My Journey to the Dark Side

Thanks, I appreciate the concrete examples of untrustworthiness than don't rely on inferences made about reputation. I am specifically concerned about things like this (which seems like a weird and bad direction to take a conversation ( It also seems hard to recount falsely without active deception or complete detachment from reality and I doubt Ziz is completely detached from reality:

They asked if I’d rape their corpse. Part of me insisted this was not going as it was supposed to. But I decided inflicting discomfort in order to get reliable information was a valid tactic.

You say that you "never said that sentence or tried to imply it..." Do you have any sense of why Ziz interpreted you as saying that? I'd like to gauge the distance between what you said and how Ziz interpreted it to gauge degree-of-untrustworthiness.

My Journey to the Dark Side

The article was the first impression I got about Ziz (I live in Germany and never have attended a CFAR workshop) and I would expect that I'm not the only person for which it's true. 

Ah, mea culpa. I saw your other comment amount Pasek crashing with you and interpreted it to mean you were pretty close to the Ziz-related part of the community. I'm less hesitant about talking to you now so I'll hop back in.

they are done because the person considers expression of their sexual of gender identity to be a sacred value. Sith robes are not expressions of their sexual of gender identity and thus taking the reputational hit for them shows valuing reputation less. 

I really feel that you're making a category error by repeatedly merging the concepts "credibility with a small set of helpful ppl" and "general reputation." I don't see why Sith Robes or gender identity or aesthetics in general should cause me to trust someone less, especially when I have other information on them I consider more relevant. This because, unlike most social conventions which serve as forms of control/submission to the mob/etc, the ability to be perceived as honest by those you want to work with allows you to more easily work with them.

Gervais sociopaths often have principles that include telling the truth.

I don't think her aesthetic was stoically motivated as much as motivated by the desire to treat ones own interests and values as logically prior to social convention -- a refusal to let ones own interests bow to the mob. This seems conceptually similar to me as treating something as a sacred value. It just has more decision theory behind it.

It's about the generator function. The question is about what generator function explains all three events

I think this is somewhat noncentral because (as mentioned), I disagree that a single generator produced all three events. What do you think the actual relevant generator is, and why do you think it also generates lie-behavior against parties Ziz might want to work with (eg publishing everyone-facing lies on the internet)?

While it likely played out worse then she expected beforehand, I don't think the idea that it was only likely to damage her reputation with the CFAR staff (whom she thinks defected) was a reasonable model of the situation.

Yeah fair enough. I agree that this isn't a reasonable model but my point still stands I think. The issue is that I neglected a third group aside from people who plan on defecting against Ziz or have low opinions of her judgement. People who automatically flinch away from others who do unconstrained things would also likely trust her less. Still, that group would be unable to help do the unconstrained things she wants to so I don't think it means much to Ziz that she can't work with them.

What group of people do you think Ziz wanted to work with that she is no longer able to because of the protest?

My Journey to the Dark Side

Since you've quoted Ziz out of context, let me finish that quote for you. It is clear that the other half of her (whatever that means) did in fact believe those things and it is clear that this was a recounting of a live-conversation rather than a broad strategy. It is not that weird to not have fully processed the things that you partially believe, live, in the middle of a conversation such that you are surprised by them.

The other half of me was like isn’t it obvious. They are disturbed at me because intense suffering is scary. Because being trans in a world where it would make things worse to transition was pain to intense for social reality to acknowledge, and therefore a threat.

I see you're equivocating between "honesty"/"credibility"  and "reputation" again:

Reading is going to make any normal person consider the people to have no credibility and having an article like that with your legal name that people can google to find more about you in interactions like applying for a flat, is a heavy reputational cost. 

I see you've quietly dropped the two other reasons to ding credibility I mentioned to focus on the protest, which along with a misquote is your main reason for why Ziz is a liar:

False imprisonment of kids that are innocent bystanders isn't just "handles it inappropriately". None of the LGBTQ+ people I know personally have to the extend of my knowledge done something as bad nor would I expect that to be in their range of possible actions. 

