts. Being on this website at all filters for a lot of my criteria, so if somebody in commuting distance who is not more than five years older than me (I'm about to turn 21), doesn't smoke, and has not demonstrated him or herself to be a jerk in LW comments in the past would be interested in meeting, let me know.

Comment author: dfranke 02 October 2009 09:33:15PM 7 points [-]

Count me in. I'm 24 and moving to Hudson, MA in two weeks. I will temporarily bear the stigma of "unemployed and living with parents", but that should last a couple months at most.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 November 2009 12:34:00AM *  13 points [-]

An update for curious onlookers: this panned out. Tuesday was our first "luniversary", if I may employ a nonce. :)

Comment author: wedrifid 20 November 2009 02:45:29AM 17 points [-]

And a double congratulations to Dfranke for using the 'unemployed and living with parents' line successfully.

Comment author: Alicorn 20 November 2009 03:04:51AM 11 points [-]

That got him "full disclosure" points, but would not have boded well without the "temporarily".

Comment author: CronoDAS 20 November 2009 02:23:45AM *  6 points [-]

Mise!

(If Eliezer can give his congratulations in Japanese, then I can give mine in Magic Player. And, yes, Magic Player is a language distinct from English.)

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 20 November 2009 01:15:49AM 6 points [-]

Omedetou gozaimasu! It feels oddly completive to know that LW has helped at least one romantic relationship form.

Comment author: AdeleneDawner 20 November 2009 12:47:37AM 5 points [-]

Congratulations. :)

Comment author: Alicorn 11 January 2010 07:13:40PM *  6 points [-]

Reopening this.

Comment author: MBlume 24 February 2010 08:58:33PM 9 points [-]

I'm going to be terribly presumptuous and declare this closed for the time being =P

Comment author: Alicorn 24 February 2010 08:58:44PM 9 points [-]

Yes, this ^^

Comment author: Cyan 24 February 2010 09:11:22PM *  13 points [-]

Who knew Bell's inequalities were so romantic?

Comment author: Alicorn 15 May 2010 04:47:05PM 6 points [-]

Never mind :(

Comment author: Jack 15 May 2010 05:33:57PM 18 points [-]

This thread will be an excellent resource for your future biographers.

Comment author: MBlume 15 August 2011 05:09:20AM *  9 points [-]

For any future biographers eagerly following this thread to learn of Alicorn's relationship history, we got back together on July 30th at 9:30 PM PDT, when her plane landed.

For any present day folk (especially those in/around Berkeley) eagerly following this thread in order to learn when/whether it is appropriate to hit on Alicorn: go for it =)

Comment author: MBlume 05 March 2015 08:33:25AM *  7 points [-]

Further update for future biographers: we got married on September 21st at the UC Berkeley botanical garden, Kenzi officiated and YVain gave a toast =)

Comment author: MBlume 06 November 2016 02:19:25PM 5 points [-]

And our first child, Merlin Miles Blume, was born October 12th, 2016 =)

Comment author: Good_Burning_Plastic 05 March 2015 08:45:24AM 3 points [-]
Comment author: komponisto 15 August 2011 05:37:57AM *  3 points [-]

Given that the date on this comment is August 15, and that to the best of my knowledge Alicorn currently lives in North Carolina...is this a message from the future?

(If so, we certainly know why there are biographers involved -- in which case they probably read all this before it was posted.)

Comment author: MBlume 15 August 2011 05:42:17AM *  3 points [-]

Yeah... I fail at months =/

(edited now, but my comment used to read August 30th)

Comment author: Alicorn 15 August 2011 05:42:05AM 3 points [-]

I do not currently live in North Carolina. I currently live in Berkeley.

*updates location field*

Comment author: Alicorn 15 May 2010 05:41:14PM 7 points [-]

I'm glad it's useful =/

Comment author: thomblake 02 October 2009 01:38:40PM 6 points [-]

Who among us has not demonstrated oneself to be a jerk?

Comment author: gwern 02 October 2009 07:36:48PM 10 points [-]

Let he who is without jerky cast the first wrapper?

Comment author: Alicorn 02 October 2009 01:40:24PM 3 points [-]

You're not a jerk, but you are married. There's another criterion: I'm averse to helping anyone cheat. Anyway, the "not a jerk" thing only rules out a handful of people off the top of my head, and I highly doubt those people like me.

Comment author: wmorgan 02 October 2009 04:27:30PM 4 points [-]

How soon do you turn 21? Are you in or near Amherst? I'm looking to add players to our trivia night team (Tuesdays at the Harp) and you're welcome to join us.

Comment author: Alicorn 02 October 2009 04:33:47PM 3 points [-]

This year is what I have heard called a "champagne birthday" - I turn 21 on the 21st. However, Tuesdays are freakishly busy for me. I am on campus for thirteen hours straight and when I get home after my last class I go directly to bed. Sorry =/

Comment author: Larks 02 October 2009 08:31:18PM 1 point [-]

Upvoted for trying to solve the OP problem, and likewise for Alicorn's comment.

Comment author: wedrifid 02 October 2009 09:00:39PM *  6 points [-]

Selling kisses for Karma. Form a queue behind Alicorn.

ETA: Err, that seems even less relevant when I look at Recent Comments. I hope the proceeds my amorously entrepreneurial problem solving offsets any distracting irritation!

Comment author: ata 03 October 2009 12:20:30AM *  1 point [-]

20-year-old non-smoking male with proper world-saving ambitions here. I'm in New York and a minimum of an hour and a half from anywhere in MA; not sure if you'd consider that commuting distance.

Are you going to the Singularity Summit?

Comment author: Alicorn 03 October 2009 12:22:47AM *  1 point [-]

What counts as commuting distance, if you don't actually live in my town (Amherst), is up to you: I don't have a car (or indeed a driver's license), so the burden of transit is going to mostly not fall on me. I'm not going to the Singularity Summit because I am poor and it is far away and I hate traveling.

