Richard Kennaway has posted about an edit war on the wiki. Richard, thank you.

Unfortunately, I've only used the wiki a little, and don't have a feeling for why the edit history for an article is inaccessible. Is the wiki broken or has someone found a way to hack it? Let it be known that hacking the wiki is something I'll ban for.

VoiceofRa, I'd like to know why you deleted Gleb's article. Presumably you have some reason for why you think it was unsatisfactory.

I'm also notifying tech in the hope of finding out what happened to the edit history.

New Comment
83 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:
Some comments are truncated due to high volume. (⌘F to expand all)Change truncation settings

Background: I'm a returning LW old hat and CFAR alum and worked briefly on the LW codebase a long time ago, but am not a moderator or authority of any kind; this is my summary based on publicly-accessible data.

The edit history is not inaccessible. What happens is that whenever an article gets deleted, all of its history entries move to

Gleb Tsipursky co-founded an organization called Intentional Insights, and is doing rationality training/outreach through it. He's been posting rationality materials on Less Wrong. He created an LW Wiki page for the org in March and made occasional updates, and on November 19 it had this text. That looks pretty reasonable, although I'd remove the language suggesting a possible CFAR collaboration unless it progresses past the "has talked with" stage. On November 29 and 30 VoiceOfRa deletes it and Gleb Tsipursky restores it, then Gjm wrote an alternative article which is intensely critical and based mostly on this thread.

That thread is too involved for me to do more than lightly skim it right now, but I will highlight this comment by jsteinhart:

My main update from this dis

... (read more)

Thanks for clarifying the deletion history, much appreciated.

From my own perspective, I do feel attacked, by someone who has also engaged in ad hominem attacks against me and likely sock puppetry. It's been a pretty negative experience, and I'm trying to treat is as a "comfort zone expansion" opportunity.

I'd welcome you rewriting the wiki article since it seems that your comment received a lot of upvotes, indicating community support for your perspective.

