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Comment author: Gram_Stone 27 April 2017 01:15:08AM 1 point [-]

I've had a strong urge to ask about the relation between Project Hufflepuff and group epistemic rationality since you started writing this sequence. This also seems like a good time to ask because your criticism of the essays that you cite (with the caveat that you believe them to contain grains of truth) seems fundamentally to be an epistemological one. Your final remarks are altogether an uncontroversial epistemological prescription, "We have time and we should use it because other things equal taking more time increases the reliability of our reasoning."

So, if I take it that your criticism of the lack of understanding in this area is an epistemological one, then I can imagine this sequence going one of two ways. The one way is that you'll solve the problem, or some of it, with your individual epistemological abilities, or at least start on this and have others assist. The other way is that before discussing culture directly, you'll discuss group epistemic rationality, bootstrapping the community's ability to reason reliably about itself. But I don't really like to press people on what's coming later in their sequence. That's what the sequence is for. Maybe I can ask some pointed questions instead.

Do you think group epistemic rationality is prior to the sort of group instrumental rationality that you're focusing on right now? I'm not trying to stay hyperfocused on epistemic rationality per se. I'm saying that you've demonstrated that the group has not historically done well in an epistemological sense on understanding the open problems in this area of group instrumental rationality that you're focusing on right now, and now I'm wondering if you, or anyone else, think that's just a failure thus far that can be corrected by individual epistemological means only and distributed to the group, or if you think that it's a systemic failure of the group to arrive at accurate collective judgments. Of course it's hardly a sharp dichotomy. If one thought the latter, then one might conclude that it is important to recurse to social epistemology for entirely instrumental reasons.

If group epistemic rationality is not prior to the sort of instrumental rationality that you're focusing on right now, then do you think it would be nevertheless more effective to address that problem first? Have you considered that in the past? Of course, it's not entirely necessary that these topics be discussed consecutively, as opposed to simultaneously.

How common do you think knowledge of academic literature relevant to group epistemic rationality is in this group? Like, as a proxy, what proportion of people do you think know about shared information bias? The only sort of thing like this I've seen as common knowledge in this group is informational cascades. Just taking an opportunity to try and figure out how much private information I have, because if I have a lot, then that's bad.

How does Project Hufflepuff relate to other group projects like LW 2.0/the New Rationality Organization, and all of the various calls for improving the quality of our social-epistemological activities? I now notice that all of those seem quite closely focused on discussion media.

Comment author: hamnox 27 April 2017 07:27:27PM 1 point [-]

I think there's a consistent epistemic failure that leads to throwing away millennia of instrumental optimization of group dynamics in favor of a clever idea that someone had last Thursday. The narrative of extreme individual improvement borders on insanity: you think you can land on a global optimum with 30 years of one-shot optimization?

Academia may have a better process, and individual intelligence may be more targeted, but natural + memetic selection has had a LOOOT more time and data to work with. We'll be much stronger for learning how to leverage already-existing processes than in learning how to reinvent the wheel really quickly.

Comment author: fortyeridania 19 April 2017 08:33:12AM 0 points [-]

Many people have been through similar periods and overcome them, so asking around will yield plenty of anecdotal advice. And I assume you've read the old /u/lukeprog piece How to Beat Procrastination.

For me, regular exercise has helped for general motivation, energy levels, willpower--the opposite of akrasia generally. (How to bootstrap the motivation to exercise? I made a promise to a friend and she agreed to hold me accountable to exercising. It was also easier because there was someone I wanted to impress.)

Good luck. When you've got a handle on it, do share what helped most/least.

Comment author: hamnox 20 April 2017 03:52:22AM 1 point [-]

Working out has been too troublesome for me, but I do like endorphin boosts. Who needs drugs when you can get your brain to drug you for you?

Anytime you're feeling down, just do some kinda movement until your muscles burn a little then stop. It takes like 10 seconds of arm flapping or 3 crunches.

You can do it multiple times a day and keep a running tally to build up the initial affordance.

Comment author: Lumifer 18 April 2017 01:28:44AM 2 points [-]

Then I don't understand "emotional labor ... makes the work ethic possible".

Comment author: hamnox 20 April 2017 03:30:53AM 2 points [-]

It's noticing that your movement is not made up of value-maximizing automatons. You cannot just put food, sleep, education in one end and get high-quality insights/altruism out the other. Individual variation is too great for standard wisdom to be useful.

Emotional labor is helping people be people; mapping their emotional/mental landscape, clearing out baggage, deciding what it is they want, enjoying what they have, smoothing out the ruffles when their idiosyncracies clash with someone else's. Some people can manage it on their own, or stumble on ways to be sustainably productive regardless of how okay they're doing internally. But most people benefit from a little assistance, especially when they hit negative spirals.

