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

Comment author: Edwin_Quine 24 July 2014 11:20:19PM *  -1 points [-]

I want to deter discussions of politics. “Politics is hard mode” does not feel like a deterrent.

I actually really like your suggestion of "politics is spiders." Let's switch to that!

Certain conversations make people upset, tribal, and Manichean. I want to avoid/prevent those. But “politics is the mindkiller” is a merely a heuristic—of course it isn’t perfect:

  • Some people are really good at discussing politics dispassionately.
  • Sometimes it’s necessary.
  • People often get upset, tribal, and Manichean about things that no one would call political.

Here are some suggestions:

DON’T DISCUSS POLITICS

If you absolutely must, do it in groups of two or three.

If you absolutely must, be extra open to evidence to and counterargument.

If you absolutely must, use descriptive statements and try to shy away from normative statements.

If someone is saying you are doing politics badly, try to be open to that. You don’t have to “shut up and listen”; you just have to be aware that the probability of you being shitty at politics given them saying that is higher.

If you absolutely must, TALK ABOUT COMPLICATED TRADE-OFFS.

If you absolutely must, be able to pass an Ideological Turing Test.