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Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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134 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    So the NYT has figured out it can dox bloggers it doesn’t like in the hopes of silencing them?Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      I wonder, though, what motivation does the NYT have for silencing SSC?

      He is, honestly, pretty lukewarm. He posts plenty of bad takes. He’s kind of spineless. His extended online community is full of fascists (which ironically his irl community is a batch of the weirdest queerbies in North America). But even given all that, there isn’t much value in silencing him.

      I say this as a person who very much dislikes him and the online community he created. Still, shutting down SSC — nothing is gained by this for anyone.

      What would motivate the NYC editorial staff to do this?Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d
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        says:

        Doesn’t have to be a motivation for this specifically. Sometimes the leviathan just crushes things because it is the leviathan.

        The more pertinent question is, why does the NYT have a policy of doxxing bloggers for a story who specifically request not to be doxxed, when they aggressively protect other sources who request anonymity.

        Such a policy strikes me as a tool specifically to target anonymous bloggers they don’t like, that might occasionally impact bloggers they are ambivalent to.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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          says:

          The cruelty is the point.Report

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            From the milquetoast editors of the NYT?Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d
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              says:

              Structural racism does not require that anyone in the structure be racist. Likewise, structural cruelty need not require anyone in the structure to be cruel, merely unwilling to challenge the system.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                I agree about structure. However, when we bash Trumpaloos by saying, “The cruelty is the point,” we mean that they outright enjoy causing suffering. They favor putting immigrants into cages, because they think immigrant deserve it. They want cops to blind protestors.

                Yes, it is structural, but when we say the, “cruelty is the point,” we’re naming the aspects that go beyond structure. We’re naming the deliberate part.

                Do the NYT editors want Scott to suffer? I find that unlikely.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                Did he tell them what tying his professional name to his pseudonym would do?

                Did this change their behavior?Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I got the impression that he told the writer, who informed him of editorial policy. Who knows what happened behind the scenes among the editors.Report

              • Avatar David Friedman in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                As several news stories have pointed out, the NYT has repeatedly run stories, including one pretty recently about a blog, in which they gave the blogger’s pseudonym but not his real name.

                Two of the people interviewed for the story report that they were told that it would not be necessary to giver their real names.

                So the explanation that Cade Metz gave Scott appears to have been a lie.

                I think the most likely explanation is not that they wanted to get Scott but that they wanted to make the story more interesting in order to get more clicks, and didn’t much care if that happened to hurt the person the story was about.Report

              • Avatar David Friedman in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Yes he told the journalist. Read his explanation, linked above.

                So far it has not changed their behavior.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                Most structural racism has no desire to see anyone oppressed. Hell, I bet in a lot of cases everyone involved in such racism wants the opposite.

                But people really like to see every policy as a Chesterson’s Gate kinda problem, so change is hard.

                So I return to, why the policy in the first place?Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                I agree. I’m drawing a line between “systemic {whatever}” and “the cruelty is the point.”

                When Trumpaloos encounter structural racism, they double down and say, “Yep! More of that!” That’s the cruelty. To them, police violence is good because it targets the subhuman.

                Cruelty — it’s the point.

                Is this the case for the NYT. If the editors discover that doxxing Scott will hurt them, will they say, “Fuck yeah. Let’s get that guy.”

                Maybe, but I’m not convinced.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d
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        says:

        Scott Alexander deeply needs an editor. He meanders too much in his posts. I mind myself loosing patience long before I get to the end of the post even if I find it interesting. He has too much tolerance for some really dangerous people on his blog. The comments section was the equivalent of the Weimar Reichstag, with everybody from squishy liberal pacifists to outright Nazis debating.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq
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          says:

          The way I see it, his primary flaw is a kind of spinelessness. He wants everyone to get along. However, he sucks at subtext. Moreover, while he intellectually understands how fash can manipulate people, he doesn’t want to confront them directly. So he lets them stick around and they fester.

          The big thing is male nerd resentment. That is a big part of how Scott built his brand. Thus, that is a big part of his audience. That is also prime feeding ground for online fash recruitment.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d
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            says:

            I think Scott is really big on the free market of ideas and letting anybody make their point when other blogs would have bashed down on somebody like Uncle Steve or similar people. In some ways it reminds me of usenet, where you had a bigger ideological spectrum in the group than you do on blogs. Most usenet groups would keep it Uncle Steve types though.Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq
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              says:

              Someone I think Scott respects once said, that if you try to run a community that allows witches, you’ll end up with a community with three libertarians and a ton of witches.

              Sadly I can’t quote directly, because the person who said that just deleted his blog.

              Anyway, if you let the HBD crowd in — well they don’t argue in good faith. They gish gallop constantly, bad studies from bad journals, mixed with a smattering of good studies they have misrepresented, on and on. It’s tiresome. Trying to “logically argue” with them is a waste of time, because they’ll just drown you with verbiage, and they won’t change. The next day they’ll be back with the same wall-of-text.

              The correct response to such people is shunning, but Scott won’t do that.

