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Comment author: Mark_Friedenbach 26 May 2015 06:06:29PM *  0 points [-]

Einstein repeatedly hit success in his lifetime

Actually he did not. He got lucky early in his career, and pretty much coasted on that into irrelevance. His intuition allowed him to solve problems related to relativity, the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, and a few other significant contributions within the span of a decade, early in his career. And then he went off the deep end following his intuition down a number of dead-ending rabbit holes for the rest of his life. He died in Princeton in 1955 having made no further significant contributions to physics after is 1916 invention of general relativity. Within the physics community (I am a trained physicist), Einstein's story is retold more often as a cautionary tale than a model to emulate.

Comment author: DanielVarga 27 May 2015 10:13:24PM 3 points [-]

There are worse fates than not being able to top your own discovery of general relativity.

Comment author: Benito 27 February 2015 11:20:19PM 1 point [-]

I would kindly request that you include this one.

Comment author: DanielVarga 27 February 2015 11:31:11PM *  3 points [-]

That's not a top-level comment, so it's excluded by my script from this version. I won't manually edit the output, sorry. There's another version where non-top-level comments are kept, too. Your quote is in there:

Comment author: DanielVarga 27 February 2015 10:59:37PM 2 points [-]

Top quote contributors by total (2009-2014) karma score collected:

  • 1394 RichardKennaway
  • 1133 James_Miller
  • 1040 Alejandro1
  • 1037 [deleted]
  • 978 gwern
  • 971 Jayson_Virissimo
  • 847 lukeprog
  • 846 Eugine_Nier
  • 841 GabrielDuquette
  • 827 Eliezer_Yudkowsky
  • 818 Stabilizer
  • 775 Rain
  • 750 MichaelGR
  • 734 NancyLebovitz
  • 628 Konkvistador
  • 590 anonym
  • 521 CronoDAS
  • 479 arundelo
  • 445 Yvain
  • 434 RobinZ
  • 431 Kaj_Sotala
  • 404 dspeyer
  • 372 Alicorn
  • 357 Grognor
  • 353 Vaniver
  • 347 Tesseract
  • 332 shminux
  • 328 DSimon
  • 296 Oscar_Cunningham
  • 296 billswift
  • 293 Pablo_Stafforini
  • 292 peter_hurford
  • 284 Nominull
  • 277 jsbennett86
  • 271 katydee
  • 263 RolfAndreassen
  • 262 Thomas
  • 237 Kutta
  • 229 roland
  • 224 Cyan
Comment author: DanielVarga 27 February 2015 11:01:27PM 2 points [-]

Top quote contributors by statistical significance level:

  • 0.00000 (23.11 in 45): Alejandro1
  • 0.00007 (17.98 in 63): James_Miller
  • 0.00016 (19.02 in 43): Stabilizer
  • 0.00016 (25.25 in 16): dspeyer
  • 0.00020 (18.69 in 45): GabrielDuquette
  • 0.00052 (26.91 in 11): Oscar_Cunningham
  • 0.00142 (24.33 in 12): peter_hurford
  • 0.00183 (50.50 in 2): Delta
  • 0.00252 (68.00 in 1): Solvent
  • 0.00290 (19.35 in 23): Yvain
  • 0.00352 (66.00 in 1): westward
  • 0.00360 (24.78 in 9): Mestroyer
  • 0.00529 (29.20 in 5): michaelkeenan
  • 0.00591 (41.00 in 2): nabeelqu
  • 0.00591 (41.00 in 2): VincentYu
  • 0.00604 (60.00 in 1): RomeoStevens
  • 0.00719 (24.00 in 8): philh
  • 0.00725 (19.28 in 18): Tesseract
  • 0.00780 (57.00 in 1): Zando
  • 0.00820 (39.00 in 2): sediment
  • 0.00830 (23.62 in 8): Qiaochu_Yuan
  • 0.00871 (23.50 in 8): Maniakes
  • 0.00993 (32.00 in 3): benelliott
  • 0.01012 (15.17 in 64): Jayson_Virissimo
  • 0.01226 (26.00 in 5): Ezekiel
  • 0.01359 (49.00 in 1): Liron
  • 0.01627 (23.67 in 6): AspiringRationalist
  • 0.01711 (45.00 in 1): Mycroft65536
  • 0.01816 (34.00 in 2): summerstay
  • 0.02114 (43.00 in 1): bentarm
  • 0.02134 (16.58 in 26): Kaj_Sotala
  • 0.02265 (42.00 in 1): Andy_McKenzie
  • 0.02600 (22.17 in 6): ShardPhoenix
  • 0.03044 (30.50 in 2): gRR
  • 0.03200 (24.00 in 4): Particleman
  • 0.03435 (18.25 in 12): MinibearRex
  • 0.03523 (37.00 in 1): andreas
  • 0.03875 (36.00 in 1): NoisyEmpire
  • 0.03876 (16.23 in 22): Grognor
  • 0.04292 (28.00 in 2): roystgnr
Comment author: DanielVarga 27 February 2015 10:59:37PM 2 points [-]

