All of Spiracular's Comments + Replies

I like something about this formulation? No idea if you have time, but I'd be interested if you expanded on it.

I'm not convinced "high-energy" is the right phrasing, since the attributes (as I seem them) seem to be:

  • Diverges from current worldview
  • High-confidence
    • Expressed or uptaken, in a way that allows little space for uncertainty/wavering. May take a dark attitude on ensembling it with other worldviews.
    • May have a lot of internal consistency.
      • "Unreasonable internal consistency" is (paradoxically) sometimes a marker for reality, and sometimes a tell
... (read more)
3tailcalled1y
I have considered doing a series of posts on ideology and memetics. I likely will at some point in the future. The attributes... of what? Of the ideas that Vassarists want to promote? Or? I am not sure what your list of attributes aims to explain, and the list of attributes does not map to any phenomenon that I am trying to model myself. I would be prone to agreeing with this.

At the risk of this looking too much like me fighting a strawman...

Cults may have a tendency to interact and pick up adaptations from each other, but it seems wrong to operate on the assumption that they're all derivatives of one ancestral "proto-cult" or whatever. Cult leaders are not literal vampires, where you only become a cult leader by getting bit by a previous cult leader or whatever.

It's a cultural attractor, and a cult is a social technology simple enough that it can be spontaneously re-derived. But cults can sometimes pick up or swap beliefs &... (read more)

For example, many abusive partners reinvent half of the cult techniques on their own. If you are the right kind of personality, it is probably enough to carefully observe your victim, and gradually remove everything that empowers them. (Their parents disapprove of you? No more contact with the parents. An article about abusive relations that actually explains a lot? No more reading that specific website or a book. Ideas encountered in free time that you don't like? Invent lots of busywork, no more free time. Thinking too much? Create emotional drama, so th... (read more)

Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.

Cultivate someone with an earnest and heartfelt interest in fishing, until he learns how to grow his own skills and teach himself... and you can probably feed at least 12 people.

Which just might finally allow the other 11 to specialize into something more appealing to them than subsistence fishing.

Okay, a lot of this commentary hit "sideways." Let me see if I can unpack some of this.

0

A lot of what's missing is meditation.

TL;DR: It's a meditation metaphor movie, with some heavily Eastern themes and symbology.

I'm about 99% sure that at its thematic core, it's an "enlightenment/meditation metaphor" movie. I thought it does a really good job at being that, but that part is understandably not going to hit with everyone.

Did you notice that the damn circle has at least 3 different meanings or references, which all tie in neatly with each other? One of t... (read more)

Just distilling some relevant intuitions:

(This is all me thinking about the problem, and I make no claim that others will align with me on these.)

Grant-making

  • Typically, clusters of applications are assessed in 1 rung lower time-frames? Some topics get bumped up to same-tier of 1-tier-higher assessment, if assessors feel it advised.
    • ex: 10E4 is scheduled such that one can submit a grant application, do a 10E3 round, and come back to an answer.
      • cont ex: If the grant-making is running late, there are a bunch of 10E2 jobs opened up to help speed finishing
... (read more)

Geoff tweeted about it, I forwarded that to you.

But after thinking a bit more, including hearing a little more background context from Aella? I think the tension here predates that, and that this is predominantly a reaction to the MAPLE post. Please treat this mostly as a side-note.

There's no recording anymore, but I actually appreciated him on the stream. My overall take on the author is "has a lot of compassion, but I don't always trust his discernment."

Yeah, some of this gets the facts wrong, or a bit off. I don't think this was fact-checked very competently, and in this sort of context, that does matter.

(ex: I can confirm that mittenscautious was not Aella, although Aella was indeed a housemate to Persephone.)


...I hate dishing based on something this speculative, but I do think it's a potentially relevant piece of context...

Aella and Geoff (Executive Director of Leverage) have a lot of enmity towards each other. This is just straightforwardly true.

If I am identifying the author of this Aella-attacking... (read more)

2gjm2y
Is it known whether the author is the same person who commented on the "Frame Control" post under the name of "blueiris" (and, after that account was banned, "blueiris2", and then "blueiris3") complaining about how Aella was taking unfair advantage of her feminine wiles to get her stuff well received on Less Wrong?
5ChristianKl2y
I'd love it if someone can confirm or deny this.

It feels worth pointing out that Universities seem to try to set up this sort of absurdly protective bubble, by design. Uni extracts sometimes-exorbitant rent, while doing so; Leverage was at least usually paying people salaries.

Meanwhile, a lot of US bureaucracy appears almost... tailor-made to make life more complicated, with a special exception to that reserved for "full-time employees of large corporations"? (I think that for historic reasons, some of their bureaucratic complications are consistently outsourced to their company to handle.)

