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Comment author: Jacobian 31 May 2017 03:24:42PM 10 points [-]

And one final point of support for DA: while I was living in a closed barracks, with five girls, a huge workload, strict rules and significant barriers to exit, I read Ender's Game and thought "this is exactly like my life, and it's awesome".

I agree with some of the critics here that Duncan is overconfident in his ability to make this work. I also agree that there's a limit to how much you can learn from a work of fiction about space monkey superchildren. But a lot of the criticism here is even more overconfident, and it comes from people who never lived in DA-like situation in their lives so all the evidence they're basing their criticism on is fictional.

Comment author: handoflixue 03 June 2017 02:09:42AM 0 points [-]

it comes from people who never lived in DA-like situation in their lives so all the evidence they're basing their criticism on is fictional.

I've been going off statistics which, AFAIK, aren't fictional. Am I wrong in my assumption that the military, which seems like a decent comparison point, has an above average rate of sexual harassment, sexual assault, bloated budgets, and bureaucratic waste? All the statistics and research I've read suggest that at least the US Military has a lot of problems and should not be used as a role-model.

Comment author: handoflixue 31 May 2017 08:06:40PM 2 points [-]

Concerns about you specifically as a leader

1) This seems like an endeavor that has a number of very obvious failure modes. Like, the intentional community community apparently bans this sort of thing, because it tends to end badly. I am at a complete loss to name anything that really comes close, and hasn't failed badly. Do you acknowledge that you are clearly treading in dangerous waters?

2) While you've said "we've noticed the skulls", there's been at least 3 failure modes raised in the comment which you had to append to address (outsider safety check-ins, an abort/exit strategy, and the issue of romantic entanglement). Given that we've already found 3 skulls you didn't notice, don't you think you should take some time to reconsider the chances that you've missed further skulls?

Comment author: handoflixue 31 May 2017 07:56:59PM 5 points [-]

Concerns about your philosophy

1) You focus heavily on 99.99% reliability. That's 1-in-10,000. If we only count weekdays, that's 1 absence every 40 years, or about one per working lifetime. If we count weekends, that's 1 absence every 27 years, or 3 per lifetime. Do you really feel like this is a reasonable standard, or are you being hyperbolic and over-correcting? If the latter, what wold you consider an actual reasonable number?

2) Why does one person being 95% reliable cause CFAR workshops to fail catastrophically? Don't you have backups / contingencies? I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just used to working with vastly less fragile, more fault-tolerant systems, and I'm noticing I am very confused when you discuss workshops failing catastrophically.

the problem is that any rate of tolerance of real defection (i.e. unmitigated by the social loop-closing norms above) ultimately results in the destruction of the system.

3) Numerous open source programs have been written via a web of one-shot and low-reliability contributors. In general, there's plenty of examples of successful systems that tolerate significantly more than 0.01% defection. Could you elaborate on why you think these systems "close the loop", or aren't destroyed? Could you elaborate on why you think your own endeavors can't work within those frameworks? The framing seems solidly a general purpose statement, not just a statement on your own personal preferences, but I acknowledge I could be misreading this.

4) You make a number of references to the military, and a general philosophy of "Obedience to Authority". Given the high rate of sexual assault and pointless bureaucracy in the actual military, that seems like a really bad choice of role model for this experiment. How do you plan to avoid the well known failure states of such a model?

5) You raise a lot of interesting points about Restitution, but never actually go in to details. Is that coming in a future update?

every attempt by an individual to gather power about themselves is at least suspect, given regular ol' incentive structures and regular ol' fallible humans

6) You seem to acknowledge that you're making an extraordinary claim here when you say "I've noticed the skulls". Do you think your original post constitutes extraordinary proof? If not, why are you so upset that some people consider you suspect, and are, as you invited them to do, grilling you and trying to protect the community from someone who might be hoodwinking members?

7) Do you feel comfortable with the precedent of allowing this sort of recruiting post from other people (i.e. me)? I realize I'm making a bit of an ask here, but if I, handoflixue, had written basically this post and was insisting you should trust me that I'm totally not running a cult... would you actually trust me? Would you be okay with the community endorsing me? I am using myself specifically as an example here, because I think you really do not trust me - but I also have the karma / seniority to claim the right to post such a thing if you can :)

Comment author: handoflixue 31 May 2017 07:39:13PM 2 points [-]

Genuine Safety Concerns

I'm going to use "you have failed" here as a stand-in for all of "you're power hungry / abusive", "you're incompetent / overconfident", and simply "this person feels deeply misled." If you object to that term, feel free to suggest a different one, and then read the post as though I had used that term instead.

