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nihil supernum

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joined 04 Sep 2022
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User ID: 100


nihil supernum

5 followers   follows 0 users   joined 04 Sep 2022


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User ID: 100

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I had initially approved this, but on further examination it's pretty political. Please feel free to post it (and, preferably, with some commentary) in the CW thread.

Choosing the username "ShockJock" and posting "just asking questions" about white-hot culture war topics, outside the CW thread, suggests very strongly to me that you are trolling.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt for now and point you toward the CW thread, but this is definitely not getting approved as a top level post.

Depends a lot on who you're proposing to. My own advice would be to establish a budget, discuss that budget with your desired spouse, and then have them participate in ring selection. This may be accomplished in more- and less-obfuscated ways, depending on how much of a "surprise" your desired spouse is going to insist on feeling when you pop the question. But my own experience is that people who value emotional moments like sudden surprise over communication, transparency, and mutual fulfillment are off to a rough start anyway.

Don't worry--they're coming for the lawyers, too.

The dev site is completely separate--including user accounts. So to use the dev site, you have to make an account on the dev site.

Not sure what happened to this week's Friday Fun thread?

Sorry. They're not automated yet, and at least one member of the mod team thought it was still Thursday...

Not impossible, but unlikely. Does it have more predictive power than stealing the most expensive looking bag? Because that’s what I’d expect motivates most bag thefts. (As a bonus, I’d guess women’s luggage is more likely to be visibly expensive and thus targeted.)

This was my first thought as well, but others downthread have suggested that the bag itself was only valued at about $300, which is not an especially expensive piece of luggage. Maybe it looked expensive?

It is difficult for me to put into words why "the kind of person who does public kink shows" automatically registers to my mind as "the kind of person who is likely unfit for public office at any level." I don't think that being into BDSM or dressing like a dog or even crossdressing is especially likely to correlate with being bad at making dispassionate policy decisions, or whatever else it takes to be a good public servant. But being quite loud and public about that sort of thing does give me a strong impression of rampant, unchecked narcissism, narcissism-adjacency, or some other idiopathic impairment of personal judgment.

I'm surprised it even went this far.

You should read the Daily Signal link.

Investigators called Brinton on Oct. 9 and asked him whether he took anything from the Minneapolis airport that didn’t belong to him.

“Not that I know of,” Brinton replied, according to the complaint.

Brinton later admitted to taking the wrong bag, but said that he didn’t have the clothes and other contents that the woman said were in the suitcase.

“That was my clothes when I opened the bag,” the Energy Department official said, according to the complaint.

Brinton confirmed that he still had the bag.

Two hours later, Brinton called investigators and apologized for not being “completely honest.” He admitted to taking the Vera Bradley bag and said he was tired at the time and thought it was his.

Brinton told investigators that when he opened the bag and realized it wasn’t his, he got nervous and didn’t know what to do, according to the complaint.

So, Brinton said, he left the clothes from the bag inside drawers in his Saint Paul hotel room. He admitted to checking the bag at the airport Sept. 18 for his return flight to Washington.

When asked why he took the bag with him Sept. 18, Brinton said it would be “weirder” to leave a bag in the hotel room than the clothes, according to the complaint.

I don't see many ways for prosecutors to fail on this one (though I wouldn't be at all surprised if they deliberately failed). From this account I am more inclined to believe that he stole what he recognized as a very expensive piece of luggage, rather than what he expected to be women's underwear. But it is also presumably possible for both of those things to be true at once.

Entirely inspired by @f3zinker's post, in fact, and completely original to me here.

Google suggests I'm far from the first to think along these lines, though at a glance most of the articles out there are "levels of conversation" or "levels of communication" that put "small talk" at the bottom--or they are lists about making "better" small talk. Analytically, talk is "small" when it is about "unimportant or uncontroversial matters, especially as engaged in on social occasions" (via Oxford) but the Wikipedia article suggests there are scholars who have explored the subject more deeply (including some culture war inroads on gender and culture differences in small talk).

