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Complete Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Less Wrong - T

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by headbanger22, Mar 9, 2010.

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  1. wolf550e

    wolf550e High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

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    Who would win was predictable from that point, yes, but I didn't know how. The author is attacking egotism. I can't fault him for that. Also, wasn't Ender's strategy in the battle school game to give more independence to his officers? That could be a kind of homage or an inspiration.

    From the AN:
    I think that is because the DLP has better taste, has read more HP fanfic, and judges this as a single story rather than as a collection of neat ideas.
     
  2. Zennith

    Zennith Pebble Wrestler ~ Prestige ~

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    I seriously hate this author. He really needs to get over himself.
     
  3. Andro

    Andro Master of Death DLP Supporter

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    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010
  4. fuubar

    fuubar Headmaster

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    Well of all the unholy fuckwits...

    I still haven't gotten around to reading this, but just seeing the AN that got put up a few posts back I really don't think I should waste my time.

    Edit: Hmmm, I remember putting the Uplift series on my to read list a while back...

    I've got to wonder where this supposed endorsement came from?
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010
  5. pdo91

    pdo91 Professor DLP Supporter

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    Some of the responses to the Eric S. Raymond bump make me sad. My personal favorite:

    Seriously? Now there are people jumping in that haven't even read the fucking books? And from the replies that came after this one, there seems to be a fair few doing just that.

    I had high hopes for this fic, but I ended up dropping it at chapter 20 for all the various reasons discussed throughout this thread. All the 'adultifying', as Bill says, killed this fic for me; it was so bloated with LOGIC!!!1! that it became a chore to read. I can't comment on recent chapters, but, after scanning the last few pages of this thread, it doesn't seem like anything has changed. He's got a few neat ideas, but Yudkowsky's unequal extrapolations and 'fixes' continue to kill the joy of the story.

    I suppose I can't fault him for doing what he said he was going to do, but I damn well want to fault him. It's annoying beyond description that writers that come up with intriguing plots, nuanced characters, and unique stories are thrown to the wayside in favor of this heavy handed reinvention-turned-butchery. And yet, the vast majority find this story both hilarious and well crafted, and tout Harry Yudkowsky's skill at DOING SCIENCE while simultaneously hiding behind industrial strength plot armor.

    What bugs me the most, though, is all the intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals that have come flocking to this story and so vehemently defend it. Why? If they were debating the different applications and points of interest throughout the story, I could understand that. But any semblance of Academia has long since been tossed out the window, and has been reduced to what is possibly the most enormous fan-wank the fandom has seen in a good while. And honestly, I understand the appeal of a good fan-wank every now and again, but these people stand there and shake their heads at every criticism of this story, as if we must simply be too stupid to grasp the 'depth' and 'development' of the fic. They take this story seriously. Even when they're 'crying with laughter' at the crazy antics of Harry and the gang, they're still taking everything seriously.

    Because a story with real science has to be serious and 3-dimensional and adult and amazing and serious, right? I understand and expect this sort of thing from the tweens over at ff.net, but it's embarrassing that this is an across-the-board reaction, especially since many don't read it for the 'Harry Potter' part. Even published authors read this story and say, "Wow, that was fun and intriguing and well thought out!", but gloss over the poor dialogue, the surprisingly irrationally-rational tone, the way some things are over-expanded upon while similar things are simply ignored, and the sheer lack of a consistent writing style.

    I'm not trying to say that the story should be better thought out, or that the only way for it to be good is if the author redid each chapter to make the story flow better. This is fanfiction, and with that comes a lack of editors and deadlines and all the other things that come with professional writing. What offends me is that the world at large seems to have it in their head that this is professional-level work, and dig their heels in every time anyone even hints otherwise.

    As 'a way to educate the public', it succeeds in the sense that it disseminates large quantities of information that is probably unknown to its target audience. As a story, its interesting and unique qualities and ideas are overshadowed by glaring flaws that very few seem willing to point out - and it seems most of those few are here. And that pisses me off.


    So, massive tl;dr - The story itself is okay, but not my cup of tea. The fans, the author, the hype, and everything else related to MoR makes me rage.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010
  6. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    This story is now officially the most overrated FF in existence.

    And anyone who calls it great and talks about the writing has just lost any credibility to ever again comment anything (read Circular Reasoning and get back to me).
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010
  7. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity Destroyer of Worlds ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    @Andromalius: Joe Hundredaire's dislike of the story is easy to understand--there's no graphic girl-on-girl action.

