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If you qualify as a Highly Sensitive Person, IMO it's also worth considering whether you're autistic; as far as I can tell, the two are synonyms.

You wrote that "No self-interested person is ever going to point this out because it pisses off the mods and CEA, who ultimately decide whose voices can be heard - collectively, they can quietly ban anyone from the forum / EAG without any evidence, oversight, or due process." To me, this implies that you believe all self-interested people would refrain from pointing it out for the reason it upsets the mods, who can ban anyone without evidence or oversight. For it to be true that the mods' capacity to ban people prevents self-interested people from posting on this topic, the mods would have to be likely to exercise that capacity with regards to this topic (well, or our hypothetical self-interested poster would have to mistakenly believe that they are).

That's correct, yes; people will often use sockpuppet accounts to create the appearance of either popular support for their opinions or, in some cases, unfair criticism. (The term's in common use most places I frequent, but as I discovered just now when looking up a reference, there's also an entire Wikipedia page about the phenomenon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sock_puppet_account)

Ben's original phrasing ("My current understanding is that they’ve had around ~4 remote interns, 1 remote employee, and 2 in-person employees (Alice and Chloe).") seems clearly to be referring to their total number of employees, not the concurrent number.

I sympathize with how you're feeling here, and I agree that taking Nonlinear's word for it without evidence would not have constituted fact-checking, but I think you may be falling into an arguments-as-soldiers mindset. If it's not overstepping to suggest (and I apologize if it is!), I think it might be helpful to take a step back from this discussion and do something less stressful for a while, so as to hopefully return with less of a sense of urgency.

Nonlinear indicate in their appendix that they've decided against suing. (Source; it's the paragraph immediately above the linked bookmark).

For my part I'm moderately inclined to be dismissive of the lawsuit threat, in main because the rule-of-thumb I've personally heard about threatening to sue is that, if you're serious about it, you should consult your lawyer before you send the threat; I'm not a lawyer myself, though, and am unsure whether it gives the right output here (especially given that their preferred outcome was for Ben to delay the post without their suing).


I tried starting from the beginning of the appendix, and almost immediately encountered a claim for which I feel Nonlinear has overstated their evidence.

Were Alice and Chloe "advised not to spend time with ‘low value people’, including their families, romantic partners, and anyone local to where they were staying, with the exception of guests/visitors that Nonlinear invited"? This is split into three separate rebuttals (family, romantic partners, and locals).

Nonlinear provides screenshots demonstrating that they encouraged Alice and Chloe to regularly spend time with their families, and encouraged Chloe to spend time with her boyfriend as well as letting him live with them... and also, in their own words (which I have reproduced verbatim below) they did, in fact, advise Alice to hang out with EAs they knew instead of family once, and instead of locals at least twice.

Their reporting of the family advice:

Of note, we think where this is coming from is that when Alice said she was going to visit her family in another country, we were surprised. We were having some of the top figures in the field come live with us for weeks right during the dates she’d chosen. 

She’d basically be skipping one of the best career and impact opportunities of her life. 

We, who were her mentors and employers, recommended she not miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity. That she’d probably have more impact if she visited her family at a different time. The friendships she made and the ideas she got exposed to might be the real big break in her ability to do good. 

We were doing our best to launch Alice’s career, and one of those ways to help her was providing her mentorship. Advice. She disagreed with the advice and said she’d prefer to visit family. And we said, “enjoy some quality family time!”

(Source; scroll up and it's directly above the linked screenshot, on the same page.)

In the short summary overview table, Nonlinear describes the claim that Alice was advised not to spend time with her family as a "Bizarre, false accusation." However, the appendix includes the above description of a time when Nonlinear told her to postpone a family visit in order to spend time with EAs Nonlinear had invited to live with them. They say it happened only once, and they provide evidence that they encouraged her to interact with her family on other occasions; I consider this context at least partially mitigating, but I think describing this as a false accusation is misleading.

The advice about locals:

False, Questionable, or Misleading Claim: “Alice and Chloe report that they were advised not to spend time with ‘low value people’, including their families, romantic partners, and anyone local to where they were staying…”

The Other Side: Alice was spending a lot of time hanging out with random Uber drivers and bartenders in rural Puerto Rico, while at the same time kept asking for advice and expressing a strong desire to have the largest impact possible. 

Of course we like interacting with locals (that’s partly why we travel) but at various points we gave advice like “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”, and “Kat has been constantly introducing you to top EAs, so if you want to maximize impact it’s usually higher leverage to spend time with them vs random bartenders” However, Alice seems to have twisted this completely normal advice into a sinister attempt to control her, as is her pattern. 


Nonlinear says that they did sometimes advise Alice to spend less time hanging out with locals as opposed to with EAs they introduced her to, but clarify that Alice had asked for advice and said that she wished to maximize her impact. (They subsequently indicate that both Alice and Chloe sometimes hung out with locals and attended local events. Again, this is mitigating context in my view; however, if I take Nonlinear's description at face value, it would seem to indicate that Alice's claim was true.)

Based on Nonlinear's own recounting of events, I think it's true that Alice and Chloe were advised to prioritize spending time with people who Nonlinear considered to be high-impact, instead of family and locals. (I don't know whether this also happened with romantic partners, but Nonlinear at least does not report having done so). Nonlinear provides mitigating context, and I do not consider this to be proof that they were abusive as employers, but this makes it difficult for me to trust that their assessments of the evidence will match mine for the rest of the document.


Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all large organizations led by experienced managers, and to the best of my knowledge all three have "HR professionals, safeguarding policies, regular working hours, offices in normal cities and work/life boundaries".

I think the choice to use Ben in particular predictably sheds more heat than light. The fact that any example might have provoked disagreement doesn't mean they would all have produced the same amount thereof, and I think the choice they made does not reflect an interest in minimizing drama.

I further think that it's especially important to avoid controversy wherever one possibly can in posts like this, precisely because they'll predictably antagonize people even when one does; intensity of feeling often motivates people to give the facts less consideration than would be appropriate, and I think the unavoidable level of antagonism is already higher than optimal for getting people to reason with their heads rather than their guts, so to speak.