1) What is your exit strategy if a single individual feels you have failed? (note that asking such a person to find a replacement roommate is clearly not viable - no decent, moral person should be pushing someone in to that environment)

2) What is your exit strategy if a significant minority of participants feels you have failed? (i.e. enough to make the rent hit significant on you, not enough to outvote you)

3) What is your exit strategy if a majority of participants feel you have failed? (I realize you addressed this one somewhere in the nest, but the original post doesn't mention it, and says that you're the top of the pack and the exception to an otherwise flat power structure, so it's unclear if a simple majority vote actually overrules you)

4) What legal commitments are participants making? How do those commitments change if they decide you have failed? (i.e. are you okay with 25% of participants all dropping out of the program, but still living in the house? Under what conditions can you evict participants from their housing?)

5) What if someone wants to drop out, but can't afford the cost of finding new housing?

6) It sounds like you're doing this with a fairly local group, most of whom know each other. Since a large chunk of the community will be tied up in this, are you worried about peer pressure? What are you doing to address this? (i.e. if someone leaves the experiment, they're also not going to see much of their friends, who are still tied up spending 20+ hours a week on this)

Questions I think you're more likely to object to

(Please disregard if you consider these disrespectful, but I think they are valid and legitimate questions to ask of someone who is planning to assume not just leadership, but a very Authoritarian leadership role)

7) You seem to encounter significant distress in the face of people who are harshly critical of you. How do you think you'll handle it if a participant freaks out and feels like they are trapped in an abusive situation?

8) In this thread, you've often placed your self-image and standards of respect/discourse as significantly more important than discussion of safety issues. Can you offer some reassurances that safety is, in fact, a higher priority than appearances?

Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 31 May 2017 04:57:24AM 1 point [-]

Making this top-level instead of troll-feeding:

Make a bet; put up or shut up. $1000 to your $100 that no one opting in to Dragon Army experiences significant emotional distress as a result of its requirements, bet evaluated at the end of the first six months.

I extend this offer to cousin_it and handoflixue (not to 18blahblah because they're not representing themselves as a real person).

Comment author: handoflixue 31 May 2017 07:24:21PM 1 point [-]

And it doesn't quite solve things to say, "well, this is an optional, consent-based process, and if you don't like it, don't join," because good and moral people have to stop and wonder whether their friends and colleagues with slightly weaker epistemics and slightly less-honed allergies to evil are getting hoodwinked. In short, if someone's building a coercive trap, it's everyone's problem.

I don't want to win money. I want you to take safety seriously OR stop using LessWrong as your personal cult recruiting ground. Based on that quote, I thought you wanted this too.

Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 31 May 2017 06:17:37PM *  1 point [-]

I think you're confusing "refusal to address basic safety concerns to handoflixue directly" with "refusal to address basic safety concerns at all." I deny your right to judge and interrogate me, because of your failure to exhibit clear thinking and good discourse. I've engaged with those very same points in many other comment threads, though—there are literally only three people in this entire thread for whom I've determined that the EV of digging into their perspective is not worth it.

I note that there's a bet waiting in the wings to lend your harsh words credibility. You could charitably offer to donate your winnings to salving the pain of the people you claim to care about.

Comment author: handoflixue 31 May 2017 07:11:44PM 1 point [-]

Also: If you refuse to give someone evidence of your safety, you really don't have the high ground to cry when that person refuses to trust you.

Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 31 May 2017 06:17:37PM *  1 point [-]

I think you're confusing "refusal to address basic safety concerns to handoflixue directly" with "refusal to address basic safety concerns at all." I deny your right to judge and interrogate me, because of your failure to exhibit clear thinking and good discourse. I've engaged with those very same points in many other comment threads, though—there are literally only three people in this entire thread for whom I've determined that the EV of digging into their perspective is not worth it.

I note that there's a bet waiting in the wings to lend your harsh words credibility. You could charitably offer to donate your winnings to salving the pain of the people you claim to care about.

Comment author: handoflixue 31 May 2017 07:00:51PM 3 points [-]

Fine. Reply to my OP with links to where you addressed other people with those concerns. Stop wasting time blustering and insulting me - either you're willing to commit publicly to safety protocols, or you're a danger to the community.

If nothing else, the precedent of letting anyone recruit for their cult as long as they write a couple thousand words and paint it up in geek aesthetics is one I think actively harms the community.

But, you know what? I'm not the only one shouting "THIS IS DANGEROUS. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD RECONSIDER WHAT YOU'RE DOING." Go find one of them, and actually hold a conversation with someone who thinks this is a bad ideas.

I just desperately want you to pause and seriously consider that you might be wrong. I don't give a shit if you engage with me.