I may be breaking the analytic concept a little by suggesting attention to "small talk" at different levels of relationship, since most discussions of "small talk" frame it as taking place between strangers or acquaintances rather than between friends or intimates--as Wikipedia suggests that "small talk" especially "helps new acquaintances to explore and categorize each other's social position." But I do think something plausibly characterized as "small talk" occurs frequently between friends and intimates, so I felt like it was probably worth thinking about the matter more inclusively.

But I just feel like there is no way to answer that question without sounding like a tool or that answer having no information value at all.

Yes, I want to signal that I am a special snowflake. I don't merely go on walks, go to the gym, cook, program, I do those things better than everyone else.

This is not something I think a lot about, but it's something I happen to have been thinking about recently due to an exchange I had in the old SSC sub. The thought I had at the time was:

...hobbies don't exist for you to be good at them. Hobbies exist for you to enjoy. Being good at things can enhance their enjoyment! But not always. If you like any of those things, then do them and don't worry about getting good (you may find, eventually, that you get good anyway). If you don't like doing those things, then the desire to be good at them is more like generic envy than anything else. I certainly envy people who are great artists, at some level, but I don't actually enjoy making art enough that I am willing to sit around being bad at it for hours on end.

The idiomatic "what do you do?" is like, level 2 small talk. If level 0 is "I accidentally made eye contact with a stranger in the grocery store so I'm going to slightly nod my head with a flat smile," and level 1 is "some weather we're having, eh?" then "what do you do?" is an invitation to become acquainted, in the sense of becoming acquaintances. It's the first step to finding some connection or commonality beyond momentarily shared physical space. And yes, it is natural to wish to be impressive in such moments, especially if you're hoping to develop the relationship to level 3 small talk (friends relating recent but otherwise trivial experiences) or beyond (I don't know what level "married people small talk" is, but it's up there somewhere).

But jumping straight to "I program with PEP8 in mind" may actually discourage further conversation, if they don't know (or care) what PEP8 is. This is what might be called the autist's mistake--answering a question literally instead of using the opportunity to signal interest (or lack of interest) in further conversation. Level 2 small talk proceeds as a series of proffered openings. For example, "I'm a programmer" can be met with

  • "oh, I'm also a programmer, what do you program?" (meaning, "aha! we have something in common, it will be more interesting for us both to get a bit deeper than that")


  • "oh, I'm a banker myself, I don't know much about code" (meaning, "alas, I will not find that topic interesting, perhaps you will find this topic interesting?")

Whereas "I program with PEP8 in mind" offers a narrower choice:

  • "hey, PEP8, nice" (meaning, "I know what that is, are you now as impressed with me as you thought I would be impressed with you?")


  • "PEP8, huh?" (meaning, "oh, is this a dominance contest? I should either show off my superior knowledge of something else, or just find an excuse to talk to someone else")

That you recognize the possibility of "sounding like a tool" suggests you grasp the problem reasonably well, but I think you've been too quick to dismiss simpler answers as "having no information value at all." The information people are seeking first, when making small-talk, is not exactly the same as the information they have explicitly requested, but that doesn't mean there is no value in it. The first piece of information you have to establish with others is whether you are mutually interested in developing a relationship (even just as acquaintances). Delivering a low-resolution picture of yourself, initially, allows others to decide whether they want to know more. And once they want to know more, you can give them a higher-resolution picture without sounding like a tool.

Or in other words--stop trying to impress everyone. Keeping yourself out of naked dominance contests will actually enable you to win dominance contests by default down the line.

(I myself have incredibly "basic"--in the most adolescent, pejorative sense--geek hobbies. Where I get to feel like a special snowflake is after I've established myself as fulfilling several low-value stereotypes, while showing great interest in the things others do. It helps them feel superior to me, which softens the blow and helps me to appear humble (I am not, in fact, humble) when they inevitably discover that my education, employment, family situation, etc. is actually quite enviable, in stark violation of the expectations they'd established of me. This is deliberate on my part--sociologists long ago found that the people we tend to like the most are people who we started out not liking, who later succeeded in changing our opinion of them. Conversely, the people we like the least are people who we started out liking, who later lost our good opinion. People who you like and merely continue liking, or who you dislike and continue disliking, will rarely be your most- or least-liked acquaintances, respectively. There is probably a name for the phenomenon but I no longer remember what it is. Anyway in my experience this also works with people's estimations of social value.)