Comment author: ata 03 October 2009 12:29:58AM 1 point [-]

Do you go to Hampshire by some chance?

Comment author: Alicorn 03 October 2009 12:32:28AM 1 point [-]

UMass.

Comment author: Gavin 02 October 2009 01:38:05PM 54 points [-]

LW pickup lines:

"Hey baby, wanna get froze together?"

"Wanna make a little adaptation executor? Wanna practice?"

"I don't bite. Unless that's in your definition of Friendliness . . ."

"Wanna grab coffee and swap some memes?"

"There's a world in which we get together. Wanna make it this one?"

"The coin came up heads, so I guess you have to sleep with me."

Comment author: Yvain 04 October 2009 10:35:41AM 70 points [-]

"You must be an expert Bayesian...cause you've got a great posterior."

Comment author: wedrifid 04 October 2009 12:06:29PM 8 points [-]

That one works! At least it did when someone used it on me.

Comment author: steven0461 08 October 2009 05:21:07AM *  13 points [-]

LW pickup lines

"Are you an evidential decision theorist? Because if we get together that increases the probability the simulators are benevolent."

Also, along Yvain's lines, anything with the words "set of priors", "bimodal", "improper".

Comment author: pdf23ds 08 October 2009 03:01:04PM 1 point [-]

LW pickup lines

"Bimodal", perhaps, except don't use it as a metaphor for breasts.

Comment author: Liron 02 October 2009 04:26:57PM 49 points [-]

If I were to ask you on a date, would your answer be the same as your answer to this question?

Comment author: orthonormal 04 October 2009 05:26:22AM 22 points [-]

Girl: "Mu."

Liron: "Damn."

Comment author: CronoDAS 04 October 2009 11:58:59PM *  36 points [-]

Annoyed Girl: No.

Me: Will you go out on a date?

Annoyed Girl: Hell no!

Comment author: Christian_Szegedy 02 October 2009 08:04:31PM 4 points [-]

I see you've read Smullyan's autobiography. :)

Comment author: Psychohistorian 03 October 2009 07:27:51PM 7 points [-]

"Maybe?"

Comment author: [deleted] 13 September 2011 08:20:53PM 2 points [-]

"It wouldn't."

Comment author: cousin_it 02 October 2009 02:00:25PM 5 points [-]

That last one was brilliant, thanks.

Comment author: smmacie 29 October 2011 08:14:01PM 4 points [-]

I'm a LW female. Ah yes, these would totally work on me.

Comment author: SilasBarta 03 October 2009 07:31:49PM 13 points [-]

"I'm Eliezer Yudkowsky. Ready to go?"

Comment author: [deleted] 08 September 2011 12:48:15AM 6 points [-]

Squick.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 08 September 2011 12:57:24AM *  1 point [-]
Comment author: wedrifid 02 October 2009 03:43:42PM 10 points [-]

2:57:55 PM Katja Grace: Maybe there is a dating site for smart ambitious nerds somewhere

OkCupid seems adequate for that purpose. At least, I seem to find more nerdy ambitious girls in my area than I want to make time for and I imagine it would be even easier for a girls finding guys.

One problem, however, is that confessing a nerdy ambition of saving the world is, in general, the wrong thing to do in a dating profile. Many nerds may have reluctantly conformed their signalling to something more appropriate.

Comment author: MBlume 03 October 2009 01:32:29AM 6 points [-]

Many nerds may have reluctantly conformed their signalling to something more appropriate.

From my OKC profile (written prior to seeing this comment, and actually the starting point for the quoted conversation with Katja):

I'm working with the Singularity Institute for AI, a non-profit dedicated to promoting clear and critical thinking about the far future and humanity's place in it.

Comment author: Alicorn 04 October 2009 12:51:42AM *  11 points [-]

I'm curious about your indication that you don't want to get married until gay marriage is legal in your state. Not that it's not a fine sentiment, but do you have reason to believe that this makes any of your friends feel better, or that it's going to speed up the overturning of Prop 8, or otherwise accomplish anything other than leaving you a bachelor until said overturning? I had been aware of the existence of straight/bi people with this stance before but have not had the chance to quiz one, so - you're it!

Comment author: MBlume 04 October 2009 04:34:40AM 15 points [-]

Honestly? My family has a fair few conservatives, and I suspect they care when/whether they get to see me get married. Call it extortion of you like, but I do anticipate that change on this scale gets things done.

Comment author: anonym 04 October 2009 06:39:13PM 3 points [-]

Fascinating. What an interesting idea for promoting change from the ground up. More information about an organized national campaign here for anybody else like me who hadn't heard of this as a strategy.

Comment author: DanArmak 04 October 2009 08:18:51PM *  12 points [-]

This prompted me to write about the related situation in my country. It's something I've had occasion to feel strongly about (my two best friends got married last month), but isn't related to ordinary LW discussions. (This thread feels a lot more open than the "official" Open Threads :-)

I live in Israel. The law here forbids "mixed marriage", i.e. miscegenation. Citizens have an "ethnicity" listed in their state IDs, and must be married (and divorced) by a priest from the matching brand of religion. My ID card says "Jewish"; that means I can only be legally married by a Jewish priest recognized by the state, an Orthodox rabbi - Reform and other Jewish communities not being recognized. I must marry under the Orthodox marriage code, which means I can only marry another state-certified Jew.

There are other rules. Some are painful for those who have to deal with them: the pair being married must not have ancestors known to be bastards; a man named Cohen (a common surname literally meaning 'priest') cannot marry a divorced woman. Other rules are mere nuisances: a woman cannot marry within some days of her monthly period...

