a thoughtful web.
Share good ideas and conversation.   Login or Take a Tour!
eqdw's profile

x 4

following: 7
followed tags: 22
followed domains: 0
badges given: 0 of 0
hubskier for: 2020 days

recent comments, posts, and shares:

> It's not exactly hard for any competition to match that once you've proved that link is money-making.

Yep. Uber doesn't have a sustainable business because they'll be trivially outcompeted. You can already see this happening; cities with alternatives to Uber (lyft/etc) have cheaper rates.

I also feel like Uber is overvalued, but: they are sill valuable. They've basically introduced arbitrage into an industry that previously had a massive amount of underused supply, and in the process substantially dropped the cost of that service. This is a valuable service

eqdw  ·  1970 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: I Am Not My Internet Personality, and You Probably Aren’t Yours, Either.

As a second thought: This hit me really really hard

> The gap between public and private personae used to be the exclusive concern of entertainers, but now anybody who wants to can live Martin.

I have a few friends who maintain twitter, facebook, youtube, instagram profiles that exactly resemble the profiles of, I don't know how you'd call them, I guess 'amateur social media celebrities'. In a sense, this isn't even surprising; the professional social media celebrities are the cream of this crop. These are normal, everyday people who are really cool in real life, but the second they get behind a screen, they turn into celebrities.

It's really disconcerting. It makes it hard to interact with them online as human beings, because even though you know them, and they know you, anything you say to them publicly will get responded to by their persona, not by them. And worse, it's a stark reminder of how the sausage is made, so to speak. You see a person who is totally them in person, but online they become this quazi-celebrity with a manicured image, and all that entails. And then you realize that this isn't them just expressing their raw self. They're doing this intentionally, because it makes more people interested in them. And in most cases, this isn't monetized, it's a pure ego trip. So now you're stuck pondering their motives; who's so vain that they'll do all this for meaningless internet points? And when you realize just how scripted and filtered everything is, you start having odd moments where you realize: "They misrepresented this specific detail, intentionally, because they know it would make them more popular to do so. I wonder what other details I don't know they're shrouding". You start to question the reality of any of your interactions.

Taken to its logical extreme, it's as if these people are social media marketing executives, except instead of shilling for a company, they're selling themselves. You realize that every since time you've thought that something marketers do is immoral, your friend did the same thing.

It's a really hard thing to deal with

eqdw  ·  1970 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: I Am Not My Internet Personality, and You Probably Aren’t Yours, Either.

Reading things like this can be kind of unsettling, because I emphatically am my "internet persona". Both in the sense that, for one, I act pretty much the same way in real life. For two, I do a majority of socializing online and so, were there a disconnect between my social media and meatspace personas, the former would be more 'real'.

But anyways, I very deliberately don't front on social media. I have trouble understanding when other people are, and so I don't. It feels very superficial and unreal, so I don't. The world has enough farce; I want something real.

I've recently experimented with fake internet personas, and it was kind of liberating, but mostly it felt alienating. On the one hand, it gave me newfound freedom to express unpopular ideas, take risks, and not have to constantly worry about offending people. On the other hand, it was almost worse; what if it turns out my fake persona is more popular than me, and then I'm forever stuck between "I can have fake friendships" vs "I can have none". The existential angst of my life.

"Facebook Envy", FOMO, whatever you want to call it, it's real. It hits me hard. And so I do my part, in my own way, to stop it. Sometimes it gets demoralizing

eqdw  ·  1970 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What Do I Do Now? After College.

Dude, with $5k in the bank and $2k in accounts receiveable, you're in a substantially better financial position than most recent college grads. I can't give you advice on what to do (others said it better below, and tbh I'm in the same boat as you on this), but I will give you advice on that cash: SIT ON IT. Or invest it. But do not, do not spend in.

It's a really really good life policy to have 3-6 months cost of living in assets you can quickly turn to cash if you need to. It's the difference between being one car repair away from missing rent, versus taking it in stride. Keeping a buffer like that removes an existential risk from your life and lets you just not worry about it. This is unimaginably valuable

eqdw  ·  2016 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Cops Don't Care About Violent Online Threats. What Do We Do Now?

Well then. That is alarming :(

Removed original comment since I should not talk about things without fully reading them first

eqdw  ·  2016 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How did you find yourself?

