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Comment author: Dentin 12 January 2017 03:48:37PM 3 points [-]

TL/DR based on my understanding: You can tell whether a participant in a conversation is serious based on how they respond to criticism. This effectively means a three way handshake: poster, critique, rebuttal. For a serious conversation with serious critics, this means that at least four layers must be present in order to cover both sides: poster, critique, rebuttal, critique rebuttal. The rebuttal shows that the poster is serious; the critique rebuttal shows that the critique is serious. These four layers are referred to as layers 0 through 3.

Unfortunately, in most common web discourse, we typically only see layer 0, and sometimes layer 1. In academic discourse, we often see layer 2, but not layer 3, which usually means that the criticism either isn't serious or isn't very good. Places which do show evidence of all four layers are generally more healthy in terms of conversation.

There's more to it and a lot of good examples, but knowing the above up front may make it easier to frame.

Comment author: Dentin 15 November 2016 02:06:50AM 2 points [-]

Downvoting as incoherent and objectively wrong. Also because bad grammar.

Comment author: MrMind 07 November 2016 08:56:35AM 1 point [-]

I wonder why the downvotes, although it is a quite off-topic.

Comment author: Dentin 07 November 2016 05:51:16PM 1 point [-]

Multiple reasons: one paper does not science make, this is a very political topic, the paper is highly likely to be wrong, and the title is sensationalist. Downvoting due to poor quality.

Do you want to be like Kuro5hin? Because this is how you get to be like Kuro5hin.

-10 Dentin 26 August 2016 03:32PM

I log in this morning on a whim, and notice I have -15 karma.  I dig around for a bit and find this:

http://lesswrong.com/lw/nsm/open_thread_jul_25_jul_31_2016/ddjm

To be clear, that's a block of four comments, each at -10, for no apparent obvious good reason other than eugine nier has a vendetta against Elo.  I've apparently just been hit as splash damage, since I had the gall to try posting on an Elo comment thread.

I dig a little more, and I find this:

http://lesswrong.com/user/Elo/overview/

That's Elo's page, and I see a pile of discussion-grade posts that are all bulk downvoted below visibility, again for no apparent obvious good reason.

I find myself incredibly disincentivized to post or comment as a result of this.  My feeble amount of karma has taken literally years to build up, and to see sizable fractions of it wiped out any time I step on a eugine nier landmine is bullshit.  Sure, it's silly to value karma, but I value it anyway and if a year of incidental effort can be burned in two days because one guy wants to be an asshole to me, then I'm done here.

This has been going on for months.  Years even.

I understand the staff of LW are pressed for time.  I understand nobody understands how the code works.  I understand that maintaining the site is hard. However, reality is that which does not go away when we close our eyes, and reality does not care:  no matter how difficult the problems are, the fact remains that this sort of thing is abusive and it is actively driving people off the site.

If you value LW, fix this.  Use the force harder, site owners.

On the other hand, if you want LW to turn into another Kuro5hin, then keep doing what you're doing.

Prediction:  50% odds this post will be downvoted below visibility within two days due to eugine, and will basically disappear without trace.

Prediction:  if this isn't dealt with soon, 50% odds I'll stop visiting LW completely other than as an article archive by year end, because there's no goddamned point in trying to use the discussion system.

Comment author: johnlawrenceaspden 19 March 2016 02:59:50PM *  0 points [-]

Thanks ever so much for your careful reading and criticisms, but I'm trying to do philosophy correctly here, according to my own ideas of what philosophy should be.

Extremism in thought-experiment is no vice. I have mentioned these harmless conclusions in order to get people to think that the idea might be more important than it seems on the face of it. If they make me easier to refute or disbelieve, that is a good thing.

If you have the right sort of friends, approach them with whatever version of this argument you think you need to get them to think about it. If they can think, they will draw all my conclusions for themselves in a few weeks.

If they can't, I don't care about their opinion, there are plenty like them in the world, they will believe whatever someone eminent tells them is true, as long as it is not too scary.

[That's not a bad heuristic, that's what I mostly use too.]

Comment author: Dentin 19 March 2016 09:07:50PM 1 point [-]

My apologies, I misread your intent. I thought that you were attempting to get feedback on what appears to be a viable hypothesis for improving the lives of a large number of people with debilitating diseases. I thought you were lining up ducks, proofing your arguments, improving probabilities, and investigating attack vectors to possibly make the world suck less. I thought you were trying to Win :P

I have mentioned these harmless conclusions in order to get people to think that the idea might be more important than it seems on the face of it.

In this, for me at least, you have succeeded. However, you have not (yet) made a convincing enough case for me to burn my resources pushing it. This is a low probability, high reward scenario. Convince me that this is worth dropping other important things, as my time is limited.

If [extremist thought experiments] make me easier to refute or disbelieve, that is a good thing.

If your plan is to Win, and in order to Win you need to convince others, then it is a very dangerous, risky, and often counterproductive strategy.

If you have the right sort of friends, approach them with whatever version of this argument you think you need to get them to think about it. If they can think, they will draw all my conclusions for themselves in a few weeks.

