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Comment author: Viliam_Bur 30 October 2014 10:36:49PM *  2 points [-]

That's right. The kind of person I described seems like combination of sociopathy + high intelligence + maybe something else. So it is much less than 1% of population.

(However, their potential ratio in rationalist community is probably greater than in general population, because our community already selects for high intelligence. So, if high intelligence would be the only additional factor -- which I don't know whether it's true or not -- it could again be 1-4% among the wannabe rationalists.)

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 30 October 2014 10:59:15PM 0 points [-]

The kind of person you described has extraordinary social skills as well as being highly (?) intelligent, so I think we're relatively safe. :-)

I can hope that a people in a rationalist community would be better than average at eventually noticing they're in a mind-warping confusion and charisma field, but I'm really hoping we don't get tested on that one.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 30 October 2014 10:07:48PM *  5 points [-]

How communities Work, and What Wrecks Them

One of the first things I learned when I began researching discussion platforms two years ago is the importance of empathy as the fundamental basis of all stable long term communities. The goal of discussion software shouldn't be to teach you how to click the reply button, and how to make bold text, but how to engage in civilized online discussion with other human beings without that discussion inevitably breaking down into the collective howling of wolves.

Behavior patterns that grind communities down: endless contrarianism, axe-grinding, persistent negativity, ranting, and grudges.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 30 October 2014 01:46:19PM *  2 points [-]

I know; I know; I know. This is exactly what makes this topic so frustratingly difficult to explain, and so convenient to ignore.

The thing I am trying to say is that if a real monster would come to this community, sufficiently intelligent and saying the right keywords, we would spend all our energy inventing alternative explanations. That although in far mode we admit that the prior probability of a monster is nonzero (I think the base rate is somewhere around 1-4%), in near mode we would always treat it like zero, and any evidence would be explained away. We would congratulate ourselves for being nice, but in reality we are just scared to risk being wrong when we don't have convincingly sounding verbal arguments on our side. (See Geek Social Fallacy #1, but instead of "unpleasant" imagine "hurting people, but only as much as is safe in given situation".) The only way to notice the existence of the monster is probably if the monster decides to bite you personally in the foot. Then you will realize with horror that now all other people are going to invent alternative explanations why that probably didn't happen, because they don't want to risk being wrong in a way that would feel morally wrong to them.

I don't have a good solution here. I am not saying that vigilantism is a good solution, because the only thing the monster needs to draw attention away is to accuse someone else of being a monster, and it is quite likely that the monster will sound more convincing. (Reversed stupidity is not intelligence.) Actually, I believe this happens rather frequently. Whenever there is some kind of a "league against monsters", it is probably a safe bet that there is a monster somewhere at the top. (I am sure there is a TV Tropes page or two about this.)

So, we have a real danger here, but we have no good solution for it. Humans typically cope with such situations by pretending that the danger doesn't exist. I wish we had a better solution.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 30 October 2014 08:37:13PM 1 point [-]

I can believe that 1% - 4% of people have little or no empathy and possibly some malice in addition. However, I expect that the vast majority of them don't have the intelligence/social skills/energy to become the sort of highly destructive person you describe below.

Comment author: TobyBartels 30 October 2014 05:17:36AM 1 point [-]

Trans people are oppressed by having the existence of transgenderism denied, so by calling yourself cisgender, you are acknowledging the existence of transgenderism and countering that oppression. But Black people are oppressed by having the existence of race affirmed and exaggerated, so by calling yourself White, you are emphasizing race and exacerbating that oppression.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 30 October 2014 05:45:27AM 0 points [-]

From what I've seen on the SJ side, they've done a lot to make white into a marked state (in other words, white people being referred to as white) rather than whiteness being an implied default.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 30 October 2014 03:33:58AM 4 points [-]
In response to comment by Michaelos on Weird Alliances
Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2014 06:38:45PM 0 points [-]

I think those are very distinct subjects. I know nobody that objects on ethical grounds to people writing or reading fan fiction. With PUA a lot of people do object on those grounds and don't want black art social skills that are about manipulating other people to be discussed on LW.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 29 October 2014 06:28:11PM 1 point [-]

There are quite a few people who think fanfiction (or at least fanfiction without the author's permission) is unethical.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 29 October 2014 04:27:41PM 3 points [-]
Comment author: NancyLebovitz 29 October 2014 04:02:13PM *  6 points [-]

The outside view.... (The whole link is quoted.)

Yesterday, before I got here, my dad was trying to fix an invisible machine. By all accounts, he began working on the phantom device quite intently, but as his repairs began to involve the hospice bed and the tubes attached to his body, he was gently sedated, and he had to leave it, unresolved.

This was out-of-character for my father, who I presumed had never encountered a machine he couldn’t fix. He built model aeroplanes in rural New Zealand, won a scholarship to go to university, and ended up as an aeronautical engineer for Air New Zealand, fixing engines twice his size. More scholarships followed and I first remember him completing his PhD in thermodynamics, or ‘what heat does’, as he used to describe it, to his six-year-old son.

When he was first admitted to the hospice, more than a week go, he was quite lucid – chatting, talking, bemoaning the slow pace of dying. “Takes too long,” he said, “who designed this?” But now he is mostly unconscious.

Occasionally though, moments of lucidity dodge between the sleep and the confusion. “When did you arrive?” he asked me in the early hours of this morning, having woken up wanting water. Once the water was resolved he was preoccupied about illusory teaspoons lost among the bedclothes, but then chatted in feint short sentences to me and my step-mum before drifting off once more.

Drifting is a recent tendency, but in the lucidity he has remained a proud engineer. It’s more of a vocation, he always told his students, than a career.

Last week, when the doctors asked if he would speak to medical trainees, he was only too happy to have a final opportunity to teach. Even the consultants find his pragmatic approach to death somewhat out of the ordinary and they funnelled eager learners his way where he was happy to answer questions and demonstrate any malfunctioning components.

“When I got here”, he explained to them, “I was thermodynamically unstable but now I think I’m in a state of quasi-stability. It looks like I have achieved thermal equilibrium but actually I’m steadily losing energy.”

“I’m not sure”, I said afterwards, “that explaining your health in terms of thermodynamics is exactly what they’re after.”

“They’ll have to learn,” he said. “You can’t beat entropy.”

Comment author: RomeoStevens 28 October 2014 10:00:03PM 5 points [-]
Comment author: NancyLebovitz 29 October 2014 01:18:55PM 3 points [-]

I tried sleeping with a damp slow-release sponge on my forehead. I'll need to try more nights, but my sleep quality may have been better.

Comment author: James_Miller 29 October 2014 02:44:03AM 1 point [-]

I should write that post about investing and the Singularity one day.

The key is predicting what will happen to interest rates.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 29 October 2014 01:11:49PM 1 point [-]

How would you estimate the probability that the post-Singularity world would consider pre-Singularity property to be too silly to be worth bothering with?

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