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Is FI Discussion Mean?

People coming to FI need to recognize they are learning about different ideas and dealing with people who don’t share all their assumptions, culture, and expectations. They must therefore be patient and tolerant. They must expect clashes, misunderstandings, conflict, disagreement, and problems. They must have some strength and tolerance to deal with the Other, to challenge themselves, to move past some minor quibbles, to discuss instead of give up when faced with some major conflict, etc.

People who find FI too mean are simply intolerant of people with a different style than them. They are expecting all discussion of bold new ideas to follow their existing ideas about what patterns of discussion are acceptable or unacceptable. But FI proposes that criticism is crucial to learning, and a helpful gift, rather than mean. If people want to deal with something which is grand, special and different, they can’t also expect it to perfectly fit into their existing life with little effort to understand a different world than what they're used to.

People also need to use judgement. FI discussion isn't a guided tour of the key ideas. Not every reply you receive, from every participant, will be great. It's an open place where anyone can join and talk without gatekeepers trying to decide who is worthy. That lets you in the door and it also lets others who aren't all amazing thinkers or even, necessarily, kind people. So what? Judge which responses have value and respond productively to those. Guide your own discussion by having some goals in mind and pursuing them, rather than getting distracted by whatever happens to come up and offended or disappointed that your aimless discussion hasn't achieved a great aim. And if you don't know how to guide your own activities, or what some good goals would be, ask. If you aren't even willing to talk about problems and ask for help, then you should expect to fail.

Making requests is a good strategy. If you want something, ask for it instead of expecting it by default. Do you want replies to you to be written in a particular style you consider "nice", and not to include some types of statements you find "mean"? Tell us what you want instead of expecting us to read your mind. If you can't figure out and write down what you consider nice or mean, you can't very well expect us to accurately guess it. You are used to dealing with people very similar to you in a tiny social circle who have lots of the same poorly-considered assumptions about life that you do. If you want to be exposed to the broader world, you'll have to think about and communicate your ideas more instead of just taking them for granted.

If you think something's mean, instead of getting offended, quote it and say what you think the problem is. You could be right. Perhaps the author could learn from you. Don't assume they are doing it on purpose out of malice. Ignorance and error are common. And misunderstandings are common. Maybe they were trying to say something else that's different than your interpretation. Maybe they'll apologize, admit they were in a bad mood, and try to do better. Maybe they'll point out and challenge some of your philosophical assumptions that you didn't think about. Find out what happens when you discuss a problem instead of thinking your conclusions (e.g. that something is mean and bad) go without saying.


Elliot Temple on August 5, 2017

Messages (55)

People are used to school where they aren't even supposed to use judgement. If they think some of the school material is bad, they'll be punished for ignoring it and focusing on the part they think is valuable. Schools also punish people for questioning the teacher's ideas and disagreeing. So people aren't very used to rational discussion and they're bad at it. *This is all the more reason for them to be super tolerant and patient, and expect some things to go wrong, and be willing to keep trying!*


Anonymous at 1:35 PM on August 5, 2017 | #8893 | reply | quote

It's not very common for people to believe that we're all fallible and it's ok to make mistakes. That we should seek out finding mistakes and delight in finding them and making progress.

Instead, many people believe you should feel bad/ashamed when you make mistakes (especially big ones like those discussed on FI). They also think: when you're having discussions with someone who is focused on criticism / pointing out mistakes, they might very well want/expect you to feel bad, as you would want of them.

It might also work something like this:

Step 1: Someone points out a potential mistake you're making.

Step 2: You become worried (often subconsciously) that the mistake might be true, which is something you should feel bad/ashamed about.

Step 3: Not understanding the ideas behind these emotions, you blame the other person as being mean, to explain why you're having these bad feelings.

Thoughts?


Anon69 at 4:22 PM on August 9, 2017 | #8922 | reply | quote

#8922

Some people, after step 1, don't think they *should* feel bad, but feel bad anyway. And they don't blame others. And they stop thinking about the issue so they stop feeling bad.


Anonymous at 4:45 PM on August 9, 2017 | #8923 | reply | quote

yeah, I think that happens too.

> People who find FI too mean are simply intolerant of people with a different style than them

So I think this misses the mark for the type of person I described above.

> If you think something's mean, instead of getting offended, quote it and say what you think the problem is.

This doesn't seem like great advice (in the case I describe). It's possible this will eventually lead to them learning about the ideas/issues behind their emotions and mistaken assessment that FI is mean. If the person is very proactive and able to survive the emotional rollercoaster along the way without giving up. But it would be better to focus on ideas related to the main problem: that making mistakes make them feel bad (for various reasons mentioned above, and more).

Sometimes I think that FI is generally going to be a bad time for most people. It's treacherous like going rock climbing without any experience...you'd expect most people to get hurt. There's a bunch of these core ideas and hangups people need to master before participating in freeform / opened ended FI-style discussion.


Anon69 at 6:07 PM on August 9, 2017 | #8924 | reply | quote

> Sometimes I think that FI is generally going to be a bad time for most people. It's treacherous like going rock climbing without any experience...you'd expect most people to get hurt. There's a bunch of these core ideas and hangups people need to master before participating in freeform / opened ended FI-style discussion.

it's not that hard. people are bad at it basically on purpose. they don't want to learn those skills. they resist learning those skills. you can offer to explain it and they don't want it. that's why they are bad at them.


