I try to aim for "strong opinions, weakly held" - present a specific, actionable and strong position but be open to changing it if a better argument is made.
It's true that espousing nuanced opinions and making effective arguments are often at odds, but the fact is, reality is often nuanced. Glossing over that nuance to make your argument more effective is like searching where there's light. Sure, it's more persuasive, but if you are persuading toward an incorrect idea, what are you really accomplishing?
Of course as Asimov's Relativity of Wrong points out, not all wrongs are equal. It may be worthwhile to persuade someone of a not-very-wrong given limited resources. But this sort of compromise has problems of its own. A social justice movement that ignores the nuance of handling white men's needs is effective until it needs white men's cooperation but instead generates backlash (Trump). The devil is in the details.
In an argument about climate change with a denier I might say "Glaciers are shrinking" and until they bring up the the Tibetan glacier is growing I can be content with my intellectual honesty that all other glaciers are shrinking.
I agree with your notion of using details to garner supporters.
For example, the term "SJW". What is an SJW? I can tell you what it isn't. It is not racist, not misogynistic, etc. But what is it actually defined as?
I've never been a fan of post-structuralism, or any postmodern philosophical theory, but as of late I've been drawn to Jean Baudrillard. At the very least, our political landscape itself has become a simulacra of true political thought, as evidenced by groups defining themselves by the nihil or negation, i.e. there is no Universe where the statement "I am a bigot" can be made true.
> Since the mid-1980s, my mantra for this process is “strong opinions, weakly held.” Allow your intuition to guide you to a conclusion, no matter how imperfect — this is the “strong opinion” part. Then –and this is the “weakly held” part– prove yourself wrong. Engage in creative doubt. Look for information that doesn’t fit, or indicators that pointing in an entirely different direction. Eventually your intuition will kick in and a new hypothesis will emerge out of the rubble, ready to be ruthlessly torn apart once again. You will be surprised by how quickly the sequence of faulty forecasts will deliver you to a useful result.
A blog post  quoting a blog post  quoting a guy .
The people I look for are those that take strong stands but are willing and able to adjust and even quickly reverse those stances.
To me it's the difference between a leader and a worker bee.
Sometimes called "strong opinions, weakly held".
I find this principle to be incoherent - if you understand something well enough to have a strong opinion, you understand it well enough to hold that opinion strongly. Holding strong opinions on things you don't understand that well seems unhelpful.
As a poor example, my mother has fully bought into a snake-oil scheme where they sell you concentrated hydrogen peroxide as a cure-all. She won't hear a word against it, she always brings the conversation back to "OTC hydrogen peroxide has stabilizers in it." Asking "what is a stabilizer" gets no response.
The truth is, she doesn't know what a stabilizer is, but it's plausible enough to her that they could be "bad" that she's willing to buy the rest of the farm, along with the cow.
How can you argue against that kind of strongly held opinion? When the other party won't listen because of how strongly held the opinion is, you might as well talk to a wall.
Up against a dishonest debater, this is exploitable to lessen your influence, even if your position is relatively stronger, against (unsubstantiated) claims of being an expert.
"ball_of_lint claims to be uninformed and doesn't have an opinion. That's okay, listen to me, I'm an expert"
If someone strongly claims they know something and I later find out that they were wrong, I simply can't trust that person ever again.
I'm glad you're a critical enough thinker to do that (although it's unfortunate that you don't account for honest conviction or that person obtaining further understanding such that they change their position; after all, not all strong claims revealed to be wrong are meant to deceive). Not everyone is that kind of critical thinker, especially up against a savvy, dishonest debater/character/charlatan. Some people just keep shouting "I know the answer" or "Believe me!" to every question or issue and they end up with a following.
That's one way of thinking, but I reject it. You'll easily be manipulated by political and corporate agendas if you think this way.
Often my own intuition is at odds with the "evidence I have" and I turn out to be right later. If I had jumped to the (extreme) conclusion that smoking was healthy back in the 70s and 80s because of the evidence big tobacco was pushing from the shadows (doctors recommending brands, etc) I might not be here today.
Often my own intuition is at odds with the "evidence I have" and I turn out to be right later.