If no one does emotional labor, then your best workers are obsessives and manics. But helping people stay balanced frees up a lot of their effort for focusing on work. Feeling good makes them more generous with their effort as well.

(re: the 50s link It is true that emotional labor traditionally falls more on women. In a healthier reconstruction of the roles, men specialize in managing acute crises more than in keeping long-term balance. Big gestures instead of everyday ones.)

Comment author: Alexei 03 April 2017 08:20:28PM 0 points [-]

I can imagine a neural-activation-like effect coming out of that, where frequently co-active posts naturally rise to the top of each other's links and become threads or topics.

Not sure what you mean by this.

Comment author: hamnox 17 April 2017 07:58:27PM 0 points [-]

If a lot of people vote that two articles are linked, they become linked to each other. This will naturally form topic threading somewhere between between Wikipedia link diving and Tumblr reblogs.

Comment author: hamnox 01 April 2017 05:02:37PM 2 points [-]

I expect that micro-blogging will be an excellent combination with the arbital-style of voting on things. I especially think that you could get very good results from voting on per-post 'related links' submitted by users. Tumblr has reblogs for responding to things, but those naturally become mediated by viralness instead of internal coherence.

I can imagine a neural-activation-like effect coming out of that, where frequently co-active posts naturally rise to the top of each other's links and become threads or topics.

Are you planning anything like that?

Comment author: hamnox 04 December 2016 04:20:29AM 2 points [-]

I find myself very confused about how to tell which journals are reputable. Do you have a good heuristic (or list) for finding this out?

Comment author: gressettd 17 May 2013 10:26:59PM *  13 points [-]

Here's a method for learning a complex subject that seems to accelerate acquiring instrumental skill and the ability to use the knowledge creatively. As a bonus, you make progress on projects you've deferred for want of technical skills you're learning now.

Project Mapping: a) Make a list of projects you're working or intend to do sometime. The more the projects excite you, the more effective this technique. b) Take a bite of your subject (a chapter or topic, smaller the better) c) Go to your project journal. Pick one or more projects from the list to connect to the material you learned. If they can't conceivably connect ... then why are you learning this? d) No matter how great the gap between the complexity and difficulty of your project and the simplicity of the elementary material you just learned, even if it's just whole number addition, describe ways to apply the knowledge to some aspect or part of your project. This is the actual "secret sauce" of the technique. e) Return to each bite to "rehearse" it by adding even more ideas, and feel free to connect in and use more advanced material you've learned, too. f) If you can, set your rehearsal schedule for each bite to initially just half an hour apart, but space them out by double the previous time between rehearsals. Force even boundaries on days or weeks to help simplify the schedule. Something like: 30m, 60m, 2h, 4h, 8h, 16h, 24h, 2d, 4d, 7d, 2w, 1m, 2m, 4m, 8m, 1y

A note on the "secret sauce" (part d): You'll often need to force your brain to believe, especially when learning the fundamentals of a subject, that you can apply it to your byzantine mega-idea. Try for five minutes. If it's just too hard, maybe create an easier project to stand-in.

Comment author: hamnox 14 July 2016 04:26:48AM 0 points [-]

I have unintentially been implementing something like this in anki.

In response to comment by [deleted] on Why Don't Rationalists Win?
Comment author: lahwran 15 September 2015 09:58:41PM 1 point [-]

The point of the "rationalists win" thing was to define rationality as winning. Which, among other things, makes it very unclear why the word "intelligence" is different. Everyone seems to insist it is in fact different when I ask, but nobody can explain why, and the inductive examples they give me collapse under scrutiny. what?

Comment author: hamnox 18 September 2015 05:29:08PM 3 points [-]

Pretty sure inductive examples of intelligence fail because we really are pointing at different things when we say it.

Some mean "shows a statistically higher base rate for acquiring mental constructs (ideas, knowledge, skills)" when they say it. This usage tends to show up in people who think that model-building and explicit reasoning are the key to winning. They may try to tack this consideration onto their definition of intelligence in some way.

Some try to point at the specific differences in mental architecture they think cause people to use more or fewer mental constructs, like working memory or ability to abstract. This usage tends to show up in people who are trying to effect useful changes in how they or others think. They may notice that there's a lot of variation in which kind of mental constructs are used, and try to single out the combination that is most important to winning.

There's also the social stereotype of who has a preference for "doing" and experiencing vs. who is drawn to "thinking" and planning. People who think "doing" or having a well-integrated System 1 is the key to winning may favor this definition, since it neatly sidesteps away from the stupid argument over definitions the thinkers are having. I like to use it in conversations because it's loose enough to kinda encapsulate the other definitions — which role you think you fit is going to correlate with which you use more, which itself correlates with what your natural abilities lend themselves to. I'm less likely to talk past people that way..