Anonymous at 6:40 PM on August 9, 2017 | #8925 | reply | quote

> > People who find FI too mean are simply intolerant of people with a different style than them

> So I think this misses the mark for the type of person I described above.

but what you described is an intolerant person. there are other things involved, as usual, but the intolerance is front and center. they think something (criticism) is bad – for some reason – and then they are intolerant of it.

i'm guessing you're just so used to the PC concept of tolerance and intolerance that you didn't think about what the words mean.


Anonymous at 6:43 PM on August 9, 2017 | #8926 | reply | quote

FI discussion, Google memo

> Sometimes I think that FI is generally going to be a bad time for most people. It's treacherous like going rock climbing without any experience...you'd expect most people to get hurt. There's a bunch of these core ideas and hangups people need to master before participating in freeform / opened ended FI-style discussion.

So do you think the women who stayed away from their work at Google cuz of the memo were acting correctly? They were offended by criticism of their ideas and stayed away rather than discussing stuff.


oh my god it's turpentine at 10:44 PM on August 9, 2017 | #8927 | reply | quote

> it's not that hard. people are bad at it basically on purpose. they don't want to learn those skills. they resist learning those skills. you can offer to explain it and they don't want it

I'd say it's pretty hard if you have an emotional issue related to learning and you don't know how to address/improve the emotions. It's quite an unfortunate catch-22 situation.

If someone worries about making mistakes and feels bad when making them, and they don't want to feel bad, then telling them that they're making a mistake about mistakes is going to be tricky.

> > > People who find FI too mean are simply intolerant of people with a different style than them

> > So I think this misses the mark for the type of person I described above.

> but what you described is an intolerant person. there are other things involved, as usual, but the intolerance is front and center. they think something (criticism) is bad – for some reason – and then they are intolerant of it.

My point was that this sentence and the post in general isn't accounting for what I suspect is a major reason that some people think FI is mean: that people have mistaken ideas and emotional issues related to worrying-about/noticing/making mistakes.

> So do you think the women who stayed away from their work at Google cuz of the memo were acting correctly?

I saw some headlines this week about the google memo thing, but don't really know much about it. I can go read up and come back and/or you can summarize if interested.


Anon69 at 10:16 AM on August 10, 2017 | #8928 | reply | quote

> I'd say it's pretty hard if you have an emotional issue related to learning and you don't know how to address/improve the emotions. It's quite an unfortunate catch-22 situation.

It's hard if you're really bad at it. It's not objectively that hard. Those are different things. There are lots of things that are hard even if you're really good at them, like curing cancer or setting up a colony on Mars.

People get stuck. Getting unstuck can be hard. But the difficulty isn't inherent in the field of philosophy, the method of rational, critical discussion, etc. It's important to be clear about the difference between having a hard time with external stuff or internal stuff. A hard time dealing with the world, or a hard time dealing with your messy self.

> that people have mistaken ideas and emotional issues related to worrying-about/noticing/making mistakes.

that wouldn't cause nearly so much trouble if they weren't intolerant about the matter as well.

----

A guy at google got fired for writing a memo saying he values diversity of ideas and free discussion of issues, and making considered arguments regarding biological differences between the sexes. He was called sexist for trying to understand the relevant science and considering non Politically Correct views. The reaction proved his point about Google's PC culture suppressing truth-seeking, open debate, etc.


curi at 10:28 AM on August 10, 2017 | #8929 | reply | quote

On emotional and psychological aspects

Hi. How's it going?

I'm not sure if anyone will read this, since the article dates back to 3 years ago. But I had something to add to this discussion.

I'm not sure if you remember, but back then I came to FI because the idea that I read about "a place where people who think rationally gather and discuss and criticize ideas" seemed very cool to me. I wanted to try.

Exactly because of my intolerance of radically different views at the time, I was unable to stay in this forum. But after having grown and changed a lot from then, I can appreciate what you wrote above.

However, I'd like to add something to it, and that is the issue of human psychology in discussions. The general theme in FI and in Eliot Temple's articles is rationality. Everything is treated with rationality. But sometimes, a lot of times!, people are not looking at things totally rationally. A lot of times, a person's insecurities, fears, shame, prejudice, lack of perspective, and other issues stand between him and a rational discussion.

I think the other person/end of the conversation has 2 options: to say it's not my problem. go solve those issues and come back. then we'll talk. Or the other alternative is to act with empathy, to assume some of these general fears and etc from the person's tone of conversation, to try and make it a safe space for the person to share his ideas without the fear of being thought as a stranger, as stupid, as inferior, and so on.

What I'm proposing is that in what you wrote above, you have not considered the assumptions about the interaction of a person with a community, ESPECIALLY a new community. There are things that should be expected: alienation anxiety, not knowing the culture, not knowing the people, having a fragile ego in a new situation, so on.

I think aside from what you said above, which is the person's responsibility when entering this community, it is the community's responsibility to help the person understand what it is all about, and how things work, and ESPECIALLY act in a way that the person feels less alienated, more under support. Random villagers in our village do this better than people of FI. Sometimes such simple things slip through one's finger if one doesn't notice.

Anyway, even though I wasn't able to connect with your community back then, I still learned some good lessons from you, and also from some of your articles. So thanks for that :)

Yours,

Javad


Javad Siavashi (Sia) at 4:59 AM on September 5, 2020 | #17844 | reply | quote

> But sometimes, a lot of times!, people are not looking at things totally rationally. A lot of times, a person's insecurities, fears, shame, prejudice, lack of perspective, and other issues stand between him and a rational discussion.

