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Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 28 May 2017 07:49:36AM 1 point [-]

Your suggestion makes sense for an experiment, but misses the whole point of this experiment. This, to me, seems like exactly the unpleasant valley dynamic. "We tried holding ourselves to a standard of 'we finish the experiments that we start,' but we got a couple of experiments in and we didn't like it. Let's stop."

Comment author: Decius 28 May 2017 08:14:32AM 0 points [-]

"Last fortnight, we canceled [Idea which appeared to be horrible seconds after implementing it], which we continued for an entire fortnight because of our policy. Today we look at all available evidence and must decide if the meta-experiment generates benefits greater than the costs."

If you have no norm for evaluating that rule explicitly, it doesn't mean that you won't evaluate it. Maybe evaluating it every time it applies is excessive, but pretending that you won't quickly learn to put exit clauses in experiments that are likely to need them 'notwithstanding any other provision' is failing to accurately predict.

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 28 May 2017 01:51:39AM 0 points [-]

I suspect Eliezer wouldn't join a military bootcamp, but conditional on him having chosen to do so, I suspect he'd do quite well, also.

Doesn't Eliezer delete comments on Facebook that suggest exercise as a means of weight loss?

Comment author: Decius 28 May 2017 08:02:00AM 0 points [-]

That's not because he didn't do the exercise. Bootcamp doesn't care if you lose weight, they only care if you execute the weight loss program. If you doesn't meet any of the body proportion standards, you just have to perform extra exercise.

Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 27 May 2017 01:48:47AM 1 point [-]

Sorry, I should've been more clear. "Kinda" was the important operational word, there, and you're correct to point out that the priorities could be easily be construed as clearly bad.

I think your latter norm is basically what's going to happen. The key thing I want to avoid is the slippery slope whereby there's no clear line of "this counts as a defection." I think needing to work late is 100% acceptable. What I was pointing at was something like, "I could wrap this up by coming in early tomorrow, or I could defect on the standing group exercise appointment ..."

I want to thank you for the number of concrete, clear criticisms you're making, and the manner in which you're making them. I like your style.

Comment author: Decius 28 May 2017 07:58:18AM 0 points [-]

A defection would be any case in which a member did not arrive on time or participate fully. Period.

I'm suggesting that there be a formal process by which a member arrives late, performs ten pushups, and joins the event in progress. At the conclusion of the event, he says "My Uber driver was involved in a minor collision on my way here and that delayed me for too long to arrive on time." and (by secret ballot?) the Army votes and some adequate margin of them excuse the failure.

The other aspect I suggested is that a Dragon might say "[event] is next week and I would like to attend but it conflicts with exercise. May I be excused from exercise for [event]?". Again, the Army would vote and decide if the absence is excused.

I'm at a loss as to what to do to sanction a member who is not excused. The military has a long list of 'corrective actions' and 'punishments' that they can apply only because they don't constitute 'kidnapping' or other crimes. I guess you could possibly make those '[task] or removal from the Army', but that runs straight into the eviction problem. I think that it's absolutely critical that there's a credible threat underlying the discipline, precisely so that it is less likely to be needed, and the only one I find plausible is ejection, which becomes complicated because of Housing law and morality.

Comment author: ChristianKl 27 May 2017 11:25:23AM 0 points [-]

I have moderated some internet communities (And admin an active one now). Temp bans and warnings can only go so far. At some points you have to be willing to pull the trigger and ban people.

In an internet community, you have less tools to change behavior than in personal conversations (and I say that as having moderated in a big personal development internet forum for years).

As far as personal development frameworks go ideas like of "code of perfection" can be found in Landmark (/The Four Agreements). On the other hand the actual verbal techniques advocated are NVC/Circling/Focusing/Internal Double Crux, which have values of authenticity and accepting the emotions that arise in the moment.

Humans sometimes do have instincts to see other people in bad faith. There are two ways to deal with it. ① Surpress it because you have a codex that doesn't allow the instinct to be carried out. ② Bring it authentically to the front and be open about it.

Landmarkish thought would advocate ① while Circling leads to ②. Both can work as cultural norms but they are different and if there's a desire to be in Circling mode, don't have rules that require the other.

Comment author: Decius 28 May 2017 07:43:43AM 0 points [-]

I'm managing/leading an internet gaming community, and the only tools I've ever had to use are selection and conversation.

I've had one person leave because their goal in joining was to acquire enough information and power to cause harm and they were so unsubtle about it that I was able to identify that and stop them. One additional person left because our norms of 'don't cheat' and 'be nice to our friends' were given to him gently by everyone in voice chat every time they were violated.

Oddly enough, both of those people ended up joining a specific competing group that held neither of the norms 'don't cheat' nor 'don't make public rape threats towards people who call out your cheating'.

And my selection method? Be public and pushy about what kind of norms you have, and push away people who don't already have and want to follow those norms.

Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 27 May 2017 03:01:06AM 0 points [-]

Hmmm. It might be good to install as a house norm that everyone has an outside advisor that they commit to checking in with, either once a week or biweekly. Like, someone not directly affiliated with Dragon Army in any way.