Top quote contributors by total (2009-2014) karma score collected:

  • 1394 RichardKennaway
  • 1133 James_Miller
  • 1040 Alejandro1
  • 1037 [deleted]
  • 978 gwern
  • 971 Jayson_Virissimo
  • 847 lukeprog
  • 846 Eugine_Nier
  • 841 GabrielDuquette
  • 827 Eliezer_Yudkowsky
  • 818 Stabilizer
  • 775 Rain
  • 750 MichaelGR
  • 734 NancyLebovitz
  • 628 Konkvistador
  • 590 anonym
  • 521 CronoDAS
  • 479 arundelo
  • 445 Yvain
  • 434 RobinZ
  • 431 Kaj_Sotala
  • 404 dspeyer
  • 372 Alicorn
  • 357 Grognor
  • 353 Vaniver
  • 347 Tesseract
  • 332 shminux
  • 328 DSimon
  • 296 Oscar_Cunningham
  • 296 billswift
  • 293 Pablo_Stafforini
  • 292 peter_hurford
  • 284 Nominull
  • 277 jsbennett86
  • 271 katydee
  • 263 RolfAndreassen
  • 262 Thomas
  • 237 Kutta
  • 229 roland
  • 224 Cyan
Comment author: DanielVarga 27 February 2015 11:00:18PM 3 points [-]

Top quote contributors by karma score collected in 2014:

  • 369 James_Miller
  • 277 dspeyer
  • 239 Jayson_Virissimo
  • 181 Stabilizer
  • 165 Alejandro1
  • 163 lukeprog
  • 146 arundelo
  • 129 Salemicus
  • 124 johnlawrenceaspden
  • 117 Kaj_Sotala
  • 117 BForBandana
  • 116 NancyLebovitz
  • 110 Pablo_Stafforini
  • 107 Gunnar_Zarncke
  • 100 Eugine_Nier
  • 97 aarongertler
  • 94 shminux
  • 90 Azathoth123
  • 88 EGarrett
  • 84 elharo
  • 81 Benito
  • 79 Torello
  • 74 MattG
  • 74 AspiringRationalist
  • 73 satt
  • 73 JQuinton
  • 73 27chaos
  • 67 Tyrrell_McAllister
  • 66 Vulture
  • 65 Cyan
  • 62 michaelkeenan
  • 60 WalterL
  • 60 Ixiel
  • 58 jaime2000
  • 58 [deleted]
  • 57 Zubon
  • 55 Jack_LaSota
  • 55 CronoDAS
  • 52 Vaniver
  • 52 hairyfigment
Comment author: DanielVarga 27 February 2015 10:59:37PM 2 points [-]

Top quote contributors by total (2009-2014) karma score collected:

  • 1394 RichardKennaway
  • 1133 James_Miller
  • 1040 Alejandro1
  • 1037 [deleted]
  • 978 gwern
  • 971 Jayson_Virissimo
  • 847 lukeprog
  • 846 Eugine_Nier
  • 841 GabrielDuquette
  • 827 Eliezer_Yudkowsky
  • 818 Stabilizer
  • 775 Rain
  • 750 MichaelGR
  • 734 NancyLebovitz
  • 628 Konkvistador
  • 590 anonym
  • 521 CronoDAS
  • 479 arundelo
  • 445 Yvain
  • 434 RobinZ
  • 431 Kaj_Sotala
  • 404 dspeyer
  • 372 Alicorn
  • 357 Grognor
  • 353 Vaniver
  • 347 Tesseract
  • 332 shminux
  • 328 DSimon
  • 296 Oscar_Cunningham
  • 296 billswift
  • 293 Pablo_Stafforini
  • 292 peter_hurford
  • 284 Nominull
  • 277 jsbennett86
  • 271 katydee
  • 263 RolfAndreassen
  • 262 Thomas
  • 237 Kutta
  • 229 roland
  • 224 Cyan
Comment author: DanielVarga 27 February 2015 10:54:34PM *  3 points [-]

Top original authors by number of quotes. (Note that authors and mentions are not disambiguated.)

