Another common werewolf move is to take advantage of strong norms like epistemic honesty, and use them to drive wedges in a community or push their agenda, while knowing they can't be called out because doing so would be akin to attacking the community's norms.

I've seen the meme elsewhere in the rationality community that strong and rigid epistemic norms are a good sociopath repellent, and it's ALMOST right. The truth is that competent sociopaths (in the Venkat Rao sense) are actually great at using rigid norms for their own ends, and are great at using the truth for their own ends as well. The reason it might work well in the rationality community (besides the obvious fact that sociopaths are even better at using lies to their own ends than the truth) is that strong epistemics are very close to what we're actually fighting for - and remembering and always orienting towards the mission is ACTUALLY an effective first line defense against sociopaths (necessary but not sufficient IMO).

99 times out of a 100, the correct way to remember what we're fighting for is to push for stronger epistemics above other considerations. I knew that when I made the original post, and I made it knowing I would get pushback for attacking a core value of the community.

However, 1 time out of 100 the correct way to remember what you're fighting for is to realize that you have to sacrifice a sacred value for the greater good. And when you see someone explicitly pushing the gray area by trying to get you to accept harmful situations by appealing to that sacred value, it's important to make clear (mostly to other people in the community) that sacrificing that value is an option.

Comment section from 05/19/2019

by habryka 1 min read20th May 2019139 comments


I moved the big meta-level comment thread from "Yes Requires the Possibility of No" over to here, since it seemed mostly unrelated to that top-level post. This not being on frontpage also makes it easier for people to just directly discuss the moderation and meta-level norms.