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MugaSofer comments on LW Women: LW Online - Less Wrong Discussion

29 [deleted] 15 February 2013 01:43AM

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Comment author: MugaSofer 19 February 2013 12:50:51PM 3 points [-]

A lot of guys I've dated in the last year have made the same creepy mistake. I think this is likely to be relevant because they're so much like LW members (most of them are programmers, their personalities are very similar and one of them had even signed up for cryo), and because I've seen some hints of this behavior on the discussions. I don't talk enough about myself here to actually bring out this "creepy" behavior (anticipation of that behavior is inhibiting me as well as not wanting to get too personal in public) so this could give you an insight that might not be possible if I spoke strictly of my experiences on LessWrong.

The mistake goes like this: I'd say something about myself. They'd disagree with me.

For a specific example, I was asked whether I was more of a thinker or feeler and I said I was pretty balanced. He retorted that I was more of a thinker. When I persist in these situations, they actually argue with me. I am the one who has spent millions of minutes in this mind, able to directly experience what's going on inside of it. They have spent, at this point, maybe a few hundred minutes observing it from the outside, yet they act like they're experts. If they said they didn't understand, or even that they didn't believe me, that would be workable. But they try to convince me I'm wrong about myself. I find this deeply disturbing and it's completely dysfunctional. There's no way a person will ever get to know me if he won't even listen to what I say about myself. Having to argue with a person over who I am is intolerable.

This may well be me overgeneralizing from the example, but that sounds to me like they saw you as choosing the less prestigious option, and were essentially trying to compliment you (maybe sincerely, maybe out of affection or whatever.) At least, that's how I would model myself saying something like that.

I've thought about this a lot trying to figure out what they're trying to do. It's never going to be a sexy "negative hit" to argue with me about who I am. Disagreeing with me about myself can't possibly count as showing off their incredible ability to see into me because they're doing the exact opposite: being willfully ignorant. Maybe they have such a need to box me into a category that they insist on doing so immediately.

I find all these "possibilities" quite insulting and, frankly, objectifying of men in the worst sense. We're not all PUA robots.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 21 February 2013 02:02:24PM 7 points [-]

What strikes me is that the straightforward (to me) interpretation never enters her mind - that he thought she was mistaken and said so.

It's quite interesting to see the thought process and compare it to my own. It reinforces my belief that just like Haidt's different moral modalities, there are different truth modalities, mainly epistemic versus social. When I'm talking, I'm mainly just sharing my model of reality. When many others talk, it's a "speech act", aimed at "handling" the listener.

When others talk, I'm listening for the model, because I'm modeling their behavior and intent using myself as a model (biggest mistake ever), and assuming they're trying to communicate their model. I think she is making the same mistake but from the social speech acts perspective, modeling his behavior and intent using herself as a model.

Maybe I should be doing that Harry thing more often, and developing a Social Person in my head, to at least query every now and again.

Comment author: Desrtopa 22 February 2013 10:34:00PM 4 points [-]

What strikes me is that the straightforward (to me) interpretation never enters her mind - that he thought she was mistaken and said so.

It doesn't seem to me like that possibility didn't occur to her, she's saying that it's absurd to draw that conclusion with as little data as they have, and offensive that they try and press it when she says otherwise.

I'd use an analogy of a physicist talking to yet another person who "has a theory" about quantum mechanics or relativity or whatever, which countless people think they're qualified to speculate on despite being fairly ignorant in physics. They explain it to the physicist, who tells them "Sorry, that's just not right." And their response to the physicist is "No, see, look..."

The physicist knows a hell of a lot more than they do about the subject, and it's trivializing the gap in their amounts of knowledge to press on and explain why they think they're right and the physicist is wrong without stopping to ask "How do you know that it's incorrect?"

Comment author: shminux 22 February 2013 11:17:47PM 6 points [-]

I am quite familiar with the physicist example, but the situation might be different here. People are notoriously bad at introspection, which lowers the difference between an amateur and an expert. Additionally, daenerys and the guy might be interpreting the question differently: she describes how she feels, he describes how she appears.

Comment author: Desrtopa 22 February 2013 11:33:25PM 3 points [-]

People do tend to be pretty bad at introspection, but if you feel that you're in a much better position to make a judgment than someone else, and they insist that you're wrong anyway, it's liable to feel pretty insulting.

A difference in interpretation seems like it should have been pretty easy to recognize, if the conversation carried on long (ordinary people can hammer out a confusion for ages, but I'd expect a Less Wrong member to be better at noticing "hey, it seems like we're talking about completely different things here.")

Comment author: buybuydandavis 23 February 2013 01:30:38PM 3 points [-]

She said:

I've thought about this a lot trying to figure out what they're trying to do.

She doesn't mention "he thought she was mistaken and said so" in her list of possibilities. If she thought of the obvious answer, why did she have to spend so much time pondering other motives for their actions?

Yes, she's saying it's absurd for others with limited knowledge of her to think they have knowledge about her that she doesn't. And she supposes no one does absurd things?

But I think her opinion that a stranger couldn't see something about someone else that the person themselves does not see is absurd in itself. A lot of people are not very self aware. And even people reasonably self aware are likely unaware of things a stranger would see in minutes. Some business school taped classroom interactions to show the students how they looked in the third person. The general take was that the class was both appalling and transformative, bringing things about themselves to their awareness that they had no clue about. Is there anyone who likes listening to their own message on their answering machine?

Comment author: David_Gerard 22 February 2013 09:52:17PM 0 points [-]

When I'm talking, I'm mainly just sharing my model of reality. When many others talk, it's a "speech act", aimed at "handling" the listener.

