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

29 [deleted] 15 February 2013 01:43AM

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Comment author: Viliam_Bur 21 February 2013 03:59:44PM *  3 points [-]

Broad claims should be reexamined for specific unusual situations (LW is an unusual social situation). Also to avoid mindkilling, it would be better just to cite the claim without saying who claims it.

Even when outright dismissing is socially impossible, there can still remain some more subtle form of feedback. As a very extreme example, even in a totalitarian regime where no one can safely contradict the leader and everyone must clap their hands when the leader says something, people who disagree clap their hands slightly differently from people who agree.

I wrote this comment before erratio wrote hers. (And I somehow missed or forgot NancyLebovitz's comment.) Now, with the new data... I stand corrected. I guess in this situation, the positive comments by erratio and NancyLebovitz are as far as a woman can go without a status loss. Whether someone did or didn't go that far, that is an evidence we can use; and now that I see the evidence, I retracted the original comment.

So, considering this evidence, now I think that the situation is mostly OK, and that the whole "LW Women" series probably suffers from availability bias and priming. The complaining women were more likely to participate, they were primed to complain ("told to not hold back for politeness"), and they were primed to focus on gender issues (by the fact that they were selected for being women).

Just to make sure, by "mostly OK" I mean that I respect the wish to talk about sex/gender issues less. I don't think we can avoid them completely, because sometimes they are strongly relevant to the topic, but we should always think twice before introducing them in a thread. Some degree of reducing emotions is necessary for a rationality debate (regardless of gender), but perhaps we are too extreme in this, and could be a bit warmer, simply because just like rationality is not a reversed stupidity, neither is it reversed emotionality. But of course we should not push people for whom that would be unpleasant. Anyone who prefers a different environment is free to lead by example, instead of blaming others for having different preferences.