I'm not sure if this is exactly the sense in which your original question is being asked, but it seems relevant. in the comments below you say

> I no longer believe that living by example is sufficient to defend animals, the same way that I don't think it's ok to stand by and watch an expression of racism or sexism.

This is certainly a challenging decision to make, and I applaud your dedication to principles. But it's interesting to me because it illustrates something I've been thinking about lately, and something I've used to inform some significant lifestyle changes.

I care a lot about Doing The Right Thing, Making The World A Better Place, Living My Principles, and all the other ways of describing these things. But in the course of my trying to live my principles, I've butted heads with many different activists in many different areas. And this has scared me. Because, what I've seen, is that for every 1 sincere activist who really believes they're doing the right thing, there seems to be 10 who are just in it for selfish personal reasons. Status and glory, perhaps? Establishing a petty tyranny, maybe? Because it's something to do?

This scares me, a lot. For someone such as yourself, who has a dedication to veganism and animal welfare, it is relatively easy to stay focused on your goal. But for the kinds of activists attracted by glory, they have no such orientation.

What I have seen, in trying to live my principles, is the fact that the majority of activist hierarchies I've seen, do more harm than good. They get co-opted by leaders with unsavoury goals, they encourage social norms that are damaging to bystanders, and they are generally ineffective at achieving their stated goals (they may be effective at achieving unstated goals).

How has this informed 'conscious lifestyle changes' on my part? It's helped me realize the value of compromise, of being a good neighbour, of creating community. It's helped me realize that, most of the time, Being A Decent Person To Those Around You is more important than living one's activist politics. This is a really hard thing to do. To intercept your own thought process and say "sure, this feels like you're talking to an evil person who is working against you and negatively influencing society, but you could be wrong, and destroying the existing social fabric and amicable relationships around this person is Not Worth It.", is very difficult. But it is worth it, in the long run. Creating and maintaining mutually respectful, courteous, friendly communities is more important than achieving one's activist goals. Even for activist goals that seem extremely important (racism and sexism are two big ones for me here. It's been a challenge to figure out how to still work towards solving those problems, without causing so much collateral damage in the mean time).

In short: my conscious lifestyle change is realizing the value of being quiet to keep the peace. This has been impactful in a lot of ways

eqdw  ·  2017 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: And So We Meet, Again: Why The Workday Is So Filled With Meetings : NPR

When I started at my current company, they assured me that there were very few meetings. "We're pretty quick and agile around here. There are a few meetings but they're all optional; our team lead represents us at them and we're free to work"

A few months into my employment here, all of the project/product management staff went to a week long Agile Methodologies conference.

Now I have about 6 hours of meetings a week. Always at 2-4PM, which means that I get absolutely no work done in the afternoon (I get in early; get back from lunch at 1, by 1:30 it's meeting prep time; meeting ends at 4, or sometimes doesn't; I'm out by 5). We have sprint planning meetings. Sprint retrospective meetings. Backlog grooming meetings. Roadmap planing meetings. Sprint demo (internal/to team) meetings. Sprint demo (external/to company) meetings. Formalized 20 minute standups instead of informal 5 minute standups.

In fact, in a supreme example of Kafkaesqsue irony: because our previous (functional) meetings got corrupted into Official Agile™ Meetings, the benefits we got from our old meetings got lost. So now we have a new meeting, the Engineering Meeting, where we get all the things we used to get out of our functional meetings. Non-technical management is not welcome at this one.

Hell, from my calendar this week:

Monday, 2-3:30: Backlog Grooming meeting (ie. Product tells us what we're going to do next week)

Thursday, 2:30-4: Internal sprint demos (ie. showing Product what we did; note we already have to informally demo each completed feature to the corresponding product owner anyway so it's unclear to me what the point of this meeting is)

Friday, 11-11:45: Sprint retrospective (ie. "what went well, what went poorly, what should we do differently?". This is probably the only Agile™ meeting in my calendar that is actually useful. Though there is absolutely no mechanism in place to review past weeks to look for trends in improvement, or hold us accountable to 'what should we do differently?')

Friday, 3-6PM: External Sprint Demos (ie. massive meeting where every team int he company does a 15 minute presentation of what they've done in the past two weeks. This meeting is formally 'optional', which means only presenters attend. For some reason, all the nontechnical departments don't attend; still have no idea what Marketing does all day. The end of this meeting involves free food and drinks as a bribe to get people to stay until 6 on a Friday)

Bah. We'd be so much more productive if Product had read Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule

eqdw  ·  2020 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What do you think of video games?

