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Comment author: TheOtherDave 18 April 2011 01:43:32PM 0 points [-]

I'll add to this that if I want to avoid the "backfire" scenario, one useful technique is to be seen as actually changing the behavior that I promised to change.

The period over which the changed behavior must be sustained in order to placate suspicious observers depends significantly on how suspicious they are, so it's often best to do this before I notice them becoming overtly suspicious... that is, to establish a habit of following up my promise to change my behavior with an actual change in my behavior.

Comment author: Isaac 05 May 2011 02:31:47PM 0 points [-]

agree. To some extent, this all shows the best way to have a good reputation is to be good. But some awareness of how others perceive you goes a long way.

Comment author: Isaac 18 April 2011 07:46:45AM 1 point [-]

This means that ever admitting you were offensive is a huge status hit implying you are some combination of callous, ignorant, and racist. Sometimes people may be willing to take this status hit, especially if upon reflection they believe they really were in the wrong, but since most people's actions seem reasonable to themselves they will not be willing to accept a narrative where they're the villain.

More likely, they will try to advance an alternative interpretation, in which their actions were not legitimately offensive or in which they have the "right" to take such actions. Such an interpretation may cast the offended party as a villain, trying to gain power and control by pretending to be offended, or unduly restricting the free speech of others.

Sociopathy 101: the best response in this situation is usually to admit wrongdoing. If you try and defend yourself, you'll just dig yourself into a bigger hole. ("I'm not a racist, I just think ... " - we all know how that sounds). You don't need to actually believe you've done wrong, but make it at least sound like you've realised the error of your ways.

You still need to avoid a big status hit, so don't grovel. You should stay "on-message", and your message should be on the lines of "I'm sorry, I didn't realise I was being offensive, but I accept that I was. Thanks for helping me to be less prejudiced. I'm going to try and change in future". How you deliver this message depends on context - if you're not a public figure it's not like you can just hold a press conference, so you'll probably have to deliver this message to individuals, in which case you'll have to make it sound more personalised and natural.

Accepting a small status hit in this way can actually be high status. This strategy also works in the more general situation whenever someone accuses you of being X, where X is some negative trait. Ignore the overwhelming desire to explain why you are not X, with reasons. It will just make it sound like you don't "get it". Even if the criticism is totally invalid, the correct response is to accept it and promise to change.

Exceptions: if you think people will agree that your infraction was minor and the other party is overreacting (especially if they keep throwing new accusations at you after you accept the first), you can (and should) stand up for yourself.

If your infraction was very serious, or you've overused this tactic to the point people realise your tricks, it can backfire badly. I don't really know what to advise you in this situation, but you might need to accept some more-than-token punishment.

Comment author: Isaac 18 April 2011 07:13:46AM 0 points [-]

I can't attend, but good luck from Hong Kong! AFAIK this will be the second Asian LW meetup. I was also unsure if HK had enough rationalists for a meetup, but I managed to get 3 of us LWers together, and we enjoyed an interesting chat about OpenCog and other topics... So it's worthwhile even if you can only get a few people. And of course, you have to start somewhere.

Comment author: free_rip 23 March 2011 08:32:33AM 6 points [-]

This would be great next year, when I take my gap year between high-school and uni. Although I must say, just seeing the results will be amazing in itself - I can't wait until you release the details of the games and such you used, and how well they worked. (I'm taking from your previous replies to comments that you intend on this, for now at least.)

Are there age limits? I saw on the application it asks about degrees, employment etc... which, as a 16-year-old, I don't have yet. But I think I could really benefit from this if it's still running in 2012.

I'm not going to say this is a brilliant idea, because I'm sure it's not original at all - but actually doing something about it, bringing this to life - that's brilliant. I'm sure it takes a hell of a lot of planning, effort and money: so thank you.

I'm really hoping this is the start of something that will grow, because the sense of pure awesome that filled me when I read it is something I don't want to have to fall down.

Oh, side note, I had to go and look up 'rejection therapy' - it sounded iffy. After researching, it sounds scary and iffy. Has anyone here tried it before?

Comment author: Isaac 23 March 2011 02:17:34PM 1 point [-]

http://rejection.posterous.com/ - this is one person's experience with it. I agree that sometimes it sounds iffy, but I think it's useful for people who have that problem. When you say it sounds 'scary' do you mean scary to try or scary what could happen if everyone tried it?

By the way, you sound a lot smarter than the average 16-year-old. (I speak as one who also used to tell people online my age at the age of 16, in the hope I'd get such compliments :) )

Comment author: ferrouswheel 10 March 2011 08:19:22AM *  0 points [-]

I'm also interested and part of the same project. Jared and I work in Kowloon Tong and I live in Mong Kok. Have messaged my cell number...