If they can't, I don't care about their opinion, there are plenty like them in the world, they will believe whatever someone eminent tells them is true, as long as it is not too scary.

I not only have the right sort of friends, I have the sort of friends that are in the "someone eminent" category that could help your idea gain significant traction. However, those friends have massive demands on their time, and none are so superhuman that they could investigate every probable idea. Do I ask a friend to drop work on treating respiratory disease with ChlorHex oral rinse to investigate your idea? Can I in good conscience argue that it would be worthwhile? At the moment, I cannot.

So again, what is it that you're trying to do? This topic is clearly near and dear to your heart, and you've got a workable combination of incentive and intelligence to make sure this gets investigated fully, for better or for worse. However, the road is long and arduous, and it will likely require you to interface with others and swallow your pride if you truly want to Win and succeed.

On the other hand, if you just want to philosophize, then by all means carry on.

Comment author: Dentin 19 March 2016 12:07:50AM 3 points [-]

To increase the credibility of the article, IMHO you need to ditch pretty much the entire "SOME SELECTED POSSIBLE IMPLICATIONS / PREDICTIONS" section. Reading through that, it sounds very much like you're trying to solve unrelated problems with your newly found hammer:

Dieting - you're not really predicting anything here. Turn it into a prediction of some sort or it's just dead weight.

Diabetes - you've got no evidence for any kind of common hormone suppression mechanism, and my understanding of how hormone chemistry works places the probability of a common mechanism at 'pretty damn low'. Occam's razor says you should prune this.

Heart disease - if this was once an indicator, you could instead propose a "weak prediction" that heart disease may be more prevalent across the broad spectrum of disorders you're trying to link.

Smoking - prune this as well for 1) lack of evidence 2) the fact that smoking has so many harmful effects that it will completely swamp your signal, and 3) the fact that smoking is still highly politicized and it's likely to mindkill your audience. It doesn't contribute to or strengthen your case, rather it (strongly) indicates that you're trying too hard to pattern match your model. Leaving this in pretty much screams 'crackpot'.

Regarding what you have to say to get someone to look at it seriously: stick to the facts, form a model, prune dead weight, make predictions, publicize your predictions in a centralized consistent location, research your predictions and see if they pan out, and publish. Address criticism, fix issues, make contacts, update your model and predictions and republish. There are anonymized medical databases that can be used for at least some of your research. I do not know how mortals get access to them, but I do know they exist. What you have right now is barely at the hypothesis stage.

TL/DR - formalize your model, use that model to make predictions, publicize those predictions so you can't cheat, test those predictions, lather, rinse, repeat. If you can put this together in a sufficiently coherent way, I can get a few people to look at it.

Comment author: Dentin 18 March 2016 06:58:58PM 0 points [-]

This all seems pretty ordinary and uncontroversial to me. It's about what I'd expect when 'doing it right'.

Comment author: Dentin 12 March 2016 05:19:45PM 3 points [-]

Honestly that hundred point difference at the top of the Go ratings isn't really going to matter. At best, it probably means that the top player has a ten percent chance of winning a single game, instead of a two percent chance. I wouldn't be surprised at all to hear that AlphaGo is playing at a rating in excess of four thousand, and could be expected to beat the best human players 99% of the time. Frankly, my gut instinct watching the livestream is that AlphaGo is playing at such a high level that even the players at the top of the rankings are having a hard time identifying it.

It must be very frustrating to be in that position - you're supposedly one of the best in the world, and for the first half of the game your opponent makes mostly ok but not great moves including some likely mistakes and weird moves that seem pointless. Then near endgame you've somehow ended up 20 points behind with no hope of victory and you're not even sure how it happened.

Comment author: Dentin 13 March 2016 04:25:07PM 3 points [-]

Update: given the most recent win by Lee Sodol, my hypothesis above seems much less likely. AlphaGo may only be in the 3600-3800 range.

Comment author: Stingray 11 March 2016 06:32:02PM 0 points [-]

Lee Sedol isn't at the top of Go ratings. How would Ke Jie fare against AlphaGo? A match against the best human player would be a better test of AlphaGo capabilities.

Comment author: Dentin 12 March 2016 05:19:45PM 3 points [-]

Honestly that hundred point difference at the top of the Go ratings isn't really going to matter. At best, it probably means that the top player has a ten percent chance of winning a single game, instead of a two percent chance. I wouldn't be surprised at all to hear that AlphaGo is playing at a rating in excess of four thousand, and could be expected to beat the best human players 99% of the time. Frankly, my gut instinct watching the livestream is that AlphaGo is playing at such a high level that even the players at the top of the rankings are having a hard time identifying it.

It must be very frustrating to be in that position - you're supposedly one of the best in the world, and for the first half of the game your opponent makes mostly ok but not great moves including some likely mistakes and weird moves that seem pointless. Then near endgame you've somehow ended up 20 points behind with no hope of victory and you're not even sure how it happened.

Comment author: Dentin 15 February 2016 04:13:47PM 1 point [-]

Keep in mind that adding a 'random number' instruction to a turing machine allows it to create output of infinite complexity, and that pretty much all compute hardware these days contains a hard RNG based on quantum randomness.

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