I've rewritten it to this version with a more neutral tone.
Really appreciate you taking the lead on this, thank you!
Thank you. Much more neutral.
The fact that two blatant ad hominem comments have positive karma is very very suspicious. How much effort would it be to figure out if there is a voting ring problem or puppet account problem?
Is one of them mine, by any chance?
No, these two though mostly the first. I highly doubt that either one would have had positive karma on LW one year ago. I'm not only suspicious because of these comments though. Edit: these had higher karma when I linked to them, for reasons that are obvious in hindsight.
Yup, this comment by VoiceOfRa in particular is something I would pay most attention to. When I originally saw it, it was below the threshhold for comments, and had negative six karma. Next time I saw it, it had positive 4 karma. Since attention was drawn to it, it went to positive 2 karma. Still, I have a lot of trouble believing actual Less Wrongers went below the threshhold, then actually upvoted it to positive 4. I would be willing to bet quite a bit of money sock puppetry was involved.
Given the tone of discussions I wouldn't be surprised if there's a highly bimodal distribution of opinions on the subject --- and I'm sure there are loads of LWers who read and vote but don't comment.
I wouldn't be surprised either by bimodal distribution, but I have a strong probabilistic estimate that people won't click on below the fold comments just to read and upvote them. This is the reason for my statement of being willing to bet quite a bit of money on sock puppetry-style activities, either direct sock puppets or voting ring. I don't take making bets lightly :-)
Seriously, Gleb tried to make arguments based on his credentials as an academic researcher and then complained when the worthiness of those credentials were questioned.
I'm with Gleb on that one-- it's much more appropriate to address the quality of his arguments rather than his credentials.
I am unsure; I believe Ra asked for evidence of what Gleb had said followed by Gleb declaring his academic status as evidence enough to be an authority on . This led Ra to criticize his academic status. While it is true that Gleb is an academic; it is also true that "because I said so" is not a good enough answer to a request for more information(especially not here on LW) (I am unsure if the request was polite or not)(I am also unsure of the exact wording of Gleb's response). I am unsure as to the state of that whole thread; Ra could probably compile the best history as he is right in the thick of it. It could certainly be said that adressing the arguments is the most significant thing, not the person who made it. If the arguments are not clear enough to address; That would lead to asking for more evidence and lead us to here and now. I am unclear as to all the details to be able to understand this all.
By my reading of that thread, he was not leaning on his own authority but on that of an academic consensus. James Miller replied by claiming to distrust academia in general on the matter, and mentioned relevant incentives that might push them towards an incorrect conclusion. Gleb replied that "peer review is peer review". Up to that point, everyone was being reasonable. Then VoiceOfRa jumped in, was very rude and seemed to thoroughly misunderstand what was going on. See this comment where he says: But both of those links lead to comments by Gleb which link to sources!
this comment: (By Gleb) includes the line: Before seeing that comment I was confused as to whether Ra was talking about words (that Gleb said) to the effect of that or literally those words; now I see it was those words exactly. ---------------------------------------- this thread also brings to light something interesting: but then Gleb failed to actually add information from the book. While I expect that the book holds claims to the effect of what Gleb intended to say; I feel like he didn't do his full effort in supporting his claims; instead relying on his "credibility as an academic historian" to try to pass as the truth, as well as getting away without actually answering the question for providing more information. I genuinely do not care about the topic; I admit that Gleb put in some effort to try to help offer insight to people; but I feel he did not put in the right effort in the right places, leading it to look like he was relying on his "credibility". I can't fault Ra for jumping on the issue; I can fault Ra for not doing it as gently and in good faith (and steelmanned) as possible. But from there; Gleb refused to continue the discussion and cited it as a personal attack. looks like all parties at fault for that mess. It's now probably worthwhile suggesting a strategy for not having this happen again in the future: I wrote one up recently here: On the part of Ra: 1: clean up the statement so that it is harder to take offensively (steelman) On the part of Gleb: 2: encourage less personal offence from the original statement both sides are needed to make discussions more productive.
Something like that Gleb replied to James_Miller with a somewhat ridiculous assertion along with: I replied that he had greatly damaged his credibility with his assertion. At which point Gleb flipped out about ad hominem.
FWIW, "my" version was intended to be neutral (it says what InIn is trying to do and the criticisms that have been made on LW, and adds that it isn't known how correct either "side" is about InIn's effectiveness) and Gleb has said on the article's talk page that he's OK with it. It was made in response to Richard Kennaway's post about the edit war, in the hope of stopping it by having an InIn article that demonstrably isn't just promotional puffery. [EDITED to add: that is not an accusation that Gleb's version was just promotional puffery; but clearly it looked that way to VoiceOfRa, and probably to others too.] So far as I can tell, the wiki weirdness is a combination of suboptimal cache-control headers and the odd way deletion is implemented, and is not a consequence of hacking or other abuse.
I do realize you were trying to be neutral, but it didn't come out that way. The main problem was that the bit discussing criticism was full of fnords; there's no sentence you can put next to "lowbrow oversimplified caricature creepy unnatural offputting" that can result in an overall impression of neutrality.
You may be right. On the other hand, the "anti" side of the debate was really strongly negative and there's something to be said for conveying that. Regardless, your re-re-written version of the article looks fine and I hope it will suffice to stop the likes of VoR deleting it again.
It looked like self-promotion which InIn does very... energetically. I don't think that the wiki should consist of press releases. In fact, I would support the rule that the subject of the wiki article is prohibited from touching it. What is "that" which you want stopped?

This thread from last August pre-dates this entire incident, and it calls for the banning of VoiceOfRa. That thread also presents evidence that VoiceOfRa is the same person as Eugene_Nier, who was previously banned for retributive mass-downvoting. Reviewing VoiceOfRa's comment history since then, I found rather a lot of abuse in the past month. Each of those links is an unrelated interaction with a different person. I also note that some comments in his history have numbers of upvotes that seem implausible.