Against this ... (read more)

The EA hotel has a two year limit (I think exceptions are possible though). After reading this article, I'm feeling like Greg made a good choice here.

Seconded.

I really appreciate Cathleen being willing to talk about it, even given the reasonable expectation that some people are going to... be jerks about it, misinterpret things, take things out of context, and engage in ways she won't like. Or even just fail to engage in ways that would be good for her?

I don't always see eye-to-eye with Cathleen, but she poured a lot into this project. She is not exaggerating when she conveys that she was responsible for a really giant pile of ops and maintenance tasks at Leverage.

(I'm not sure how Leverage handled her ... (read more)

What to do when society is wrong about something?

I thought this aside was an extremely good snapshot of class of problem that I have seen come up in other contexts as well.

Briefly: People have a tendency to develop social bubbles that are, in a key way or two, way more comfortable or healthy for them. If you get strongly immersed in one, then "the rest of society" starts looking unpleasant or unhealthy, and what do you do with that when that hapens?

I don't find it easy to answer! But I'd be curious to hear from other people about variants of this scenario ... (read more)

Some of the other F-grade feed-ins, for completion's sake...

  • A lot of people went to a bad high school. Some have learned helplessness, and don't know how to study. Saw the occasional blatant cheating habit, too.
    • Community colleges know this, and offer some courses that are basically "How to study"
    • So much of many middle-class cultures is just hammering "academics matter" and "advice on how to study or network" into your brain. Most middle-class students still manage to miss the memo on 1-2 key study skills or resources, though. Maybe everyone should go
... (read more)

TL;DR: As people get older, it's common for people to acquire responsibilities that make it hard to focus on school (ex: kids, elderly parents). Fairly high confidence that this is a big factor in community college grades.


As someone whose parent teaches basic math at community college, and who attended community college for 2 years myself (before transferring)...

I have absolutely seen some people pick up these skills late. The work ethic & directedness of community college high-achievers is often notably better than that of people in their late teens... (read more)

2Spiracular2y
Some of the other F-grade feed-ins, for completion's sake... * A lot of people went to a bad high school. Some have learned helplessness, and don't know how to study. Saw the occasional blatant cheating habit, too. * Community colleges know this, and offer some courses that are basically "How to study" * So much of many middle-class cultures is just hammering "academics matter" and "advice on how to study or network" into your brain. Most middle-class students still manage to miss the memo on 1-2 key study skills or resources, though. Maybe everyone should go to "how to study" class... * Personally? As a teen, I didn't know how to ask for help, and I couldn't stand sounding like an idiot. Might have saved myself some time, if I'd learned how to do that earlier. * Nobody uses office-hours enough. * At worst, it's free tutoring. At best, it's socially motivating and now the teacher feels personally invested in your story and success. * "High-achievers who turned an early D into an A" are frequently office-hour junkies. * Someone with a big family crisis, is probably still screwed even if they go to office hours. Past some threshold, people should just take a W. * A few people just genuinely can't do math, in a "it doesn't fit in their brain" kind of way * My mom thinks this exists, but only accounts for <1%

There's actually 1 additional dynamic, that I can't quite put my finger on, but here's my attempt.

It's shaped something like...

If you are a pretty powerful person, and you take a desperate powerless person, and you hand them something that could indiscriminately destroy you? That is very likely to be a horrible mistake that you will one day regret. It's a bit like handing some rando a version of The One Ring, which is specific to controlling you.

Unless you had really good judgement and the person you handed it to is either Tom Bombdil or a hobbit who manag... (read more)

I think I have seen the "sanity-check"/"sanity-guillotine" thing done well. I have also seen it done poorly, in a way that mostly resembles the "finger-trap" targeting any close friends who notice problems.

For actual accountability/protection? "Asking to have it reported publicly/to an outside third party" seems to usually work better than "Report it to me privately."

(A very competent mass-crowd-controller might have a different dynamic, though; I haven't met one yet.)


For strong frame-controllers? "Encouraging their students to point out a vague category... (read more)

4TekhneMakre2y
[Mostly unrelated but sparked by skimming this comment] It occurs to me that another question around frame control, is: how can I / we facilitate social niches that don't require frame control? In the leadership example: how can I be more willing and able to be led effectively by someone who is e.g. deeply and truly criticized in front of the group? For example, this might involve being more careful about not falling into misinformation cascades, and more intentional about hope.

There's actually 1 additional dynamic, that I can't quite put my finger on, but here's my attempt.

It's shaped something like...