I mean evidence in a broad sense, encompassing all information available to you for basing your worldview upon, including your intuition. If your intuition has been reliable in the past, and the scientific evidence was being put out by entities with obvious incentives for a certain conclusion, then it's rational to weigh your intuition highly relative to the scientific evidence.
I think the people who are against forming strong opinions on little data, thinks it essentially means being confident, speaking your mind, and influencing others towards seeing things your way, when you haven't done much research into a topic. Which I think is a bad idea, because it has a high chance of propagating misinformation.
Let's take the example of where someone yells "Duck!". Most likely, you weren't paying attention and you have no clue why they would yell such a thing. There is a high chance that it's some kind of prank. But, I argue, you should still duck anyway, because the potential benefits (not getting a concussion) outweigh the risks (looking stupid).
Similarly, if you are running a startup, you should prepared to pivot at the first sign of customer mismatch, but meanwhile the majority of work will be in one direction, and you should work on it passionately.
So by understanding something you dislike well, you need to appreciate its pros, which will lead to a weaker negative opinion about it. Conversely, understanding something you like well, means you need to come to terms with its cons as well, which should lead to moderation as well.
We can't, unfortunately. Hacker News is a place for civil discussion; please don't post like this.
History bears this out. There's nothing quite so violently dangerous as wishful thinking.
I'd prefer HN supported that perspective, and do so aggressively.
Also look at Trump (if you can stand it). He sells himself by saying extreme stuff. You do want that "extreme" person in a position where they can sell your company! But sales is orthogonal to leadership. A person who appreciates subtleties, if a leader, will quietly lead you to a river of money and not make your life hell on the way there. Or if they're a worker-bee, they'll quietly write bug-free and dependable code at a steady pace.
Or, you know, the issue is grey. Why take a strong stand when you have plenty of reasons not to?
The funny thing is that I find the opposite. I call it the "cowardice of taking a stand". Being a fence-sitter in this culture is fairly negatively perceived (except out of academia). As such, I notice people are very reluctant to state the nuances - they're afraid of being labeled a fence sitter. Cowards, in harsher words.
>The people I look for are those that take strong stands but are willing and able to adjust and even quickly reverse those stances.
The people I look for are those who ponder over, and see the flaws in their stands before becoming a strong proponent.
Wisdom is usually inversely proportional to posturing.
This is very reminiscent of: "Do you want a fantastic firefighter on your team, or one who prevents fires?" The firefighter is very noticeable because he keeps saving teams from crises. The one who prevents fires doesn't get noticed because there never was a fire. Poor managers reward firefighters.
I remember when I was interviewing for my last job, I would try to pose indirect questions to the potential manager to get an idea on whether they can handle uncertainty from their employees. If not, I would move on to the next interview. Managers who say stuff like "I never accept 'I don't know' for an answer" are to be avoided like the plague. They end up with a team of employees who are pretty adept at BS.
Society wants people who take strong stands, and your comment is a perfect example of it.
FWIW, since you used the word "prevent", firefighters only put out fires that are already burning. The people leading in fire prevention aren't firefighters. Other people think about how to prevent fires. One example is the Forest Service in the US. The Forest Service is having nuanced debates about how to prevent forest fires, and one side of the argument is that many forest fires are natural. Fires have historically always happened, and they are part of our ecosystem. So, some of the thinking goes, we should let them burn. We are actually doing some ecological damage by putting out fires that start natually. We are also doing financial damage spending tax money on a "problem" that will never go away, and isn't a problem if we stop trying to live in the forest.
Other people who have properties & cabins in the woods would prefer that their choice to build a cabin in the woods was protected by firefighters no matter how the fire starts.
What is your opinion about whether naturally occurring forest fires should be fought?
One quite large issue is that once you've said your opinion, you are held to it. It's often easier to go even more extreme than to backtrack. And the effect is worse the more extreme you've gone.
I've had some sympathies for libertarian opinions lately, but when I see how far some of my friends take it, I wonder whether they're really thinking as clearly as they like to imagine.
Are full of passionate intensity." - Yeats
I believe you have strong opinions about all sorts of things, e.g. you probably have a strong stance against slavery. Take this strong stance 300 years back, and you would be seen as an emotionally unbalanced person, by your standard.
