Daystar Eld

1629 karmaJoined


It sounds like what you would be more convinced by is a short, precise refutation of the exact things said by the original post.

But I feel the opposite. That to me would have felt corporate, and also is likely impossible given the way the original allegations are such a blend of verified factual assertions, combined with some things that are technically true but misleading, may be true but are hearsay, and some things that do seem directly false.

Rather than "retaliatory and unkind," my main takeaway from the post was something like "passive-aggressive benefit of the doubt" at worst, while still overall giving me the impression that Kat believed Ben was well intentioned but reckless. There are some parts that border on or are bad faith, like presuming that Ben's reactions to evidence against his conclusions must be X or Y thing to justify posting anyway...

But even given that, I think the readers insisting this post should have just stuck to sterile fact-disputing can be both correct on some level, while still lacking in empathy of what it's like to be in the position NL has been put in. I'm not saying it's a perfect post, but the degree of tone policing in the face of claims like "they starved me" is kind of bizarre to me.

Sorry, it's just that in the past I've talked to lots of climate dismissives and I've become sensitive to their many tactics even in unrelated situations. One of them is misquoting.

No worries, very understandable!

I agree, and find the ratio of agree/disagreement on your comment really disheartening in terms of what lesson this community has learned from all this. 

I get that people find it too "retaliatory" and bad-faith. Maybe it would have been cleaner if it wasn't about Ben, though I don't think a hypothetical person would have made the lesson as clear, and if Ben wasn't fair game for having written that article, I don't know who would be. Unless people believe Kat is just making up accusations entirely, they must believe those accusations deserve just as much to be aired in public as Alice and Chloe's, or else acknowledge that in both cases there are problems with one-sided grievance sharing.

To me the presumption of motive just doesn't matter: the point Kat makes with that section is absolutely true, and it doesn't become less true even if it was motivated by retaliation.

To emphasize that section's point, again: basically any organization or individual can be made to look like a monster if presented a certain way. This is doubly true of EA organizations in particular, given how generally weird we are.

Personally, I like Ben. What Ben did no doubt took a lot of work and time and effort, and I trust Ben to have been well intentioned throughout it, even if I disagree with decisions he made. I would be pretty sad to learn that he has skeletons in his closet.

But I am not updating on Kat's section in any meaningful way because I know ~everyone has things in their closets that would look like a skeleton in bad light, and until I get better light I'm not going to live my life jumping at shadows.

It's clear to me, however, that many people in the community do not have the same attitude or instincts against knee-jerk or vibes-based updates on people from hearsay. Which is fair enough, since I developed mine in part from years of working as a family therapist and mediator. But it's still a problem for the community if this sort of thing happens again.

I totally sympathize with wanting to just ignore all this and go back to doing meaningful work, and encourage anyone who can do that to do that. But for people who also care about the community's health, we need a better system than what we've got so far for dealing with situations like this.

I feel like I'm confused by what you would find more convincing here given that there was no evidence in the first place that they did say something like that?

Like would them saying "No we didn't" actually be more persuasive than showing an example of how they did the opposite?

Or like... if we take for granted that words that someone might interpret that way left their mouth, at what point do we stop default trusting the person who clearly feels aggrieved by them and seems willing to exaggerate or lie when they then share those words to others?

There are plenty of context in which the thing alleged is not at all abusive, and plenty of contexts where it is. Without reason to believe they were actually keeping them isolated, I'm not sure how much weight to put on it.

It at least allows people who now trust them again to choose to work with them and have things to point to as to why.

FWIW I think I don't care how much money she actually made. I care how much money she said she made to NL, and how much she told Ben that she told NL she was making.

If she insinuated high to NL to get the job and then did not own up to that when talking to Ben, that is very hard for me to forgive. Even setting aside the idea that NL might not have hired her in the first place if she accurately represented both her skills and her financial dependence, thus avoiding this whole mess in the first place... it basically treated Ben as an arrow to be fired at people who she felt wronged by, and once again led in an additional way to this whole more recent mess.

