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RomeoStevens comments on How I'd Introduce LessWrong to an Outsider - Less Wrong

4 Post author: adamzerner 03 May 2017 04:32AM

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Comment author: RomeoStevens 03 May 2017 06:19:01PM *  12 points [-]

Having spent years thinking about this and having the opportunity to talk with open minded, intelligent, successful people in social groups, extended family etc. I concluded that most explicit discussion of the value of inquiring into values and methods (scope sensitivity and epistemological rigor being two of the major threads of what applied rationality looks like) just works incredibly rarely, and only then if there is strong existing interest.

Taking ideas seriously and trusting your own reasoning methods as a filter is a dangerous, high variance move that most people are correct to shy away from. My impression of the appeal of LW retrospectively is that it (on average) attracted people who were or are under performing relative to g (this applies to myself). When you are losing you increase variance. When you are winning you decrease it.

I eventually realized that what I was really communicating to people's system 1 was something like "Hey, you know those methods of judgment like proxy measures of legitimacy and mimesis that have granted you a life you like and that you want to remain stable? Those are bullshit, throw them away and start using these new methods of judgment advocated by a bunch of people who aren't leading lives resembling the one you are optimizing for."

This has not resulted in many sales. It is unrealistic to expect to convert a significant fraction of the tribe to shamanism.

Comment author: satt 08 May 2017 07:59:17PM 1 point [-]

Maybe a side note, but it's not obvious to me that

When you are losing you increase variance. When you are winning you decrease it.

is in general true, whether normatively or empirically.

Comment author: hg00 08 May 2017 05:35:27AM 1 point [-]

Earlier today, it occurred to me that the rationalist community might be accurately characterized as "a support group for high IQ people". This seems concordant with your observations.

Comment author: Viliam 09 May 2017 10:51:37AM 1 point [-]

I'd like to emphasise that in this context, "high IQ" means higher than Mensa level (which is what most people would probably imagine when you say "high IQ").

I used to regularly attend Mensa meetups, and now I regularly attend LW meetups, and seems to me that the difference between LW and Mensa is about the same as the difference between Mensa and the normies. This doesn't mean the whole difference is about IQ, but there seems to be a significant intelligence component anyway.

Comment author: adamzerner 03 May 2017 07:51:53PM 1 point [-]

As for the comment that it's difficult to get people to be interested, that seems very true to me, and it's good to get the data of your vast experience with this.

A separate question is how we can best attempt to get people to be interested. You commented on the failure you experienced with the "throw your techniques away, these ones are better" approach. That seems like a good point. I sense that my message takes that approach too strongly and could be improved.

I'm interested in hearing about anything you've found to be particularly effective.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 08 May 2017 11:29:32AM 0 points [-]

My impression of the appeal of LW retrospectively is that it (on average) attracted people who were or are under performing relative to g (this applies to myself). When you are losing you increase variance. When you are winning you decrease it.

There's also the issue of having plenty of spare timeĀ·

Comment author: The_Jaded_One 04 May 2017 05:49:36PM 0 points [-]

My impression of the appeal of LW retrospectively is that it (on average) attracted people who were or are under performing relative to g (this applies to myself). When you are losing you increase variance. When you are winning you decrease it.

This also applies to me