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Raemon comments on Concerns with Intentional Insights - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Raemon 26 October 2016 03:12:14PM 3 points [-]

Tell it to them. Talk about it to other people. Run my organizations the way I see fit.

That's what we did for a year+. The problem didn't go away.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 26 October 2016 04:27:53PM *  1 point [-]

Not much of a problem except the time you wasted going after it. Few people in the outside world knew about InIn; fewer still could have associated it with effective altruism. Even the people on Reddit who dug into his past and harassed him on his fake accounts thought he was just a self-promoting fraud and appeared to pick up nothing about altruism or charity.

I'm done arguing about this, but if you still want an ex post facto solution just to ward off imagined future Glebs, take a moment to go to people in the actual outside world, i.e. people who have experience with social movements outside of this circlejerk, and ask them "hey, I'm a member of a social movement based on charity and altruism. We had someone who associated with our community and did some shady things. So we'd like to create an official review board where Trusted Community Moderators can investigate the actions of people who take part in our community, and then decide whether or not to officially excommunicate them. Could you be so kind as to tell us if this is the awful idea that it sounds like? Thanks."

Comment author: Carl_Shulman 26 October 2016 07:19:11PM *  3 points [-]

Even the people on Reddit who dug into his past and harassed him on his fake accounts thought he was just a self-promoting fraud and appeared to pick up nothing about altruism or charity.

Looking at the links you shared it looks like these accounts weren't so much 'fake' but just new accounts from Gleb that were used for broadcasting/spamming Gleb's book on Reddit. That attracted criticism for the aggressive self-promotion (both by sending to so many reddits, and the self-promotional spin in the message).

The commenters call out angela_theresa for creating a Reddit account just to promote the book. She references an Amazon review, and there is an Amazon review from the same time period by an Angela Hodge (not an InIn contractor). My judgment is that is a case of genuine appreciation of the book, perhaps encouraged by Gleb's requests for various actions to advance the book. In one of the reviews she mentions that she knows Gleb personally, but says she got a lot out of the book.

At least one other account was created to promote the book, but I haven't been able to determine whether it was an InIn affiliate. Gleb says he

didn't ask, I mean specifically that I did not in any way hint that they should do so or that doing so is a good idea 🙂 Again, I want to be clear that they might or might not have done so out of their own initiative

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 26 October 2016 08:37:57PM *  2 points [-]

Ok my goal was not to launch accusations, I just wanted to point out that even when people were saying this (they thought they were fake accounts) and looking into his personal info they didn't say anything about altruism or charity, so the themes behind the content weren't apparent, meaning that there was little or no damage to EA. Because most of the content on the site and book isn't about charity or altruism, it's not clear how well this promotes people to actually donate and stuff, but it can't be very harmful.

Comment author: Carl_Shulman 26 October 2016 08:58:19PM 1 point [-]

Right, I just wanted to diminish uncertainty about the topic and reduce speculation, since it had not been previously mentioned.

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 27 October 2016 06:35:09AM *  5 points [-]

we'd like to create an official review board where Trusted Community Moderators can investigate the actions of people who take part in our community, and then decide whether or not to officially excommunicate them.

So here's your proposal for dealing with bad actors in a different comment:

Tell it to them. Talk about it to other people. Run my organizations the way I see fit.

You've found ways to characterize other proposals negatively without explaining how they would concretely lead to bad consequences. I'll note that I can do the same for this proposal--talking to them directly is "rude" and "confrontational", while talking about it to other people is "gossip" if not "backstabbing".

Dealing with bad actors is necessarily going to involve some kind of hostile action, and it's easy to characterize almost any hostile action negatively.

I think the way to approach this topic is to figure out the best way of doing things, then find the framing that will allow us to spend as few weirdness points as possible. I doubt this will be hard, as I don't think this is very weird. I lived in a large student co-op with just a 3-digit number of people, and we had formal meetings with motions and elections and yes, formal expulsions. The Society for Creative Anachronism is about dressing up and pretending you're living in medieval times. Here's their organizational handbook with bylaws. Check out section X, subsection C, subsection 3 where "Expulsion from the SCA" is discussed:

a. Expulsion precludes the individual from attendance or participation in any way, shape or form in any SCA activity, event, practice, or official gathering for any reason, at any time. Expulsions are temporary until the Board imposes a Revocation of Membership and Denial of Participation (R&D). This includes a ban on participation on officially recognized SCA social media (Facebook) sites, officially recognized SCA electronic email lists, and officially recognized SCA webpages.

b. For more details see the SCA Sanction Guide.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 27 October 2016 06:32:54PM 0 points [-]

You've found ways to characterize other proposals negatively without explaining how they would concretely lead to bad consequences.

Sure I did. I said it would create unnecessary bureaucracy taking up people's time and it would make judgements and arguments that would start big new controversies where its opinions wouldn't be universally followed. Also, it would look ridiculous to anyone on the outside.

I think the way to approach this topic is to figure out the best way of doing things, then find the framing that will allow us to spend as few weirdness points as possible. I doubt this will be hard, as I don't think this is very weird.