So I can't marry at least one third of the woman citizens of my country. This includes not only the different ethnic communities (Arab, etc) but many recent immigrants who have come here mostly for economic reasons. And of course there is no same-sex marriage.

The practical solution? The state recognizes any heterosexual marriage registered in a different country. There is a flourishing local industry that lets people fly or sail to the nearby island of Cyprus, register a marriage act, and be back the same day for the wedding party. These people have the same legal status as any other married couple. (But if the couple couldn't marry in Israel by the rabbinical laws, their descendants will also be unable to marry in Israel, or in any other Orthodox ceremony worldwide.)

Additionally, the state recognizes self-declared partnerships which are somewhat inaccurately called common-law marriages in English. Such couples have most but not all of the legal rights granted to married couples. In recent years, even same-sex self-declared pairs have been getting some few legal rights, one supreme court hearing at a time.

There's little chance of ever changing the marriage law, but it's plausible that the various alternatives will eventually be granted all the relevant legal rights. In another decade or two, the only real difference might be the name of the law applied. Of course there's always racism and discrimination to deal with...


Getting back to the original subject; I've always thought (and said) that unless the law is changed, I would rather not be married, or at least I would marry abroad in Cyprus. To which my parents always replied: you'll feel differently when you have a girlfriend who wants to marry. I thought they just weren't taking me seriously.

But now that I know about Hansonian signaling and related matters, I see that my declarations of opposition to marriage are simply signals of association with some socio-political opinions. They're cheap signals for me, because no-one currently wants to marry me. I really won't know myself how important this is to me, until I have to make the actual decision.

A public and ritualized commitment to this position might well help. I'm not aware of any widespread symbol for this here in Israel.

Comment author: Alicorn 04 October 2009 08:36:24PM 2 points [-]

Additionaly, the state recognizes self-declared partnerships whose name translates roughly as 'publically known [as partners]". (There's probably a more usual English translation of which I'm unaware.)

Common law marriage may be like this.

Comment author: DanArmak 04 October 2009 08:41:15PM *  1 point [-]

Yes, and the Wikipedia article on C-L marriage says that's what we have. With the obvious caveat that CLM couples here do not get the same legal rights as married couples.

Thanks - I'll update my comment.

Comment author: HughRistik 04 October 2009 04:12:43AM *  4 points [-]

Interesting. If I may ask, what sort of results are you getting (in terms of responses, females contacting you, and dates from the website)?

When I first constructed my OkCupid profile, I deliberately minimized my intellectual interests because I want to avoid getting stereotyped as a "nerd" before someone even knows me. I've been thinking of adding them in and see if it lowers the female attention I receive. I did recently add in that I "make computers do my bidding" and that I "build websites" (avoiding the word "programmer").

It's my theory that stereotypically nerdy guys are primarily going to be limited to nerdy girls. Yet nerdy girls (in my observations) seem to date all types of guys as long as the guy is smart. So if you come across as say, a smart jock, then you can date nerdy girls and sporty girls. If you come across as a smart artsy guy, then you can date nerdy girls and artsy girls. Of course, I don't have any degree of certainty that this theory is correct, but it's plausible enough that I try to not get immediately pigeonholed as a nerd.

Adding successive elements to someone's perceptions of you is not a commutative operation: order matters.

My profile (link in your inbox) is full of signaling, of my qualities which I think may be most attractive. And I do get some decent results (I'm currently seeing a nerdy girl from the website). I wonder how intellectual and world-saving I could actually afford to go.

Comment author: dclayh 04 October 2009 02:09:11PM 13 points [-]

I would think "make computers do my bidding" comes across as far nerdier than "programmer".

Comment author: [deleted] 04 October 2009 05:52:06PM 2 points [-]

<female speaking> I was on OkCupid, originally listed as bi, and I got flooded with responses from dudes. Immediately. Swarms of dudes. Even though I wrote in my profile I was only interested in women at this time. From this I extrapolate that any girl within the 5-7 range of attractiveness is getting a lot of attention.

On the other hand, one of my intelligent (nerdy) male friends has successfully acquired about 5-6 dates from Okcupid within about a 3-4 month period.

Also relevant: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2009/09/24/atheism-bringing-the-sexy-back/

Comment author: wedrifid 03 October 2009 02:35:36PM 1 point [-]

You want your next girl to be more intelligent than you? Interesting. I'm curious as to where this preference comes from.

Comment author: MBlume 04 October 2009 04:39:11AM 8 points [-]

more intelligent is mostly playful challenging. I want my next gf to be at least roughly on my level intellectually for essentially the same reason that a skilled dancer might prefer to date someone else who can dance well: it's one more way for us to have fun together =)

Comment author: wedrifid 04 October 2009 07:25:21AM 1 point [-]

Ahh. Now that I can understand.

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 03 October 2009 05:43:22AM 21 points [-]

I think you Less Wrong guys could find the kind of girl you're after if you trained yourself to be bold (take a public speaking class) and thought about where to look. I was talking to a girl at school today who told me all her heroes were named Richard: Branson, Feynman, and Dawkins.

Comment author: SforSingularity 07 October 2009 09:52:11PM *  18 points [-]

Upvoted for a sensible analysis of the problem. Want girls? Go get them. My experience is that a common mistake amongst academically inclined people is to expect reality to reward them for doing the right thing - for example men on LW may (implicitly, without realizing that they are doing it) expect attractive, eligible women to be abundant in the risk-mitigation movement, because mitigating existential risks is the right* thing to do, and the universe is a just place which rewards good behavior.

The reality of the situation is that a male who spends time attempting to reduce existential risks will find himself in a community which is full of other males, which, relative to other hobbies he could have, will reduce his pool of available women.

Women who spend time attempting to reduce existential risks will find themselves surrounded by guys, who are preselected for intelligence and high ethical standards.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 08 October 2009 02:27:42PM 5 points [-]

Well, there are these well-known concepts of unsupervised universe and mind projection fallacy...