If you are a pretty powerful person, and you take a desperate powerless person, and you hand them something that could indiscriminately destroy you? That is very likely to be a horrible mistake that you will one day regret. It's a bit like handing some rando a version of The One Ring, which is specific to controlling you.

Unless you had really good judgement and the person you handed it to is either Tom Bombdil or a hobbit who manag... (read more)

Working out how this applies to other fields is left as an exercise to the reader, because I'm lazy and the space of places I use this metaphor is large (and paradoxically, so overbuilt that it's probably quite warped).

Also: minimally-warped lenses aren't always the most useful lens! Getting work done requires channeling attention, and doing it disproportionately!

And most heavily-built things are pretty warped; it's usually a safe default assumption. Doesn't make heavily-built things pointless, that is not what I'm getting at.

...but stuff that hews close t... (read more)

I do think some things are actually quite real and grounded? Everything is shoved through a lens as you perceive it, but not all lenses are incredibly warping.

If you're willing to work pretty close to the lower-levels of perception, and be quite careful while building things up, well and deeply-grounded shit EXISTS.


To give an evocative, and quite literally illustrative, example?

I think learning how to see the world well enough to do realistic painting is an exceptionally unwarping and grounding skill.

Any other method of seeing while drawing, doubles up o... (read more)

2Spiracular2y
Working out how this applies to other fields is left as an exercise to the reader, because I'm lazy and the space of places I use this metaphor is large (and paradoxically, so overbuilt that it's probably quite warped). Also: minimally-warped lenses aren't always the most useful lens! Getting work done requires channeling attention, and doing it disproportionately! And most heavily-built things are pretty warped; it's usually a safe default assumption. Doesn't make heavily-built things pointless, that is not what I'm getting at. ...but stuff that hews close to base-reality has the the important distinction of surviving most cataclysms basically-intact, and robustness is a virtue that works in their favor.

Now to actually comment...

(Ugh, I think I ended up borderline-incoherent myself. I might revisit and clean it up later.)

I think it's worth keeping in mind that "common social reality" is itself sometimes one of these unstable/ungrounded top-heavy many-epicycles self-reinforcing collapses-when-reality-hits structures.

I am beyond-sick of the fights about whether something is "erroneous personal reality vs social reality" or "personal reality vs erroneous social reality," so I'm going to leave simulating that out as an exercise for the reader.

loud sigh

Jumping... (read more)

4Vladimir_Nesov2y
I don't know, a lot of this is from discussion of Kuhn, new paradigms/worldviews are not necessarily incentivized to say new things or make sense of new things, even though they do, they just frame them in a particular way. And when something doesn't fit a paradigm, it's ignored. This is good and inevitable for theorizing on human level, and doesn't inform usefulness or correctness of what's going on, as these things live inside the paradigm.

On the one hand, I think this is borderline-unintelligible as currently phrased? On the other hand, I think you have a decent point underneath it all.

Let me know if I'm following, while I try to rephrase it.


When insulated from real-world or outer-world incentives, a project can build up a lot of internal-logic and inferential distance by building upon itself repeatedly.

The incentives of insulated projects can be almost artificially-simple? So one can basically Goodhart, or massage data and assessment-metrics, to an incredible degree. This is sometimes do... (read more)

2Vladimir_Nesov2y
It's about lifecycle of theory development, confronted with incentives of medium-term planning. Humans are not very intelligent, and the way we can do abstract theory requires developing a lot of tools that enable fluency with it, including the actual intuitive fluency that uses the tools to think more rigorously, which is what I call common sense. My anchor is math, which is the kind of theory I'm familiar with, but the topic of the theory could be things like social structures, research methodologies, or human rationality. So when common sense has an opportunity to form, we have a "post-rigorous" stage where rigid principles (gears) that make the theory lawful can be wielded intuitively. Without getting to this stage, the theory is blind or (potentially) insane. It is blind without intuition or insane when intuition is unmoored from rigor. (It can be somewhat sane when pre-rigorous intuition is grounded in something else, even if by informal analogy.) If left alone, a theory tends to sanity. It develops principles to organize its intuitions, and develops intuitions to wield its principles. Eventually you get something real that can be seen and shaped with purpose. But when it's not at that stage, forcing it to change will keep it unsettled longer. If the theory opines about how an organizational medium-term plan works, what it should be, yet it's unsettled, you'll get insane opinions about the plans that shape insane plans. And reality chasing the plan, forcing it to confront what actually happens at present, gives an incentive to keep changing the theory before it's ready, keeping it in this state of limbo.
4Spiracular2y
Now to actually comment... (Ugh, I think I ended up borderline-incoherent myself. I might revisit and clean it up later.) I think it's worth keeping in mind that "common social reality" is itself sometimes one of these unstable/ungrounded top-heavy many-epicycles self-reinforcing collapses-when-reality-hits structures. I am beyond-sick of the fights about whether something is "erroneous personal reality vs social reality" or "personal reality vs erroneous social reality," so I'm going to leave simulating that out as an exercise for the reader. loud sigh Jumping meta, and skipping to the end. Almost every elaborate worldview is built on at least some fragile low-level components, and might also have a few robustly-grounded builds in there, if you're lucky. "Some generalizable truth can be extracted" is more likely to occur, if there were incentives and pressure to generate robust builds.* * (...God, I got a sudden wave of sympathy for anyone who views Capitalists and Rationalists as some form of creepy scavengers. There is a hint of truth in that lens. I hope we're more like vultures than dogs; vultures have a way better "nutrition to parasite" ratio.) ---------------------------------------- By pure evolutionary logic: whichever thing adhered closer to common properties of base-reality, and/or was better-trained to generalize or self-update, will usually hold up better when some of its circumstances change. This tends to be part of what boils up when worldview conflicts and cataclysms play out. I do see "better survival of a worldview across a range of circumstances" as somewhat predictive of attributes that I consider good-to-have in a worldview. I also think surviving worldviews aren't always the ones that make people the happiest, or allow people to thrive? Sometimes that sucks. (If anyone wants to get into "everything is all equally-ungrounded social reality?" No. That doesn't actually follow, even from the true statement that "everything you percei

