RIP Slate Star Codex

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7Wannabe5
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@jennypenny:

Yeah, kind of highlights the difference between the two operative paradigms.

jacob
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by jacob »

It is ironic from the perspective of the naked message.

However, if communication is seen as "message+messenger", it makes sense to avoid being associated with the other sportsball team. Unfortunately, we live in a world paradigm where the messenger often matters more than the message. This is clear from the areas where even objective reality has been politicized. In that case, communication is "95% messenger" and maybe only "5% message" because people have demonstrated a willingness or strong desire to be gaslighted to an enormous degree and believe that 2+2=5 or say that "there are five lights". (This is inherent in 60%+ of humans, see Asch's stick experiment.)

As such, "saying the right thing in the company of the wrong team" could actually be more destructive than "saying the wrong thing in the company of the right team". Why? Because the people who need to hear it the most can't understand it by construction since their affiliation depends on them not understanding it in the first place. (H/T Sinclair).

Add: IOW, the Harper letter is written for and by high-information ideology voters about certain points they can all agree on. This buffet-style point-framework, however, is not how the majority of people see things... and some of the signatories realized that.

I suppose that's the concern about an intellectual dark age. The question is whether we ever really left that age.

Campitor
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by Campitor »

jacob wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 12:09 pm
I suppose that's the concern about an intellectual dark age. The question is whether we ever really left that age.
We probably never did but it's different now. Technology has enabled efficient witch hunts and given a world reaching bullhorn to the most vitriolic anti-science/anti-data driven crowd. I suspect most people don't believe what they're hearing but follow the "team" out of fear they're the only ones who can see the emperor has no clothes.

Campitor
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by Campitor »

Another voice bites the dust.

https://www.bariweiss.com/resignation-letter

A snippet of the resignation letter:
My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m “writing about the Jews again.” Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly “inclusive” one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.

There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.

I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public. And I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.

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jennypenny
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by jennypenny »

Matt Taibbi discussing cancel culture on Bret Weinstein's podcast.

NuncFluens
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by NuncFluens »

Sorry to cut into the ongoing conversation, but there was an edit to the SSC quitting post that reads:

[EDIT 7/21: This post is now a month old, and I am cautiously optimistic that the Times has changed their mind. There is no further need to take any of the actions described below.]

Cause for hope? (Edit: The old posts are up again, at least)

onewayfamily
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by onewayfamily »

Yes definitely cause for hope. I assume if he's happy to put back up the old posts he will be posting new material soon enough.

nomadscientist
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by nomadscientist »

Almost certainly overly optimistic. NYT might have let him be if he had stayed self-cancelled. They already fired a plausibly deniable shot at him via another publication: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/annal ... -the-media

Campitor
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by Campitor »

The anonymous author of the Slate Star Codex is still not blogging. His last update was in September:
I haven’t heard anything from the New York Times one way or the other. Since nothing has been published, I’d assume they dropped the article, except that they approached an acquaintance for another interview last month. Overall I’m confused.

But they definitely haven’t given me any explicit reassurance that they won’t reveal my private information. And now that I’ve publicly admitted privacy is important to me – something I tried to avoid coming on too strong about before, for exactly this reason – some people have taken it upon themselves to post my real name all over Twitter in order to harass me. I probably inadvertently Streisand-Effect-ed myself with all this; I still think it was the right thing to do.

At this point I think maintaining anonymity is a losing battle. So I am gradually reworking my life to be compatible with the sort of publicity that circumstances seem to be forcing on me. I had a talk with my employer and we came to a mutual agreement that I would gradually transition away from working there. At some point, I may start my own private practice, where I’m my own boss and where I can focus on medication management – and not the kinds of psychotherapy that I’m most worried are ethically incompatible with being a public figure. I’m trying to do all of this maximally slowly and carefully and in a way that won’t cause undue burden to any of my patients, and it’s taking a long time to figure out.
And another journalist, Glenn Greenwald, is pushed out for being non-partisan in his reporting choices: https://greenwald.substack.com/p/my-res ... -intercept.