Are we only supposed to post in the CW thread?

You're only supposed to post CW in the CW thread.

It was interesting, an interesting example of cultural spillover. There's nothing more to say.

That would appear to make it a questionable topic for a discussion forum?

Yeah, and OP made it a bit clearer in another comment that the point of the post is strictly to solicit career-trajectory advice, rather than to examine plans pertaining to spouse and children, so this is all rendered somewhat tangential anyway. Ah, well.

Some states do have private school vouchers of various kinds, there are also tax rebates and of course many private schools offer scholarships. It's difficult to commensurate costs and benefits in the realm of child-raising for many reasons (not that this stops anyone, including me, from trying), but one that I think COVID-driven remote work expansions really highlighted was the possibility of spending more on a house in a good school district, to spend less on private schooling. If you've only got an average number of children, this likely represents only a small savings, but if you have 4+ children (OP seems to have some children and specifies wanting "more") the savings can stack up quickly--even at only $10k/year.

This also kind of overlooks the fact that the "private school advantage" is much more legible in the UK than in the US. There are some good private K-12 schools in the US for sure, but usually when I see stark opportunity or income gaps being discussed in the literature, it's UK schools under examination. In the US, private and public charter academies vary in quality as much as, and arguably even more than, neighborhood and public magnet schools. I admit that--while there are no doubt many good counterexamples!--I personally view suburban $10k private schools as kind of weird; they don't generally appear to outperform suburban neighborhood schools (the way urban private schools are almost always superior to nearby public alternatives), so it's hard for me to see suburban private schools in the US as anything but opportunities for the middle and upper-middle classes to participate in a cargo cult of pretend-wealth.

Any sources for this?

Just math and life experience, really. Private school tuition is ~$12,000 annually in the U.S., though it can be a lot more--up to $60,000 annually. Two kids in a top tier private school and your homemaker is already clocking in over six figures. Four kids at an average-priced private school puts us at a homeschool value of $48,000 annually.

The average commercially-prepared meal costs about $13. A nutritious meal for a family of four is easily prepared at home for $20 plus prep time, and with skill, knowledge, and appropriate tools can be prepared for half that without much difficulty. Easy-prep meals are cheaper than commercially-prepared food, but more expensive than cooking from scratch. Very few people eat out every meal, so it's difficult to quantify the benefits precisely (and one of the benefits is often improved health, which reduces health care costs in the long term), but very conservatively, a homemaker should easily bring your food budget down $5,200 per year (assuming a $100/week savings) and potentially brings your food budget down much more:

  • Assume $25 food per person per day for a family of four: $36,500

  • Assume $5 food per person per day for a family of four: $7,300

  • Savings of $29,200 per year

Add two more children, and the savings from homemaking could get much higher, but if we assume even a low figure of $10,000, between private school tuition and food preparation, the hypothetical homemaker with four children is already saving the family $58,000 annually--in post-tax dollars, so in terms of salary comparison we're already over $60,000.

Ah, whoops. I forgot about after-school care! I'm assuming all four children are old enough to be enrolled in school, so I'm not including daycare costs (which are not low), but with two working parents, four children in after-school care will run you $600/week easy, or more like $2000/week for Nanny-level care. Assuming 36 weeks of school (I think that number is actually higher in many places), that's a minimum of $21,600 annually for after-school care for four children. A conscientious homemaker does better-than-Nanny level care, clocking in at an eye-popping $72,000 annually, but let's just use the lowball number.

