Sounds pragmatically weird in the case where the person isn’t known to already be donating.
Can we have a recap from the mods of how Petrov Day went? How many people pressed the button, how many people tried entering anything in the launch code field, how many people tried the fake launch code posted on Facebook in particular?
Since the day is drawing to a close and at this point I won’t get to do the thing I wanted to do, here are some scattered thoughts about this thing.
First, my plan upon obtaining the code was to immediately repeat Jeff’s offer. I was curious how many times we could iterate this; I had in fact found another person who was potentially interested in being another link in this chain (and who was also more interested in repeating the offer than nuking the site). I told Jeff this privately but didn’t want to post it publicly (reasons: thought it would be more fun if this was a surprise; didn’t think people should put that much weight on my claimed intentions anyway; thought it was valuable for the conversation to proceed as though nuking were the likely outcome).
(In the event that nobody took me up on the offer, I still wasn’t going to nuke the site.)
Other various thoughts:
Having talked to some people who take this exercise very seriously indeed and some who don’t understand why anyone takes it seriously at all, both perspectives make a lot of sense to me and yet I’m having trouble explaining either one to the other. Probably I should practice passing some ITTs.
Of the arguments raised against the trade the one that I am the most sympathetic to is TurnTrout’s argument that it’s actually very important to hold to the important principles even when there’s a naive utilitarian argument in favor of abandoning them. I agree very strongly with this idea.
But it also seems to me there’s a kind of… mixing levels here? The tradeoff here is between something symbolic and something very real. I think there’s a limit to the extent this is analogous to, like, “maintain a bright line against torture even when torture seems like the least bad choice”, which I think of as the canonical example of this idea.
(I realize some people made arguments that this symbolic thing is actually reflective or possibly determinative of probabilistic real consequences (in which case the “mixing levels” point above is wrong). (Possibly even the arguments that didn’t state this explicitly relied on the implication of this?) I guess I just…. don’t find that very persuasive, because, again, the extent to which this exercise is analogous to anything of real-world importance is pretty limited; the vast majority of people who would nuke LW for shits and giggles wouldn’t also nuke the world for shits and giggles. Rituals and intentional exercises like these have any power but I think I put less stock in them than some.)
Relatedly, I guess I feel like if the LW devs wanted me to take this more seriously they should’ve made it have actual stakes; having just the front page go down for just 24 hours is just not actually destroying something of real value. (I don’t mean to insult the devs or even the button project—I think this has been pretty great actually—it’s just great in more of a “this is a fun stunt/valuable discussion starter” way than a “oh shit this is a situation where trustworthiness and reliability matter” way. (I realize that doing this in a way that had stakes would have possibly been unacceptably risky; I don’t really know how to calibrate the stakes such that they both matter and are an acceptable risk.))
Nevertheless I am actually pleased that we’ve made it through (most of) the day without the site going down (even when someone posted (what they claim is) their code on Facebook).
I am more pleased than that about the discussions that have happened here. I think the discussions would have been less active and less good without a specific actual possible deal on the table, so I’m glad to have spurred a concrete proposal which I think helped pin down some discussion points that would have remained nebulous or just gone unsaid otherwise.
If in fact the probability of someone nuking the site is entangled with the probability of someone nuking the world (or similar), I think it’s much more likely that both share common causes than that one causes the other. If this is so, then gaining more information about where we stand is valuable even if it involves someone nuking the site (perhaps especially then?).
In general I think a more eventful Petrov Day is probably more valuable and informative than a less eventful one.
I’m pretty sure it is? I had already decided on & committed to a donation amount for 2019, and this would be in addition to that. The lifesaving part is relevant insofar as I am happier about the prospect of this trade than I would be about paying the same amount to an individual.
The only way in which I could imagine this not being perfectly counterfactual is that given that discretionary spending choices depend some on my finances at any given point, and given that large purchases have some impact on my finances, it may be that if some other similar opportunity presented itself later on, my decision re: that opportunity could have some indirect causal connection to my current decision (not in the direct sense of “oh I already donated last month so I won’t now” but just in the sense of “hmm how much discretionary-spending money do I currently have and, given that, do I want to spend $X on Y”). I’m not sure it’s really ever possible to get rid of that though?
To be clear I am NOT looking for people to press the button, I am looking for people to give me launch codes.
I’ll note that giving someone the launch codes merely increases the chance of the homepage going down.
If someone else with codes wants to make this offer now that Jeff has withdrawn his, I’m now confident I am up for this.
this makes sense. I shall consider whether it makes sense for me to impulse-spend this amount of money on shenanigans (and lifesaving)
hey actually I’m potentially interested depending on what size of donation you would consider sufficient, can you give an estimate?
