|Reviews for Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality|
| Jonathan chapter 72 . 8/13/2011
| Guest chapter 1 . 8/13/2011
| SparklingSnowfall chapter 72 . 8/13/2011
Please excuse me, I read this all in one sitting and my brain and vision are practically fried.
You may not be interested in the review of an average female. However, it is quite possible that you are conducting an experiment as well as attempting to teach the general public rationalism. In the event that you are gathering statistics from the responses to your story, I have decided to chime in with my much less than highly-educated thoughts. You will need them to have unbiased results.
I have watched one Harry Potter movie and was so unimpressed that I refused to read the books or watch further movies, though some rather well-done fanfiction was pleasant reading. You may find how I happened to stumble upon your fic quite amusing. I was in...Wal-Mart (yes, I'm that low on the socio-economic scale) and a female commented in passing that she liked my Inuyasha T-shirt. A discussion was struck up with her and her male companion. Her male companion avidly suggested, despite my dislike of HP, I should read your story because of the real science involved. He was very enthusiastic. Considering that on my own, I have done everything short of attempting to understand the actual formula's of quantum mechanics, quantum physics, maths above algebra, (I now have a brain injury that can wipe or hide memories and I would probably never reach adequate proficiency) the story was irresistible.
Oh, concerning failing educational systems, you might find it interesting that after sixth grade, not a single one of my math teachers were actually proficient enough to finish a problem on the board. They had not majored in math. I even tried to get help from another teacher who refused after I answered her question of who my teacher was...the Communications teacher. Yes, I had a wonderful time trying to learn math, which I had wanted to do since fourth grade when I saw a book by Isaac Asimov, 'Algebra is for Dummies'. It was a direct challenge. I simply knew I didn't have the background to understand it at that time. Do you know how I learned how to learn rather than memorize? Sleeping in class, which I did in protest. That's when I learned how to do it on my own. Now...why didn't the schools teach me the mental and physical mechanics of how to actually learn? And how did I learn the big picture in algebra? In a dream! Uh yeah, I problem solve there, too.
I have spent every waking moment reading up the the current chapter 72, Pt. 7. Of course, I will go back and do the studying, though I am familiar with much of the concepts.
Your story is intelligent. Waiting for the next subplot to screw everything up and send out five or ten red herrings is exciting. You made me laugh several times, and I was tempted to tear up a few times. Learning is exciting, and I have learned. Of some things I have been reminded.
Because I am only barely familiar with Harry Potter, it would be nice to have more detailed descriptions of some of the characters. Your choice, of course. It's understandable that you skim those things when you have targeted a strictly HP crowd. Outside of that crowd, however, without enough references, the characters blend together when you begin to introduce many lesser known characters through subplots. It gets even harder to keep them separate when several display lecturing mode.
Science fiction by true scientists is what I find to be the most enlightening reads. You can hear the 'but' coming. There is one thing that I've noticed about scientist authors. Eventually, they all go into professor mode because it is easier than writing a scene that moves. Narration or character dialogue is used as the podium. It can feel stagnating and suffocating to the less than highly-educated, or the less than terribly curious. That can lose you a lot of readers, but then again, they might not be 'useful' to you. I do not know your goals or from what portions of the populace you might need in order to conduct whatever experiment it is possible that you may be conducting, but it is something to drop out there in case it might be helpful to you. Regardless, you have done a good job with the balancing act, but occasionally you do get heavy-handed on the lectures.
You must be very, very careful, LessWrong, to heed your own advice. You have casually, subtly, or perhaps unknowingly slipped in what might appear to you to be well-known 'facts' without having stepped out of the box to consult the 'enemy'. One of Harry's first mistakes. There is nothing like direct observation. Also, don't forget to account for your theories and methods in the actual design of the story. If you screw up there, it reduces your credibility.
I applaud your efforts and hope that you reach a wide spectrum of the masses. This information is desperately needed. Keep teaching people how to learn. Don't let them forget by inundating them with information while forgetting to keep the ground solid beneath there feet. And also realize...your choice of materials will show your own bias - and you do have biases, so don't forget that disclaimer and don't forget to tell people not to just take your word for it, not to just 'trust' you and your choices for them. Encourage them to get out and find information on their own, to find the source materials.
Sigh, you bring back my old desires to be able to read Latin and other important languages, desires to understand the most complex theories of the workings of the universe with the ability to read actual mathematical language.
BTW, I was very impressed with your lessons on losing. Insomnia (all your fault btw), doesn't help me to design diplomatic reviews where I spend pages on the so many things I liked, such as Harry's irreverence. Just be glad I didn't get into child development. *yawns* At some point, you will get a random review from me that will have bits and pieces from many different chapters, the things that affected me most.
Good luck! Bonzai! Etc., etc. _
| d20dicemangmail chapter 1 . 8/13/2011
Not to be rude but... Why not announce another "I won't update for at least X weeks/months" kind of hiatus? Not a deadline, just a don't bother-checking-before-this-line?