Comment author: Decius 28 May 2017 07:27:08AM 2 points [-]

That's only useful if the outside advisor has some level of veto power. I'd suggest something like allowing them to trigger a discussion meeting /outside of Dragon Army Territory/ with the advised, optionally including the Commander and/or other members, and also at the option of the advisor including legal counsel or a medical practitioner.

Not because I expect anyone to need the safeguards involved, but because making those explicitly part of the Expectations makes it harder to coerce somebody into not getting help. Making coercion of the type "You're fine, no need to waste time and leaving your ingroup to try to explain to some /outsider/ what's going on, they won't understand anyway" ring red alarm bell flags is a feature.

Comment author: Nisan 27 May 2017 11:39:08PM 0 points [-]

Sorry, I was imagining a scenario where a person has an unpleasant experience and then leaves the community because for the last several months all their close contacts in the community were in the context of an unpleasant living situation. That's bad for the person, and unfortunate for the community as well.

Comment author: Decius 28 May 2017 07:16:36AM 0 points [-]

I see a possible failure mode where a member of a participant's family not into any rationalist community sees the Dragon Army rules and pattern-matches the rules and behavior into 'cult' (not arguing whether that pattern match is correct here, just saying that it might happen).

A family member concerned that their loved one might be involved in a dangerous cult might take extraordinary measures to remove that person from the situation, which might get very ugly.

I'm not sure that a nonparticipating buddy is sufficient to mitigate the risk of 'rescue'.

Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 27 May 2017 04:45:19PM *  2 points [-]

I'm unlikely to revise the aesthetics, but a) the particular operationalization/expression of those aesthetics, and b) the boundary/balance between both the aesthetics and other people's agency are fully open to debate, iteration, and consensus.

The whole point is to test out the aesthetic as it exists, to see whether it produces a better life for people, so it's important not to compromise it until some actual testing has taken place. But imagine e.g. a constructed social norm is approved of, proves to be problematic twice, and has one week left before its originally established "re-evaluate" point—I posit you get much better data out of seeing what happens if you keep the norm firmly in place, see the fallout for a week, watch people grumble and adjust, and then re-evaluate on schedule, than if you just constantly say "NOPE, DIDN'T WORK, SCREW THAT."

I think there's a strong instinct to buck norms and update in the moment, and that this is a pendulum swing thing—it's good that we do this a lot more than we did two decades ago, but it's bad that we do it as much as we do. There's value in learning to live with rules that don't change, or rules that are slightly stupid, and by setting rules firmly in place for e.g. three weeks at a time, I think you capture some of that value, at a low price in terms of loss of the flexibility thing.

Does that seem coherent/a valid response to your qualm?

Another way to say this is that I think the bar for "discard this norm" should be raised one notch higher from (straw description) "it bothered one of us once" to "it bothered several of us several times." If you keep it past the former, I think you see interesting effects in how people shape themselves around one another, and I think there's some valuable effect from transferring some sovereignty back from the individual to the social fabric (i.e. everybody's not just quittable at all times).

Comment author: Decius 28 May 2017 07:07:50AM 0 points [-]

Evaluating whether to change a thing at the moment when it is maximally annoying (as would be the case in ad-hoc votes) will have different results from evaluating it at a predetermined time.

I'd suggest evaluating the policy of 'demand that an approved norm be in place until the scheduled vote' on the first scheduled vote following each scheduled vote in which 'a norm was dropped that people wanted to have it dropped mid-cycle but couldn't because of the policy'.

Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 28 May 2017 05:28:47AM 0 points [-]

Yeah. In most-but-not-all of my conceptions of the house, I imagine "leaving" the post of guy-in-charge after a year, if not six months. Maybe not leaving the context as a whole, but "turning over" as far as roles are concerned.

Comment author: Decius 28 May 2017 07:02:33AM 0 points [-]

It's hard to go from being the boss of someone to being their subordinate, and vice versa. I think it's more plausible to shift into an advisory, strategic, consultant, or executive role rather than swap.

Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 27 May 2017 01:38:01AM *  3 points [-]

That's absolutely fair. The point I'm trying to make is that it's not about publishable results either way. Like, yes, I'd like to ship useful information to the outside world, but that's a distant second priority to making good things happen on the ground.

What I do commit to is not making the choice to publish based on whether things are good or bad. I commit to publishing if and only if a) I have spare time and cycles, and b) there's something useful for others to hear.

Comment author: Decius 28 May 2017 06:59:02AM *  0 points [-]

The only way there would be nothing useful to learn is if there was a complete failure due to circumstances outside of the influence of anyone involved, such as an earthquake that halted the plan. Even then a quick note to that effect would be of use.

Comment author: 18239018038528017428 27 May 2017 01:14:41AM 0 points [-]

Oh, I see. This is the part where you're too attached to your ingroup to realize what a total failure the Berkeley rationalist community is. I bet you also think the Sequences and HPMOR are well-written.

Comment author: Decius 28 May 2017 06:54:04AM 0 points [-]

Your mom thought the Sequences and HPMOR were well written.

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