In Wikipedia — reading about Roko's basilisk causing "nervous breakdowns" ...post by ThurstonBT · 2021-10-13T23:12:09.190Z · LW · GW · 18 comments
I recently came upon the story of "Roko's basilisk". Heretofore I'd not seen the topic. Reading about it in Wikipedia I saw "Discussion of Roko's basilisk was banned on LessWrong for several years because Yudkowsky had stated that it caused some readers to have nervous breakdowns".
That Yudkowsky censored mention of Roko's basilisk because it "caused some readers to have nervous breakdowns" (henceforth THE CLAIM) seemed very strange to me. So I asked in a Berkeley CA 'rationalist community' forum — "This story of censorship of Roko's basilisk and it causing "nervous breakdowns" strikes me me a bizarre; Is this some sort of joke?".
The answers to this question, some of which were angry and emotional, amounted to:
1) THE CLAIM is false.
2) No one could provide evidence that THE CLAIM is false sufficient to meet Wikipedia's evidentiary standards so as to rebut or remove the THE CLAIM in Wikipedia..
3) No one could provide a citation to a specific denial from Yudkowsky that THE CLAIM did not figure into the decision to censor mention of Roko's basilisk.
In the interest of truth-seeking ...
... if the THE CLAIM is false then I'd like to obtain evidence to that effect and correct Wikipedia.
... if THE CLAIM is true then it brings to mind some potentially unkind questions about the psychological heath of a seemingly significant portion of the 'rationality community'.
Please note that my questions here bears only on THE CLAIM (ie. "caused some readers to have nervous breakdowns") and not any of the issues associated with Roko's basilisk, eg. claims of infohazard.
Even if the "caused some readers to have nervous breakdowns" is a hyperbolic description, with no actual "nervous breakdowns" occurring, the notion that censorship needed to be employed to protect emotionally brittle persons in the 'rationality community' from a thought experiment reflects poorly on the community.
Comments sorted by top scores.