Comment author: wedrifid 08 October 2009 03:59:00PM 10 points [-]

men on LW may (implicitly, without realizing that they are doing it) expect attractive, eligible women to be abundant in the risk-mitigation movement, because mitigating existential risks is the right* thing to do, and the universe is a just place which rewards good behavior.

Really? I find it hard to imagine that kind of naivety.

Comment author: MBlume 05 February 2010 04:02:46AM 11 points [-]

I have found that I have often had to rid myself of the same piece of naivety multiple times, for various parts of my mind, over the course of months or years...

Comment author: CronoDAS 02 October 2009 04:38:19PM *  13 points [-]

Should I be embarrassed to admit my own lack of ambition on this site?

Saving the world sounds like it involves a lot of painful work. I don't like the world very much, and would prefer to escape from it instead of save it.

Addressing the topic at hand more directly, I usually assume that most of the girls here are probably located outside of convenient driving distance and aren't here to be hit on anyway. Furthermore, after considering the extent of my personal problems, I've come to the conclusion that I'd be more trouble than I'm worth to any woman who might be convinced to date me, and taken myself off the market.

Comment author: MichaelBishop 03 October 2009 04:04:47AM 8 points [-]

CronoDAS! You are trapped in a bad equilibrium, but there is no reason to believe you will be trapped in it forever. It is obvious to me that you are a thoughtful and intelligent individual. I would bet my life on the fact that you have false self-limiting beliefs. Keep experimenting in life and one day you will realize you've left that bad equilibrium.

Comment author: pdf23ds 03 October 2009 04:19:49AM *  3 points [-]

Eh. I tend to agree with CronoDAS. Not that he's objectively right that one is better off escaping from the world rather than dealing with it, but that his utility function is really screwed up by most people's standards, and that "correcting" it is extremely difficult. It's not at all simply a matter of self-limiting beliefs. In my case, at least, it's a matter of a great deal of adverse conditioning that took place when I was raised, and maybe a bit of bad genes. It's a matter of accurate assessments about the world being more emotionally disturbing to me than for most people, at a level more basic than that of beliefs.

More here.

(Note that I'm doing better recently, finally having found some meds with a decently strong placebo effect.)

Comment author: SilasBarta 03 October 2009 04:06:34AM 0 points [-]

Meh. Join the club. I tried to tell him the same thing (too sleepy to look for the link right now) but he wouldn't listen. But maybe there's some different nuance in the way you said it.

Comment author: wedrifid 02 October 2009 04:54:11PM 1 point [-]

Should I be embarrassed to admit my own lack of ambition on this site?

Why start now? ;)

Comment author: CronoDAS 02 October 2009 05:07:16PM 2 points [-]

Because I'm an Internet masochist who can't keep a secret to save his life?

Comment author: wedrifid 02 October 2009 05:13:07PM 1 point [-]

And probably wouldn't if you could!

Comment author: DanArmak 02 October 2009 04:51:48PM 1 point [-]

That's not a lack of ambition, that's a reasonable preference. I tend to agree: if I could take over the world singleton-style and try to improve it I would, but failing that I'd work on having a fallback (escape) position first before risking myself to "save the world" for others.

Comment author: CronoDAS 02 October 2009 05:04:46PM *  1 point [-]

I lack ambition in other ways, too. For example, I don't have a job, and I shudder in horror at the thought of having one. As far as I can tell, women usually don't want a long-term romantic partner that is neither a breadwinner nor a competent homemaker. And by "escape the world", I mostly mean "escape from the experience of living in the world," through such means as playing World of Warcraft (which, incidentally, I tired of after a few months) or the final, irrevocable escape, death.

Comment author: AdeleneDawner 03 October 2009 04:14:45AM 2 points [-]

Some people - including some women, for example myself - consider that a reasonable preference, too. Personally, I find it much more disturbing that you seem to be focused on standard definitions of acceptability. Actually, if it wasn't for that, and the ways I suspect it affects you (I'm making assumptions there based on when I was in a similar phase in my life, so could be wrong), I think you and I would get along more than passably well. (Possibly relevant context: I'm moderately-to-strongly asexual and not actively looking for new strong relationships at the moment.)

Comment author: CronoDAS 03 October 2009 05:56:15AM *  1 point [-]

I would very much like to have female friends that I could talk to and hang out with in person on a regular basis. I just don't feel comfortable seeking out romance right now.

Personally, I find it much more disturbing that you seem to be focused on standard definitions of acceptability.

Well, I think you can blame my parents for that. They're very invested in standard definitions of acceptability and have been trying their hardest to get me to accept them, too. My parents want me to make money and be self-sufficient, but, like a child, all I want to do is play games and have fun. They've been trying to drive the point home that they won't be able to support me forever, and that if I don't get a job now, I'll have severely restricted options because not having worked in twenty years will be a major red flag to potential employers.

Comment author: AdeleneDawner 03 October 2009 06:16:27AM 1 point [-]

Well, I think you can blame my parents for that. They're very invested in standard definitions of acceptability and have been trying their hardest to get me to accept them, too. My parents want me to make money and be self-sufficient, but, like a child, all I want to do is play games and have fun.

Maybe this bit of framing will help: Do you have any clue how hard it is to find people who are in tune enough with their own values to do what they want, in the face of societal pressure? Especially when that doesn't involve something that can be justified by being useful? The fact that you can do that implies a kind of functional self-awareness that I consider very valuable, no matter how you happen to be using it at the moment.

Where are you located, by the way?

Comment author: CronoDAS 03 October 2009 06:39:49AM 1 point [-]

Maybe this bit of framing will help: Do you have any clue how hard it is to find people who are in tune enough with their own values to do what they want, in the face of societal pressure? Especially when that doesn't involve something that can be justified by being useful? The fact that you can do that implies a kind of functional self-awareness that I consider very valuable, no matter how you happen to be using it at the moment.

