steelman

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See also: Steelman

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

steel +‎ -man

For the second definition, possibly coined as the inverse of straw man.

Noun[edit]

steelman (plural steelmen)

  1. A steelworker.
  2. A stronger version of an argument that one is about to refute.
    • 2012 July 7, Guy Srinivasan, “Wireheading Steelman”, in lw-seattle, Usenet[1]:
      I want to make that strawman into a steelman, but I eliminated "the pursuit of happiness" from my to-do list so many years ago that I don't even know where I'd begin.

Verb[edit]

steelman (third-person singular simple present steelmans, present participle steelmanning, simple past and past participle steelmanned)

  1. To refute a stronger version of an argument than what was actually given; to repair flaws in an argument before refuting it.
    • 2012 July 7, Guy Srinivasan, “Wireheading Steelman”, in lw-seattle, Usenet[2]:
      I don't agree with the argument, because of 4. If I were to steelman it, which I may try but after work or maybe during lunch, I would first try to make it impervious to this assault:
    • 2015 February 11, Daniel Armak, “Re: volunteers for feb 24.”, in LessWrong Tel Aviv, Usenet[3]:
      It is possible that while preparing for the talk I will manage to convince myself that the problem is in fact resolved or dissolved. In that case I will treat you to my best steelmanning of the problem, and its resolution.
    • 2015 June 18, rndn, “Going Deeper into Neural Networks”, in Hacker News, Usenet[4]:
      Perhaps the argument should be steelmanned in that we should generally avoid using algorithms which are so complex that they aren't glass boxes.

Anagrams[edit]