All human interaction is politics, and there is no such thing as no politics - even if you intend there not to be.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 22 February 2013 10:19:55PM 0 points [-]

Nope. Doesn't have to be. I don't have to care about your opinions, I don't have to like you, I don't have to be jockeying to have someone like me more than they like you.

You give me a bit of information. I give you one. We keep at it while the exchange seems productive. People browsing instead of web browsing. Call that politics if you like, but I'd consider it an abuse of the term.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 22 February 2013 11:58:28PM 2 points [-]

Call that politics if you like, but I'd consider it an abuse of the term.

Hm.
On your view, what ought "politics" refer to?

Comment author: buybuydandavis 23 February 2013 01:08:04PM 6 points [-]

Whatever it is, it's not "all human interaction".

La wik

Politics (from Greek politikos "of, for, or relating to citizens") is the art or science of influencing people on a civic, or individual level, when there are more than 2 people involved.

I think the more than 2 people involved is key. If you and I are just talking, maybe we're just exchanging information. "What time is the bus coming?" "At 4". "Thanks". It's just misuse of language to call that political. And even if I want you to like me, so I try to influence your opinion of me, that still strikes me as non political. Politics most clearly comes in a 3+player game with alliances.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 23 February 2013 08:28:34PM 3 points [-]

OK, thanks for clarifying.

Comment author: David_Gerard 23 February 2013 10:26:17AM *  1 point [-]

You're getting close to denial there. The geek social fallacies are fallacies. You can wish for human interaction not to work like it does, and angrily declaim that it damn well shouldn't work like it does, but it still does.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 23 February 2013 12:44:22PM 1 point [-]

That whole page seems like nonsense to me. Who do they think believes all that stuff?

What fact of reality am I getting close to denying? Are you busy politicking here? I'm not. I'm talking to you. I don't see enough substance here to bother politicking, and doubt we have any audience to politic over.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 25 February 2013 03:12:03PM 1 point [-]

When I'm talking, I'm mainly just sharing my model of reality. When many others talk, it's a "speech act", aimed at "handling" the listener.

This would explain why some people recommend starting sentences with "I think..." etc. to reduce conflicts.

In a model-sharing mode that does not make much sense. Sentences "I think X" and "X" are equivalent. (The only exception would be if I discussed a model of myself, where "I think X" would mean "so this model of myself is thinking X at this moment of model-time".)

But in the listener-handling mode, it could reduce the impact. It could mean "I am not asking you to change your opinion or suffer the social consequences now; I am just giving you my model as an information".

If the listener-handling mode is the standard speech mode, the exceptions need a disclaimer. For most people this seem to be so, and the rest of us need to be aware of the fact that we don't speak the same language.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 25 February 2013 11:51:31PM *  3 points [-]

This would explain why some people recommend starting sentences with "I think..." etc. to reduce conflicts.
In a model-sharing mode that does not make much sense.

I think it can.

In a model-sharing mode that does not make much sense. Sentences "I think X" and "X" are equivalent.

You're on to something with analyzing the meaning of statements in different modes.

You can speak in model sharing mode with self awareness of the mode. So when I'm thinking about sharing my model, I'm aware that it's my model, and not yours.

So , "I think", "you think" maintains the awareness of which model one is speaking of, and an awareness of the situation you are in - two people with different models.

Earlier, I concluded that "I disagree" was better than "You're wrong" and "That's wrong". Maybe I'm seeing a principle emerge.

Discuss the topic in language that you could both agree on (that doesn't automatically conflict with the person you're talking to). We can both agree that "I disagree", but not that "You're wrong". With conscious of abstraction, and consciousness of our differing abstractions, we can jointly model our disagreement in a shared and consistent language.

That helps to "handle" the situation in terms of properly framing it as a clash of models, in terms that we can both agree on, but that's a joint "handling", coming to a common ground for discussion.

Though that likely changes our emotional reactions, that seems to me different than a direct attempt to handle your emotional state. It's primarily about coming up with an efficient language for our discussion.

I would guess that the general semantics crowd has analyzed discussions in similar terms but greater depth. What I'm saying here rings a lot of bells on readings from GS. Too bad I don't have concrete citations.

Comment author: Gastogh 26 February 2013 11:25:10AM 1 point [-]

This would explain why some people recommend starting sentences with "I think..." etc. to reduce conflicts.

In a model-sharing mode that does not make much sense. Sentences "I think X" and "X" are equivalent.

I think it does make sense, even in model-sharing mode. "I think" has a modal function; modal expressions communicate something about your degree of certainty in what you're saying, and so does leaving them out. The general pattern is that flat statements without modal qualifiers are interpreted as being spoken with great/absolute confidence.

I also question the wisdom of dividing interpersonal communication into separate "listener-handling" and "model-sharing" modes. Sharing anything that might reasonably be expected to have an impact on other people's models is only not "listener-handling" if we discount "potentially changing people's models" as a way of "handling" them. Which doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me.

Comment author: drethelin 26 February 2013 09:09:53AM 1 point [-]

I constantly use I think etc. in model-sharing mode because certainty can be poisonous both to your own knowledge and that of who you're talking to. In pure information conveying mode I think X and X are identical but it's so rare that you can know BOTH of you are in that mode that it feels way more comfortable to hedge.

Examples: What's bob's phone number? It's 555-1421!

Where is your car? it's in the driveway

Where is bob? I THINK he's at work.

What temperature does water boil at? I'm pretty sure it's 212f.

Why are people often disingenuous? I think it's because our brains view conversation differently than our culture does.

Why am I giving examples? Because I think there is a continuum, not just two modes. If you can stay conscious of it, placing yourself wholeheartedly in one mode or the other can be very effective, but it's easiest to maintain a middle ground.