Adversarial Collaboration Contest: Loose Ends And Registration

Thanks to everyone who expressed interest in the adversarial collaborations contest.

There was a lot of good discussion in the last thread, with lots of people offering projects, but I’m not sure if people actually got in contact with each other and finalized their agreements.

So, if you proposed a collaboration in the last thread, please go back, take a look, and see if someone you might want to work with responded to your proposal.

I’m going to post two comments in the comment section of this post.

One is a coordination comment. If you’re looking to find someone who you agreed to do a collaboration with in the last thread, so you can exchange emails with them, please post as a subcomment there. For example “I offered to do a collaboration on gun control, I see Bob839 agreed to partner with me, my email is, please get in touch with me.”

The second is a contest registration comment, so I know how many teams there are. If you and a partner have gotten in touch with one another and chosen a topic (you can always change it later), please post a subcomment there so I know that you’re officially in. If for some reason you’re not comfortable posting there, you can also email me at scott[at]shireroth[dot]org. Please mention your name, your partner’s name, your topic, and (if you’re comfortable giving it), your email.

A couple other people have offered to add prize money. I’ll get back to you once I’ve thought more about this, but I might use the extra money to offer a prize to the team that writes the best postmortem after the contest – about how they did the adversarial collaboration, whether they learned anything from it, and what recommendations they might have for other people trying the format.

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35 Responses to Adversarial Collaboration Contest: Loose Ends And Registration

  1. Scott Alexander says:

    This is the coordination comment. Comment here if you’re looking to get in touch with somebody you talked to in the previous thread.

    • Ski says:

      @Truism never emailed me back about our gun control collaboration. Maybe he’ll see this?

      Here’s the note I sent him in case it’s useful for others trying to figure out how to get started:

      Good to link up on SSC. Wanted to start the conversation about the adversarial collaboration. A few thoughts about how to structure this, let me know what you think. Maybe copy in the Ancient Greek person who responded as well:
      >>Worth setting up a shared place to write/capture ideas – maybe a google doc or other online tool. Any preferences?
      >>Seems necessary to clearly define the terms we’re collaborating to look into first. Maybe a few options:
      >>>>For me, the main point of the pro-gun control side would be demonstrating that gun control saves lives. What do you think?
      >>>>I can imagine another argument about gun availability protecting society from tyranny?
      >>>>Or maybe something around free choice and libertarianism?
      >>>>What are the other points of potential debate one could take two sides of?
      >>>>First step seems like it might be writing up the major potential points of debate
      >>Maybe we can also pull together a bibliography or set of shared readings that we feel present the strongest cases on either side of some of these issues?
      >>What else do you think we should do to kick off?

      • beej67 says:

        I’m very, very new to SSC, but I just finished up a series of articles on Medium that dug pretty deeply into the numbers on guns, and one of the respondents to the series told me I should come here to check SSC out. I quite like the content here. The stuff I wrote was generally pro-gun, so if you are anti-gun and now bereft of possible partners I may be able to substitute, and lend my prior research to that cause.

      • Smith EE says:

        Ski, are you still interested in doing the foreign aid/charity collaboration? Did you see my comment on your previous post? I’d like to do this.

    • Ash says:

      Not sure if I am using this right, but I feel like a bunch of people replied on the whole UBI/Job Guarantee/Welfare Thread but I dont know if anyone specifically formed a team on it. So I will post here to see if anyone actually wanted to commit to it despite all of our comments?

      I would generally be on the “pro UBI” side though of course that shouldn’t be so relevant as we get into it, and we were going to look at the the efficacy of different welfare systems in achieving their goals (so not addressing more moral questions of whether we should have welfare or not). Post if anyone is interested in being an actual pair, and we can email about it?

      • Erusian says:

        Hey Ash. PJIQ and I are doing this. I’d be happy to carry on two at once, though. Or to merge you in if PJIQ is alright with it.

        • pjiq says:

          Ash, I’m pro UBI but I’m pro in a way that isn’t necessarily limited to a “full” UBI (do it could start smaller than a “livable” amount.

          Definitely would appreciste your input/ research. shoot me your email if still interested-

          • Ash says:

            Hey mate – Would certainly be interested in doing a collab, depending on how the post with the others work out! My email is, I didnt see your email so you can shoot me a message if you wish.

        • Ash says:

          Hey mate, I would be happy to jump on your team if you are open, thats probably better than just doing two separately – only if you are both open to it of course.

          An email we can use is, if you want to discuss it, just let me know!

    • losethedebate says:

      Just wanted to confirm for @textor that I am still interested in collaborating on Mercier and Sperber’s Argumentative Theory of Reason. As I said, my email is v r papenhausen at gmail, without the spaces, and I have a friend, who I haven’t asked about this yet, who may be willing to collaborate with us, taking up the “stridently opposed” position, if you think your position isn’t opposed enough to mine to make a good collaboration. As before, I can only start after May 19th, though I could probably start doing research before that, e.g. reading M&S’s book (I’ve only read their Behavior and Brain Science article thus far).

  2. Scott Alexander says:

    This is the registration comment. If you’re entering, comment here with your name, your partner’s name, and what kind of topic you’re going to work on. You can always change it later.

