post by [deleted] · · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW · 0 comments

This is a link post for

0 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by pleeppleep · 2012-12-27T03:46:44.936Z · score: 13 (15 votes) · LW · GW

This made me laugh. Also, I knew someone would do this the second Eliezer proposed new boundaries for Lesswrongers.

The only problem I can think of with this experiment is that your post could have been deleted for one of your more overt offenses, but it took until the time it was actually deleted for someone to actually get around to deleting it, especially with all the controversy. You have evidence that it was attacking Eliezer that broke the camel's back, but maybe not strong evidence. I don't think you can get anything conclusive from this.

What you should have done is post several different posts each violating one of the above rules and wait for something to happen, then post your conclusions in a day or two. (sigh) I guess it's too late for that now.

comment by kodos96 · 2012-12-27T03:56:13.999Z · score: 1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

The only problem I can think of with this experiment is that your post could have been deleted for one of your more overt offenses, but it took until the time it was actually deleted for someone to actually get around to deleting it, especially with all the controversy. You have evidence that it was attacking Eliezer that broke the camel's back, but maybe not strong evidence.

Good point, but the timing of how exactly things went down argues pretty strongly for my interpretation: all of the explicit violations happened on christmas eve, within a period of a few hours. Then I was gone most of the next day for christmas with the family, during which time there was pretty much no action on the thread. When I posted the final comment, it was basically the only thing posted to the thread that day, and the banhammer came down literally within 60 seconds.

What you should have done is post several different posts each violating one of the above rules and wait for something to happen, then post your concussions in a day or two. (sigh) I guess it's too late for that now.

Yeah, probably... but I had last minute christmas shopping to do!

comment by AlexMennen · 2012-12-27T05:28:41.192Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

the banhammer came down literally within 60 seconds.

That's pretty quick reactions if it's really about the accusation of dishonesty. On the other hand, you accused Eliezer of dishonesty again in this thread, and it's been up for over two hours. Furthermore, the accusation is much more noticeable in this thread than it was in your previous, since it occurred in the body of a discussion post titled "Censorship: A case study" (which would probably catch Eliezer's attention if he was watching out for people questioning the motives of his censorship policy) instead of in a comment. And Eliezer's name appears in the recent comments as I type this, so it's not just that he's been offline the whole time. So your conclusion actually fails pretty miserably.

Edit: I was tempted to refrain from downvoting your post, since empiricism is cool, even though this particular experiment was not helpful, your method may have caused collateral damage, and your conclusion was poorly supported. On the other hand, you had a chart that presented a poorly-supported hypothesis as fact. Anyone who starts off by skimming your post, like I did, would see the chart and be grossly mislead until he looked at the details. Your dishonesty was the last straw.

comment by kodos96 · 2012-12-27T05:44:06.649Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

That's pretty quick reactions if it's really about the accusation of dishonesty.

As pointed out elsewhere in this thread, the "troll thread" had been pretty much dead for about 12 hours or so when the "dishonesty" comment got posted... and 60 seconds later resulted in deletion. I'm a bit too intoxicated at the moment to do the math, but the unlikelihood of that being coincidental seems astronomical.

Furthermore, the accusation is much more noticeable in this thread than it was in your previous

Yes, but in this thread, unlike the other, I've been very careful not to violate any deletion policies/social norms, thereby denying Eliezer/the Mods any convenient excuse for deletion.

comment by AlexMennen · 2012-12-27T06:09:38.586Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

the unlikelihood of that being coincidental seems astronomical.

On the other hand, look at your alternate hypothesis. Eliezer found your comment, read it, decided he wanted to get rid of it, noticed that you committed a censorable offense elsewhere in the thread, and deleted the thread, all within 60 seconds of you posting it. This does not sound much more plausible than him noticing that your thread broke the rules, and censoring it for that reason, at about the same time your accused him of dishonesty in it.

And now allow me to address the prior probability of your hypothesis: When Eliezer announced the censorship policy, he indicated that several posts that could be seen as borderline, and which did not criticize Eliezer at all, would be subject to the policy. Given that evidence, it would be absolutely shocking if he did not censor your post once it was pointed out that you broke the advocating violence rule, whether or not you accused him of dishonesty.

comment by kodos96 · 2012-12-27T08:31:16.097Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer found your comment, read it, decided he wanted to get rid of it

Circumstantial evidence suggests that it was not Eliezer himself who personally modded the thread. But I'm not sure.

This does not sound much more plausible than him noticing that your thread broke the rules, and censoring it for that reason, at about the same time your accused him of dishonesty in it.

Sure, that's a possability. It seems to me much less likely than my proposed hypothesis, but only the mods can say for sure. Mods? Comment?

Given that evidence, it would be absolutely shocking if he did not censor your post once it was pointed out that you broke the advocating violence rule, whether or not you accused him of dishonesty.

