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  • I'm going to do a very special Tau Day video this year and break the 4th wall a bit.

  • If you're a fan worried I might ruin the Vi Hart Brandsperience this video is especially

  • for you.

  • Now, a youtuber's brand is this delicate thing sustained through collaboration between

  • the artist and audience.

  • If I started younger I probably would have been more into the social vloggy youtubery

  • aspect where we have a community with a name and we do tags and form an identity, not because

  • that's what younger people do but because that's the norm, that's the top ten tips

  • for success on youtube, and at that point I wouldn't have known what I want from life

  • well enough to know that's not the direction I want to go in.

  • Some of our inside jokes and vihart lingo would be purposefully created, but some of

  • it would just kinda happen, like, we've all got our hands on the little ouija board

  • triangle thingy but no one feels like they're directing it when all of a sudden we all agree

  • that cats are the waste product of a particularly complicated multidimensional robot.

  • hmm, kinda makes sense when you think about it.

  • And now that's the truth, or at least its canon, and after a while what's the difference.

  • We would be such a good cult.

  • We have so much amazing cult potential, it takes effort to not accidentally become a

  • cult.

  • Anyway.

  • Suspension of disbelief is an interesting thing with many varieties.

  • Take the doodling in math class series.

  • "Say you're me and you're in math class and…”

  • This is standard suspension of disbelief where I write straight up fiction and you enjoy

  • the story.

  • You don't have to think about it very long to realize I'm not talking to myself in

  • a real math class as I draw in real time.

  • It has scripted narration on top of heavily edited film.

  • However, youtube has some features that traditional film did not, which can lead to a sort of

  • communal extended suspension of disbelief.

  • Sometimes I get comments asking about what my math teacher thought or did I get in trouble,

  • responding to the character I play in the video rather than to actual me.

  • I assume a lot of these comments are from folks consciously enjoying taking part in

  • the fiction.

  • And some are probably from folks in that fuzzy suspension of disbelief state where you're

  • going along with a story without really thinking about it, I mean if they stopped to think

  • about it they'd know I'm not really in my math class but they're enjoying a youtube

  • binge in an extended suspension of disbelief state so they don't stop to think about

  • it, that would ruin the experience.

  • Overactive suspension-of-disbelief is common and encouraged in children but even as adults

  • its normal to have knee-jerk emotions based on fiction.

  • Like, you have a gut reaction against a stranger on the street and then you realize they look

  • just like the actor who played the villain in a show you used to watch.

  • Our brains are just really good at giving us fast first impressions based on fictional

  • depictions of people, and then logic catches up and we either set ourselves straight or

  • rationalize.

  • Sometimes our instinct is to idolize someone that we know we don't actually know, and

  • sometimes there's a bit of a blurred line, say with vloggers with branded personalities

  • where you feel a bit like you know them even though you know you're getting a highly

  • curated view of their life, and there can be some beautiful and worthwhile things in

  • that connection if it isn't abused.

  • See, YouTube is a giant cross-temporal ouija board with an algorithmic triangly thingy

  • that collaborates with viewers to create the stories you want to hear without you feeling

  • like you're moving the triangle thingy even though of course you are, along with a million

  • other people.

  • So the triangly thingy, ok let's actually look this up because I'm sure there's

  • a word for it, the Planchette.

  • Recommendation Algorithms are a giant Million-person Cross-temporal Planchette.

  • Yeah I was hoping for a funner word.

  • Maybe we could use the English translation which is

  • Planky.

  • The internet is a universal planky that points us to what we want to believe without us feeling

  • like it's our fault.

  • The intended use case of the algorithmic planky is a smooth user experience, I can keep on

  • being a pair of hands doodling in real time in my gradeschool math class for as long as

  • you want and you never have to see my other kinds of videos or think about the fact that

  • these things take me weeks and I'm a professional in my 30s with a face before off you go to

  • some other story, hopefully one with advertisements cuz planky is hungry.

  • So.

  • I've been making videos where the story is that I hate Pi for 8 years, starting with

  • the viral successPi is (still) Wrongand most recently withAlternative Pi”.

  • But I don't hate Pi.

  • I mean, I do honestly think the circle constant should have been Tau, but I think pi is fine,

  • there's plenty of unfortunate notational choices that make math confusing and pi certainly

  • isn't the worst of them, I think celebrating pi day is a good thing to do even if Tau day

  • is twice as good, and so I celebrate Pi day loudly and publicly every year with another

  • installment in this manufactured controversy.

