DontDoxScottAlexander.com - A Petition

by Ben Pace, jacobjacob, Rob Bensinger1 min read25th Jun 202032 comments

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This is a linkpost for https://DontDoxScottAlexander.com

Here's the petition Scott asked us to make.

This is a request for a specific action by the New York Times editors: 

We, the undersigned, urge the New York Times to respect Scott Alexander's request to not reveal his real name in a planned piece discussing the Slate Star Codex blog and community.

[...]

That's all. It seems to me really important for public discourse on the internet for journalists to respect this norm in this situation.

Please share it in the places you share things, and email it to the prominent people who you know that the New York Times respects and care about.

Please sign.

 

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Jacob Lagerros and Rob Bensinger for making the petition with me.

Thanks to Paul Graham, Steven Pinker and many others for their early signatures.

Thanks to Sarah Haider and Tanner Greer for independently organising a petition and then joining forces with ours.

Thanks to so many other people who are still unsubscribing from the NYT, giving them respectful-but-firm feedback, and otherwise supporting Scott in this situation. It's been great to see so much love and support for SSC these past 48 hours.

32 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 1:46 PM
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That list of names is amazing! I realize now how many like-minded people are out there, I'm not as alone as it felt before. Let's not delete it quickly, it's great that we're all able to find each other.

I understand Scott Alexander's arguments for why he doesn't want to be doxxed.

I haven't heard NYT's arguments for why they think it's OK to doxx him.

I'm sure they must have some. (Nobody says "I do action X because I'm a moustache-twirling villain")

But I can't judge the difference between "that sounds like unconvincing post-hoc rationalisations" and "actually, that's a reasonably argument" if I haven't heard their side of the story at all.

Does anyone know where I can hear NYT's point of view? I tried emailing them and haven't had a reply yet.

What they say is that they don't respect pseudonyms in stories unless there's a compelling reason to do so in that particular case. There appears to be a political bias to the exceptions, but good luck getting an editor to admit that even to themself, let alone to others.

There can be a difference between having reasons and being able to present them. Humans are known to take cookies from a cookie jar when nobody is looking even if nobody says "I take the cookie althought I am not allowed to". Even young people know to try to spin it somehow. People will not call themselfs villains but there are villains in the world.

In a situation where your stance is indefencible staying silent might make you more credible than making a bad defence.

Thus it might matter more whether both sides have had opportunity and effective means to express themselfs rather what all sides stories are.

In the case of a an actual policy it could also be that multiple people compromise to uphold the standard and different parties have different rationales for defending the standard. Then it could be that there is no rationale because there is no unified decision making process behind it.

NYT hasn't made a public decision to actually publish the article, so there's not really a situation for them to make a public statement about the individual case. 

Is anyone worried about Streisand effect type scenarios with this?

I get that the alternative is Scott being likely doxxed by the article being published, so this support against the NYT seems like a much better outcome.

At the same time, it seems like this might also lead to some malicious people being more motivated (now that they've heard of Scott through these channels) to figure out who he is and then share that to people who Scott would like to not know?

I am not worried, because I prefer the world where internet mobs occasionally dox people to the world where internet mobs occasionally dox people and major news outlets systematically dox people.

Oh, right, that's a fair point.

if by some malicious people you're including people at the NYT who view controversy as a good thing as a proxy for clicks, yes.

I mistakenly signed twice. Will there be a duplicate check, or could you simply remove my second entry?

[I forgot I had NoScript enabled, so after the first attempt nothing seemed to have happened. That's why I disabled it, which refreshed the site, and submitted again. Then I saw that first time worked already, so now my name appears twice.]

We can remove duplicates. Thanks for highlighting. 

Signing my agreement. His wealth of content is far more important than a single line in this single article. Will substantially impact my view of NYT if they want to move forward.