LessWrong developer, rationalist since the Overcoming Bias days. Connoisseur of jargon.


The intro paragraph of this tag is more important than most tags, since it appears when you hover over the tag in the filters on the front page, or on a post page, and will be many peoples' first exposure to the definition.

A Refutation of (Global) "Happiness Maximization"

I think you have misunderstood the genre of some of the conversations you've been having. Wireheading is a philosophical thought experiment, not a policy proposal. Getting angry and calling it a "criminal proposal" implies a significant misunderstanding of what is being talked about and what kind of conversation is being had.

Combining this with references to an in-person conversation where it isn't clear what was said, and links to a few posts that don't quite match the thing you're responding to, makes this whole post very confusing. I don't think I could discuss the topic at the object level without quite a few rounds of clarification first.

Jimrandomh's Shortform

Suppose LessWrong had a coauthor-matchmaking feature. There would be a section where you could see other peoples' ideas for posts they want to write, and message them to schedule a collaboration session. You'd be able to post your own ideas, to get collaborators. There would be some quality-sorting mechanism so that if you're a high-tier author, you can restrict the visibility of your seeking-collaborators message to other high-tier authors.

People who've written on LessWrong, and people who've *almost* written on LessWrong but haven't quite gotten a post out: Would you use this feature? If so, how much of a difference do you think it would make in the quantity and quality of your writing?

Tools for keeping focused

Curated. Technology-driven distraction is a serious problem; I don't think this is news to very many people, but it's important to be periodically reminded, to notice any gaps in our current attention-drain defenses, and to deploy good tools for our attention. This is a pretty good list of tools, and I think the comments will probably surface a few more.

LessWrong itself has the potential to be an attention drain, but we do our best to mitigate that and be net positive, eg by delivering notifications in configurable batches rather than instantly. Since we are a nonprofit, we don't have to optimize for maximum engagement; I'd encourage everyone to make deliberate decisions about their reading habits, including an explicit evaluation of whether LessWrong (and other sites) are net-positive for them.

Tags Discussion/Talk Thread

I like Blues and Greens being separate, reserved for posts using that specific analogy, as opposed to other posts on the topic the analogy bears on. The analogy is flavorful, and it's made its way into our jargon.

Challenges to Christiano’s capability amplification proposal

This topic is more technical than you're treating it; I think you have probably misunderstood things, but the combative stance you've taken makes it impossible to identify what the misunderstandings are.

Public Figures Contracting COVID-19 as Positive Event

I think this mattered in March, but the visibility of COVID-19 is pretty much maxed out at this point and has been awhile.

As a heuristic, if something is object-level bad, with the silver lining that it would make people take a problem more seriously if it happened... then it's bad overall. This is not an ironclad law of nature, but it's usually true, and short-circuits some of the worst failure modes of political reasoning.

Automatically Turning Off Computer at Night

My biggest worry with something like this would be data loss; some programs and web sites don't have good autosave, so unexpectedly shutting down would risk losing work. Delivering a notification 20 seconds before shutdown would help by giving a chance to save; the challenge, then, is to make it so that overriding it is easy to do before the notification arrives, but hard to do afterwards.

Covid 7/16: Becoming the Mask

Note that this paper is just a mathematical model, without any actual data, so our default stance should be skepticism. The mechanism seems unlikely, but not impossible. Respiratory droplets apparently do contain whole cells (source), so a way this could happen would be if transmission involves not just virus particles in droplets, but infected whole host cells; in that case, the surface markers of those cells could make a big difference to the initial immune response.

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