    The author's merely giving Harry a minor loss under the pretense of a morality play so that he can justify giving him a major win in the near future. Hermione is his favorite vehicle for doing this (as he's done more than once so far); she's oh-so-clever and can get away with pretty much anything.

    Brin is best known for the Uplift series of "semi-hard" science fiction novels. The first few books were okay (I rather enjoyed Sundiver), but I lost interest around book 4. Hard science fiction as a genre is traditionally less about characterization and more about the "cool idea," so I guess I can see his attraction to Methods of Rationality.

    Eric Raymond is a long-time Open Source Software zealot who, as far as I know, never wrote fiction. I have a copy of his The Art of Unix Programming and he's best known as an writer for his The Cathedral and the Bazaar, essays on Open Source programming models. One wonders what exactly he has to say that's so cogent about fiction writing.

    The author clearly was paying homage to Ender's Game (the overrated pile of midden that it was)--see Harry's desire for Dragon Army. I can appreciate his desire to do so, since his Harry is about as unbelievable a child as Card's Ender Wiggen (or Peter or Valentine, for that matter).* For what it's worth, Ender had a command structure, with platoon leaders able to act semi-autonomously. Harry had a mob, ruled as one. To the author's credit, he chose for Harry's army to lose in the end (though it was a close thing, apparently). Historically, armies lacking discipline don't win battles.

    Oh, and "in before the next batch of one-post idiots arrives to defend this story to the benighted DLP horde." To such: The community has standards; while this story has positive elements and interesting ideas, it doesn't measure up. The author's apparent hangup over this is illuminating.

    * I used to have an Ender's Game parody (a protected class of derivative work) on here and ff.net before Card made public statements about how he'd ruthlessly crush fan works of his stories. I didn't want the hassle of lawsuits, even though I was in the right, so I took the story down. Given the divisive, toxic environment in professional writing ranks regarding fanfiction nowadays, I'm surprised that Brin would so openly endorse fanwork of another author.
     
  8. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    @pdo91: The author hasn't read the books past 'Prisoner of Azkaban', never mind some of the people reading it. He's relying on Wikipedia, going by the tvtropes page.
     
  9. bornagainpenguin

    bornagainpenguin DLP Archivist

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    Errr....not so much. The Uplift Saga\Universe\Whatever is a great idea but this is not the execution of it you are looking for. It has been done much better and more coherently by others. In fact other than his first two books much of what Brin writes is over-rated in my opinion.

    Brin's work suffers from the same type of issue that Lesswrong's work does, they are more a collection of interesting thought experiments and fodder for more fine-grained work created by honing in and focusing deeply on the impacts of ONE main idea. Typically their works are fun to read (sometimes) and entertaining for the hundreds of ideas spun out at random, but they typically lack the satisfaction of having an actual storyline or plot. Not that they're alone in this type of thing.

    I read the work of Metroanime, Skysaber, Perfect Lionheart, Rorschach's Blot, DisobedienceWriter, etc for the same reasons. They all have so many ideas in each of their fics that I can take just one of them and mentally trip on it for hours. Kind of like the Twilight Zone or the Outer Limits if either of those shows had had no editorial control and had tried to cram three or more ideas in each episo---herrm...Actually, it's kind of more like Family Guy or the Simpsons, with all the throwaway gags... You get my point though.

    As far as Brin is concerned, go ahead and hit up the library if you want for his work, just be sure to read his first two books first--The Practice Effect, and The Postman. By the end of The Postman I think you'll see why he is a fan of Lesswrong's work. Bear in mind that the abortion of a film with Kevin Costner has as much in common with the book as the Twilight books have in common with the Vampire mythos. IE NOTHING! IMHO they raped that book when they made the movie and turned it from an intelligent treatise on military force in service of liberty and what the intentions of the Founding Fathers were (no standing armies) into some stupid stereotypical racism screed with soap opera overtones. It was about the duty of the strong to the weak not the color of skin Hollywood dumbasses! Argh, don't let me get started.

    Any way all I came here for was to see the reactions of the fanbois when lesswrong mentioned this place in his author's notes, not post about the merits of Brin's works...meh.. I used to be a fan of Brin but then I read more of his stuff... ;)

    --bornagainpenguin

    PS: DLP for LIFE!

    PPS: In B4 who the &%*$ are YOU!
     