For four children in an average American household, a homemaker would already need to be earning more than $79,600 post-tax--just to cover the stuff they can no longer do when they are employed. This might not sound like much to someone who is accustomed to working in San Francisco or Manhattan for $300,000+ per year, but don't lose sight of the fact that the median American worker earns less than $40,000 per year. And in terms of quality, compared against expensive private schooling, commercial meals, and professional nannying, the "fair market value" of conscientious homemaking is already well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

Past this point, individual circumstances matter a lot. A two-parent family with a homemaker can more easily get by with a single vehicle, for example, though where one lives will influence this possibility substantially. A homemaker doesn't need a work wardrobe, though more expensive work wardrobes typically come with higher-paying jobs, so perhaps this is a wash. And there are a number of non-economic benefits as well, whether those be improved academic achievement, greater emotional connection to your children, or just not having to answer to an employer.

For someone who hates kids or can't grasp their own self worth without a corporate stamp of approval, all of this is obviously moot. But in terms of dollars-and-cents, one would need to be at minimum a rather above-average earner before a salary could outpace the monetary value of conscientious homemaking.

I'm not sure I can say much about your career beyond "#1 is the 'success story' I hear most often."

Given the discussion of children I assume you have a spouse. Are they employed? If not, why private school? Why not homeschool? If you and your spouse are both employed, the price tag of private school for multiple children could rapidly outstrip the kind of salary it sounds like you're drawing. That means it would be cheaper for you to quit and homeschool your children--to say nothing of the savings in other areas, like transportation, wardrobe, food preparation, etc. Homemakers (who take their task seriously) represent household economic value measuring well into six figures easily, particularly if you've got more than 2 or 3 children you want to keep out of the public school system.

It would also be useful to know (roughly) where you live and to what extent you're willing to relocate. What's the price of moving to a really good neighborhood with exemplary public schools? Have you looked into charter schools, or Arizona's recent voucher expansion?

If you're living in, like, London and you've hand-picked some insanely amazing private school, but you're having trouble finding a way to pay for it, my advice would probably be more along the lines of "you need to lower your expectations and learn to live within your means." Finding a way to earn more money is not your only option; finding a way to live with less is also something you should consider. But if you're living in urban Denver and just can't imagine sending your children to your awful neighborhood school, you actually have a ton of options (especially if you're willing and able to relocate) that don't require you to dramatically increase your salary in a short period of time.

Can you give a sense of where this is relative to some of your top-reported posts?

Most reported posts only get a single report (and often generate no moderator activity--some people just use reporting as a super-downvote, and we ignore them). A genuinely bad post will tend to get 3-5 reports. A post that is both bad and expresses an unpopular view can easily garner 10+ reports even in a slow week. I think the highest I've ever seen is... maybe 22 reports?

Can you provide a ranking?

It's definitely not in the top ten. It might well be in the top 100, though.

I don't see much like an effort requirement in the rules


beyond avoiding "low-effort participation" which seems to me to be an easy bar to clear

And yet.

Indifference isn't necessarily laziness, (unwarranted) aggression, or anything else negative

It's "negative" at minimum in the sense that it isn't what we're cultivating, here.

My comment was not low effort

Yes, it was. You left entirely too much to the imagination of your readers.

If you think I am incorrect

It's not about whether I think you're incorrect. It's about whether you put sufficient effort into being understood. I gave you the benefit of the doubt (and moderated someone who did not) and so did not moderate you. But given your low-key antagonism here: consider yourself officially warned.

I can't tell whether this is linkspam or not... well, you're welcome to post it in the CW thread I suppose, though a more thorough and careful review would probably contribute better to discussion.

Why do we have "private profiles" here?

The answer to almost every question about how the site presently operates is "because that is the codebase Zorba inherited." A number of alterations have been made by Zorba and a small army of volunteers, and all of it is well over my head, but there is a long list of code requests in the repository, as I understand it.

If it's your intention to discourage people from giving viewpoints you disagree with that's fine, just say so.

This is not my intent, and by suggesting that it is my intent, you are actually breaking the same rule I just warned you against breaking. This is the absolutely predictable refrain of people who do not want to accept that they have broken the rules: "Oh, the mod is just biased against my views." Don't do this; it's not just uncharitable, it's almost comically boring.

it seems that the low-effort comment which I "should've ignored" was expressing a genuine sentiment that lots of people see reflected as true and impactful

Then take it up with them. I don't know how to be clearer about this. You explicitly tagged the fact that you were making assumptions about what anti_dan meant by "the meme" and you also tagged your own assumptions as tracking "very outlandish." The way you responded tells me that you were being uncharitable, and further suggest that at some level you even knew that you were being uncharitable.

