Vlad Firoiu

136 karmaJoined


I'm confused. You say "what's at issue is the overall character of Nonlinear staff", but that Kat displaying virtues like forgiveness is "is not relevant to the questions at issue (who did what)". (I think both people's character and "who did what" are relevant, and a lot of the post addresses "who did what").

Incidentally, your interpretation of Kat as being manipulative happens to be an example of the lack of goodwill that my original comment was referring to. Whether or not goodwill is in general desirable, I think viewing things through such an overly negative lens puts you at risk of confirmation bias.

I also didn't like that section at first, but if you read through it carefully you'll notice that the language is very nebulous and that Kat doesn't actually commit to very much. She only really claims that it is true that other people said bad things about Ben, not that she agrees that Ben is bad or that he did something bad. The fact that it sounds so bad I think makes Kat's point pretty well. Her breakdown/defense of Ben afterwards also does a lot to diffuse the mud-slinging. (That said I would have chosen a different example.)

I really like the "no villains" conclusion. It might be naive and definitely would be difficult, but I would love to see us all have that attitude of goodwill and forgiveness towards one another.

A lot of people have been angry about these texts made by Kat towards Alice: 

> “Given your past behavior, your career in EA would be over in a few DMs, but we aren’t going to do that because we care about you”
> “We’re saying nice things about you publicly and expect you will do the same moving forward”

This sounds like a threat and it’s not how I would have worded it had I been in Kat’s shoes. However, I think it looks much more reasonable if you view it through the hypothesis that a) the bad things Alice is saying about Nonlinear are untrue and b) the bad things Kat has been holding off on saying about Alice are true. Basically, I think Kat’s position is that “If you [Alice] keep spreading lies about us, we will have to defend ourselves by countering with the truth, and unfortunately if these truths got out it would make you look bad (e.g. by painting you as dishonest). That’s why we’ve been trying to avoid going down this route, because we actually care about you and don’t want to hurt your reputation (so you can find jobs), so let’s both just say nice things about each other from now on and put this behind us.”. My sense is that Kat, out of fear that her reputation was being badly and unfairly damaged, emphasized the part where bad things happen to Alice in an attempt to get her to stop spreading misinformation. Again, while this isn’t how I’d have worded those messages, given this context I think it’s much more understandable than it might first seem.

Disclaimer: I'm friends with Kat and know some of her side of the story.

It sounds like you're claiming something like "all information is valuable information, because even if the information is false you've learned something (e.g. that the source is untrustworthy)". I think this is too strong of a claim. Trying to figure out what's true amidst lots of falsehoods is very difficult and takes time. Most people in real life aren't playing perfect Werewolf with a complex Bayesian model that encompasses all hypotheses. Quite the opposite, from what I've seen both in myself and others, our natural tendency is to quickly collapse on one hypothesis and then interpret everything through that lens (confirmation bias). I think this is what's happening with a lot of the reactions to this post, and I don't think it's valuable.

If you'd instead said "this post is valuable if you view it as a game of Werewolf, keep your hypothesis space open and update as new evidence comes in" then I'd be more in agreement. I think this is still a very difficult task though, and I'd rather that Ben had waited for Nonlinear's counter-evidence and taken that that into consideration instead of forcing us to play Werewolf with his post. (Basically, I'm suggesting that Ben does the hard job of playing Werewolf for us. This is explicitly not what he did, as he himself says in his disclaimer of explicitly seeking out anti-nonlinear evidence.)

Disclaimer: I am friends with Kat and know some of the counter-evidence.

I'm a friend of Kat's and spoke to her about this situation. At the end of the conversation she asked me to post a comment (which I'd been meaning to do anyways), but made it clear that I should do it only if I wanted to and that there was no pressure at all for me to do so. The way she did this was quite wholesome, to the point that it stuck with me; I could feel that she really meant what she said (i.e. she really cared that I only post if I wanted to), and I did not in fact feel any pressure in the request.