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jennypenny
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by jennypenny »

I'm worried we are losing some of the most insightful and independent voices who might have helped guide people through troubling times ahead. And for no reason other than offering them up as click-bait sacrifices.

Campitor
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by Campitor »

@jennypenny

My biggest concern is that this censorship is occurring everywhere: academia, private business, tech, medicine, science, etc. And surprisingly the ones being targeted are those who share the same general philosophy but don't support all the orthodoxy being promulgated. To get to the truth we have to risk offending someone; the guilty or those in error rarely take their medicine without umbrage.

mathiverse
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by mathiverse »

Update from Scott Alexander and a link to his new blog on Substack: https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/still-alive

Campitor
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by Campitor »

The linked survey in his new blog post highlights how people are afraid to express their political beliefs:

62% of people feel afraid to express their political beliefs. This isn't just conservatives - it's also moderates (64%), liberals (52%) and even many strong liberals (42%). This is true even among minority groups, with more Latinos (65%) feeling afraid to speak out than whites (64%), and blacks (49%) close behind. 32% of people worry they would be fired if their political views became generally known, including 28% of Democrats and 38% of Republicans. Poor people and Hispanics were more likely to express this concern than rich people and whites, but people with post-graduate degrees have it worse than any other demographic group.

And the kicker is that these numbers are up almost ten percentage points from the last poll three years ago. The biggest decline in feeling safe was among "strong liberals", who feel an entire 12 percentage points less safe expressing their opinion now than way back in the hoary old days of 2017. What happens in a world where this trend continues? Does everyone eventually feel so unsafe that we completely abandon the public square to professional-opinion-havers, talking heads allowed to pontificate because they have the backing of giant institutions? What biases does that introduce to the discussion? And if we want to avoid that, is there any better way then a firm stance that people's online pseudonymity is a basic right, not to be challenged without one hell of a compelling public interest? Not just "they got kinda big, so now we can destroy them guilt-free", but an actual public interest?

IlliniDave
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by IlliniDave »

Campitor wrote:
Tue Jan 26, 2021 3:12 pm
The linked survey in his new blog post highlights how people are afraid to express their political beliefs:
That is surprising. Based on all the anecdotal information I've passively accumulated I would have thought it even worse. Last year the overlords at my megacorp sent a substantially clear message (i.e., not an amorphous "dog whistle") that the corporation supported certain political movements and wrong-speak would not be tolerated on pain of dismissal. So even while they initiated armed security presence through the summer and fall at mostly empty (due to covid) buildings, we couldn't openly acknowledge that there was quite a lot of violence going on. And it's not like I work at Fort Knox. Never in any place where I've worked has armed security been a thing until the last 6 months.

I remember my youthful days when "book burning" was a trope for evil authoritarianism run amok. Some of what is happening is the digital equivalent of book burning, and it's growing to include censoring of people themselves, not just words. The survey reflects that. Arguably worse, it's often spearheaded by the institutions that not so long ago you could count on to lead the charge against it. All while our leaders fall into increasingly juvenile behavior. It's a very disappointing landscape to behold.

Loner
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by Loner »

Primary source : https://www.cato.org/publications/surve ... raid-share

It’s actually worse when you break it down further:

-77% of conservatives feel they have to self-censor
-32% of employed Americans say they personally are worried about missing out on career opportunities or losing their job if their political opinions became known
-Those with the highest levels of education are most concerned (not surprising since it is usually among the educated strata that you find the most propaganda/attitude control): Democrats with graduate degrees (25%) are about as likely as high school graduates (23%) to be worried their political views could harm their employment. However, a major shift occurs among Republicans who attend college and graduate school. About a quarter of Republicans with high school degrees (27%) or some college (26%) worry their political opinions could harm them at work—but this number increases to 40% among Republican college graduates and 60% of those with post‐graduate degrees. Note also that those numbers are going up fast.

