## Signaling Virtue with a mask,

• 1.9k
I'd like to know what methods you'd practically apply to figure out if someone is virtue signalling or not

Statistical inference. When someone is too offended on behalf of a fashionable cause that doesn't affect them, there's medium to high correlation with virtue-signalling.

But this threat isn't about the virtuous merit of a given cause, it's about what signalling support for causes can mean about an individual.
• 2.1k
There is no such scientific consensus. The evidence is mixed, but the consensus, if anything, is that masks are somewhat effective, some more than others. Don't fall victim to all-or-nothing thinking: even a 20% reduction of the probability of transmission is better than nothing.

Well said!

I wear a mask because it almost certainly has some value in protecting others if I should be infected and not know it. And, not incidentally, it does show that I am one with others trying to get through this thing. It is the kind of thing Trump would be doing to greater advantage...if he only had a brain.
• 205
How much does an effective mask cost? Forty dollars? Sorry, we're not all rich.
• 1.1k
There is no such scientific consensus. The evidence is mixed, but the consensus, if anything, is that masks are somewhat effective, some more than others. Don't fall victim to all-or-nothing thinking: even a 20% reduction of the probability of transmission is better than nothing.

And if everyone wore masks then that would mean there would be a double barrier between people.

Also a 20% reduction in the reproduction number (R) can mean a disproportionately large reduction in infections and deaths after a number of infection rounds.

For example, suppose R is 2 (i.e., a single person infects 2 others who each then go on to infect 2 others and so on). On the 10th infection round, 1024 people would be infected (2^10), for a total of 2047. If universal mask-wearing reduces R by 20% to 1.6 then, on the 10th infection round, only 110 people would be infected (1.6^10) for a total of 292. That's almost a 90% reduction in infections - a massive benefit.

Masks are really a no-brainer if everyone does it. A low cost/inconvenience with a massive potential upside.
• 1.1k
How much does an effective mask cost? Forty dollars? Sorry, we're not all rich.

• 7.1k
I remember seeing a young boy, I think fourish, dressed in dirty rags, barefoot, matted hair, his faced covered in grime, dried snot around his nose, sniffling and coughing. He looked like he hadn't eaten in days. Does he lack virtue because he couldn't afford a mask and instead used the little money he earned, probably by begging in the streets, to fill his almost always empty belly?
• 1.4k
The great thing about 'virtue signaling' is that people identify the signaler as virtuous, without the signaler having to actually go to the considerable inconvenience of being virtuous.

On the flip side, "covidiot" shaming is also a thing now.
• 1.5k
I do seriously think that armchair psychoanalysis gets an unfairly bad rep though. It rarely yields solid answers, but then few 'armchair' activities do. Our motives (including hidden and subconscious ones) are a massive part of our interactions and the way we form beliefs and concepts. If speculation about them is too early ruled 'out of play' then we're going to miss most of what's going on. I think abandoning it is excessive, just taking it with the very large pinch of salt all armchair analysis requires is sufficient.

I guess it depends on what we're doing. For large groups and general trends, I think a discussion by laymen can be useful.

The more personal you're making it, the more it approaches poisoning the well. And the more difficult it gets, because there are a lot of biases associated with judging other people's intentions and character. Plus if it's an issue you feel strongly about, you'll be inclined to attribute negative character to whoever holds an opposing view.

Statistical inference. When someone is too offended on behalf of a fashionable cause that doesn't affect them, there's medium to high correlation with virtue-signalling.

And you have established this correlation by researching the psychology of signaling, rather than just, say, pulling it out of your ass?

But this threat isn't about the virtuous merit of a given cause, it's about what signalling support for causes can mean about an individual.

"Are you wearing a mask inside, and why?"
• 257
1. As long as there is a a shortage of PPE, the public cannot trust advice about PPE for the general public.

If used properly, masks help to some degree. It's obvious.

Yes, surgical masks don't seal very well. But they catch droplets when talking, coughing, sneezing, and so on, reducing your chances of giving something to others. They probably aren't super-effective for reducing your chances of catching something though, as lots of air comes in around the sides unfiltered. And even the filter isn't so great. Better than nothing though! If it reduces your chances by 20%, that is significant.

But better masks, like N95s, are actually quite effective. If everyone had access to those and we were all wearing them properly when in public spaces, our situation would likely be very different.
• 5.7k
Are you wearing a mask inside, and why?

I don't wear a mask and don't own one. I've never worn one that I can recall. Mask use frequency is directly related to the number of miles one is from the center of downtown. As I am 35 miles north of the city in the suburbs, mask use is spotty at best. As you move farther north, it's not clear there is a pandemic.

I'm not sure I signal anything from lack of mask usage because I'm pretty much like those around me.

I'm not convinced my lack of a mask has any effect on those with masks, so I don't need to make a show of wearing a mask to let them know I care. They can care about themselves by wearing a mask and letting me die like I deserve.

On the other hand, I do wear pants as a showing of virtue, but, when I don't, I do wear a condom, just to be sure I don't get pregnant or otherwise spread my brand of germ warfare. I'm a good citizen like that.
• 5.1k
Since you can carry the critter with no symptoms and spread it just by talking, you will potentially protect people in your community by wearing one.

There's a weird thing where rare people just keep testing positive as if their immune systems arent eliminating the virus for some reason.. Some have symptoms and some don't.
• 8.8k
Pantless people properly place protection on their publicly presented penises. I live in Lutheran Lockdown Land so there are no pantless persons, alas.
• 5.7k
Since you can carry the critter with no symptoms and spread it just by talking, you will potentially protect people in your community by wearing one.

