I thought the same thing recently.
I have the same!
For me it's the feeling of too many options, that some options may be less convenient for the other person than they initially would think, and that I have to try to understand this interface (IT aversion) instead of replying normally (even just clicking on the link feels annoying).
I did read the post, and I mostly agree with you about the content (Edit: at least in the sense that I think large parts of the argument are valid; I think there are some important disanalogies that Hanson didn't mention, like "right to bodily integrity" being way clearer than "moral responsibility toward your marriage partner"). I find it weird that just because I think a point is poorly presented, people think I disagree with the point. (Edit: It's particularly the juxtaposition of "gently raped" that comes also in the main part of the text. I also would prefer more remarks that put the reader at ease, e.g., repeating several times that it's all just a thought experiment, and so on.)
There's a spectrum of how much people care about a norm to present especially sensitive topics in a considerate way. You and a lot of other people here seem to be so far on one end of the spectrum that you don't seem to notice the difference between me and Ezra Klein (in the discussion between Sam Harris and Ezra Klein, I completely agreed with Sam Harris.) Maybe that's just because there are few people in the middle of this spectrum, and you usually deal with people who bring the same types of objections. But why are there so few people in the middle of this spectrum? That's what I find weird.
Some people here talk about a slippery slope and having to defend the ground at all costs. Is that the reasoning?
I want to keep up a norm that considerateness is really good. I think that's compatible with also criticizing bad outgrowths of considerate impulses. Just like it's compatible to care about truth-seeking, but criticize bad outgrowths of it. (If a virtue goes too far, it's not a virtue anymore.)
Thanks, that makes sense to me now! The three categories are also what I pointed out in my original comment:
Yes, it's a tradeoff, but Hanson's being so close to one extreme of the spectrum that it starts to be implausible that anyone can be that bad at communicating carefully just by accident. I don't think he's even trying, and maybe he's trying to deliberately walk as close to the line as possible.
Okay, so you cared mostly about this point about mind reading:
While I'm comfortable predicting those categories will exist, confidently asserting that someone falls into any particular category is hard,
This is a good point, but I didn't find your initial comment so helpful because this point against mind reading didn't touch on any of the specifics of the situation. It didn't address the object-level arguments I gave:
[...] I just feel like some of the tweet wordings were deliberately optimized to be jarring.)
but Hanson's being so close to one extreme of the spectrum that it starts to be implausible that anyone can be that bad at communicating carefully just by accident.
I felt confused about why I was presented with a fully general argument for something I thought I indicated I already considered. If I read your comment as "I don't want to comment on the specific tweets, but your interpretation might be a bit hasty" – that makes perfect sense. But by itself, it felt to me like I was being strawmanned for not being aware of obvious possibilities. Similar to khorton, I had the impulse to say "What does this have to do with trolleys, shouldn't we, if anything, talk about the specific wording of the tweets?" Because to me, phrases like "gentle, silent rape" seem obviously unnecessarily jarring even as far as twitter discussions about rape go." (And while one could try to defend this as just blunt or blithe, I think the reasoning would have to be disanalogous to your trolley or food examples, because it's not like it should be surprising to any Western person in the last two decades that rape is a particularly sensitive topic – very unlike the "changing animal food to vegan food" example you gave.)
Now, I'm not saying Hanson isn't deliberately edgy; he very well might be.
If you're not saying that, then why did you make a comment? It feels like you're stating a fully general counterargument to the view that some statements are clearly worth improving, and that it matters how we say things. That seems like an unattractive view to me, and I'm saying that as someone who is really unhappy with social justice discourse.
Edit: It makes sense to give a reminder that we may sometimes jump to conclusions too quickly, and maybe you didn't want to voice unambiguous support for the view that the comment wordings were in fact not easy to improve on given the choice of topic. That would make sense – but then I have a different opinion.
That all makes sense. I'm a bit puzzled why it has to be edgy on top of just talking with fewer filters. It feels to me like the intention isn't just to discuss ideas with people of a certain access need, but also some element of deliberate provocation. (But maybe you could say that's just a side product of curiosity about where the lines are – I just feel like some of the tweet wordings were deliberately optimized to be jarring.) If it wasn't for that one tweet that Hanson now apologized for, I'd have less strong opinions on whether to use the term "misstep." (And the original post used it in plural, so you have a point.)
Thanks, those are good points. I agree that this is not black and white, that there are some positives to being edgy.
That said, I don't think you make a good case for the alternative view. I wouldn't say that the problem with Hanson's tweets is that they cause "emotional damage."The problem is that they contribute to the toxoplasmosa of rage dynamics (esp. combined with some people's impulse to defend everything about them). My intuition is that this negative effect outweighs the positive effects you describe.
This seems like a tradeoff to me
Yes, it's a tradeoff, but Hanson's being so close to one extreme of the spectrum that it starts to be implausible that anyone can be that bad at communicating carefully just by accident. I don't think he's even trying, and maybe he's trying to deliberately walk as close to the line as possible. What's the point in that? If I'm right, I wouldn't want to gratify that. I think it's lacking nuance if you blanket object to the "misstep" framing, especially since that's still a relatively weak negative judgment. We probably want to be able to commend some people on their careful communication of sensitive topics, so we also have to be willing to call it out if someone is doing an absolutely atrocious job at it.
For reference, I have listened to a bunch of politically controversial podcasts by Sam Harris, and even though I think there's a bit of room to communicate even better, there were no remarks I'd label as 'missteps.' By contrast, several of Hanson's tweets are borderline at best, and at least one now-deleted tweet I saw was utterly insane. I don't think it's fair that everyone has to be at least as good at careful communication as Harris to be able to openly talk about sensitive topics (and it seems the bar from societal backlash is even higher now, which is of course terrible), but maybe we can expect people to at least do better than Hanson? That doesn't mean that Hanson should be disinvited from events, but I feel like it would suck if he didn't take more time to make his tweets less needlessly incendiary.
I'm not following the developments anymore. I could imagine that the IFR is now lower than it used to be in April because treatment protocols have improved.
Thinking about insights that were particularly relevant for me / my values: