This is the bi-weekly visible open thread (there are also hidden open threads twice a week you can reach through the Open Thread tab on the top of the page). Post about anything you want, but please try to avoid hot-button political and social topics. You can also talk at the SSC subreddit – and also check out the SSC Podcast. Also:
2. New sidebar ad: this one is for SafetyWing, which bills itself as “Norwegian founders with an international team on a mission to offer the equivalent of a Norwegian social safety net globally available as a membership – currently offering travel medical insurance for nomads, and global health insurance for remote teams.” It also has a Medium article where it claims its end goal is to build a country on the Internet, which is a delightfully tech-startup-Medium-article thing to claim.
3. As always, I apologize for being bad at answering emails. In some cases, I am weeks behind. In other cases, I am grateful for what you have to say but have given up on responding. In others, I have said “that’s interesting, I’ll check it out” while secretly knowing that I will never do that. Expect this kind of thing to continue.
4. Dan Wahl has an automated Unsong audiobook.
5. Calling researchers and lawyers – does anyone know the legalities of running an informal study without IRB approval? IE, if I were to email the SSC mailing list recommending people try a certain vitamin, nobody would think twice of it. If I were to email the SSC mailing list asking people with last names A-M to try the vitamin, and people with last names N-Z not to, and to record their results and send them to me, how much trouble would I be in? If the answer is “not much”, what does the requirement that “studies” have an IRB mean? Where do you cross the line from neat decentralized science experiment to official study, and what happens to people if they end up on the wrong side of it?