Elliot Discusses with Effective Altruism (retitled from: Rational Debate Methodology at Effective Altruism?)


The alternatives are things like:

  • raise intellectual standards
  • have debate policies
  • use rational debate to reject lots of bad ideas
  • judge public intellectuals by how they handle debate, and judge ideas by the current objective state of the debate
  • read and engage with some other philosophers (e.g. Popper, Goldratt and myself)
  • actually write down what’s wrong with the bad philosophers in a clear way instead of just disliking them (this will facilitate debating and reaching conclusions about which ones are actually good)
  • investigate what philosophical premises you hold, and their sources, and reconsider them

There are sub-steps, e.g. to raise intellectual standards people need to improve their ability to read, write and analyze text, and practice that until a significantly higher skill level and effectiveness is intuitive/easy. That can be broken down into smaller steps such as learning grammar, learning to make sentence tree diagrams, learning to make paragraph tree diagrams, learning to make multi-paragraph tree diagrams, etc.

I have a forum people can join and plenty of writing and videos which include actionable suggestions about steps to take. I’ve also have proposed things that I think people can picture, like that all arguments are addressed in truth-seeking and time-efficient ways instead of ignored. If that was universal, it would have consequences such as it being possible to go to a charity or company and telling them some ideas and making some arguments and then, if you’re right, they probably change. If 10% of charities were open to changing due to rational argument, it’d enable a lot of resources to be used more effectively.

BTW, I don’t think it’s a good idea to have much confidence in your political opinions (or spend much time or effort on them) without doing those other kinds of activities first.


I’m actually interested in that - if you have found sources and documents that provide a better picture of how brains work, I’d be interested. The way I work in debate is that if you provide somehing that explains the world in a better way than my current explanation, then I’ll use it.

I have already tried telling people about evolutionary psychology and many other topics that they are interested in.

I determined that it mostly doesn’t work due to incorrect debate methodology, lack of intellectual skills (e.g. tree-making skills or any alternative to accomplish the same organizational purposes), too-low intellectual standards (like being dismissive of “small” errors instead of thinking errors merit post mortems), lack of persistence, quitting mid-discussion without explanation (often due to bias against claims you’re losing to in debate), poor project management, getting emotional, lack of background knowledge, lack of willingness to get new background knowledge mid-discussion, unwillingness to proceed in small, organized steps, imprecision, etc.

Hence I’ve focused on topics with priority which I believe are basically necessary prerequisite issues before dealing with the other stuff productively.

In other words, I determined that standard, widespread, common sense norms for rationality and debate are inadequate to reach true conclusions about evolutionary psychology, AGI, animal welfare, capitalism, what charity interventions should be pursued, and so on. The meta and methodological issues need to be dealt with first. And people’s disinterest in those issues and resistance to dealing with them is a sign of irrationality and bias – it’s part of the problem.

So I don’t want to attempt to discuss evolutionary psychology with you because I don’t think it will work well due to those other issues. I don’t think you will discuss such a complex, hard issue in a way that will actually lead to a correct conclusion, even if that requires e.g. reading books and practicing skills as part of the process (which I suspect it would require). Like you’ll make an inductivist or justificationist argument, and then I’ll mention that Popper refuted that, and then to resolve the issue we’ll need a whole sub-discussion where you engage with Popper in a way capable of reaching an accurate conclusion. That will lead to some alternatives like you could read and study Popper, or you could review the literature for Popper critics who already did that who you could endorse, or you could argue that Popper is actually irrelevant, or there are other options but none are particularly easy. And there can be many layers of sub-issues, like most people should significantly improve their reading skills before it’s reasonable to try to read a lot of complex literature and expect to find the truth (rather than doing it more for practice), and people should improve their grammar skills before expecting to write clear enough statements in debates, and people should improve their math and logic skills before expecting to actually get much right in debates, and people should improve their introspection skills before expecting to make reasonably unbiased claims in debates (and also so they can more accurately monitor when they’re defensive or emotional).