I'm not really sure that I actually am doing what I want to do. Indeed, I don't feel as though I'm actually doing anything at all. Playing video games and surfing the Interned is simply my default setting, my ground state, and it takes some outside influence to knock me out of it. I feel as though laziness has become the defining principle of my life; I'm not so much doing what I want as refusing to do what I don't feel like doing. Ever see the movie Office Space? There's this one scene...

Peter Gibbons: I uh, I don't like my job, and, uh, I don't think I'm gonna go anymore.

Joanna: You're just not gonna go?

Peter Gibbons: Yeah.

Joanna: Won't you get fired?

Peter Gibbons: I don't know, but I really don't like it, and, uh, I'm not gonna go.

Joanna: So you're gonna quit?

Peter Gibbons: Nuh-uh. Not really. Uh... I'm just gonna stop going.

Joanna: When did you decide all that?

Peter Gibbons: About an hour ago.

Joanna: Oh, really? About an hour ago... so you're gonna get another job?

Peter Gibbons: I don't think I'd like another job.

Joanna: Well, what are you going to do about money and bills and...

Peter Gibbons: You know, I've never really liked paying bills. I don't think I'm gonna do that, either.

That's pretty much me.

Where are you located, by the way?

Central New Jersey.

Comment author: AdeleneDawner 03 October 2009 07:08:57AM 4 points [-]

Yep, that's the mental state I thought you were in; I spent several years there, with the significant difference that I had to support myself and perhaps have a bit more inclination towards self-preservation than you do. (We seem to have similar opinions on the morality of suicide; my long-term motivation for not taking that route is simple curiosity about the future. I doubt I'd last six months if the world suddenly became predictable, no matter how many options I had for exploring that predictability.) Most people don't seem to even be aware of 'don't like it' in that sense, though - 'have to' and 'should' completely drown it out. But if you are basing your actions on what you want or don't want, 'push' motivation ('do this or else') simply fails, and most 'pull' motivation ('do this and you get the shiny thing') fails because you know you won't care about the shiny thing, either - and you have the right kind of self-confidence to use that knowledge, instead of doing something because others will disprove if you don't. The situation changes a little if you find something that you do care about, but that's not at all trivial - it took me over a decade, and the thing I care most about is something that was practically under my nose my whole life.

I lived near Atlantic City 'till the end of last year; now I'm in North Carolina. I have been thinking about going back for a visit come summer, though.

Comment author: CronoDAS 03 October 2009 08:38:02AM 2 points [-]

But if you are basing your actions on what you want or don't want, 'push' motivation ('do this or else') simply fails, and most 'pull' motivation ('do this and you get the shiny thing') fails because you know you won't care about the shiny thing, either

Indeed, that describes me very well.

Thank you for your kind words. It's late, and I need to get some sleep. Anyway, my current short-term problems are loneliness and having to take care of my 94-year-old grandmother. My loneliness can, in theory, be fixed by finding someone to spend time with in person, and then spending time with that person. Hopefully I'll figure out a way to do that; I guess that trying to contact people on my Facebook friends list might be a good start. Being stuck babysitting my grandmother nearly every day is another matter, though. I just don't see any way to improve that situation.

Comment author: AdeleneDawner 03 October 2009 03:22:21PM 3 points [-]

Hmm. What would happen to your grandmother if you were to find a job, and why can't that be arranged now? I understand that there will probably be some resistance from your parents to actually taking that course of action, in the circumstances, but realistically, how do they expect you to do anything with your life without the freedom to try new things?

In the meantime, you might want to try Second Life as a social venue - it's immersive enough to fill that need in a way that chat rooms and other text-only ways of communicating don't quite manage to, at least for me.

Comment author: childofbaud 14 October 2009 04:07:36AM 14 points [-]

I think I'll save the world first, then worry about a girlfriend.

Plus, the available dating pool should be that much larger with that accomplishment on my resume.

Comment author: Mitchell_Porter 05 December 2009 09:02:40AM 42 points [-]

Issues like these motivated the development, at MIT in the 1960s, of a "Dateless Decision Theory", intended to provide a rigorous answer to questions like, If I'm single, should I do something about it, or just get on with serving the greater good? But the UN banned it after the publication of studies alleging that the accumulation of DDT in the intellectual food chain had a net negative effect on human reproductive fitness.

Comment author: Sebastian_Hagen 06 December 2009 09:14:56PM 9 points [-]

So ... that's what happened to Love and Life Just Before the Singularity. It never made sense to me to remove something that innocuous from the public web, but it all fits if that was the work of a global conspiracy!

This is extremely troubling news. With a shadowy world government agency clamping down on serious argument about no-mating strategies, one has to wonder how much the public discourse has been skewed by them. And would it be a good idea to attempt to replicate any of the suppressed research? There is a tricky tradeoff here between figuring out the truth about this critical question, and not rising to the attention of the suppressing agency.

Comment author: MBlume 14 October 2009 05:43:38AM 10 points [-]

Chances are, you with a girlfriend and you without a girlfriend are very nearly two different people. Which do you think has a better shot at saving the world?

(I don't mean to answer the question for you -- I don't know you that well.)

Comment author: Jordan 14 October 2009 06:13:28AM 13 points [-]

With a girlfriend, I care more about saving the world.

Without a girlfriend, I have more time to actually save it.

The best of both world is... polyandry?

Comment author: MBlume 14 October 2009 06:18:17AM 10 points [-]

More different than that:

When my last relationship was going well, I was far more centered, far more emotionally stable. I was definitely at least an SD above my current state as far as non-effortful nonverbal status signaling -- that is, I probably came off better in social situations, whether or not she was with me.