I’m personally worried about the orgy of suppression and censorship that’s been going on in the past few weeks and months. It’s made worse by mainstream journalists happily supporting the trend, and dragging institutional trust even lower in the abyss; I actually can’t remember a time, except maybe right after 9/11, when the media were doing such a bad work and were so fully embracing their propaganda function (parroting officialdom’s FUD campaign, etc.). Now Youtube has started cutting off the live stream of independent journalists doing field reporting by selectively and arbitrarily enforcing obscure policies while Big Tech in general is algorithmically depressing the reach of independents. The main press outlets shall be the only voice allowed.

I fear the second and third order consequences of this. Silencing people works in the short term, but is foolish in the longer term. A lot of legitimate anger and concerns are being bottled up both left and right. Let’s see if (how) it blows up.

Hristo Botev
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by Hristo Botev »

I'm hopeful that all of "this" (by which I mean all the Orwellian stuff that seems to be becoming more and more prevalent, and which had me kinda freaking out for most of 2019/2020) will result in some pretty significant changes for the better, at the systemic level. I don't know what that is going to look like; but my hope is it's going to just generally be a recognition that a lot of institutions (including but not limited to social media and other tech companies) have just gotten too big and complex (too big for their britches, as we say), and perhaps the pendulum will swing back in the other direction a bit, whether by way of some antitrust-fueled breakups and/or more folks just deciding it's no longer worth it to be a cog in the machine of MegaCorp X, so that perhaps we might see somewhat of a resurgence of SMEs, with more of a national and even regional or local emphasis.

This is very likely just wishful thinking, on my part; but just anecdotally, fwiw, I have seen within my own circle quite a few people walk away from the bigger institutions: leaving jobs as managers/directors/vps at megacorps in order to join or start SMEs or even solo proprietorships; taking their kids out of big, government, "good" school districts and put them in smaller school districts or private schools (or home schooling); opting to send their kids to smaller, private colleges as opposed to the administratively bloated big state colleges. For some this has been explicitly because of the self-censorship stuff, which includes, e.g., having to even "self-censor" what they say at home for fear that their unfiltered kids might repeat at school what their parents said at home (heaven forbid a kid "out" his parent as a Trump voter in our school district!). For others I get the sense that it's been more of just a general feeling of discomfort, that something just isn't quite right; even if they might fully be on board with whatever their corporate wokism position might be at a given time, but they might also know that the corporate wokism position could change tomorrow.

My anecdotal position is likely just a reflection of the fact that I'm in my 40s and surrounded by a lot of high income types, whose age and net worth necessarily makes them prone to reevaluate some life decisions they made in their 30s (“In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost."); and that there's nothing particularly special about the time we're living in currently. But my hope is that we're moving toward a change in popular opinion, where "big" institutions will be looked at warily; and there will be more of a preference for small.

ETA: On the self-censorship at home, it of course goes both ways. One friend/family that moved out of our town/school district (one of at least 4 friends that I know) to a more rural town/school district reported back that on her kids' first day at the new school, her daughter was asked by an elementary school classmate if her parents voted for Trump, "because around here we're Trump people." I mean, kids will be kids, but this is all just surreal. That said, the previous/current alternative is to segregate schools by income level (i.e., property taxes); so it's not like things were/are great before we started segregating by political leanings (or ideologies).

Campitor
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by Campitor »

A response to a retroactive cancelation of anthropologist A.L. Kroeber and the removal of his name from a Berkley building.

https://blogs.berkeley.edu/2020/07/01/o ... eber-hall/

Campitor
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by Campitor »

The NYT finally published their Slate Star Codex article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/13/tech ... lists.html.

borisborisboris
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by borisborisboris »

Scott put up a reply, here: https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/s ... es-article

Hopefully this whole incident just dies now.

I do think that in general, censorship, hit pieces, and by extension self-censorship is going to become harder in the future. Content producers increasingly own their audiences. You can see it with Scott Alexander; he's inconvenienced by this whole thing, but now that he's on substack...there's nothing the NYT can really do except clumsily send him traffic and damage their own credibility a bit more.

There's more decentralization coming, too. I'm far from a crypto true believer, can see how, say, Twitter's ability to delete a president's account becomes moot once there is a version of that product up and running on a blockchain. (And there are already projects to do just that). Not making a value judgement if any of this is good or bad, just sayin, plan accordingly I guess.

Locked