[DEACTIVATED] Duncan Sabien


Civilization & Cooperation

Wiki Contributions


I haven't made up my mind about whether to ask that people not cross-post.  Until such time as I explicitly do (it would be a visible and hard-to-miss request, such as an author's note in several consecutive essays), please consider cross-posting fine.

1 seems both true and obvious to me.

2 seems both true and obvious to me (and we have a rich historical record of many of those people being vindicated as moral development proceeded apace).

3 seems true and correct to me as well.

Our divergence is after 3, in the rough model.  I think that it is waaaaaaay unlikely that a 90% bucket is the right size.  I think that 50+% of people covertly break at least 1 widespread norm, and even if someone talks me out of it I do not expect them to talk me even half of the distance down to 8%.

I think it depends a lot on the norm in question. Having been privileged (by virtue of being confidant to a lot of people from a lot of walks of life) to know about a LOT of harmless-in-my-estimation covert norm-breaking that the average person never gets a whiff of, I think that my money is on 2 being simply false.

Tagging @Ben Pace , @habryka , @Vaniver , @Raemon.  Not as a request for input (I kind of don't actually want any; I have little room left for being told how wrong and bad I am) but more because it feels like not-tagging is a little bit talking behind backs, or something.  They can speak to their own perspective as they choose, or not, as they choose.  I'm going to try to turn my attention away from this thread.

I do not like this comment. The rest of my response below will be somewhat triggered.

EDIT: to be clear, I did not vote in any way on the above comment because it seems bad to do so from a state of triggeredness.

"Um," Harry said. "You... don't think very much of Dumbledore, I take it?"

"I thought..." said the old witch. "Well. Albus Dumbledore was a better wizard than I, a better person than I, in more ways than I can easily count. But the man had his faults."

"Because, um. I mean. Dumbledore knew everything you just said. About my being young and how the Line works. You're acting like you think Dumbledore was unaware of those facts, or just ignoring them, when he made his decision. It's true that sometimes stupid people, like me, make decisions that crazy. But not Dumbledore. He was not mad."

The framing of this comment sort of presupposes that I either don't know about, or am inaccurately weighting:

  • The value of having work concentrated in one findable place
  • The value of having an active community to discuss important posts

...and dismissively implies that the problem is just "a few gadflies" and that I should "just not respond to trollish comments" and that'll work fine and solve the problem.

It not only fails to pass my ITT, it doesn't even seem to think there is an ITT that needs to be passed.  The comment sees me doing something that seems drastic and bad, and rather than even considering "huh, maybe it's worse than I thought/worse than I can see, from my perspective?" just leaps straight to brushing past and minimizing my concerns and implying that I'm making a silly mistake.

I am not.

I'm willing to concede that I might be, like, 15% catastrophizing (because it's hard to assess such things accurately, from the inside), but I am not off by a factor of two.  LessWrong is actually not a safe place for me.

I have tried extremely hard to make it work, multiple times, in multiple epochs of the site's existence.  I wrote an essay every day for thirty days during the 2.0 revival so there would always be fresh content for newcomers.  I put out the entire CFAR handbook after rewriting it twice.  I have done everything I could to nudge discourse and norms in a positive direction, even as other users actively and explicitly work to undermine them.

But this gets me, basically, nothing.  LessWrong will frequently host overt and explicit libel of me, and it will be highly upvoted, and mods will do nothing for days on end.  People will drag me through the mud and call for my suicide, and mods will do nothing.  Highly upvoted unanswered and unaddressed stuff leaks from LessWrong out onto the broader internet, and it does substantial damage to my professional and personal relationships.

I beg for other people to step in, and they don't.  When Said was violating his own agreements with the LessWrong team, and doing more of the same bullshit he'd previously been told to stop, the mods did nothing, and did nothing, and did nothing, and finally I tried to push back myself, and they got equally angry with me.  LessWrong is a place where victims get punished as much as, if not more than, their tormenters, when their patience finally breaks.

Most recently, I offered mild pushback, not even against the bullying I was receiving, but just against the plausibility of the bully's claim that they could have failed to know how their words would be interpreted, and for that extremely mild pushback, a mod (who had not felt called to lift a finger in my defense against the bully) privately sent me over 500 words saying how even though I had complied with all their requests they were still grumpy at me for defending myself.

In the same week, when I made a comment that explicitly acknowledged itself as being posted in a fit of despair, another mod (who had also never been bothered to lift a finger in my defense) wrote 1100 words being mad at me and my complaint.

In the same week, a mod privately stated that all of my contributions to this site over the past nine years barely-if-at-all broke even. That everything I've contributed is basically canceled out by the headache of dealing with me. None of the other mods present in that conversation disagreed. LessWrong is explicitly ungrateful for any of the work I've put forward on the site's behalf over the years.

(That hurt. I wept.)

So no: I don't think I'm unaware of the costs to LW and its readership of me-not-being-here, and I don't think I'm doing this lightly or cavalierly, and I don't think that it's just a few trollish comments that you should just ignore. All of that sounds, to me, like "let them eat cake."

I've tried desperately, for years, to fix this and find a stable and sustainable equilibrium.  Hearing, on my way out the door, when I'm exhausted beyond all measure and feeling deeply alienated and betrayed, "man, you should really consider sticking around" is upsetting.

If LessWrongers want me to stick around, they need to make that clear to the team, which has its own sense of the tradeoffs and has decided to balance those tradeoffs in a way that isn't compatible with people like me being here.

It's less "you probably know a burglar" and more "successful burglaries are probably 10-100x more common than you would think, if you based your prediction solely on visible evidence."

The two that seem most obvious to me: well-behaved psychopaths (i.e. people who have little or no empathetic response but who have learned to follow the social rules anyway, for the sake of headache avoidance) and non-practicing pedophiles (i.e. people who are attracted to children but are zero percent interested in raping anyone) probably really actually are quite common.

No.  I'm disagreeing with Bezzi's claim to have never encountered any trans person and to have no trans people in their extended social network of hundreds or thousands. I don't doubt their self-report re: visibly trans people, but they're unjustified in the conclusion "there just aren't invisible trans people around me in my town."

Are the base rates for actual transition so low that you can have thousands of people in your extended social circle and still never hear of one?


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