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In response to OB Status Update
Comment author: Caledonian2 29 January 2009 06:43:45PM -2 points [-]

[bored now. comment deleted.]

In response to OB Status Update
Comment author: Caledonian2 28 January 2009 04:52:04PM 2 points [-]

"Caledonian, I look forward to being able to downvote your comments instead of deleting them."

What, the software forces you to delete my comments? Someone's holding a gun to your head?

I look forward to your forming a completely closed memetic sphere around yourself, instead of this partially-closed system you've already established.

In response to Failed Utopia #4-2
Comment author: Caledonian2 22 January 2009 07:42:00PM 8 points [-]

Because I'm curious:

How much evidence, and what kind, would be necessary before suspicions of contrarianism are rejected in favor of the conclusion that the belief was wrong?

Surely this is a relevant question for a Bayesian.

In response to Failed Utopia #4-2
Comment author: Caledonian2 21 January 2009 04:47:25PM 1 point [-]

I would personally be more concerned about an AI trying to make me deliriously happy no matter what methods it used.

Happiness is part of our cybernetic feedback mechanism. It's designed to end once we're on a particular course of action, just as pain ends when we act to prevent damage to ourselves. It's not capable of being a permanent state, unless we drive our nervous system to such an extreme that we break its ability to adjust, and that would probably be lethal.

Any method of producing constant happiness ultimately turns out to be pretty much equivalent to heroin -- you compensate so that even extreme levels of the stimulus have no effect, forming the new functional baseline, and the old equilibrium becomes excruciating agony for as long as the compensations remain. Addiction -- and desensitization -- is inevitable.

In response to In Praise of Boredom
Comment author: Caledonian2 19 January 2009 07:07:50PM 1 point [-]

Few people become bored with jumping in SMB because 1) becoming skilled at it is quite hard, 2) it's used to accomplish specific tasks and is quite useful in that context, 3) it's easier to become bored with the game as a whole than with that particular part of it.

Comment author: Caledonian2 16 January 2009 08:17:32PM 1 point [-]

Having to take action to avoid unpleasant surprises is usually pleasant, as long as your personal resources aren't stretched too much in the process.

If you eliminate the potential for unpleasant surprises, the game isn't much fun. (Imagine playing chess against an opponent that was so predictable as to never threaten to beat you. Why bother?)

Comment author: Caledonian2 15 January 2009 06:23:11PM 4 points [-]

Lots of people find planning their character design decisions, and exploring in detail the mechanical consequences of their designs, to be 'fun'.

Which is why there are so many sites that (for example) post in their entirety the skills for Diablo II and how each additional skillpoint affects the result - information that cannot be easily acquired from the game itself.

Although there are some basic principles behind 'fun', the specific things that make something 'fun' vary wildly from one person to another. If what the designers created wasn't to your taste, perhaps it's not that they failed, but that you're not a member of their target audience.

In response to Serious Stories
Comment author: Caledonian2 12 January 2009 05:18:23PM 1 point [-]

Gwern, why do you think we have those emotional responses to pain in the first place?

Yes, I'm aware of forms of brain damage that make people not care about negative stimuli. They're extraordinarily crippling.

Comment author: Caledonian2 12 January 2009 05:08:58PM 1 point [-]

Nancy Lebovitz, those are great. I may have to appropriate some of those.

In response to Serious Stories
Comment author: Caledonian2 09 January 2009 06:16:42PM 2 points [-]

I'd say the primary bad thing about pain is not that it hurts, but that it's pushy and won't tune out. You could learn to sleep in a ship's engine room, but a mere stubbed toe grabs and holds your attention.

That, I think we could delete with impunity.

If we could learn to simply get along with any level of pain... how would it constitute an obstacle?

Real accomplishment requires real obstacles to avoid, remove, or transcend. Real obstacles require real consequences. And real consequences require pain.

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