I adore the fic (I don't know how I missed it for so long - I've been following you since Overcoming Bias but somehow I only spotted this when it was already 40 chapters long) and have managed to get a few friends to read it (still working on getting my girlfriend to try it though).
Oh, while I'm writing, something I've wondered about: I'm almost certain I read a short fic about Voldemort using a similar trick to the one Harry tried with his time turner, only instead of getting a note saying "do not mess with time" he got the secrets of human psychology. Or maybe that was just what he was planning and the fic didn't show if it worked - definitely had a "set things up so that the only stable result is one where this piece of paper has the answer on it" aspect to it. Does anyone know if this was a Yudkowsky story? I've googled around a bit and haven't been able to find anything.
| Dave chapter 72 . 8/13/2011
I have now read this fanfic three times over. I love it, really I do. But I need more! I've been reading the sequences on LessWrong, and that has helped with the read-throughs, but I need to know how things tie together in this universe. Please, write some more MoR!
| Mrfuji3 chapter 24 . 8/12/2011
lol don't trust those Shinigami!
Omg I laughed so hard when reading that paragraph. Definitely the most enjoyable part of the story so far. Good job sir, I salute you.
But really, this story is great so far and I expect it only to get better as it goes on, due to the vast number of reviews you have gotten.
eh that's it for now
| anon chapter 72 . 8/12/2011
After 70 days with no reward, the rat stops pressing the lever as frequently.
| Time's Cough chapter 72 . 8/12/2011
Please update. /I'm sure if you do not intend to abandon the story that you are working on it, so please do not intend to abandon the story.
| Mothsong chapter 5 . 8/12/2011
I usually don't review stories until I get to the most recent chapter, but I must say I have never giggled so hard in my life.
| Lumikki chapter 5 . 8/12/2011
I don't think I have ever laughed this much while reading a fanfic, brilliant! -wiping tears from my eyes-
| Guest chapter 16 . 8/11/2011
I haven't read the chapter yet, but I had to say that as an Ender's Game fan, I love the note at the top.
I really appreciate all of the references that you have worked into this story. And the serious look at Transfiguration. I wish that the structure of magic and the details of magical society beyond Diagon Alley and Hogwarts had been more developed in the books, so I love finding fics that take a serious look at it. As a (fortunately not currently starving) physics grad student, I am really amused by the perspective offered in this story.
I really hope Harry has memorized the Evil Overlord list.
| Guest chapter 27 . 8/11/2011
Your story shames me.
I like to dream. It is like running.
| AdamSpitz chapter 72 . 8/11/2011
Among the Many Worlds out there,
A boy like this is still quite rare.
Ensconced within his happy home,
With many an intriguing tome,
He spent most of his nights and days
With Feynman, Kahneman, and Bayes.
He filled his head with all the best
Ideas that stood up to test:
All life evolved, space isn't flat,
And no man could become a cat.
Well, that all changed, one fateful day,
When Hogwarts owled him to say,
"Come study here! It's lots of fun!
You're magical - a wizard's son.
We need you to defend the Light!
Just promise us that you don't bite."
He should have been quite skeptical,
But someone named McGonagall
Showed up to offer evidence.
(Though - aaargh! - it still made little sense.)
She told of Dark Lord Voldemort,
A villain of the meanest sort,
Who'd filled the world with fear and hate,
Till Harry's Dark-Lord-Killing trait
Had wiped the tyrant off the map
Forevermore... or not. Aw, crap.
There's more to tell of this boy's tale,
Like breaking witches out of jail,
Redeeming jerks, time-travel pranks,
And auto-thieving coins from banks.
There's future-seeing soda pop,
Insanity in clothing shops,
Old men pretending to be wise,
And bullies getting hit with pies.
There's self-reflective Sorting Hats,
Conspiracies, clandestine chats,
Young children playing army games,
And chickens bursting into flames.
He's learning things and growing strong
To try to make the world less wrong,
But all his work will come to nought
If there's no ending to the plot.
Don't leave us hanging, or we will
Come find you with intent to kill.
Your time is valuable, we know,
But please write more! Or this poem's last line will never scan.
| mrsProbie chapter 2 . 8/11/2011
"I am a conscientious objector to the child draft, on the grounds that I should not have to suffer for a continually disintegrating school system's abject failure to provide teachers or study materials of even minimally adequate quality."
I have that bit memorized and have managed to use it in several discussions regarding school. Thank you for it.
| Hagtar chapter 17 . 8/11/2011
I like the notion that Fawkes looks like a chicken, what with chicken being the "Phoenikian Bird" and actually the origin of the name "Phoenix". In The Chamber of Secrets he is described as a half-plucked turkey, but with this awesome subtle reference, this deviation seems in order.
I'm a bit confused about Dumbledore, though. Dumbledore is supposed to be eccentric, yes, but certainly not stupid, and so far he comes across as more than a bit of a fool.
You do not make the main genious of a whole series of books a fool without a good reason. I look forward to seeing yours, unless I'm wrong.
Also a great notion that Dumbledore reads Lord of the Rings. The parallels between him and Gandalf are so obvious that it seems deliberate, and now - surprise - it turns out it is.