Using Political Twitter

On Oct 17, 2020, at 1:56 PM, ‘Alan Forrester’ via Fallible Ideas wrote:

On 17 Oct 2020, at 19:07, Elliot Temple wrote:

[Alan’s blog post The state is not your friend | Conjectures and Refutations says]:

They [the govt] are not serving anybody by threatening Grimes.

They sorta are since they have lots of citizens who want Grimes threatened.

It’s not like they have a reply to Mises pointing out flaws in his ideas.

Most of them are social climbers, not intellectuals.


People in the UK worship the state and even when they disagree with the government in power.

Over-generalization condemning “People in the UK” with no “most” or “many”, and typo.


Is there something wrong with what I’m saying?

Some thoughts:

Are your tweets what John Galt or Howard Roark would tweet?

What is the purpose of the tweets? What is you goal(s) and what is your means of achieving it? Do you have a plan?

Are you trying to educate or persuade people? I think that’d take more explanation than you do in the tweets. And signaling libertarian tribe allegiance (as people will see it) causes some problems there. Part of those problems are due to genuine flaws with the libertarian tribe.

Some of these tweets don’t signal openness to discussion or having high quality reasoning to available in your mind to elaborate on the claims in the tweets. There are a lot of shallow tweets, including which make correct claims, whose authors couldn’t explain much more than they said in their tweet. Some of your tweets poorly differentiate yourself from those authors (even though you actually do know a bunch more arguments and info).

Why be into politics like this? Are you having fun? Do you think it provides practical benefit to you? Why don’t you do other things like physics or epistemology?

It’s not fun or beneficial. I should stop.

I’m annoyed because I think people should know better about this stuff than they do. But they don’t know any better so there’s no point in getting annoyed.

I think I liked twitter because I could see lots of stuff. But now I’m thinking it’s low quality stuff so I think I’m filling my life with crap.

I think I’m not going to bother with twitter much anymore. I don’t think any of the tweets you quoted were good. I lowered my standards. I might tweet out links to blog posts but I don’t think I’ll do anything else.

Thanks for the criticism.


I think you haven’t stopped, @alanforr, nor followed up to critically discuss the issue more thoroughly. Conceding too early, without learning enough to change, and then dropping the matter, is a way of protecting a behavior or value from criticism.

The steps to change a habit/autopilot/policy include observing what you do, trying to understand why and the benefits, coming up with an idea you think would be better which is a win/win not a compromise, using conscious control to try out the new idea, and using conscious control to practice the new thing until it becomes automatic. I’ve written about these steps in various places so I won’t explain it all again here.

You’re right. I hadn’t stopped.

There is some stuff on twitter that’s funny or weird or interesting and it doesn’t require much effort to engage with it. The win/win would be to do something more interesting instead. After reading “The Choice” I realised that doing easy stuff all the time makes life kinda boring. So I’ve decided to spend more time on CF and reading and less on Twitter and so far I haven’t missed it much.

You haven’t posted again, even once, since you wrote this 9 days ago.

My serious, considered advice: Something is going wrong. Hire ingracke to help you privately. Something like 2 calls a month. You need the advice as well as the regular reminders about philosophy stuff.

I felt upset after reading this post. I thought that was irrationality on my part so I stopped posting for a while because I thought I’d say something dumb if I didn’t carefully consider what the problem was.

Did you figure anything out?

I think it’s because I dislike parts of my life and I had to face up to that because of the post.

I don’t see why if your main takeaway was basically “it was underexplained; add more framing to some posts”. If that’s it, then I don’t see what’d be very threatening or problematic about the ~impersonal analysis of common social dynamics in our culture. Based on your reply, it sounds like you were either ignorant of those social dynamics or forgot about them at the time. In both of those cases, I would expect it to be kinda fun to read the analysis, similar to reading other philosophy analysis. I’m unclear on what negative things you had to face unless it was something about being too tired and careless too often.

BTW have you been reading my posts in general on the forum lately, or are you behind on a bunch? You might have felt uniquely challenged and singled out, when actually I’ve written a lot of kinda similar comments recently.

That was my main takeaway about what was wrong with the post.

The context from my point of view was that parts of my life suck. Explaining that would be difficult and I didn’t want to do it at that time. My first reaction to that post was that you were nagging me to give such an explanation, which was a bad interpretation because there were other options. I could have given examples of similar issues elsewhere and that would have been on-topic. For example, Peter Keating sometimes got help from Howard Roark in private without acknowledging it and that example would have been on-topic. I could also have acknowledged I was going off-topic and said I didn’t want to explain why at that time.

I’ve seen this issue before. I’m guessing you edited your post in a text editor which changed the straight double quote characters to angled double quotes. Then you pasted it here and it broke.

I have edited the post to fix the formatting issue.

I had in mind framing about your post itself, which is relevant for readers, not framing about your life context.

E.g. “This is just one little action I did; it’s not meant as a response to the parent post in general.”

Was an external text editor the issue? If not I’d want to figure out what’s going wrong.

I think this specific sort of missing framing is an ongoing issue. E.g. this thread currently has 33 replies:

But it has zero replies which try to engage with the article’s main points, content or goals. In short, all replies discuss local details.

But it’s misleading because none of the replies are framed as not really trying to engage with the article. Most people looking at it would probably think the article got meaningful engagement, when it didn’t. I don’t think systematic ambiguity about that is an random, unfortunate accident.

There are also zero replies trying to learn/study the article ideas in any kind of overall way rather than just understanding some scattered local bits. People might take this as implying that an overall learning process went well for some readers and they just had questions/issues for a few small bits – the visible posts are unrepresentative of their learning and are just for problem parts – but I don’t think that’s what’s actually happening.

No. There’s some sort of issue with inserting or removing line breaks after the end of the first square bracket pair of the quote block. For example, in the text below I backspaced so that the start of the quote was immediately after the square bracket:

[quote=“Elliot, post:13, topic:350”]Was an external text editor the issue? If not I’d want to figure out what’s going wrong.

I did some editing to break up your quote into multiple quotes and somehow in the course of doing that the quote block of the first quoted batch of text stopped working. It started working when I backspaced so that the start of the quote text was on the same line as the closing square bracket before the quote.

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