And unless I'm misremembering, there's at least a bit of evidence that Emerson believed she was making ~36k a year and said as much to her, which presumably was not corrected by her after, but even if it was... yeah, it doesn't look great for Alice here, by my lights.

I agree in principle with the things you're saying here. I disagree with these particulars because I disagree that the photos are poor evidence of anything relevant. The only issue at play here is NOT whether NL was abusive, or else I would agree with you.

To be more specific, the photos provide evidence of a unique kind for things like "was this job the kind of job that it's reasonable to sell as ~$75k in compensation."

Again, this can be true in addition to it ending up being an abusive environment. But when the discourse around this topic also includes things like  "Jobs like this are just fundamentally bad and wrong and predatory etc, and we shouldn't trust adults to be agentic enough to agree to them and not quit if they dislike them, etc"...

Or when people have takeaways from Alice and Chloe's assertions that they were were treated basically like Cinderella while the NL leadership got to enjoy the tropical paradise themselves...

I think more evidence is better, yeah. NL is not just trying to counter some claims in some platonic ideal realm of simple facts, they're fighting a number of narrative battles here, many of them vibes based.

I get that you're saying this particular move backfired on that level for you, and I'm open to the idea that it was a "strategic" mistake.

But my take is that we are all imperfect reasoners whose epistemics have flaws in them and also that we can improve them, and I have yet to be in a situation where I feel like less information would have been better for me than more so long as that information is relevant, which may in fact be our main crux of disagreement here.

While I agree that this would largely have been an effective rebuttal that prevented many people from having the vibes-based reactions they're having, I think it itself excludes a thing I find rather valuable from this post... namely, that the thing that happened here is one that the community (and indeed most if not all communities) did not handle well and I think are overall unprepared for handling in future circumstances.

Open to hearing ways that point could have been made in a different way, but your post still treats this all as "someone said untrue things about us, here's the evidence they were untrue and our mistakes," and I think more mistakes were made beyond just NL or Alice/Chloe.

I feel like this response ignores my central points ― my sense that Kat misrepresented/strawmanned the positions of Chloe/Alice/Ben and overall didn't respond appropriately.

And I disagree, and used one example to point out why the response is not (to me) a misrepresentation or strawman of their positions, but rather treating them as mostly a collection of vague insinuations peppered with specific accusations that NL can only really respond to by presenting all the ways they possibly can how the relationship they're asserting is not supported by whatever evidence they can actually present.

For goodness sake, one of your points is in the distinction between "told" and "advised." What, exactly, do you expect NL to say to clarify that distinction that's more important than the rebuttal of pointing out they invited the boyfriend to travel with them for 2 months? "No, we didn't say that, nor did we advise it?" There's no evidence they did say it or "advise" it in the first place! How does a simple denial better rebut either the claim itself or the underlying implications?

These points would still be relevant even in a hypothetical disagreement where there was no financial relationship between the parties.

I think it would be absurdly unfair to take for granted that the non-financial aspects are represented in a non-misleading way if the financial aspects are misrepresented, which is part of why I highlighted that particular point.

What Ben was told by Alice and Chloe seems to me at this point basically entirely a set of "technically true but ultimately misleading" things, along with some strictly false accusations by Alice/Chloe. I'm confused by the insistence that these rebuttals are strawmanning their positions when their positions are themselves dependent on an overarching relationship and vibe and emotional experience, and not a specific set of claims backed by evidence of wrongdoing.

It would be a different story if they had provided their own proof and then NL ignored that proof to instead disprove a different set of things.

I think there should be a norm against treating paraphrases as quotes.

I generally agree, but boy am I confused by your issue with my summarizing that paragraph with that quote. He directly calls them predators. He directly asserts they chewed up and spat out young altruists. If you disagree with either of those, or think there's some meaningful nuance my quote missed, I'd ask you to explain why.

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