I’m quite confused by your indignation at the description of 50 Shades as a portrait of “an abusive relationship with a rapist”, followed by your agreeing that Grey in the book did abusive things and “crossed consent lines here and there” (which comes across as an overly flippant phrasing for the subject matter, but whatever). Him allegedly trying to be better isn’t good enough. I haven’t read the book, but I am… not sure about your claim that the relationship is a relatively good one (I expect this is true of some societies and not others), but even if that’s true, there’s no need to grade on a curve here or object to a factual description of bad things because the bad things are common. Indeed, their being common is much of the point, here.
I’m not sure this is on topic here but I’m not sure where it is on topic, so—I noticed my profile now has an “Ω 2” between the karma count and the post count. What is that?
Yeah, this makes a lot of sense. I think mostly the challenges that are good are ones that help create a sense of meaning/broader life satisfaction even if they don’t necessarily increase moment-to-moment happiness. Challenges that don’t feel meaningful are just pointless pain.
Thanks for writing Hammertime and, among other things, providing me with an impetus to actually make a post! (I don’t expect I would have done so otherwise, in part because making a post is sort of an implicit claim that it might be interesting, but the pretext of the final exam provided a nice excuse that let me avoid making that implicit claim...)
I agree that life contains more than enough difficulties for us all. I’m honestly somewhat puzzled as to how Kierkegaard could think it didn’t—hell, things like refrigerators for home use didn’t exist them! Though perhaps he had servants and/or women to perform life-sustaining labor for him.
I think one thing that had prevented me from adopting the “accommodate yourself” mindset very much was a sense that I should be able to just do things, and that certain kinds of needs or limitations were not things it was valid to plan around because it is not acceptable to have them in the first place. (Though of course, those limitations become much more of a problem if you don’t plan around them!) It is in large part the neurodiversity/disability rights rationalist Tumblr cluster that helped me get past a lot of this.
Re: pendulums, when I had first read that in Duncan’s essay I was not convinced that that’s actually how societies work. But now that you mention it, on an individual level I think this model does make a fair amount of sense. I still think it is not quite accurate on the scale of entire societies, though I do think that there tend to be parts of societies that push “too far” on any given change.
I’m not sure I agree that only a smaller number of people need the reminder that the present exists (and matters as much as any future moment)! Maybe I’m typical-minding here or generalizing from a small and unrepresentative sample, but in my experience it seems like most people contain both type of error at once—e.g. in my case, the guilt about staying up late when it was actually a good idea to do so coexisted with a frequent failure to go to bed when staying up was a really bad idea. This is in some sense a system where the two biases keep each other somewhat in check—if you don’t have any other tools for reining in your present-focused bias, a pro-future bias might be better than nothing—but it’s in some ways not a great system as it not only can lead you to make suboptimal decisions sometimes (or push other people into suboptimal future-focused decisions—I think parents often do this) but also often comes with a guilt-driven motivation system which causes all sorts of problems in the long run.
I do agree that the native pro-present bias is generally stronger and usually more dominant in humans’ actual decisionmaking. Just, everyone knows about that already so it didn’t make sense to write about it :)
Done! Here: Accommodate Yourself; Kindness Is An Epistemic Virtue; Privileging the Future
(I spent much more than 5 minutes on each essay, oops.)
As a bonus, I’ve now gotten past the trivial inconvenience and mild social fear of posting things on LW, so thanks :)
likewise it can be obvious from looking that one’s particular school experience was net positive or net negative, but generalizing from one example is a bad idea
(in my case it’s not clear whether my school experience was net positive or net negative, so nothing is obvious at all, honestly)
I’m not entirely convinced that distinction exists. I would say that in general if certain information (whether object-level information or background knowledge) is not readily available to most people, then insights requiring that information are not obvious from looking.
That said, I can imagine the distinction existing, and yet even if it does I don’t think “education in the US is Just Bad” is in the category “obvious from looking but most people just haven’t noticed”. “the value of higher education in the US has a large signaling component” is fairly obvious from looking (to people who have interacted with relevant parts of the education system and/or labor market), but “ALL or nearly all of the value of ALL or nearly all mainstream education in the US is from signaling”/”the public school system’s existence is net negative” is not obvious at all; if true (which I’m not really convinced of) it requires evidence to prove.
It’s not obvious just from looking and I’ve had to have long arguments with people to be convinced that there exists a large-scale problem in U.S. education. (I was very lucky, of course, though in retrospect I see how I too was significantly harmed in some ways, though I still maintain that I also got a hell of a lot of value out of school.)