  • Anyone who stops to think about it, who stops suspending their disbelief, will realize I'm

  • not a student in algebra class who hates Pi, I'm an artist enjoying engaging an audience

  • with a passionate mathematical experience, but if you're just browsing around you might

  • not think about it much and move on to something else thinkingwow there's some chick

  • who really hates piinstead of applying your media literacy skills to every single

  • youtube video you consume ever.

  • I mean, if you're not continuously suspending your disbelief while you watch youtube it

  • kind of ruins the experience as you realize how much of it is just product placement and

  • sponsorships and shallow clickbait meant to take advantage of the stories we're collaborating

  • with the algorithms to tell.

  • What I mean is: we're not just listening to the stories already there, we're telling

  • stories to ourselves through our searches and clicks and views, and the more shallow

  • the content, the easier we can fit it into our story instead of listening to someone

  • else's.

  • Which is why I try to not be shallow so you can't take my story from me,

  • Anyway I'd originally heard that pi is wrong from the mathematician John Conway through

  • word of mouth and I found some other things people had written about it through the years

  • but there just wasn't enough righteous anger in these math facts to make a good story,

  • so that was my contribution to humanity, and others joined in, first people I knew and

  • then people I didn't, and now instead of me telling the story planky can help you do it

  • in whichever way best serves all our secret desires.

  • Our secret desire to be told we're smart and know better than those Pi people, if you're

  • on the Tau side, or better than those Tau people, if you start on the Pi side, or better

  • because we accept both or don't care.

  • Same story.

  • We all want to suspend our disbelief and take part in a fiction where we're better than

  • other people, what safer, better outlet for that than this fun little controversy about

  • Tau vs Pi?

  • We enjoy arguing and engaging with mathematical discourse in a way that harms no one and that

  • I hope makes people a bit more conscious of the mechanisms of manufactured controversy.

  • BUT IF I WERE EVIL.

  • Or maybe just if I got too wrapped up in myself and didn't know better.

  • Here's how to ruin everything.

  • Step 1: create a group identity around a shared belief.

  • For us of course it's that Tau rules Pi drools, we got that down, but it doesn't

  • really matter what it is.

  • It can start as something simple, innocent, enjoyable to argue about without it really

  • mattering.

  • It can even start as an opinion.

  • We'll pivot to bigger and stronger beliefs in phase 2.

  • But first:

  • Step 2: create a body of rhetoric that the group can repeat to defend their belief.

  • We know our talking points.

  • Simpler equations, easier to understand, we've got rebuttals to their talking points too.

  • As the group evolves beyond just being about Tau vs Pi we will expand our talking points

  • to be that it was never really about pi vs tau, it's about revolutionizing education,

  • or maybe it's about how only truly smart triangles are reasonable and open minded enough

  • to accept new truths like Tau but also including the bigger beliefs of phase 2.

  • Having multiple layers of rhetoric is good because you can switch whenever one isn't

  • working.

  • Whatabouts and its-really-abouts are such good friends.

  • Step 3: spread the word / start beef

  • It's all in good fun, at least, in phase 1, the phase 2 version is start beef.

  • But you've got to send your people out there to argue and act independently of you.

  • First I'll send out the Tauists to merely inform and link Pi people to some Tau information.

  • It's educational and just sharing something we love.

  • In this step we'll even recruit more tauists who want to join the fun and who think the

  • math is interesting, and successful conversions make us look legit.

  • As we get into the habit of taubombing people it's inevitable that at some point someone

  • will go a little over the line.

  • At this point one might realize that being a leader comes with some responsibility, but

  • you must resist that urge, you can't control other people's actions, and anyway if some

  • random person is upset about being called a loser for liking Pi, it's just because

  • they don't get the joke, they should come join us, not get mad about it.

  • We'll all share a laugh over it so that everyone knows they have permission within

  • the group to make mistakes and go a little overboard, it's not a big deal.

  • You might recruit some folks but the goal of this step is to gain enemies, eventually

  • someone is bound to overreact even to the lightest teasing.

  • But in stage 1, even someone pretending to be an enemy for fun will do, because we'll

  • pressure them to either admit they're not really against us, which is a win for us,

  • or to become a true enemy, which is a win for me, because now I can move on to:

  • Step 4: Make your group members feel like the scum of the earth and that everyone hates

  • them.

  • It might seem counterintuitive, also unethical, but this step is so important.