    • a reader says:

      mo vs. a reader: gender dysphoric children should/shouldn’t take puberty blockers

      I hope it’s not a taboo subject. mo gave me the email, so I’ll write first (this week, I hope).

    • christhenottopher says:

      myself and NoRandomWalk with the question: What is the effect of low skill immigration on the effectiveness of government institutions?

      We have already been conversing via email and researching the subject.

    • Douglas Summers-Stay says:

      Douglas Summers-Stay and Søren Elverlin (against) Jonathan Lykins (for): Artificial general intelligence will not be achieved for a thousand years (or something along those lines).

    • JohnBuridan says:

      A dominantly Muslim group could form a liberal democratic polity within the confines of contemporary Islamic Political Thought.

    • JRM says:

      JRM and toBoot:

      The legalization of heroin is/is not a net positive for society

      Both of us have scheduling issues and may fail. But I’m optimistic!

    • flylo says:

      myself and defteq: will tokens and ICO’s will have a substantial impact on business practices in the next 10 years

    • Tracy W says:

      Pjiq and myself on Central planning or collective ownership of property, attempted at an economy wide-scale, have an internal logic that lead to dictatorships.

    • pjiq says:

      Erusian and Pjiq are registered to discuss UBI, as discussed above in the coordination comment thread (with Erusian only being available for prize money because pjiq is doing multiple entries).

      pjiq and BrianBleakley are registering to explore the idea of immortality and whether it would be socially and/or ecologically destructive

    • maintain says:

      aristides and I agreed to collaborate on this:

      Take a group of men who spend more than 30 minutes a week viewing streaming porn sites. If that group were to completely abstain from viewing porn, more than 10% would experience a statistically significant amount of reduction in symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, or attention deficit disorder.

    • Truism says:

      Solomon and Ski.

      Gun control legislation (has some effect on mortality and crime in a society).

    • tayfie says:

      tayfie and aasitus: Social media has/has not caused increasing political polarization.

    • Mengsk says:

      Daniel (for) and Emily (against), the signalling theory of education a la Caplan. We have been conversing on this subject.

  3. moshez says:

    Scott, please consider using “” (or, for example e-mails. These domains are guaranteed by IANA to never point to a valid domain — unlike, say, “” (near as I can tell, a porn site — but what if an e-mail provider buys that in the future, and the poor slob who chose “whatever” as their handle gets spam from people clicking on your link here).

    Brought to you by my pet peeves.

  4. Apologies if this is suggested late or to the wrong post, but I’d take a position that a predisposition to substance addiction is wholly of genetic origins, even if we haven’t (yet) identified all the genes involved. I’d also (separately) posit that Keirseyan Temperament (and even full Myers-Briggs Type) is genetic in the sense that we are who we are from the get-go (i.e., we the same Type at 40 as we are at 3).

    • drunkfish says:

      Can you clarify what you mean by “predisposition”? I think this is either begging the question or demonstrably false. If by “predisposition” you refer entirely to genetic predisposition, then of course it’s entirely genetic. But if you mean “whether someone will become addicted to substances”, this can’t possibly be entirely genetic because if it were, any pair of identical twins would either both be addicts or neither be addicts (which isn’t the case).

      • Best to respond by example, because I’ve never “gotten” the terms right: a family of six kids may include one, none, six or any other number that, when drinking heavily enough, will trigger addiction. The odds are increased if a parent (g-parent) is an addict; decreased if not. A child either is born with it, or not. Similar to diabetes I think: eat enough carbs/sugar and diabetes is triggered in some, but not in others. In this case, it simply takes a heavy drinking episode to trigger addiction (or not, in which case a non-addict will be on his face at a .15 BAL, or likely to avoid ever again drinking so much because the hangover isn’t worth the price). Sorry to be vague on this. I do think you either have addiction, or you don’t. As I often say to those who claim, “Well, I could have been an addict!” “Just try drinking addictively. You won’t be able to.”

    • albatross11 says:

      If it were wholly genetic, we would expect to see the same results (to within sampling error) when identical twins took the test, even when they were raised apart.

      • Good point. It turns out, identical twins raised apart (one by the biological alcoholic parent and the other by non-alcoholic adoptee parents) each have a rate of alcoholism five times that of twins raised by non-alcoholic biological parents, which clearly shows some “genetic” component. However, if one twin triggers alcoholism it doesn’t mean the other has to–IF the other never engages in a “heavy” drinking episode (I think a goodly amount, not just a “beer or two,” as it takes a bit to create the God-like sense of self that alcoholics experience). And, I’ve found, early-to-middle stage alcoholism is rarely found unless one suspects it. And even then, it’s tough to confirm with proof of addictive drinking.

  5. pjiq says:

    Hey Scott:

    Ive actually found a few people to work with- is it ok if I submit multiple entries, as long as I voluntarily exclude myself from any prize $$? I currently work a manual labor job and this is my intellectual outlet, would really enjoy researching all 3 topics-

  6. Tracy W says:

    Can anyone recommend a set of guidelines on adversarial collaboration?

    • Scott Alexander says:

      That’s what we’re going to have when we’re done with this and we see what works and doesn’t work.

      If there are existing ones, I’d love to know about them.

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