It seems obvious to me that false imprisonment of kids is a noncentral description of what Ziz was doing (ie "she staged a protest and unbeknownst to her there were children somewhere" is my model). Given that this was scaled back to a misdemeanor, I imagine that you're focusing on this specifically for rhetorical effect. 

While I'm dubious about the protest being a Smart Move, I don't think this has much bearing on Ziz's honesty and I certainly don't think the coincidental presence of children somewhere in the area has any bearing on it.

From the TDT perspective actually fulfilling what you threaten seems quite reasonable.

From a TDT perspective, actually treating the first thing you come up with after someone asks you a question (esp when its couched in wiggle-terms like "probably") as a binding pre-commitment does not seem reasonable to me at all.

Given your manipulation of context above, and my notable lack of context wrt this whole situation, you have an asymmetric information advantage here that I suspect you may use to deceive me. As a result, I'm tapping out of the convo here.

If you are in good faith, I wish you well.

My Journey to the Dark Side

the completely unfounded belief that only good-aligned people can cooperate or use game theory and that nongood people will defect on each other too often to defeat her alliance. 

Can you elaborate on why you think this belief is completely unfounded? It seems to me that there are clear asymmetries in coordination capacities of good vs nongood. For example, being more open to the idea of a "Good Person" in power than a "Bad Person" seems like common sense. Similarly, groups of good people are intrinsically value-aligned while teams of bad people are not (each has a distinct selfish motivation) -- and I think value-alignedness increases effectiveness.

My Journey to the Dark Side

Assuming Ziz is being honest, she pulled the stunt at CFAR after she had already been defected against. This does not globally damage her credibility. It does damage her reputation among a) ppl who think they can't defect against her sneakily but plan to try and b) ppl who think she is bad at judging when she's been defected against. I am in neither of those categories so I have no reason to expect Ziz to defect by lying at me.

In contrast, if Ziz was being dishonest, she pulled that stunt for... inscrutable reasons that may or may not be in the web of lies she might have made. I think this is unlikely. As I've already said, her claims seem plausible and, if she was lying, she could do far worse than she did. If she wanted to defect really hard and wasn't constrained by truth, she could just raise issues that non-marginalized communities have a personal stake in (instead of something like transphobia).

Wearing Sith robes and naming themselves after a fanfic villian is similar in that it damages reputation among many people and not a strategy to develop a reputation as someone to be trusted. 

Do you think Little Nas X is less honest because he became Satan in his hit music video Montero?  I doubt that wearing Sith Robes / naming yourself after a villain (Ziz is a mythological bird?) is useful information about how honest someone is. This goes double when you know other things. Three points here:

  • Marginalized people have understandable reasons for inverting mainstream aesthetics. Good/evil aesthetics are defined by  mainstream culture. If that culture has betrayed you, it can be therapeutic to reject it in turn by inverting its aesthetics. Many of my LGBTQ+ friends do this. Given that Ziz is a trans women who has an ontology that treats most ppl as "nongood", it makes sense that she would also (either because of morality-related alienation or gender-related alienation).
  • You're conflating reputation/credibility among "many ppl" with reputation/credibility among ppl who would actually help you. Only the second group matters and optimizing credibility with the first is a waste of time. If you look at a marginalized person who has moral integrity (vegan) and writes extensively on TDT (solving coordination problems) and conclude that they're a liar because clothing choices, this says a lot about your values.
    You either a) buy-in to nongood mainstream clothing norms as reflecting a person's goodness/evilness or b) think Ziz is making a critical error by pushing away ppl who think this is what clothes mean.  
    IMO people who take either of these positions are sufficiently invested in the status quo that they'd only impede Ziz's work. Credibility with them isn't worth much.
  • While I doubt it turned off helpful ppl, Ziz admitted (I think in a comment on sinceriously somewhere) that her aesthetic was a tactical mistake in hindsight because it attracted a bunch of edgy bad ppl. You framing it as a strategic choice is incorrect for this reason.

How do you explain those three decisions if you think that she's committed to upholding her credibility?

Well I think I've covered it above. The purpose of "Upholding Credibility" is so that the ppl you care about knowing the truth can actually receive the truth from you.  And none of the decisions above impede information-conveyance or reflect defections on the groups of ppl Ziz would be interested in helping (ethical ppl who can work with her, concerned trans women who might be at risk, etc).


