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running communities based on ideas - note to self

Date: 2020-11-10

OP on

In general, if someone knows a mistake you’re making, what are the mechanisms for telling you and having someone take responsibility for addressing the matter well and addressing followup points? Do you have public writing detailing your ideas which anyone is taking responsibility for the correctness of? People at Less Wrong often say “read the sequences” but none of them take responsibility for addressing issues with the sequences, including answering questions or publishing fixes if there are problems.

When you start or run a community based on ideas you need to take responsibility for issues with those ideas. You shouldn’t hand over the reins to someone if they can’t fulfill that role. For an enduring tradition to be created around ideas there needs to be a stalwart to take responsibility. Progress and persistence is hard without that. If you hand over to someone who falls short then the tradition can die, or at best will have a discontinuity (something you can’t bank on). Examples: Karl Popper didn’t hand over well (AFAIK) and there was a discontinuity ending with David Deutsch, Ayn Rand handed over to (I think) Binswanger and Peikoff and they didn’t rise to a necessary standard. Both Popper and Rand did a lot while they were alive; enough to give their ideas a good chance of surviving. Maybe they could have done better? It’s hard to say b/c where were the ppl who understood greatness enough to support Rand, work with her, carry on the tradition, and ultimately grow to exceed her? It seems selling millions of books didn’t really help with that too much. You should make sure that the ideas you promote are written down and endure. You can’t rely on suitable ppl finding you during your lifetime.

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