Then they can try every other forum, or deal with it, or raise that problem.

> the other alternative is to act with empathy

people often take it as condescending or insulting. they want to hide that they are having problems like feeling shame, so if i mention those problems they feel attacked. it's hard to say anything effective that's also honest. often what they want is for me to say they're great while not saying anything about what i think their problems are, but that wouldn't be honest and wouldn't solve the problems.

> What I'm proposing is that in what you wrote above, you have not considered

you're factually wrong. i've considered it. it's hard to fix.

> it is the community's responsibility to help the person understand what it is all about

e.g. by writing about it http://curi.us/archives/list_category/114 and many other articles

> Random villagers in our village do this better than people of FI.

do you have a criticism of a specific action that you want to discuss?


curi at 7:27 AM on September 5, 2020 | #17848 | reply | quote

> Random villagers in our village do this better than people of FI

Villages will die if the villagers don't have low enough standards to keep a stable or growing population (cities don't need to rely on low standards). Villages aren't places which can afford to alienate people. Villagers have memes like pandering to people to keep them around.

Why should FI embrace those sorts of ideas?


Anonymous at 9:20 AM on September 5, 2020 | #17855 | reply | quote

#17844 btw, i think it's good you're posting this btw. i've also spent time away and come back.


Anon #17855 at 9:22 AM on September 5, 2020 | #17856 | reply | quote

#17848

> Then they can try every other forum, or deal with it, or raise that problem.

That's one way to do it. I guess this implies that your community is based on firm grounds and these grounds are not changeable, unless a there are rational reasons to why they should. And I'm not sure if I can so easily address such an issue.

> it's hard to say anything effective that's also honest.

I disagree. I do this all the time. And the approach is, instead of a firmly rational discussion, one takes the effort to look at the situation from the other's perspective, and from there look back at the situation. Then one can "walk" with that other person towards the conclusion that he is trying to get him to. Also helps to know people's defense mechanisms. Triggering a defense mechanism is a sure way to not get your message through.

What is the goal of communication if the message doesn't get communicated? I'm guessing you can say "that's his problem not mine." but then that means you probably won't be able to convey most messages to most people the way the message sounds in your head. Your words will morph so differently in their minds that the potentially valuable message gets lost, and the conversation is pointless.

> often what they want is for me to say they're great while not saying anything about what i think their problems are.

Not necessarily true. A lot of people come to me with an argument, with an issue, and they are ok with hearing why it's wrong. However, it goes back to the defense mechanism issue. If your encounter with another person is fully rational and dismisses all the psychological context that goes into conversation and interpersonal communication, it is a flawed encounter. If the assumption is that we communicate ideas so that the idea that is in my head gets to the other person's head, not considering psychological context is a sure way to fail at that objective.

> you're factually wrong. i've considered it. it's hard to fix.

mhm. good to know.

> e.g. by writing about it http://curi.us/archives/list_category/114 and many other articles

aight this is a good effort. but let's say I entered the community. First of all, I didn't see this link at first until I talked about it in this topic. So to me, all of these posts were non-existent. Secondly, I see it as absurd that a person who enters a totally new community from outside is expected to adapt to that community with very few guidelines other than "be polite, be rational", and a few posts that one has to read alone, which the person has no idea they exist either. That's not how communities get created. People gather because they have shared values, and they see in others in that community some of the important things that they see in themselves. For example, the reason I joined was that page that you have with Ayn Rand's quote. It seemed authentic to me, and I wanted in. But when I came in, I was just confused. And from my last time's experience, before I was able to make sense of what was even happening, I was getting criticized. I don't have the whole picture to make sense of what it is EXACTLY that creates such an issue, but I know part of it is me, and part of it is you. I am highly suspecting that you lack perspective in your rational criticism. You consider the other as a fully rational being that if there's anything other than rational thinking in him, that's his problem not mine. That's the key issue I have with you. I might be wrong in my judgement though. If so, clarify please.

> do you have a criticism of a specific action that you want to discuss?

"the role of human perspective, vulnerability, and psychology in FI culture. Mainly, how do people consider "the other" in their interpersonal encounters? Is the other only a rational thinker? or are other aspects also considered?) And is that the right way? If so, why?"


Sia at 10:36 PM on September 5, 2020 | #17876 | reply | quote

#17855

I think you misunderstood. Villagers were examples. This has barely anything to do with survival or standards.

What I meant was that there is basic human communication considerations that one has to have IF one wants to create a connection. And that even lowly developed people of village know of these basics. If you don't know what I'm referring to as "basics", we can discuss that.

If it is FI's strategy to alienate people who aren't immediately feeling like home and have been familiarized with the community's environment, then it's doing a good job. Becoming part of a community takes time and progress. And the immediate fully rational encounters like this mindset:

> > it's hard to say anything effective that's also honest.

will be a turn-off for the new person. Maybe if the person got past "getting to know the community" stage without feeling alienated, he would have turned out to be a good fit and a rational person. When building a relationship, you don't immediately choose to "be honest". You act with empathy, give a safe space and some acceptance, and when the other person gets to you know a bit better, you can start having those more honest and effective talks.

