Crocker's Rules

text that says trust me I'm lying

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

Wait. That's not what I wanted to talk about.

I officially declare myself to be operating by Crocker's Rules.

What does this mean?

Here's an explanation of what "Crocker's Rules" are. I've also copied the information below for the sake of being explicit about the message. And in case of a future broken link:

Declaring yourself to be operating by "Crocker's Rules" means that other people are allowed to optimize their messages for information, not for being nice to you.  Crocker's Rules means that you have accepted full responsibility for the operation of your own mind - if you're offended, it's your fault.  Anyone is allowed to call you a moron and claim to be doing you a favor.  (Which, in point of fact, they would be.  One of the big problems with this culture is that everyone's afraid to tell you you're wrong, or they think they have to dance around it.)  Two people using Crocker's Rules should be able to communicate all relevant information in the minimum amount of time, without paraphrasing or social formatting.  Obviously, don't declare yourself to be operating by Crocker's Rules unless you have that kind of mental discipline.

Note that Crocker's Rules does not mean you can insult people; it means that other people don't have to worry about whether they are insulting you.  Crocker's Rules are a discipline, not a privilege.  Furthermore, taking advantage of Crocker's Rules does not imply reciprocity.  How could it?  Crocker's Rules are something you do for yourself, to maximize information received - not something you grit your teeth over and do as a favor.

"Crocker's Rules" are named after Lee Daniel Crocker.

This has a couple of significant implications.

For one, if I tell someone that I try to always operate by Crocker's Rules (or I direct them to this page), and they don't in turn declare themselves to be operating by Crocker's Rules, then I continue to avoid saying things that might upset or offend said person. My default state is polite.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of things that tend to offend people:

  • truths they don't like
  • honest critique
  • being wrong
  • the negative judgments or feelings of others

Now by no means do I want this to come across as a threat. As Crocker's Rules specify, reciprocity is not expected. I just want to direct attention to the meaning I take from silence, because it might not spontaneously occur to you to say it back if you want to attempt that kind of communication.

I think that two people working together and using Crocker's Rules would experience large benefits from the discipline, provided they trust each other and are mature enough to stick to the spirit of the rules.

However, what really appeals to me is the idea of personal relationships where two people trust each other enough to genuinely help the other be better at life. I'd like to build a personal network where such a Tell Culture is the norm.

I've written before about radical honesty and habits of lying. Crocker's Rules codify the mindset towards the topic that I aspire to live up to.