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Viliam_Bur comments on PROPOSAL: LessWrong for Teenagers - Less Wrong Discussion

19 Post author: Josephthink 08 November 2012 06:09AM

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Comment author: Viliam_Bur 09 November 2012 02:41:00PM *  5 points [-]

Question, only for teenagers: Is there a topic, somehow relevant to your age group, which you would like to see rationally discussed on LW?

Please, be specific.

Comment author: KPier 09 November 2012 08:36:16PM 14 points [-]

I'm a freshman in college now, but a post or two analyzing the reasons for choosing an (expensive, high status) private college versus an (essentially free, low status) state college, or going to school in America versus Europe versus somewhere else, would have been immensely valuable to me a year ago.

This would belong on LessWrong because typical advice on this topic is either "follow your dreams, do what you love, everything will work out", or "you're an idiot to take on debt, if you can't pay your own way through college you're a lazy, entitled brat".

A post describing how to make such a decision based on expected-value calculations, discussing value of information and college visits, and dissecting the research into the income effects of attending top colleges would be very nice.

(I could write such a post, if others think it would be of enough general interest).

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 12 November 2012 02:58:51AM 1 point [-]

I think it would be a good idea for a post, not just for the specifics but also because it would relate to making decisions which involve long range predictions.

Comment author: KPier 12 November 2012 03:09:53AM 3 points [-]

From the upvotes I'm concluding it's worthwhile to go ahead and write it: I agree it serves as a pretty decent example of applying rationality concepts for long-term decision making. It'll have to wait a week until Thanksgiving Break, though.

Comment author: [deleted] 27 November 2012 12:04:02AM *  8 points [-]

I can share some of my teenage-concerns, current and former, which advice may (or may not?) be appropriate for.

  • How to decide what to do with my life, if even possible. What makes me happy? What is important to me? Maybe I do not need to attend college to satisfy my interests? What happens if my model for my future is different from my parents' model of my future?
  • How to cope with being stuck in high-school, with a limited degree of freedom and mobility, a lack of tolerance for worthless tasks like chores, a largely immature crowd of peers surrounding me, and no IRL friends who are also rationalists
  • Existential depression: feeling overtly depressed over the realization that life is meaningless, short, etc
  • Not actually understanding where I fit in intellectually due to conflicting judgments (school performance vs. personal thinking, learning, and interaction)

Most often, the advice I get is to wait for college. The concerns get dismissed because they're juvenile and temporary in nature. However, I choose to assert the importance of the present.

Comment author: Spectral_Dragon 14 November 2012 06:28:46PM 3 points [-]

I think maybe an introductory sequence - simple, straightforward, easily contemplated and applied, for new people. Especially teenagers, then - I'd have LOVED to read Guessing the Teacher's Password when I was 15, but it wasn't among the first I read. Hard to find unless you knew what you were looking for. So simple things to find their own answer to - do we have free will, figure out why the people arguing about trees making sounds are arguing in the first place, stuff like that. A place to discuss this without anyone spoiling it would be great for newcomers, I think.

Maybe tips on how to combat procrastination, getting efficient at studying and social insights. Do we have a wiki entry for basic expressions used here, that might not be so basic to teens? We should expect intelligent people with zero knowledge on rationality here, so we prepare for that. That's all I can think of now, I'll add more if I think of anything.

Comment author: Benito 15 November 2012 08:14:05PM 2 points [-]

I agree with Spectral Dragon. There are two main areas I'm thinking of: the first are introductions:: rationality ideas for people with no rationality background, presented clearly and not dependant on having read ALL of EY's posts, and also introductions to major topics related to science, maths, computer science and the like, written by rationalists - Like the Causal Disgrams post from the new Epistemology sequence. For instance, explaining what maths and physics are without referring to a 'non-natural platonic realm of being' etc. Clear and not confused, rather than clearly confused. Also, applying rationality to (teenage) life - that is, life rationality for newcomers to that particular field. All types of interpersonal relationships, how signalling and status fit into everything, how to organise your life now that you need to think for yourself (etc).

That would be brilliant :)