But it's also because of this last interpretation that I point blank refuse to use intelligence as a synonym for rationality. The word 'rational' comes with just as many shades of denying emotion and trusting models over intuition, but they're at least framed as ignoring extraneous factors in the course of doing what you must.

Comment author: ChristianKl 21 June 2015 07:33:23PM -1 points [-]

a lw meetup seems like a good place to explore on your own terms: it's got a norm of asking for touch verbally instead of by mysterious social cues

People who want to be asked for physical touch likely won't opt for the "free hugs" sticker which a majority did at LWCW-EU. It means opting in to being touched unexpectedly.

Picking that sticker is not an act that I would expect from a person with real autism.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/spectrum-solutions/201111/touch-and-the-autism-spectrum contains the paragraph:

NT girl wants to show her affection to her boyfriend. She comes up behind him and gives him a hug. He stiffens and pushes her away. She is bewildered, confused, and sad. Why doesn't he want her hug?

Behavior like that happens with autism.

I used to have a roommate with autism and I don't think he would have picked a free-hugs sticker.

explicit consensus on its purpose and meaning (because touch itself might be pleasant, no accidentally starting a mating ritual)

There are many different purposes for touch besides mating and I don't think it's always communicated explicitly. In a debugging session I might use touch to direct attention, gather information or affect an emotional process. If it's informal sitting on the couch the purpose can also be bonding or pleasure in the moment.

Comment author: hamnox 22 June 2015 09:13:52PM 1 point [-]

Right.. Verbally was too narrow a term. The free hugs sticker seems perfectly in line, actually. If there's an explicit option to opt-in, then there's an implicit option to opt OUT. Just having the option to opt out that makes it feel a whole lot safer to let people into your personal space.

Some autistic conventions have gone with a system of colored badges: a green badge means that the person is actively seeking communication; they have trouble initiating, but want to be approached by people. A yellow badge means they might approach strangers to talk, but unless you have already met the person face-to-face, you should not approach them to talk. A red badge means that the person probably does not want to talk to anyone, or only wants to talk to a few people.

The quote about the hug is an exceedingly typical narrative, in the sense that it's a narrative written in a very typical way. There's no context for her boyfriend's mental state, what he was doing or what kind of day he's had so far. How do I describe how huge an oversight that is? The only comparison I can think of is to sex, because people acknowledge the way abusing such an intense experience can wreak havoc on your mind.

What if people around you thought it was normal and okay to force sex on you at any moment, and more so that you were being difficult or uncaring if you rejected a bit of harmless surprise sex? If every meeting might escalate too-much-too-fast, if you were left breathless and raw multiple times a day with no time to recuperate or make sense of it? It would be easy to decide that you point-blank hated sex. You know that your reactions are completely out of proportion by any normal standard, but the confusion and terror just keep building until you want nothing to do with sex. You make excuses where you can and think of England when you can't. You try to keep iron control over which people have sex with you and when. You find sexual variations to propose that you like better, or that at least trigger you less. You leave behind many sad, bewildered loved ones as you stumble your way through life.

You find others who seem unusually deliberate about sex also. When they talk about its many beneficial and underrated effects, it resonates with your subjective experience that sex is a powerful, intense thing. It occurs to you that you do share mostly the same brain chemistry as the rest of the human race, and there's a good chance that you will like and benefit from sex if you can break down your averse reaction to it. Might as well try it, eh?

Comment author: ChristianKl 17 June 2015 09:47:09PM 2 points [-]

Being uncomfortable with physical touch is typical for autism. The big LW community events I attended have a lot of physical touching. From what I heard about CFAR that's true as well.

We don't act according to standard social scripts and a few people do show signs of autism but I don't think autists are a majority.

Comment author: hamnox 21 June 2015 05:41:25PM 0 points [-]

Touch sensitivity can vary. Having a sense of control and an amenable mental state can make significant difference. Being touched unexpectedly, especially when one is already overstimulated, can be horrendous. But while the intense blow-ups over innocuous unwanted sensations are most memorable, autists can have as many strong positive preferences as negative. If you're curious about touch at all, a lw meetup seems like a good place to explore on your own terms: it's got a norm of asking for touch verbally instead of by mysterious social cues (a chance to say no most casual touch doesn't give), explicit consensus on its purpose and meaning (because touch itself might be pleasant, no accidentally starting a mating ritual), and a built-in excuse for why you might find it uncomfortable and off-putting (it IS weird, by other social standards).

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