And the thing is--for all I know, anti_dan believes exactly what you said. The problem here is not about substance. It's about approach. Generally speaking, just don't put words in people's mouths. No, not even if you think it's necessary; better to shut your own mouth than put words into someone else's. But in those cases where it really does just seem unavoidable, well, then--you need to do a better job attributing beliefs to people in ways that do not strike you as outlandish. You need to steelman their position. If you're not going to do that, then you just don't get to put words in people's mouths.

As for any other people who might actually be taking outlandish positions explicitly, like--okay! They've painted the target on their own backs. So take it up with them.

Engage as much as is entertaining and/or intellectually stimulating for you. Then leave.

Well, yes, but with the caveat that this attitude will often lead directly to rules violations that will get you evicted from the space. They're not just words on a screen--they're words written by a person, and you should respond to those words accordingly. If you fail to treat people like people, eventually those people will stop giving you the opportunity for the entertainment and/or intellectual stimulation you hoped to extract in the first place.

but when I'm replying to someone who says something broad like 'The memes are turning out to be correct' without being specific as to which ones, I'm required to take a bit of a leap if my comment is to be something other than "Please post some clear sources so that I may engage with what you said."

If you're "required to take a bit of a leap" you'll often be better off just not. If you decide to take that leap anyway, then you need to come with the most charitable and steelmanned take you can muster. If someone else in the thread is giving a worse take, then take it up with them.

Really this a good illustration of why we have the rules that we have, and why in general the best approach to rule-breakers is to not respond to them. The comment you responded to really needed more, but taking "a bit of a leap" instead of just asking for more was actually a worse violation of the rules than the low effort comment itself. These things have a way of spiraling rather quickly out of control--one person keeps to the letter of the law, but violates the spirit, the next person crosses the bright line, but only slightly, this makes someone else feel like they are being good community police by slapping them down... and pretty soon we're 15 comments deep into a snarky back-and-forth.

Remember that the goal here is to engage with the best ideas of people with whom you disagree. If someone says something genuinely bad, there's a certain extent to which the mod team will interpret that as offering their own shady thinking up for examination and critique! But when you take it on yourself to impute a certain view to others, you need to do better than you managed this time.

you incorrectly claim I uncharitably characterized it with my question

No, on review I was definitely correct.

4 other people are replying to my question, "Yes, absolutely that is what influential gay people are doing"

Yep, you can definitely reply to them about what they have said. That would not be uncharitable. This was.

This comment has drawn an impressive 14 reports for antagonism/boo-outgroup/inflammatory claims.

I'm reasonably confident that Westerly's question was a troll. So for starters, please don't feed the trolls.

But also, you should know that accusing someone of pre-genocide is going to be taken as inflammatory, so if you're going to do that, you really must bring evidence. Insisting on referring to New Zealand as "Aotearoa" does seem like it could be subtly consensus-building--is the Romanized pronunciation of a Maori name for a land mass really interchangable with the name of the nation state, unquestionably called "New Zealand," that implemented the legislative Act in question? Do New Zealanders use these words interchangably? Or do any of their legal documents do so? I don't know much about New Zealand, so there are all sorts of ways you could have made your point that might have served to impart information or insight.

In the future, please do that instead.

EDIT: @cjet79 beat me to it, but I admit it is often helpful to accidentally see that the mod team is in fact on the same page about this stuff!

What do you think this adds to the conversation? At best, it is vapid and obnoxious; at worst, it is actively antagonistic.

And to be clear--you're certainly free to claim that Europe is essentially a vassal state of the United States, particularly in the context of a discussion about cultural hegemony etc. But you have to actually talk about it! It is not sufficient to function as, essentially, a drive-by peanut gallery, making easy jokes in place of effortful discussion. Don't do this.