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Comment author: chaosmage 03 April 2017 02:18:01PM 8 points [-]

One of the skills to talk about would be the skill of actively proselytizing and getting people into rationality. I don't mean onboarding people who are already interested, I mean actually going up to people who you wish were rationalists and trying to make them.

Successful communities do this, although the specifics vary widely. EA does it, which I think is why EA is growing while LW isn't. We've been largely coasting on Eliezer's wave.

Thus is difficult because LW rationality arose in the tech culture of California, I.e. an unusually individualistic culture within an unusually individualistic part of the most individualistic country ever. Only in California could one be called a "cult" for seeking a consensus philosophy. Any active proselytizing would definitely encounter the "cult" charge again.

But proselytizing works. It keeps a movement young - we're already noticably older on average than we were ten years ago and we're starting to look like a cohort of tech nerds who were in their impressionable college age when Eliezer wrote the sequences. And it keeps a movement dynamic - if new people are coming in all the time, you don't have to suffer the ossification that it takes to retain people as they get older. LW rationality has no less need of this than other movements.

And there are definitely people who are much better at it than others, so a systematic study of what works is eminently doable. I think this fits squarely into Project Hufflepuff.

Comment author: JenniferRM 07 April 2017 05:49:35PM *  8 points [-]

Personally, I think cohorts happen automatically, and LW is "yet another cohort" and if we want to be part of a movement with inter-generational significance then maybe we should pause to consider why we think we should be "the first generation" in a movement that lasts forever...

In this vein, I appreciate previous places and groups like:

If I was going to name the entire thing, I think I might call it "Outsider Science" (taking a cue from "Outsider Art" and contrasting it with "Vannevarian Science").

So if you wanted to be so Hufflepuff that you sacrificed the whole group on the altar of being social (rather than just sacrificing yourself for the group) I'd argue that it would be a natural progression to work on reconnecting, resuscitating, archiving, and generally paying attention to these older places and communities, and putting yourself in service to their long term goals.

The hard thing here is that the diagnostic criteria looking backwards seems to be having a certain mindset towards physical reality and being a kind of a cultural orphan at the same time. The standoffishness and founding a tiny little institutes is part of what this movement seems to do by default?

Thus, projecting forward, you would predict that new instances of "the outsider science movement" would form on their own, start their own thing, and reject the notion of intellectual parentage, as much as we (the hypothetical intellectual parents) try to bring them into the loose confederation of previous attempts at self organized scientific research aiming at eternal intellectual challenges.

A lot of the future people you'd be trying to bring into the fold might very well prefer to struggle on alone.

Arguably, Vanevarian Science (with government credentialed universities doing government funded research) is already doing what you would evolve into anyway, and has succeeded so far and so thoroughly that its "highest mid level hierarchs" have become members of the deep government of the world? So maybe the right thing to do is just let all the various orphans struggle on by themselves, and just go try to get a job at NSF while retaining fond feelings for the strugglers?

So my guess is that Bacon's Effecting Of All Things Possible has run for a long while now, and maybe "the orphans" who might have belonged to the high church version (but somehow never connected with the central culture) were never really noticed until the internet came along and then could start to find each other and form little clumps and clusters.

So maybe the most Hufflepuff thing possible would be to somehow be encourage a larger internet culture that finds and welcomes these autonomous orphan clusters, while also extending an olive branch to the high church "Heirs of Bacon" who exist in the deep government, and see if there is some way to establish a state of communion between the main tree and all the little saplings :-)

Comment author: ChristianKl 12 February 2017 04:40:11PM *  5 points [-]

In some sense bans on lead are mandatory treatments for stupidity. The same goes for government-mandated addition of iodine to salt.

Comment author: JenniferRM 26 February 2017 08:13:44AM *  1 point [-]

It makes me sad to see non-iodized sea salt become trendy in the kinds of circles where vaccines are considered "unnatural" and kids get whooping cough.

I think there is a general issue here where "libertarianism" and "paternalism" come into conflict.

My preference in nearly all such cases is to default people into the thing that seems to honestly be the best policy, and let people opt out in a way that involves some larger or smaller trivial inconviences if they want to be contrarian for some reason.

Comment author: JenniferRM 03 February 2017 05:24:16AM 0 points [-]

What you call "facets" here seem somewhat heterogeneous to me. Some of it reminds me of techniques from Polya's How To Solve It on teaching and learning to solve math problems. Other aspects remind me of Chapman's paper on Cognitive Cliches.

Comment author: whpearson 31 January 2017 07:28:28PM *  2 points [-]

Because participating in a community that isn't helpful for what I am trying to achieve is a significant drain on my mental and temporal resources :)

I'm currently seeing how helpful it is.

Comment author: JenniferRM 01 February 2017 06:12:12AM 2 points [-]

That seems like a setup for some interesting questions!

What are you trying to achieve? How do you think the community could be helpful towards this goal? Also, how is the assessment of helpfulness going?

Comment author: lifelonglearner 30 January 2017 11:04:18PM 4 points [-]

I used to just view.

Now, I'm making an intentional effort to engage more with things. I think a community norm of voicing even simple agreement / appreciation can make this place a more enjoyable place to be.

Comment author: JenniferRM 31 January 2017 09:09:09AM 2 points [-]

Do you have a causal theory as to what changed your intention? If so, I'm curious to know how it seemed to work.

Comment author: whpearson 30 January 2017 09:10:49PM 3 points [-]

I check it a fair bit at the moment. I suspect I'll give it up in a bit.

Comment author: JenniferRM 31 January 2017 09:06:21AM 2 points [-]


Comment author: dglukhov 30 January 2017 06:18:54PM 2 points [-]

Used the poll, though I'll elaborate.

I'd probably spend more time if I wasn't busy reading the archives. I imagine this will change to more use over time.

Comment author: JenniferRM 31 January 2017 09:06:04AM 3 points [-]

Do you have heuristics for finding good stuff in the archives?

Comment author: 9eB1 30 January 2017 10:50:41PM 3 points [-]

I use a feed reader, so I check out almost all the posts and links. I click through to the comments on almost all of them as well, since that's the real point.

The reddit /r/slatestarcodex community is very active too, and I like that.

Comment author: JenniferRM 31 January 2017 09:05:06AM 2 points [-]

If you don't mind more questions... Which feed reader? Also do you look mostly for activity? Do you know of places with good quality/noise ratios, even if they are not very active?

Comment author: jimmy 31 January 2017 03:38:15AM 2 points [-]


I don't read much here anymore, and comment less (7 comment threads in the last year). I'm commenting now mostly because you specifically mentioned appreciating any response, and because of having known and respecting you personally, not because I'd normally read and comment on something like this.

I'm not aware of any other place with more shellingness on this stuff than here, but I am also skeptical of recent efforts to bring more discussion back to LW.

Comment author: JenniferRM 31 January 2017 08:55:30AM 3 points [-]

I do appreciate your response. Thank you. Also, I share your skepticism to some degree... hence this post as a data collection effort.

Comment author: gjm 30 January 2017 05:07:18PM 8 points [-]

Here, have a poll.

How often do you check the LW discussion forum?

Do you just read, or also vote or comment?

Do you bother clicking through to links?

How do you mainly read LW discussion?

Do you know of other places that make better Schelling points for LW-ish topics?


Comment author: JenniferRM 30 January 2017 05:21:28PM 3 points [-]

I appreciate the poll, but a large part of my goal was to just get a lot of comments, hopefully at the "Ping" level, because I want to see how many people are here with at least that amount of "social oomph" when the topic is themselves.

For people responding to this poll, please also give a very small overall comment that you used the poll.

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