I'm glad there are people with strong opinions. The world would be a much darker place if everyone was always on the fence.
I think having strong opinions based on a deep understanding is better. And generally a deep understanding means you'll discover both pros and cons to most situations.
This means you can make balanced and calculated efforts, instead of blindly starting a crusade and hope you turn out to actually be right.
Sorry to be pedantic, but I just wanted to point out the paradox you get by holding such an opinion so strongly.
Either it's positive or it's negative.
The way between is full of self-contradictions and footnotes. That makes a difficult read/conversation.
J. R. R. Tolkien
I've found people have tendencies to delude themselves in certain ways, however. Either being too positive or negative. The former is less harmful than the latter, but both are miscalibrations of judgement.
What does that mean?
It introduced me to the idea that 'is' should be treated very carefully. Any assertion outside of strict formal languages that use it are half-truths at best. It also introduces heightens the emotional tone of a discussion. If you say "John is foo" you tend to create the impression that John will always and has always been foo. Foo-ness is a taint on his soul. Contrast that with reformulations that make it explicit that John's foo-ness is a fleeting association related to both his present situation, your current perception of it and the current socially accepted meaning of foo along with all it's implied baggage.
I realise I might be rather off-topic :-)
Interestingly in Spanish and Portuguese there are two verbs of "to be": "ser" and "estar". These have different meanings: ser ist mostly used for persistent states of being, while estar is mostly used for something that is only temporarily as it is, but could be different the next time.
You can't argue that because a distinction exists for 'to eat' it also exists or is understood the same for 'to be'. English admits the sentence "Big bird does eat cookies" but not "John does be angry".
As for the second case, I think the usual way to achieve that effect in English is to use a frequency qualifier, such as in "John is sometimes angry," to modify the transitory state into a habitual one.
I'm not a native speaker of English, so I might not perceive some subtleties. But at least how I perceive it is the meaning of "is being" is similar "estar", while "to be" is used for both meanings in English. In Spanish and Portuguese (as far as I understand it, I'm still learning a lot) "ser" is used only for the "permanent" meaning.
ser -> a mostly permanent characteristic
estar -> a current characteristic that could change in the future
estar a ser -> a characteristic of the specific interaction
Brazilians thus have "estar sendo" which can be used in many cases where English has "is being", but as a non-native speaker I'm not sure what I can claim about its connotations or whether it's the same as "estar a ser". But my initial guess is that the Portuguese say "estou a ser" just as they say "estou a falar", while Brazilians say "estou sendo" just as they say "estou falando".
Spanish-speakers in turn have "estar siendo" with the Spanish present participle of ser, like "estoy siendo". I suspect this is the standard form of this construction in all kinds of Spanish.
"O comboio está a chegar."
(plus different phonology)
"I am tall" -> "sou alto" (ser)
"I am broke" -> "estou falido" (estar)
"I am being boring" -> "estou a ser aborrecido" (estar a ser)
What english doesn't have as easily without context is the distinction between the first two forms because it has a single verb for both.
On the other hand, "I am being amazing" is a perfectly valid construction, because 'amazing' by default describes a habitual state rather than a transitory one, and 'being' changes it to a current action rather than a habitual state.
He advocates becoming aware of when people use temporary or permanent language, and suggests using temporary language for criticizing other people and permanent language for praising people. This is a brilliant bit of human psychology that is highly practical in everyday situations.
I don't know whether E-Prime is practical, it seems problematic to try to police the language itself, but the goals & rationale have a good heart. We probably would be better off if we could all speak less dogmatically and hyperbolically.
I do recall someone here on HN mentioning attempts to create a new language in which one could not lie, I wonder if E-prime was what was being referred to...
I was going to say this is ironic but I will rather say I find this ironic
I agree that the idea something "is" something else is a tricky one in language.
The fallacy you're talking about I consider a specific instance of the labeling problem. If someone is marginally in a group and you apply the label of the group on the individual, suddenly it seems ok to use attributes of the group to reason about the individual. One jumps from specific to general and back to specific again without acknowledging the loss of information from the abstraction layers. Often comes up in post hoc rationalisation of harsher criminal punishment, for example. John is a criminal; we need to be tougher with criminals; therefore we need to be tougher with John - without regard for the specifics of John's case.
