This is meant as an open discussion thread someplace where I won't censor anything (and in fact can't censor anything, since I don't have mod permissions on this subreddit), in a location where comments aren't going to show up unsolicited in anyone's feed (which is why we're not doing this locally on LW).  If I'm wrong about this - i.e. if there's some reason that Reddit LW followers are going to see comments without choosing to click on the post - please let me know and I'll retract the thread and try to find some other forum.

I have been deleting a lot of comments from (self-confessed and publicly designated) trolls recently, most notably Dmytry aka private-messaging and Peterdjones, and I can understand that this disturbs some people.  I also know that having an uncensored thread somewhere else is probably not your ideal solution.  But I am doing my best to balance considerations, and I hope that having threads like these is, if not your perfect solution, then something that you at least regard as better than nothing.

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18 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 11:14 PM

I really like this solution, and appreciate you listening to the community and coming up with this :)

...I would frankly advise all LW regulars not to read this.

One argument in favor of reading the thread even if you think EY is a perfect moderator: if users' models of EY's moderating are bad, they may post things in the thread that wouldn't actually be censored, but the users' model predict would be censored (e.g. harsh but well-thought-out criticism of views prevalent on LW?)

So maybe if you read something that seems valuable and insightful in the thread (good enough that you would have posted it yourself if you had thought of it), you could repost it to LW... in the worst case, you'll just find yourself censored.

Anyway, I added a slightly obscure link to this page in the LW FAQ.

If you think I'm a good moderator, you should not read the thread (based on having seen the actual results).


Can your or someone give a quick summary of what has been deleted?

I haven't been paying attention to private_messaging, and haven't noticed any crap from that direction, so maybe you're doing a good job with that one. What kinds of trollish things were deleted?

I do notice peterdjones' obnoxiously prolific philosophical confusion. Is that grounds for deletion, or was he doing worse things?

I saw a thread claiming to have solved decision theory in a way that was very likely wrong, but instead of getting downvoted, it simply disappeared. Was that you, or the poster? If you, why?

Is there other stuff?

Mostly I'd like to know if it's just crap and trolling, or if there are topics/ideas that you would rather were not mentioned. Also is this just in the interests of the LW community, or something more grey. (I'm fine with grey, if you have a good reason.)

I'd much prefer loud public executions to quiet censorship. On the *chans, for most crap, they leave the shitty posts up and put a big message that the user was banned. This is quite a bit funner and less scary. EDIT: someone pointed out that this sort of thing associates more positive feelings with the moderators, because people who agree actually get to see the mods doing things they agree with. /EDIT

like this, except actually interpreted:


Of course this is just my humble opinion, glorious leader.

Peterdjones, in addition to doing all of that, said that trolling was "just teasing". Can't be bothered to look up the exact thread but it was when I announced that I was designating him a troll.

I didn't delete the decision-theory solution comment, in fact I have no idea what it's about. Presumably this was a user who deleted things themselves. I've asked if it's possible to at least have mod deletions show the user who was deleted, and user deletions not show anything (thus making it possible to distinguish mod deletions from user deletions).

Aside from the one info hazard, it's all crap.

We have no software ability to whole ban users but I do announce publicly at the point where I consider a user a troll.


Observation from reading the thread: Forums without a 'downvote' button are abhorrent. Not being able to at least register disgust at stupid comments via a trivial lowering of that comment's rating makes the experience (of being exposed to stupid) almost painful. (Not being able upvote gwern is nearly as bad!)

ie. Primitive though it may be lesswrong's karma system is awesome.

EDIT: Ahh, from the look of it perhaps my new account is just not permitted to vote yet. Since lesswrong has a similar codebase this makes me wonder about potential upgrades...

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Why not just have a hard-to-find switch that lets you turn off censoring? Maybe you have to have over 500 karma, or you have to renew your turn off every week or somesuch.

This seems to me o be a less clunky solution than publicly advertising an uncensored thread at a different location.

A few blogs adopt a model like this, e.g. a "cutting-room floor" thread or whatever. Having it offsite on a reasonably stable site is functionally similar and avoids feeling like one is polluting one's own server with stuff that repulses one.

Well put - this describes my feeling precisely.

This is quite an elegant solution to the whole mess. Good one.

I am very glad to hear you say that. Thank you!

Having it offsite on a reasonably stable site is functionally similar and avoids feeling like one is polluting one's own server with stuff that repulses one.

So now we're valuing purity in Haidt's sense?

I was trying to describe how I thought EY felt, and I seem to have been correct. It does strike me as an OK solution - imperfect in many ways, but a large improvement on nothing.

The thread might need renewing from time to time, as I think Reddit threads close after a time. (Can't find a FAQ though.)

This seems to me o be a less clunky solution

Note that the OP solution requires zero development.

EDIT: assembling and posting some ground rules for the site would be another useful zero-development task

It might be clunky but it doesn't require rewriting the site code.

in a location where comments aren't going to show up unsolicited in anyone's feed (which is why we're not doing this locally on LW)

Wait... If that was the issue, why wouldn't rot-13 suffice?

Using ROT-13 seems to invoke negative emotions too (at least when used with "phyg").

Phyg is probably a special case. At least for me, it's become an actual word, which translates out as Gur Phyg bs YrffJebat. I even use "phyg" to refer to the site to some of my friends, because we used to joke about trying to start an actual phyg based on transhumanist values, and now here I've found one for us to join! :)