Re: Bad memes Re: Opting out of the Sysop scenario?

From: Gordon Worley (
Date: Sun Aug 05 2001 - 18:33:40 MDT

At 2:50 PM -0400 8/5/01, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
>Gordon Worley wrote:
>> This whole post really illustrates my frustration in trying to
>> communicate about the Sysop. I've worked through it in my mind and
>> have a good idea of what it should be like (though I hope to refine
>> it more and eventually have the actual Sysop really refine it (yes,
>> Eli, this is simplified wording because I'm lazy, but I probably
>> spent more effort to explain myself than to say the correct thing
>> clearly)), but explaining this complex idea in a way that makes sense
>> and doesn't scare people is tough. Good thing I have the list to
>> warn me when I start sounding like 'Uncle Joe' Stalin. ;-) Oh, and
>> maybe a few more years to write about the Sysop and come up with good
>> wording before lots more people start to notice doesn't hurt, either.
>There is, I believe, a rule to the effect that you must write a million
>fully polished words to throw away before you can sell anything. Writing
>has become considerably easier for me with time, but despite having sold,
>I sometimes have the feeling I'm still working on my million words. If
>you haven't read a few how-to-write books, you should probably do that as
>well. (If you already have, then you probably know most of what you need
>to know... I grew up reading "How to write science fiction" books, which
>formed most of my knowledge base for writing, plus "The Elements of Style"
>later on.) Just keep plugging and remember that polished sentences are
>only the first step toward good writing...

That sounds about right. When I write I generally throughly massage
my words before publishing them. With this, though, I need to get my
ideas out there before I go back and refine my language so that it is
more concise and precise because this is a complex topic and I know
that I can leave things out if I'm not careful. Thus, you're all
getting the beta version of paper to make sure I include everything
(i.e. spark discussion and figure out what I still need to write

Oh, and yes, I know quite a bit about writing (even if my e-mails
don't always reflect that ;-)). Polished sentences are easy, but
diction that doesn't send even SL4ers running for the hills, that's
what's hard. Maybe it's time I released /Gordon's Unabridged
Dictionary/. ;-)

>Brian Phillips wrote:
>> try using an economic analogy..contrasting the Sysop with the InvisibleHand.
>> It's just there in the background you know..... (flawed yes, soothing..also
>> yes)
>Disagree, that one's even worse than analogizing between the Sysop and the

Agreed, but I do see how the ideas connect (both are supposed to be
underlying forces of the universe, and that's what the Sysop is in
Sysop Space, but the similarities end there).

Gordon Worley                     `When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty            said, `it means just what I choose                it to mean--neither more nor less.'
PGP:  0xBBD3B003                                  --Lewis Carroll

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