"Rat" Abreviation

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Raininginsanity
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue May 23, 2017 4:50 am

Re: "Rat" Abreviation

Post by Raininginsanity » Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:58 pm

How about "RC" for "Rationalist Community"?

I'd much rather be mistaken for a toy car than a rat.

liskantope
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue May 02, 2017 11:33 am

Re: "Rat" Abreviation

Post by liskantope » Sat Jun 10, 2017 11:09 pm

I also find the "rat" abbreviation, which I have only seen on this forum, to be odd. Especially in topic titles like "What does it mean to be a rat?"

I agree that presenting oneself as a "rationalist" sounds a little pretentious, but I'm not sure how to come up with a non-pretentious solution. In terms of inappropriate conceitedness, nothing in this arena is going to top "brights", though... ;)

Vulture
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue May 02, 2017 2:06 am

Re: "Rat" Abreviation

Post by Vulture » Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:33 am

As the person who named that thread, I submit in my defense that I thought it would be funny to give it a title that clearly paralleled "What is it like to be a bat?".
Let's try to make this a place where we can choose not to assign moral valence to empirical claims.

phaedrus
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 4:01 pm

Re: "Rat" Abreviation

Post by phaedrus » Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:48 am

archon wrote:
Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:22 pm
Why do people want to abbreviate Rationalist as Rat? It just doesn't seem to work.
It's self-deprecating and mildly humorous. These are traits that are, for better or worse, considered desirable in the culture that rationalism mostly draws from: you want to maintain a degree of ironic detachment and not take things too seriously. I don't think rationalists would in general be down for promoting an alternative to that mindset -- you'd end up sounding like Mayakovsky, or at least Marinetti.
The main issue is, Rat is a insult. Moreover, it is an insult that implies untrustworthiness and twisty or tricky thinking. These seem to be the exact opposite of the main rationalist virtues of clear thinking and honest dealing. It undermines what is, quite frankly and shaky to non-existent reputation among the greater world, even if it is hardly used.
You might be reading too much into it. "Whig" and "Tory" both originated as insults. And then there's 4chan's productive derivational suffix "-fag". :P

archon
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu May 25, 2017 11:02 am

Re: "Rat" Abreviation

Post by archon » Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:29 am

phaedrus wrote:
Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:48 am
archon wrote:
Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:22 pm
Why do people want to abbreviate Rationalist as Rat? It just doesn't seem to work.
It's self-deprecating and mildly humorous. These are traits that are, for better or worse, considered desirable in the culture that rationalism mostly draws from: you want to maintain a degree of ironic detachment and not take things too seriously. I don't think rationalists would in general be down for promoting an alternative to that mindset -- you'd end up sounding like Mayakovsky, or at least Marinetti.
The main issue is, Rat is a insult. Moreover, it is an insult that implies untrustworthiness and twisty or tricky thinking. These seem to be the exact opposite of the main rationalist virtues of clear thinking and honest dealing. It undermines what is, quite frankly and shaky to non-existent reputation among the greater world, even if it is hardly used.
You might be reading too much into it. "Whig" and "Tory" both originated as insults. And then there's 4chan's productive derivational suffix "-fag". :P
You make a fair point from a cultural/community building perspective. I wasn't thinking about it from that perspective - mostly from a external one. I guess I don't think what we think of it is the issue? Rationalist culture is doing relatively well. I feel like its sometimes more important to make people outside not think we're insane, y'know?

But I might be wrong. It is true that a certain amount of self-deprecation is often good, and so is humour. I'm not good at calibrating such things, though.
"Don't be silly -- if we were meant to evolve naturally, why would God have given us subdermal implants?"

Vulture
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue May 02, 2017 2:06 am

Re: "Rat" Abreviation

Post by Vulture » Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:27 pm

archon wrote:
Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:29 am
[snip]
... I feel like its sometimes more important to make people outside not think we're insane, y'know?

...
I think that a self-deprecating nickname sounds much, much, much less insane than one that comes off as self-important.
Let's try to make this a place where we can choose not to assign moral valence to empirical claims.

archon
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu May 25, 2017 11:02 am

Re: "Rat" Abreviation

Post by archon » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:04 am

Vulture wrote:
Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:27 pm
archon wrote:
Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:29 am
[snip]
... I feel like its sometimes more important to make people outside not think we're insane, y'know?

...
I think that a self-deprecating nickname sounds much, much, much less insane than one that comes off as self-important.
Yeah. Ideally, I think, the nickname would have a minimum of symbology associated with it, beyond saying "rationalist". It doesn't really need to say anything, except for the group it refers too, and anything else is going to get in the way or require us to deal with pre-existing opinions people have.

Now the problem is pulling something out of thin air that still sounds nice/is easy to say is a issue.

Maybe wait until someone has a fortuitous typo?
"Don't be silly -- if we were meant to evolve naturally, why would God have given us subdermal implants?"

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