Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Low Effort Stances are Difficult to Fake

On his excellent blog ribbonfarm, Venkatesh Rao observes that if you argue with stupid, you always lose. Stupid has nothing to lose. They have to reputation to uphold, no beliefs to cherish. Moreover, stupidity is a low effort stance. Because of this reason, it is hard to fake. Faking, by definition, takes some effort. This effort will always show through. Low effort stances are defined the low effort. Stupid is not putting any effort into its argument. If it is, it's not stupid.

High effort stances such as intelligence or sophistication can be faked if you can make the effort put into the fakery indistinguishable from the effort needed to acquire the real skill.

The other common low effort stance is innocence. It is much harder to fake innocence than being innocent. This is why when one wants plausible deniability, the best course of action is to not know the secret at all. It is said that good lies lack detail. If you put in too much detail, you get caught as lying. Writing naturalistic dialog is much harder than writing memorable ones for the same reason.

Fighting stupid with smart will fail. But fighting stupid with stupid will also fail because it will come out as fake. The only winning strategy is to walk out on the game.


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