Filter Last three months

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

2016 LessWrong Diaspora Survey Results

30 ingres 14 May 2016 05:38PM

Foreword:

As we wrap up the 2016 survey, I'd like to start by thanking everybody who took
the time to fill it out. This year we had 3083 respondents, more than twice the
number we had last year. (Source: http://lesswrong.com/lw/lhg/2014_survey_results/)
This seems consistent with the hypothesis that the LW community hasn't declined
in population so much as migrated into different communities. Being the *diaspora*
survey I had expectations for more responses than usual, but twice as many was
far beyond them.

Before we move on to the survey results, I feel obligated to put a few affairs
in order in regards to what should be done next time. The copyright situation
for the survey was ambiguous this year, and to prevent that from happening again
I'm pleased to announce that this years survey questions will be released jointly
by me and Scott Alexander as Creative Commons licensed content. We haven't
finalized the details of this yet so expect it sometime this month.

I would also be remiss not to mention the large amount of feedback we received
on the survey. Some of which led to actionable recommendations I'm going to
preserve here for whoever does it next:

- Put free response form at the very end to suggest improvements/complain.

- Fix metaethics question in general, lots of options people felt were missing.

- Clean up definitions of political affilations in the short politics section.
  In particular, 'Communist' has an overly aggressive/negative definition.

- Possibly completely overhaul short politics section.

- Everywhere that a non-answer is taken as an answer should be changed so that
  non answer means what it ought to, no answer or opinion. "Absence of a signal
  should never be used as a signal." - Julian Bigelow, 1947

- Give a definition for the singularity on the question asking when you think it
  will occur.

- Ask if people are *currently* suffering from depression. Possibly add more
  probing questions on depression in general since the rates are so extraordinarily
  high.

- Include a link to what cisgender means on the gender question.

- Specify if the income question is before or after taxes.

- Add charity questions about time donated.

- Add "ineligible to vote" option to the voting question.

- Adding some way for those who are pregnant to indicate it on the number of
  children question would be nice. It might be onerous however so don't feel
  obligated. (Remember that it's more important to have a smooth survey than it
  is to catch every edge case.)

And read this thread: http://lesswrong.com/lw/nfk/lesswrong_2016_survey/,
it's full of suggestions, corrections and criticism.

Without further ado,

Basic Results:

2016 LessWrong Diaspora Survey Questions (PDF Format)

2016 LessWrong Diaspora Survey Results (PDF Format, Missing 23 Responses)

2016 LessWrong Diaspora Survey Results Complete (Text Format, Null Entries Included)

2016 LessWrong Diaspora Survey Results Complete (Text Format, Null Entries Excluded)

2016 LessWrong Diaspora Survey Results Complete (Text Format, Null Entries Included, 13 Responses Filtered, Percentages)

2016 LessWrong Diaspora Survey Results Complete (Text Format, Null Entries Excluded, 13 Responses Filtered, Percentages)

Our report system is currently on the fritz and isn't calculating numeric questions. If I'd known this earlier I'd have prepared the results for said questions ahead of time. Instead they'll be coming out later today or tomorrow.

2016 LessWrong Diaspora Survey Structure (License)

2016 LessWrong Diaspora Survey Public Dataset

(Note for people looking to work with the dataset: My survey analysis code repository includes a sqlite converter, examples, and more coming soon. It's a great way to get up and running with the dataset really quickly.)

In depth analysis:

Analysis Posts

Part One: Meta and Demographics

Aggregated Data

Effective Altruism and Charitable Giving Analysis

Mental Health Stats By Diaspora Community (Including self dxers)

How Diaspora Communities Compare On Mental Health Stats (I suspect these charts are subtly broken somehow, will investigate later)

Improved Mental Health Charts By Obormot (Using public survey data)

Political Opinions By Political Affiliation

Political Opinions By Political Affiliation Charts (By anonymous)

Blogs And Media Demographic Clusters

Calibration Question And Brier Score Analysis

More coming soon!

