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Comment author: Dagon 01 May 2017 02:22:17PM *  1 point [-]

So, a couple of thoughts:

1) ascribing intent to behavior is one of the best ways to control someone's behavior, and it's deeply baked into our reactions. You are much more likely to get someone to conform to your desires if you say "you're intentionally behaving badly, stop it" than if you say "I don't like that outcome, but you didn't mean it". Your mind is biased toward seeing (and believing, so you can more forcefully make the accusation) much stronger intent than actually exists.

2) intent is a much better predictor of future behaviors than simple observation. It's far easier to punish or cut off ties to someone with bad intents than with one who's just a little incompetent but means well. Therefore, your mind is biased toward seeing intent so you can take more forceful actions to protect your interests.

3) Nate doesn't make the point directly, but "good" and "bad" are massively oversimplified to the point of being misleading. There are many dimensions to evaluate about a person or organization's likelihood of helping or harming your goals in the future, and in figuring out how best to influence them to be more aligned with your values and beliefs.

4) I'm torn about the object-level objection about statements of value that differ from what behaviors imply. Most humans are not beings of pure thought, and the fact that there are any actions that affect others which are not purely information-sharing doesn't seem that surprising to me.

Comment author: moridinamael 01 May 2017 03:46:46PM *  2 points [-]

Nate doesn't make the point directly, but "good" and "bad" are massively oversimplified to the point of being misleading. There are many dimensions to evaluate about a person or organization's likelihood of helping or harming your goals in the future, and in figuring out how best to influence them to be more aligned with your values and beliefs.

This struck me as being such an important oversight that it almost turned Nate's whole post into an academic exercise.

Any given interpersonal disagreement that culminates in an argument is going to have some kind of difficult-to-reconcile opposition of values and/or mutual knowledge at its core. Both parties are generally going to try to use persuasion in some form to manipulate their opponent's sense of the relevant values, or their perception of the details of the situation, or their knowledge and interpretation of the facts. From the other side, this will very often look like a bad-faith attempt to undermine your values and beliefs, and you can't necessarily even say that it isn't.

In the ideal case, a disagreement can be solved purely by sharing all of the relevant facts. This may be the only case where you can actually expect people to come to an agreement without any tinge of feeling that their opponent is acting in bad faith or being manipulative.

In the less ideal case, all the facts may be shared, but a difference in perspective or weighting of various details necessitates further argument to try to come to an agreement. Since you are trying to address your opponent's thinking and perceptions, you are by definition attempting to manipulate their mind. This is true regardless of the "goodness" of your intentions.

In the something-like-worst-cast, fundamentally felt values are in opposition, and no amount of sharing of facts and interpretations is going to lead to agreement. At this point it is difficult to even say that you are acting in good faith even if you think that you are, because you're (perhaps knowingly) trying to persuade someone of something that they believe is wrong and would still believe to be wrong upon indefinite reflection.

The endpoints of "pure good faith" and "pure bad faith" are probably very rare, but the middle ground of muddled manipulativeness and self-justification better describe most arguments.

Comment author: Ritalin 26 April 2017 01:08:39PM 2 points [-]

Why do you get up in the morning?

Comment author: moridinamael 27 April 2017 02:18:17PM 0 points [-]

I get an awful headache if I stay in bed for more than a few minutes after waking up. Very motivating. Such a blessing!

Comment author: gilch 14 April 2017 03:52:28AM 2 points [-]

I get the feeling that LW has a lot of lurkers with interesting things to say, but who are too afraid to say them. They may eventually build up the courage they need to contribute to the community, but this system would scare them off. They don't yet have enough data to predict how well their posts would be received. We need to be doing the opposite and remove some of the barriers to joining in.

On the other hand, trolls don't care that much about karma. They'll just exploit sock puppets.

Comment author: moridinamael 14 April 2017 05:51:52PM 2 points [-]

Yeah, LW would probably not be the place to try this. I would guess that most potential karma systems only truly function correctly with a sufficient population of users, a sufficient number of people reading each post. LW has atrophied too much for this.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 14 April 2017 01:53:58AM 3 points [-]

refrain from posting content they know to be bad

Knowing that your post will get a low score is not equivalent to knowing that it is bad.

Comment author: moridinamael 14 April 2017 05:50:15PM *  0 points [-]

That's true. But there are few circumstances that would warrant posting a comment that you know most people in your community will think is bad.