I'm not going to second the call for a ban; it'd be kind of pointless. But, VoiceOfRa, I am going to politely ask you to step back and reconsider what you're doing here. Some of your posts offer a useful alternate perspective, which no one else is bringing. But sometimes you seem to get angry, and... there's a line between debating and attacking and you end up on the wrong side of it. This causes the other person to get defensive, and it ends up exploding into hundreds of low-quality comments. People who skim the site looking for high-quality conversation see that, and they leave. There's an art to avoiding this trap, and I admit to having fallen into it in the past, but I really... (read more)

I am calling for a ban. In fact I call for a ban on anyone likely to be Nier - though it seems premature to include any other accounts I know of - because that is how you defect against someone who has openly defected on behalf of an ideology. I don't care if he tries to "step back and reconsider", that would not deter a hypothetical VNM-rational ideologue or an ideology-maximizer.

This always ends well.
Anything I post which touches on being anti-religion gets a -1. Considering that I was the person harassed by Nier before, and that the number of -1s is all out of proportion to the number of -2s (implying a single person doing the downvoting), this is obviously Nier, downvoting just few enough posts of mine that it is less than the threshhold that moderators are willing to look at. But since it is less than the threshhold that moderators are willing to look at, there is nothing I can do about it other than sit and watch my reputation get destroyed. (People who see a post with a negative mod are not likely to take it as as credible as if it didn't have one.)
It is not always him. I have downvoted many of your anti-religious comments, including some which were at 0 at least at the time I downvoted them. I do not have a general policy of downvoting anti-religious comments. There is nothing wrong with pointing out falsehoods in religion. But I am against ignorant and bigoted comments and many of yours have been exactly that.
Yeah, this comment was really bigoted. And this one.. And this one..
I presume you are referring to the parent comment, which is yours, talking about the prohibition of alcohol on Good Friday. I did not downvote that comment, and upvoted it just now. You may be right that that was VoiceOfRa downvoting.
Why? The comment contains three points. One is completely false, the other two are nit-picky bordering on irrelevant.
Also, I agree that he tends to downvote everything he disagrees with, even when that disagreement is about motivation rather than about the truth of the comment. And I agree that that is a very bad practice and may even justify banning.
Thank you for adding some information.
Superrationality implies a course of action: Stop taking posts and comments with negative scores less seriously.
I think you're confusing your reputation with Internet Points. I, for one, have no idea what your karma score is and couldn't care less. More Internet Points won't give you respect and less won't get you thrown out of this genteel establishment.
I think Jiro is concerned not with total karma but with some combination of (1) the effect on individual comments' reception of their having a negative score and (2) the effect on his reputation of lots of his comments being negatively rated. Of course the latter is going to correlate with total karma but it's more like total recent karma, and it seems like the short of thing readers could be affected by without explicitly noticing. As to whether it's Nier/Azathoth/Ra again: I wouldn't be surprised, but I'm not sure "way more -1 than -2" is very strong evidence that one person is responsible for all the downvotes. It could equally be a few people who all dislike that sort of comment but don't think it's bad enough to bother downvoting them when they're already negative.
An excellent opportunity for budding rationalists to practice resisting anchoring, I would think X-)
I'm not referring to an overall karma score, but to each individual post. Posts at -1 are much less credible to readers than posts which aren't at negative values. And unlike one's overall karma score, the -1 is right there where everyone can easily see it and react.
So it's not your reputation that gets destroyed but the credibility of your posts? I still don't see it. Maybe I'm a unique snowflake, but I treat comment karma as the attitude of the hivemind with a lot of noise added, so a comment at -1 means to me that 1 (one, single, solo) person disliked it. So what? A comment universally liked is probably too bland and restates the obvious, anyway.

I want to note that Azathoth123, the other name for Eugene_Neir previously negatively engaged with Intentional Insights, and that my karma went from 1009 to 838 after VoiceOfRa began criticizing me several days ago.


I don't necessarily have an opinion about this dispute, but upvote for escalating the matter to the main LessWrong site as soon as the need for that became clear. The LW wiki is quite useful, and it should get more attention than it currently gets.

The article consists of Gleb self-promoting his "rationality" organization. Near as I can tell, it's "rationality" is rather dubious.

Thanks. Could you be more specific about what strikes you as not as rational as you'd like to see?


Note that "the article" as you see it now is not the one that VoiceOfRa deleted twice.

That's fine. I still want to know what VoR was objecting to.
Understood, of course. I just wanted to forestall some possible confusion.