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

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

29 [deleted] 15 February 2013 01:43AM

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

Comments (591)

You are viewing a single comment's thread. Show more comments above.

Comment author: David_Gerard 20 February 2013 08:45:54AM -1 points [-]

In terms of how human minds have evolved to interact with other humans, I think it can usefully be treated as a primitive. Are you actually claiming not to understand what it means, or is this an exercise?

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 21 February 2013 06:04:41AM *  3 points [-]

Different people have different ideas about what constitutes "being a dick" and I was wondering what you mean by it.

Comment author: David_Gerard 21 February 2013 08:35:35AM *  -1 points [-]

I do in fact mean running it past your inbuilt "actually, am I being a dick?" evaluator, as a start. (I'm assuming most people have something that does that job.)

This in no way guarantees anyone else will agree you're not being a dick, as you note, but I find this method useful in practice for screening off my bursts of dickishness - when I remember to apply it - and so I offer it as a simple thing that may work. I find it also makes my responses calmer in a heated argument.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 22 February 2013 02:21:47AM 2 points [-]

I do in fact mean running it past your inbuilt "actually, am I being a dick?" evaluator, as a start. (I'm assuming most people have something that does that job.)

I'm still not sure which inbuilt evaluator you're talking about.

Comment author: David_Gerard 22 February 2013 09:27:57AM *  -2 points [-]

If you are about to say or write a response to something, does "wait, am I actually being a dick here?" before you do so mean anything? Something like "I'm right of course, but can I be right without also coming across as a dick?"

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 23 February 2013 07:02:33AM 2 points [-]

Assume I'm not familiar with the meaning of the word. If I remember correctly where I was growing up 'dick' was little more than a generic insult, also I'm not a native English speaker.

Comment author: David_Gerard 23 February 2013 10:24:52AM 0 points [-]

Ah, OK. Does Don't be a dick get the idea across a bit?

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 24 February 2013 12:48:45AM *  2 points [-]

Ok, looking at the articles much of it talks about how being a dick is not related to being right or being polite and how bad it is to be a dick. As far as talking about what being a dick actually is here is all the article says:

Standard dick-moves, for example, include such things as willfully (but politely) drawing attention to genuine (but inconsequential) errors in spelling or grammar of an interlocutor's comments, disregarding the Chomskian distinction between language competence and language performance.

(..)

Are you here to contribute and make the project good? Or is your goal really to find fault, get your views across [emphasis mine], or be the one in control? Perhaps secretly inside you even enjoy the thrill of a little confrontation.

(..)

Telling someone "Don't be a dick" is generally a dick-move — especially if true. It upsets the other person and reduces the chance that they'll listen to what you say.

Ok, ignoring the line about how attempting to get your views across constitutes being a dick, the idea appears to be a combination of not acting/arguing in good faith and using techniques that are low on Paul Graham's hierarchy of disagreement.

Is this about right?

Also, I suspect the whole "don't be a dick" thing seems like an attempt to create a virtue ethics from scratch by people who never learned traditional virtue ethics.

Comment author: David_Gerard 24 February 2013 01:53:06AM -1 points [-]

the idea appears to be a combination of not acting/arguing in good faith and using techniques that are low on Paul Graham's hierarchy of disagreement. Is this about right?

That's probably close enough to be workable.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 24 February 2013 02:27:30AM *  0 points [-]

As far as talking about what being a dick actually is here is all the article says:

Well, no, it also says:

Focus on behaviour, not on individuals. Say what you want and why you want it. Say why you think the other person's behaviour is counter-productive. Assume good faith to the maximum extent possible. If you don't understand why someone is doing something, ask. Don't rush to complain until you are sure that good faith negotiations can't work. Understand before insisting on being understood.

Remember that your perception can be wrong. If the other person is writing in an unfamiliar language, or has a different cultural background, you may misunderstand their intentions.

Above all, be genuine. Don't ask questions when you know the answer. Don't say you want one thing if you want another. Don't try to persuade people of things that aren't true. Do not respond to dickery in kind.

We can translate this from the negative to the positive:

To be a dick, focus on individuals, not behavior. Hide your real intentions. Express general disapproval of others without reference to the goals of the project. Assume that others are there to mess things up or get in your way. If you don't understand why someone is doing something, guess. Don't negotiate — complain! Insist that others understand you before you deign to attempt to understand them.

You are right. If the other person is being weird, they are wrong, they are misunderstanding you, and they must stop doing that before you can cooperate with them.

Above all, be clever. Snark off with rhetorical questions to prove your wit. Get your point across by trolling and tricking others, getting them to retreat in awe of your cleverness. Don't let anyone out-dick you!