Comment author: Jordan 14 October 2009 07:00:48PM 2 points [-]

Interesting. I signal less and am less social overall when in a serious relationship. Probably because I predominantly view social interaction as a way of finding a partner.

Comment author: MBlume 03 November 2009 12:39:45AM *  6 points [-]

I signal less and am less social overall when in a serious relationship.

Oddly enough, that's part of what I'm talking about.

Outside of a relationship, the immediate, hedonic stakes are higher in any social interaction (for you apparently, and also for me -- I don't mean to speak for/about any others). The other party can sense this, and it makes you seem low-status. If the interaction seems less intrinsically important to you -- if you're not going to take a large hedonic hit depending on how the conversation goes -- this makes you seem more high-status.

(HT: Eliezer, who articulated the distinction between hedonically valuing social approval and valuing it for its utility during a panel at the Singularity Summit)

Comment author: Jack 14 October 2009 04:49:52AM 3 points [-]

Of course if you fail, you die alone.

Comment author: [deleted] 08 September 2011 12:33:12AM *  2 points [-]

Girlfriends are basically fungible. If you can't get a full one with the resources that you assign to leisure, why not get a 1/X fraction of a girlfriend from X number of girlfriends?

Comment author: Kevin 28 March 2010 11:19:47AM 1 point [-]

With this strategy your expected girlfriend value is rather low. If saving the world is that important to you, go after the pool of women that are seduced with tales of how you are out there saving the world.

Comment author: SforSingularity 03 October 2009 02:44:40AM *  11 points [-]

I assign a 99.9% probability to there being more male readers than female readers of LW, The most recent LW meetup that I attended had a gender ratio of roughly 20:1 male:female.

Males who feel that they are competing for a small pool of females will attempt to gain status over each other, diminishing the amount of honest, rational dialogue, and replacing it with oneupmanship.

Hence the idea of mixing LW - in its current state - with dating may not be good.

However, there is the possibility of re-framing LW it so that it appeals more to women. Perhaps we need to re-frame saving the world as a charitable sacrifice?

I would love to know what the gender ratio looks like within the atheist movement; I think we should regard that as a bound on what is achievable.

Comment author: Tiiba 03 October 2009 06:06:23PM 12 points [-]

"I assign a 99.9% probability to there being more male readers than male readers of LW"

I expect that you have a VERY GOOD reason. As it is, I cannot help but disagree.

Comment author: Unknowns 24 February 2010 09:05:39PM *  7 points [-]

I assign a 99.999999% probability to the same thing, i.e. that there are more male readers in the world, than there are male readers of LW in the world.

Comment author: SforSingularity 07 October 2009 09:26:28PM 0 points [-]

typo. thanks for pointing out.

Comment author: ata 03 October 2009 09:03:57PM *  4 points [-]

However, there is the possibility of re-framing LW it so that it appeals more to women. Perhaps we need to re-frame saving the world as a charitable sacrifice?

Is there a way to re-frame LW as being about "charitable sacrifice" without significantly straying the general goal of "refining the art of human rationality" (which may or may not be charitable/sacrificial)?

What do you see as the essence of its current framing, and what is the evidence that women would respond better to the charitable-sacrifice frame?

(Normally I'd respond to the quoted comment with "That's sexist nonsense" and leave it at that, but I am trying to be socratic about it.)

(Also, if anybody knows or can estimate, are the gender ratios similar in the relevant areas of academia?)

Comment author: SforSingularity 07 October 2009 09:27:13PM *  1 point [-]

(Also, if anybody knows or can estimate, are the gender ratios similar in the relevant areas of academia?)

All male biased as far as I know. (Math, philosophy, AI/CS)

Comment author: Jack 07 October 2009 09:35:52PM 2 points [-]

Aren't biology and psychology solidly balanced/ skewed female?

Comment author: SforSingularity 07 October 2009 09:55:43PM 1 point [-]

psychology, yes, definitely. Bio, I do not know, but I would like to see what it looks like for evo psych.

Comment author: Jack 07 October 2009 10:05:00PM 3 points [-]

If you haven't read Of Gender and Rationality and the accompanying comments lately it is worth a reread. There are so many hypotheses listed that we'd need another go-around with the specific goal of assigning probabilities to the most likely ones. It also looks like there were a number of popular proposals that were never acted upon. One or more of us needs to go through that thread and write a summary.

Comment author: MBlume 03 October 2009 03:42:15AM 2 points [-]

I would love to know what the gender ratio looks like within the atheist movement

not good =/

Comment author: Larks 03 October 2009 03:54:16PM 5 points [-]

Not good from the point of view of men looking for atheist partners, but good from the point of view of these rare females.

Comment author: Alicorn 03 October 2009 03:57:38PM 4 points [-]

Except the lesbians, who may have some trouble.

Comment author: cousin_it 05 October 2009 01:43:41PM *  6 points [-]

Why would lesbians have trouble? Their pool of partners is small, but so is their pool of competitors. It's nothing like the situation that men face in a mostly male community.

Comment author: Alicorn 05 October 2009 01:55:21PM 8 points [-]

With gay people, all possible partners are also possible competitors. Therefore, a larger pool can only be better because there is a higher chance of someone being appealing at all. By your logic having exactly two lesbians would be ideal, because no one could compete with them; but without the dumbest of dumb luck, they'd be poorly suited to each other.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 07 October 2009 11:00:23PM 5 points [-]

The variance grows more slowly than the number, so the largeness of the pool probably doesn't make much of a difference above a lower bound. 10,000 lesbians are probably in less dating trouble than 1,000,000 men competing for 900,000 women. I could be wrong.

Comment author: thomblake 07 October 2009 11:08:09PM 6 points [-]

1,000,000 men competing for 900,000 women

In many animal populations, unbalanced gender ratios leads to higher incidence of homosexuality. I wouldn't be surprised if that happens to humans in similar circumstances.

