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Interesting! Potentially ignorant question, from someone who loves rats and humans: Do urban rats spread disease and/or bite people? I was surprised that those potential risks didn't figure into the survey or people’s responses and attitudes. What are the risks to the humans of letting rats live among them? If there are real health risks to people from having a large rat population around, I would expect a culture would be wise to use stories of witchcraft to spread the wisdom that rats are “bad news” to human health. It’s sad when one mammal’s welfare (humans) is at odds with another mammal’s welfare (rats) but I feel more trust in a species-specific welfare agenda when I have info about the trade offs to other species in their ecosystem.

Thanks for posting and competing! I’m excited to see creative writing on the Forum. I enjoyed the setting of the lake, the kindness and camaraderie between neighbors, and watching the young person grow enthusiasm for a project.

I think it’s fine (maybe good) to explore activities in fiction that I wouldn’t do in real life or would find cruel in real life. So while I don’t fish anymore because I find it cruel, I think it’s fully possible to learn lessons from fiction about things I would find disturbing in real life. So I disagree with the other comment , and would still read a tale about fishing, if it taught me something.

I didn’t see much emphasis in the story on evidence and reasoning, so that part didn’t come through clearly for me.

Hope you keep editing this one, or writing other stories as you create worlds around ideas you care about!

This is my favorite part:"While I understand the concern, I must emphasize that the Forum exists on the Internet, a system of interconnected computer networks where space is effectively unlimited."

I think this is in fact a very useful reminder. And it made me laugh, and read it again and laugh again. Thank you :)

I also experienced the hesitation to contribute. The more involved I've gotten, the more inspired I've been by the many people I've met who are creating ideas and solutions to problems they care about. I have started doing more of that in my own EA circle, being less afraid of 'being wrong'. It's been very satisfying.

Interesting, and thanks, Denise for a different take. When I read Ozzie's comment, I thought he meant that the people leaping to Robin's defense should consider that they might be over-emotion, chill out a bit, and practice their rationality skills. Which, I would agree with. I don't think there's *no* concern that reasonable people could have here. I can think of several concerns, some of which have been pointed out in the comments on this post. But I think people who are freaked out by this one decision seem just as likely to be reacting with the kind of knee-jerk fear, tribalism, confirmation bias, and slippery slope thinking that they'd be quick to criticize in others. This is human, but honestly, it's disappointing. I'm appreciating the more measured responses on this post, though there's still some catastrophizing that seems kind of tiresome. There's so much of that going around in the world, I'd like to see EAs or rationalists handle it better.

Personally, I feel the same. I can engage with Robin's ideas online. I think he produces some interesting content. Also, some dumb content. I can choose to learn from either. I can notice if he 'offends' me and then decide I'm still interested in whether what he has to say might be useful somehow. ...That doesn't mean I have to invite the guy over to my house to talk with me about his ideas, because I realize that I wouldn't enjoy being around him in person. I think this is more common than people realize among people who know Robin. If Munich wanted to read and discuss his stuff, but not invite him to 'hang out,' I get it.