I'll admit, I'm a little angry with your response so I might have a harsher tone here. Some of your arguments struck a nerve with me because it really feels like you're implying that a bunch of my (non-rationalist, completely unaffiliated) LGBTQ+ friends are liars. Here's what your arguments sound like to me:

  • "If someone claims Something Bad is happening and then handles it inappropriately, we should give significant weight to the possibility that they are lying because handling it inappropriately was defection" 
  • "When a marginalized person copes with marginalization by inverting mainstream aesthetics, we should give significant weight to the possibility that they are lying because not following the mainstream means you don't care about being taken honestly"
  • "If a marginalized person claims Something Bad is happening, handles it inappropriate, and copes with marginalization by inverting mainstream aesthetics, they're systematically a liar"
My Journey to the Dark Side

I'm hesitant about saying things here since, to the extent that my epistemics are right, this is a relatively adversarial environment. I think discussing things would reveal things that I know/how I found out about them without many positive effects (I'm also disconnected from the Bay Area Community). After all, if you were confident that Ziz was lying, nothing I know would likely change your mind. Similarly, if you felt like Ziz might be telling the truth, the gravity of the claims probably has more relevance to your actions than the extent to which my info would move the probability.

That being said, DM me and we can chat. I'm also pretty curious about your interactions with Ziz/how she tried to manipulate you. 

My Journey to the Dark Side

Since this post is back-up, let's just have convo here alright? Don't wanna make things confusing

My Journey to the Dark Side

Per the top post, Ziz never lies (for a reasonable definition of what a lie is). Other than that, I don't think she is lying for four main reasons: 1) her decision theory implies that she isn't,  2) the content of her claims seems plausible to me, 3) her claims don't seem particularly strategically helpful) and 4)  I have been able to independently verify some sub-components of her claims

And look, I don’t have a stake in any of that at this point and I’m not in a position to judge, but I don’t think she’s lying. I don’t think she ever lies, I just think she’s speaking from within her own worldview, the same way that she always does, the same way that everyone always does.

Here's my extended reasoning for the four justifications above:

  • Ziz's whole philosophy is based on TDT and lying is trivially a defection that globally damages credibility (your response is an example of how). I think Ziz has spoken on decision theory in good faith and, frankly, has an unusually nuanced understanding of it to the extent that she wouldn't lie.
    • Corollary #1: If Ziz did choose to lie, it would imply that that she already inferred truthfulness would not actually establish her credibility in social reality (and my guess is her reasoning for this inference would be reasonable). This would mean that I shouldn't trust Ziz but I also shouldn't trust anyone else about Ziz.
    • Corollary #2: If you think Ziz is being deceptive about her own decision theory, then you can't infer anything about what she claims her goals are from what she says (since all of this is heavily based on decision theory). I think Ziz is being honest about her goals.
    • Corollary #3: "bruh but she might still be lying if she thinks she can get away with it!!!". To which I reply, "schelling points bruh."
  • Ziz is a trans women which makes her vulnerable to have ppl act against her in ways that most cis people never experience (and therefore default to disbelieving unless they're particular aware of what goes on). For this reason, a trans women with the reputation of a liar is in much greater danger than a cis person because it allows transphobes to take unconstrained actions against them. I doubt Ziz would act in ways that increase this risk
    • Corollary #1: if this stuff didn't happen to Ziz, I'd be surprised that she'd independently come up with stuff on her own that matches my priors this well. I'm not trans myself but I have plenty of trans friends and, from what I've learned from them, Ziz's account seems plausible
  • Many of the claims she has made are not obviously effective at furthering her own goals as one might expect if they were lies
  • I have personally verified a number of small details and claims Ziz has made for myself. This makes me inclined to believe she is being honest.

since everything was deleted, I'm reposting my comment below. If my comment doesn't make sense, its likely that the above document was edited. Below my original comment, I'll post ChristianKIs reply and my response to it.

