Gaslighting discussion (split from: Justin’s Miscellaneous Posts)


Do you think he is encouraging the harassment?

Can you think of some non-AndyB things that had already happened when that diagram was made which aren’t in the diagram? And some that happened later? It seems like maybe one of the problems here is that you’re unfamiliar with the facts of the situation you’re discussing. It seems like you just don’t know, remember and/or acknowledge most of the bad actions taken by non-AndyB.

So I think AndyB is the main instigator and DD is a (condemnation-worthy) sanctioner.

I also doubt that someone could be a leader in some activity without having some conscious intent to do so. Being a leader involves some serious effort and energy and doesn’t seem like the sort of thing you could automate. AndyB clearly has conscious, malicious intent to harass and cause ET to suffer. But DD? I don’t know about that.

Do you see this as disagreeing with ET’s position which he put in writing on his blog?

[Edited for omitted word]

My initial response is that I’m not really sure. Again, I think not speaking out against the harassment is bad enough, so I’m not letting DD off the hook even in my hesitance on answering this question. I’m just not sure about this question. I’m going to have to show my work to try to get to some kind of answer so bear with me.

I think “encouraging” is the key word I’m not sure about. I’m going to analyze DD’s failure to call out the harassment below and try to get to some sort of answer or at least lay out my thoughts. I know DD actually did a positive action in telling falsehoods about whether Elliot has violated no contact requests, but I want to leave aside that particular case for the moment (though we can discuss if it seems fruitful).

I’ve already conceded I think DD has a moral responsibility to speak up. I think that by not speaking up, DD is sanctioning evil actions against Elliot. People can read Elliot’s blog posts and see what Elliot has described in terms of harassment and in terms of his past interaction with DD. Given all that context, even if DD and ET are not on good terms anymore, you would expect DD to be willing to at least give a perfunctory “Hey ya’ll, FYI systematic multi-year criminal cyber-harassment campaigns such as the one against my former friend ET aren’t cool. If any of my fans are partaking in that, please stop, that’s awful.” DD not doing so implies that Elliot is lying or hugely exaggerating or something like that (or that DD is being hugely unreasonable, but I don’t think that’s what he wants people’s takeaway to be).

I think the reason I’m reluctant to call this failure on DD’s part “encouraging” is because I have some distinction in my mind between failing to act correctly versus doing a positive evil deed. It is something like the distinction between sins of omission versus commission. And I think I interpret “encouraging” as describing acts of commission and view DD’s failure to call out the harassment as a failure to act correctly.

I might be attaching too much importance to this distinction, since I think failing to act as one should can be really immoral (and often put one on the path to doing active evil). I might also have incorrect ideas about the meaning of “encouraging”.

Not offhand but I think it will be fruitful for the discussion if I try to find/remember three of each.

DD smeared Ayn Rand (AR) in an email to a fan/stranger that ET wasn’t meant to see. We know because the recipient shared it on Reddit.

Do you think DD has also written some other smears of AR? And some smears of ET? (In non-public places that ET isn’t meant to see.)

And do you think indirectly attacking ET is one of DD’s motives for smearing AR?

Yes. For example, Elliot wrote that “David Deutsch is the root cause of years of severe harassment against me and other FI community members.” That ascribes to DD a leadership role which disagrees with what I wrote in this thread.

Almost certainly yes.

Almost certainly yes.

That sounds plausible as a motive but it actually seems like a pretty tricky issue to have a confident judgment on, at least for me. I don’t think I know DD nearly well enough or have enough recent public evidence of what his motives might be to speak on this point. If someone who knew DD well (like ET) told me they thought this was a motive, I’d believe them, but would be taking their word on it somewhat. It wouldn’t be something I’d be judging first hand.

In context, does DD non-publicly spreading smears about ET encourage harassment?

Spreading smears about ET would be a sin of commission, right? DD’s inaction is problematic, but it’s not the primary or clearest problem. It’d be better to discuss his negative actions first.

Why didn’t you state or discuss that disagreement previously?

A note that I intend to do this but found it more time-consuming than I expected and have been a bit slammed so I’ve put it off for a few days. I set a reminder using the built-in Discourse feature for that.



Either because I didn’t notice the disagreement previously or I dismissed it as unimportant. I suspect the latter.

One example from before diagram (AndyB-adjacent but not AndyB directly): That guy on Twitter who was AndyB’s friend (but apparently a separate person) started spamming big name people that Elliot followed in order to flame Elliot.

One example from after diagram is Rami getting angry and writing hostile blog posts/tweets/Reddit posts seeking attention for his anti-ET flames.

@JustinCEO, it’s been 2.5 weeks and this conversation hasn’t made much progress and is progressing slowly. You chose the time to come back but also claim to be too busy to say much, which is unreasonable.

You concede stuff – then don’t explain or follow up on the issue – in response to simple questions that you could have thought of yourself.

You seem ignorant of the facts of what the CritRats did. It takes many days to not yet list some stuff you should have already been familiar with as part of your thoughtful consideration of the topic.

You seem to want other people to take initiative for your problem solving. Or to just not do problem solving and come back anyway. Neither of those is acceptable.

Bringing this stuff up asked other people to review the issues and load relevant stuff into active memory so that they could talk about it with you. Being slow asks them to keep it in memory longer and/or do additional review to refresh their memory later.

You aren’t post morteming your errors or otherwise trying to explain what happened with them, brainstorming, critical thinking, making trees, reviewing all the relevant literature, outlining, using notes on what happened, etc. You could have done a lot of this before trying to come back but you didn’t want to; it seems like you were hoping to get away with not doing it because you don’t want to think or talk about these issues. If you don’t want to address the issues, you shouldn’t be here. Trying to come back because of interest in vegetable oil, while being unprepared to effortfully consider how you did and are (mis)treating me, is another way you’re downplaying the importance of the harassment campaign.

