Comment by adifferentface on [deleted post] 2018-03-22T23:59:12.611Z

I endorse this, while still considering it important that criticism be given if warranted. As always, and unfortunately, there is less to say to someone on an issue where we already agree.

Comment by adifferentface on [deleted post] 2018-03-22T23:38:10.602Z

I have seen a great deal of the tumblr commentary, and commentary elsewhere, and had seen it before writing my comment. I agree much of it was extremely vicious, and perhaps there is worse than the "he should kill himself" one which I have not seen. This changes nothing about the likely consequences of Duncan's snark. It makes that snark more forgivable, certainly; I don't think Duncan is a bad person for responding to attacks with moderate snark. But I do nevertheless think that said snark is harmful, and since Duncan is a person who I respect, I think it worth my time to suggest this to him.

Comment by adifferentface on [deleted post] 2018-03-22T23:28:22.636Z

The majority of my post consisted of specific empirical predictions which were not about the contents of your head. Whether I am mistaken about why you are doing what you're doing changes nothing about what the effects of your behaviour are likely to be. To the extent it was about the contents of your head it was addressing a conflict I perceived between the likely outcomes of your behavior and the goals you have elsewhere explicitly given for that behaviour. I concede that if in fact you intend the consequences I predict above then there is no point in my having written them down. Otherwise, I disagree that this is something I ought not do.

As to your complaints about who I choose to try to reason with: I don't expect to be able to reason with trolls, and don't expect the community to need me to*. Moreover I do not care to reason with them: I care to have them leave. Long and careful arguments are not what seems best to accomplish that goal. You, however, are a largely reasonable person I largely respect, and one who I would not like to drive out of the community, so when I see you doing something I think is a mistake, it might seem worth my time to engage with you and try to convince you not to. I am much more interested in engaging with my friends than my enemies, even if my friends are already better people than my enemies.

In any case, this is not a contest of who is a better person. Perhaps my priorities are indeed misaligned. This does not mean my assessment of the likely consequences of your actions is wrong.

*though as it happens I spent much of my next several comments on the original post saying things to that one troll like "I would hope the community would shun you" and "I still would not want you, personally, in any community I'm part of, because your behavior is bad." I deny that it is necessary that I have done this as a precondition for being worth listening to, but in fact I did. In the interests of keeping my handles separate I will not comment on whether or how I responded to anything on tumblr or elsewhere.

Comment by adifferentface on [deleted post] 2018-03-22T13:42:28.554Z

Given this comment, I guess I should actually bother to write up my opinion on the callout aspect of your post, which is this:

The callout aspect of your post is bad, and with moderately high confidence will work against your explicitly stated goals.

I basically endorse habryka's comment here and Kaj_Sotala's here, but to make specific predictions:

  • This will not make most people significantly more reflective.
  • This kind of callout will not discourage trolls, that is, people who are being intentionally callous and who see themselves as mocking you and/or rationalists in general. I expect instead it will encourage them.
  • This may discourage non-troll people who have a viscerally negative reaction which they can't put into words (or lack the energy to), and it may not. I claim it is not desirable to discourage such people if you can instead cultivate the ability to draw what evidence there is from them and not feel attacked; these reactions have signal even if they are also partly noise.
  • This will discourage sensitive people from engaging with you or the community in general, where here "sensitive" is the kind which is adjacent but not synonymous to "shy" and not the kind which is adjacent to "will lash out in response to perceived attacks" (though both share an excessively high prior on something being an attack). I claim this because for many years I was such a person myself, though I am not now, and this kind of callout would have discouraged that earlier me even if I had not commented on the original post. This is especially true if I had felt negatively or had reservations about your original post. That this is how you respond to critics would mean you would feel not safe to engage with or at least not worth engaging with, to many people. Yes, I know that you intended to be careful to only scorn a subset of your critics, but a.) that doesn't actually matter to System 1 feelings of safeness and b.) you weren't actually as careful as you seem to think: early in the post you say you were wrong to act as though "a particular subset... would respond to things like argument and evidence"; later you complain about "some of the Chicken Littles [who] were clamoring for an off-ramp"; there is an easy interpretation where you mean these to be the same set, that is, anyone who thought this was a bad idea and wanted an off-ramp was an unproductive non-evidence-responding person, despite your inner parenthetical (which in any case only would exclude people who had a concrete "valid" failure mode to point at, and not just "this is a bad idea and should have an off-ramp"). It does not matter whether this is strictly logically entailed by the words you wrote: there is more to communication than bare denotation. I think you are mistaken in your contention that merely encouraging attentiveness to words-as-written is sufficient to avoid this.

I think that last prediction is important and the outcome it describes bad, so I want to point at another thing which might make it more convincing: I know a fair number of CFAR alums and staff, and they are among the bottom decile of sensitive-in-this-sense people in the world, as are many but not all rationalists in general. You spend a lot of time around such people. I think you may have forgotten, or failed to learn, what more sensitive people need in conversations in order to be able to engage productively. I hope you have not forgotten or failed to learn that such people may be worth having around.

I agree that LW, and Our Kind in general, often has the problem of not sufficiently discouraging bad actors. But beware the politician's syllogism.

Finally: your behavior here reads very precisely as lashing out in response to attacks and then rationalizing that lashing out as being justified - even if the lashing out might in addition catch up some people who, to a disinterested observer, were not really attacking you. This is normal. Because you were in fact attacked, in some cases quite viciously, and because responding to attacks with attacks is a deeply ingrained part of many humans' psychology, you should have an extremely high prior that this is what you are doing. But it is bad. This is the easiest form of rationalization in the world. I do the same, and have spent a lot of time trying to catch myself doing this and stop, with some but not total success. Spending several hours trying to craft the right response doesn't mean you weren't doing this; I would say it is evidence to the contrary, because nothing focuses the attention like crafting a counterattack. I think if you did goal-factoring here, and have spent enough time noticing when you are rationalizing, you would end up concluding this was not the right way to achieve your actual endorsed goals.

I think you should apologize for the snark at the beginning of the essay and the footnote about Chicken Littles, and retract them, without putting any additional attacks in your apology. You should link to specific comments which you think were bad behaviour which you would like the community to discourage and with which you will try to avoid engaging in the future, to make it clear to everyone else that you did not intend to attack them in a way which merely asserting that you didn't intend to attack "those who pointed at valid failure modes" really does not accomplish. And then you should get on with your life.

Comment by adifferentface on [deleted post] 2018-03-20T21:08:03.133Z

It doesn't work. It just gives "unknown error". Trying to register the account gave "internal server error".

Comment by adifferentface on [deleted post] 2018-03-20T17:16:01.564Z

This was roughly my ex ante analysis.

Comment by adifferentface on [deleted post] 2018-03-20T16:52:54.834Z

That's me! Username difference because I can't register the handle I used there over here at the moment.

Thanks for the kudos. I do have another handle, though I'm going to continue not to associate these two.

I also think I got things about right, but I think anyone else taking an outside view would've expected roughly the same thing. I'm now noticing that in fact this post doesn't give me enough information to assess how accurate my specific predictions were: this list of advice is suggestive but mostly not actually descriptive of what outcomes were not achieved as much as hoped, and how. I get the impression it's mostly just a sort of failure to coalesce, which isn't quite the outcome I expected but is not that far off from "someone will [...] fail to keep up with their chores".