For example, consider this: person enters FI. There's some info on what FI is all about (this exists on that Ayn Rand quote page). When the person first starts interacting, the community talks to him, answers his initial questions before immediately starting to apply criticism. They give him time to settle and get a sense of the community. And after some point he understand what is going on. He's settled. The person has become "part of the community". From then on, he knows how people normally interact, what he's doing there, what type of thing he can say, what is irrelevant, etc.

This initiation phase is missing in my opinion. And it could cause confusion and alienation. That's the point I'm trying to convey.


Sia at 10:49 PM on September 5, 2020 | #17877 | reply | quote

#17876 You aren't quoting and criticizing something I said nor quoting some interaction that you had that you think is a good example of what to do. I don't see how speaking in general terms about your experiences could change my mind. People having that sort of experience is not new info for me.

> First of all, I didn't see this link at first until I talked about it in this topic.

It's in the #info channel on discord and the Categories section on the sidebar here. It's not more prominent because in general new people ignore and/or don't understand linked articles, and those links aren't better than other material IME.

> You consider the other as a fully rational being that if there's anything other than rational thinking in him, that's his problem not mine.

The difficulty is, when I don't do that, people get upset that I'm too condescending, or that I'm assuming they're dumb, etc. They complain either way (treat them like they're great or treat them like they aren't great). So it's hard.

I'm not very good at welcoming most people and getting them into the community. There are reasons and no one has been able to suggest any viable improvements. No one else is doing it better for FI despite my many requests. There are other people who are more conventional than me and could maybe get along with new people better and try to introduce them, but they won't do it much.

I don't think other communities are good at this stuff either. Less Wrong, for example, has many articles, scattered in different places, that are less specific about what to do, *and* they are hard to ask discussion methodology questions to, *and* you can write a dozen articles and get completely ignored by any sort of leaders. I think most communities try to ignore lots of disagreement, and hide criticism, and keep discussions short and inconclusive, so assimilation matters less.

I don't mind letting a lot of newbie stuff slide without criticism if I just don't say anything. But then they feel ignored and often leave. I don't want to give dishonest praise. Sometimes I give advice instead, suggestions for what people can do to learn more, like reading books, but I haven't found that very effective either.

Part of the problem is that people will be here for months or years and then quit. Being around longer doesn't actually solve the problem.


curi at 10:55 PM on September 5, 2020 | #17878 | reply | quote

#17876 I think your comments are OK and I appreciate that you're trying. I believe I'm familiar with your perspective. This has been discussed many times already. I think you would need to better understand why it's hard, and come up with a major new thing, to solve this problem. Realistically you can't contribute a solution that survives all my criticism until you're familiar with a lot more of my thinking and how I criticize things. You can contribute your perspective but others have already made similar contributions.


curi at 11:10 PM on September 5, 2020 | #17879 | reply | quote

Thanks curi for the detailed responses

As I was answering your first set of replies, I actually realized that you have a point. Thought something similar to this:

> I think you would need to better understand why it's hard, and come up with a major new thing, to solve this problem. Realistically you can't contribute a solution that survives all my criticism until you're familiar with a lot more of my thinking and how I criticize things.

I also realized that I have very little idea on how to run a community. It's easy to make a case for my own personal encounter with your community, but to give a solution that actually resolves that not just for my case, but for every new and diverse member, is too complex for me to think of. I especially have very little knowledge or even interest in managing social issues. I spent most of my life in personal and interpersonal environments, too. And avoided social issues (especially politics).

But yeah, I think I understand to some extent what you mean. I can point out to these issues, but when it comes to solutions, I don't think I can give any unless I have context both into your mind, and also into the community culture. I still tried my best to put myself in your situation, but the only thing that I came up with was that you can design a new system for the people who enter the community that acts as a catalyst for their familiarization of the culture. The simplest thing might be just a 5-10 min video in which you explain what the community is all about, your general philosophy, and a few guidelines for a contextless/clueless person in what they're stepping into.

Anyways. Thanks for reading through this. I like your initiative. Dunno if I personally am hooked to the topics of your discussions, or if topics that interest me also interest the community, but that's fine as well. Have a good day/night.


Sia at 1:22 AM on September 6, 2020 | #17880 | reply | quote

oh btw, about this:

> quoting some interaction that you had that you think is a good example of what to do

If you were interested, we can talk about it in discord DM. I don't think it's something I can talk about in here, and I'd prefer chat since it's more interactive.


Sia at 1:36 AM on September 6, 2020 | #17881 | reply | quote

> If you were interested, we can talk about it in discord DM.

I'm not interested in private chats.

> Dunno if I personally am hooked to the topics of your discussions, or if topics that interest me also interest the community, but that's fine as well.

Bring up the topics you want to and/or ask about the value of and reasons for the topics you doubt.


curi at 10:39 AM on September 6, 2020 | #17885 | reply | quote

#17885

I'm interested in what I recognize as "existential" topics. I'm gonna quote Albert Camus on what I mean:

>Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest— whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories—comes afterwards.

I am not interested in most social or intellectual topics. I have simple concerns that sometimes need complex answers, and sometimes not; concerns that relate to my own personal existence in this world, the meaning of my life, the relation I want to have with life, with myself, and with others. Death and what it means for life. Existential isolation; as in "nobody can live or die for another, and we are all alone in our own existence". Love, I-thou relations (from Martin Buber). Finding out my life's purpose. And so on.

