Applying Yes or No Philosophy

I was reviewing this thread to try to understand why no followups and no similar threads later. I think there’s a pattern across many people where they will do some things early on and then change their posting in some way. In short, I read this thread as trying to learn/study CF in some detail and other later threads as largely not doing that.

I didn’t find a clear answer.

One thing I was looking for is something unwanted about it that could lead to avoiding similar threads. Like a bad outcome or a sign of a negative experience in what was said. I noticed high formatting effort in one post (with headings and tons of bolds) which is something I could understand someone not wanting to repeat since it takes work, but I think that’s just a side issue (you could write similar post content with low formatting effort).

Another thought is that people act less familiar at first and more familiar later like they’re my casual buddy, and that causes both some upsides and downsides.

Another thought is that after spending more time on the forum people may copy the behavior of other people here more. I think that should be split into two cases: copying me or others. The main problem with copying me is that people misunderstand me and do it wrong (and don’t ask many clarifying questions) – cargo culting. For copying others, besides inaccurate copying, there are also major issues of copying their flaws or copying things that work better for their context (of having been here 5+ years, having had many past conversations, having read tons of stuff in the past, etc.). Sometimes people copy stuff from people who are kinda stuck and it helps them get stuck too… Maybe this would be clearer to people with a weaker word for “copy” like “learn” or “adopt” – it’s just partial copying done primarily subconsciously.

Another thought is that people don’t want to spend very long in a learning phase. There’s a time limit before they want to be non-newbies, regulars, people already familiar with CF, etc.

Another idea is that they were trying to be a critical peer, but it ended up in a learning interaction which is not what they wanted, so then they avoid repeats later.

I looked for red flags in this thread, in case I missed some the first time, but didn’t find them. Sometimes when I know someone better I can find red flags in their older writing. I did notice an instrumentalist/anti-conceptual/anti-explanatory/pro-predictions attitude that was relevant to later discussion:

I also noticed a type of error that was repeated later (bold added):

But then 18 minutes later, before anyone replied:

There’s a mismatch here between confidence level and idea quality. The really strong wording was followed quickly by a retraction. That’s poor “calibration” as Less Wrong calls it (or it could instead be due to some kind of bias, emotions, heated attitude). It’s important to have pretty good meta knowledge of how good your knowledge is – to know how much you know about something, when to hedge or emphasize, and when stuff does or doesn’t need more thought.

Another kinda similar example from later:

You’re right. I don’t know how I was able to blank out the fact that primes are essential for all these basic algorithms of arithmetic.

And IIRC there were 3+ times he wrote something then soon edited to delete it and rewrite it to say something else. A couple times he edited it to say “derp” before editing again. Those indicate, roughly, that he thought he’d reached a conclusion that he was confident about and could send as a final message, but that evaluation was way off, and his own current knowledge was already capable of seeing that the content and evaluation were wrong.

The errors that came up again later are just minor though. I mean they’re important in general but they aren’t important to what I’m reviewing. They don’t explain fewer later posts trying to study CF.

I read this thread as sharing questions/confusions being rewarded with high quality, helpful answers. It looks positive so then why wasn’t there much attempt to repeat the experience later? And I think I’ve seen similar from lots of people.