              Anyway, given that, and given Scott’s nerd resentment, it was kind of inevitable which way his forum would fall.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                “sure it’s bad what happened baby, but y’know, we told you all along that you were runnin’ with the wrong crowd, and it finally bit ya. cry about it all you like, it’s not gonna change what happened, and you could have stopped it any time you liked, but ya didn’t.”Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                I also often have conversations with myself. However, I don’t post them online pretending to be talking to someone.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
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          says:

          I like this symbol for me more than the other symbol. Is there a way that the administrators can make this my symbol. I think it reflects my personality better.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David in reply to LeeEsq
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            says:

            I think you would need to snip the screenshot and upload it to Gravatar.Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq
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            says:

            The avatar is automatically generated based on a hash of your e-mail address. In layman’s terms, it converts your e-mail address to a number, and then uses that number to choose which parts to put together to make a face. Kind of like Mr Potato head. Just keep using the same e-mail address, and you get the same avatar. Admins have no control over it.

            For example, I’m changing one letter in my e-mail address for this comment, so I’ll get a completely different avatar.

            Or, like Aaron said, you can save the image and set it at the Gravatar site.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to veronica d
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        I’m as puzzled as you. He already stopped calling out the Social Justice (sic, and sic) movement’s intellectual dishonesty and general awfulness years ago in response to the sustained campaign of harassment alluded to in the linked post.

        He did recently speak out against the smear campaign against Steve Hsu, so there’s that, but from what I understand, the guy who was writing the article is generally pretty cool and doesn’t really do kulturkampf.

        I’d be inclined to believe the explanation about having a strict real-name policy, if they actually had a record of consistently applying it, but apparently they don’t, so I’m not sure what’s going on.

        The author doesn’t even tweet very much, which makes me more inclined to believe that he’s a more or less decent person.Report

      • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to veronica d
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        He’s kind of spineless. His extended online community is full of fascists

        I’ve only rarely engaged the comments section at SSC, and haven’t really followed Alexander elsewhere, although I’ve been dipping my toe in at Less Wrong and he shows up there.

        All that is to say, I don’t know really whereof I speak in addressing your comment. And if you’re referring primarily to his online community (and you said you were) or perhaps to his management of the comments section at SSCA, I don’t have much to say.

        However…..I really appreciate his general approach to what he writes about. I’m very receptive to people who don’t take sharp argumentative approaches to a lot of the types of issues he addresses. I’ve tried recently to read an e-book by Eliezar Yudkowski (sp.?…apologies to him), and I was so turned off by his in-you-face style of showing people how wrong they were, even though I suspect (from his own account) that Alexander might share similar views as his. But Alexander seems less willing to call people stupid (or irrational, or “non-Bayesian.”).

        If this all results in SSC disappearing forever, it’s a loss for me and I regret it.

        ETA: deleted stray sentence.

        Also ETA: What you say below about sexual exploitation in the rationalist community does seem like a red flag for me. Not concerning Alexander or SSC, but Less Wrong, which I’ve started to read more and more of. I’m not sure I understand what “rationalist” means (to them), and I’m very wary, for a lot of reasons. But I have found their recent (last 3 or 4 months….I probably started when Covid started, but I’ve read earlier posts, too) posts interesting.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to gabriel conroy
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          says:

          I can introduce a contrast: Scott Aaronson. He is in the same broad subculture as Scott Alexander. Like Alexander, he has had run ins with feminist cancel culture. He often stans for the same folks that Alexander does. So what is the difference?

          Aaronson clearly opposes any hints of racism, fascism, HBD, and so on. When you browse Aaronson’s comments, you seldom encounter that stuff.

          Alexander wrote a tedious post arguing that Trump wasn’t racist. It was idiotic. He wrote a lot of waffly garbage like that. His comments, and worse his Reddit, was a fash breeding ground.

          He spun off the worst parts of his Reddit channel, but continued to recommend it.

          He’s clearly not fash, but he continuously enables them. He gave them access to a fertile environment.Report

          • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to veronica d
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            says:

            I tried reading Aaronson’s blog for a while, but it just wasn’t for me. Mostly that’s because what he wrote about was/is usually way over my head. I haven’t had enough experience in his comments section or in Alexander’s comments section to compare them, though.

            I do remember the post that Alexander wrote saying Trump wasn’t a racist. He was wrong. It wasn’t clear to me, at the time, that he was wrong, though.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to gabriel conroy
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              says:

              He didn’t say Trump wasn’t a racist. He said Trump was grandpa-racist, not David-Duke-racist. Accounting for the histrionic predictions that were being made at the time, It has actually aged pretty well.Report

              • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Brandon Berg
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                says:

                As I recall (if I’m thinking of the right post), he was saying that Trump was more or less a regular politician and that a good number of his opponents were crying wolf. I believed that at the time. I don’t believe it anymore.

                (To be clear, the question of whether people are crying wolf doesn’t speak directly to whether he’s racist or what kind of racist he is.)

