486 karmaJoined Mar 2022


Loved it! And the recipes. And learning how to cook with it more effectively too, super helpful.

I have fluctuated between extremely hard working and not hard working. The key factor for me is being physically with other people who are also working, with a set time you need to arrive. 

Could you explain what you perceive as the correct remedy in instance #1?

The implication seems like the solution you prefer is having the community member isolated from official community events. But I'm not sure what work "uncomfortable" is doing here. Was the member harassing the community builder? Because that would seem like justification for banning that member. But if the builder is just uncomfortable due to something like a personal conflict, it doesn't seem right to ban the member.

But maybe I'm not understanding what your corrective action would be here?

Can you share what you mean by "intimidating behavior"? How does the community health team define, "intimidating behavior"?

This is not a question for you, but the forum generally.

I agree call-out culture makes me uncomfortable and has many negative aspects. But what alternative is there to improving community health and function? Previous methods, like relying on private systems or CEA, seem to have been catastrophically ineffective. What else could people who have experienced systematically bad behavior, do? How else will we learn to work on ways to try to prevent this sort of thing?

I agree and disagree. I agree that making false claims is serious and people should take great care to avoid it. And your ultimate conclusion that we should reserve final judgment until we see counter evidence sounds right to me.

But I disagree with holding all misconduct reports to incredibly high standards, such that in a report with as many allegations as this, people feel the report is basically wrong if it includes a few misinterpretations. 

In an ideal world, yes, all summaries of patterns of misconduct would not contain any errors. But in reality, I've found that almost all allegations of behaviors that turn out to be -- for all intents and purposes -- true, contain some level of mistakes, misattributions, specific allegations that are overstated.

People who allege misconduct are under intense scrutiny. And absolutely, scrutiny is warranted. But as someone who has reported misconduct and spoken to other people that report misconduct, the expectation of perfection is, to put it mildly, chilling. It means people do not come forward, it means people who do come forward are further traumatized, it means allegations that are 80% truthful are dismissed outright. 

Does a third or more of what Ben wrote comport with your general understanding? If so, these allegations are still concerning to me.

And on the Kat screenshots/food question, I do not think they delegitimize what Ben wrote here. At worst, Ben somewhat overstated the food situation. But, my overall impression from those screenshots was what Alice said was basically true. Kat's framing of what the screenshots say make me doubt Kat's account more, not less.

I'll also say as someone who has experienced harassment, that people really underestimate how much bias they have towards their friends accused of misconduct. Friends of the harasser would say things to defend their friend that to most people would seem pretty obviously wrong, like "he probably wasn't going to follow through on the threat, so him making the threat is not really an issue."

I'd like to have a conversation that's broader than just this specific allegation. There are some claims that are uncontested here, but point to a work environment highly vulnerable to misconduct. Eg, living with your employees. 

While this is not the norm for EA orgs, it seems like these dynamics are also not super rare. I expect all broad communities like EA will have some level of misconduct, but we should also strive to minimize it however possible. 

So, is there anything EA as a whole can do to minimize things like this? I'd also be curious to know whether CEA knew about any of this (and I'd guess they did since even I -- who is not well-connected to Nonlinear -- heard whispers). And if so, what steps they took to mitigate this. Or do we think this is out of the jurisdiction of the CEA community health team?

I am not a lawyer but have read about defamation law and asked lawyers questions about it. I don't believe your description of defamation law is as clear cut as you're making it out to be. 

The standard for fault in defamation cases involving private figures is that the defamer had to be "negligent." That is, they have to have failed to do something they were required to do. Negligence is a vague standard, and it is up to the jury to decide what that means. Framing the point of defamation law as "encourage very high epistemic standards" is just too strong a statement. A jury could interpret it that way, but a jury could interpret it as a much much lower standard. 

Furthermore, in my view, basic elements of this post make it a weak case, regardless of whether the claims within it are true of false. Ben is not stating these claims as undisputed, unqualified facts. He is reporting information others have shared with him. It's only straightforward defamation if he is just making up what people said to him. It'd be more in the defamation camp if Ben himself was saying "Nonlinear mistreated me."

It seems absolutely inappropriate to me for Nonlinear to threaten to sue in this case. This is a tactic abusers use, and high-integrity people pursue it in much narrower cases. 

I think it's useful to share positive experiences but I also want to note that in almost all cases of proven misconduct, you will be able to find people who had positive experiences in similar situations. People who behave very poorly are not behaving that poorly all the time. 

I really appreciate this post, and think you did a great job writing it. This is one of the most comprehensive summaries of animal consciousness research I have seen, and I will likely be referring back to it. If you're interested, I have compiled a few sources that try to demonstrate that "animals are conscious" is the consensus view among people who study it. (I was dating someone who weakly believed that animals weren't conscious, so I sent him a 7 page email on animal consciousness).

I would summarize the errors you're describing as such:

  • Zombie error: Misunderstanding the views of others when refuting their arguments
  • Decision theory error: His theory has contradictions and weird implications?
  • Animal error: Epistemics. Refusing to engage with evidence.


The zombie and animal errors feel like fundamental, egregious errors. The decision theory error just feels like a philosophical disagreement? Your critique of it sounds like a lot of philosophical critiques of other philosophical theories. So a disagreement, but not evidence of egregious errors. But I'm not a philosopher and haven't read philosophy in a long, long time. So I may be mistaken about the nature of your disagreement.

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