Joel Becker

@ Various
1482 karmaJoined Jun 2020Working (6-15 years)Working (0-5 years)London, UK


Nonlinear staff were participants on the FTX EA program, which I ran, and where I was in part responsible for participant welfare. Some of the important events took place in this period. This led me to start supporting Alice and Chloe. I have continued to be involved in the case on-and-off since then.

Jeff is also a great presenter

Seconding this... I once saw Jeff give a 30 minute talk, completely unprepared, without using a filler word even once. Easy podcast guest to edit!

Thank you very much for sharing, Chloe.

Ben, Kat, Emerson, and readers of the original post have all noticed that the nature of Ben's process leads to selection against positive observations about Nonlinear. I encourage readers to notice that the reverse might also be true. Examples of selection against negative information include:

  1. Ben has reason to exclude stories that are less objective or have a less strong evidence base. The above comment is a concrete example of this.
    1. There's also something related here about the supposed unreliability of Alice as a source: Ben needs to include this to give a complete picture/because other people (in particular the Nonlinear co-founders) have said this. I strongly concur with Ben when he writes that he "found Alice very willing and ready to share primary sources [...] so I don’t believe her to be acting in bad faith." Personally, my impression is that people are making an incorrect inference about Alice from her characteristics (that are perhaps correlated with source-reliability in a large population, but aren't logically related, and aren't relevant in this case).
  2. To the extent that you expect other people to have been silenced (e.g. via anticipated retaliation), you might expect not to hear relevant information from them.
  3. To the extent that you expect Alice and Chloe to have had burnout-style experiences, you might expect not to read clarifications on or news about negative experiences.
    1. Until this post came out, this was true of ~everything in the post. 
    2. There is a reason the post was published 1.5 years after the relevant events took place -- people involved in the events really do not want to spend further mental effort on this.

I think that you should add an edit removing Drew's name, for this reason if nothing else. (Happy to expand.) Thank you.

Repost from LW:

My understanding (definitely fallible, but I’ve been quite engaged in this case, and am one of the people Ben interviewed) has been that Alice and Chloe are not concerned about this, and in fact that they both wish to insulate Drew from any negative consequences. This seems to me like an informative and important consideration. (It also gives me reason to think that the benefits of gaining more information about this are less likely to be worth the costs.)

Here's another thing.

That’s a red line in my book, and I will not personally work with Nonlinear in the future because of it, and I recommend their exclusion from any professional communities that wish to keep up the standard of people not being silenced about extremely negative work experiences.

Let's suppose that Nonlinear have crossed red lines, and that additional information from them won't change this. (In reality I think that this is up in the air for the next week or so; I won't allow my limited imagination to diminish the hope.)

Do you not believe in the possibility of rehabilitation in this case?

I haven't read up on what norms here work well in other high-trust communities. But at least in criminal vs. society settings I would want to be a strong proponent of rehabilitation. It seems pretty plausible to me that, after thinking more about best norms in high-trust communities, I could come to think that "create horrendous work environment" and "create credible fear of severe retaliation" were things that could change (and be monitored) upon rehabilitation, and that it would be good for this to happen after X period of time.

Thank you Ben -- please check comment mentions of Drew, too!

Yes, I think that the post does not do enough to make it clear that the central allegations are not about Drew Spartz. Happy to expand.

Agreed. I would have wanted the post itself to make this more clear.

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