If you want to say something you expect to be unpopular, you can almost always phrase it in away that contextualizes why you are saying it, and urges people to consider the extenuating context before downvoting. If you don't do this, then you're just doing exactly what you shouldn't be doing, if your goal was to make some kind of change.

edit: Another possibility would be this: instead of suppressing posts that you have predicted to be poorly received, the system simply forces you to sit on them for an hour or so before posting. This should reduce the odds that you are writing something in the heat of the moment and increase the relative odds that your probably-controversial post is actually valuable.

Comment author: moridinamael 14 April 2017 01:46:49PM 0 points [-]

Recently I can't get past the notion that Pain/Suffering and and Joy/Pleasure shouldn't be considered to be two poles of the same scale. It just doesn't feel psychologically realistic. It certainly doesn't describe my inner life. Pain/Suffering feels like it exists on its own axis, and can go from essentially zero to pretty intense states, and Joy/Pleasure/Whatever is simply a different axis.

I might not go so far as to say that these axes are completely orthogonal simply because it's pretty hard to feel transcendent joy when you're feeling profound suffering at the same time, but this doesn't actually seem like it has to be a fundamental property of all minds. I can feel some pretty good temporary states of joy even when I'm having a really rough time in my life, and I can feel intense waves of suffering even when I'm deeply happy overall.

If you choose to put these two different phenomena on the same scale, and treat them as opposites, then that just leads you to really unpleasant conclusions by construction. You have assumed the conclusion by your decision to treat pain as anti-joy.

I think most people find utopias containing absolutely no suffering to be kind of off-putting. Is the kind of suffering you endure training for a sporting competition something that you would want permanently erased from the universe? I think the types of suffering most people are actually against are the types that come along with destroyed value, and if that's the case, then just say you're against destroying value, don't say you're against suffering.

Comment author: moridinamael 13 April 2017 06:06:07PM *  2 points [-]

Sometimes we talk about unnecessarily complex potential karma/upvote systems, so I thought I would throw out an idea along those lines:

Every time you post, you're prompted to predict the upvote/downvote ratio of your post.

Instead of being scored on raw upvotes, you're scored on something more like how accurately you predicted the future upvote/downvote ratio.

So if you write a good post that you expect to be upvoted, then you predict a high upvote/downvote ratio, and if you're well calibrated to your audience, then you actually achieve the ratio you predicted, and you're rewarded "extra" by the system.

And here's the cool part. If you write a lazy low-effort post, or if you're trolling, or you write any kind of post that you expect to be poorly received, then you have two options. You can either lie about the expected upvote/downvote ratio, input a high expected ratio, and then the system penalizes you even more when you turn out to get a low u/d ratio, and considers you to be a poorly calibrated poster. Or you can be honest about the u/d ratio you expect, in which case the system can just preemptively tell you not to bother posting stuff like that, or hide it, or penalize it in some other way.

Overall you end up with a system that rewards users who (1) are well-calibrated regarding the quality of their posts and (2) refrain from posting content they know to be bad by explicitly making them admit that it's bad before they post it and also maybe hiding the content.

Comment author: drossbucket 12 April 2017 05:06:39PM *  0 points [-]

I like the sound of the monthly journalling thing - normally I see reviewing included in these things as some kind of virtuous-but-dull thing people make themselves sit down to do at the end of the week or whatever, and it sounds so unappealing I can never be bothered to even try it. Your version sounds pretty enjoyable.

Comment author: moridinamael 13 April 2017 02:15:31PM 2 points [-]

In that case, I'll add the detail that I use a Blogger blog and grant specific permissions to my friends, and then email them letting them know when a new entry is posted. I also always try to post "discussion questions" at the end of my entries, where I prompt them for feedback on whatever it was I was thinking about that month. This greatly increases the odds that they actually post comments and then we can have a discussion. It's much more fun when there's two-way communication.

Comment author: moridinamael 11 April 2017 04:18:19PM *  3 points [-]
  • Daily journaling, -2 points, consistently for stints of a month or so with large gaps. I tried to keep up a morning journaling practice of gratitude journaling, priming myself on a number of important meta-level questions, and keeping track of what I was planning to do that day in pursuit of my high-level goals. In the end, all this really did was take up a lot of time every morning and leave me with a sort of scattered and unsatisfied mentality about how there's so much to do.

