I’m interested in hearing more details about that.
There actually is an important difference, which is that you get to set the moderation norms on your shortform posts (and can ban people from commenting if need be). But, indeed, I would agree most of the difference is informal-cultural.
I don’t currently have a problem with roommates (we solved it last time with some ad-hoc negotiation) I’m just more generally annoyed that there’s not a good principled approach here that I can pitch as “fair”.
(We do have apartment cleaners who come biweekly, whose cost is split evenly, but that also just doesn’t address all the various small ways mess can add up on the timescale of hours or days. In the original motivating case it was about hairs getting in the sink-drain, which I prefer to solve once a year with a bottle of Draino, and others preferred to solve much-more-frequently with smaller-dollops-of-draino. i.e. I consider it fine if a sink drains slightly slowly, others found it gross)
((Also, there’s a much more general version of this which is what I was more interested in, which isn’t just the case of roommates in particular—it includes small ad-hoc situations such as some friends going camping and having different preferences about how much to cleanup))
I’m not sure what’ll end up settling with for “regular Open Threads” vs shortform. Open Threads predate shortform, but didn’t create the particular feeling of a person-space like shortform does, so it seemed useful to add shortform. I’m not sure if Open Threads still provide a particular service that shortform doesn’t provide.
In _this_ case, however, I think the Alignment Open Thread servers a bit of a different purpose – it’s a place to spark low-key conversation between AF members. (Non-AF members can comment on LessWrong, but I think it’s valuable that AF members who prefer AF to LessWrong can show up on alignmentforum.org and see some conversation that’s easy to jump into)
For your own comments: the subtle difference is that open threads are more like a market square where you can show up and start talking to strangers, and shortform is more like a conversation in your living room. If you have a preference for one of those subtle distinctions, do that I guess, and if not… dunno, flip a coin I guess. :P
Agreed. The comment was meant to be referring to orgs that made particular sense as a monopoly)
Just wanted to say I appreciate the brevity. :) I’m guilty of overly long LessWrong posts.
Even though R:AZ isn’t very hands on, it’s still pretty core and definitely worth your time. I think all three all roughly equally newbie friendly (Much of the Codex was written with the sequences as background assumptions, but still probably accessible without it)
HPMOR is probably the most “fun”, if you happen to like the genre.
I also had a similar experience. (I’ve been trying to push past it, and probably will succeed, but it was a bit of an impediment)
I wrote this up awhile ago as a shortform post on the EA forum. My motivation to post it now was because of an interesting conversation contrasting https://roamresearch.com with lesswrong.com.
My conversation partner was excited about Roam as a multi-purpose tool for intellectual progress and collaboration, and listed some features they were considering that were moving in directions that were similar to directions the LessWrong team was considering. “Roam is gonna do all the things! Collaboration! Blogposts! It could replace google docs as a collaborative thinking tool”
[note: this was a friend who doesn’t work at Roam, I’m not sure how concrete those plans are]
And I had a few flinch reactions of “Aww, LessWrong was gonna do all the things!”, followed immediately by “okay every writing platform that tries to do all the things right-off-the-bat fails and probably both of the teams should be focused a bit more”. Both of these were followed by a more interesting observation:
One of LessWrong’s primary focuses is being an attention allocation platform. Whether it follows the simple “show latest posts, ordered by date” or a hackernews algorithm, or things like curated and recommendations, it’s fundamentally aiming to be a place where centralized conversation of some sort happens.
There’s a thing in EA/rationalsphere space where people notice that a thing isn’t being coordinated on, and their first impulse is to build a coordination platform to fix it. And this is usually a mistake because it’s real costly to get everyone to switch to a new platform, and if you screw it up you not only waste everyone’s time but make them less likely to switch to the next platform that might actually be good enough.
I think it’s somewhat dangerous (albeit necessary) that LessWrong is natural-attention-monopoly shaped, which makes it hard to directly compete with. I think this gives us something of an obligation to do a good job, and to enable things like GreaterWrong, and to be careful taking on too many different domains that we won’t have the capacity to be good at.
