Sorry. It was night time when this came out and I'm swamped with comments and trying to gather evidence. Responded to it as soon as I could. You can see my response here.
Ah, sorry. I think what happened is that I was remembering the post from the draft he sent us just before it went live. At least from the post on WebArchive, the things I remember having been changed happened last minute between the draft and it going live. Only one of the changes I remember happened between the web archive shot and now.
To be fair, I think that change is large and causing a lot of problems (for example, burgergate, people thinking she was working for us at the time, instead of just a friend). However, it does look like I was wrong about that, and I retract my statement.
I'll edit the comment where I said that. Sorry for the misunderstanding. Thanks for looking into it.
The claim in the post was “Alice claims she was sick with covid in a foreign country, with only the three Nonlinear cofounders around, but nobody in the house was willing to go out and get her vegan food, so she barely ate for 2 days.”. (Bolding added)
If you look at the chat messages, you’ll see we have screenshots demonstrating that:
1. There was vegan food in the house, which we offered her.
2. I personally went out, while I was sick myself, to buy vegan food for her (mashed potatoes) and cooked it for her and brought it to her.
I would be fine if she told people that she was hungry when she was sick, and she felt sad and stressed. Or that she was hungry but wasn’t interested in any of the food we had in the house and we didn't get her Burger King.
But I think that there's a big difference between telling everyone "I didn't get the food I wanted, but they did get/offer to cook me vegan food, and I told them it was ok!" and "they refused to get me vegan food and I barely ate for 2 days"
I have sympathy for Alice. She was hungry (because of her fighting with a boyfriend [not Drew] in the morning and having a light breakfast) and she was sick. That sucks, and I feel for her. And that’s why I tried (and succeeded) in getting her vegan food.
In summary. “Alice claims she was sick with covid in a foreign country, with only the three Nonlinear cofounders around, but nobody in the house was willing to go out and get her vegan food, so she barely ate for 2 days.”. (Bolding added) This makes us sound like terrible people.
What actually happened: she was sick and hungry, and we offered to cook or bring over the vegan options in the house, then went out and bought and cooked her vegan food. We tried to take care of our sick friend (she wasn't working for us at the time), and we fed her while she was sick.
I encourage you to read the full post here, where I'm trying to add more details and address more points as they come up.
I did go out to get the potatoes. When I was sick myself.
It was very hard to find vegan food in the area, and I read through all of the different products in the store, looking to make sure they didn't have any sneaky non-vegan ingredients, like whey.
She said "nobody in the house was willing to go out and get her vegan food", but you can see that
In the conversation with Drew, she says it's fine, because she has mashed potatoes.
She said that we didn't bring her vegan food and we did. The text messages show that.
Where are we disagreeing?
Crossposted from the EA Forum:
We definitely did not fail to get her food, so I think there has been a misunderstanding - it says in the texts below that Alice told Drew not to worry about getting food because I went and got her mashed potatoes. Ben mentioned the mashed potatoes in the main post, but we forgot to mention it again in our comment - which has been updated
The texts involved on 12/15/21:
I also offered to cook the vegan food we had in the house for her.
I think that there's a big difference between telling everyone "I didn't get the food I wanted, but they did get/offer to cook me vegan food, and I told them it was ok!" and "they refused to get me vegan food and I barely ate for 2 days".Also, re: "because of this professional/personal entanglement" - at this point, Alice was just a friend traveling with us. There were no professional entanglements.
One example of the evidence we’re gathering
We are working hard on a point-by-point response to Ben’s article, but wanted to provide a quick example of the sort of evidence we are preparing to share:
Her claim: “Alice claims she was sick with covid in a foreign country, with only the three Nonlinear cofounders around, but nobody in the house was willing to go out and get her vegan food, so she barely ate for 2 days.”
The truth (see screenshots below):
Months later, after our relationship deteriorated, she went around telling many people that we starved her. She included details that depicted us in a maximally damaging light - what could be more abusive than refusing to care for a sick girl, alone in a foreign country? And if someone told you that, you’d probably believe them, because who would make something like that up?
Initially, we heard she was telling people that she “didn’t eat for days,” but she seems to have adjusted her claim to “barely ate” for “2 days”.
It’s important to note that Alice didn’t lie about something small and unimportant. She accused of us a deeply unethical act - the kind that most people would hear and instantly think you must be a horrible human - and was caught lying.
We believe many people in EA heard this lie and updated unfavorably towards us. A single false rumor like this can unfairly damage someone’s ability to do good, and this is just one among many she told.
We chose this example not because it’s the most important (although it certainly paints us in a very negative and misleading light) but simply because it was the fastest claim to explain where we had extremely clear evidence without having to add a lot of context, explanation, find more evidence, etc.
Even so, it took us hours to put together and share. Both because we had to track down all of the old conversations, make sure we weren’t getting anything wrong, anonymize Alice, format the screenshots (they kept getting blurry), and importantly, write it up.
We also had to spend time dealing with all of the other comments while trying to pull this together. My inbox is completely swamped.
This claim was a few sentences in Ben’s article but took us hours to refute. Ben’s article is over 10,000 words and we’re working as fast as we can to respond to every point he made.
Again, we are not asking for the community to believe us unconditionally. We want to show everybody all of the evidence and also take responsibility for the mistakes that we did make.
We’re just asking that you not overupdate on hearing just one side, and keep an open mind for the evidence we’ll be sharing as soon as we can.
Yes, we intend to. But given that our comments just asking for people to withhold judgment are getting downvoted, that doesn’t bode well for future posts getting enough upvotes to be seen.
It's going to take us at least a week to gather all the evidence, then it will take a decent amount of time to write up.
In the meantime, people have heard terrible things about us and nobody's a perfect rationalist who will simply update. Once you've made up your mind about somebody, it can be really hard to change.
Additionally, once things are on the internet, they're usually there for good. Now it might be that the first thing people find when looking up Nonlinear is this post, even if we do disprove the claims.
A post that would most likely have been substantially different if he'd seen all of our evidence first. He already made multiple updates to the post based on the things we shared, and he would have made far more if he had given us the chance to actually present our evidence.
Not to mention that now that he's published this and sent them money, it's psychologically difficult for him to update.
Yes, Ben took Emerson’s full email out of context, implying that Emerson was fully satisfied when in actuality, Emerson was saying, no, there is more to discuss - so much that we’d need a week to organize it.
He got multiple extremely key things wrong in that summary and was also missing key points we discussed on the call, but we figured there would be no reason he wouldn’t give us a week to clear everything up. Especially since he had been working on it for months.
This is a short response while I write up something more substantial.
The true story is very different than the one you just read.
Ben Pace purposefully posted this without seeing our evidence first, which I believe is unethical and violates important epistemic norms.
He said “I don't believe I am beholden to give you time to prepare”
We told him we have incontrovertible proof that many of the important claims were false or extremely misleading. We told him that we were working full-time on gathering the evidence to send him.
We told him we needed a week to get it all together because there is a lot of it. Work contracts, receipts, chat histories, transcripts, etc.
Instead of waiting to see the evidence, he published. I feel like this indicates his lack of interest in truth.
He did this despite there being no time sensitivity to this question and working on it for months. Despite him saying that he would look at the evidence.
I’m having to deal with one of the worst things that’s ever happened to me. Somebody who I used to care about is telling lies about me to my professional and social community that make me seem like a monster. And I have clear evidence to show that they’re lies.
Please, if you’re reading this, before signal boosting, I beg you to please reserve judgment until we have had a chance to present our evidence.