These topics have led me everywhere in terms of knowledge seeking. If I want to have a conversation in for example FI or here, it's not because I want to grow my knowledge for the sake of knowing better. If knowing better did nothing to better my life, I wouldn't have come down this road. But since I have found for myself that knowledge is necessary for all the things that matter to me, I pursue knowledge.

When I feel like a conversation I am having is no longer relevant to me and what I'm concerned with most, I internally disengage, even if I externally stay on the topic.

About the topics that I doubt. There are topics that I generally recognize to matter, but don't matter TO ME. I don't dismiss them. I just choose to not get into them, as time and mental energy and other resources that we have are limited, and we can't engage in every topic. These include politics, social systems (unless related to psychology), most sciences, the details in theology, most art, so on.

But there are also topics that I think of as running around in circles. These are specific to topics that chase any form of ultimate truth through pure use of logic, or through a combination of logic and empiricism. There's a lot of context in why I think of truth seeking via logic and empiricism as limited and that it won't get you where you want to go, but I don't think I want to discuss that in this community.


Sia at 10:14 PM on September 6, 2020 | #17897 | reply | quote

FYI Sia #17897 - curi and I talked a bit about this thread and related stuff in my tutorial today (about 80 min in): https://youtu.be/PYiORXw-hWY?t=4904


Max at 4:32 AM on September 7, 2020 | #17898 | reply | quote

#17898

Oh thanks max. Will check it out tonight


Sia at 5:20 AM on September 7, 2020 | #17899 | reply | quote

I watched that bit where curi talked about the way he wants to approach it. Agai, I agree with this bit

>> I think you would need to better understand why it's hard, and come up with a major new thing, to solve this problem. Realistically you can't contribute a solution that survives all my criticism until you're familiar with a lot more of my thinking and how I criticize things.

so I'm not gonna try and "solve" anything. But I'm gonna share a few pointers that caught my attention. You can build on top of that in your own mental context that I do not know of and takes too long for a conversation to cover.

1. The point where you mentioned how you kinda defaulted to automatic responses to a lot of situations in your conversations. I'm guessing the reason is that since you have a lot of conversations, a lot of situations are recurring themes, so you turn to recurring responses. Maybe understanding why the recurring themes happen will give you a broader perspective on how to handle them more appropriately. But I suspect you might have already done that. I still felt it's good to mention.

Also, even though this recurring theme is obvious to you, it might be good for you to consider that it's not as obvious to the other end of the conversation. You've had this conversation a thousand times, but the pattern isn't as obvious to the other person. Putting yourself in the eyes of that other person and his lack of knowledge in certain things that go into your side of the conversation helps having more effective conversations.

2. "Just-in-time reevaluations that you gotta end up doing". Yeah I think I've been there too. It's like a window or a door opens that you can see an issue more broadly and clearly, and if you don't act on it the window gets closed and that broad view on the issue is no longer available like that. It's your call though. I personally think your community could really use a transitional system or something that can help the new members integrate into the community healthily.

3. transitioning members idea. I liked it, but I think making a separate part (FI light?) is not as effective as just adding an integrated new part to your community system that has a purpose of helping new members transition to the community properly. The reason I think the separate community is not as effective is that it needs its own authority and management, + after new members transition and fit into that community, they again have to go through another transitional phase if they wanna enter the main community.

Why does it need authority/management? The assumption is that the new members are more naive thinkers, people with lots of errors and little mental discipline. Of course not all of them, but that tends to be the norm. So if you just create that community and leave it to those people, they'll just create a mess of confusion and who knows where the arguments go to. If the goal of FI is for free thinkers to discuss and argue about ideas in order to better those ideas, I don't think that'd be possible through making a smaller community of more naive thinkers.

Ironically though, I have no other alternatives with details. As I said, I'm just throwing these words at you, maybe they're all already thought of. Maybe they spark something. Just sharing ideas.


Sia at 7:29 AM on September 7, 2020 | #17900 | reply | quote

#17878

> I'm not very good at welcoming most people and getting them into the community. There are reasons and no one has been able to suggest any viable improvements. No one else is doing it better for FI despite my many requests. There are other people who are more conventional than me and could maybe get along with new people better and try to introduce them, but they won't do it much.

Welcoming people is something I’m interested in. I’ve tried to do it some in the past. Reasons why I’ve stopped:

1) I have a memory of saying something like “hello and welcome” to new Discord people for a while and being asked to stop doing that because it was too pressuring. But maybe I’m mistaken and it was people saying more than that who were asked to stop. I want to look for where that was said but I think it was in a channel that no longer exists or that I no longer have access to.

2) I understand more now about the distinction between objective reality and social reality. I think you (curi) want FI to be a place where people focus on objective reality and not on social reality. Welcoming and friendliness and trying to help people feel comfortable are social reality things, so I think you don’t want them to happen at FI, or if you do want them to happen, your vision of what they’d be like is different from mine. This seems like a complicated topic. (I’m not super sure about anything I said in this paragraph.)

3) I myself don’t feel as welcome at FI or as much a part of the FI community as I used to. I can’t help new people succeed at something I can’t succeed at. If someone takes on the project of welcoming new people, maybe I’d benefit from it.


Anonymous at 1:11 PM on September 7, 2020 | #17905 | reply | quote

#17905 I told you to stop welcoming people who *had not talked*. That's too stalker.