Survey Analysis Code

Some notes:

1. FortForecast on the communities section, Bayesed And Confused on the blogs section, and Synthesis on the stories section were all 'troll' answers designed to catch people who just put down everything. Somebody noted that the three 'fortforecast' users had the entire DSM split up between them, that's why.

2. Lots of people asked me for a list of all those cool blogs and stories and communities on the survey, they're included in the survey questions PDF above.

Public TODO:

1. Add more in depth analysis, fix the ones that decided to suddenly break at the last minute or I suspect were always broken.

2. Add a compatibility mode so that the current question codes are converted to older ones for 3rd party analysis that rely on them.

If anybody would like to help with these, write to jd@fortforecast.com

Lesswrong 2016 Survey

27 Elo 30 March 2016 06:17PM

It’s time for a new survey!

Take the survey now


The details of the last survey can be found here.  And the results can be found here.

 

I posted a few weeks back asking for suggestions for questions to include on the survey.  As much as we’d like to include more of them, we all know what happens when we have too many questions. The following graph is from the last survey.


http://i.imgur.com/KFTn2Bt.png

KFTn2Bt.png

(Source: JD’s analysis of 2014 survey data)


Two factors seem to predict if a question will get an answer:

  1. The position

  2. Whether people want to answer it. (Obviously)


People answer fewer questions as we approach the end. They also skip tricky questions. The least answered question on the last survey was - “what is your favourite lw post, provide a link”.  Which I assume was mostly skipped for the amount of effort required either in generating a favourite or in finding a link to it.  The second most skipped questions were the digit-ratio questions which require more work, (get out a ruler and measure) compared to the others. This is unsurprising.


This year’s survey is almost the same size as the last one (though just a wee bit smaller).  Preliminary estimates suggest you should put aside 25 minutes to take the survey, however you can pause at any time and come back to the survey when you have more time.  If you’re interested in helping process the survey data please speak up either in a comment or a PM.


We’re focusing this year particularly on getting a glimpse of the size and shape of the LessWrong diaspora.  With that in mind; if possible - please make sure that your friends (who might be less connected but still hang around in associated circles) get a chance to see that the survey exists; and if you’re up to it - encourage them to fill out a copy of the survey.


The survey is hosted and managed by the team at FortForecast, you’ll be hearing more from them soon. The survey can be accessed through http://lesswrong.com/2016survey.


Survey responses are anonymous in that you’re not asked for your name. At the end we plan to do an opt-in public dump of the data. Before publication the row order will be scrambled, datestamps, IP addresses and any other non-survey question information will be stripped, and certain questions which are marked private such as the (optional) sign up for our mailing list will not be included. It helps the most if you say yes but we can understand if you don’t.  


Thanks to Namespace (JD) and the FortForecast team, the Slack, the #lesswrong IRC on freenode, and everyone else who offered help in putting the survey together, special thanks to Scott Alexander whose 2014 survey was the foundation for this one.


When answering the survey, I ask you be helpful with the format of your answers if you want them to be useful. For example if a question asks for an number, please reply with “4” not “four”.  Going by the last survey we may very well get thousands of responses and cleaning them all by hand will cost a fortune on mechanical turk. (And that’s for the ones we can put on mechanical turk!) Thanks for your consideration.

 

The survey will be open until the 1st of may 2016

 


Addendum from JD at FortForecast: During user testing we’ve encountered reports of an error some users get when they try to take the survey which erroneously reports that our database is down. We think we’ve finally stamped it out but this particular bug has proven resilient. If you get this error and still want to take the survey here are the steps to mitigate it:

 

  1. Refresh the survey, it will still be broken. You should see a screen with question titles but no questions.

  2. Press the “Exit and clear survey” button, this will reset your survey responses and allow you to try again fresh.

  3. Rinse and repeat until you manage to successfully answer the first two questions and move on. It usually doesn’t take more than one or two tries. We haven’t received reports of the bug occurring past this stage.


