So I was talking with someone in the community about Michael Vassar (I should check for permission to put a name to this story), and they said that Michael encouraged people to take high doses of psychedelics.

I said he'd encouraged me to take psychedelics, but at ordinary doses.

And the person said, "Right-- one of the people who had a psychotic break said they'd taken high doses, but not that Michael had encouraged them." (I've seen a quote from one of the people Michael was alleged to have pushed into a psychotic break who said, no, Michael wasn't the problem.)

I'm glad they were meticulous enough to take the correction, but I'm spooked. I'm probably should have learned much earlier how easy it is for people to get reputation-damaging details wrong, but this was a very clear example.

I read a fair amount of  https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/MnFqyPLqbiKL8nSR7/my-experience-at-and-around-miri-and-cfar-inspired-by-zoe, but ran out of steam for the whole thing. I was impressed by the community at least eventually taking some care to get things right, but I don't know if there's any discussion of what went wrong.

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Aren't rumors typically rounded up for impact in the fashion you caught this someone doing by luck of existing direct knowledge?

Yes. Now how do we sieve good information out of this environment?

I have seen, more than once, rumour amplification get nipped in the bud by someone asking, "Hang on a moment. What did you actually hear them say?"

I've also noticed people doing this. I would have expected rats to be better about it though. Shame. 

Rats could be a good bit better than average, and still pretty bad.