--------ORIGINAL COMMENT--------------------------------------

So first off, thanks for sharing -- its really interesting to hear other ppls experience with scrupulosity and Ziz's work. That being said... I have a fair amount of criticism wrt your discussion of Ziz

And look, I don’t have a stake in any of that at this point and I’m not in a position to judge, but I don’t think she’s lying. I don’t think she ever lies, I just think she’s speaking from within her own worldview, the same way that she always does, the same way that everyone always does

Ziz has made a number of specific claims about the rationality community that seem extremely bad to me including (off the top of my head): endemic transphobia in CFAR, sexual misconduct, an attempted cover-up of sexual misconduct endemic (at least at a point) in MIRI. If these occured, they are real concrete events independent of worldview. 

That stuff matters. It mattered enough to me that I've been off this website and un-associated with the rationality community for upwards of a year because I heard about it.

The final Big Idea on Sinceriously is the one which is widely considered to be the most intensely radioactive and results in most of the hostility aimed at her and her followers. This is Ziz’s moral theory, which is, to put it lightly, very extreme.... To her, carnism is a literal holocaust, on ongoing and perpetual nightmare of torture, rape, and murder being conducted on a horrifyingly vast scale by a race of flesh eating monsters.

Just showing up here to preemptively lightly push back on the textual association here between "very extreme moral theory" and "carnism is a literal holocaust." There is a very broad spectrum of moral beliefs that notice that carnism is a literal holocaust and Ziz's philosophy just happens to also be rigorous enough to notice this.

Hm maybe this set me off on defensiveness but, as I continued reading, I couldn't help reinterpret parts of it as a hit piece on Ziz. Here are specific quotes I view as designed to be unjustifiably adversarial (in bold) and my response (in italics) explaining why I perceive them as such:

  • " willing to go as far as holding protests at CFAR meetups and trying to create her own vegan torture basilisk to timelessly blackmail carnists into not eating meat."
    (If you buy the game-theory being right and buy that AGI would have correct game-theory, everyone working on AGI is trying to create a torture basilisk of some kind and Ziz's just happens to also be vegan. Seems like summarizing what Ziz is trying to do as "vegan torture basilisk" is just punishing her for explicitly thinking about doing the thing everyone's already doing.)
  • "What’s a few humans killing themselves when the stakes are literally all of sentient life and the future of all sentient life in the universe?"
    (The equivocation between "two people committed suicide because they read sinceriously" and "Ziz killed people" seems rhetorically adversarial here)
  • "This is not to say that you should go out and start using the specific formulation of utilitarianism and timeless decision theory which she does unless you’re also a radical vegan extremist"
    (Ouch lol. I'm a non-radical vegan and see below)
  • "Even being willing to write “my morals just happen to correspond with the most objectively correct version of morality” is a pretty gutsy move to make that seems to imply some degree of grandiosity and disconnection from reality"
    (Arbitrary demand for moral rigor. Note that Ziz's morality doesn't have to be the most objectively correct version for her to act as she does, it just has to beat out the competition -- which isn't hard to do since most ppl like factory farming)

--------CURRENT STATE OF CONVO WITH CHRISTIANKI AS OF POSTING-------------------------------------

ChristianKI responded to comment asking:
"It seems that Ziz has a worldview according to which she's willing to lie when it furthers her goals. Why do you believe her enough at this point?"

My response:

idk if you can read this since the post was deleted but the short answer is that, per the top post, Ziz never lies (for a reasonable definition of what a lie is) and I'm inclined to agree:

And look, I don’t have a stake in any of that at this point and I’m not in a position to judge, but I don’t think she’s lying. I don’t think she ever lies, I just think she’s speaking from within her own worldview, the same way that she always does, the same way that everyone always does.

Moreover, if it is true that Ziz's goals are promoting a vegan singularity, then the specific claims she made about transphobia/cover-ups/etc are extremely sub-optimal for furthering this goal. [Also: My impression is that Ziz lies less often than a normal person for timeless-decision-theory reasons so I think odds are that she isn't.]*

[edited to note parenthetical wasn't in my original response to ChristianKI, which I tried to do like two minutes ago]

oh and if you can read this, hive reposted it so feel free so I'm bringing the discussion there

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