  • I need to constantly put my followers down by using other people's worst words about

  • them, and luckily we've manufactured some enemies, don't worry about whether your

  • enemies are actually causing real world harm to anyone, that's not the point.

  • You just want to make your followers feel attacked and disrespected.

  • Think of it as if your enemies words are swords, and its not your fault if it hurts your followers

  • when you show them those swords.

  • In the face.

  • Don't get distracted by wondering if those swords were actually hurting anyone before

  • you picked them up.

  • Yeah, this metaphor is really working.

  • As our actions escalate in phase 2 the responses will too so I can play on my followers' insecurities

  • and wear down their self-worth until they actually feel hated.

  • I mean we're talking about humans here, we can convince ourselves someone's mad

  • at us if we send a message and don't get a reply in 5 minutes, so this step is easy.

  • To ruin everything, first I must ruin my follower's lives by making sure they know they are scum.

  • At least, outside of our little group.

  • I understand them.

  • I love them.

  • I need them.

  • And I'm the only one who ever will.

  • I've got to get them feeling really and truly hurt by everyone but us because that's

  • when we can:

  • Step 5: Escalate.

  • We've got to get our group in a story where they are so wrapped up in the fun idea of

  • righteous retaliation that they suspend their disbelief well past when they start to actually

  • cause harm to other people and real actions feel rhetorical.

  • Of course, it's not my fault if someone I've radicalized goes overboard and does

  • something radical, but when the pi people unfairly blame me that just gives my followers

  • more reasons to righteously defend me.

  • They have to defend me, I'm all they got.

  • As our actions escalate our fake enemies become real enemies, confirming everything I drilled

  • into my follower's heads about how universally hated they are while still keeping the flavor

  • that we are unfairly prosecuted.

  • Step 6: The enemy's beliefs and feelings can be completely dismissed.

  • Make up a catchy story about how the outsiders don't actually even really believe their

  • own beliefs.

  • Fake intellectuals pretend to like pi to sound smart.

  • They're just copying what they're told, or are just being Pi-litically correct, and

  • if they stopped being lazy and learned some math they'd agree with us.

  • The extreme of this is to make your followers believe that others don't even feel what

  • they claim to feel.

  • They are just pretending to feel wronged for sympathy, they're trying to look good to

  • other Pi people, or feel pressured to conform, they might be paid actors, but they definitely

  • don't feel what they say they do.

  • Shed some crocodile tears of your own just to make it clear that we don't have to believe

  • them any more than they believe us.

  • It's not about whether your dismissive rhetoric is true, so don't get distracted by trying

  • to find out if they're actually being paid or would actually agree with you if they knew

  • more math.

  • That's not the point, the point is to give your followers tools to justify thinking they

  • know better than random strangers about those random stranger's own inner life.

  • And in fiction, you can know other people's feelings better than they do, because they're

  • not real people, they're characters in our story.

  • This is a big important step past the line into dehumanizing others.

  • Step 7: Benevolent Dictatorship

  • It's not just about pi vs tau anymore, it's about right vs wrong and who's going to

  • run things when clearly certain folks can't even be honest with themselves about how terrible

  • pi is, and honestly it's pretty magnanimous of us to do this for them considering how

  • much they hate us and how ungrateful they are but we forgive them and will send them

  • to reeducation camps to learn about tau, yes it's a joke at first but watch how we get

  • used to the idea.

  • Soon everyone will forget how to drop the rhetoric and just look at the actual actions

  • people are doing and the results of those actions in reality.

  • You know what step we don't need?

  • Leverage the algorithms.

  • You're already doing it.

  • If you're a space on the ouija board that some group's collective worst instincts

  • hopes their planky will land on, whether to agree with you or make you a villain, systems

  • exist to find you and add you to their story.

  • Which is great because your story relies on being other people's villain and planky's

  • got it covered!

  • It's no one's fault, we just all secretly asked for permission to hate each other and

  • somehow all signs point to yes.

  • Did you move it?

  • I didn't move it.

  • Anyway.

  • That's my 7 steps to ruining everything.

  • Now don't forget to apply your media literacy skills.

  • How much do these steps really apply to everything?

  • Did I kinda just make em up?

  • But maybe I'm really good at makin up true stuff cuz thats a mathematician's job description.

  • Or maybe I'm just trying to sell shirts.

  • Actually, I should totally sell shirts, yep, they're real now, proclaim your loyalty

  • in fun summer styles, available for pre-order for just the next few days and they</