Well, this post is still up, despite discussing violence.

comment by kodos96 · 2012-12-27T06:57:01.536Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

even though this particular experiment was not helpful

Not helpful? How do you figure? From where I stand, we won't be able to draw any conclusions about that until several days from now, after seeing how things play out.

your method may have caused collateral damage,

Elaborate, please.

and your conclusion was poorly supported. On the other hand, you had a chart that presented a poorly-supported hypothesis as fact.

How do you mean? Obviously it wasn't a rigorously controlled experiment, up to acedemic standards - it wasn't supposed to be. But I'm not aware of any obvious flaws. As stated elsewhere in the thread:

the "troll thread" had been pretty much dead for about 12 hours or so when the "dishonesty" comment got posted... and 60 seconds later resulted in deletion ... the unlikelihood of that being coincidental seems astronomical.

Or are you referring to something else? Please elaborate.

Your dishonesty was the last straw.

I've never been more honest in my life. What do you mean?

comment by fubarobfusco · 2012-12-27T05:55:28.632Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

When you have power, you generally don't have the option to not be seen as having power.

If you have the power to stop X, and you do nothing, then you are observed to tolerate X. That is what "tolerating" is — "I could do something about X, but I don't" — whether X is "proposals of violence on my web forum" or "squirrels raiding the bird feeder in my back yard".

If you delegate capability Y to Alice, and Alice does action A with that capability, and you do nothing about it, then you are observed to accept A being done. This includes where "A" is "post threatening things on the web" and Y is "the ability to submit posts to your web forum".

You cannot beg off responsibility for power that you actually do possess. "Alice put a post on your web forum saying that all green-eyed, black-haired people are dirty wiggins and maybe we should bisect them all! Are you really OK with that!?" While you are running the forum, you do not have the option of credibly saying, "That's nothing to do with me." You either tolerate the proposal to bisect wiggins, or you do not tolerate it — in which case you delete the post, ban Alice, or something of the like.

As far as I can tell, you would do well to realize that there is a whole Web out there that is not Less Wrong, and you can post your ideas on quite a lot of it. What you are doing here is what the Wikipedia folks call disrupting the project to make a point, and indicates that you value your freedom to post violent speculations on other people's web forums much more highly than their freedom to have a web forum that does not endorse or promulgate your violent speculations.

comment by kodos96 · 2012-12-27T06:47:31.724Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Your argument would seem to recommend a hands-off policy to moderation - in fact this is very the basis on which websites with full-time legal staff recommend such policies.

If you censor (i.e. "exercise editorial control over") posts which you disapprove of, the inescapable implication is that you DO approve of all OTHER posts. Whereas if you instead institute a policy of not exercising editorial control of your comments (except as mandated by law), then you escape that implication, by saying "we don't exercise editorial control over our comments, therefore lack of censorship cannot logically be read to imply endorsement".

comment by ddxxdd · 2012-12-27T06:33:25.848Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I have some trouble with your logic.

You cannot beg off responsibility for power that you actually do possess. "Alice put a post on your web forum saying that all green-eyed, black-haired people are dirty wiggins and maybe we should bisect them all! Are you really OK with that!?"

Youtube and Reddit all have a mostly hands-off approach towards moderation. When people use poor grammar and poor spelling on those sites, the administrators don't come down and say that those comments are not allowed. When near-illiterate people make garbage comments on those websites, people don't assume that the creators and administrators are also nearly illiterate.

Sure, it states that the creators and administrators are willing to tolerate low-quality comments. What does that say about them? Nothing, actually, except that they espouse freedom of expression.

I believe that the same principle is at play here, on this website. Although Eliezer Yudkowsky isn't willing to tolerate idiocy on this website, he is willing to tolerate intelligent dissent. I recall a discussion a while back about how a physicist felt that Eliezer's presentation of the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics, and how it must be "obviously correct", is wrong. The mods could have deleted that thread immediately; however the mods were shown to tolerate that.

Likewise, I think that we have the option of tolerating intelligent discussions concerning what type of torture is acceptable vs what type of torture is unacceptable, or whether certain forms of violence qualify as disproportionate force or not. Tolerating an open discussion is never a liability.

As I said in my comment below, I think that if there is a justification for this decision, it would be to prevent intelligent discussions from being derailed by emotional responses.

comment by Emile · 2012-12-27T07:28:44.029Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Downvoted for bragging about trolling here - that's not something I want to see encouraged.

It's also a form of dishonesty to request public feedback on a policy issue, then systematically ignore all feedback that disagrees with your predetermined decision.

Come on, his "request for public feedback" was explicitly phrased as only asking for things he didn't know:

In other words, the form of this discussion is not 'Do you like this?' - you probably have a different cost function from people who are held responsible for how LW looks as a whole - but rather, 'Are there any predictable consequences we didn't think of that you would like to point out, and possibly bet on with us if there's a good way to settle the bet?'

... in other words, he was warning you that if all you do was whine about how "censorship" was a word with negative connotations, he was going to ignore you because he was well aware of that. Nothing dishonest there.

comment by kodos96 · 2012-12-27T07:39:54.992Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Downvoted for bragging about trolling here - that's not something I want to see encouraged.

