I don’t consider “the title of this post is almost completely uninformative” to be a minor issue, nor do I consider “it doesn’t signal in-group enough” to be an issue at all. I know the author personally and she’s probably way more “in-group” than I am, I’d just prefer to see posts here with more informative titles, especially if they don’t pertain as directly to the main topics of the site.
(I was wondering if there was going to be a Big Rationalist Lesson at the end, since the title didn’t tell me it was just a scooter review.)
I like this post in several respects but it doesn’t really feel like LW content to me, especially given the title.
There’s a possibility for corruption here, as I briefly mentioned, if people get so deprived that they will sacrifice their other needs or values for the sake of status alone.
I considered that to be obvious in writing this. I’m not necessarily talking about the problem of getting status regardless of everything else. I’m also not talking about how to get status as an individual. I’m rather talking about getting the whole community a sense of status while keeping our other values intact.
Yes, I think giving the community a “sense of status” has substantial risks of exacerbating the corruption that I mentioned earlier. In other words, I think recognizing achievements is nice, but making that recognition too systematic leads to significantly increased gaming of that system, Goodharting, etc.
My sense is that increasing the amount of time and attention that we pay to status and related dynamics is extremely negative; I don’t expect it to help and I think that issues related to these situations get significantly much worse when people are consciously targeting them.
As C.S. Lewis said in his excellent talk “The Inner Ring”:
The torture allotted to the Danaids in the classical underworld, that of attempting to fill sieves with water, is the symbol not of one vice, but of all vices. It is the very mark of a perverse desire that it seeks what is not to be had. The desire to be inside the invisible line illustrates this rule. As long as you are governed by that desire you will never get what you want. You are trying to peel an onion: if you succeed there will be nothing left. Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain.
This is surely very clear when you come to think of it. If you want to be made free of a certain circle for some wholesome reason—if, say, you want to join a musical society because you really like music—then there is a possibility of satisfaction. You may find yourself playing in a quartet and you may enjoy it. But if all you want is to be in the know, your pleasure will be short lived. The circle cannot have from within the charm it had from outside. By the very act of admitting you it has lost its magic.
The quest of the Inner Ring will break your hearts unless you break it. But if you break it, a surprising result will follow. If in your working hours you make the work your end, you will presently find yourself all unawares inside the only circle in your profession that really matters. You will be one of the sound craftsmen, and other sound craftsmen will know it. This group of craftsmen will by no means coincide with the Inner Ring or the Important People or the People in the Know. It will not shape that professional policy or work up that professional influence which fights for the profession as a whole against the public: nor will it lead to those periodic scandals and crises which the Inner Ring produces. But it will do those things which that profession exists to do and will in the long run be responsible for all the respect which that profession in fact enjoys and which the speeches and advertisements cannot maintain.
This is essentially my view. I do not think it is generally productive to concern yourself with being In or High-Status or Getting Invited to the Right Parties or Being Talked About; I think it is productive to focus on the work that actually builds and contributes to the project, and let the parties and invitations and all that come as they may (or may not).
Both, but the sidebar widget is the main thing I miss. I notice that I still use it on the EA Forum, for instance, which has much of old-LW’s structure. On current LW I have to scroll down a lot on the front page to see recent comments and they don’t appear while reading posts, which IMO quite reduces my engagement.
One thing I’ll point out is the “recent discussion” feels less accessible than on old LW (requires scrolling), and the lack of a “top users, 30 days” section probably decreases my engagement a bit as well—both because of the lack of a “leaderboard effect” and because it can be useful to look at that to see who’s been posting interesting content that I might otherwise have missed.
It… sorta feels like you’ve reinvented the (broadly discredited) Great Man theory of history? The focus on institutions mitigates one of the problems with that theory, but I think it may just be kicking the can down the road a bit.
While there are some highly effective and influential organizations and institutions that seem to have greatly benefited from strong leadership from founders (Naval Reactors Branch under Rickover), there are others where this story is much more dubious (Bell Labs).
My friend FireBatVillain drew my attention to the following study: You Can’t Stay Here, The Efficacy of Reddit’s 2015 Ban Examined Through Hate Speech. He points out that this study indicates after hateful subreddits were banned from Reddit, the removal of the offending subreddits did not cause “hate speech” to increase on other parts of the site—on the contrary, even subreddits that saw an influx of users who had formerly used the banned areas did not see significant changes in “hate speech” usage.
