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Silence vs. Stupidity

there's a huge, fundamental difference between silence and (very) low quality discussion.

silence totally blocks progress.

low quality discussion, if continued persistently, is actually fine.

why?

in programming terms:

b/c the low quality discusser is exposing an API with various convoluted, messy, buggy, misnamed, falsely documented functions which people he's talking with can access.

but give a good programmer a shitty API and in general he'll find some kinda universality and make it do whatever the hell he wants. he'll find some way to get a NAND out of it, to manipulate bits and so some very basic tasks. and then he can define his own API on his own computer on top of the shitty API and use that. (i define on my computer a sequence of calls to your API which make it do some useful task. i repeat for several basic tasks. then i build up another layer of stuff on top of that. then i do what i want in that higher level meta-meta-API i made. so then i'm shielded by layers of abstraction from the low level mess. it's a lot like how some of x86 assembly is old messy backwards compatibility junk, but a javascript programmer never notices.)

universality is so easy to come by, even with a very limited array of bad functions.

another analogy is a hacker will simply find a buffer overflow in your API and then root your system and be able to install whatever software he wants.


what stops the meta-API approach or the security hole approach? silence. you can't get anywhere with an API that stops answering queries. you can't root a box that ignores all incoming requests.


if you're dumb but persistent, good discussers can figure out what you suck at and what can work, and start to focus in. they can try a variety of things, learn about how you block them, and then keep trying new workarounds (each time either discovering a new block or directly making progress). they have something to work with, like a puzzle to solve.

but if you're silent, they can't do a damn thing. if you keep dropping discussions, they can't help you.

persistent bad replies make a WHOLE WORLD of difference, vs silence.

Elliot Temple on October 5, 2015

Comments (20)

Yet another pile of bullshit.

Although I said something so now you can congratulate me for not being silent m8.

I want it. Unless you're a total fraud.

Anonymous at 10:43 PM on October 5, 2015 | #3516
silence. something about silence makes me sick, cuz silence can be violent sorta like a slit wrist

Anonymous at 12:39 AM on October 6, 2015 | #3517

Anonymous at 2:21 AM on October 6, 2015 | #3526
> Although I said something so now you can congratulate me for not being silent m8.
> I want it. Unless you're a total fraud.

You want the congratulation, you want Elliot to validate you. But that want will go unfulfilled because congratulation is pointless. Elliot congratulating you is just as empty as anyone else congratulating you.

How about wanting something that's worth wanting? Like truth?

How about doing something substantial like offering criticism or talking about what you've learned, rather than empty assertions?

Anonymous at 3:39 AM on October 6, 2015 | #3534
is "a congratulation from Elliot" a euphemism for violent anal sex?

Anonymous at 3:40 AM on October 6, 2015 | #3535
Are you same person who doesn't understand what quotes mean from the "standards" post?

Anonymous at 8:06 AM on October 6, 2015 | #3560
Why are you so pedantic over quote marks?

Anonymous at 9:22 AM on October 6, 2015 | #3561
why not? it helps clear communication and has no negative impact to use them correctly

why do you wilfully use common means of communication wrongly? do you not want to be understood correctly? or maybe you don't understand yourself and don't see why anyone else would either?

Anonymous at 9:43 AM on October 6, 2015 | #3562
Didn't you blank someone because you didn't like them?

Hypocrite.

Anonymous at 10:49 AM on October 6, 2015 | #3576
Who blanked who? Who is a hypocrite? What are you referring to?

Anonymous at 10:51 AM on October 6, 2015 | #3578
didn't know posh kids from oxford said m8.

Anonymous at 5:30 PM on October 6, 2015 | #3624
> silence totally blocks progress.
>
> low quality discussion, if continued persistently, is actually fine.

i guess you finally noticed all the talk in the past about meta being bad, etc, killed the tcs list.

Anonymous at 12:39 PM on October 8, 2015 | #3765
what are you talking about? i've been arguing with DD about meta since 2002

Elliot at 12:42 PM on October 8, 2015 | #3766

Computer Analogies

I can see how discussion is like an API, and low quality discussion is like using a convoluted, buggy API.

