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Comment author: JoshuaZ 14 July 2014 04:07:01PM 13 points [-]

Scott Aaronson has a post on the computational power of digicomps. While the post itself is interesting, it is also worth noting here because it is part of a new experiment he is doing. He writes:

Right now, I have a painfully-large stack of unwritten research papers. Many of these are “paperlets”: cool things I noticed that I want to tell people about, but that would require a lot more development before they became competitive for any major theoretical computer science conference. And what with the baby, I simply don’t have time anymore for the kind of obsessive, single-minded, all-nighter-filled effort needed to bulk my paperlets up. So starting today, I’m going to try turning some of my paperlets into blog posts. I don’t mean advertisements or sneak previews for papers, but replacements for papers: blog posts that constitute the entirety of what I have to say for now about some research topic. “Peer reviewing” (whether signed or anonymous) can take place in the comments section, and “citation” can be done by URL. The hope is that, much like with 17th-century scientists who communicated results by letter, this will make it easier to get my paperlets done: after all, I’m not writing Official Papers, just blogging for colleagues and friends.

Comment author: army1987 05 July 2014 09:56:49PM 2 points [-]

Most importantly, I don't believe Eliezer would jump on a political correctness bandwagon.


(I agree with the rest of your comment.)

Comment author: JoshuaZ 08 July 2014 02:59:46AM -1 points [-]

I think many would not characterize that action as jumping on the political correctness bandwagon.

Comment author: Sophronius 05 July 2014 07:17:59PM *  4 points [-]

"Don't try to cooperate with a known DefectBot".

Yes, precisely! This is what I think should be the golden standard for censorship. Ask yourself if the other person would try to censor you if they thought they could get away with it even if you were nice to them, and if the answer is yes it is acceptable (but not necessarily desirable!) to censor them. So an honest and reasonable bio-realist should not be censored, but Eugine Nier should be. It's simply a matter of memetic self-defence.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 06 July 2014 03:14:28PM 2 points [-]

Ask yourself if the other person would try to censor you if they thought they could get away with it even if you were nice to them,

I think you are going to run into problems here. I suspect that most adherents of many ideologies would censor opposing views if they could get away with it.

Comment author: Daniel_Burfoot 04 July 2014 07:23:23PM 2 points [-]

And having anti-feminist or racist assholes running around

Heinrich Himmler is a racist. Eugene_Nier, not so much.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 05 July 2014 02:11:24AM 2 points [-]

Non-central fallacy or focusing on disputing definitions possibly?

Comment author: VAuroch 04 July 2014 09:50:30PM 2 points [-]

His downvotes were certainly largely politically/philosophically motivated; I and several other people (off the top of my head the only other name I remember was daenerys) noted the downvote floods beginning specifically after debating "Culture War"-type topics; LGBT issues, feminism, racism, etc.

I don't think that's what you intended to say, but it's an easy misreading, so clearing that up.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 05 July 2014 02:09:34AM 1 point [-]

Oh sure, (I was potentially downvoted for the same reason). The point isn't that they weren't politically motivated but rather that one shouldn't think the inclination to defect in this fashion is somehow more connected to a specific political viewpoint. Someone on the end opposite Eugine on these issues could easily be motivated to do the same thing.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 04 July 2014 03:58:22PM 11 points [-]

Question: Daenarys rarely posts now and by her description part of that was due to the systematic downvoting. Has someone contacted her ourside LW to let her know this has happened?

Comment author: shminux 03 July 2014 08:22:16PM *  5 points [-]

Wrong comparison. I was not proposing doing nothing. Making the culprit's name public should have been the first step.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 04 July 2014 02:05:54PM 0 points [-]

In this case, many people had already expressed strong confidence that Eugine was a major source of mass downvoting- some we're quite certain of that and said so publicly. So it doesn't look like that matters.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 04 July 2014 12:47:56AM 18 points [-]

I'd like to just add a quick note that I think is worth emphasizing for people reading this thread: there's an obvious temptation to read Eugine's actions as reflecting his political and philosophical viewpoints here, and it wouldn't even be that hard to think of post-hoc hypotheses connecting them. Please don't do this. I caught myself starting to do it, and it really isn't helpful. Events like this say more about individuals than their belief systems.

Comment author: ialdabaoth 03 July 2014 01:02:10PM *  5 points [-]

Therefore, I now announce that Eugine_Nier is permanently banned from posting on LessWrong. This decision is final and will not be changed in response to possible follow-up objections.

Unfortunately, it looks like while a ban prevents posting, it does not actually block a user from casting votes. I have asked jackk to look into the matter and find a way to actually stop the downvoting. Jack indicated earlier on that it would be technically straightforward to apply a negative karma modifier to Eugine's account, and wiping out Eugine's karma balance would prevent him from casting future downvotes. Whatever the easiest solution is, it will be applied as soon as possible.


  1. How are you going to deal with socks?

  2. Are you going to be implementing a more systematic process for detecting karma abuses?

  3. Can those who have been negatively affected by this receive an adjustment?

    3a. If you are considering karma adjustments, could you please do them in a way that restores percentages rather then points? I, for one, don't care about my "fake internet points" very much, but the ratio of upvotes to downvotes is VERY useful to me as a barometer for the overall integrity of my thought processes. (If others who have been affected by this disagree, please speak up.)

Comment author: JoshuaZ 04 July 2014 12:44:22AM 3 points [-]

Interesting- I don't think percentage is a useful metric (it can easily be a metric of controversy rather than thought quality). The really concerning thing about mass downvoting is what it can do to the perception of comments when they are being initially read- retroactive adjustments will not matter as much.

In response to Flowers for Algernon
Comment author: JoshuaZ 29 June 2014 12:56:56PM -1 points [-]

I read it many years ago- it is well written but has a terrible message, and is a really good example of how much good writing can be used to deliver bad messages. The essential lesson is that being smarter can be much worse, unintended consequences, hubris of humanity, etc. And as is often the case with this sort of thing, rather than actually examine the implications of a technology that would make people smarter, it has to turn out that the effect is only temporary. Why? Because otherwise the deck wouldn't be stacked the way Keyes wants it to be stacked.

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