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Homework | Tutorial 26

Date: 2020-08-13

Analyzing Lies

15 min writing exercise parameters


  • break answering Qs down into 15 min
    • 2 min planning
    • 10 min writing
    • 3 min editing
  • it’s ‘bite sized’ but better than the 1+5 minute thing I did last time (since that was too short)
  • maybe longer overall or difference balances between stages can work but this is a good starting point
    • can iterate

how can you write to better communicate to people generally?

(Update: I’ve written this out as a full article which is about twice as long.)

  • put ideas down
  • explain self
  • make sure complete sentences
  • each sentence an idea
  • build up ideas, snowball them
  • plan out first so you know where to start and where to go
  • don’t put too much in one sentence
  • keep audience in mind
    • you’re writing for a goal
  • to communicaate better the audience is the important thing, their ability to understand is how you judge how well you did
  • don’t stop if you get stuck
  • you can always edit stuff
  • a timer helps me b/c i can’t stop
  • so i don’t think too much on one thing
  • you need to think about how much readers know
  • what’s appropriate fro them
  • because they shouldn’t need to learn anything
  • but should understand what you say
  • so too much detail is bad
  • but not enough is bad too , or too long

When we want to communicating better, we’re saying we want to make sure the ideas we write down are understandable and understood by other people. For an audience to understand your ideas they need to be able to read what you wrote once through and have a fairly good idea of the structure and content. That means you need to build up your new idea using simple ideas that the person already knows - or ideas they’ve already mastered. If you constrain your writing in this way, your readers will be able to follow and understand everything you write. You might think you already do this, but if you’re reading this, you probably have room to improve. So what should you change to do this better?

You should consider - at a high level - how you’re going to structure things. When you put ideas down on paper, you can put them down in a regular and consistent way that matches what people expect. People don’t expect you to say everything important in the first paragraph and then have lots of nitty-gritty details in all the other paragraphs. They expect you to introduce new ideas through the entire article. They expect you to build up to what you want to say, not to say it all at once in confusing language and then not explain it in the rest of the article. If it’s too confusing to start with they probably won’t even read the rest. If they couldn’t understand your first sentence, why should they think they can understand the rest of them?

You should consider what your audience already knows. It’s good to give your audience the credit they deserve. No one likes reading an article but having things they already know repeated to them. They want to go there for new ideas. That doesn’t mean you should not say things they don’t already know; that’s useful for getting your audience on the same page with you. This gives a standard foundation for you both to build the idea from. But if you are too simple or repetitive in your language they’ll get bored. Similarly, if you presume they know too much they will get lost (and maybe angry too, depending on the context). So it’s important to know what your audience knows, and write something that’s useful to them.

You should also not be too concerned with what you put down initially. We all make mistakes while writing, but that’s okay – what matters is that we can fix them. For example, in this writing exercise i’ve spent 6.5 minutes writing so far (out of 10), so you can get a lot done in a few minutes. it’s important to keep the pace up if you want to write fast. it’s also better to leave editing to the end – I have allocated 3 minutes after finishing writing – because it’s very distracting to do it while you’re writing. the main thing is keep ideas coming, and keep building them up incrementally. if you do this you’ll quickly have hundreds of words that are easy to understand! (Don’t worry if you need a bit of practice, I did too, and I’m not even that good at it yet)

you should make sure everything you write has a purpose. you can ask yourself: how does this word or sentence add to the goal of what I’m writing? does it help the reader get a better idea of what I mean? or does it get in the way? if you put extraneous detail in, you’ll lose people as they get bored. so keeping things short and tight is good; readers like that.

While you’re doing all this, remember that writing can be fun! don’t get too caught up in the idea of being a good writer or something. if you have fun writing your writing will get better. nothing is wrong with being a good writer, the problem is aiming for it.



I didn’t have enough time to edit - it’s much slower than writing. Even just going back and changing sentences to capital letters was more than 30s. Considering each of my sentences was on a new line, it was much easier for me, now, than it would be for most ppl with a word processor. maybe more editing?

what is fallible ideas?

  • FI is a communitiy
  • philosophy focused
  • formed b/c TCS / FoR list -> BoI list -> FI
  • it’s the living tradition of best CR version
  • is there a link to popper via associates? (where they overlap life wise)
  • fi is an honest community
  • CF, objectivisim, econ (goldratt and mises)
  • learning
  • overreaching
  • lots of good new concepts for ppl to learn
  • you can learn most of the ideas elsewhere, but not all of them in one place
    • they’re spread out
  • critcisim matters
  • ET maintains community / websites

Fallible Ideas is a living tradition of Critical Fallibilism. It’s a community of people who like to think and talk about things using epistemology from CF. This community is a living tradition of the ideas in CF. There are direct links back to influential thinkers, like DD, KP, and AR.

One important part of


stopped here - that was 3 min 37 sec. MUCH slower than the one above.

speed reflects how much knowledge i have? how clear it is?

going too slow means -> find diff topics, or learn more about this one

b/c i’m overreaching

evidence of not overreaching would be writing constantly - like when your thoughts go faster than writing

if your thoughts go slower than your writing then it means you’re either putting GREAT care into what you’re saying (this is okay) or you’re writing on a topic that’s too hard for you (this isn’t okay).

doing the latter isn’t okay because your ER is higher and you will spend LOTS more time (not just a bit more time)

but you could - alternatively - spend time on skills / learning ideas that make the main thing easier to write about

those skills also make LOTS of other things easier - they have reach

so it’s typically unwise to try things beyond your capacity like that b/c your time efficiency is much lower

you wont’ be able to do as much, influence as many people, develop ideas and learn as much, etc.

in short: you wont’ have as good a life.

ifyou want a good life you should make sure the things you do most of the time are fast and easy for you

then you can do them on autopilot and your brain can focus on other things - more creative things

if you care about ideas then this should help you be happier because you have more mental resources to spend on stuff that matters to you, rather than on trying to do things that are too hard.

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