Re (2) you're trying to cargo cult me and doing an awful job. You're better off with common sense than these rationalistic philosophical confusions that you apparently adopt with little to no critical discussion.

re (3) you're heavily dropping context and comparing your problems to *very very different* problems an *actual new person* would have.


curi at 3:04 PM on September 7, 2020 | #17907 | reply | quote

#17906

> point #2 has another weird thing. complicated topic? it doesn't seem complicated to me. here's what i envision. you continue welcoming people to FI. and when elliot or others give feedback on your process, analyze and adjust (according to your judgement, meaning you're fully happy with the change).

if people are gonna stop when they get negative feedback, i'd like to know that in advance. then i'll just say "you suck" instead of giving reasons. it'll be easier to write. giving reasons is pointless if people aren't going to use them. or sometimes, if i know nothing will be fixed, i just won't say anything if i'd rather they keep doing it that stop entirely. not all problems are "worse than nothing" type problems.

PS i think using your blog more has helped you and that other people would benefit from writing more regularly like that.


curi at 3:23 PM on September 7, 2020 | #17909 | reply | quote

#17907

> I told you to stop welcoming people who *had not talked*. That's too stalker.

Now I remember it as you say. I agree that it’s too stalker to welcome people before they’ve said anything. It’s notable and bad that I didn’t remember it that way.


Anonymous at 4:31 PM on September 7, 2020 | #17910 | reply | quote

From reading some of what you guys talked about, I think I also wanna add something again.

> a place where people focus on objective reality and not on social reality. Welcoming and friendliness and trying to help people feel comfortable are social reality things, so I think you don’t want them to happen at FI

This is a crucial error! You cannot dismiss the human part in a human conversation. People who are discussing things are not computers that are comparing data and analysis. There is "separating objective reality with social reality". There surely could be a ground/context in which two people are clear that they want to discuss a topic objectively together, and they proceed to do so. But in this specific discussion about newbies and the people who just entered the community, there's A LOT of social stuff going on. I'm sure even if you don't have some sort of background in psychology or sociology, you can appreciate this feeling of alienation or anxiety or confusion when you enter a new environment. This happens less if your stay at that environment is temporary, like a hospital or a distant relative's home. But if you move to a new city, or a new workplace, you can see how tense this sort of thing gets. The only way you can become "objective" is to fool yourself and suppress the psychological turbulence.

I think the human and subjective aspects are a must-consider in every human conversation.


Sia at 10:29 PM on September 7, 2020 | #17911 | reply | quote

Ah. Also wanna add:

Different people have different capacities in being criticized and being shown where they're wrong before they become defensive. There are a lot of factors into why a person's defense mechanisms come up. But the worst thing one can do is to suppress these negative emotions that rise up with the criticism.

I think the psychological environment in this community has this intellectual tone to it that people submit to, because that what most people do in new environments; they either submit to the ways of the environment or they rebel. There are different forms of rebellion too. Some people leave immediately. Some people start making trouble in the name of standing against the stream. And a very few number of people choose to directly approach their issues with that environment and try to understand and resolve the issue.

As I was saying, there is this intellectual "be analytical, be critical, be serious, etc" invisible "rules" in this community that runs around in the environment. People who just submit or rebel stop being themselves and learn to adapt with their social persona in FI. This causes less authentic conversations on the side of these people. They say what they think they're expected to say instead of saying what they have to.

I'm not really sure if this is curi's fault, because as he said, if people can't take criticism, they can't improve. But I still think it's a good idea to not take everything totally objectively and take in subjective and interpersonal issues into account. It's not possible to be perfect and know how much everyone's capacity of criticism is, but for example, people can assume that who they're talking to is affected a lot by the social norm of being fragile and defensive against criticism by default (statistically this seem right. right?) And instead of just going soft on them and saying what they like to hear (which I understand why curi doesn't like), you could give them context of how you're being critical to help improve their ideas, without some sort of "isn't is obvious? what else do you think I'm doing?" background tone to it. Think of people you don't know as babies in the path of thinking and criticism (especially learning self-criticism).

I think that's a good starting point for each individual in the community. Not sure about any systemic solutions though


Sia at 10:43 PM on September 7, 2020 | #17912 | reply | quote

> As I was saying, there is this intellectual "be analytical, be critical, be serious, etc" invisible "rules" in this community that runs around in the environment.

I don't think it's "rules". Partly it's cargo culting. People copy me badly, even though I keep telling them not to.

If anything is a "rule" it's be honest and talk about what's going on. If something seems bad or confusing, say so. But no one listens to me.

> This causes less authentic conversations on the side of these people.

Yes. People pretend to be something they're not. They do it badly. They get bad results.

> people can assume that who they're talking to is affected a lot by the social norm of being fragile and defensive against criticism by default

When i assume this, people get upset and ask to be treated like they are super rational.

When i don't assume this, people get upset too.

> Think of people you don't know as babies in the path of thinking and criticism (especially learning self-criticism).

But I've tried that many times and people dislike that.

People want to be treated like they are competent adults. They notice when you are treating them like they are babies and dislike that.

They want to talk about sophisticated, impressive stuff that's too hard for them, rather than learn about easier stuff. They are pretending to be better than they are. Young children don't do that but ~all adults do (some young adults do it less).

And people will directly say they want to have rational debates, and want me to give full criticism and treat them rationally without holding back. People often insist on that with me.


curi at 11:11 PM on September 7, 2020 | #17913 | reply | quote

#17906

> you should care about any incompatibilities. you seem to be thinking that all welcoming is social dynamics. i don't see why that would be the case. i think some welcoming is just plain truth telling. just like some praise is truth telling.