In other words, this study shows an instance where the existence of spaces for certain types of bad content was increasing their prevalence, and removing those spaces did not cause the content to “spill back” into the rest of the site.
Now, one difference between this and my original claim is that the spaces in question were not explicitly containment areas—however, I still consider this to be relevant supporting evidence.
Great points here. The UI/UX distinction is key here in my view—when the act of creating a containment space necessarily makes the existence of such a space visible, the problem I’ve described is much more relevant than when the existence sort of space is not immediately apparent to users—even if via simple obscurity in a huge list, as with IRC.
(One potential way to address this in Discord is to make the containment space opt-in, but in my experience this has not been particularly effective, in part because the best way to do this on Discord (roles) is itself quite easy to notice.)
And yet I now notice people saying things along the lines of “SlateStarCodex is a place to go for culture war things” and the like. If that was intended that’s fine, but I think culture war stuff on SSC absolutely falls into the category where an affordance is being created.
I suspect a lot more people would start attending church.
I generally agree with this post. In my experience with several events operating under this rule:′
1. Many people disregard the rule or don’t take it very seriously.
2. Others may not hear that the rule is in effect at all, especially if they arrive late or otherwise miss orientation.
3. This creates a negative selection effect where the only ones openly discussing specifics of an event that is covered by the rule are those who don’t take the rule very seriously—generally speaking, these are not the people who would be most optimal as the public face of the event.
I do think the principle behind the rule is useful, but in practice I have noticed that it often seems more of a hindrance than a boon. I somewhat worry that having multiple rules will increase noncompliance or misunderstandings, however, which seem frequent even as it stands.
At the risk of sounding elitist, you mention people who are nonverbal and struggle with abstract concepts. To be frank, the community is not oriented towards those people, does not particularly try to serve them, and would be stretched very thin if it tried to do so. I suspect that efforts headed in such a direction would be counterproductive.
That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t try to be inclusive—but at some point a line should be drawn with respect to who is and isn’t in our target audience, and I think “this person does not grasp abstract concepts” is far over that line.
I’d like to see more examples, though it’s quite possible they’re sensitive or otherwise bad to discuss in public. But right now I feel that I understand the model in theory but not at all where I should be applying it.
While the late 19th and early 20th century anarchist attackers often wanted to target the well-off (and indeed carried out many assassination attempts in service of this goal), they weren’t averse to making indiscriminate attacks as long as the target was vaguely upclass—consider the Cafe Terminus attack or the Galleanist Wall Street bombing, which were indiscriminate in nature.
Similarly, the anarchist doctrine of “propaganda of the deed” held that attacks would break down the state’s monopoly on violence and show the people that revolution was possible, and as such the attacks were valuable simply as demonstrations, even if they did not kill their intended targets; the 1919 Galleanist bombings, while notionally assassination attempts against various powerful figures, killed only a night watchman and blew a servant’s hands off, but were still considered blows struck for anarchy.
My sense is that Galleani and his followers would have been quite happy to crash vehicles into crowds of people, especially in financial or government districts, but they didn’t much realize it was an option.
If I were Tom Clancy I hope that I would not have published Debt of Honor. I don’t know whether terrorists were inspired by it, but at least for me it’s pretty clearly in the “not worth the risk” category.
In some respects the 9/11 attacks can be considered similar to the Tylenol incident (though obviously much more devastating) - an incident took place using a method that had been theoretically viable for a long time, prompting immediate corrective action.
One of the reasons those attacks were so successful is that air hijacks were relatively common, but most led “only” to hostage scenarios, demands for the release of political prisoners, etc—in point of fact the standard protocol was to cooperate with hijackers, and as Wikipedia says “often, during the epidemic of skyjackings in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the end result was an inconvenient but otherwise harmless trip to Cuba for the passengers.” Post-9/11, hijacks began being taken much more seriously.
(There were actually many terrorist attempts against airplanes in the time shortly after 9/11, though most were not hijack attempts—the infamous “shoe bomber” who attempted to destroy an aircraft in flight a few months later, only to be beaten and captured by other passengers, was maybe the most well known.)
Yes, I worried about this myself for some time. Ultimately I decided that terrorist organizations already know about this method and it is being widely discussed in the media, so the number of potentially dangerous people who would hear about it here first is comparatively low. Further, this method is primarily suited towards indiscriminate attacks, which I am somewhat less worried about compared to alternatives.