~ and a place to add your own verse of wit! ~

An Ode to the Venerable Sir Scam Bankrun-Fraud, the elder:

Have you heard the name renowned?

A phrase we say

To allay sway

Of FUDster, huckster-clowns?

Scam Bankrun-Fraud!

Scam Bankrun-Fraud:

Got Sequoia

On a gank,

Contumely -

Scam Bankrun-Fraud

Was Knighted by




Making ‘empty boxes’ money

Never seemed too grand,

Though Scam B.F.

And Derp Island

Had a plan at hand!

Scam proved G-2 Muons

Would sell a ten-percent-rate

In all the parallel multiverses

That he could contemplate!


A Ponzi tall as Babel,

For cryptoadies in the scrabble

In the dust of lust for risk -

Let’s drink a glass to his:

Scam Bankrun-Fraud!

Scam Bankrun-Fraud,

A million memers strong,

Scam Bankrun-Fraud, Scam Bankrun-Fraud,

A head of lettuce long!


Recite the Carol of the Age,

LARPer Dryads’ naively-brave

Incantation Coda:

“Better luck next time,


<reply with your own verses!>

New Comment
21 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 10:09 PM

Disagree. I wouldn’t want this to become common, but occasional attempts at sharp levity are good, imo.

I think this is a better fit for open thread, not for a top-level post.

Oh, my apologies! I am noobtuse!

No worries :)

I really don't think LessWrong is the place for personal attacks, whether or not the target has done something bad.

The Onion wrote a brief recently, in defense of parody and satire. Are rationalists humorless, or unable to stomach critique when thousands of lives have been ruptured? I remember, when I was in Japan the first time, Kazue was explaining how she and her family hated Jon Stewart of the Daily Show... because "You're not supposed to criticize leaders." Are you of the same mindset?

No, I don't want Less Wrong to turn into the Onion or the Daily Show. I enjoy reading the Onion sometimes, but it would be a waste to turn Less Wrong into that.

Criticizing leaders is fine though (although SBF isn't one here, as far as I know).

Erm, I didn't claim to want to 'turn Lesswrong into the Onion and Daily Show'  - that is a mis-characterization of my argument. I referred to the arguments made by the Onion, in defense of satire, and I mentioned the criticism of the Daily Show only as a case of silencing critique. Neither implies what you claimed. I hope you can admit that; I am repeatedly strawmanned by supposed rationalists who claim 'scouts mindset', while output here is far below the standard of the philosophy message board I helped to moderate in the 90s; your mischaracterization does not help your argument.

Important to recognize here: your claim that 'including Anthony's poem' slips and slides all the way, automatically, toward 'Lesswrong is now the Onion' --> that's called a Slippery Slope Fallacy.

When someone uses a fallacy, that means one of two things:

  1. Either you hoped to fool me, which is malicious
  2. Or you were fooled yourself, which means you should probably work on thinking clearly.

Downvoting posts because you don't want to see more posts like them is how vote-based moderation works. It's not a fallacy to discourage behavior that you want to see less of.

Yes, that is correct - downvoting is to discourage unwanted behavior, and downvoting is not a fallacy.

What IS a fallacy: 'including Anthony's poem will turn Lesswrong into the Onion'. That is called the Slippery Slope fallacy. It can just as easily be the case that Lesswrong downvotes me so thoroughly, no future aberration would dare raise their heads, and Lesswrong becomes even more what differentiates it from the Onion. You used a slippery slope fallacy, and you also mischaracterized my statement, when you said: "I don't want Less Wrong to turn into the Onion or the Daily Show." I specifically was not advocating to turn Lesswrong into the Onion; I mentioned the brief the Onion wrote in defense of parody and satire. That is not the same as advocating that Lesswrong be Onion.

So, you are still unwilling to admit that you mischaracterized me, and that you used a slippery slope fallacy. Instead, you deflected to a true-but-irrelevant point, and you try to imply that I argued "downvoting is a fallacy" when I did not. Your behavior does not bode well for your community - none of them notice or speak up.

nah, they just prefer the attack be very precise here - it's generally considered kinder here to do what elsewhere would be considered ruthless precise deconstruction. you can see in my comments on the main "we should clarify, fraud bad, actually" post that I've been similarly critical of the immune response against criticism of him. in my view, it is generally a good idea to focus on policies, not people, even when describing the problems with a single person's behavior.

I strong upvoted you back to zero on this comment, though I strong downvoted the main post.

[[As per your request for broader focus, I'll summarize the arguments presented in the poem, as prose:

  1. Sam's name should be a helpful reminder that we keep, like Santa Claus, to sustain intellectual humility and due diligence, instead of falling in line behind visionary billionaires and get-rich-quick influencers.
  2. The strategy admitted in an earlier interview was in fact a Ponzi scheme, and that has cost a lot of people money that they planned to have, which is an even bigger upset than just never having gotten it in the first place, because they spend other cash with the expectation of having this in reserve. So, Sam's money was definitely not coming from a real source of value - it was belated theft. And, even if the siphoning of >$600M from FTX by a 'hacker' (known now to Kraken...) was NOT SBF himself, he was the one who installed the backdoor which allowed the siphon to happen, thus he is the cause.
  3. The billionaire/valley mantra of failure, leaving catastrophe in its wake for the little guys, is replayed in WeWork and Nikola and all these others. Elon is currently destroying Twitter, and Zuck spewed cash and crew for the Metablurp. Oh, crap, I was humorous again! I'll stop there...]]