If you encounter this please mail jd@fortforecast.com with details. Screenshots would be appreciated but if you don’t have the time just copy and paste the error message you get into the email.

 

Take the survey now


Meta - this took 2 hours to write and was reviewed by the slack.


My Table of contents can be found here.

Attention! Financial scam targeting Less Wrong users

23 Viliam_Bur 14 May 2016 05:38PM

Recently, multiple suspicious user accounts were created on Less Wrong. These accounts don't post any content in the forum. Instead, they are used only to send private messages to the existing users.

Many users have received a copy of the same message, but different variants exist, too. Here are the examples I know about. If you have received a different variant, please post it in a comment below this article:

 

Hi good day. My boss is interested on donating to MIRI's project and he is wondering if he could send money through you and you donate to miri through your company and thus accelertaing the value created. He wants to use "match donations" as a way of donating thats why he is looking for people in companies like you. I want to discuss more about this so if you could see this message please give me a reply. Thank you!

 

hi. ive made 500k+ the last half year on esport betting and i can show proof. i was a great poker player before that so i have reason to believe i am good and wellsuited at this. i want to offer free education to one of the efw people that have their priorities straight in this world and will work towards minimising existential risk. the higher intelligence the better. ultimately i would like to offload some work to someone because currently i am gettin gquite a bit burnt out and i would like to study finance, and having someone take advantage of the incredible ineffeciencies in this area is of huge importance. i would like to discuss this with someone and how to make it real, and have exchange of thoughts on all of the aspects on how to best do it. i can post proof and make donations to miri to show im serious so that we or someone else could have a discussion about it

 

I don't know yet about anyone who replied and got scammed, so this is all based on indirect evidence. If you got scammed, please tell me. If you are ashamed, I can publish your story anonymously. Your story could help other potential victims.

Most likely, the scheme is the following:

  1. The scammer will send you money.
  2. Then they will ask some of the money back because they changed their mind, or they mistakenly sent you more than they wanted, or their financial situation suddenly changed, or whatever.
  3. After receiving the money from you, they will flag the original transaction as a fraud, so they get back the money they originally sent you, plus the money you sent them back. Then they disappear, or it will turn out they used a stolen identity, etc.

(Thanks to ChristianKl for explaining the system in the Open Thread.)

If you replied to the original message and now you are already in the middle of the process, please inform your bank as soon as possible! Even if the step 2 didn't happen yet, so you can still get out without losing money, warning your bank about the scammer could help other potential victims.

 

Warning: If you have already received a check or a payment confirmation, and someone is asking you to send the overpayment back quickly, do not send anything. The check or the payment confirmation is fake, and the goal is to make you send money before you find out. (Thanks to qsz for explaining.)

Several free CFAR summer programs on rationality and AI safety

17 AnnaSalamon 14 April 2016 02:35AM
CFAR will be running several free summer programs this summer which are currently taking applications.  Please apply if you’re interested, and forward the programs also to anyone else who may be a good fit!
continue reading »

"3 Reasons It’s Irrational to Demand ‘Rationalism’ in Social Justice Activism"

8 PhilGoetz 29 March 2016 03:16PM

The lead article on everydayfeminism.com on March 25:

3 Reasons It’s Irrational to Demand ‘Rationalism’ in Social Justice Activism

The scenario is always the same: I say we should  abolish prisonspolice, and the  American settler state— someone tells me I’m irrational. I say we need  decolonization of the land — someone tells me I’m not being realistic.... When those who are the loudest, the most disruptive — the ones who want to destroy America and all of the oppression it has brought into the world — are being silenced even by others in social justice groups, that is unacceptable.

(The link from "decolonization" is to "Decolonization is not a metaphor", to make it clear s/he means actually giving the land back to the Native Americans.)

I regularly see people who describe how social justice activists act accused of setting up a straw man.  This article show that the bias of some SJWs against reason is impossible to strawman.  The author argues at length that rationality is bad, and that justice arguments shouldn't be rational or be defended rationally.  Ze is, or was, confused about what "rationality" means, but clearly now means it to include reason-based argumentation.