My impression is that Leverage's bodywork is something closer to what other people call "energy work," which probably puts it... closer to Reiki than massage?

But I never had it done to me, and I don't super understand it myself! Pretty low confidence in even this answer.

Hm... I notice I'm maybe feeling some particular pressure to personally address this one?

Because I called out the deliberate concentration of force in the other direction that happened on an earlier copy of the BayAreaHuman thread.


I am not really recanting that? I still think something "off" happened there.

But I could stand up and give a more balanced deposition.

To be clear? I do think BAH's tone was a tad aggressive. And I think there were other people in the thread, who were more aggressive than that. I think Leverage Basic Facts EA had an even more ag... (read more)

"three people... would like to say positive things about their experience at Leverage Research, but feel they cannot":

Oof. I appreciate you mentioning that.

(And a special note of thanks, for being willing to put down a concrete number? It helps me try to weigh it appropriately, while not compromising anonymity.)


Navigating the fact that people seem to be scared of coming forward on every side of this, is hard. I would love advice on how to shape this thread better.

If you think of something I can do to make talking about all of {the good, the bad, the neut... (read more)

Hm... I notice I'm maybe feeling some particular pressure to personally address this one?

Because I called out the deliberate concentration of force in the other direction that happened on an earlier copy of the BayAreaHuman thread.


I am not really recanting that? I still think something "off" happened there.

But I could stand up and give a more balanced deposition.

To be clear? I do think BAH's tone was a tad aggressive. And I think there were other people in the thread, who were more aggressive than that. I think Leverage Basic Facts EA had an even more ag... (read more)

While I realize I've kinda de-facto "taken a side" by this point (and probably limited who will talk to me as a result)? I was mispronouncing Geoff's name, before this hit; this is pretty indicative of how little I knew him personally. I started out mostly caring about having the consequences-for-him be reached based off of some kind of reasonable assessment, and not caring too much about having it turn out one way or another. I still feel more invested in there being a good process, and in what will generate the best outcomes for the people who worked und... (read more)

I'm finally out about my story here! But I think I want to explain a bit of why I wasn't being very clear, for a while.

I've been "hinting darkly" in public rather than "telling my full story" due to a couple of concerns:

  1. I don't want to "throw ex-friend under the bus," to use their own words! Even friend's Leverager partner (who they weren't allowed to visit, if they were "infected with objects") seemed more "swept-up in the stupidity" than "malicious." I don't know how to tell my truth, without them feeling drowned out. I do still care about that. Eurgh

... (read more)

Threads Roundup

  • Several things under the LW Leverage Tag
  • Leverage Basic Facts EA Post & comment thread
    • I discovered this one a little late? Still flipping through it.
  • BayAreaHuman LW Post
    • By now, I have been able to confirm every single concrete point made in that post seems true or reasonable, to myself or at least one of my contacts (not always two). The tone is slightly-aggressive, but seems generally truth-seeking, to me.
    • I think it leans more towards characterizing dysfunctional late-L1, than early-L1? But not strictly.
    • Someone, probably Geof
... (read more)

Timeline Additions

I rather liked the idea of making a timeline!

Geoff currently had a short doc on timing of changes in org structure, but it currently doesn't include much else.