Comment author: Isaac 10 March 2011 03:39:56PM 1 point [-]


Since at the moment it looks like it'll just be the three of us, I'll suggest meeting up in the bar ferrouswheel mentioned below (168 Future) at 6pm. Will add the details to the article if anyone else wants to drop by.

I've stumbled across OpenCog before and thought it sounded like an interesting approach, though I never looked into it in much detail. My bachelors thesis is actually about writing a texas holdem-playing AI, focusing on using machine learning to model an opponent's behaviour - which I guess has some slight relation to yousen's project. Well, it should be one thing to talk about anyway.

Will try and msg tomorrow to confirm.

Comment author: sark 04 March 2011 06:16:07PM *  3 points [-]

They don't really. Or if they do, with very much less urgency than when confronted with the possibility of being eaten by a tiger.

I'm reminded of movies where people in impossibly tough situations stick to impossibly idealistic principles. The producers of the movie want to hoodwink you into thinking they would stand by their luxurious morality even when the going gets tough. When the truth is, their adherence to such absurdly costly principles is precisely to signal that, compared to those who cannot afford their morality, they have it easy.

Pascal's wager was a very detached and abstract theological argument. If Pascal's heart rate did increase from considering the argument, it was from being excited about showing off his clever new argument, than from the sense of urgency the expected utility calculation was supposed to convey, and which he insincerely sold the argument with.

Comment author: Isaac 08 March 2011 04:19:07PM *  5 points [-]

"When the truth is, their adherence to such absurdly costly principles is precisely to signal that, compared to those who cannot afford their morality, they have it easy."

I think the idea that "morality is a form of signalling" is inaccurate. I agree that moral principles have an evolutionary explanation, but I think that standard game theory provides the best explanation. Generally, it's better to cooperate than to defect in the iterated prisoner's dilemma; and the best way to convince others you're a cooperator is to be, truly, madly and deeply, a cooperator.

Cf. Elizier's claim that he wouldn't break a promise, even if the whole of humanity was at stake. It certainly makes him seem more trustworthy, right?

Comment author: NihilCredo 05 March 2011 03:15:01AM 3 points [-]

I love that evergreen politician's trick of using "we" and "you" to mean "I".

Comment author: Isaac 05 March 2011 05:59:19PM 0 points [-]

To be fair, I think he was using "we" to refer to the Conservative party.

In response to Hong Kong LW meetup
Comment author: VincentYu 03 March 2011 02:26:40AM 2 points [-]

I'm a college student in Rochester, and I will be home (in Hong Kong) for spring break, from March 6 to March 13. But... I won't be able to make it on March 12 because I have already committed to something else for that day. Any day from Monday to Friday would work better for me, but it'd probably be inconvenient for everyone else.

Comment author: Isaac 05 March 2011 05:51:50PM 0 points [-]

Between Monday to Friday (in the evenings) also works for me. I don't know about everyone else, since no other HK-based Lesswrongers have yet emerged. Bummer...

In response to Hong Kong LW meetup
Comment author: Daniel_Burfoot 28 February 2011 05:28:12PM 2 points [-]

I would be very interested in learning about the experience of rationalists (i.e. people in the LW empirical cluster in person-space) in Hong Kong.

Comment author: Isaac 04 March 2011 06:10:57AM 0 points [-]

Out of curiosity, in what way do you think the experience of rationalists in HK will be exceptional (as compared to other cities)? Or am I misreading your comment?

Comment author: michaelcurzi 02 March 2011 10:20:08PM 9 points [-]

Here's a long one:

"When humanity lay grovelling in all men's sight, crushed to the earth under the dead weight of superstition whose grim features loured menacingly upon mortals from the four quarters of the sky, a man of Greece was first to raise mortal eyes in defiance, first to stand erect and brave the challenge. Fables of the gods did not crush him, nor the lightning flash and the growling menace of the sky. Rather, they quickened his manhood, so that he, first of all men, longed to smash the constraining locks of nature's doors. The vital vigour of his mind prevailed. He ventured far out beyond the flaming ramparts of the world and voyaged in mind throughout infinity. Returning victorious, he proclaimed to us what can be and what cannot: how a limit is fixed to the power of everything and an immovable frontier post. Therefore superstition in its turn lies crushed beneath his feet, and we by his triumph are lifted level with the skies."

-Lucretius, On the Nature of the Universe

Comment author: Isaac 03 March 2011 03:28:19PM 6 points [-]

I wasn't sure who this was referring to (I thought it was about Socrates), so I looked it up. It's about Epicurus.

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