Is it not apparent that other things besides 'weirdness points' should be factored into decisionmaking?

The Society for Creative Anachronism is about dressing up and pretending you're living in medieval times. Here's their organizational handbook with bylaws. Check out section X, subsection C, subsection 3 where "Expulsion from the SCA" is discussed:

You found an organization that excludes people from itself. So what? The question here is about a broad social movement trying to kick people out. If all the roleplayers of the world decided to make a Roleplaying Committee whose job was to ban people from participating in roleplaying, you'd have a point.

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 27 October 2016 07:48:39PM *  3 points [-]

Sure I did. I said it would create unnecessary bureaucracy taking up people's time and it would make judgements and arguments that would start big new controversies where its opinions wouldn't be universally followed. Also, it would look ridiculous to anyone on the outside.

That's fair. Here are my responses:

  • Specialization of labor has a track record of saving people time that goes back millenia. The fact that we have police, whose job it is to deal with crime, means I have to spend a lot less time worrying about crime personally. If we got rid of the police, I predict the amount of crime-related drama would rise. See Steven Pinker on why he's no longer an anarchist.

  • A respected neutral panel whose job is resolving controversies has a better chance of its opinions being universally followed than people whose participation in a discussion is selected on the basis of anger--especially if the panel is able to get better at mediation over time, through education and experience.

  • With regard to ridiculousness, I don't think what I'm suggesting is very different than the way lots of groups govern themselves. Right now you're thinking of effective altruism as part of the "movement" reference class, but I suspect in many cases a movement or hobby will have one or more "associations" which form de facto governing bodies. Scouting is a movement. The World Organization of the Scout Movement is an umbrella organization of national Scouting organizations, governed by the World Scout Committee. Chess is a hobby. FIDE is an international organization that governs competitive chess and consists of 185 member federations. One can imagine the creation of an umbrella organization for all the existing EA organizations that served a role similar to these.

Is it not apparent that other things besides 'weirdness points' should be factored into decisionmaking?

I'm feeling frustrated, because it seems like you keep interpreting my statements in a very uncharitable way. In this case, what I meant to communicate was that we should factor in everything besides weirdness points, then factor in weirdness points. Please be assured that I want to do whatever the best thing is, I consider what the best thing is to be an empirical question, and I appreciate quality critical feedback--but not feedback that just drains my energy.

You found an organization that excludes people from itself. So what? The question here is about a broad social movement trying to kick people out. If all the roleplayers of the world decided to make a Roleplaying Committee whose job was to ban people from participating in roleplaying, you'd have a point.

Implementation of my proposal might involve the creation of an "Effective Altruism Assocation", analgous to the SCA, as I describe here.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 27 October 2016 11:44:08PM *  -1 points [-]

Specialization of labor has a track record of saving people time that goes back millenia.

Sounds great, but it's only valuable when people can actually specialize. You can't specialize in determining whether somebody's a true EA or not. Being on a committee that does this won't make you wiser or fairer about it. It's a job that's equally doable by people already in the community with their existing skills and their existing job titles.

A respected neutral panel whose job is resolving controversies has a better chance of its opinions being universally followed than people whose participation in a discussion is selected on the basis of anger

It's trivially true that the majority opinion is most likely to be followed.

With regard to ridiculousness, I don't think what I'm suggesting is very different than the way lots of groups govern themselves.

Sure it is. You're suggesting that the FIDE start deciding who's not allowed to play chess.

In this case, what I meant to communicate was that we should factor in everything besides weirdness points, then factor in weirdness points.

I don't think the order in which you factor things will make a difference in how the options are eventually ranked, assuming you're being rational. In any case, there are large differences. For one thing, the SCA does not care about how it is perceived by outsiders. The SCA is often rewarded for being weird. The SCA is also not necessarily rational.

Implementation of my proposal might involve the creation of an "Effective Altruism Assocation", analgous to the SCA, as I describe here.

Then you're suggesting something far larger and far more comprehensive than anything that I've heard about, which I have no interest in discussing.

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 28 October 2016 12:56:52AM *  2 points [-]

Being on a committee that does this won't make you wiser or fairer about it.

I actually think being on a committee helps some on its own, because you know you'll be held accountable for how you do your job. But I expect most of the advantages of a committee to be in (a) identifying people who are wise and fair to serve on it (and yes, I do think some people are wiser and fairer than others) (b) having those people spend a lot of time thinking about the relevant considerations (c) overcoming bystander effects and ensuring that there exists some neutral third party to help adjudicate conflicts.

If there's no skill to this sort of thing, why not make decisions by flipping coins?

It's a job that's equally doable by people already in the community with their existing skills and their existing job titles.

Well naturally, the committee would be staffed by people who are already in the community, and it would probably not be their full-time job.

Sure it is. You're suggesting that the FIDE start deciding who's not allowed to play chess.

Do you really think chess federations will let you continue to play at their events if you cheat or if you're rude/aggressive?