And I upvote you, for engaging more thoughtfully than many I've encountered here!

Hehehe - I am repeatedly amazed by the degree to which your community justifies enforcing odd norms of communication, without addressing the substance of the argument. Consider if, in the extreme, I was downvoted or dismissed for not following MLA formatting, without mention of the content? I see "satire is not the kind of impersonal, vague dialogue we permit" as of a feather; what compassion is there for the betrayal and ruin of so many, and the grim humor we make, to claw our spirit back?

The validity of satire and gallows-humor is secure, tested in dictatorships and academic halls; I do not pretend that your community's assessment of appropriateness changes it. If I am removed for this, you are well within your rights - and, you brand yourself for excluding what is clearly meant to vent feelings and give release to tension, to reverberate with those in similar moods. There is good reason beneath, too! Reasons presence is not emotion's absence. Look carefully how well you appeal to the world, when they are only allowed to express themselves to you in the format suiting your approval.

I wonder if I was one of the fastest downvoted posts? That's always a good sign, for satire and critique!

Most telling, my points go almost un-addressed - only Gears mentioned the Sacred Cow of S.B.F., while everyone else focused on appropriateness-metrics (and, they disagree - some say "fine to critique leaders, but no parody", others say "no critique of persons, stay vague", along with "including a parody will Slippery Slope us into the Onion" wow).

It's important to recognize that, when people are attacking an argument by dismissing the speaker's validity, or the appropriateness of their presentation, without addressing the argument itself, that is called an 'ad hominem attack', a fallacy. The assault must be directed against the claims and argumentation.

Your 'rationalist' community is rife, here and ACX and EA forum, with exactly these fallacious dismissals via appropriateness and tone. In contrast, philosophy message board moderators in the 90's had a better track-record of spotting and calling-out ad hominem attacks than your modal membership. I was one of them.

No one is arguing that SBF didn't run a scam because, as far as I can tell, most people on this site think SBF did run a scam (more specifically, stole his customers' money to prop up his other business). There's very little discussion of this here because the Less Wrong-adjacent EA Forum is more relevant, but the posts on that site are highly critical of SBF right now.

The problem with this post is a moderation issue: Less Wrong isn't the right place to post songs about how bad people are, even if they are actually bad.

I already bowed to your authority to remove me if you don't like what I said, in the earlier part with Gears: "If I am removed for this, you are well within your rights". So, I'm still not disputing your authority to moderate. You strawman me if you claim that I was talking about "you shouldn't get rid of my post" - I clearly have said otherwise.

The problem I addressed, of using an invalidation of the speaker to avoid the points made, still stands. That's still an ad hominem, regardless of if you're doing it for the sake of your community standards. Further, as I pointed out in an earlier reply - you all seem to disagree about why I shouldn't be included, which was what made me laugh, responding to Gears. One says "don't criticize people, stay vague", another "okay to criticize leaders, no parody", and now you say that the problem with it is that it's a song, art instead of prose? Or, that it's a song about a person, stay vague? Or that I'm not being nice talking about them?

Upvoted because at -30 votes it was unusually low for anything other than obvious spam and trolling.

Though unsure about the logic of this comment. Does it imply all ‘appropriateness and tone’ critiques are invalid? If so, what is replacement? Or is it a free for all?

Also, look how many times Brendan Long misrepresents my arguments, without admitting to it... and no one but me to say so? That is not a moderated board; downvoting doesn't call-out his tactic or correct his mistake; its a very muddy signal, and it is easily spoofed.

Ah, thank you for digging into argumentation! It's been discouraging to see Brendan Long misrepresent what I said. I mentioned in my earlier response to Gears, a little ways up in this thread: "If I am removed for this, you are well within your rights" I understand that this is your space, not mine, and if you don't want my contribution, you have authority to remove it. You've chosen downvoting as your proxy-metric for detecting fallacies and discontent; you are allowed to do that (despite, as you've also noticed, it is easily hacked by downvote-mafias; it's been Goodharted... so I don't see why you guys keep it, except for inertia and lack of initiative to do real moderation of fallacies?).

At the same time, the rest of the world is well within their rights to assess your community for having a bubble, where an argument is allowed unless it has emotions or artistic expression or humor. You should think carefully how you brand yourself, before claiming that your bubble is correct.

To your concern that the community devolve, without critique of appropriateness and tone - I also mentioned that earlier, too :) Again, responding to Gears, above: "...without addressing the substance of the argument. Consider if, in the extreme, I was downvoted or dismissed for not following MLA formatting, without mention of the content? " (emph. added) There, you can see I pointed-out twice that the issue was not a discussion of tone or appropriateness, itself; rather, it's the use of a 'tone-police' to avoid addressing the actual argument. By attacking the validity of the speaker (an 'ad hominem attack') these commenters hope to dodge rebuttal; I have encountered them repeatedly in Lesswrong, ACX, and EA Forum, and the contrast with the moderated forums of the 90s is stunning.

We used to respond with a post, pointing out the fallacy, so that the trolls couldn't get away with it. Your community lets the trolls become a downvote-mafia, and then this group uses their Goodharted downvote-proxy as justification to ignore the arguments. This has happened to the extent that other commenters eventually did point-out that I was being strawmanned, in other threads, and a few more folks sent me direct messages through the forum saying they'd encountered the same. It sounds like you are already the free-for-all, and my satire won't change that.

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