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

Comment author: Erfeyah 18 April 2017 12:42:13PM 0 points [-]

I would actually recommend Peterson's material before the Sam Harris podcasts. I can see many people that are arguing against his view just by listening to this podcast and it is obvious to me that they have not understood the actual thesis. I can see the votes going up on CronoDAS' "factually correct" comment above which is one of the things that Peterson successfully addresses right from the get go...

Comment author: RomeoStevens 18 April 2017 08:20:46PM 0 points [-]

If you really want people to engage with it you might want to do the hard work for them and strip out the preface and bold type chapter summaries from his book and upload and link them. Otherwise 99% of people aren't going to engage.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 18 April 2017 04:58:19AM 0 points [-]

I'd recommend the second Harris podcast instead. They got bogged down on a side point in the first one as they mention. https://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/meaning-and-chaos

Comment author: CronoDAS 16 April 2017 10:39:11PM 3 points [-]

I don't much care about the "function" of religion; I care whether it is factually correct. (Which it isn't.)

Comment author: RomeoStevens 18 April 2017 04:55:10AM 3 points [-]

This wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that you have tacit beliefs installed by the path dependent process that is hugely religion influenced. It's useful to know about this. E.g. Nietzsche has useful insights for people who consider themselves non-christian but are still running the same OS. Etc.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 05 April 2017 07:36:15AM 1 point [-]

Consider the difference between the frame of expected value/probability theory and the frame of bounded optimality/error minimization. Under the second frame the question becomes "how can I manipulate my environment such that I wind up in close proximity to the errors that I have a comparative advantage in spotting?"

Comment author: RomeoStevens 02 April 2017 10:18:55PM 3 points [-]

After digesting for a few days my intuitive response is to add the handle 'virtue fatigue' to this concept cluster. Virtues are a means by which the commons are policed. When you have runaway virtue signaling this is essentially defecting against the commons. You get what you want from scrupulous people who take public virtues seriously in the short term, but create virtue fatigue in the long run as more and more gets piled on to this working behavioral modification channel. Eventually the channel fails. This might turn ugly.

Comment author: Viliam 29 March 2017 08:55:28AM 2 points [-]

I like what you wrote here, but I feel like you and OP are talking about different things. For you, such experience is a traning for situation when someone tries to knock down your status for real, so that you are ready to defend yourself. For OP, it is an experience that feels nice.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 30 March 2017 04:17:19AM 1 point [-]

play feels nice doesn't seem separate from play is probably useful.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 28 March 2017 07:58:34PM *  4 points [-]

Camaraderie is death spiral among anxious social group because a lot of people loudly object to such things. OMG you did not get their consent becomes an issue among people who are bad at exuding and reading non verbal signals about how welcome such things are.

Instead of submission and dominance I think an entirely different frame is helpful. Play fighting helps animals build the procedural knowledge for real fighting. In the same way that you would run or go to the gym with friends you might engage in playful status jostling with your friends so that when someone tries to actually knock your status down a peg it isn't a totally new reference class of experience and you just fire right back like you might with friends.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 26 March 2017 10:48:49PM 0 points [-]

3.1.4 seems totally ungrounded from analysis and fairly random in its speculation.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 23 March 2017 02:24:45AM 3 points [-]

If durability is hard for a consumer to evaluate, then the manufacturer will push costs there in order to devote more optimization power to the dimensions that consumers actually evaluate. Manufacturers that don't do this will be left behind for two reasons. 1. They will appear worse in terms of the features that are visible and 2. Their competitors will have larger advertising budgets.

The general principle is similar to the idea of an Aether variable. Costs get pushed into harder to evaluate dimensions. The products available in the market are only 'designed' by humans in a loose sense. After a market has existed for awhile it is more accurate to say the product is the output of a selection process. This is part of the reason new areas appear to make ultra fast progress initially, proxy measures haven't diverged from utility yet keeping the feedback loops tight.

Comment author: Viliam 18 March 2017 05:49:49PM *  13 points [-]

I have recently read Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities, which is a book containing experience and advice for people wanting to build a community. The book is about ecological communities, which may differ in some aspects from the rationalist ones, but I believe most things are valid generally.

Some points I remember:

Do not overestimate people's commitment, no matter what they say. When the moment comes to actually put down the large amounts of money, don't be surprised if most of them suddenly change their minds.

Do your research in advance -- how much the project will cost, what kinds of documents and permissions you will need, and whether your plan is actually legal. (Ask people already living in similar communities. Actually, visit them for a few days, to get a near-mode experience. All of you.)

Good fences make good neighbors. Whatever were your original agreements, expect people to change their minds later and to remember something different than you do. Then you will need a paper record.

For any kind of group decisions, you need very precise rules for (1) who is and who isn't a member, how to become one and how to stop being one; and (2) what happens in case of prolonged disagrement. Outside view says that "we will do everything by consensus" is magical thinking predictably leading to a disaster.

It helps to identify your vision, and describe it in "vision documents" as clearly as possible. You might be surprised that people who previously seemed to agree with non-specific details, will suddenly find things they object against. (Better to find it now than after you have all moved.) Also, this will be helpful in future to explain your community to potential new members.

It is a bad idea to introduce power imbalances, such as "the rich members volunteer to intially pay for the poorer ones" or "someone can lend their unused private building to the community", because that can make later intra-group negotiations really unpleasant (e.g. when you have a vote about something the rich members have a strong opinion about, and they end up in the minority). If there is a need to lend money between members, do it completely officially, so that the fact that "X owes money to Y" cannot be used as a leverage against X.

It is probably a good idea to have together some lessons on communication skills. You need to be able to talk about sensitive topics where you disagree, without it making you feel disconnected. But you also need to hold each other accountable for things you agreed upon.

Filter people for emotional maturity. Seriously. Some people can cause insane amounts of unnecessary drama. And that applies not just for founders; you should also agree on some selection process for new members in the future. Also, newcomers should become provisional members first, participate in the community life and contribute some work, before they become full members. (Good interview questions: how have you supported yourself financially in the past? describe your long-term relationshops, school and work experience.)

There are different options: You can buy or rent several houses or flats for individual members of families, and then one extra place which will be common. Or you can buy a piece of land with several houses. Or a piece of land without houses, and build them. Or you could buy an office building or an abandoned factory, and then rebuild it. Members can own their places; or you could together create a legal entity that owns everything, and all members rent it from that entity. That entity may be able to take a loan.

Have a debate about what is your position on:

  • preferred distance from: schools, shops, nature, traffic nodes, other important places
  • lifestyle: vegetarianism / veganism, families, pets, sexual behavior, drug use...
  • financial issues: will everyone contribute equally, do member rights depend on their respective contributions, which property or expenses specifically are shared
  • politics: what about religion, is it okay if members are politically active, is it okay to publicly support politically active people

Have monthly meetings, with an agenda and a facilitator; only members can vote; take notes and archive them. (The logs will be useful to show to new members in the future.) Specifically, keep records about agreed upon tasks and dates. To make sure everyone is trivially involved even before you buy something, require a symbolic financial contribution from the members (remember, only those can vote), e.g. $100 for joining, and $10 as a monthly fee. Keep financial records.

How to create positive emotional bonds: talk about your life; cook and eat together. (Once in a while.)

Comment author: RomeoStevens 20 March 2017 01:27:30AM *  4 points [-]

Additionally: if only one member seems enthusiastic about thinking/planning/enforcing this kind of stuff that is a very bad sign. In such a situation when that person burns out the community slowly dies.

View more: Next