  • Graham 47
  • Feynman 47
  • Russell 40
  • Taleb 39
  • Chesterton 37
  • Pratchett 35
  • Einstein 30
  • Dennett 29
  • Nietzsche 26
  • Aaronson 23
  • Heinlein 22
  • Johnson 21
  • Bacon 21
  • Shaw 19
  • Newton 19
  • Franklin 19
  • Wilson 18
  • Darwin 18
  • Kahneman 17
  • Wittgenstein 15
  • Munroe 15
  • Dawkins 15
  • Stephenson 14
  • Sowell 14
  • Silver 14
  • Pinker 14
  • Meier 14
  • Asimov 14
  • Aristotle 14
  • Sagan 13
  • Moldbug 13
  • Eliezer 13
  • Churchill 13
  • Voltaire 12
  • Minsky 12
  • Mencken 12
  • Maynard 12
  • Locke 12
  • Egan 12
  • Clark 12
  • SMBC 11
  • Plato 11
  • Orwell 11
  • Neumann 11
  • Marx 11
  • Holmes 11
  • Hofstadter 11
  • Hoffer 11
  • Descartes 11
  • Buffett 11
  • Aurelius 11
  • Turing 10
  • Screwtape 10
  • Peirce 10
  • Keynes 10
  • Jaynes 10
  • Hume 10
  • Harris 10
  • Gould 10
  • Friedman 10
  • Bakker 10
  • Schopenhauer 9
  • Huxley 9
  • Goethe 9
  • Deutsch 9
  • Wilde 8
  • Thoreau 8
  • Morgan 8
  • Montaigne 8
  • Leibniz 8
  • Greene 8
  • Godin 8
  • Crowley 8
  • Carroll 8
  • Brandon 8
  • Yudkowsky 7
  • Wong 7
  • Wolfgang 7
  • Vinci 7
  • Szabo 7
  • Munger 7
  • Mitchell 7
  • Medawar 7
  • McArdle 7
  • Lannister 7
  • Kant 7
  • Jefferson 7
  • Hobbes 7
  • Hanson 7
  • Diogenes 7
  • Dijkstra 7
  • Confucius 7
  • Carlyle 7
  • Calvin 7
Comment author: DanielVarga 27 February 2015 10:57:44PM 2 points [-]

Top original authors by karma collected:

  • 894 Graham
  • 603 Russell
  • 534 Pratchett
  • 489 Chesterton
  • 475 Feynman
  • 372 Dennett
  • 343 Franklin
  • 340 Munroe
  • 306 Aaronson
  • 294 Newton
  • 282 Einstein
  • 279 Nietzsche
  • 270 Pinker
  • 262 Friedman
  • 252 Shaw
  • 249 Egan
  • 240 Bacon
  • 239 Stephenson
  • 236 Aristotle
  • 235 Taleb
  • 228 Heinlein
  • 209 Kahneman
  • 201 Silver
  • 196 McArdle
  • 187 Sagan
  • 184 Voltaire
  • 183 Wilson
  • 183 Darwin
  • 182 Plato
  • 177 SMBC
  • 173 Buffett
  • 171 Milton
  • 165 Mencken
  • 162 Moldbug
  • 160 Wittgenstein
  • 160 Johnson
  • 160 Hofstadter
  • 158 Asimov
  • 156 Dawkins
  • 154 Winston
  • 147 Godin
  • 145 Marcus
  • 141 Wong
  • 140 Confucius
  • 136 Descartes
  • 133 Brandon
  • 130 Orwell
  • 129 Nielsen
  • 127 Hayden
  • 127 Georg
  • 123 Minsky
  • 123 Maynard
  • 123 Bakker
  • 121 Sowell
  • 121 Razib
  • 119 Hanson
  • 117 Kaas
  • 117 Churchill
  • 116 Vulcan
  • 112 Obama
  • 111 Jaynes
  • 107 Keynes
  • 106 Tao
  • 106 Hume
  • 102 Greene
  • 102 Deutsch
  • 101 Saul
  • 100 Screwtape
  • 98 Lessing
  • 98 Christoph
  • 98 Botton
  • 97 Watson
  • 97 Carroll
  • 96 Rollins
  • 96 Marx
  • 96 Kurt
  • 96 Isn
  • 96 Harris
  • 96 Bostrom
  • 94 Santa
  • 94 Morris
  • 93 Shera
  • 93 Neumann
  • 93 Holmes
  • 93 Gawande
  • 93 Dann
  • 92 Vonnegut
  • 92 Locke
  • 92 Futurama
  • 91 Adamek
  • 90 Hoffer
Comment author: DanielVarga 27 February 2015 10:54:34PM *  3 points [-]