I tried, many times, starting with an object level issue, discussing it until a few errors happened, and then trying to pivot the discussion to the issues which caused and/or prevented correction of those errors. I tried using an initial discussion as a demonstration that the meta problems actually exist, that the debate won’t work and will be full of errors, etc. I found basically that no one ever wanted to pivot to the meta topic. Having a few errors pointed out did not open their eyes to a bigger picture problem. One of the typical responses is doing a quick, superficial “fix” for each error and then wanting to move on without thinking about root causes, what process caused the error, what other errors the same process would cause, etc.

Sorry you took it that way.

This is an archetypical non-apology that puts blame on the person you’re speaking to. It’s a well known stereotype of how to do fake apologies. If you picked up this speech pattern by accident because it’s a common pattern that you’ve heard a lot, and you don’t realize what it means, then I wanted to warn you because you’ll have a high chance of offending people by apologizing this way. I think maybe it’s an accident here because I didn’t get a hostile vibe from you in the rest; this one sentence doesn’t fit well. It’s also an inaccurate sentence since I didn’t take it that way. I said how it reads. I spoke directly about interpretations rather than simply having one interpretation I took for granted and replied based on. I showed awareness that it could be read, interpreted or intended in multiple ways. I was helpfully letting you know about a problem rather than being offended.


This would centralize the information in one spot (that you can redirect people to in future debates and works).

I have tried many centralizing or organizing things. Here’s an example of one which has gotten almost no response or interest: Philosophy Outline: Reason & Morality · Elliot Temple

Anyway, I have plenty more things I could try. I have plenty to say. And I know there’s plenty of room for improvement in my stuff including regarding organization. I will keep posting things at EA for now. Even if I stop, I’ll keep posting at my own sites. Even if no one listens, it doesn’t matter so much; I like figuring out and writing about these things; it’s my favorite activity.

An unrelated note: I liked your post on the damage big companies were doing on your forum.

FYI, it’s hard for me to know what post you mean without a link or title because I have thousands of posts, and I often have multiple posts about the same topic.

I don’t really understand why you think the damage they do is not compatible with capitalism - I don’t see anything in the definition of capitalism that would preclude such an outcome.

The definition of capitalism involves a free market where the initiation of force (including fraud) is prohibited. Today, fraud is pretty widespread at large companies. Also, many versions of capitalism allow the government to use force, but they do not allow the government to meddle in the economy and give advantages to some companies over others which are derived from the government’s use of force (so some companies are, indirectly via the government, using force against competitors). Those are just two examples (of many).

(I may not reply further about capitalism or anything political, but I thought that would be short and maybe helpful.)

so you can’t distinguish between people who have something to hide and people who would be ok with the concept if they had heard about it.

You can tell them about the debate policy concept and see how they react. You can also look at whether they respond to criticisms of their work. You can also make a tree of the field and look at whether that expert is contributing important nodes to it or not.

I don’t see such a practice becoming mainstream for the next few decades.

I think it could become important, widespread and influential in a few years if it had a few thousand initial supporters. I think getting even 100 initial supporters is the biggest obstacle, then turning that into a bigger group is second. Then once you have a bigger group that can be vocal enough in online discussions, they can get noticed by popular intellectuals and bring up debate policies to them and get responses of some kinds. Then you just need one famous guy to like the idea and it can get a lot more attention and it will then be possible to say “X has a debate policy; why don’t you?” And I can imagine tons of fans bringing that up in comment sections persistently for many of the popular online intellectuals. It’s easy to imagine fans of e.g. Jordan Peterson bugging him about it endlessly until he does it.

I think the reason that doesn’t happen is that most people don’t actually seem to want it, like it or care, so getting to even 100 supporters of the idea is very hard. The issue IMO is the masses resisting, rejecting or not caring about the idea (of the few who see it, most dislike or ignore it), including at EA, for reasons I don’t understand well enough.

For instance, let’s take someone like Nate Hagens. How would you go to judge his reliability?

I glanced at the table of contents and saw mention of Malthus. That’s a topic I know about, so I could read that section and be in a pretty good position to evaluate it or catch errors. Finding a section where I have expertise and checking that is a useful technique.

