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LessWrong/Lightcone Infrastructure


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Maybe useful: "Latently controversial" – there's no public controversy because people didn't know about it, but if people had more information, there would be public controversy. I think this would perhaps be more the case with Manifest if the article hadn't come out, but it's still reasonable to consider Manifest to have some inherent potential "controversialness" given choice of speakers.

I think if the only thing claiming controversy was the article, it might make sense to call that fabricated/false claim by an outsider journalist, but given this post and the fact many people either disapprove or want to avoid Manifest, (and also that Austin writes about consciously deciding to invite people they thought were edgy,) means I think it's just actually just a reasonable description.

And there's disanalogy there. Racism is about someone's beliefs and behaviors, and I can't change those of someone's else's with a label. But controversy means people disagree, disapprove, etc. and someone can make someone else's belief controversial just by disagreeing with it (or if one disagreement isn't enough to be controversy, a person contributes to it with their disagreement). 

RobertM and I are having a "dialogue"[1] on LessWrong with a lot of focus on whether it was appropriate for this to be posted when it was and with info collected so far (e.g. not waiting for Nonlinear response).

What is the optimal frontier for due diligence?

I think it matters a lot to be precise with claims here. If someone believes that any case of people with power over others asking them to commit crimes is damning, then all we need to establish is that this happened. If it's understood that whether this was bad depends on the details, then we need to get into the details. Jack's comment was not precise so it felt important to disambiguate (and make the claim I think is correct).

There are a lot of dumb laws. Without saying it was right in this case, I don't think that's categorical a big red line.

Or if it's majority false, pick out the things you think are actually true, implying everything else you contest!

I would think you could go through the post and list out 50 bullet points of what you plan to contest in a couple of hours.


My guess is it was enough time to say which claims you objected to and sketch out the kind of evidence you planned to bring. And Ben judged that your response didn't indicate you were going to bring anything that would change his mind enough that the info he had was worth sharing. E.g. you seemed to focus on showing that Alice couldn't be trusted, but Ben felt that this would not refute enough of the other info he had collected / the kinds of refutation (e.g. only a $50 for driving without a license, she brought back illegal substances anyway) were not compelling enough to change that the info was worth sharing.

I do think one can make judgments from the meta info, and 3 hours is enough to get a lot of that.

I consider something of a missing mood on your part to be quite damning. From what I hear and see (Ben's report of your call with him, how you're responding public, threat to Lightcone/Ben), you are overwhelmingly concerned with defending yourself and don't seem contrite at all that people you employed feel so extremely hurt by their time with you. I haven't heard you dispute their claims of hurt (do you think those are lies for some reason?), instead focusing on the veracity of reasons for being hurt. But do you think you're causally entangled with them feeling hurt? If so, where is the apology or contrition and horror at yourself that they think being with you resulted in the worst months of their lives?

I'd understand a lack of that if your position was "they're definitely lying about how they felt probably for motivation X, give us time and can prove that", but this hasn't been the nature of your response.

I actually would expect more "competent" uncompassionate people concerned only with their own reputation to have acted contrite, because it'd make the audience more sympathetic, suggesting that you all aren't very good at modeling people. Which makes it more likely you weren't modeling your employees experience very well either, perhaps resulting in a lot of harm from negligence more than malice (which still warrants sharing this info about you).


I think asking your friends to vouch for you is quite possibly okay, but that people should disclose there was a request.

It's different evidence between "people who know you who saw this felt motivated to share their perspective" vs "people showed up because it was requested". 

I appreciate the frame of this post and the question it proposes, it's worth considering. The questions I'd want to address before fully buying though is:
1) Are the standard of investigative journalism actually good for their purpose? Or they did get distorted along the way for the same reason lots of regulated/standardized things do (e.g. building codes)
2) Supposing they're good for their purpose, does that really apply not in mainstream media, but rather a smaller community.

I think answering (2), we really do have a tricky false positive/false negative tradeoff. If you raise the bar for sharing critical information, you increase the likelihood of important info not getting shared. If you lower the bar, you increase the likelihood of false things getting out.

Currently, I think we should likely lower the bar, anyone (not saying you actually are) advocating higher levels of rigor before sharing are mistaken. EA has limited infrastructure for investigating and dealing with complaints like this (I doubt Ben/Lightcone colllectively would have consciously upfront thought it was worth 150 hours of Ben's time, it kind of more happened/snowballed). We don't have good mean of soliciting and propagating or getting things adjudicated. Given that, I think someone writes a blog post is pretty good, and pretty valuable.

If I'd been the one investigating and writing, I think I'd have published something much less thoroughly researched after 10-15 hours to say "I have some bad critical info I'm pretty sure of that's worth people knowing, and I have no better way to get the right communal updates than just sharing".

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