If you’re saying/doing something with the purpose of welcoming someone, you’re doing a social thing. The thing you’re saying might be objectively true. But there are lots of objectively true things you could say. If you’re picking that thing to say with the purpose of showing someone that there’s a comfortable place for them in the FI social world, you’re doing it for a social reality reason.

I’m not sure if you mean the same thing by “social dynamics” that I do by “social reality”. I'm also not sure if I mean the same thing by "social reality" that anyone else does. If not, that's something I might like to discuss more.


Anonymous at 12:07 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17914 | reply | quote

#17914 You do social things all the time. I don't get why you're so scared of this fairly mild one. Selective attention? Bias? Also the original issue was introducing people to how to use FI (communicating useful ideas), not socially saying "welcome".


Anonymous at 12:22 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17915 | reply | quote

#17907

> re (3) you're heavily dropping context and comparing your problems to *very very different* problems an *actual new person* would have.

I think that many new people have problems handling criticism and problems understanding and dealing with the FI social world and that I have those problems too. I don’t think I’ve made much progress on these problems since I was I new person here.


Anonymous at 12:26 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17916 | reply | quote

#17914 and #17916 wait are you the same person who was talking in the thread before?

you joined the discussion and talked like you're the same anon from #17905 and #17910 but maybe you're not?


anon#17915 at 12:30 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17917 | reply | quote

#17915

> You do social things all the time. I don't get why you're so scared of this fairly mild one. Selective attention? Bias?

I’m not scared of welcoming people. There’s something else going on that I am now conscious of and didn’t say yesterday. I can’t right now think of a way of addressing it.


Anonymous at 12:37 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17918 | reply | quote

#17917 Yes, I am the person who wrote all of those.


Anonymous at 12:39 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17919 | reply | quote

Are social dynamics considered a bad thing? Always? Are they sometimes a good thing? If they can be both good and bad at different times, how does one tell the difference in a reliable way?


Anonymous at 12:50 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17920 | reply | quote

#17913

Ah. I understand. This is too complicated for me to find any realistic solutions for. I personally just get to know the persons that I talk to for a while, NOT expose them to the amount of things that I know so they don't create some sort of "intellectual" image of me in their heads and think they have to act and be a certain way in front of me. This way I am just another person who has some good things to say. Then slowly as we talk, based on my knowledge of who they are I adjust how I talk to each person.

But what you're doing in this community is very different. Most of those people are people I already know in my life, and most are IRL contacts. I have the time to get to know them. I'm not in a rush. If I'm having a conversation with them, it's because both of us are interested in the conversation. etc. But you are already recognized as an intellectual, so you can't avoid people's projections of who you are and how they should react toward you (they wanna match your/community's "level"). On the other hand, you don't have the time or mental capacity to deal with all the random strangers and get to know them enough to know how to deal with each of them, and that's even before we consider the anonymous status of a lot of these people.

I think you are systematically set up to fail to connect with others in any way that is satisfactory. The best thing I can think of that you can do, is that tell each person that wants to talk to you, very briefly, this situation that you discussed above:

> Yes. People pretend to be something they're not. They do it badly. They get bad results.

> When i assume this, people get upset and ask to be treated like they are super rational.

When i don't assume this, people get upset too.

and so on.

I think if you do your role at clarifying that you'd rather have a real conversation than a "intellectual looking" one, maybe some people will reconsider. Dunno though it has to be put to practice and the results will show.


Sia at 12:51 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17921 | reply | quote

Maybe a post/discussion about "psychological challenges of criticism" would help. and one about "be yourself, instead of being what you expect others to expect you to be. => How can you truly learn, if the person who is present in the discussion isn't really you?"


Sia at 12:55 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17922 | reply | quote

#17913

oh forgot to mention

>I don't think it's "rules". Partly it's cargo culting. People copy me badly, even though I keep telling them not to.

This is why I used the phrase "invisible rules". It's the type of thing that nobody said, but a significant number of people do act upon. It's not an accident that the literature people use to communicate in discussions seems similar. It's the default response of a lot of people to new environments: to adapt to the social norm.

Ironic as it is that places like FI are supposed to get people out of cult-like conformity and to make each person think for himself, it could actually do the opposite for a lot of people.


Sia at 1:00 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17923 | reply | quote

> I think you are systematically set up to fail to connect with others in any way that is satisfactory. The best thing I can think of that you can do, is that tell each person that wants to talk to you, very briefly, this situation that you discussed above:

IME ppl like me better if i don't do meta discussion like that.

Also, even if I did get to know people first, it still wouldn't work. It seems to work for you because you have different ideas and conversations. With me, people would think I bait and switched them, and now that I've revealed that I'm a witch they'll want to burn me.


curi at 1:13 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17924 | reply | quote

#17917

I wrote #17914. I am a new anon to the discussion.


anon14 at 1:32 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17925 | reply | quote

Haha. I can now only empathize with you brotha.


Sia at 1:32 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17926 | reply | quote

> #17917

> I wrote #17914. I am a new anon to the discussion.

