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Peter_Twieg comments on Well-Kept Gardens Die By Pacifism - Less Wrong

105 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 21 April 2009 02:44AM

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Comment author: Peter_Twieg 21 April 2009 05:07:26PM *  1 point [-]

Lots of memes come out of 4chan. I'm not sure I'd call any of them "good" in any way beyond their being amusing. (Of note: "4chan was never good" is a meme in and of itself.)

The thousand 13-year old Bayesian LW would never "build up" anything approximating rationality, I'd conjecture. It would select for rational arguments to some extent, but it would also select for creative new obscenities, threads about how to get laid, and rationalist imagefloods (whatever that would consist of) being spammed over and over. 4chan has almost 200 million posts and I can't think of any meaningful contribution it has made to human knowledge.

Don't get me wrong, it has its purpose, but I don't believe you could ever get a community with a 4chan-style atmosphere to promote any sort of epistemic virtues, largely because I think what it would take to be noticed there would almost intrinsically require some kind of major violation of those virtues.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 21 April 2009 05:50:11PM 6 points [-]

4chan has almost 200 million posts and I can't think of any meaningful contribution it has made to human knowledge.

That may well be one of the most scathing accusations I've ever heard leveled, but I'm not sure if it's quite entirely true. Surely there've been a succinct atheistic demotivator or two to come out?

Comment author: dfranke 21 April 2009 07:46:44PM 7 points [-]

I haven't been paying particularly close attention so I could be wrong, but it seems like 4chan has also made real contributions toward raising public awareness about the Church of Scientology and its crimes.

Comment author: MBlume 21 April 2009 07:54:52PM 3 points [-]

That's the impression that I got too -- does anyone have figures? Is recruitment down, or did the church have to spend a significant amount of money on damage control?

Comment author: Peter_Twieg 21 April 2009 08:24:32PM 3 points [-]

No one's done a definite estimate of the impacts, but "Project Chanology" did attract thousands of protestors and a lot of mainstream media attention. I didn't mean to argue that 4chan has never accomplished anything positive, or even that there isn't a lot of creative activity there - I just don't see any of it as having advanced the frontiers of human understanding in any meaningful sense.

Comment author: David_Gerard 03 December 2010 04:01:26PM *  2 points [-]

Scientology met its Vietnam (to quote a former CoS public relations officer who had by then escaped) in 1995 when it took on alt.religion.scientology. By 1997, it came out when they were suing Grady Ward that their income in 1997 was a quarter what it was in 1995. It was at that stage they'd already lost - the momentum against them was only going to increase (and this is indeed what happened) - and the rest was mopup.

tl;dr: they have taken such a hit from the Internet over the past fifteen years that their current income is a shadow of what it once was. However, they have enough reserves - Hubbard was very big on reserves - to keep all ther offices open for years and possibly decades if they wanted to.

Comment author: pangloss 21 April 2009 09:34:51PM *  2 points [-]
Comment author: infotropism 21 April 2009 09:44:16PM 1 point [-]

I get error 403 trying to access it. But I suppose you meant this : remember santa

Comment author: JamesAndrix 21 April 2009 07:04:54PM 2 points [-]

Well what do you think a positive 1000 13 year old LW would look like?

Competing with 4chan for the attention of 13 year olds is the scope of the problem we face. I'm saying that 1000 young bayesians is a goal, and that if that community comes to exist, it just won't look at all like LW, or have it's mores.

The LW atmosphere probably won't grab that audience. (And many of the new posts would be perceived as low quality here, even if they were above average for 13 year olds.)

Also, the only memes you will see 'coming out of 4chan' are the most viral ones. If it also contained a rationalist subculture, it might not be obvious, unless you were one of the 13 year olds whose thinking was changed.

Comment author: JamesAndrix 22 April 2009 08:26:08PM 1 point [-]
Comment author: MBlume 22 April 2009 08:35:29PM 0 points [-]


Comment author: arundelo 22 April 2009 09:21:05PM 2 points [-]

I think so:

We'll try to build simple model describing sexual relationships between boys and girls.

It talks about sex, but not with swear words or in terms of body parts.

Comment author: MBlume 22 April 2009 09:45:02PM 0 points [-]

thanks =)