This is the bi-weekly-ish open thread. Post about anything you want, ask random questions, whatever. Also:
1. You might remember my nootropics survey from two years ago. I’m running an updated version this week with some new substances and a couple of other questions. If you use any nootropics – substances like modafinil, piracetam, and bacopa that are supposed to improve mood and cognition even outside the context of specific psychiatric illnesses – please take the survey. Results will be posted here eventually.
2. Some great discussion on the Superforecasting reviews. Just in case you missed it, we have at least two superforecasters here, Elissa and Dan M, who are happy to answer any questions you may have about their freaky otherworldly powers.
3. Comments of the week include Kyle on how specific knowledge about how GitHub works can help us better understand that study, and Jason Hoyt (the co-founder of the preprint site that hosted the study) on the risks and benefits of preprint review.
4. Also on the subject of the GitHub study: I was unusually impressed with the people who shared and debated it. Most people were suitably cautious, people avoided the “OKAY NOW THIS STUDY IS TOTALLY DISPROVEN AND 100% GARBAGE” failure mode, and a lot of the people I saw sharing and debating my analysis were women. This did more good than a bushel of studies in helping fight some of my bias and prejudice.
5. Some job listings in the community: the Center For Applied Rationality (CFAR) in Berkeley is looking for a full-time inside salesperson. And the effective altruist movement is accepting applications for the Pareto Fellowship (DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO 2/21)
7. New rule for the subreddit – to keep it from getting bogged down in culture war related links, there will be one “Culture War Roundup” thread every week. If you have interesting culture war related links, please put them on that thread instead of starting a new one. I’ll trust you all to use your judgment about what is or isn’t culture war.
8. If I post something in an out-of-the-way, less-visible place like my Tumblr or deep in a comment section here, I’d prefer if people would ask permission before they repost it somewhere more visible. I know I have no right to make that request, and I’m asking it only as a favor. I am not angry with anybody and nothing has gone wrong, I just want to keep it that way.
9. Some people were very much abusing the Report Comment function, for example reporting every comment ever made by a particular person they didn’t like. Please be aware that if that happens it doesn’t mean the person gets banned, it just means I have to waste hours individually clearing each comment. The last time I logged into my comment reports panel I had almost a thousand different reports I had to go through; only about 20% could very generously be described as real problems. I will now be banning people for frivolous comment reporting. That doesn’t mean I’ll ban you if you report an ambiguously nasty comment that I finally decide doesn’t quite deserve banning, but it does mean that some people’s days of just reporting everything they see to annoy me are coming to a sharp and sudden end.
10. Thanks to Bakkot (I assume, but maybe someone else) for improving the comment highlighting function. It no longer resets every time you post a comment!