Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Yvain comments on The Problem With Rational Wiki - Less Wrong

20 [deleted] 26 October 2012 11:31AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (65)

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: Yvain 27 October 2012 11:30:33PM *  4 points [-]

I think of them as the Sith to our Jedi.

The Jedi say "We will give you ancient knowledge of vast power. But you must promise to use it only for pure truth-seeking and the good of all mankind. You must not use it to serve your own personal ends, or you will be consumed by it. You cannot possibly imagine what dangerous forces you are playing with!"

The Sith say "Ancient knowledge of vast power?! Awesome! Got to remember to use this to win any fights I get in from now on!"

Despite that I don't dislike them as much as I used to. People were relatively helpful to me when a local troll tried to smear me and even the guy responsible eventually apologized. At the same time I learned almost all of the anti-LW-ism on there is just one guy who really really hates us for some reason.

I do sometimes worry that they sometimes fall victim to the "If other people say this probability is only 1%, I will be even more virtuous than they are if I say it's only 0.0001%" fallacy, but they're probably better than most people and I'd hate to go all narcissism of minor differences on them.

Comment author: David_Gerard 27 October 2012 11:39:53PM *  9 points [-]

Two guys, fwiw. LW burnouts have also been showing up. Many RW regulars quite like LW (and particularly Yvain), though the apparently-silly bits are in fact regarded as silly.

The only reason this article we're commenting on exists is because RW - which is piss-insignificant - is the only place on the Internet that pays LW even that much attention. Insofar as this is a problem, the problem is that no-one else pays LW even that much attention. (Of course, the question is then whether LW actually wants that attention, because press coverage in general is fundamentally shit and is really not worth touting for unless you have an actual thing you want it to publicise.)

LW paying RW this much attention while also claiming that the entire future of human value itself is at stake looks on the surface like a failure of apportionment of cognitive resources, but perhaps I've missed something.

Comment author: KPier 28 October 2012 06:38:32AM 5 points [-]

LW paying RW this much attention while also claiming that the entire future of human value itself is at stake looks on the surface like a failure of apportionment of cognitive resources, but perhaps I've missed something.

What do you mean by "this much attention"? If Konkvistador's links at the top are reasonably comprehensive (and a quick search doesn't turn up much more), there have been 2 barely-upvoted discussion posts about RW in four years, which hardly seems like much attention. For comparison, LW has devoted several times as much energy to dating advice.

Is there a lot of discussion of RW that I'm missing, or are you claiming that even two posts in Discussion is totally excessive?

Comment author: David_Gerard 28 October 2012 11:49:49AM 6 points [-]

I suppose I'm really thinking of an LW regular telling me in conversation that they consider RW a serious existential risk. You know, serious enough to even think about compared to everything else in the world.

Comment author: gwern 28 October 2012 04:57:04PM 4 points [-]

Who was that?

Comment author: David_Gerard 28 October 2012 09:29:13PM 2 points [-]

Answered privately - it's that the statement happened, not who made it.

Comment author: David_Gerard 28 October 2012 08:50:20AM *  4 points [-]

This article is a response to this comment, which was actually mostly about this comment. Posting an entire article in response to half of that comment does strike me as an overreaction. (I'd be interested in Konkvistador's similar-length response to Jade's comment, though; there's a body of work there raising quite apposite concerns about problems with LW as a social environment - specifically, the existing real world problem of creepers at LW meetups - that won't disappear by merely downvoting them.)

Comment author: KPier 28 October 2012 09:35:14AM *  1 point [-]

Thanks for linking to the context! In fairness, though, if people are citing RationalWiki as proof that LessWrong has a "reputation", then devoting a discussion-level post to it doesn't strike me as excessive.

(On a related note: I hadn't read Jade's comments, but I did after you flagged them as interesting; they struck me as totally devoid of value. Would you mind explaining what you think the valid concern he/she's expressing is?)

Comment author: David_Gerard 28 October 2012 11:04:03AM *  1 point [-]

Well, for one thing, Jade appears to be a "she". But never mind, I'm sure it'll all work out fine.

Comment author: KPier 28 October 2012 08:34:45PM 4 points [-]

Fixed, sorry! (I'm female and that mistake doesn't bother me at all, but I know it really annoys some people. I'll be more careful in future.)

I completely agree that characterizing RW as contributing to existential risk is absurd.

Comment author: wedrifid 29 October 2012 05:09:45PM 0 points [-]

For comparison, LW has devoted several times as much energy to dating advice.

I'm not sure this comparison supports your point terribly well. Dating advice itself is incredibly instrumentally useful. The problems with the dating advice threads are the lack of quality content and the focus on irrelevant conflict. Lesswrong being unqualified to discuss a topic is a very different thing from a thing being insignificant or unworthy of attention.