There’s a fairly common thing where people read the newspaper talking about their field and they are like “wow it’s so bad. this is so amateurish and full of obvious errors”. Then they read the newspaper on any other topic and believe the quality is decent. It isn’t. You should expect the correctness of the parts you know less about to probably be similar to the part you know a lot about.

At a glance at the Malthus section, the book seems to be on the same side as Malthus, which I disagree with. So a specific thing I’d look for is whether the book brings up and tries to address some of the arguments on my side that I regard as important. If it ignores the side of the debate I favor, and doesn’t have any criticisms of anything I believe, that’d be bad. I did a text search for “Godwin” and there are no results. (Godwin is a classical liberal political philosopher from the same time period as Malthus who I like a lot. He wrote a book about why Malthus was wrong.) There are also no results for “Burke” and no mention of Adam Smith (nor turgot, bastiat, condorcet, mises, rothbard, hayek). I see it as a potentially bad sign to look at old thinkers/writers only to bring up one who is on your side without talking about other ideas from the time period including disagreements and competing viewpoints. It can indicate bias to cherry pick one past thinker to bring up.

That’s inconclusive. Maybe it gives fair summaries of rival viewpoints and criticizes them; I didn’t look enough to actually know. I don’t want to spend more time and energy on this right now (also I dislike the format and would want to download a copy of the book to read it more). I think it gives you some idea about ways to approach this – methods – even though I didn’t actually do much. Also, in my experience, the majority of books like this will fail at fact checking at least once if you check five random cites, so that would be worth checking if you care about whether the facts in the book are trustworthy.


What sort of examples do you want? Do you want me to call out specific individuals who misquoted and say that’s bad? You could look through my comment history and find some examples if you want to, but I thought drawing attention to and shaming those people would be bad.

It’s easier to discuss whether misquoting is very bad for truth seeking, and mistreats a victim, without simultaneously making it a discussion about whether particular individuals in the community are bad.

The deadnaming article has a one paragraph summary near the start. It also has the text:

I think this norm [against deadnaming] is good. I think the same norm should be applied to misquoting for the same reasons. It currently isn’t (context).

The links clarify that EA does not have a strong norm against misquoting. What’s the problem? Maybe you missed that part when skimming? It’s in the introduction immediately before the article summary. The rest of the article does not attempt to argue this point; it’s talking about something else which builds on this premise.

Why is this even controversial? If I tell you a misquote or poor cite in the sequences or some other literature you like, you aren’t going to care much or start taking actions regarding the problem (such as checking whether the same author made more errors of a similar nature), right? You don’t believe that misquoting is like deadnaming someone and should have a similar norm against it because it’s hurtful to the victim in addition to being poor scholarship, do you? Don’t you disagree with me and know that you disagree with me? The norm I’m advocating is not normal nor popular with any large group. So, fine, disagree with me – but I find it a really bizarre reaction for people who disagree with me to dismiss my arguments on the basis that I’m obviously right and this is a waste of time due to being uncontroversial common knowledge. Most people think stuff like “People are sloppy sometimes, which isn’t a big deal.” instead of thinking, “Being sloppy with quotes in particular isn’t acceptable. Use copy/paste. If you must type something in, triple check it. There’s no real excuse for quotes to be inaccurate in tiny ways; that’s really bad even if the wording changes do not substantively change the meaning.”

I’d like to first establish that this issue matters, and only second, potentially point out some specific examples. As long as I don’t think anyone considers misquoting to actually be very bad, I don’t think it’s a good idea to bring up examples of people doing it. Also I don’t think the problem is a few individuals behaving badly; it’s a widespread problem of community attitudes and norms. The community simply doesn’t value this kind of accuracy and is OK with misquotes; in that context, it’s unfair to be very hard on individuals who get caught misquoting, so that’s another reason not to name and shame anyone. If i give examples people will just tell me that the misquote didn’t change the conclusion in that case and therefore doesn’t really matter (rather than agreeing with me), which is not the point. Misquotes mistreat the person quoted like deadnaming, and also like other inaccuracies they’re bad for truth seeking whether or not they change the conclusion. These are not popular claims, but I think they’re important, so I tried to argue and explain them, and neither of these claims would be served well by examples because they’re both about concepts not concretes. And if people don’t like conceptual articles, or struggle to understand them, or don’t like long articles … fine whatever, but saying that people agree with me, when they don’t, is really weird.