It is, anyway, a plausible explanation for the "lesbian until graduation" phenomenon, which occurs on (typically female-dominated) college campuses.

Comment author: cousin_it 05 October 2009 02:00:50PM *  2 points [-]

I'm not sure where you disagree with me. N possible partners = N possible competitors sounds just like the typical situation of heterosexuals, no special trouble in sight. Are you maybe too accustomed to being a female in a mostly-male community? From that vantage point it does seem that lesbians are in trouble.

Comment author: Jonathan_Graehl 06 October 2009 01:31:07AM 0 points [-]

Nice save ;)

Comment author: Larks 03 October 2009 04:04:16PM 2 points [-]

touché. And the gay men, who have yet another situation.

Comment author: rhollerith_dot_com 02 October 2009 11:42:37AM *  4 points [-]

I am very surprised to learn that Katja lacks for sexual attention from nerds who want to improve the world. My being more than twice her age is the only reason I have not tried to start something sexual with Katja. Even then I have more than once suggested we get together for the pleasure of intellectual conversation and friendship.

[I deleted a paragraph here because many participants have opined that men should not use LW to meet women and no one opined otherwise.]

ADDED. I misinterpreted Katja's words in the original, top-level submission. Katja, in fact, gets plenty of attention from male nerds with world-saving ambition, which is exactly the impression I got from meeting her, but somehow I latched onto one particular interpretation of Katja's words and did not let go till many days later, when Katja replied to this here comment.

Comment author: KatjaGrace 06 October 2009 11:31:59PM 3 points [-]

Don't worry, I meant to imply no such thing! Observing others only :)

Comment author: Alicorn 02 October 2009 01:26:09PM 5 points [-]

It's interesting you introduced the word "sexual". There may be more to this conversation than I'm aware of, but she seemed to mention only dating and getting together, both of which can occur without any sex (at least to begin with).

Comment author: wedrifid 02 October 2009 04:39:05PM 18 points [-]

Plenty of things that are not sex are 'sexual'. For example, any date that does not include at least some 'sexual tension' is a fairly lousy date. I presume rhollerith would at least plan to have dates with some sexual chemistry involved!

Comment author: gwern 02 October 2009 07:39:24PM 11 points [-]

http://www.scottaaronson.com/writings/selfdelusion.html

"This is kind of awkward, but, um, I've been noticing you in class—and, like, I'd really love to get to know you better, and I was just wondering"—his voice cracked—"if maybe this weekend you wanted to go see Hamlet at the Repertory Theater with me?"

Leaning against a locker with one hand, I chewed the thumbnail of the other, gazing at the blue-and-white checkered tiles on the floor. Despite his verbal ineptitude, at six-foot-two Eric is one of the more desirable seniors, and many sophomores would, I suppose, have been flattered by the attention. Removing my thumb, I replied—not, I don't think, with any malice in my voice, but genuinely, inquisitively, because I was seized by the problem and wanted to know the solution—"What you're saying is tantamount to saying that you want to fuck me. So why shouldn't I react with revulsion precisely as though you'd said the latter?"

Eric's cheeks reddened and his hands trembled; it was rather cute. "I just wanted to have a good time, just as friends!"

"You're asking me to accept that a first domino will be knocked over yet a hundredth will stand. Do chess masters continue playing when they see a mate—get it?—twenty moves ahead?"

Comment author: Johnicholas 03 October 2009 12:11:01AM *  8 points [-]

This section of the text seemed really odd to me. Why would she react with revulsion to an offer of sex 20 moves ahead? I mean, maybe he's not to her (present) taste, but revulsion seems a stronger emotion than is really warranted.

Comment author: Psychohistorian 04 October 2009 01:34:45AM *  15 points [-]

The protagonist of that story is a Hollywood Rationalist. She doesn't really have any purpose behind most of her actions; it seems that (at least at the beginning), the only reason she uses rationality is to antagonize other people and make conversations awkward. Unsurprisingly, she becomes unhappy.

In that particular context, since "I'd like to take you to a show" and "I'd like to have sex with you" both demonstrate one common fact, that he wants to have sex with her, she considers them as being totally equivalent. Though it's still unclear why she would find the statement, "I'd like to have sex with you" offensive, given how she otherwise thinks, but since her purpose seems to be antagonizing people, it fits.

Comment author: Alicorn 03 October 2009 12:57:49AM 5 points [-]

Perhaps analogous would be the rumored tendency of guys to freak out when girls they date for the first time bring up marriage.

Comment author: pdf23ds 03 October 2009 03:09:45AM 9 points [-]

Hmm. I don't think this really works, because Eric brought up neither sex nor marriage. I think Ilyssa (the female protagonist) does pose an interesting question, but I have a hard time believing that she really feels repulsed or thinks she ought to. I'm not sure how to answer the question, but I'm pretty sure that it would be answered in the negative, and I have a strong feeling Ilyssa would agree.

The point of the passage seems simply to be that she has a tendency to say whatever pops into her head (and that those thoughts tend to be interesting and very intelligent), without any thought to the potentially negative social consequences. It's meant to elicit a desire in the (presumably male) reader to be in Eric's place and able to see past Ilyssa's awkwardness and to her great mind, perhaps to handle the situation with more rationalist grace, perhaps even winning the interest of the girl. I think the rest of the story supports this interpretation.

Comment author: Alicorn 03 October 2009 02:21:32PM 2 points [-]

Yes. But Johnicholas's question was not about why Ilyssa reacted to what Eric actually said as she did, but about why she'd be revolted at "an offer of sex 20 moves ahead". My idea was that it's just considered far too early to bring it up; her ability to see things that have not been actually brought up as on the table anyway is causing her interpretation issues.