I have thought of some other similarities between computer concepts and ideas / discussion.

I like to think in terms of managing change of ideas in your mind like managing change in computer systems. If there's a new idea out that people are calling an "upgrade", don't just accept it and put it into practice cuz you like what's in the release notes. I don't get people who, when there's an "upgrade" available they just put it on and see what happens.

But also, don't just keep running Windows 95 forever. You gotta change, change is awesome, but you gotta actively manage that change to insure a good result.

I tend to think in terms like security, sandbox testing, virtual machines, backups and backout plans, and especially not allowing a bare metal host to get corrupted.

If you expose APIs that are running in walled off virtual machines, and keep your virtual machines separated by functional application, then it's not nearly as big a deal if one of the APIs is rooted and the VM gets compromised. A compromised video-watching program won't expose your bank account information that way.

When you can run something new in a separate VM, you can keep working with the current system and meanwhile do a fresh install of the new code in a brand new VM. You can tweak and test things there till you're sure it's better and an actual improvement, then switch it "live". If it turns out that you're wrong you can go back to the old virtual machine easily. Always have two working systems for each function, n and n-1. There's much less risk to implementing change that way.

And when you run most of your work in VMs, you can switch hosts easily without changing all of your workflows at once. A Linux guest on an OS X host runs the same as that guest on a Windows host.

I'm not always sure how to apply those concepts to discussions and ideas. There is a fairly well known concept of people mentally "compartmentalizing", but I don't think that's typically applied in a positive way like virtual machines in computers.

When you speak of Burke I hear faint echos of good systems management practice, but only faint.

PAS at 5:37 PM on October 9, 2015 | #4105
Elliot has been heavily involved in a number of lists that died and some think he was responsible: he brought silence.

So what really happened and if low quality discussion is better than silence how can the silence be prevented? There is a big problem here. It happened with Kolya and many others and it's happening now with DD. I miss those voices.

Anonymous at 3:38 AM on October 10, 2015 | #4115
One other thing - email is pretty much dying. For me it's a pain and I rarely use it now. Most people I know are the same. Why continue with it for FI?

Anonymous at 4:02 AM on October 10, 2015 | #4116
Low quality discussion with particular people can be worse than silence, if the low quality discussion involves giving people moral sanction when it is immoral to do so, conceding stuff one shouldn't concede, etc.

It's interesting though...of all the things u could call FI community, silent seems like one of the least fitting :)

Anonymous at 5:29 AM on October 10, 2015 | #4117
> Elliot has been heavily involved in a number of lists that died and some think he was responsible: he brought silence.

wait. what?

how is he responsible for other ppl going quiet?

"he brought silence"? he has posted a lot in attempt to engage ppl.

ppl didn't like crit and got upset and went away. how is that elliot's fault?

> So what really happened and if low quality discussion is better than silence how can the silence be prevented? There is a big problem here.

> It happened with Kolya and many others and it's happening now with DD. I miss those voices.

lol. i don't. we have better ppl on fi now.

kolya was awful.

dd wrote a few cool tcs articles but he was a mix of pompous fart and old man trying to be cool for the kids who never worked for me, tbh.

i don't think he ever cared much for tcs, because getting involved distracts from physics and shit he likes to do. it was such sarah dragging him into it. he has another babe now so he doesn't care basically.

he also used to say stuff like "i'm old" on the tcs chat and when one starts identifying with being old, one is fucked. the body ages and we don't chose that. we don't have to identify with it. the mind doesn't age.

dd also got pissy that FoR got a bad rating on amazon. not sure who else was in the chat that he was persuading at the time to write a review. and the person didn't know what to write and dd didn't mind, all dd wanted was the stars.

Leo at 6:44 AM on October 10, 2015 | #4120
Doh me writing that email comment forgetting Elliot posted on that very topic ... and here I am writing in the comments lol

Anonymous at 11:21 PM on October 10, 2015 | #4131
> the mind doesn't age

Damn right. It's not a physical thing and universality cannot be lost by degrees. Those clinging to the idea of "mental illness" would have to say a mind can and does age but as well as not being true that's so un-optimistic.

Anonymous at 3:16 AM on October 12, 2015 | #4139

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)