You cannot get the virus through your skin, but can only get it through your mucus membranes. That would include your eyes, nose, and mouth, and your exposed vagina. So, I would think that if you wore a mask that ought be enough to protect you, plus my lack of a mask is open and obvious, which should lead you and your exposed vagina to remain at a distance.

Where I live, everyone is out and about, and the malls have even opened up. We've beaten this disease. I suggest you do the same and stop going on and on about masks and what ought be done with them.
• 5.1k
I was just concerned that after putting forth great effort to defend a drug dealer you might find yourself without payment because you breathed your virus on her and now she's dead.
• 1.1k
↪Hanover Pantless people properly place protection on their publicly presented penises. I live in Lutheran Lockdown Land so there are no pantless persons, alas.

This presents a problem in Philadelphia which is why they had to issue a public health warning about it...

• 5.7k
was just concerned that after putting forth great effort to defend a drug dealer you might find yourself without payment because you breathed your virus on her and now she's dead.

I don't represent criminals. I represent defendants in civil suits, protecting the insurance companies' money. I don't represent the little man. I represent the man.
• 985
The scientific consensus seems to be that unless one is wearing an N95 mask, and wearing it properly, one is probably not limiting the distribution of corona virus much.

Do you have a reference?
• 5.7k
Totally get it now. We stay at least 6 feet away from each other because most can't pee that far. My record is far greater than that, but I get that most don't have my hose strength.
• 1.1k
• 3.6k
So there is a Shamwow mask! I post not simply to support our God-given right to own capital, but because those commercials were always fun. Finally a mask I can virtue signal icronically in!

The best part is, "Forget the environment, save yourselves!" at 0:32.
• 1
I like to wear it down one aisle and take it off the next to leave 'em guessing where I lean.
• 3.6k
I like to wear it down one aisle and take it off the next to leave 'em guessing where I lean.

The best is just to wear it on your head. It signals that you took the effort to don a mask, but you don't care enough to pull it down!
• 5.1k
Would you be happier representing the little man?
• 1.9k
And you have established this correlation by researching the psychology of signaling, rather than just, say, pulling it out of your ass?

Standards pulled from one's ass can be satisfied in the same manner. Is your argument that nobody has ever signaled virtue for the positive social sanctions that might be bestowed as a result?

"Are you wearing a mask inside, and why?

Maybe I misread the title and the OP...

Is Bitter Crank trying to tell us that we should wear a mask inside? Is he curious about whether or not we wear masks inside?

Why would he bring up virtue signaling and explain why mask/no-mask inside signals virtue/incompetence, while also pointing out how downright easy it is to acquire and wear a mask?

I think that he is saying while we should certainly be wearing masks inside, the way we process the sight of others with or without masks (especially inside) is now a kind of moral signal in and of itself...

As if merely wearing a mask gives you some kind of moral coupon that can be exchanged at a later time for adulation and anger from or at others... Right of rebuke...
• 5.7k
Would you be happier representing the little man?

No.
• 8.8k
I won't cite newspaper articles (Guardian, Wall Street Journal, New York Times) about the epidemic, but at least many public health experts have voiced that opinion in the pages of those papers. It makes sense because most masks were not manufactured for the purpose of blocking viruses or very small droplets of virus-carrying moisture. They were designed to reduce inhalation of hazardous dusts and pollution (smoke, for instance). The kinds of masks that are designed to block particles both into and out of a person's respiratory track are just not available, or should be reserved for people working in close contact with infected people.

As noted above, even very cheap paper masks can block some transmission -- not much, but a little. But it probably doesn't help for a person actively coughing and shedding virus to reduce the viral cloud issuing forth from their mouth and nose 10% or 15%.

Thorough and regular hand washing, social distancing, and staying at home (not quarantined but not running around a lot) are the most critical steps that one can take, if one can.

If one suspects one is infected or sick, they should self-isolate for 2 weeks. Well before the end of 14 days they will know whether they are sick, and how badly. If they are very sick, they should call a doctor.

All this has been repeated over and over -- so I'm comfortable calling it a consensus.

Donald Trump is unanimous in his opinion that he should definitely be swallowing hydroxychloroquine, and I think he should take as much as he can swallow. More, more, Donald! Eat more hydroxychloroquine! You are the Maximum Test Subject/stable genius. We need to know what the fatal dose is, so more, more.
• 1.1k
Nothing like defining yourself by countersignalling signals. Some would think that this way-of-living suggests a resentment that has metastasized - why would anyone base their choices around reactions to others' choices otherwise?

This has become the essence of the Republican party and supporters of Trump. Hate the liberals so much (thanks mainstream media -- i.e., conservative radio, Fox News, etc) that we'll destroy ourselves, our future, any notion of "truth" or expertise, etc.

• 2.6k
That is likely true of people who like to signal to others, for whatever reason. But absent the motive to show off, there are many other valid reasons to refrain from adopting habits and norms others have adopted without question

if wearing a mask becomes an issue of conformity and virtue signalling, I will not be wearing one.

The latter quote seems unequivocally to be about counter-signals, but I'm not aiming for conversion or self-recognition. At this point, I'm just fascinated by rationalizations in the wild, formed in real-time - how do you go about making consistent those two quotes?
• 621
In actuality the signalling of virtue requires a halo, not a face mask.
• 3.7k

The latter quote seems unequivocally to be about counter-signals, but I'm not aiming for conversion or self-recognition. At this point, I'm just fascinated by rationalizations in the wild, formed in real-time - how do you go about making consistent those two quotes?

I think they’re consistent, and honest. Choosing to wear a mask or not doesn’t have to be a form of ostentation. I think the question should be: how are you are able to receive a signal, counter or otherwise, if I am not sending one? Reading the delightful fiction you wrote about a no limp-noodle liberal, one can see how this is achieved.
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