Depending on how discussion here goes, I might transfer/transform this into its own post in the future. Will link them, if so.


Preamble

Nobody has talked much in public about the most dysfunctional things, yet? I am going to switch strategies out of dark-hinting and anonymity at this point, and put my cards down on the table.

This will be a sketch of the parts of this story that I ... (read more)

6Viliam2y
I have some difficulty understanding the descriptions by former Leverage members. Inferential distance, but even if you tell me what the words refer to, I am not sure I am painting my near-mode picture correctly. Like, when you say "bodywork", now I imagine something like one person giving the other person a massage, where both participants believe that this action not only relaxes the body, but also helps to remove some harmful memes from the mind. -- Is this a strawman? Or is it a reasonable first approximation (which of course misses some important nuance)? For me, getting these things right feels like I have an insight into how the organization actually works, on social level. Approximate descriptions are okay. If massaging someone's left shoulder helps them overcome political mindkilling, and massaging someone's right shoulder protects them from Roko's Basilisk, don't tell me! You have the NDA, and I don't actually care about this level of detail. Keep your secret tech! I just want to understand the dynamic, like if someone talks to a stranger and later feels like the person may have cast some curse on them, the reasonable response is to schedule a massage. From all descriptions I have read so far, yours felt the most helpful in this direction. Thank you!
4Richard_Kennaway2y
Cult symptom! Invented terminology for invented, fictitious entities.

Threads Roundup

  • Several things under the LW Leverage Tag
  • Leverage Basic Facts EA Post & comment thread
    • I discovered this one a little late? Still flipping through it.
  • BayAreaHuman LW Post
    • By now, I have been able to confirm every single concrete point made in that post seems true or reasonable, to myself or at least one of my contacts (not always two). The tone is slightly-aggressive, but seems generally truth-seeking, to me.
    • I think it leans more towards characterizing dysfunctional late-L1, than early-L1? But not strictly.
    • Someone, probably Geof
... (read more)

* I could tell that this had some concerning toxic elements, and I needed an outside sanity-check. I think under the circumstances, this was the correct call for me. I do not regret picking the particular person I chose as a sanity-check. I am also very sympathetic to other people not feeling able to pull this, given the enormous cost to doing it at the time.

This is not a strong systematic assessment of how I usually treat privacy agreements. My harm-assessment process is usually structured a bit like this, with some additional pressure from an "agreement-... (read more)

I agree that Leverage has been unusually hard to talk about bluntly or honestly, and I think this has been true for most of its existence.

I also think the people at the periphery of Leverage, are starting to absorb the fact that they systematically had things hidden from them. That may be giving them new pause, before engaging with Leverage as a topic.

(I think that seems potentially fair, and considerate. To me, it doesn't feel like the same concern applies in engaging about CFAR. I also agree that there were probably fewer total people exposed to Leverage... (read more)

I'm finally out about my story here! But I think I want to explain a bit of why I wasn't being very clear, for a while.

I've been "hinting darkly" in public rather than "telling my full story" due to a couple of concerns:

  1. I don't want to "throw ex-friend under the bus," to use their own words! Even friend's Leverager partner (who they weren't allowed to visit, if they were "infected with objects") seemed more "swept-up in the stupidity" than "malicious." I don't know how to tell my truth, without them feeling drowned out. I do still care about that. Eurgh

... (read more)
7Unreal2y
Any thoughts on why this was coming about in the culture?  If anyone feels that way (like the lost friend) and wants to talk to me about it, I'd be interested in learning more about it. 
5Spiracular2y
* I could tell that this had some concerning toxic elements, and I needed an outside sanity-check. I think under the circumstances, this was the correct call for me. I do not regret picking the particular person I chose as a sanity-check. I am also very sympathetic to other people not feeling able to pull this, given the enormous cost to doing it at the time. This is not a strong systematic assessment of how I usually treat privacy agreements. My harm-assessment process is usually structured a bit like this, with some additional pressure from an "agreement-to-secrecy," and also factors in the meta-secrecy-agreements around "being able to be held to secrecy agreements" and "being honest about how well you can be held to secrecy agreements." No, I don't feel like having a long discussion about privacy policies right now. But if you care? My thoughts on information-sharing policy were valuable enough to get me into the 2019 Review. If you start on this here, I will ignore you.

Meta: I think it makes some good points. I do not think it was THAT bad, and I think the discussion was good. I would keep it up, but it's your call. Possibly adding an "Edit: (further complicated thoughts)" at the top? (Respect for thinking about it, though.)

Since it's mostly just pointers to stuff I've already said/implied... I'll throw out a quick comment.