While I don't mean to say that these provide a full analysis of the issue you're talking about, I don't see how they're unrelated to it.
(I wrote this comment in E-prime :)
I didn't use it here because I'm lazy.
CETA has ISDS as well, and if only on that point alone, CETA is objectionable. This argument comes off as disingenuous, the similarities between the deals are not imagined. ISDS isn't even the only similarity; CETA also contained objectionable new copyright provisions (though apparently those are mostly gone now), for example.
Author here: that is not disputed. However the ISDS in CETA is a permanent tribunal where both Canada and Europe elect lawyers equally. The processes also require transparency and there is an appeal process. None of that was in the original draft of it and has been added over time as a response to criticism.
There is nothing wrong with ISDS.
The argument against is cases like the Philip Morris v. Uruguay case. Why couldn't the same happen under CETA?
If you don't see ISDS itself as objectionable, it's not surprising that you disagree with the argument against CETA, but please try to understand where opponents are coming from.
That's the wrong question to ask even though there is a very simple answer to it: that the state is not impartial. The better question to ask is why ISDS exists in the first place and this is something that the states and governments came up with and not the companies.
> The argument against is cases like the Philip Morris v. Uruguay case. Why couldn't the same happen under CETA?
Phillip Morris lost the case. Cases should be judged by the outcome and not by the pure fact that it takes place. You can drag someone in front of a court of a lot of things. As far as CETA goes you can only claim unfair discrimination and a whole bunch of things are outright excluded. In particular an investor has very bad cards due to both the health and ethics aspects of CETA.
In any case that is all super irrelevant anyways as countries already signed a ton of BITs that include significantly inferior ISDS provisions. The company in question is currently dragging a few countries in front of ISDS courts without the help or need of CETA. ISDS would have to be discussed separately and not in the context of CETA. As far as ISDS goes, CETA is an improvement over prior contracts.
If you want to replace ISDS then companies will just walk up the local justice systems which will not be any cheaper or more efficient and that might go all the way up to the supreme court or the highest european courts.
> If you don't see ISDS itself as objectionable
I understand the arguments against it very well but instead of throwing the entire concept away I find it much more reasonable to attack the individual points of criticism and that's what CETA was about. If you want to kill the entire concept then we just open up a new hole that will need filling.
The judiciary is what is in question, not the state per se.
But even if they're not impartial, is that necessarily bad here? Shouldn't the health of a country's citizens take priority over the interests of shareholders? Why should foreign businesses have greater rights than local businesses? (this is the contention of the Australian government)
> The better question to ask is why ISDS exists in the first place and this is something that the states and governments came up with and not the companies.
The nature of how trade deals are negotiated means we don't necessarily know who came up with it or pushed for it. But it's irrelevant in any case. What matters is its effects.
> Phillip Morris lost the case. Cases should be judged by the outcome and not by the pure fact that it takes place.
Plenty of these cases have been lost by governments. For example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investor-state_dispute_settlem...
> In any case that is all super irrelevant anyways as countries already signed a ton of BITs that include significantly inferior ISDS provisions.
It's because of existing ISDS provisions that we know of their problems. Why do we need even more?
> If you want to replace ISDS then companies will just walk up the local justice systems which will not be any cheaper or more efficient and that might go all the way up to the supreme court or the highest european courts.
“All the way up to the highest European courts”? That's not how the EU's legal system works. You can't just appeal cases to the EU level.
I'm unconvinced it would not be cheaper to sue at a national level, anyway. If only because local courts are less likely to award a huge payout in such cases.
It is in CETA.
> The nature of how trade deals are negotiated means we don't necessarily know who came up with it.
Arbitral tribunals predate modern day FTAs by 150 years or more. If you have an interest in this you can easily read up on why they exist.
> Plenty of these cases have been lost by governments.
I am aware since I read about all of them in the last few months but this is going into details. Out of the ones that have been lost, the initial NAFTA case has even been controversial among the signatories. However there are plenty of other court decisions in traditional courts that I would argue are not any less controversial.