Comment author: pdf23ds 03 October 2009 07:28:37PM *  3 points [-]

but about why she'd be revolted at "an offer of sex 20 moves ahead"

My point was that I don't think she would be, or was. So the Johnicholas's question seems way overly hypothetical. Ilyssa's question to me seems to be purely hypothetical.

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe Johnicholas realized her question was purely hypothetical, and was just interested in her hypothetical reasons for feeling that way, which would be just fine with me.

Comment author: Jordan 03 October 2009 01:21:24AM 4 points [-]

I'm not sure it's analogous. Most people (I assume) have already entertained the possibility of sleeping with someone before going on a first date. Hence, it is assumed both parties are sexually interested in each other. One person might express revulsion at the other party's forwardness, or for some other reason, but they started with a mutual sexual interest. They both share a common goal, they just might differ on the best way to reach it.

On the other hand, consider a guy who is outright afraid of marriage. He goes on a date, fully uninterested in ever marrying the girl, and is scared by the girl's forwardness about marriage. Really, he would be scared regardless of the point in the relationship marriage was brought up. There was never any mutual marital interest to start with. It isn't a mismatch in how to proceed, it's a fundamental mismatch in goals.

Comment author: Alicorn 03 October 2009 01:29:26AM *  8 points [-]

Considering that there are some asexuals who have romantic and potentially marital interests without sexual interests, and significant subcultures in which sex before marriage is considered completely inappropriate, I don't think that's a fully general disanalogy.

Edit: Or to put it differently, I think you're presupposing that "the point" of dating is to have a relationship that involves sex. Perhaps conflicting presuppositions of this nature are part of the problem in the case of the story and the reverse case I suggested. Illustration: our heroine Darla arranges a date with some guy Bob. Darla thinks the point of dating is to find a spouse and Bob thinks the point of dating is to find someone with whom to have a sexual relationship. Darla starts talking about how to divvy up chores in a marriage and he freaks. Darla is confused, because isn't "the point" of dating to find a compatible spouse? But she backs off because she doesn't want to upset him. Then he starts insinuating that he'd like to have sex. She freaks. He's confused, because isn't "the point" of dating to find someone to have sex with? Now they're both confused: Bob has no idea why Darla wouldn't want to sleep with him when she just brought up marriage, for crying out loud - what, is she proposing that they could set up housekeeping and have separate beds and conceive the three children she wants via IVF? Darla has no idea why Bob would bring up sex on a first date - or at all, really, since obviously he has no interest in sticking around, doesn't like her enough to find out if she's a prospect for anything really long term, and why would he expect her to react well to the proposition when it's plain from his behavior he only views her as a piece of meat?

Now, Darla never envisioned a sexless future and Bob doesn't dislike Darla - perhaps he isn't even fundamentally opposed to the idea of marriage. They just have very different ideas about what order to start planning for the two events.

Comment author: eirenicon 03 October 2009 02:58:29AM *  4 points [-]

There are cultures without marriage, but all cultures engage in sex. You can hardly compare our most basic biological imperative with a fairly recent cultural invention. In general, not everyone wants to get married, but in general, everyone wants to have sex, men and women both. These generalities hardly apply to LW, though, for reasons I believe are self-evident. Frankly, having a less than academic conversation about general human sexuality and dating in a forum like this seems misguided, especially considering the gender ratio.

Comment author: CronoDAS 04 October 2009 11:53:44PM 5 points [-]

There are cultures without marriage, but all cultures engage in sex.

The Shakers?

Comment author: rwallace 03 October 2009 11:41:02AM 2 points [-]

Which cultures exist without marriage? I'm curious, because I hadn't previously been aware of the existence of any such.

Comment author: eirenicon 03 October 2009 02:30:21PM 4 points [-]

Alicorn is right about the Na, but what I actually had in mind was modern Western culture, in which marriage is declining and trending toward obsolescence. There are other correlations that can be drawn - for example, atheists have much lower marriage rates than average. Speaking from personal experience, the majority of my personal acquaintances (a majority of which are female) are uninterested in marriage.

Comment author: Alicorn 03 October 2009 02:13:50PM *  4 points [-]

There's the Na in China, but those are the only ones I'm aware of that have literally nothing recognizable as marriage.

Comment author: rhollerith_dot_com 02 October 2009 05:05:25PM *  5 points [-]

Thank you for pointing that out, Alicorn. I want to become more tactful. Allow me to revise:

"I am very surprised to learn that Katja does not get sufficient offers to go out on dates from nerds who want to improve the world."

ADDED. I misinterpreted Katja's words in the original, top-level submission. Katja, in fact, gets plenty of attention from male nerds with world-saving ambition, but somehow I latched onto one particular interpretation of Katja's words and did not let go till Katja corrected me.

Comment author: Mitchell_Porter 02 October 2009 01:24:52PM 3 points [-]

If there is to be a dating-and-mating annex to LW, may I suggest as a name, "The Lek"?

I won't flatly predict that at least one relationship will result from this posting, but it would not be a surprising outcome.

Comment author: wedrifid 02 October 2009 08:17:32PM 8 points [-]

Please no! There's already enough status competition adding noise to the signal. I do not want to see the petty competition a 'Lek' vibe would add to the mix.

Comment author: [deleted] 16 January 2016 01:07:55AM *  -1 points [-]

I'm scared of touching girls. Every interaction with women I see tends to be like Girl Gone.

But I'd rather get over that. If anyone reading this wants to bang and is familiar with my crazy history but okay with that, let’s meet offline to lower the odds of you being turned off by my shoddy grammar and punctuation.

Comment author: pdf23ds 03 October 2009 03:22:58AM -1 points [-]

Unfortunately, I currently live in NE texas, so probably 300+ miles away from 95% of everyone on the site. OTOH, at the moment I have the ability to move pretty much anywhere in the country, so maybe all hope is not lost.