I play video games all the time, but I've been really disappointed with what's been coming out lately. I can't tell if it changed or I did.

I also have absolutely no desire to identify with anything that could be called 'gamer culture'. LAN parties seem like too much effort when I have a 100/20 net connection. I went to (central Canada) Comic-Con once and left out of boredom. I have never, and will never, post in the forums of any game or game-related social media.

Most of the games I play are grand strategy, puzzle, or platformers. I will very occasionally play a shooter, but I'm usually not interested in them; the ones I like are the hyper realistic (read: super hard, unpopular) ones like ArmA. I strongly prefer curated single player experiences, and have been really disappointed that the industry seems to have fetishized Open World Sandboxes lately.

I like indie games in general, but I'm really starting to not like them anymore. I liked them when they were high quality artistic passion projects, but it seems like they've become politicized lately (see: Gamergate) and I just want to play fun things.

In terms of what I've played, I have sunk waaaay too much time into Civilization IV and V, and Europa Universalis 3 and 4 on the strategy front. I've also played a ton of Starcraft 1 and 2, but I'm not good at it competitively. I enjoy story-driven puzzley games like Braid, Portal, and lately The Talos Principle. I've probably dropped over a thousand hours into Minecraft. And my Kingdom of Loathing account turned 9 years old last December. I've ascended Nethack 8 times.

I also used to really enjoy RPGs, usually of the Japanese variety but I've found a few western ones I've liked (Mass Effect for instance). Lately I've found I have much less patience for grindey gameplay, and the only new JRPGs I'll play are ones with novel mechanics (Radiant Historia and Bravely Default were two recent ones that were novel enough for me to enjoy).

Finally, my absolute favourite types of games are games that are less game and more interactive movie (or interactive experience). I found Dear Esther to be really, really touching. Everything people criticized about Heavy Rain were exactly the things I loved. Despite how pretentious they are, everything Tale of Tales touches turns to gold.

I keep a list of my favourite games here, though I'm really bad about updating it

Present-eqdw is mostly rehabilitated in this regard, but past-eqdw was pretty 'nice guy'. And if past-eqdw had read this, he would only be more upset and more confused.

First off, he would read this in an mocking tone. Maybe it wasn't intended that way. Maybe nobody else would read it that way. But knowing that he was in the target audience, he would take this super personally.

Secondly, and this is really the crux of the issue

> So when I tell you that I’m not going to shag you, it’s not because I don’t fancy a shag, it’s because I don’t fancy you.

This is something that past-eqdw fundamentally didn't understand. Something that I feel most writing on the subject of nice guys misses: past-eqdw thought he was doing everything right. Past-eqdw was following the script laid out for him. Past-eqdw was trying to be a good, upright, laudable person by the standards he was raised by. Past-eqdw was implicitly promised by his role models, social peers, church groups, parents, schoolmates, etc., that these things are the good desirable things that you do to be a good, desirable relationship partner. What he wasn't told was that these are mostly aspirational, not descriptive: Everyone says this but when it comes down to it most of attraction is post-hoc-justified monkey brains. Maybe normal people understand this, but past-eqdw, with his overly scrupulous and slightly autistic brain, didn't pick up on this. He just assumed that when people say "I want X and Y and Z", that if he was X and Y and Z, he would be someone people want.

Maybe other people didn't have this experience, but one of the reasons that writing about nice guys like this post are so upsetting to people like past-eqdw, is that past-eqdw was told by virtually everyone around him that "everyone wants a good partner" and so if you are good, you will be wanted. I was raised, both explicitly by my parents and implicitly by the people around me, to honestly and truly believe that people want nice people, and when you're in that mindset, and you find out that not only do most people not want you even though you're nice, but people start writing blog posts mocking you for thinking this, it's not only upsetting, it's confusing. When all you need is someone to say "so, everything everyone told you is wrong", but nobody will tell you that, how else are you supposed to understand the constant mockery of nice guys.

Seriously, if I could go back in time and rescue past-eqdw earlier, one super easy intervention would be "hey fatass, lose some weight". Turns out most of those rejections from the past were pretty much entirely based on looks. It would have been really helpful to know that, instead of trying to figure it out while everyone (friends, family, past dates, future dates) loudly denied it. It took losing 35 lbs to figure this out.