> It's because of existing ISDS provisions that we know of their problems. Why do we need even more?
I am not sure about Canada, but the EU does not want more, they want better ISDS provisions since the current ones are quite defective in many ways.
> “All the way up to the highest European courts”? That's not how the EU's legal system works. You can't just appeal cases to the EU level.
You can definitely drag cases in front of the ECHR. Case in point: Yukos.
Anyways. This entire conversation is something that is completely removed from the original point of the article which was moving goalposts. I do not actually see a value having a conversation about CETA, particularly now.
Perhaps. I feel that your article misrepresented the argument against CETA when it used it as an example. I realise that you probably don't want to argue about this (nor do I, really), but I felt it was important to provide a contrary perspective. That's all.
Your Python3 example works for me. But CETA does not. It just does not support your point.
There have been huge protests against TTIP and CETA in Germany and around Europe, and you can't resolve their legitimate concerns by saying "excuse me sir, but by your own logic, you just proved my point".
That is true for the group of people that nearly derailed CETA in Austria (green party and the right wings party). I don't think I wrote everybody.
States can't be expected to be impartial.
Investors and citizens should rightfully expect protection from discrimination and uncompensated expropriation. We're in an era of economic nationalism (Brexit, Trump) and easy access to impartial protection of rights and rule of law is more important than ever.
This isn't just protecting big business - half the cases in US agreements concern small to medium busiensses who can't afford to know every local law in every nation nor afford teams of lawyers
I don't think there is anything wrong with the concept of ISDS - without it it's arguable that it would have been difficult to develop the trade agreements in the 60s and onwards that sprouted the current crop of developing nations.
The problem and more recent phenomenon is with corporations becoming more creative in exploiting old agreements. This is being fixed in the more recent agreements. I don't think you'd find anybody defending the old agreements and their very loose definitions of expropriation (or lack of)
Canada would know - they've lost 7 cases with NAFTA and learned a lot in redeveloping ISDS for CETA
A bad example. Let's use one were the plaintiff actually was successful.
Huh? ISDS isn't about enforcing the trade deal (which might also go to arbitration), it's a separate issue.
Bypassing democracy with pseudo-courts and pseudo-legislation and pretending it is ok is insulting to the citizens.
After all, the an opinion is just an answer to the question, "What do I think of this?"
(It's also much better than a few similar conversations I've been having myself.)
You should scrutinize your own thoughts and opinions and others to see if they are just believing something because it was true in the past.
Lastly, I've found it best to not be so opinionated about everything. Sure having some opinions are great but you develop too many biases otherwise. So what if something sucks, use it anyway. You might learn something new, or maybe you can help improve it if it has potential.
> I've found it best to not be so opinionated about everything
I'm finding it helpful to view every signal my body encounters as a chance to choose how to process it, including what I do, taste, or hear.
Since adopting this view, I've effortlessly enjoyed eating foods I've hated my entire life (tomatoes, olives, CILANTRO?!), listening to country music, and doing things like chores that used to bore me to tears.
If anyone sees danger in learning to view the world that way by default, I'd love to hear about it.
I'd argue that happens slightly more often than "sometimes" - this is the basis which communication, and with it relationships and communities need to function.
> If anyone sees danger in learning to view the world that way by default, I'd love to hear about it.
The main danger I see is not trusting your body. Your virw seems to treat all reactions to signals as equal - but that ignores that some reactions might be more justified than others. Some contain knowledhe by others, some evolutionary development by your body. E.g., even if you could bring yourself to like the taste of rotten meat, it would be a very bad idea to do so.
> The main danger I see is not trusting your body. Your virw seems to treat all reactions to signals as equal
I'd argue what I'm doing is learning to dampen the bias my mind introduces when it processes signals from my tongue/nose/ears. It's trusting the signals my body generates more than what my mind has to say about them. Rancid food is still going to taste/smell/feel/look spoiled & if I do somehow enjoy it, my body's still likely to react negatively in other ways to let me know it was a bad decision.