This isn't just some wacko's blog; it was chosen as the headline article for the website.  I had to click around to a few other articles to make sure it wasn't a parody site.

But it isn't just a sign of how irrational the social justice movement is—it has clues to how it got that way.

continue reading »

Meetup : Meet up LW Sao Paulo

1 leohmarruda 09 April 2016 04:57PM

Discussion article for the meetup : Meet up LW Sao Paulo

WHEN: 16 April 2016 02:00:27PM (-0300)

WHERE: Vanilla café - 2o andar, Rua Antônio Carlos, 452. São Paulo, Brazil.

Encontro mensal de racionalistas, novatos são bem vindos! Teremos algumas lições de racionalidade prática, discussões diversas e jogos de tabuleiro no final.

Discussion article for the meetup : Meet up LW Sao Paulo

Meetup : San Jose Meetup: Park Day

1 steven0461 30 March 2016 04:39AM

Discussion article for the meetup : San Jose Meetup: Park Day

WHEN: 03 April 2016 02:00:00PM (-0700)

WHERE: 438 Coleman Ave, San Jose, CA 95110

We thought we'd take advantage of the good weather and have what will hopefully be the first meetup in a series. (There will be at least two people attending.) You're invited to bring whatever you'd like to see at Park Day - balls, frisbees, food, etc. We'll carry a green blanket so you can recognize us. (Or my CFAR bag, if I can find it. If you want to be sure, please check back here later.) The idea is to gather outside near the listed address at the park entrance first, but probably walk elsewhere soon. If you can't find us or there's something else, please call me (Steven) at 510-6844565.

Discussion article for the meetup : San Jose Meetup: Park Day

Meetup : Rationality Meetup Vienna

0 AnnaLeptikon 29 May 2016 11:39AM

Discussion article for the meetup : Rationality Meetup Vienna

WHEN: 25 June 2016 03:00:00PM (+0200)

WHERE: Kaisermühlenstraße 24

Agenda 15:00 - 15:30 arrival and social time 15:30 official start with an introduction round 16:00 defining the topic(s) of the day (might be one big presentation or open microphone which means everyone can offer short talks or topics for discussion)

at around 18:00 leaving for dinner and beforehand cleaning up together

19:00 Dinner

Follow Links for directions: https://www.facebook.com/events/447851665414100/permalink/455616414637625/

Topics proposed so far: Matthias Samwald - Cryonics Konstantin Orshulevich - Game Theory

Event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/636719113161659/ (look here for updated information!)

Discussion article for the meetup : Rationality Meetup Vienna

Meetup : San Francisco Meetup: Projects

0 rocurley 23 May 2016 06:54AM

Discussion article for the meetup : San Francisco Meetup: Projects

WHEN: 23 May 2016 06:15:00PM (-0700)

WHERE: 1597 Howard St. San Francisco, CA

We'll be meeting to work on projects. Bring something to work on, come up with something there, or help other people out!

As always, I can be reached at 301-458-0764 if you need to be let in.

Discussion article for the meetup : San Francisco Meetup: Projects

Meetup : Less Wrong, More Summer, Munich Picnic

0 jasticE 22 May 2016 04:21PM

Discussion article for the meetup : Less Wrong, More Summer, Munich Picnic

WHEN: 04 June 2016 01:00:00PM (+0200)

WHERE: Barerstr. 40, Munich

POSTPONED to June 4 because of unstable weather

Location: Lawn between Pinakothek der Moderne and Museum Reich der Kristalle It's been a while! Let's have a casual picnic, chat about rationality, play Zendo, whatever. If you would like to discuss something particular, feel welcome to announce it here. If it's convenient, bring a blanket, some snacks, or drinks. But most of all yourself :) Also see Meetup event: http://www.meetup.com/LessWrongMunich/events/231308219/

Discussion article for the meetup : Less Wrong, More Summer, Munich Picnic

View more: Next