Realizing this’d be dissatisfying to quanticle, but does this issue remain for you if both the multiple-choice and the freeform are independently optional? (i.e. if the choices don’t feel right you can just include the freeform thing?)
The issues you’re pointing at are real, but I think there’s some important benefit to communicating more clearly what the norms of the site are. (I think this may be valuable both because newcomers won’t understand it at all, and because there’s enough variation in how people currently use epistemic status that it’s not even that clear how to parse the most common cases for oldtimers. Creating default standards makes it so most people don’t reinvent wheels with slightly different wording that people have to parse)
I suppose a major consideration for this is that it wouldn’t necessarily interface well with authors who primarily post on other sites (Zvi, Scott Alexander, Sarah Constantin and Benquo and Jacob come easily to mind), since they wouldn’t have the epistemic status in their original post, and would have to edit it in on LW.
Also, worth noting there’s a separate feature we’re thinking about which is to introduce “claims”, which come with actual probabilities attached (and which other users can add their own probabilities too), influenced by arbital.com’s implementation. Which is where I think it makes more sense to actually convey explicit confidence.
The intent was that the list of statuses was _not_ freeform text, but that the freeform text was in addition. So, basically all posts would choose one of the “exploratory”, “my best guess” or “authoritative” fields, and then if desired could add additional comments.
I think things like “political, controversial and opinionated” is a reasonable thing to tack onto a “exploratory” post since it adds actual (if context-heavy) information about how to relate epistemically to the post. I also think optional things like “epistemic effort” are reasonable to add, and it wouldn’t make sense to limit them to preset options.
I have noticed “witty signaling” epistemic statuses on the uptick over the past year and think it’d be good to push back against that (esp. since they’re only actually funny if they’re not the majority of posts). But I think forcing all epistemic statuses into a single list would be too costly a solution.
My own distribution of guest quality has been quite large, and most of my “burned-ness” comes from 2 extreme cases, but I also would probably still be hosting people if
a) I lived in NYC where guest-crash-space was more important
b) I lived with roommates who weren’t particularly averse to hosting (by contrast, those roommates have correctly updated that even median-ish-but-below-average hostees are very costly to them)
Non-extreme cases seem to fall in a fairly regular spectrum from “actively good person to have around” to “costs a fairly predictable amount of tension in ‘how easy it is to get time using the show’, ‘having the common space to yourself’, ‘dealing with travelers who are in some kind of bad mood that makes the living room slightly worse’“, which I feel fits into my point.
The extreme bad eggs are quite bad and I’m not sure about their total frequency, but I also now think I mostly know how to screen them off now.
I haven’t actually read either article in their entirety, but I was struck by the similarities between this article and Said’s Key Lime Pie and the Methods of Rationality.
Oh, final point which I suspect ties more closely in with Alicorn’s original motivation:
People vary in how much they enjoy hosting guests (and how costly “bad” guests are to them). Before you start hosting people, you don’t know how much this benefits/costs you. Everyone implementing the algorithm “host people until they find that they have no longer want to, or slowly raising their standards on who they host over time”, gets you a mixture of benefits for hosters and hostees.
Ah, gotcha. Yup – certainly seems like a plausible facet of my motivation.
The less cynical version of that I was vaguely thinking about was “if _nobody_ hosts anyone, that leaves at least some value on the table. If everyone implements “host people until they get burned enough to no longer want to, while implementing at least minimal precautions against getting burned”, you get at least some people getting hosted (as well as some of the positive benefits of hosting, like meeting more people, variety, etc).
On the face of it this seems a bit incoherent (why not just have everyone implement the “exactly the right amount of couch surfing?“). Some aspects of it that seem at least somewhat defensible include:
If you’re younger, you have less of a network, and it’s actually just worth hitting the “explore” button on more things to make friends, meet people, build out your network.
Slightly cynical version of previous point (although I don’t think I’d hold it against people) that relates to your comment is “if you’re newer to a social network, you have fewer things proving your value to that social network. Providing couch space is a way to provide value. Later on, you may have demonstrated your value in other ways, such that you no longer need to do so in order to have a reputation as “person who is helpful to the network.“
When I used to host more, I lived in NYC where there were few other places to crash within my social network. Now I live in the Bay where I wouldn’t provide as much marginal value. There might be other versions of this applying at a more general level.
I think some amount of “getting wise/street smart about how to deal with people” actually requires you to get a bit burned in some way. You can hypothetically learn it from people who’ve already been burned and passed the wisdom along, but it’s harder to internalize. So, might as well spend the process of getting street smart on actually helping some people?
I’m actually not sure which cynical view you’re pointing at (and would be interested and comfortable with it being spelled out).
Also want to add: I’ve already seen Mark’s scenario come up at least once (at least, the general version of “person doesn’t leave when they say they’re going to”)
[ramble that I don’t think makes sense but don’t have time to word properly]
I think there’s still a bunch of value left on the table in terms of people who could benefit from staying on a couch for a bit and people who are (usually) willing to do so, but the tail risks are nontrivial. I’ve gone from being willing to host random people on my couch to no-longer-willing-to (although I think I mostly endorse having originally been willing to. This doesn’t feel very consistent of me and I’m not sure how to disentangle that)
Ah. Sorry about that.
Hrm. Yeah this has a particularly challenging bug. Apologies for it, will try looking into it next week.
This post has negative karma, so comments don’t show up on the front page.
FWIW it’s a pet peeve of mine when people use CEV to refer to personal extrapolated volition—it makes a complicated concept harder to refer to.
It actually was unstickied, and then I re-stickied it. Not sure what’s up.
Aww! Thanks. :)
It turns out there was an original article written on arbital.com, which I failed to find because I mispelled “lumenator”. The links on what to buy are out of date, but more clearly convey which technical specifications are important
Yeah. I think I’ll leave the current wording for a couple days for weird ingroupy signaling as the article gets it’s initial wave of attention, and then change it afterwards for posterity.
I’ll do a picture in a day or two when I’m less busy.