I think a question you should ask yourself is “If I can only have a limited number of exchanges with people, and they have a limited time, what do I want them to learn?”. And then just mention a few things that are the best/most useful stuff you have in store.

That’s not my goal. My goal is basically to understand complex, important issues, figure out the right answers, explain them, and make it possible for others to learn (and/or debate) what I know. I’m more interested in enabling someone to become a great thinker by a large effort, not in offering some quick wins. Besides not being what I primarily care about, there are also various difficulties and downsides with quick wins.

Is this for everyone? No. Should some people want it? Yes.

Why should anyone believe me about the quality or importance of anything I say, or be interested to keep going past reading one or two things? Because they can’t point out any errors so far.

I think putting a time or quantity limit on engagement, independent of finding any errors, is the wrong approach. If they do find errors, they should debate instead of just assuming they’re right. They could at least debate until Curiosity – Claiming You Objectively Won A Debate

If someone else debates, maybe you don’t need to. But if no one else on your side will debate, then you ought to recognize you have no allies who are actually being useful and take action yourself. If none of the intellectuals you like and get ideas from will debate, nor any of their (other) followers, then you should lose some respect for those leaders and groups, and try to proceed rationally yourself as best you can.

I think one reason most people are not interested is that they don’t feel concerned by the idea. I don’t feel concerned by it. It feels it could work for public intellectuals

If you get ideas from public intellectuals who are doing rationality wrong, then you are in trouble too, not just them. You need to do rationality things right yourself and/or find thought leaders who are doing things right. So it is each individual’s problem even if they aren’t a public intellectual.

This is at -8 karma after 17 minutes. That’s so tribalist.


I just wrote some comments today without being informed they would use the CC BY license, and I don’t want to license them that way. I guess I should go delete them? But I don’t think the license is revokable, so does that even work? But I never consented to the license so it shouldn’t be in force in the first place…

Then I went to put up a post, which I’d already finished writing, and a thing about the license popped up. I did not agree to it, the popup is gone now, and I can’t get it back by reloading the page or starting a new post again.

I see nothing by the posting or commenting forms that persistently notifies people about the license. Just the one-time popup that disappears forever(?) even if not agreed to.

This is not OK.

Also basically I don’t want to use the forum anymore because I don’t want to use the CC BY license :(

I think I have to give up on my project of talking to EA because they are forcing licensing on everything posted from now on. The license basically gives up ownership of your work. Anyone can do whatever they want with it, including selling or translating it, as long as they give attribution and don’t claim you endorse their use.

I could still post link posts but I can’t write anything substantive at the EA site itself and most people dislike clicking links. And I can’t write substantive comments anymore, except by writing it elsewhere and linking to it as my comment, which people will dislike a lot so IMO it just won’t realistically work (it’s even worse than link posts for articles).

On a related note, does Less Wrong have forced licensing? Based on quick searches I found no useful info.

Less Wrong terms say:

When you submit User-Generated Content to the Website, you grant MIRI a non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, and perpetual license to use your User-Generated Content for the normal and intended purposes of the Website. These purposes may include providing you or third parties with access to and use of the Website, backing up or archiving the Website, and selling or transferring the Website to a third party. In submitting User-Generated Content to the Website, you agree to waive all moral rights in or to your User-Generated Content across the world, whether you have or have not asserted moral rights. You also agree to waive all rights of publicity or privacy in or to your User-Generated Content.

This is partly similar to the terms here, which are Discourse defaults:

https://discuss.criticalfallibilism.com/tos

Content you submit to the forum belongs to you, and you decide what permission to give others for it. But at a minimum, you license the company to provide content that you submit to the forum to other users of the forum. That special license allows the company to copy, publish, and analyze content you submit to the forum.

But there’s a major difference. Less Wrong makes you “waive all moral rights” (and publicity and privacy rights).

What are moral rights?