  • Monthly journaling, +7 points, pretty consistently for 3 years. At the start of each month I open up a new Evernote document and write in it whenever I feel like it. Some of my journal entries are ten thousand word essays. Some of them are just aggregations of links that I thought were interesting that month. Usually the entries are divided by topic, with some of the topics usually being physical health, mental/"spiritual" development, and progress on long-term projects or life events. At the end of each month, I share the journal entry with a handful of very close friends. The journal provides a nice long-term record of my thought processes regarding my life and my projects, it's really nice to be able to look back over it, and it never at any time feels like a chore. It keeps me focused and excited about my long-term projects because I like to have progress that I can write about and share with my friends.

  • Beeminder, +3 points, off and on for over 3 years. That point score might drop lower if I fully accounted for all the time I put into thinking through Beeminder goals, and for all the money I've lost by failing at them. Some Beeminder goals turn out to be good, some turn out to just make you hate Beeminder and not do what you wanted to do anyway. Just making sure your goals are SMART goals does not seem to be an adequate criterion.

  • Getting Things Done, +1 points, off and on for over 4 years. A system which sucks up a large amount of time and rarely provides a return on that investment, relative to just mentally keeping track of things. I can't really say that I drop the ball more frequently when I'm not actively using GTD.

  • Meditation, +3 points, off and on for 3 years. The utility of meditation depends very much on what's going on in my life.

  • Exercise, +4 points, random stints. While I'm consistently working out, my energy and emotional-endocrine-whatever balance seems much better and I get more done. I'm just in a better mood overall.

  • Children, +10 points, 4.5 years. You can't really not do things when you have children. That "I'll do it later" voice just kind of shrivels up and dies eventually, at least regarding kid-related stuff.

  • Following obsession energy, +10 points, 3 years. I've written a book and an iPhone app just by noticing that I was really excited about those projects and feeding those obsessions, riding those waves until they ran out. They always run out eventually, but I accomplish so much more for having let just let myself loose and not trying to constrain myself to working on what I "should" be working on.

Comment author: gworley 10 April 2017 06:01:45PM *  1 point [-]

I don't know a shorthand name for what to call this, so here's a cluster of things pointing at the mindset that makes akrasia unthinkable:

  • seeing yourself as making preference tradeoffs
  • seeing yourself as a single agent
  • not seeing yourself as composed of 2 or more subagents
  • every choice is a regret (a strange formulation of the idea that resonates for some people)
  • giving up hope (one I like but confuses most people)
  • having preferences not expectations/assumptions/motivated reasoning
  • ontology is not metaphysics (the map really really fucking does not describe the territory)

Essentially I solved akrasia completely (as in it just evaporated from my way of thinking) once I stopped expecting the world to come into particular states despite what I believe to be true. In some ways this over solves the problem, but does it because the source of akrasia, expectations about your own future state as caused by current actions, cannot hold if you don't hold on to expectations or assumptions that are not weighted to the available evidence.

Put in more woo-terms, I achieved enough Buddha-nature to free myself from this kind of self-created suffering. Through wuwei I admit only what is ziran and achieve harmonious flow with the way of the world.

+10 solved akrasia forever with no unwanted side effects.

ETA: been like this for about 4 years now.

Comment author: moridinamael 11 April 2017 04:00:00PM 0 points [-]

I can't help but read

I achieved enough Buddha-nature to free myself from this kind of self-created suffering. Through wuwei I admit only what is ziran and achieve harmonious flow with the way of the world.


I stopped trying to make myself do things that I don't want to do.

Which is a kind of solution to the akrasia problem, and one that I admittedly find useful. Most of the time these days I just double down on whatever project I currently have obsession-energy for and don't try to force myself to shift my attention based abstract "shoulds". Is this an accurate reflection of what you mean?

Comment author: Elo 03 April 2017 07:04:24AM 4 points [-]

Curious about if this is worth making into it's own weekly thread. Curious as to what's being worked on, in personal life, work life or just "cool stuff". I would like people to share, after all we happen to have similar fields of interest and similar fields we are trying to tackle.

Projects sub-thread:

  • What are you working on this week (a few words or a serious breakdown)(if you have a list feel free to dump it here)?
  • What do you want to be asked about next week? What do you expect to have done by then?
  • Have you noticed anything odd or puzzling to share with us?
  • Are you looking for someone with experience in a specific field to save you some search time?
  • What would you describe are your biggest bottlenecks?
Comment author: moridinamael 06 April 2017 10:13:28PM 1 point [-]

I'm working on a podcast read-through of the web serial Worm. We've just put out the fifth episode of the series. It's becoming pretty popular by our standards.

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