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May 20, 2009


"my blog posts are no doubt also designed, at least unconsciously, to signal my many features"

by 'designed' do you mean signaling your many features is the true purpose of your blog posts, the 'real reason' why you blog, or do you mean that signaling is just one element in the story of why you blog, alongside your enjoyment of intellectual pursuits, your enjoyment of communicating with others, etc. etc.

Luis, communicating is a way to convey signals, so implicitly, Robin's posts (as with any other human communication) both contain his opinion on a particular subject along with signals to his status/ability/loyalty.

"...my many features."

I'd just like to say that **I** am featureless.

In all these posts, amazingly, I don't think anybody has said this yet: I like signalling. I like watching other people signal, too, and I like competing with them.

I like playing sports, telling and hearing jokes, discussing philosophy and economics (I'm here, aren't I?), listening to and playing music, flirting, lekking, and earning money. I'm not a complete dick about it, but that's part of the signalling, too. Humans competing with other humans generates almost all of the complexity, humor, frustration, fun, pain, and challenges of life. I like signalling - it's as human and as enjoyable as eating!

Interesting. I noticed the author of Kludge: The haphazard construction of the human mind do the same thing: he kept inserting gratuitous references to his academic affiliations, the actresses he's met at parties, etc.

Wait! Now I'm signaling my well-read-ness! Doh!

So, are our anonymous commenters not interested in signalling, or are they just going about it really badly?

George Weinberg: Signaling is like prisoner's dilemma - everybody would be better off if everybody spent less time, money, and effort on signaling, but then anybody who signals more than others wins. So it's quite natural to dislike the entire game, even if you're pretty good at it.


"featureless?" this seems interesting.


@Tomasz Wegrzanowski:

Three times a week, my group of friends plays basketball with other groups. We spend evenings running, sweating, showing off to onlookers, trash-talking, and jockeying for position in our friendship coalition. What a waste of time, right? Everybody knows that basketball is a zero-sum game! If only we could escape such a miserable prisoner's dilemma!

Come on. Truly, competition of this sort is the spice of life.

"First Law of Communication: The purpose of communication is to advance the communicator." - Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat

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