I think I'll title it "Olive happier when olive olive the foods." (I live happier when I love all of the foods)
Once someone has reached this point, logic simply cannot reach them. Successfully defeating their arguments will only strengthen their resolve (the backfire effect), because they're being driven by the amygdala, which only understands threat response. They will grab onto any argument, no matter how flimsy, and be completely unaware of how little sense it makes. Any further argument with them will at best do nothing, at worst make you look as much a fool as he.
The wise man learns to recognize this state and back off.
It's why we like to have e.g. "(2013)" added to anchor texts on HN, for example.
So that's when it's time for Ruby 3 the transition will be pretty painless.
More info: https://wyeworks.com/blog/2015/12/1/immutable-strings-in-rub...
(Frozen string literals allows strings to be in memory only once and not having to reallocate each time, so a pretty big memory and cpu optimization)
(Also for instance rubocop already recommends adding the magic comment to all ruby files)
Isn't this the purpose of symbols in the language? This seems like a pretty basic optimization, surely there were good reasons not to introduce it in earlier versions.
The thing about frozen strings is they can't be changed "inline":
e.g. : "Hello".freeze << " world" doesn't work but "Hello".freeze + " world" does because it creates a new string.
(It's funny because << is often recommended as an optimization)
The incompatibilities introduced in Python 3 weren't done that way to save on implementation effort among other reasons.
There the saving of implementation effort would be not supporting print statements in 3.0.
If this catches up, it is worth to give the Ruby a fresh look.
I have lost almost every major argument I've had in a corporate environment.
So programming languages, we have to pick a few and become good at them. It's one thing to take another hard look when applying for a new job for example, but we cannot keep track of all programming languages and their evolutions.
And of course, try to have as wide and deep an understanding of the subject as possible before forming strong publicised opinion in the first place.
the_start_,but it kept being modified from the initial
public version of it to the one that was finally sent to
Either the writer of this is an expert on the topic, well-known in the field and the weight of this judgement on its own is a valuable primary source; or, the writer is referring to such an analysis conducted by other experts but has not bothered to include a citation/link; or, the writer has their own critique but instead of presenting _that_ has just stated an opinion which they know to be controversial.
All of the above possibilities contribute substantially to the noise around any discussion.
> TTIP was negotiated in secrecy (as all trade agreements are)
That seems like a really steep assumption to try to start a conversation about changing perspectives with time. He opens with a purported tautology about how you must do trade deals, which I feel hurts the argument against moving goalposts - because that seems like the exact kind of sentiment that leads to the behavior in the first place. This has always happened, thus it must always continue to happen is rarely a way to start productive dialog about something.
You can even see the discussion of CETA spawning a long, subsidiary thread which distracts from the central thesis which we should be arguing about. (I am not offering an opinion on the content of that discussion.)
It should be no surprise that if you make a post trying to talk about the meta of controversial topics, that if you start directly citing said topics the discussion ends up being a debate about the controversy rather than the original intent.
Highly worth read: http://paulgraham.com/identity.html
> When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that
> something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When
> he states that something is impossible, he is probably wrong.
Brinkmanship rarely serves to get anything done, and burns bridges when it does actually accomplish something.
If the argument is presented as if something is and will always be a certain way (or even if the argument is presented without admitting that something may change) it can probably lead a lot faster to groups of people assuming the argument will be valid forever.
EDIT: Or can be misinterpreted that someone presenting an argument believes the argument will remain valid forever.
btw. never saw the talks the author cites, and have not followed the trade agreements very closely so I'm only speaking generally here.
as i see it, the issue is less about parroting other's outdated technical opinions, it's about not being vocal enough about the change of heart.
I think this attitude is exactly what the article argues against.
If (1) you read his earlier posts about python 3 and (2) understood the specific objections and (3) are aware the current state of python 3 is such that those objections don't apply, then you have no good reason to suppose he still considers them to be valid objections.
If (3) isn't the case, you still don't have a good reason to assume his opinions haven't changed, because the world moves on and that has to be accounted for.
List of some of the things I don't like for which I have to occasionally take another peak to see if I'm finally wrong:
1. (In languages) Garbage collection and the idea of "safe code". I didn't like it then and still don't.
3. (Relational) Data models with compound keys flying around as FKs everywhere.
4. The idea of self service BI (like PowerBI etc in the hands of a business user)