But there’s something sort of nice and valuable about having other writing platforms whose primary focus is on the “singleplayer” aspects of writing/thinking/intellectual progress. (My underrstanding is that this is the general advice to startup founders trying to corner a market that requires network effects – start with something that doesn’t require network effects)
Right now Roam is young, I’m not sure how serious their plans are for adding collaboration and blogpost-type features (this was mentioned to me second-hand and might have just been a “interesting idea to consider” thing rather than a “concrete plan.”) But after some reflection I found it actually kind of reassuring that there were ways to build up competing platforms interacting with the same ecosystem, not via initially starting as similar products, but by starting from pretty different vantage points and then gradually adding various supporting social features.
The trade is sort of the default outcome among people who are, like, reasonably competent adults. But:
a) it still encourages (at least subtle) exaggeration or downplaying of your preferences (to get a better trade)
b) often, fastidiousness is correlated along many axis, so it’s more like “the roommate with stronger preferences isn’t get any of their preferences met”, and “the roommate who doesn’t care much doesn’t have much they really want other than to not get yelled at.” (temperature preference might be one of a few things I expect to be uncorrelated with most other roommate disagreements)
I don’t know of a principled way to resolve roomate-things like “what is the correct degree of cleanliness”, and this feels sad.
You can’t say “the correct amount is ‘this much’ because, well, there isn’t actually an objectly correct degree of cleanliness.”
If you say ‘eh, there are no universal truths, just preferences, and negotiation’, you incentivize people to see a lot of interactions as transactional and adversarial that don’t actually need to be. It also seems to involve exaggerating and/or downplaying one’s own preferences.
The default outcome is something like “the person who is least comfortable with mess ends up doing most of the cleaning”. If cleanliness were just an arbitrary preference this might actually be fine, especially if they really do dramatically care more about it. But usually it’s more like “everyone cares at least a bit about being clean, one person just happens to care, say, 15% more and be more quick to act.” So everyone else gets the benefits without paying the cost.
I do agree that it’s important to have the “are they actively adversarial” hypothesis and corresponding language. (This is why I’ve generally argued against the conflation of lying and rationalization).
But I also think, at least in most of the disagreements and conflicts I’ve seen so far, much of the problem has had more to do with rationalization (or, in some cases, different expectations of how much effort to put into intellectual integrity)
I think there is also an undercurrent of genuine conflict (as people jockey for money/status) that manifests primarily through rationalization, and in some cases duplicity.*
*where the issue is less about people lying but is about them semi-consciously presenting different faces to different people.
I roughly agree with this being the most promising direction. In my mind the problem isn’t “did so-and-so lie, or rationalize?” the question is “was so-and-so demonstratably epistemically negligent?”. If so, and if you can fairly apply disincentives (or, positive incentives on how to be epistemically non-negligent), then the first question just doesn’t matter.
In actual law, we have particular rules about what people are expected to know. It is possible we could construct such rules for LessWrong and/or the surrounding ecosystems, but I think doing so is legitimately challenging.
FYI, while I still do not believe in God, I was… actually just pretty satisfied by Scott Alexander’s Answer to Job?
[edit: epistemic status: haven’t actually thought seriously about it tho. Also, someone just gave a plausibly convincing counter argument]
It’s a bit like the Interdict of Merlin in HPMOR: successful techniques can only be passed from one living mind to another, or independently discovered. You can write down your notes and share the story of your discovery, and then people either discover it again for themselves, learn it from interacting with someone who knows, or go through the motions and cargo-cult it.
Yeah, “Interdict of Merlin” has been a helpful (to me) handle on why a lot of rationality technique sharing is hard.
Plausibly much of Brienne writing about noticing (at her bog Agenty Duck) fits in here as well, which is about in the increasing your long-term ability to bring important parts of your experience into your trains of thought. It’s not about any one train of thought ending right or wrong, but improving them more generally.
Huh, the thing I get out of Brienne’s writing was actually “intervening on the level of direct thoughts”, more than any other rationality technique. ‘Noticing’ is the fundamental building block of all “intervene on direct thought” techniques.
Ah, I see the brief mention of that at the top of the post. I think reporting on discussion points at meetups is a thing I want to see more of, but am not sure whether it’s something that could use some kinda of standardized metadata to make it clearer what the context is.
Is this different that recurring google calendar events?
(btw, I think this comment would work well as a question, which might make it easier to reference in the future)