Also, how did your break go? I suggested it for reasons and you haven’t updated us on whether any of those ideas worked, whether relevant progress was made, etc.

Also, have you been privately talking with any CF people?

Also, have you interacted with any CritRats again in any way? Read/watched/listened to their stuff?

I’m going to quote things out of order a bit at the start in order to group them more logically with my replies. I’ll note when I’m doing that to try to avoid giving a false impression of what Elliot wrote.

and then later:

I initially disagreed with “which is unreasonable” in the first quote. I’ve been busy but have also been replying slowly on purpose in order to reduce the chance of replying emotionally. I hadn’t considered the refreshing memory point at all, to be honest. I think it’s a reasonable point. I’m not quite sure what to do with, though. I could try replying faster but then I do think there will be an increased chance of an emotional reply. I think the delays make my responses more thoughtful.

and then later:

True, at least to a degree. I tried writing a bunch last time (in the discussion before the break, about gaslighting) and thought, subjectively, that I was writing thoughtful, energetic replies, and then each time it turned out I was not. The best way I can describe this experience is as a total nightmare. So now I was defaulting to more minimal replies and letting the anons I was talking to take the lead, because spending 5-10 mins on a minimally helpful reply seemed less bad than the risk of spending 2-3 hours on an unhelpful one that nobody even winds up reading.

I also have fears like: what if I write a bunch and then just wind up introducing more issues or making unwanted implications? I might even be doing that now. I can only write at all because I somewhat arbitrarily decide that some reply beats no reply and YOLO, but that’s not a great approach.

Understood. I had thought perhaps that I could apologize and try participating in a limited way on topics that might be less problematic for me, but that’s not an approach that addresses your concerns.

True. I’ve had a hard time pursuing the conversation with any enthusiasm. I think there are a few problems:

  1. I am pessimistic about resolving the issues in any reasonable time frame.
  2. I am worried about accidentally saying or implying something offensive and causing even more problems, wasting time with unproductive replies, writing emotional replies, and so on.
  3. I lack much motivation at this point for wanting to participate in the forum that I could use as the basis for engaging in energetic replies and problem solving.

I’ve been trying to say something because I think that the longer I’m disengaged, the more likely it is I’ll completely give up and leave, but my current approach seems not great. I’m trying to maintain some “minimal tether” to avoid getting completely alienated but it’s not working (for me or for other people).

Part of the issue is I’m not confident I could do this in a productive way and worry about just spinning my wheels and wasting other people’s time, as I’ve already done in many previous replies in this thread.

I’m conflicted at best about wanting to address the issues given my pessimism.

It was not my intent to downplay the harassment. This is the exact kind of thing I’m worried about doing accidentally.

I’m not willing to talk much about details of my personal life in public but I’ll give this summary: I haven’t made any big changes or dramatic progress. I made one positive change in my life situation, made some (objectively demonstrable) progress on a (professionally-related) learning project, and am starting some organized work this week with some outside assistance to try to address some of my other issues. That’s all I’m willing to say.

Yes, one person, briefly, regarding personal stuff unrelated to CF or this thread in any way, and not in many months.

No, zero interaction with CritRats or their content.

BTW, to disclaim any unwanted or unintended implication to the contrary: I don’t think ET should put up with and just accept behavior he regards as mistreatment, harassment-sanctioning, or anything else on his forum. My own issues and struggles with figuring out how to comport myself in a manner that is productive and valuable on this forum are just that – my issues. They’re not ET’s problem or responsibility, and ET has a right to demand that people either conduct themselves in a certain manner on his forum or leave. I just wanted that to be clear.

Why did you fail to consider that DD was and is actively spreading smears about ET?

And when you agree to something that contradicts what you said earlier, some explanation or even just acknowledgment is merited. Like what are you retracting or changing your mind about? What points do you still not concede? You could e.g. go back and revise what you said before in light of the corrections. Just saying “yes” like nothing happened is ambiguous and pretty unhelpful.

I’m not exactly sure but here are some thoughts that I think may be related.

I think I’m hesitant to judge people very negatively based on my guesses about their unseen behavior. Even if there is evidence that they’re engaging in some bad behavior, going from that to generalizing about what they’re doing is something I’m reluctant to do.

I doubt very much that I’m the only one DD has bad-mouthed ET to. I’m sure other people have brought up ET to him, and I don’t think he was especially negative when communicating to me. If anything, I’d expect him to be less overtly negative when communicating with me about ET than when communicating with other people.

So I think the hesitation in judgment I described above doesn’t make a lot of sense. There’s sufficient evidence to arrive at a conclusion in DD’s case and I shouldn’t shy away from such a conclusion.

I suspect I have a general issue with not wanting to think too negatively about people. I can’t fix that easily, because I can also be harshly judgmental and negative about people in a mean way. So I can’t just dial up the judgmentalism. There are problems either way. On the one hand, not judging people can be a way to try to avoid conflicts (not very successfully, in context, it would seem). OTOH, being judgmental and negative can be a way of trying to tear people down in order to build yourself up. I think some of my criticism of others in the past – even while making good points! – has had such a (unrealized, unintentional) motivation. One might say “well just arrive at a rational, considered judgment not motivated by second-handed concerns” but I think that is easier said than done.

OK. Looking at an earlier post:

I’m not quite sure why I wanted to put the lie re: no contact requests aside. Wanting to put it aside was a mistake, because I later conceded that the reasonable implication we can draw from that lie was that DD was likely engaging, on an ongoing basis, on behavior that constitutes harassment.

The rest of the post builds on that initial error and so I think it’s wrong and not worth further analysis.