  10. skyzio

    skyzio Squib

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    I think that may be the main reason. It's much harder to like a story when you are trying to judge it (or when you know of it's flaws). I didn't like Avatar and His Dark Materials (books) because I judged them while watching/reading them but loved Ender's Game despite the fact it is incredibly flawed (far more so than MoR) with one of the worst Mary Sue's of all time!

    Why would that annoy you?:confused:
    I ended up dropping the books as too childish (started trying to read them after chapter 18 of this fic :D)...
     
  11. Rehio

    Rehio Bad Dragon ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    God dammit, I can't even tell if it's a giant troll. The fans seem like trolls, the author comes across as a troll, but they're all so fucking stupid that I have to believe that they're serious.

    I'm over this story. Saw the update in my inbox and just didn't have the interest to click the link.

    2/5.
     
  12. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity Destroyer of Worlds ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I'll feed the newbie troll for you, Rehio.

    The books are childish because, well, they were written for children. I'm not sure why you'd expect otherwise.

    Not bothering to read the books from which one is borrowing betrays an arrogance and lack of respect for the source material on the part of the author that many would find objectionable.

    Also, perhaps it's me, but I see the story as a thinly veiled commercial for the author's blog/institute, which breaks the "doing this for pleasure and not profit" fanfiction model (as well as being a subtext that breaks the fourth wall for several readers). The author is almost certainly deriving commercial benefit from J. K. Rowling's intellectual property and his exploitation of the popularity of her fandom by routing eyeballs to his site and building his own personal fame as a voice in the field of AI. I wouldn't be surprised if his story has bumped traffic to his blog/website by an order of magnitude or two. In many regards, this practice is worse than a Cassandra Clare or Jim Bernheimer pitching their original fiction novels on their fanfiction sites, since neither author makes a living off their writing.

    This story isn't parody in the traditional sense, so it's possible that a court would consider it as not falling within this protected class of derivative works. Indeed, if the legal hammer were to fall on this story, it could have fallout: consider that a single CAD letter, if sufficiently broad in scope, to the owners of fanfiction.net could effectively shut down the fandom.
     
  13. pdo91

    pdo91 Professor DLP Supporter

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    Pers said it far better than I could. And I wasn't even thinking of the extending legal ramifications, it just rubbed me the wrong way.

    If the author himself hasn't even read past PoA, as shinysavage pointed out, then what little respect I had for this story is gone. This isn't even a conglomeration of facts and ideas connected by the Harry Potter world; it's just a conglomeration of facts and ideas fitted together with cookie-cutter trivia and the basic knowledge gleaned from the shortest and simplest books in the series.

    If Yudkowsky had the integrity I assumed he had, he would have read the last 4 books - something that would have taken days at the most. I know for a fact that I can read all seven books in a week without changing my routine, and I'm only a moderately-fast reader. Is it so difficult to set some time aside and research the thing you are writing about? I would have thought this would have been the first thing he did, instead of waffling about with Wikipedia and fanon drivel, especially with his scientific background and how it's what his goddamn story is about. This is a perfect example of why so many of us are opposed to this 'fanfiction phenomenon', out of principal if not the slew of other reasons.
     
  14. Andro

    Andro Master of Death DLP Supporter

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    It has to be some very low key announcement. Like on their website. Oh wait. :rolleyes:

    Yes, but it also shows that there's a threshold past which even other douchebags are repulsed by the immensity of douchebaggery that is Less Wrong.
     
  15. Memory King

    Memory King Order Member DLP Supporter

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    I stumbled on this story back when early chapters were still being written, but there was just something that rubbed me the wrong way. Pretty strange, considering all the Smart!Harry fics of dubious quality I've read and enjoyed over the years.

    This thread rocks, simply because I might have tried to push through the beginning if not for its existence. Plot-less drivel just doesn't interest me in the slightest.
     
  16. Silens Cursor

    Silens Cursor The Silencer DLP Supporter

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    Normally, I would avoid this thread any further, but I recently sent LessWrong a private message, and I got a response from him. Keep in mind that posting this is not something I would typically do - I would normally hold such messages in confidence - but his response infuriated me to the point that I just don't care.

    My message went like this:

    His response:

    We've all acknowledged that our library is not perfect. We might be skeptics, and we might occasionally have a mob mentality. And yes, it was Mordac who started 'methodsofrationalitysucks.com', but his criticisms are just as valid as mine. But this arrogant writer thinks that - somehow - DLP is beneath him. He derides us as another cesspit, he thinks we aren't that bright, and while he is ultimately more accommodating of criticism than Perfect Lionheart, his arrogance is beyond anything I've ever seen with respects to any criticism. He views us as idiots, and he views his fic as the pinnacle of fanfiction.