I made a mistake. I wrote #17920 not #17914.


anon14 at 1:36 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17927 | reply | quote

#17927 if you'd put in some name (switch every thread if you want) you wouldn't have these problems. idk why a bunch of people want to share the name Anonymous and make a mess. it seems like Anonymous got more popular a couple days ago when i suggested people use *anything other than their real name*. i don't understand why.

also in general i ignore ppl way more if i can't associate them with a positive reputation. some ppl who have been around a long time post Anonymous and it doesn't matter much b/c i can tell who they are by reading what they said, but that doesn't work with people i know less well.


curi at 1:44 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17928 | reply | quote

#17920

It's not clear from reading your questions how much you already understand, how much you've read, what your own thoughts are, what your learning process is, etc.

> Are social dynamics considered a bad thing?

Social dynamics are part of tradition. There are bad things in them, like with other traditions. But just rejecting them without understanding them or knowing how to replace them isn't good either.

> If they can be both good and bad at different times, how does one tell the difference in a reliable way?

There are lots of things that are sometimes good and sometimes bad. Eating, drinking water, going to the grocery store, going outside, sleeping, lying, telling the truth.

You have to look at the context and use your judgement. There isn't a mechanical set of rules you can use to know when things are good or bad.


anotherAnon at 2:07 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17929 | reply | quote

I also have a note about the social dynamics thing.

I think it's an important thing to consider that societies have status quos, and that this status quo acts as a homeostasis; it's like a pendulum. I'll explain to make it a bit more clear.

When you are born, you are cognitively and knowledge-wise totally dependent on your parents/parent-figures. Without them and the larger society that's effecting them, you're not that different from an orphan cavebaby (caveman's baby lol). It is the ideas and dynamics of the society that effects the parents that then transfers to the kid and brings him up to meet the status quo of that society at that stage of his life. In this way, it has an uplifting effect on the kid. Same goes for adults. It brings you from an utter new situation that you yourself have to examine and discover for yourself (like me going to my first job this month) to its level of understanding/cognition/knowledge. Since I got introduced to Popper's process of knowledge creation, let me use that here. The society, just like an individual, also goes through this process of knowledge creation through conjectures and refutations. So the knowledge that currently is ingrained in society is the result of a complex and long-term social knowledge creation process. This knowledge is passed onto each member of the society, and the person moves up on knowledge quickly through these ideas.

BUT, as I said, this "moving up" is the result of a pendulum-like movement. The status quo is bringing you up to meet its current level. But as you reach it, you get an opposite level as you try to break its limit. You see a pull-back effect from society. For example, in a third world country people might point at you for doing something differently than how it's done traditionally, you get misjudged, people think of you as "the other", and this force to bring you back to conformity is put on your shoulders.

So I guess I don't think of social dynamics as "good and bad", but rather "lifting up" in knowledge/cognition vs "pulling down". It's also worthy to note that it doesn't fully lift you up or pull you down. You can be getting lifted up at some place and pulled down in another at the same time. Example: As I go to work, the current society pressures me to learn to be responsible for what I do, but at the same time it teaches me that if you can get away with something that is good for you and bad for your employer (like slack off without anyone noticing), do it.


Sia at 2:39 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17930 | reply | quote

#17928

> if you'd put in some name (switch every thread if you want) you wouldn't have these problems.

ok.

#17929

> You have to look at the context and use your judgement. There isn't a mechanical set of rules you can use to know when things are good or bad.

ok. Depends on context was roughly my guess. This was helpful on how to think about social dynamics:

> There are lots of things that are sometimes good and sometimes bad. Eating, drinking water, going to the grocery store, going outside, sleeping, lying, telling the truth.


anon14 at 2:49 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17931 | reply | quote

Maybe I wrote too much above to just say this:

Society isn't inherently good or bad. It either lifts you up or pulls you down. Either way, learn to think for yourself and distinguish what is good and what is bad in society based on your own authentic values. The reason society is thought of as "bad" isn't as much its inherent evil, but that people who conform to it give up their identity, self-exploration and knowledge, for comfort and easy answers. And this ignorance and conformity gives way for the bad and the evil.


Sia at 2:56 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17932 | reply | quote

#17930

> Example: As I go to work, the current society pressures me to learn to be responsible for what I do, but at the same time it teaches me that if you can get away with something that is good for you and bad for your employer (like slack off without anyone noticing), do it.

I don’t think slacking off without anyone noticing it is good for you if it hurts the business. If you slack off and it hurts your employer (as you write it does: “bad for your employer”) it might lead to you losing your job. This is generally not good for you.

I think that “good for you” should be judged by another standard than the pragmatic and shortsighted one that I read this example to be.


anon14 at 3:11 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17933 | reply | quote

What you said is YOUR judgement. That's my point. You thought for yourself, saw the bigger picture, and decided that slacking off is not good for you, because you see the domino that goes around a circle to come back and fall on you yourself.

But what I'm saying is that I see others doing it. I see others doing their job right only when they fear authority. And that they slack off when they can. And then they act as if what they're doing is normal or that they're being smart(not all of them btw. some people). If I don't think for myself, this small society teaches me that this is good. This is one example of a social dynamic that has a negative effect, posing as positive.


Sia at 3:53 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17934 | reply | quote

#17934

> If I don't think for myself, this small society teaches me that this is good. This is one example of a social dynamic that has a negative effect, posing as positive.

ok. I think I misunderstood your previous post.


anon14 at 4:35 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17935 | reply | quote

#17935

Nah it made sense for you to say that. I didn't explain the context in my head clearly in that post


Sia at 5:12 AM on September 8, 2020 | #17936 | reply | quote

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