The term “moral rights” comes from the French phrase droit moral and generally refers to certain noneconomic rights that are considered personal to an author. Chief among these rights are the right of an author to be credited as the author of their work (the right of attribution) and the right to prevent prejudicial distortions of the work (the right of integrity). While these rights have a long history in international copyright law, the United States did not consider formal adoption of moral rights until it prepared to join the Berne Convention, which it ultimately did in 1989.

LW makes you waive the right to be attributed as the author of your posts, and also waive the right to prevent prejudicial distortions of your posts?

What!?!?!?!!?!?!!?

The right of publicity is an intellectual property right that protects against the misappropriation of a person’s name, likeness, or other indicia of personal identity—such as nickname, pseudonym, voice, signature, likeness, or photograph—for commercial benefit.

LW makes you waive that too!? In other words, they are allowed to use your name in their commercial marketing if you ever wrote one post on their forum? And maybe anyone else reading your post can do that too?

EA’s terms of use are not very easy to find but i found them.

they also include a moral rights waiver like LW. ugh this is awful.

they don’t specify which terms are new or old, or have a changelog or something.

they don’t include the old pre-today terms and tell anyone that those terms govern all the older posts. they just say all the posts are CC BY with no mention of a huge exclusion.

also they say (the first link was a higher priority ADDENDUM and this next link is the main more generic terms):

If you have an Account (defined below) with us, we will try to give you reasonable notice of major changes through your Account or the contact information associated with your Account.

they broke their terms. the CC BY change is major. they could have emailed me DMed me. they didn’t.

The guy who I think is in charge of LW currently says the moral rights waiver predates him and he doesn’t know much about it and didn’t want to change the terms much and didn’t talk to a lawyer about it.

he speculates that it could be convenient for LW in a few edge cases, and seems to not care at all about how bad it is for users. i think he trusts himself not to abuse it, but doesn’t trust users, and isn’t considering that LW could have worse management in the future, possibly by being sold. also he’s the same dishonest guy who banned me so he shouldn’t be trusted.

anyway they don’t seem to see the downside of writing terms that are super biased in their favor and give them tons of potential for abuse b/c they just don’t think they’re abusive. no respect for the rule of law…

An EA admin told me:

We’ve tried to give a simple summary of the license in this post, but I might suggest talking to a lawyer if you have further questions about legal terms

he literally wants me to pay a lawyer to try to find out what EA’s rules are, and he doesn’t think it’s EA’s job to tell me.

this is dumb.

also i can’t even find out what the previous terms were with archive.org

https://web.archive.org/web/20220000000000*/https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/termsOfUse

i guess that’s good for me? if they don’t keep documentation of what terms govern what posts, then i think the most favorable stuff should be presumed for my posts. if they have no record of any moral right waiver before the update for the CC BY stuff, then they can’t expect it to apply to me. also if they do have a record but only privately, not anything i can access, then i don’t think they could reasonably expect me to be bound by terms i have no way to read.

More EA terms:

7.1 Prohibited Content . In connection with your access to or use of the EVF Sites, You agree not to upload information or other content or materials, including any of Your Content, that:

insulting

untrue

misrepresent your identity or affiliation with … any other person

to engage in any other conduct that restricts anyone’s use or enjoyment of the EVF Sites

You are prohibited from posting anything false on the forum?

You are prohibited from anything that reduces anyone’s enjoyment or use of the forum?

This is so dumb. They don’t mean it. They don’t enforce it. They just write overly broad rules that aren’t the real rules, which helps hide what the real rules are and helps give them leeway to go after anyone they don’t like (they can do biased, selective enforcement since ~everyone is a rule breaker with rules like this).

They don’t care if the rules are easily abusable as written. They aren’t trying to limit their own power. They are trying to grant themselves whatever powers they may ever need, without caring if they give themselves any extra power. They don’t understand and/or don’t like the rule of law.

EA presents themselves kinda like a small agile outlier startup but this is the same BS you’d find in the ToS from a megacorp.

1 Like

What is the license problem that you foresee, Elliot?

What specifics concern you? I haven’t thought about it carefully, what perspective am I missing?