I would like it if somebody started something like a carefully-moderated private Facebook group, mostly of core people who were there, to come to grips with their experiences? I think this could be good.

I am slightly concerned that people who are still in the grips of "Leverage PR campaigning" tendencies, will start trying to take it over or otherwise poison the well? (Edit: Or conversely, that people who still feel really hurt or confused about it might la... (read more)

... unreasonably-strong reality/truth-suppressive pressures that were at play here, that there were some ways in which secrecy agreements were leveraged pretty badly to avoid accountability for harms ... 

Hmm. This seems worth highlighting. 

The NDAs (plus pressure to sign) point to this. 

... 

( The rest of this might be triggering to anyone who's been through gaslighting / culty experiences. Blunt descriptions of certain forms of control and subjugation. ) 

...

The rest of the truth-suppressive measures I can only speculate. Here's a l... (read more)

My current sense? Is that both Unreal and I are basically doing a mix of "take an advocate role" and "using this as an opportunity to get some of what the community got wrong last time -with our own trauma- right." But for different roles, and for different traumas.

It seemed worth being explicit and calling this out. (I don't necessarily think this is bad? I also think both of us seem to have done a LOT of "processing our own shit' already, which helps.)

But doing this is... exhausting for me, all the same. I also, personally, feel like I've taken up too mu... (read more)

I see what you're doing? And I really appreciate that you are doing it.

...but simultaneously? You are definitely making me feel less safe to talk about my personal shit.

(My position on this is, and has always been: "I got a scar from Leverage 1.0. I am at least somewhat triggered; on both that level, and by echoes from a past experience. I am scared that me talking about my stuff, rather than doing my best to make and hold space, will scare more centrally-affected people off. And I know that some of those people, had an even WORSE experience than I did. In what was, frankly, a surreal and really awful experience for me.")

I basically agree with this.

But also, I think pretty close to ZERO people who were deeply affected (aside from Zoe, who hasn't engaged beyond the post) have come forward in this thread. And I... guess we should talk about that.

I know from firsthand, that there were some pretty bad experiences in the incident that tore Leverage 1.0 apart, which nobody appears to feel able to talk about.

I am currently not at all optimistic that we're managing to balance this correctly? I also want this to go right. I'm not quite sure how to do it.

That's pretty fair. I am open to taking down this comment, or other comments I've made. (Not deleting them forever, I'll save them offline or something.) Your feedback is helpful here and revealing to me, and I feel myself updating because of it. 

I have commented somewhere else that I do not like LessWrong for this discussion... because a) It seems bad for justice to be served. and b) It removes a bunch of context data that I personally think is super relevant (including emotional, physical layers) and c) LW is absolutely not a place designed for heal... (read more)

I appreciate this too. I think this form of push-back, is a potentially highly-productive one.

I may need to think for a bit about how to respond? But it seemed worth expressing my appreciation for it, first.

Meta-note: I tried the longer-form gentler one? But somebody ELSE complained about that structure.

(A piece of me recognizes that I can't make everybody happy here, but it's a little annoying.)

For whatever it's worth, I think "No" is a pretty acceptable answer to some of these.


"No, for reasons X, Y, Z" is a pretty ordinary answer to the NDA concern. I'd still like to see that response.

"Leverage 2.0 was deliberately structured to avoid a lot of the drawbacks of Leverage 1.0" is something I actually think is TRUE. The fact that Leverage 1.0 was sun-setted deliberately, is something that I thought actually reflected well on both Geoff and the people there.

I think from that, an argument could be made that stepping down is not necessary. I can't sa... (read more)

Well, I am at least gonna name a fraction of the assumptions that are implied by this set of requests. I am not asking you to do anything about this, but I am going to name them out loud, in the hopes that people come away more conscious of what other assumptions might be present. 

  • Geoff was the center of the problem and, by himself, should be held accountable 
  • If Geoff agrees to this, he is also agreeing on behalf of Leverage itself, including current members and potentially even past members. Meaning that if not-Geoff people break or violate thes
... (read more)

When I said "last sub-point?"

I was referring to "make any strong stealthy attempts to socially discredit people," not "threaten" (by which I mean, "threaten").

I was deliberately treating "no threats" as minimum, and "no strong social pressure" as extra-credit.

2Ruby2y
Ah, gotcha. I misunderstood the meaning of "sub-point".

That last point sub-point is a little vague, so let my clarify my personal cut-off on this. Others may disagree.

I wouldn't object to seeing the occasional brief overt statement coming directly from Geoff that his recollection doesn't match someone else's interpretation.

I would object to any further encouragement of things that resemble the "strong, repeated pressure by someone close to Geoff to have the post marked as flawed" that Ruby described.