Comment author: Qiaochu_Yuan 31 May 2017 12:26:57AM 7 points [-]

I would like everyone posting criticism, especially heated criticism, to keep very firmly in mind that Duncan did not have to write this. Whatever your opinion of him, at least make sure you've factored in the evidence that he wrote this whole, weird thing, complete with references to Ender's Game, Fight Club, etc. instead of writing either 1) nothing or 2) something much more reassuring.

There are critics who think Duncan is incompetent and overconfident, and about this hypothesis I can say at least that it is consistent with Duncan having written this post. Then there are critics who think Duncan is, I dunno, evil or power-hungry or something, and I think those people are mostly failing to see what is in front of them.

Comment author: handoflixue 31 May 2017 12:47:30AM 1 point [-]

The whole point of him posting this was to acknowledge that he is doing something dangerous, and that we have a responsibility to speak up. To quote him exactly: "good and moral people have to stop and wonder whether their friends and colleagues with slightly weaker epistemics and slightly less-honed allergies to evil are getting hoodwinked".

His refusal to address basic safety concerns simply because he was put off by my tone is very strong evidence to me that people are indeed being hoodwinked. I don't care if the danger to them is because he's incompetent, overconfident, evil, or power-hungry. I care that people might get hurt.

(I would actually favor the hypothesis that he is incompetent/overconfident. Evil people have more sensible targets to go after)

Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 30 May 2017 11:24:54PM *  1 point [-]

On the object level: because a plurality if not a majority of actual, real humans have indeed been reassured by them, including some who were open critics and said things like "I traveled 50% of the distance toward 'this is a good idea' [just from this post]." It's worth noting that I'm not going to refrain from saying true things that cults have also said; reversed stupidity is not intelligence and the thrust of this post was never "differentiate myself from cults," it was "here's a thing I want to try."

On the discourse level: still jumping to conclusions left and right. "When Duncan said well known, he must have meant charismatic, obviously." False—Eli Tyre is many, many good things, but "charismatic" is not usually a compliment given to him. Furthermore, I note that you decided to ignore all of the other object-level content in favor of picking one nit (based on false assumptions), so I'm taking that as "you had nothing good to criticize in that other stuff, and so you decided not to say anything at all," i.e. you're unable to say "good point" and update incrementally.

Stepping up a level: since you're inclined to view everything I say in the worst possible light and uncharitably leaping to conclusions, I claim that I'm justified in theorizing that literally no answer would've satisfied you (had I said 10 hours, you'd have been smugly dismissive of my lack of research; had I said 1000 you'd have said 'well, you obviously weren't paying attention'), and that it was a bullshit question to begin with.

We're done; I anticipate that other skeptics in this thread (like decius and lumifer and deluks and taygetea, for example) will provide me with the overwhelming majority of the value you might offer, and at a fraction of the cost in you're-doing-a-bunch-of-the-things-the-sequences-exist-to-warn-against.

Comment author: handoflixue 31 May 2017 12:38:22AM 1 point [-]

Also, as far as "we're done" goes: I agreed to rewrite my original post - not exactly a small time commitment, still working on it in fact. Are you seriously reneging on your original agreement to address it?

Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 30 May 2017 11:28:56PM *  5 points [-]

With the caveat that I'm attempting to shame the way you're going about engaging in discourse much more than I'm shaming the core of you as a person (really, you're the one operating on the level of the fundamental attribution error within this particular thread; look in a mirror)—yes, absolutely. Part of having standards is making it socially unacceptable to fall grossly short of them.

That's modified by things like the "saving face" section above, and the clear intention for all of us to grow and improve, me included—none of us are getting it right on the first try, and you have to scaffold growth and reward with gentle affirmation people who are willing to try to change for the better.

It's further modified by the fact that people who don't like these standards can simply not join, and I've spent now well in excess of 100 hours making my models crystal clear to those who are considering opting in (so that their decision can be fully informed).

But yeah—anybody who's falling as far short as you absolutely deserves to be called out for it, and given a choice between "do these concrete things differently" or "lose social points." Since you've repeatedly refused to stop jumping to conclusions and ignore evidence that I'm acting in good faith and not an idiot—since you've refused to do concrete things differently—yeah, I wholeheartedly endorse you losing social points, and people updating the way they assume interactions with you will go as a result.

Comment author: handoflixue 31 May 2017 12:37:16AM 1 point [-]

I've changed my tone and apologized.

You've continued to dismiss and ridicule me.

You've even conceded to others that I'm a cut above the "other trolls" here, and have input from others that I'm trying to raise concerns in good faith.

What more do you want?

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