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[outline of a post for LW2. comments go at the bottom]

Scenes: Outline

Ben Franklin's Junto

· Ben Franklin's autobiography began as letters to his son, so we can expect forthrightness and practical advice that maybe wouldn't be there in other autobiographies. He eventually intended it for publication, but he intended for his works to make America more virtuous, so we can still expect etc

· Franklin talks about his Junto: a secret society / 'inner circle' that was very useful to him

· · First subscription library and first firefighting company came from Junto

Now look at other successful people. Did they have something like the Junto? Most major figures in this part of memespace did, at least:

· Thiel, Musk: Paypal Mafia

· Tolkien, Lewis: Inklings

· Yudkowsky, Hanson: spawned from some Usenet discussion group

· Scott Alexander: LW itself

· Who else? (Mencius Moldbug: Cult of the Dead Cow)

· Postrationality sort of came from the 'secret treehouse' (as did the concept of this post - we talked about the Junto and the Inklings a lot)

Even applies to lowbrow stuff like internet humor: dril was active on Something Awful for ten years or so before he got big on Twitter, and Chapo Trap House also came from Something Awful via its Twitter diaspora

Sometimes people don't come from a well-defined scene (Neal Stephenson)... but Stephenson gets the importance of scenes (Anathem)

Now, why does this matter?

· LW was once one scene, but has since become many (cf. language change, biological evolution) - any attempt to revive LW as a single scene is going to have to reintegrate the disparate scenes

· · Message I sent a while back that I was told I ought to write up:

[Facebook Effect quote from that one LW2 post on LW1] The diaspora has been building things since the decline of LW, but it's fragmented into lots and lots of tiny traditions that have built things that aren't easy to link to. This is the normal mode for productivity on the internet -- things incubate in the shadows for a long time, and then maybe they make high-profile appearances (you've heard of dril, right? he incubated on Something Awful for like ten years) or maybe they just keep incubating until the people who were there for all the context leave and either no one's there anymore or the people there have only a hazy idea of what happened. (This is also basically how languages are formed. And species.) The nice thing about that is that, if the diaspora does in fact return, it could be very productive -- everyone trying to figure out how to explain all the stuff they've incubated. · Are we even sure that trying to resurrect LW2 as the same sort of thing as LW1 is a good idea?

· · Alternatives:

· · encourage diversification of scenes (some sort of Facebook-like groups feature on LW2?)

· · shoot for some sort of Anathem deal where LW2 is the platform for periodic 'apert from the maths' (compatible with point 1)

· · · but it is useful to have a single beacon that draws people in

· · focus on building out post-LW scenes and draw LW down to the core MIRI deal

· · · but it is useful to have a sort of hub

· · · · but that might prevent productive divergence...

· Instrumental rationality: scenes seem to be important, so we should study them and encourage their formation

· · Even if all you're trying to do is write a blog... well, notice how much Scott draws on what's going on in the scene he's part of. he doesn't just come up with his own ideas, he riffs on what's going on in the scene and sometimes gives other people's concepts extensive writeups

· · · which is an important function! many of us aren't very good writers and/or don't really write >2k words about anything (myself included)

· · Scenes allow specialization

· · · I consciously adopt the specialization of exploring ideaspace and pointing out places that could be worth exploiting, because I'm better at that than at rigor or presentability. Other people are good at rigor and presentability and do that instead.(Yudkowsky, for example)

· · · · (incidentally, American culture overvalues originality and undervalues refinement -- what good is an idea that isn't understandable and presentable? [in fact, sometimes presentability is actively seen as a negative] you need both)

comments section, in case such a thing is desired

vedrfolnir04 November 2017, 07:39


vedrfolnir04 November 2017, 07:39

if there are other comments, I can't see them

obormot04 November 2017, 16:22

nope, no other comments

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