Consistently denouncing the later going forward, would be very helpful.

I want to clarify that using the word "threat" in my case would cause one to overestimate the severity by 5-20x or something of the pressure I experienced (more so than "strong pressure"). Not that the word is strictly wrong, but the connotations of it are too strong. I might end up listing the actual behaviors in a bit, maybe after more dialog with the person in question.

Edit: I got a request to cut the chaff and boil this down to discrete actionables. Let me do that.

  1. Will you release everyone from any NDAs

  2. Will you step down from any management roles (e.g. Leverage and Paradigm)

  3. Will you state for the record, that you commit to not threaten* anyone who comes forward with reports that you do not like, in the course of this process

I get the sense that you have made people afraid to stand against you, historically. Engaging in any further threats, seems likely to impede all of our ability to make sense of, and come ... (read more)

There's good ways to do this kind of thing and bad ways. I feel that this is a bad way? Unless I'm missing a lot of context about what's happening here. 

Other ways to go about this:

  • Hire a third-party mediator to connect aggrieved parties with Geoff
  • Have a mutual trusted friend mediate conversations between aggrieved parties and Geoff
  • Geoff and ex-Leverage staff do a postmortem of some kind
  • Leverage creates an accountability system through which is collects data and feedback

I want to suggest that Geoff doesn't need to respond to Spiracular's requests beca... (read more)

2Spiracular2y
That last point sub-point is a little vague, so let my clarify my personal cut-off on this. Others may disagree. I wouldn't object to seeing the occasional brief overt statement coming directly from Geoff that his recollection doesn't match someone else's interpretation. I would object to any further encouragement of things that resemble the "strong, repeated pressure by someone close to Geoff to have the post marked as flawed" that Ruby described. Consistently denouncing the later going forward, would be very helpful.

I recognize it took some courage to talk about this in the first place, and I don't want to discount that. I am glad that you said something.

...but I also don't want to lose track of this thread.

Edit: I got a request to boil this down, so I separated it to that thread.

And reading the room? I think there is, broadly speaking, a lot of fear of you. And I think part of why that is true, is because you cultivated that.

You have noticed that you made some errors which blinded you to the consequences of some of your actions, and I think that's a good start? I hop... (read more)

I appreciate hearing from you about some of what you probably got wrong.

I'm pretty sure that a lot of this started out relatively benignly, and spiraled?

I agree with your impression that arrogance was at least one of several pressures that made it hard to see that things were going in a bad direction. A lot of invisible guard-rails were dropped or traded away over time, and the absence of a certain amount of reality-checking made it very hard to fix after things had veered off the rails.

I hope your account contributes to making people less likely to make similar errors in the future.

(I would also be very unhappy, if I ever saw you having a substantial amount of power over people again though, fwiw.)

I want to throw out that while I am usually SUPER on team "explicit communication norms", the rule-nuances of the hardest cases might sometimes work best if they are a little chaotic & idiosyncratic.

I personally think there might be something mildly-beneficial and protective, about having "adversarial case detected" escape-clauses that vary considerably from person-to-person.

(Otherwise, a smart lawful adversary can reliably manipulate the shit out of things.)

I also have a deep appreciation, for Zoe calling out that different corners of Leverage had very different experiences with it. Because they did! Not all time-slices or sub-groups within it experienced the same problems.

This is probably part of why it was so easy, to systematically play people's personal experiences against each other: Since he knew the context through which Leverage was experienced, Geoff or others could systematically bias whose reports were heard.

(Although I think it will be harder in the future to engage in this kind of bullshit, now t... (read more)

Since it sounds like just-upvotes might not be as strong a signal of endorsement as positive engagement...

I want to say that I really appreciate and respect that you were willing to come forward, with facts that were broadly-known in your social graph, but had been systematically excluded from most people's models.

And you were willing to do this, in a pretty adversarial environment! You had to deal with a small invisible intellectual cold-war that ensured, almost alone, without backing down. This ​counts for even more.


I do have a little bit of sensitive ... (read more)

I also have a deep appreciation, for Zoe calling out that different corners of Leverage had very different experiences with it. Because they did! Not all time-slices or sub-groups within it experienced the same problems.

This is probably part of why it was so easy, to systematically play people's personal experiences against each other: Since he knew the context through which Leverage was experienced, Geoff or others could systematically bias whose reports were heard.

(Although I think it will be harder in the future to engage in this kind of bullshit, now t... (read more)

I was very up-front about the role I am attempting to embody in this: Relating to, and trying to serve, people with complicated opinions who are finding it hard to talk about this.

I feel we needed someone to take this role. I wish someone had done it for me, when my stuff happened.


