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[Link] How to not earn a delta (Change My View)

10 Post author: Viliam 14 February 2017 10:04AM

Comments (5)

Comment author: WhySpace 14 February 2017 07:29:08PM *  8 points [-]

Here, have a related podcast from You Are Not So Smart.


A scientist realized that the Change My View subreddit is basically a pile of already-structured arguments, with precisely what changed the person's mind clearly labeled with a "Δ". He decided to data mine it, and look at what correlated with changed minds.


  • Apparently people with longer, more detailed, better structured initial views were more likely to award a delta. (Maybe that's just because they changed their mind on one of the minor points though, and not the bigger topic? IDK.)

  • The more people joined the debate, and the longer the comments and comment chains, the more likely the poster was to award a delta. (More and better arguments? I find it interesting that so few people changed their mind on first exposure to someone else's considerations, and that it takes several back-and-forths to change a view. Maybe they're going to the meta-level to decide whether it's valid evidence? Maybe it just takes some dialog to grok the concept? Maybe people are usually aware of the simplest forms of counterarguments to their positions? I'd be interested to know more, but maybe we should be striving for more of a Socratic dialogue. I think there was a recent Eliezer FB post on good arguments being 4+ layers deep, which seems relevant.)

  • Using the word "we" and insults hurt the odds. (Ingroup/outgroup dynamics, I assume.)

Comment author: Viliam 14 February 2017 10:05:32AM *  4 points [-]

Summary: An advice on how to change someone's mind without offending them. Written as a list of anti-advice.

EDIT: Their "rules" page is also worth reading.

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 14 February 2017 05:27:14PM 1 point [-]

It seemed pretty repetitive to me. It seemed to be saying "don't insult people" over and over again. Yes, there are lots of different ways of insulting people, but is it useful to address all of them individually? I doubt it (CMV). Maybe repetition is a good way of getting the general principle across, though.

The two exceptions are the first item "Come on strong and hard with contradictory evidence and a combative tone" and "Whine about goalposts." The text of the first item mixes in the topic of insults, but also talks about other things. But it didn't say much. I think elaborating on that topic would have been more useful. But the negative framing excludes positive advice. Indeed, I think the article should be seen more as moderation rules than practical advice.

Comment author: Lumifer 14 February 2017 05:50:09PM 6 points [-]

but is it useful to address all of them individually?

In this particular context I think so, yes. The point is that instead of arguing "You insulted the OP! No, I did not!" you can gesture in the direction of item #17 and say "This is exactly what you did". The more specific the items are, the more difficult it is to wiggle out.

Comment author: Viliam 15 February 2017 10:25:47AM *  0 points [-]

Yeah, I can imagine all those:
"No, I didn't insult... I just provided a feedback about why OP is an uneducated idiot!"

(This is not meant ironically; people often have a good reason why they insult others for the greater good.)