Top original authors by number of quotes. (Note that authors and mentions are not disambiguated.)

  • Graham 47
  • Feynman 47
  • Russell 40
  • Taleb 39
  • Chesterton 37
  • Pratchett 35
  • Einstein 30
  • Dennett 29
  • Nietzsche 26
  • Aaronson 23
  • Heinlein 22
  • Johnson 21
  • Bacon 21
  • Shaw 19
  • Newton 19
  • Franklin 19
  • Wilson 18
  • Darwin 18
  • Kahneman 17
  • Wittgenstein 15
  • Munroe 15
  • Dawkins 15
  • Stephenson 14
  • Sowell 14
  • Silver 14
  • Pinker 14
  • Meier 14
  • Asimov 14
  • Aristotle 14
  • Sagan 13
  • Moldbug 13
  • Eliezer 13
  • Churchill 13
  • Voltaire 12
  • Minsky 12
  • Mencken 12
  • Maynard 12
  • Locke 12
  • Egan 12
  • Clark 12
  • SMBC 11
  • Plato 11
  • Orwell 11
  • Neumann 11
  • Marx 11
  • Holmes 11
  • Hofstadter 11
  • Hoffer 11
  • Descartes 11
  • Buffett 11
  • Aurelius 11
  • Turing 10
  • Screwtape 10
  • Peirce 10
  • Keynes 10
  • Jaynes 10
  • Hume 10
  • Harris 10
  • Gould 10
  • Friedman 10
  • Bakker 10
  • Schopenhauer 9
  • Huxley 9
  • Goethe 9
  • Deutsch 9
  • Wilde 8
  • Thoreau 8
  • Morgan 8
  • Montaigne 8
  • Leibniz 8
  • Greene 8
  • Godin 8
  • Crowley 8
  • Carroll 8
  • Brandon 8
  • Yudkowsky 7
  • Wong 7
  • Wolfgang 7
  • Vinci 7
  • Szabo 7
  • Munger 7
  • Mitchell 7
  • Medawar 7
  • McArdle 7
  • Lannister 7
  • Kant 7
  • Jefferson 7
  • Hobbes 7
  • Hanson 7
  • Diogenes 7
  • Dijkstra 7
  • Confucius 7
  • Carlyle 7
  • Calvin 7
Comment author: DanielVarga 27 February 2015 10:52:19PM *  5 points [-]

Top short quotes (2009-2014) by karma per character:

  • 60 A Bet is a Tax on BullshitAlex Tabarrok
  • 45 Luck is statistics taken personally.Penn Jillette
  • 35 Comic Quote Minus 37-- Ryan ArmandAlso a favourite.
  • 42 I've got to start listening to those quiet, nagging doubts.Calvin
  • 34 Nobody is smart enough to be wrong all the time.Ken Wilber
  • 51 I will not procrastinate regarding any ritual granting immortality.--Evil Overlord List #230
  • 34 A problem well stated is a problem half solved.Charles Kettering
  • 26 "I accidentally changed my mind."my four-year-old
  • 27 "Most haystacks do not even have a needle."-- Lorenzo
  • 50 He uses statistics as a drunkard uses a lamppost: for support, not for illumination.G.K. Chesterton
  • 29 The greatest weariness comes from work not done.-Eric Hoffer
  • 31 Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.Voltaire
  • 32 If it's stupid and it works, it's not stupid."Murphy's Laws of Combat"
  • 41 The Noah principle: predicting rain doesn’t count, building arks does.-Warren E. Buffett
  • 41 Shipping is a feature. A really important feature. Your product must have it.-Joel Spolsky
  • 25 What goes unsaid eventually goes unthought.Steve Sailer
  • 40 People say "think outside the box," as if the box wasn't a fucking great idea.Sean Thomason
  • 27 Procrastination is the thief of compound interest.-Venkatesh Rao
  • 21 "A problem well put, is half solved." - John Dewey
  • 38 A raise is only a raise for thirty days; after that, it’s just your salary.-- David Russo
  • 37 It’s easy to lie with statistics, but it’s easier to lie without them.-Fred Mosteller
  • 32 If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.-Seneca
  • 25 The most practical thing in the world is a good theory.Helmholtz
  • 35 It is the mark of a truly intelligent person to be moved by statistics.George Bernard Shaw
  • 30 When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?John Maynard Keynes
  • 27 Part of the potential of things is how they break.Vi Hart, How To Snakes
  • 32 Precise forecasts masquerade as accurate ones.-- Nate Silver, The Signal and the Noise
  • 29 Writing program code is a good way of debugging your thinking.-- Bill Venables
  • 15 Focusing is about saying no.-- Steve Jobs
  • 34 "Working in mysterious ways" is the greatest euphemism for failure ever devised.TheTweetOfGod
  • 35 However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.-- Winston Churchill
  • 29 "Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from SCIENCE!"~Girl Genius
  • 32 There is one rule that's very simple, but not easy: observe reality and adjust.Ran Prieur
  • 32 The Company that needs a new machine tool is already paying for it.-old Warner Swasey ad
  • 34 Market exchange is a pathetically inadequate substitute for love, but it scales better.S. T. Rev
  • 22 Things are only impossible until they're not.-- Jean-Luc Picard
  • 30 Truth is much too complicated to allow anything but approximations.— John Von Neumann
  • 26 A scholar is just a library’s way of making another library.Daniel Dennett
  • 30 “Erudition can produce foliage without bearing fruit.” - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
  • 27 Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers.— Grossman's Law
  • 25 The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.Gloria Steinem
  • 31 It's a horrible feeling when you don't understand why you did something.-- Dennis Monokroussos
  • 29 We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it.Mark Twain
  • 27 It is easy to be certain....One has only to be sufficiently vague.Charles S. Peirce
  • 26 Shouldn't "it works like a charm" be said about things that don't work?Jason Roy
  • 12 Reality is not optional.Thomas Sowell
  • 11 Death is the gods' crime.Unsounded
  • 25 Go down deep enough into anything and you will find mathematics.Dean Schlicter
  • 23 It is better to destroy one's own errors than those of others.Democritus
  • 22 Most people would rather die than think; many do.– Bertrand Russell
  • 28 Nature draws no line between living and nonliving.-- K. Eric Drexler, Engines of Creation
  • 30 Now, now, perfectly symmetrical violence never solved anything.--Professor Farnsworth, Futurama.
  • 26 The dream is damned and dreamer too if dreaming's all that dreamers do.--Rory Miller
  • 17 Statistics is applied philosophy of science.A. P. Dawid
  • 19 Luck is opportunity plus preparation plus luck.--Jane Espenson
  • 28 Nobody panics when things go "according to plan"… even if the plan is horrifying.The Joker
  • 19 Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.Robert A. Heinlein
  • 18 A sharp knife is nothing without a sharp eye.Klingon proverb.
  • 25 We are built to be effective animals, not happy ones.-Robert Wright, The Moral Animal
  • 27 Train your tongue to say "I don't know", lest you be brought to falsehood -Babylonian Talmud
  • 22 The only road to doing good shows, is doing bad shows.Louis C.K., on Reddit
  • 17 Nothing is so obvious that it’s obvious.— Errol Morris
  • 20 Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.--Mike Tyson
  • 22 Forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.Lawrence Krauss
  • 28 My brain technically-not-a-lies to me far more than it actually lies to me.-- Aristosophy (again)
  • 26 “Anything left on your bucket list?”“Not dying...”-Bill Gates in his AMA on reddit.
  • 20 Better our hypotheses die for our errors than ourselves.-- Karl Popper
  • 27 If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance we can solve them.-- Isaac Asimov
  • 23 "Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies."--Friedrich Nietzsche
  • 26 A man who says he is willing to meet you halfway is usually a poor judge of distance.Unknown
  • 20 I honestly don't know. Let's see what happens.-- Hans. The Troll Hunter
  • 26 Truth would quickly cease to be stranger than fiction, once we got as used to it.H.L. Mencken
  • 27 The first rule of human club is you don't explicitly discuss the rules of human club.Silas Dogood
  • 18 Good things come to those who steal them.-- Magnificent Sasquatch
  • 14 "Anything you can do, I can do meta" -Rudolf Carnap
  • 17 Mind is a machine for jumping to conclusions - Daniel Kahneman
  • 20 The singularity is my retirement plan.-- tocomment, in a Hacker News post
  • 26 If Tetris has taught me anything it's that errors pile up and accomplishments disappear.-Unknown
  • 26 A faith which cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.Arthur C. Clarke
  • 21 Know the hair you have to get the hair you want.-Pantene Pro-V hair care bottle
  • 14 I intend to live forever or die trying-- Groucho Marx
  • 26 We shall not grow wiser before we learn that much that we have done was very foolish.-- F. A. Hayek
  • 22 Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.-- Voltaire
  • 19 In general, we are least aware of what our minds do best.— Marvin Minsky
  • 19 He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that.J.S. Mill
  • 25 A man who has committed a mistake and doesn't correct it, is committing another mistake.-Confucius
  • 20 No matter how far you've gone down the wrong road, turn back.-- Turkish proverb
  • 25 If you were taught that elves caused rain, every time it rained, you'd see the proof of elves.Ariex
  • 16 Keep your solutions close, and your problems closer.afoolswisdom
  • 15 History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.-Mark Twain
  • 11 Whenever you can, count.--Sir Francis Galton
  • 19 God created the Earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands.-- Dutch proverb

