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Open Thread, November 1-15, 2012

I appreciate the ombudsman sentiment -- it certainly would have helped if something like that had existed.

Open Thread, November 1-15, 2012

For those of you who aren't on irc, I realize now that publishing the logs unedited was the wrong thing to do. I've said so, apologized, removed things people have said on request, and am willing to do further. Past that, I don't think it's terribly relevant to this conversation.

I've already said as much.

Sorry, where? As far as I can tell, you've been steadfastly avoiding apologizing or even addressing things at all. All you've said to me is that you think my standard is too high.

Open Thread, November 1-15, 2012

I've been reading the sequences and the front-page posts for about six months and participating in the irc channel for a little bit less time than that, but I haven't made an account until now. I offer my apologies in advance if this is in the wrong place. My intuition says this would do better as its own post, but alas, I do not have the necessary karma.

I should mention that there's some hateful (specifically transphobic) content later in this post. If you think you'll be upset by this, you might want to stop reading here.

So, #lesswrong is kind of an unfriendly place. I've been calling attention to racist and sexist remarks when I see them and can work up the nerve, but it could be a lot better. I'd paste some examples of these, but I don't save logs from all conversations. It's not uncommon to do so, so I'm sure someone has the ability to grep a few choice words and come up with some examples. I should also mention that I'm white and male, so I probably don't notice a lot of hate that I should.

I'm queer, though, and I identify tentatively as genderqueer, so I noticed this:

[Tue Nov  6 2012]
<Algo> ivan: Someone just told me... "well... having their food
labeled as GMO makes them uncomfortable like having sex with a
trans person"
<Algo> >.<
<startling> whaaat?
<Namegduf> That seems pretty plausible.
<Namegduf> Not particularly backed intuitive dislike.
<Namegduf> I mean, conditional on uncomfortability of both.
<gwern> Algo: makes sense. both are unnatural and deceptive
<Algo> gwern: Both are?
<gwern> Algo: yeah, one is a monstrous abortion pretending to be
its opposite and deluding the eye thanks to the latest scientific
techniques, and the other is a weird fruit
<startling> gwern, "deceptive" is a pretty terrible word to use
for trans people.
<startling> gwern, what a disgusting thing to say.
<gwern> startling: more or less disgusting than a GMO fruit rotting for a
<gwern> inquiring minds need to know!

Go back and read the whole thing, if you haven't; specifically, I'm talking about gwern's messages, not Algo's.

And then, today, there was this:

<Grognor> also all of my anger toward drethelin is completely gone
<startling> gwern, so it is like do notation!
<Grognor> as well as toward everyone else
<gwern> Grognor: what, because you got a free book?
<Grognor> no.
<gwern> you had your 'nads surgically removed?
<Grognor> yes, that's exactly what happened.
<startling> electroshock therapy?
*** nshepperd ( has quit: Ping
timeout: 276 seconds
<gwern> startling: maybe he started estrogen supplementation
<startling> gwern, okay?
<gwern> startling: we won't judge him for it. well, maybe you
won't, I find trannies really creepy

Note that we hadn't been talking about this since the previous post; gwern was going out of his way to provoke me.

I'm not sure what to do about this, especially since gwern is a well-respected member of LessWrong. I'm curious how the community feels about this. It obviously needs to be addressed, at the very least to stay within the bounds of freenode policy:

In accordance with UK law freenode and the PDPC have no tolerance for any activity which could be construed as:

  • incitement to racial hatred
  • incitement to religious hatred

or any other behaviour meant to deliberately bring upon a person harassment, alarm or distress. We do NOT tolerate discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual preference or other lifestyle choices and run with a zero-tolerance policy for libel and defamation.

While we believe in the concept of freedom of thought and freedom of expression, freenode does not operate on the basis of absolute freedom of speech and we impose limitations eg. on "hate speech".

N.B. I've edited this post to fix the links; markdown reference-style links like [link][] apparently do not work.

I've also gone back and edited out the unrelated statements of people who wanted me to; I may do that again on request.