comment by habryka (habryka4) ·
2018-05-29T02:18:08.326Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Eli recently reminded me of the importance of summarizing the other person's perspective before responding, so let me start with my current model of where you are coming from. Sadly, my model of Eli only kicked in after I spent an hour writing this comment, so my summary of your current perspective will not be as integrated into the comment overall as I would like to. But here it goes anyways:
- You experienced multiple comments by Benquo on the link post of the Punch-Buggy post to be clearly violating various rules of good conduct.
- You think that while the LessWrong moderators have made some comments highlighting their reservations about that, their responses so far do definitely not constitute a proper response to the violation in a way that upholds the standards you think LessWrong should uphold
- You are somewhat uncertain of whether that is because the moderators do not think those were norm violations, they think they are norm violations but do not need to be urgently responded to, or whether they think they have sufficiently responded to the norm violations already
- You are aware that we have a private conversation with Benquo scheduled, but do not think this is sufficient reason to hold off on creating common knowledge on the relevant thread about his comments that you perceived as clearly norm violating
- You are aware that we responded to some of his comments, but also think that there are multiple open threads that have not been sufficiently responded to, and that it is important to respond to all of them, and that just partially responding to them is not enough
- Ray's comment above seemed bad to you under multiple interpretations of his motivations: 1. If Ray is not commenting on the Benquo thread because he is waiting for the private conversations to resolve, then commenting on this thread and criticizing you is showing a clear asymmetric preference of not extending the same courtesy of cease-fire to you. 2. If Ray thinks responding to this thread is more important than responding to Benquo's comments, then he is clearly mistaken about the relative magnitude of the norm violations 3. If Ray is responding to this because it is easy, and not responding to the Benquo thread because it is hard, then that shows a lack of awareness of your current attitude towards this discussion, which you've made clear multiple times by saying that you want the Benquo thread to resolve before you think it is time to engage with the details of this conversation
Let me know if I misrepresented you in any significant way in the summary above. I wrote the below based on that model of yours:
After checking the comments again on the relevant thread, it does seem like there is not a comment in that particular place saying that we have a chat with Ben scheduled. It seems correct to me to add that. My epistemic state was that we had written such a comment, and I was surprised to find we did not. After noticing this, I talked to Ray, who had a specific reason for not commenting (which was that he didn't want unnecessarily put pressure on the outcome of his private conversation with Ben, given the already tense circumstances), which seemed reasonable, but I think was overall the wrong call.
I think it is good policy to do that in general, and am at least personally planning to do so in the future. I do think there are quite a few complicating factors in play here that make me think the decision to not comment on all of the comments of Benquo I saw as problematic, is a pretty reasonable one. We stepped in pretty early in the thread, and said we had various issues with Benquos comments. We mentioned here multiple times to you that we would come back to the thread only after we talked to Ben in person. In general it seems like good form to not escalate a thread again after you scheduled a meeting with someone to discuss the relevant thread. I think the comment you proposed mostly avoids escalating the thread, though I would not be that surprised if it would still end up doing so.
I can definitely assure you that I have a large and big open loop to respond and wrap up the Benquo thread, that I am taking the ongoing damage seriously, and have spent something like 12 hours over the last week talking to various people about the best way to resolve this. I would have preferred to wrap it up earlier, but it took a while until Ben had the time to schedule a proper one-on-one conversation.
There is a general thing where the higher the stakes of the case are, the longer the investigation and negotiation will take. In this case, the conflict seemed to be quite massive, involving a large number of people, many of which threatened to abandon LessWrong or take similarly drastic action, based on our decisions and actions. I advocated for taking the time to resolve this properly, and that the first step towards doing so would be private conversations with the relevant parties. We scheduled the conversation the day after Benquo wrote his comments, and the conversation was originally scheduled two or three days afterwards. However, something urgent came up for Benquo on the day off, and so we had to delay the conversation for another five days.
If I understand the situation correctly Ray talked to you a few days ago and said that he wants to wait until he was done talking to Benquo before taking further action. I mostly see the thing Ray brought up in this thread as a tangent off of the main topic that was not of similar importance as dealing with the main thread, but that wasn't blocked on anything outside of our immediate control. As such, I modeled your epistemic state as knowing that things were on hold, and that eventually the public record would get a correction as soon as we had the necessary private conversations, and did not expect you to perceive Ray's comment as defecting on that.
Overall, and I do think this is something that your moderation post made me more aware of, I think that we should aim for a greater coverage of dealing with norm violations on LessWrong (i.e. your idea of "every comment should get checked off by a moderator"). The primary way I want to deal with this is by trying to make sure the public record is *eventually* set right. I don't think our current available moderation resources allow us to respond to everything immediately, or even comparably fast, especially with the additional constraint that me and Ray are still trying to get software development work done on the site, which does not combine well with working on moderation (and with Ben Pace currently being out of commission for university stuff). This balance of responsibilities inevitably means that sometimes it will take a few days for us to have the time to respond, and if you combine that with the difficulties of scheduling in-person meetings, I think nine days is not completely unreasonable.
Just to be clear, we have definitely not dropped the ball on this. I do think we dealt with this situation in a way that wasn't as publicly transparent as I would have liked on reflection, but we did not at any point consider this whole thread dealt with, or stopped working on it. In a lower stakes environment, with less polarization and less ways of making everything explode horribly, I think we would have responded to the situation much quicker, and mostly in line with what you would have wanted us to do.
comment by Duncan_Sabien ·
2018-05-29T02:21:19.250Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
I endorse this.
comment by Duncan_Sabien ·
2018-05-29T02:42:32.212Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
However, I reiterate: it does not seem like the negative value of damage done in the time while an inappropriate comment is sitting there wholly unaddressed is taken seriously; the implicit model seems to be "everyone who saw it upvoted and not objected-to will also read and understand the corrected record later, thus reducing all lasting damage to zero," and that does not seem at all true to me.