I was quite concerned about this myself, which is why I very intentionally created a separate troll thread (or "experimental thread") within which to segregate my trolling from the main discussion thread, in order to avoid lowering the signal-to-noise ratio in the forum where substantive matters were being discussed.

By the time I entered phase 3 of the experiment (explicit trolling), the post had already been downvoted sufficiently that it was no longer appearing on "recent comments".

Trust me, I put a LOT of thought into this.

comment by ddxxdd · 2012-12-27T05:31:48.902Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In the Supreme Court case Jacobellis v. Ohio, the courtroom judges were to rule on whether or not obscenities were protected by the 1st Amendment. The resulting decision was that all speech should be protected in the public square except for hardcore pornography. Justice Potter Stewart, in writing the concurring opinion, when writing about what exactly constitutes hardcore pornography, stated this:

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.

And thus, "I know it when I see it" became a legal standard.

I've noticed this when I started moderating a subreddit on Reddit.com. You can create a set of rules to follow, but it's entirely possible to follow those rules while creating a hostile atmosphere that goes against the culture that you're trying to cultivate. As an example, running a community that's dedicated to pointing out the flaws of a particular philosophy (for instance, feminism) will attract a lot of people who are belligerent towards that philosophy. You may expect the userbase to post intelligent and/or funny article relevant to critiquing feminism, but no specific set of concrete rules will prevent people from posting something that expresses belligerent hatred. Ultimately, good moderation requires judgment calls, and trust from your moderators.

I think that the same thing is at play here. There is no precise measurement for how intelligent a particular comment is (well, maybe there is, but it would be virtually impossible to implement practically), and so the standard for appropriateness ultimately requires moderator judgment. For a good community to thrive, there is no way around the "I'll know it when I see it" standard.

With that being said, I'm willing to guess that the reason for the rule against "violence" and "illegal activities" is that I've seen forums blow up with drama over certain topics: rape, sexual assault, violence, etc are all good ingredients to create forum-based drama. Ultimately, this boils down to "I'll know it when I see it", but I think that the heart of the law is to avoid sensitive topics that will destroy this forum's intellectual paradise.

With that being said, I'll await your solutions.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2012-12-27T08:31:17.268Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've designated kodos96 as a troll (note: user confessed to trolling) and will delete future posts and comments at will.

comment by pragmatist · 2012-12-27T07:35:26.455Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You present your table of results as if it is uncontroversial data based on which a reasonable unbiased person would draw the conclusion that the deletion was caused by the accusation of dishonesty. But the table already smuggles in your preferred causal hypothesis, representing the deletion as a reponse to the accusation.

A better way to present the data would be to have a column for your actions, and then a second column giving the amount of time between that action and the deletion. By your account, the deletion occurred about a day after you posted trollish comments and 60 seconds after you accused EY of dishonesty. You obviously think it is much more likely that the mods will act immediately than that they will act with a one-day lag, but I don't buy this, especially considering the fact that the one day during which the post wasn't deleted was Christmas. The mods reading, processing and deleting a thread based on a comment within 60 seconds of posting seems less likely to me than the mods not having noticed the multiple violations in that thread until the day after Christmas and deleting based on those violations.

Moreover, even if I concede that the likelihoods skew the other way, my prior for the "deleted due to violations of policy" hypothesis is substantially greater than my prior for the "deleted in a fit of pique" hypothesis, so even a greater likelihood for the latter hypothesis doesn't imply a greater posterior.

I would have preferred if you had simply stated that you suspect the deletion was due to your accusation of dishonesty. I would have disagreed, but wouldn't have downvoted. But I don't like the fact that you've constructed this pseudo-rational argument aimed at convincing us that your causal hypothesis is best supported by the evidence. So downvoted.

comment by kodos96 · 2012-12-27T07:51:42.451Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A better way to present the data would be to have a column for your actions, and then a second column giving the amount of time between that action and the deletion.

Agreed. That was my original intention, but I didn't realize that deletion of the thread would eliminate the entire record of the sequence of events. I'm sure such a highly-granular log could be produced by the mods though. Mods? You reading this? (rhetorical question... we all know you are).

You obviously think it is much more likely that the mods will act immediately than that they will act with a one-day lag, but I don't buy this, especially considering the fact that the one day during which the post wasn't deleted was Christmas.

I was watching the "recent comments" while all this was ongoing, and I assure you that EY, and other prominent mods, were active on the site at the time. Also, not of demographics which typically celebrate christmas (not that there's anything wrong with that).

comment by pragmatist · 2012-12-27T08:13:08.149Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed. That was my original intention, but I didn't realize that deletion of the thread would eliminate the entire record of the sequence of events. I'm sure such a highly-granular log could be produced by the mods though. Mods? You reading this? (rhetorical question... we all know you are).

Your deleted post and all your deleted comments (with timestamps) are still accessible. Just click on your username on the top right.

comment by kodos96 · 2012-12-27T08:24:18.120Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, but I can only see my side of them, not the comments they were responding to, and they don't make any sense that way.