Why are people here? (also, experiments in community building)

Discussion for all topics (until the forum becomes large enough to justify splitting things up this will be where all topics go)
archon
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu May 25, 2017 11:02 am

Why are people here? (also, experiments in community building)

Post by archon » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:06 pm

I get the impression that the typical user of this forum is here more because of the medium, than because of rationalism.

If all you wanted was rationalism, there are lots of places to go - but if you are here, its because you wanted rationalism and also the nice sensible format of a BBS style forum.

Those few of us who are around, do you know anything about local community building, or that kind of thing? Or has seen other such systems start from the begining? We should try and keep this little corner of the internet moving somewhat.

The only thing I can think of, is just to talk, and hope someone replies. About whatever petty stuff comes to mind, and might interest the others. And if you see someone talking, talk back.

Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I am willing to give it a go. (as I am now)

Who's with me (or with any set of ideals that will lead to you moving in approximately the same direction)?
"Don't be silly -- if we were meant to evolve naturally, why would God have given us subdermal implants?"

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

Re: Why are people here? (also, experiments in community building)

Post by Raininginsanity » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:36 pm

Internet Lore has taught me that if you want to be popular, be controversial. Someone should argue for creating a Basilisk AI on Utilitarian grounds. I'm sure that would get some people to pay attention. :p

Mostly I think us who are active should just post more. Try and keep conversations going on multiple fronts. Scott continues to mentioned the forum every week which means people are probably looking, but just not finding anything of interest.

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

Re: Why are people here? (also, experiments in community building)

Post by archon » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:33 am

Raininginsanity wrote:
Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:36 pm
Internet Lore has taught me that if you want to be popular, be controversial. Someone should argue for creating a Basilisk AI on Utilitarian grounds. I'm sure that would get some people to pay attention. :p

Mostly I think us who are active should just post more. Try and keep conversations going on multiple fronts. Scott continues to mentioned the forum every week which means people are probably looking, but just not finding anything of interest.
Yeah, I think this is probably correct. You can also see that the view counts on old topics are really high, considering activity, so I think lots of people come here are leave again. Its a bit of a issue. But yeah - controversy. I dunno. It never occurred to me that we could die of niceness. Maybe we should ask that communist guy back. Or start a good opinionated debate. Having a enemy would probably be easier.
"Don't be silly -- if we were meant to evolve naturally, why would God have given us subdermal implants?"

MarxBro

Re: Why are people here? (also, experiments in community building)

Post by MarxBro » Sat Jul 15, 2017 5:39 am

Maybe we should ask that communist guy back.
I lurk. I'm not really a very "controversial" guy - I just happen to be a communist.

SolenoidEntity
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue May 09, 2017 3:42 am

Re: Why are people here? (also, experiments in community building)

Post by SolenoidEntity » Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:36 pm

Started a thread about hell - if that doesn't get people debating, we'll have to move on to dust specks.

(In all seriousness I'm interested in discussing that article, not just starting debate for its own sake. But yeah, we should probably just post more until other people start doing the same.)

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

Re: Why are people here? (also, experiments in community building)

Post by archon » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:29 am

SolenoidEntity wrote:
Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:36 pm
Started a thread about hell - if that doesn't get people debating, we'll have to move on to dust specks.

(In all seriousness I'm interested in discussing that article, not just starting debate for its own sake. But yeah, we should probably just post more until other people start doing the same.)
Good choice.

and yeah, I was having a little trouble thinking of debate topics without being needlessly aggressive or otherwise trying to start a fight, which just seems kinda mean, community building aside.
"Don't be silly -- if we were meant to evolve naturally, why would God have given us subdermal implants?"

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

Re: Why are people here? (also, experiments in community building)

Post by Raininginsanity » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:06 pm

Well I've began defending Mormonism. I may as well be claiming that programming morality into an AI is simple and that we shouldn't waste money on it.

This may or may not drive any sort of interest. It may just draw out the anti-theists more than anything else.

I really am curious about how religion and rationality can intersect. Having a movement that rejects God at the onset is bad press. Like if the EA movement endorsed systematic change.

http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/09/22/be ... ic-change/

But I do not see that changing any time soon.

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

Re: Why are people here? (also, experiments in community building)

Post by phaedrus » Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:35 pm

archon wrote:
Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:06 pm
I get the impression that the typical user of this forum is here more because of the medium, than because of rationalism.
This is definitely true of me. I've noticed that subcultures that had a few years to ferment on forums tend to punch above their weight. The esoteric Twitter left mostly comes from Something Awful and nowadays some of them are writing for the New York Times. The esoteric Twitter right mostly comes from two related forums, MPC and Salo, and they've turned into The Big Thing That Is Happening in the art world.