Best of Rationality Quotes, 2014 Edition

13 DanielVarga 27 February 2015 10:43PM

Here is the way-too-late 2014 edition of the Best of Rationality Quotes collection. (Here is last year's.) Thanks Huluk for nudging me to do it.

Best of Rationality Quotes 2014 (300kB page, 235 quotes)
and Best of Rationality Quotes 2009-2014 (1900kB page, 1770 quotes)

The page was built by a short script (source code here) from all the LW Rationality Quotes threads so far. (We had such a thread each month since April 2009.) The script collects all comments with karma score 10 or more, and sorts them by score. Replies are not collected, only top-level comments.

As is now usual, I provide various statistics and top-lists based on the data. (Source code for these is also at the above link, see the README.) I added these as comments to the post:

Comment author: Woett 01 February 2015 05:10:03AM *  3 points [-]

I'm confused about defection becoming a dominant strategy.. Because the existence of a dominant strategy suggests to me that there should exist a unique Nash equilibrium here, which is not the case. Everyone defecting is a Nash equilibrium, but 50 people cooperating and 49 defecting is a Nash equilibrium as well, and a better one at that. Something (quite likely my intuition regarding Nash equilibria in games with more than 2 players) is off here. Also, it is of course possible to calculate the optimal probability that we should defect and I agree with FeepingCreature that this should be 0.5-e, where e depends on the size of the player base and goes to 0 when the player base becomes infinite. But I highly doubt that there's an elegant formula for it. It seems (in my head at least) that already for, say, n=5 you have to do quite a bit of calculation, let alone n=99.

Comment author: DanielVarga 01 February 2015 11:55:58AM 3 points [-]

Nice. If we analyze the game using Vitalik's 2x2 payoff matrix, defection is a dominant strategy. But now I see that's not how game theorists would use this phrase. They would work with the full 99-dimensional matrix, and there defection is not a dominant strategy, because as you say, it's a bad strategy if we know that 49 other people are cooperating, and 49 other people are defecting.

There's a sleight of hands going on in Vitalik's analysis, and it is located at the phrase "regardless of one’s epistemic beliefs [one is better off defecting]". If my epistemic belief is that 49 other people are cooperating, and 49 other people are defecting, then it's not true that defection is my best strategy. Of course, Vitalik's 2x2 matrix just does not allow me to have such refined epistemic beliefs: I have to get by with "attack succeeds" versus "attack fails".

Which kind of makes sense, because it's true that I probably won't find myself in a situation where I know for sure that 49 other people are cooperating, and 49 other people are defecting, so the correct game theoretic definition of dominant strategy is probably less relevant here than something like Vitalik's "aggregate" version. Still, there are assumptions here that are not clear from the original analysis.

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