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Zack_M_Davis comments on Open Thread, November 16–30, 2012 - Less Wrong Discussion

3 Post author: VincentYu 18 November 2012 01:59PM

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Comment author: vi21maobk9vp 25 November 2012 07:01:36PM 1 point [-]

People are different.

As far as I see around, there are people with various optimal bite sizes.

For something I do want to consume in entirety, I prefer long-form writing; there are people who prefer smaller-sized pieces or smaller-sized pieces with a rare chance to interrupt and ask a question.

I learn better from text; there are people who understand spoken words better. Spoken words have intonations and emotional connotations (and often there are relevant gestures at the same time); text reading speed can be changed without any loss.

So, I wouldn't discount the option that another form of presentation can be hypothetically interesting to some 10% of population. It would be just one separate thing for the mto consider, of course.

Comment author: Zack_M_Davis 25 November 2012 08:30:15PM 0 points [-]

there are people who understand spoken words better

Someone who is familiar with the relevant cognitive science is encouraged to correct me if it turns out that my current contrarian opinion is merely the result of my ignorance, but---I'm inclined to just call that a cognitive disability. To be sure, if you happen to be so lucky as to have a domain expert nearby who is willing to spend time with you to clear up your misconceptions, then that's a wonderful resource and you should take advantage of it. But human labor is expensive and text is cheap; people who understand something deeply enough to teach it well have better things to do with their lives than give the same lecture dozens of times. What happens when you want to know something that no one is willing to teach you (at an affordable price)? To be so incompetent at reading as to actually be dependent on a flesh-and-blood human to talk you through every little step every time you want to understand something complicated is a crippling disability, much much worse than not being able to walk. I weep for those who are cursed to live with such a hellishly debilitating condition, and look forward to some future day when our civilization's medical technology has advanced enough to cure this awful disease.

Comment author: vi21maobk9vp 26 November 2012 06:57:32PM 1 point [-]

Whether it is a cognitive disability is not a useful question; the question is whether there is something that is cost-effective to offer to these people.

My main point was that having this situation is not incompatible with being on LessWrong.

About cheapness: you oversimplify. A good recorded video lecture requires noticeably less effort to produce than a good textbook. And even simple lectures for big audience are quite good w.r.t. scalability.