Finally, I think there is a disconnect in understanding when people talk about nice guys acting like they 'deserve' sex. The overwhelming majority opinion from bloggers like OP is "nice guy gets upset when I won't sleep with him. Clearly he is an entitled jackass". I believe the reality, for most nice guys, is more like what is laid out in this blog post, in section 2. As a guy, who is sincerely acting nice, who is working under false assumptions, and who has no way of calibrating these assumptions because socialization and sexuality are complicated and people aren't self aware and can't think clearly about it, this is what it looks like. It looks like a guy, trying his best to be a good and desirable person, constantly failing, while Henry has no problem collecting wives despite beating them all until they divorce. Present-eqdw understands that this is most likely that Henry is just more attractive and more charismatic than he is. Past-eqdw didn't realize this. Past-eqdw just sees an abusive asshole having great success in romantic endeavours, while he himself tries his best, does what everyone says he should, and fails. And then he gets yelled at for being upset and confused at this turn of events.


Summary: The entire nice guy phenomenon is entirely a function of multiple groups of people being confused, ill informed, and shouting past each other. Anything that smells remotely like mockery is making this worse.


Edit: I didn't mention this, because to me it's implied, but it might not come across: Just as past-eqdw had a fundamentally broken understanding of these dynamics, I think most of the women who are upset about / writing about this also have a fundamentally broken understanding of the guys involved. The misunderstandings are not all one sided.

I disagree with all three of the points involved, though I'm not going to attempt to generalize this (eg. I'm not telling the rest of you that you should act this way).

1. Say Hello

This is dangerous. This is actively dangerous. I don't know if this is applicable elsewhere (though klienbl00 seems to have some stats on this), but where I live a very large portion of the homeless and panhandlers are mentally ill. When I first moved here, I tried to be compassionate, I tried to reach out, say hello, offer food and change when I had it. All I got was yelled at. And a guy swung a knife at me one time. In broad daylight, 2 in the afternoon on a saturday, at a bus station beside a grocery store.

I'm comfortable with putting my self-preservation before making others feel good. So point 1 fails for me.

2. Give (If You Can)

Maybe this is a good idea, in general. I like what the article has to say about not policing donations, etc. I've always felt that it must be a really degrading experience, as a panhandler, to have to deal with people trying to condition their donations to you. I also suspect that it's actively detrimental. Most of the research around concepts such as a universal basic income or some other direct cash transfers seem to show that it's more effective than restricted in-kind transfers, and I would assume that this extends to individual panhandlers.

That said, I no longer give money of any kind to panhandlers (see (1) above). I've dedicated a bunch of time to informing myself on the issue of poverty, and I believe I'm addressing it at a more effective location. As I mentioned above, many of the panhandlers are mentally ill, and if they had the proper support they would not need to pandhandle. So I have decided to do my particular part at the 'mental health support' level, donating my time and money to help support these institutions. I'm not going to tell you that you should actively avoid giving money to panhandlers directly and do this instead, but it's the choice I've made

3. Get Involved

I have a knee-jerk reaction against slacktivism, and am interested in efficient charity, and so I think that this point is exactly 100% wrong. The world doesn't need more volunteers. These problems are not constrained by unskilled human resources. Most volunteers are unable to realistically help with this sort of thing. The constraint is skilled labour (or money; you can generally trade money for skilled labour so these are interchangeable). Volunteering and advocacy tends to be more for the feel-good fuzzies of the volunteer, than for the actual solving of the problem.

I'm a white collar office worker who makes a good salary. My time is worth a fair chunk of change. Every hour I spend volunteering, is an hour I could have spent freelancing. And if I was so inclined, one hour of freelancing income donated will pay to hire like 5 volunteers for an hour. This is a much more effective way to "volunteer", especially for anyone with a job that affords them the freedom to read articles like this at work.

Finally, as for getting educated, this is actually a solid piece of advice. However, it's hard to follow through with, because there is a lot of mistaken information out there. For example, most of the links provided as examples are not actually valuable or actionable advice. "There is a shortage of affordable housing", is not completely true; it's true with caveats. There is a shortage of affordable housing in cities. And this is largely due to anti-development constraints (some natural, like available land, some artificial, like zoning, density, and max height regulations). At first glance, the link seems to be implying that this is the fault of the minimum wage being too low, but this is largely orthogonal to the problem at hand.