You seem to not understand that I am making this statement, from that place and in that capacity.

Try seeing it through through the lens of that, rather than thinking that I'm making confident statements about your epistemic creepiness.

Hopefully this helps to resolve your confusion.

I get VERY creepy vibes from this proposal, and want to push back hard on it.

Although, hm... I think "lying" and "enemy action" are different?

Enemy action occasionally warrants breaking contracts back, after they didn't respect yours.

Whereas if there is ZERO lying-through-negligence in accounts of PERSONAL EXPERIENCES, we can be certain we set the bar-of-entry far too high.

-5TekhneMakre2y

On mediators and advocates: I think order-of-operations MATTERS.

You can start seeking truth, and pivot to advocate, as UOC says.

What people often can't do easily is start with advocate, and pivot to truth.

And with something like this? What you advocated early can do a lot to color both what and who you listen to, and who you hear from.

2farp2y
The entire thesis of the post is that you want a mixture of advocacy and mediation in the community. So if your proposal is that we all mediate, and then pivot to advocacy, I think that is not at all what UOC says.  Not that I super endorse the prescription / dichotomy that the post makes to begin with.

I hesitated a bit before saying this? I thought it might add a little bit of clarity, so I figured I'd bring it up.

(Sorry it got long; I'm still not sure what to cut.)

There are definitely some needs-conflicts. Between (often distant) people who, in the face of this, feel the need to cling to the strong reassurance that "this could not possibly happen to them"/"they will definitely be protected from this," and would feel reassured at seeing Strong Condemning Action as soon as possible...

...and "the people who had this happen." Who might be best-served, if t... (read more)

There's also the need to learn from what happened, so that when designing organizations in the future the same mistakes aren't repeated. 

I was once in a similar position, due to my proximity to a past (different) thing. I kinda ended up excruciatingly sensitive, to how some things might read or feel to someone who was close, got a lot of good out of it (with or without the bad), and mostly felt like there was no way their account wouldn't be twisted into something unrecognizable. And who may be struggling, with processing an abrupt shift in their own personal narrative --- although I sincerely hope the 2 years of processing helped to make this less of a thing? But if you are going through i... (read more)

I will talk about my own bit with Leverage later, but I don't feel like it's the right time to share it yet.

(But fwiw: I do have some scars, here. I have a little bit of skin in this one. But most of what I'm going to talk about, comes from analogizing this with a different incident.)

A lot of the position I naturally slide into around this, which I have... kind of just embraced, is of trying to relate hard to the people who:

  • WERE THERE
  • May have received a lot of good along with the bad
  • May have developed a very complicated and narratively-unsatisfying opi
... (read more)

While I realize I've kinda de-facto "taken a side" by this point (and probably limited who will talk to me as a result)? I was mispronouncing Geoff's name, before this hit; this is pretty indicative of how little I knew him personally. I started out mostly caring about having the consequences-for-him be reached based off of some kind of reasonable assessment, and not caring too much about having it turn out one way or another. I still feel more invested in there being a good process, and in what will generate the best outcomes for the people who worked und... (read more)

9TekhneMakre2y
An abstract note: putting stock in anonymous accounts potentially opens wider a niche for false accounts, because anonymity prevents doing induction about trustworthiness across accounts by one person. (I think anonymity is a great tool to have, and don't know if this is practically a problem; I just want to track the possibility of this dynamic, and appreciate the additional value of a non-anonymous account.)

I was once in a similar position, due to my proximity to a past (different) thing. I kinda ended up excruciatingly sensitive, to how some things might read or feel to someone who was close, got a lot of good out of it (with or without the bad), and mostly felt like there was no way their account wouldn't be twisted into something unrecognizable. And who may be struggling, with processing an abrupt shift in their own personal narrative --- although I sincerely hope the 2 years of processing helped to make this less of a thing? But if you are going through i... (read more)

I had to read this a few times before I pieced it together, so I wanted to make sure to clarify this publicly.

You are NOT saying this public forum is the place for that. Correct?

You are proposing that it might be nice, if someone else pulled this together?

Perhaps as something like a carefully-moderated facebook group, or an event.

(I think this would require a good moderator, or it will generate more drama than it solves. It would have to be someone who does NOT have "Leverage PR firm vibes," and needs a lot of early clarity about who will not be invited. A... (read more)

That's right; I am daydreaming of something very difficult being brought together somehow, in person or in writing (probably slightly less easily-visible-across-the-whole-internet writing, if in writing). I’d be interested in helping but don’t have the know-how on my own to pull it off. I agree with you there’re lots of ways to try this and make things worse; I expect it's key to have very limited ambitions and to be clear about how very much one is not attempting/promising.

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