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Improving The World With Written Discussion Rules

my current main idea for how to improve the world is to spread the idea that intellectuals should publicly write down their discussion rules.

it’s something that fans could demand from authors, podcasters, etc, esp the many who do Q&As, AMAs, etc

and it gives a way for new ppl to identify themselves as rational, and challenge those with larger audiences and differentiate themselves

this is an example of a medium level CR idea. it’s not tiny details, but it’s an application of CR thinking.

it’s not super connected to CR, like it doesn’t logically follow from evolutionary epistemology. but it fits the critical, fallibilist spirit and concretizes a piece of how error correction can work.

other ppl are less interested b/c of their disinterest in criticism and error correction, whereas i see things like how to be open to lots of criticism as crucial.

it’s also one of the main problems i ran into when trying to talk to intellectuals. also with the ppl who come to FI and quit, it’s very hard to stop them from quitting b/c they all have different unstated rules about what they will quit over.

also, the vast majority of discussion forums are moderated. they usually have some written rules but the moderators do not follow those rules, and actually moderate by unwritten rules.

intellectuals will lie about their discussion rules. they’d have to be called out for this a lot. and there’d have to be an ethos of follow the literal rules instead of it being ok to break them whenever it’s common sense or you have a reason.

which is why ppl put up with moderator actions. they routinely break written rules, or enforce unwritten rules, to act in socially normal ways that seem reasonable or common sense to many ppl.

our legal system is better than this. you only go to jail if you LITERALLY break laws. this is very ingrained in judges, jury instructions, etc. (otoh you can be let off the hook if you literally broke the law but ppl think what u did is fine. the exceptions mostly just go the one way, for innocence and tolerance.)


See also my writing on Paths Forward, such as Using Intellectual Processes to Combat Bias and the further material linked at the bottom of that article.


Elliot Temple on March 2, 2019

Comments (4)

given all rules have to be interpreted, how does "an ethos of follow the literal rules" work?


Anonymous at 2:36 PM on March 3, 2019 | #11949 | reply | quote

UK has unwritten constitution - bad?


Anonymous at 2:37 PM on March 3, 2019 | #11950 | reply | quote

you TRY to follow the rules, as written, instead of TRYING to follow the rules as adjusted by common sense so ur like "well it says X but Y makes more sense so we'll just treat it like Y".

> UK has unwritten constitution - bad?

dunno, don't they have lots of other written stuff?


Anonymous at 2:42 PM on March 3, 2019 | #11951 | reply | quote

> UK has unwritten constitution - bad?

Yes. It would be better to have an explicit statement of some set of principles of government. The government could always ignore them if it wanted, as often seems to happen in the US, but somebody would always be able to point out what they're doing, which also happens in the US.


oh my god it's turpentine at 11:43 PM on March 3, 2019 | #11955 | reply | quote

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