According to the Sitemeter figure on the lower right hand side of this page, there have now been seven million visits to Overcoming Bias since it began in November 2006. Of course many folks read this blog in ways that don’t trigger such counts, but this still seems a reasonable time to pause and take stock. THANK YOU to all you readers, and to all the other authors who have contributed over the years.
Robin, you are a rock star! Your blog is as an "intellectual public good" and I would prefer to read a single one of your posts to a dozen AER or Econometrica papers ...
I am honored by your praise.
Robin, thank you so much for blogging. Though I don't comment much, Overcoming Bias has been consistently my favorite blog over the years. OB started coincidentally right around when I started college. Whereas in academia people mostly seem to make standard arguments about standard hypotheses which address standard questions, on your blog I found a wealth of nonstandard considerations that are equally if not more important and worthwhile than the ones I've always been fed.
Now entering my fourth year of math grad school, I still greatly enjoy reading OB to have some aspect of my model of the world challenged, and often improved, on a regular basis. (Admittedly, it's not so important as a counterpoint to academia teachings anymore, which I no longer receive outside math, as it is as a counterpoint to LessWrong.)
I also likely would not have discovered and signed up for cryonics nearly as early as I did were it not for your recommendation (along with that of Eliezer) given here.
I mean yes, we're humans, we cannot avoid signaling something. Probably everything we do serves our selfish genetic ends on some level. We signal something to ally with these folks, and not with the others etc.
My point is that commenters should know better than to fall prey of all easy biases.
There was people debating details of climate change earlier as if these guys knew what they were talking about.
And then there's just these comments that hardly add new information but just signal loyalty or their high morality.
If people would add the opposite view of theirs to their comment, or possibly admit their selfish ends.
Or use logical thinking to find why any of their own views would be hypocritical. Sometimes it takes a bit of effort.
Obviously the amount of perspective one can have probably depends on the amount of knowledge a person has. I'd think my views of even few years ago would be completely silly by what I know now.
Congratulations, and like the new logo too.
Signaling theory doesn't predict that understanding signaling will eliminate it; it could even cause an increase. An inference from signaling theory is that we tend to signal too much: signaling is a prime cause of "market failure." But knowing that and gaining expertise in recognizing signaling, in oneself or others, doesn't of itself provide an incentive to do less of it.
What can be expected from someone someone who "gets it" (gets what? Does anyone have some idea of what part of what we call "signaling theory" and "status" is novel in Hanson's application?) is that their signaling become more sophisticated, harder to figure out, well camouflaged. It's really an arms race situation. Here, there's indeed something of failure along the lines you indicate, in the massive unsophisticated signaling.
You deserve better class commenters though. It is kind of sad that so many people who seem to read this blog regularly still don't seem to understand the signaling on more meta level, especially when it comes to their own beliefs. That's the point of biases though, they are hard to detect, except in hindsight.
Especially those areas that elicit emotions such as the pet example or that inequality post, people just seem to forget everything they've read just to signal their morality or alliance to whatever political ideals. People just forget on how many ways we've been built for hypocrisy and how easily we would reverse our beliefs if it means imposing real costs on ourselves. Politics isn't about policy.
I personally have made enough low quality comments myself to know to shut up. Especially when you have nothing else to add than just to parrot your own pet beliefs. The comments would double in quality if every commenter would also defend the opposite view of their own (doesn't Robin do this with his own class?).