    And yeah, while we do have some clear morons among us, to make the allegation that DLP is beneath his attention because of our 'collective intelligence' is beyond offensive - it's libelous. We have physicists, businessmen, and a crop of some of the smartest university students and graduates in the fandom on our boards. We have published authors on this forum, and I extended the offer for DLP to provide rational criticism for his work in WbA, he condemns it because he doesn't think we're smart enough.

    BULL-FUCKING-SHIT.

    I'm tired of DLP being treated like intellectual inferiors. I'm disgusted by this man's arrogance, and I have no patience for my opinions being invalidated just because I'm part of DLP, the best fucking HP forum on this internet. That's why I posted this to the forums instead of keeping this to myself, because he's insulting all of us. Normally that would be irrelevant, but we're speaking of a writer who has accumulated over 5,000 reviews in a few months, and who has a public audience greater than most of our fics combined. He says something about us, our reputation takes a hit it doesn't deserve.

    So I'm asking DLP - all of DLP - for their thoughts. Should we take this shit? Noted intellects, writers, and members on our forum - Gio, Joe, Pers, vlad, Sesc, Nuhuh, Virail, Raven, Tehan, Andro, The Santi, Vash, Shezza, everyone else I forgot, yeah, even Taure - do we deserve to have our reputations slandered by LessWrong, particularly after I invited him here and offered him a chance for reviews and for him to improve his writing?

    This isn't Joehundredaire we're talking about here - let's be fair, he was irrelevant. This is bigger, and I know that DLP has the self-esteem to defend its writers and stories, and the balls to call LessWrong out on his bullshit.

    The floor is open - go.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
    Luc
  17. White Rabbit

    White Rabbit Hippity Hoppity DLP Supporter

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    DLP isn't your army to call upon when someone takes your review badly. True he badmouthed DLP. But honestly, DLP has taken worse criticism with less butthurt than this before.
     
  18. Dark Syaoran

    Dark Syaoran No. 4 Admin

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    I actually enjoyed reading your message and his reply more than his story. He reminds me of Vorlon in some ways.

    Anyway, you shouldn't take it too personal. Some authors just can't take any type of critic. That's just the way they are and I don't think I know of any that have changed in that respect - for any reason. It's hardwired into them and probably shows in their every day lives.

    Shit happens.

    I agree with the mouth-piece angle you touched on. The author is trying way too hard to ram his views down our throats. It gets pretty repetitive, pretty fast - and honestly, it's extremely boring - even if you have an interest in the subject matter that you are choking to death on.
     
  19. pdo91

    pdo91 Professor DLP Supporter

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    This is exactly what my little shitfest from earlier was about. This is it exactly.

    His smug little riposte to a long, coherent review serves no purpose but to shut down Silens and DLP. There are hundreds of ways he could react badly to a review, but he chose the one I find most reprehensible.

    I don't really care that he doesn't think we stack up (even though he's repeatedly mentioned us throughout his story/in his author's notes - and remember, we were a standard of excellence when he mentioned us in chapter 7). DLP has thick skin.

    That doesn't change the fact that he's too arrogant and condescending to recognize an olive branch when he sees one.
     
  20. Scrib

    Scrib The Chosen One

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    You know what? I had a huge fucking post written up before I had an epiphany.

    This is irrelevant

    Let's be honest here, there's reasons we hate this fic beyond the writing and the author. I guess as a forum with lots of writers far more talented than Yudkowsky and far less arrogant about it it galls us when some over opinionated,arrogant asshole rushes in and because of some prior connections of just plain audience stupidity rushes in and seizes the glory.

    Tough. This doesn't only happen in fanfic, just ask the people from The Wire and such. It's unfair but fuck it, nothing can be done.

    Now I realise that i've contributed to this so I'm sorry but this shit has got to end.

    I'm asking everyone, DLP and lesswrongs assorted sockpuppets (looking at you skyzio and that wolf fucktard) this shit is pointless and just feeds the troll that is Yudkowsky.

    Fuck him

    Fuck his story

    Fuck him once more.

    Vent with me here. Then let it go. It's life, sometimes fucktards like him do get it all, nothing we can do about it.

    Also Silens : Did you really see it going anyother way? Really?
     
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