This is also true of LW. Yudkowsky was on some transhumanist mailing lists before he started writing for OB, then his writing for OB spun off into LW, which, while not quite a forum, was evidently close enough to spawn a scene. Now that the not-a-forum is mostly dead, the scene has deteriorated. We don't have the quality of intellectual output that we had even a few years ago; it's all classical liberalism and tulpamancy. "Postrationality" was interesting while it lasted, but it seems to have died on the vine.
Those few of us who are around, do you know anything about local community building, or that kind of thing? Or has seen other such systems start from the begining? We should try and keep this little corner of the internet moving somewhat.
I'm trying to get people to start posting, but "come generate content for us" is a much harder sales pitch than "come interact with the content that's already been generated". Just as it's easier to join a conversation than to start one (at least online), it's easier to get people to join a conversation that's already been started than to get people to start one themselves.
The only thing I can think of, is just to talk, and hope someone replies. About whatever petty stuff comes to mind, and might interest the others. And if you see someone talking, talk back.
I think we're running into the same sort of problem that drove the exodus from LW to Tumblr. People are afraid of starting new topics (this is why I started the random thread), and afraid of embarrassing themselves by posting things that are ill-thought-out or wrong or whatever. Well, we're all sinners^Wwrong, so there's no reason to worry about that. You can be wrong and still start a conversation worth having.

It might help to adopt the rules of Ben Franklin's Junto, which I think is at least one of the most successful 'rationalist groups' in American history, and which we may do well to learn from:
https://usonianfolkways.tumblr.com/post ... lins-junto
https://usonianfolkways.tumblr.com/post ... nth-virtue

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

Re: Why are people here? (also, experiments in community building)

Post by archon » Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:04 am

phaedrus wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:35 pm
archon wrote: ↑Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:36 pm
I get the impression that the typical user of this forum is here more because of the medium, than because of rationalism.
This is definitely true of me. I've noticed that subcultures that had a few years to ferment on forums tend to punch above their weight. The esoteric Twitter left mostly comes from Something Awful and nowadays some of them are writing for the New York Times. The esoteric Twitter right mostly comes from two related forums, MPC and Salo, and they've turned into The Big Thing That Is Happening in the art world.

This is also true of LW. Yudkowsky was on some transhumanist mailing lists before he started writing for OB, then his writing for OB spun off into LW, which, while not quite a forum, was evidently close enough to spawn a scene. Now that the not-a-forum is mostly dead, the scene has deteriorated. We don't have the quality of intellectual output that we had even a few years ago; it's all classical liberalism and tulpamancy. "Postrationality" was interesting while it lasted, but it seems to have died on the vine.
This is interesting - I just like is because of the format, and hadn't thought about the qualities of communities that is promotes. But, yeah, now that I think about it, I hear many fewer people complaining about this method of communication than practically any other form of internet community. It occurs to me that a bit of isolation might be the reason - each forum is self-contained, and so communities have time to think and develop, and are mostly populated by people who are interested in the topic. I'd never think that less cross-pollination might be a advantage of a thing on the internet, but the internet is very full of people - having a small box full of people with a common interest might be a very good means of community building, and this structure is a good one for it.
phaedrus wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:35 pm
Those few of us who are around, do you know anything about local community building, or that kind of thing? Or has seen other such systems start from the begining? We should try and keep this little corner of the internet moving somewhat.
I'm trying to get people to start posting, but "come generate content for us" is a much harder sales pitch than "come interact with the content that's already been generated". Just as it's easier to join a conversation than to start one (at least online), it's easier to get people to join a conversation that's already been started than to get people to start one themselves.
The only thing I can think of, is just to talk, and hope someone replies. About whatever petty stuff comes to mind, and might interest the others. And if you see someone talking, talk back.
I think we're running into the same sort of problem that drove the exodus from LW to Tumblr. People are afraid of starting new topics (this is why I started the random thread), and afraid of embarrassing themselves by posting things that are ill-thought-out or wrong or whatever. Well, we're all sinners^Wwrong, so there's no reason to worry about that. You can be wrong and still start a conversation worth having.

It might help to adopt the rules of Ben Franklin's Junto, which I think is at least one of the most successful 'rationalist groups' in American history, and which we may do well to learn from:
https://usonianfolkways.tumblr.com/post ... lins-junto
https://usonianfolkways.tumblr.com/post ... nth-virtue
This is probably true, but it sounds like work. Bleh.

I'll try to start making more topics - When I have something to say, I'll say it. But will be bit subject to demands on my time (and on my work ethic, which is probably more pressing, when it comes to anything more strenuous than reading lots and chatting away).
"Don't be silly -- if we were meant to evolve naturally, why would God have given us subdermal implants?"

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