Patrick Sue Domin

343 karmaJoined Feb 2023


I suspect most of the people who should be considering this will not

I think if you're focused only on reducing sexual assault then your point makes sense (I don't think an abuser will read my post and think "oh okay I won't assault people then"), but I think if you're focused on things like reducing the extent to which EAs feel pressured or creeped out by being subjected to certain behaviours then it's still helpful for people who are not the "worst offenders" to avoid these behaviours. I think both are problem worth addressing and other mechanisms are needed to address sexual assault.

I consider my recent critical post to be a deep criticism (it criticises an aspect of EA culture that is emotional/intimate and it could impact the relative statuses of people within EA including prominent figures) and I wrote it under pseudonym, so I'll add my personal perspective. I don't think this post captures why I wrote my post under pseudonym and I don't think decentralising EA would have caused me to post it under my real name.

I'm also not sure exactly what message we should take from many people using pseudonyms. Here are some possibilities:

  1. People are rightly worried about retaliation
  2. People are wrongly worried about retaliation
  3. The community is unusually open to criticism and will seriously consider criticisms made even under pseudonym, so people feel more comfortable using pseudonyms for various other reasons including personal ones
  4. Other possibilities I haven't thought of

There's probably a combination but I don't know how we could determine how much is of each. On a positive note I think most other communities would simply disregard deep criticisms made under pseudonym or would try to dox the authors of such pieces, which is not something I worry about here.

I don't think this is coming from either a leftwing or a rightwing angle. There are aspects that are more progressive and aspects that are more conservative, but the motivation is more pragmatic about how to improve the community than about trying to advance either "side".

I'll reiterate that I'm not saying being poly is bad or that you should have to stop being poly if you want to be in EA. The point is closer to "don't dip your pen in the company ink" (though not that extreme) than "don't dip your pen at all".

Yes, this is a different person. I chose a pseudonym with a different first name than my real first name for the obvious reason.

I think using "dating" as synonymous with "casually sleeping with" is not a great choice since there is the option of dating people while holding off on sleeping with them. I think companies tend to have prohibitions when there are direct conflicts of interests but there are usually also more informal norms against casually sleeping with coworkers outside of that, unless it's a huge company that isn't tight-knit at all.

I think you're misstating what the post actually says, but 

The overwhelming response is a resounding no

seems wrong. The one poll shows overwhelming support for the recommendation.

I think the side that doesn't want to give up sleeping around is being louder in the comments but if you look at agreevotes of the more prominent comments on each side, the side that's agreeing with this post is seeing much more support than the side that's against it.

I feel like there's some implicit claim that only a subset of people (socially awkward men?) aren't romantically perceptive

I don't think that's true and I think all the claims on the next list are much more likely true and more relevant to the argument:

  1. On average men are more likely to be more assertive or aggressive when pursuing women than when the roles are reversed
  2. On average women are more likely to be creeped out by being the target of unreciprocated sexual interest from a man than when the roles are reversed
  3. On average women worry much more that rebuffing a man could lead to him getting angry and yelling at her than the other way around
  4. On average women worry about being physically overpowered by a man much more than the other way around
  5. On average if someone is trying to actively display uncomfortability with a situation in a subtle way, women are more likely to pick up on this than men are
  6. On average women are more likely than men to find it very uncomfortable when subtle hints of uncomfortability are ignored

I'm less confident in 5 and 6 than 1-4, but I think the argument works even if those are ignored.

I also think the gender imbalance is important here. If men outnumber women in EA by around 5 to 2, then if everyone pursues X people of the opposite gender, the average man will be pursued by 2X/5 women and the average woman will be pursued by 5X/2 men. That's the difference in being pursued by 2 people at the same time and being pursued by 12 or 13 people at the same time. Whatever harms there are are magnified very much for the women, in addition to each instance possibly causing more average harm when it's towards the women due to points 1-6 above. Also simply being pursued by so many people in itself can be exhausting (I think breadthofdebate's comment demonstrates this point). Even if there's no "bad behaviour" and being pursued by one or two people is exciting and an ego boost, being pursued by a dozen might instead be demoralizing.

if you want to interfere with my private life to that extent there's a very strong burden of proof upon you

That's why my advice was for people to consider it personally instead of suggesting a ban or something like that. For clarity's sake I think a top down ban would be bad, and I don't think anyone else is proposing a ban either.

I think if more people followed the recommendations then the gender imbalance within the community would decrease. This might increase the number of primary relationships by more than the number of marginal relationships lost.

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