The license gives anyone the right to e.g. put my posts in a book and sell them without my consent. It lets them do all kinds of stuff with my work. I think my work is valuable and and I want to retain my IP and copyright rights about it. I think the prior, default system was good: fair use and quotations, plus asking for permission for other stuff.

BTW I’ve been plagiarized multiple times, I’ve had multiple people put my ideas in their published commercial books without consent or even notifying me (including some copyright violations), and including with mangling my ideas so badly that I wouldn’t want to be associated with their version so simply giving credit doesn’t fix the problem for me. Talking about someone’s ideas and quoting and paraphrasing them fairly and reasonably takes some skill that many people lack. One person offered to credit me as a co-author of his book when I found out he’d put a ton of my ideas in it. I declined because I would not want authorship of his low quality writing and reasoning, plus I was not involved with authoring the book at all. I don’t want him to plagiarize me, and I also don’t want him to incompetently summarize my ideas then credit me, let alone say I endorse it… CC BY would make all this stuff worse not better.

But mostly I just want to retain my property rights for my ideas, work, research, writing, etc. I think giving most of my ideas and writing away as free to read is more than generous enough.

My plan is to quit using the EA forum, though I’ll write a few things without important philosophy in them, like this one, rather than quitting abruptly. I will continue posting articles at https://criticalfallibilism.com and https://curi.us plus I’m actively using my forum and two YouTube channels. I have ~30,000 words of EA related draft articles which I’ll no longer be able to use as planned. I’ll probably try to quickly post a fair amount of that at curi.us with only light editing.

BTW, when reviewing EA’s terms of use yesterday I found other problems, e.g. a prohibition on posting anything “untrue”.

EDIT: I should also mention that I don’t want anyone translating my writing without consent because translations can easily be inaccurate and misleading, and essentially be like misquoting me. Translations basically come with an implication that I endorse what they say because it’s allegedly just my own words. I’ve had an issue with this in the past too, and if I ever get more popular all this stuff will come up more including with my archives.

I made an EA category at curi.us

I gathered my EA stuff:

I just posted 7 EA-related articles on curi.us with light editing. I have more drafts to go through but I think that’s enough for today.

I didn’t share the 7 new articles on the EA forum and I don’t plan to share future articles there in general.

If anyone believes that any of them should be shared with EA, please do that yourself. EA allows link posts. You can share links to stuff kinda like on Reddit. Note that you’re supposed to post a little information with the link such as what you liked about the post, some summary or some quotes.

It’s important how much my fans share my work, in general, on social media and elsewhere. Sharing helps spread ideas and helps other interested people find my work.

I considered continuing to participate at the EA forum by using quotes and/or links to circumvent the CC BY licensing issue, but overall I don’t think it would work well. People expect you to reply normally in comments, not reply only using links and/or quotes. People also prefer full text articles over link posts, especially when you’re the author and the only reason you’re using a link is to avoid EA’s licensing rule. People are biased against clicking links. Also I didn’t want to write summaries of my articles for link posting purposes and then post the summaries on EA under the CC BY license, so I figured to use link posts well (which means including summary, reason you liked it, quotes, outline, or something along with the link) I’d need to quote from the article but be careful not to actually ever write anything significant on the EA site that isn’t quoted.

I considered posting entire articles or comments as long block quotes, but EA staff refused to clarify if that’s OK with them (or if it would successfully avoid CC BY licensing) and told me to ask a lawyer, which I’m going to interpret as “no don’t do that, but also we don’t want to clearly admit or write down what the rules actually are, and also we’re bad at precise thinking and don’t like considering edge cases even when they’re directly impactful to whether users quit the forum or not”. I asked multiple clarifying questions that they wouldn’t answer and staff telling me to ask a lawyer was especially lame and also some of the other terms of use are bad and also they don’t keep change history for the terms of use so i don’t even know what the terms said at the time i wrote my older posts (and archive.org doesn’t have it either). And also the terms don’t say anything about older posts not having the CC BY license and basically just communicate to readers that all posts on EA are CC BY licensed, with not mention of a cutoff date and what terms apply to older stuff, which is really bad and unreasonable. They also broke their own terms by failing to notify me about the licensing change. They also haven’t explicitly mentioned that the licensing applies to all comments on the forum not just article posts, but I think it does. They still have nothing trying to notify people about that before they comment (they had a broken notification before you post a new article, which they claim to have now fixed, and they did not email or DM me and give advance notice as they should have according to their own terms – but that’s certainly not the only thing in their unreasonable, mega-coporation-like terms that they don’t follow). Also since staff are being so unreasonable about this, I think that means the EA moderation team is really unreasonable and would have interfered with my posts later anyway.

Kinda off topic and I didn’t bother telling them, but the EA site loads very slowly, sometimes taking 5-10 seconds to load my user profile page (it’s also flat out broken sometimes with the page eventually loading with large visual glitches, and the other day refreshing didn’t fix that, i had to like wait half an hour before it worked again). This is really bad and must be costing them some users, pageviews, etc. I’ve heard claims before that a few milliseconds of page loading time makes a big difference. Besides making people wait it also communicates to knowledgeable people that they’re a bit incompetent. They do have enough money to do better; they aren’t just super small/poor (and I personally, individually put work into load times on curi.us and did better than them… and if you don’t have that expertise, fine, no problem, use something open source instead of something custom but bad).

They also have tons of other problems with their software like missing features, e.g. I tried to paste in an image today and found that they just don’t support that, while Discourse does. They also don’t support any good way to quote stuff other than copy/paste, but copy/paste loses italics, links, etc. Discourse supports quoting stuff while retaining formatting.

I think they’d be better off writing some Discourse plugins instead of developing and using their own bad software. I think the biggest obstacle for that is they really like nested reddit-like commenting, whereas I think on the whole that makes forums worse, though a forum could support both styles with a way to flip between both views, and that could be better than picking one.

Noah Scales response to this was:

Huh, very interesting, although it doesn’t seem that the license terms stopped all that from happening to you.

That response seemed kind of underwhelming to me. He didn’t say something like: Oh good points I need to consider this, or something like: I disagree/agree with you. I can’t really tell what his opinion is from just this response, I feel like he might not care to much cuz he mentioned that even with restrictive license terms Elliot has already had bad stuff happen with his content.

Yeah. It was OK. It was partly positive. But he didn’t say much. And also he ambiguously implied that the CC BY license wouldn’t make the problems worse (like since copyright and fair use already isn’t working, it’s not beneficial), which I think is wrong.

I just finished up 7 more articles in one sitting – 5 posted on curi.us and 2 scheduled for CF.

I suspect if I posted articles on the EA forum at this rate, moderators would ask me to stop rather than being really pleased. The identical articles posted at a rate of one per week would be treated differently.

Even if the articles were all pro-EA instead of critical, I still doubt moderators would be OK with one person talking so much. Not all forums are like that, but that is the vibe I got from EA (plus in the past I was actually asked by Less Wrong moderators to post articles less often, and EA and LW are similar forums).

Also, it’s much easier to finish articles when I don’t have to worry a lot about being misunderstood by EA people who lack basic familiarity with my ideas and influences (like Popper), and also who often will read any one of my EA articles at random without having read any of the others (even if I link to others at the start and say to read them first). It’s really hard to build on any other ideas while talking with EA instead of always writing really introductory, stand-alone stuff (which makes talking about complex or advanced stuff hard). You can only build on the ideas which are widespread and well known at EA, so it’s hard to say anything substantive that disagrees with EA.

It’s also much easier to finish articles after I quit the forum so I don’t have to worry about what will give moderators the slightest excuse to take action against me or what will offend or alienate EA people even though it’s true and worth saying.

Also there’s often a huge perspective gap between me and the people I talk to. I have so much to say I write 20 extra article drafts but I have to prioritize what to say first so I have so much more I hope to say later and I write tons of extra words. They have little to say, write no extra words, etc. My situation is so different than theirs that it’s confusing and many people don’t know how to understand or deal with it. It’s really unintuitive to most people for someone to actually have lots of knowledge that they already thought through years ago and which has many internal connections, instead of posting ad hoc ideas that contradict each other.