philh

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What posts on finance would your find helpful or interesting?

Yeah. I'm in index funds because someone told the London group "here's what it means to get into index funds, here's why it's a good idea, here's how you do it, here's a list of places you can sign up with to get one". I kind of want to dabble a little in stocks and other investments, but I don't know who offers that ability and I haven't looked closely yet.

(My impression is if I was in the US a decent answer would be "Robinhood". And authors here might not know anything UK specific, which is fair enough. But that's the sort of thing I'd find helpful.)

Rationally Ending Discussions

When there is no transparency about why people exit discussions, it allows for them to leave due to bias, dodging, bad reasons, etc., and it’s not very provable.

Right, so my very first comment in this thread pointed out a way you could collect evidence on this question. You can look for patterns. If a particular user has a habit of dropping out of threads when they seem to be "losing", then that's evidence that they're doing so to evade arguments and dodge questions. If LW users as a group have a habit of doing that, it's also evidence that that's a common reason people do it.

But as far as I can tell you haven't looked for evidence like that, either for individual users or for LW as a whole. When I asked if we have this problem, you didn't point to patterns. You just pointed to individual instances of people stopping replying for unclear reasons. But there are plenty of reasons someone might stop replying.

And so I still have to wonder: do we in practice have this problem on LW? Is it in fact common here for people to leave discussions to evade arguments and dodge questions? You've given me no reason to think it is.

(Of course it would be super duper surprising if no one had ever done that. So perhaps we should be asking questions like "how often does it happen here, how bad is it when it happens, what does it trade off against, how much would it be worth to make a marginal improvement". Maybe your full post is more nuanced about things like that, but your description of the problem so far has seemed fairly... black-and-white? When remizidae pointed out that there were tradeoffs, you asked them if they could propose solutions. Whether they can propose solutions or not doesn't change the fact that there are tradeoffs. So far in this thread I haven't seen you acknowledge the tradeoffs.)

Something I notice is that... so far, this subthread seems to have been entirely useless, and it's taking a lot more energy than most of the comments I write on LW. I'll still give one more response, but...

This feels mean, and I don't like that, but it also feels like an important part of what's going on for me right now and relevant to the conversation and I don't want to dance around it, so, uh, here goes I guess: to be frank, I don't blame people for stopping replying to you.

Rationally Ending Discussions

The problem in question was

people being biased then leaving discussions at crucial moments to evade arguments and dodge questions, and there being no transparency about what’s going on and no way for the error to get corrected?

This is a problem you plausibly have a solution for. I mean, I still haven't read this article and I probably won't, but I could believe that there are social engineering ways to avoid this problem, and I could believe you've identified one. "Tapping out in two" plausibly also suggests a way.

But I'm not convinced we actually have this problem. No one in this thread has obviously done the problematic behaviour. We don't know why people stopped replying when they did, but there are surely explanations other than "trying to evade arguments and dodge questions".

(To be precise, Gordon and remizidae haven't replied yet. I can't rule out that they intend to later, but it doesn't really matter.)


It seems to me that you're answering as if I'd asked about a different problem, the problem of "most discussions end without making any progress".

I agree LW has that problem. (Less than most comparable places.) But I don't think you or I or anyone else has a plausible solution to it, though I do think there are marginal improvements to be made. I don't think simply taking these discussions further is particularly likely to help, at least not enough to justify the cost.


I note that in Dagon's thread, he currently has the last word - he announced that he intended to stop, but he also said other things in that comment, and you didn't reply to them. And I note that in this thread, remizidae asked "why is being busy not an adequate excuse?" and you haven't replied to that, either. (Or you replied with a question whichMy sense is that you're trying to hold people to standards you fall short of.


Limiting myself to two more replies in this thread.

Rationally Ending Discussions

Noticing patterns. If someone seems to be doing that a lot, we can point it out.

This relies on the population being able to sustain reputations, but that feels like a prerequisite for intellectual discussion anyway, I think.

Do you think this is a problem in practice on LW, and/or other places you visit?

To the main article: I only skimmed, but my previous tapping out in two is relevant. I wouldn't want to impose it as a requirement on people though.

The Law of Least Effort Contributes to the Conjunction Fallacy

Complex social behavior, like deception requires system 2 thinking.

I don't think this is true. I've definitely told lies that I didn't think about making. I think an awful lot of complex social behavior is system one - I don't think most people flirt in system two, for example.

RFC: COVID-19 Statistical Guilt

I can't really help with your model building, but an option you might want to consider - could you skip the "immediate family at home" part and just attend the "extended family in the mountains" part? (Or vice versa.) That would cut out two flights.

Delegate a Forecast

This is super self absorbed, and maybe not reasonably doable with the info you have, but... no harm in asking I guess.

I'd like to know my chances of winning the SSC book review contest (assuming Scott starts asking for entries again following this).

(In my favor: I think I'm a pretty good writer, reviewing a book that's totally on-brand. Against me: he had ~20 entries more than a month before the original deadline (and by Sturgeon's law, two of those might have been decent), and I haven't finished yet.)

Criticism of some popular LW articles

And fragility:

  1. It is easy for a flippening to occur.

Elizabeth uses the word "fragile", but doesn't say that this is what it means. I'm not sure exactly what she means by it - and I'm not sure if the thing she means is true - but I don't think this is a likely guess.

(My guess would be something like "unstable", in the sense that once it goes away, there's no particular reason to expect it to come back.)

But mutability does not imply fragility, and Elizabeth specifically says that it does.

Not specifically. She merely says that TPEs are fragile. This is somewhat a nitpick, but... I feel like you're trying to take something informal and formalize it, and some of the features of your formalization don't seem motivated by the informal version.

I’m frequently exposed to people with excessive belief in economic fragility. For example, the idea that “if we all just stopped believing in the value of money, it would be just paper.”

This seems basically true to me? I wouldn't call the economy fragile, because I don't expect this to happen. Sometimes people say things like this and I get the sense that they do think it means the economy is fragile in some way that I don't think it is. I think they're making a mistake, but not about this.

My Dating Plan ala Geoffrey Miller

It has 12 votes; if you remove all downvotes, it doesn’t have low karma anymore.

As a note, I wouldn't have upvoted this post normally, but I didn't think it deserved to be negative so I gave it one. I'm pretty sure there's a bunch of people who vote partly based on the current score, so if you remove all the downvotes, you probably remove a bunch of the upvotes too.

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