                ETA: And to be clear, Alexander actually had evidence. He may have been ignoring or underplaying countervailing evidence, but he did have evidence for his view.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to gabriel conroy
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                says:

                Here’s an archived version of the post:

                http://archive.is/JtmBz

                I think this has held up very well.Report

              • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Brandon Berg
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                says:

                Thanks for the link. It’s the post I remember. I didn’t re-read it, so I (still) am going from memory, but I don’t think it’s held up well. I mean, as a way to chastise those of us (myself sometimes included) for crying wolf, it works well.

                I personally think Alexander has been proved wrong. I believe it’s true that Trump isn’t a SYSTEMATIC racist, or other “-ist.” But he has, in my view, proving all too willing to indulge and promote the racism of others, without even the window-dressing of speaking to supposedly widely shared ideals. Of course, my wolf-crying qualities would have led me to claim such window dressing was evidence of an underlying bigotry. So again, Alexander has a point.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d
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            says:

            I’ve noticed that Scott has been way too sympathetic to ideas I think are dangerous like anarchs-capitalism over time than I would like,. There are many questionable people that I remember from usenet, I was in my late teens and early twenties when usenet was dying, on Scott’s blog. These are people that were at best meh and at worst what I’d call actively evil in their beliefs on Slate Star Codex.

            Trump not racist? That seems like the people who are arguing that Trump doesn’t mind LGBT people that much compared to other Republicans. It might be technically true but he keeps opposing some deeply committed homophobes and transphobes to positions of power, so the practical difference is null and void.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to gabriel conroy
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          says:

          Let me add, Scott was consistently pro trans. In fact, he wrote one of the most thoughtful pro trans blog posts I’ve seen come from a cis person. However, his comment section was a rough place for a trans person. Whenver the issue came up, the same batch of transphobes would show up with the same dumb arguments. Nothing progressed. Conclusions were never reached. He allowed his commenters to continuously re-litigate the same bad arguments ad nauseam.

          And gosh, that community always had a gaggle of energetic transphobes.Report

      • Avatar David Friedman in reply to veronica d
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        “full of fascists”

        Could you define your terms? As someone who posted to SSC I’m curious whether I classify.

        So far as self-identified position is concerned, we have had at least one communist and one admirer of Stalin, several Marxists, several Trump supporters, several anarcho-capitalists and a larger number of less extreme libertarians, but I don’t remember anyone ever identifying as a fascist.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to David Friedman
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          says:

          You don’t have to self-identify as fash to be be fash. In fact, if you’re fash and you want to spread the word, it’s very useful to “hide your power level.” That’s fash playbook 101.

          There certainly are plenty of NRx types eagerly recruiting on TheMotte. Moreover, scum like Steve Sailor is found often enough in the main comments section. There are others.

          However, it was probably a mistake for me to merely say “fash.” After all, we have at least one open white nationalist on this forum (sadly). That alone doesn’t damn a forum (although, really, the correct amount of fash for any social space is zero).

          Let me shift gears. How many regular comments on SSC, r/slatestarcodex, and r/TheMotte believe in HBD/”race realism”/IQ fetishism?

          Hey, that’s a bigger number, right!

          Why?

          I think because Scott finds those to be a super interesting topics to debate ad nauseam.

          And yes, I know he backs away from the topic under social pressure. I also know he considers himself a victim because he has to. All the same, if you want to spread the word about “human biodiversity,” you have an ally in Scott.

          When he wrote his “Kolmogorov Complicity” thing, he specifically referenced science under the soviets. He drew an analogy to science here. But which science? Which particular topics?

          He didn’t say, but we know what he was talking about. Everyone reading that knew. Don’t play dumb.

          Biodeterminism, IQ fetishism, race realism, and sexual dimorphism of mental capacity.

          Don’t even get me started on fucking autogynophelia.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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            I, too, have noticed that everybody who has criticized his Kolmogorov Complicity essay has known exactly what the science-he-can’t-talk-about is.

            I imagine that if you had a science grad student who had never encountered “rationalism” before and had her read the essay, she’d immediately know what particular topics the essay was talking about too.

            Without having to read a single other essay of his or the comments.Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              It’s funny, because as much as the rationalists are the “smartypants” types, who I would expect understand Lisp, you would think they could understand second order effects. Once they admit openly that they are going to dogwhistle about race science, then they lose their plausible deniability every time they dogwhistle about race science.

              Them: “I didn’t literally say black people were inferior.”

              Me: “True, but you’re part of a community whose leader has publicly endorsed hiding these things. Plus you keep stanning for Charles Murray. It’s kind of obvious.”

              Oh, and this guy is a fascist:

              https://www.reddit.com/r/TheMotte/comments/hdlwx8/culture_war_roundup_for_the_week_of_june_22_2020/fvpsve7/

              How can I tell? Easy. “America … was painstakingly built by the blood, sweat, and tears of it’s original stock…”

              Some things are obvious.

              What follows is a tedious pseudo-intellectual debate among smartypants nerds. What should follow is, “Shut up you fucking fascist swine.”

              I do believe we should confront the ideas of fascism, and debate surely plays a role. But this isn’t that. This is masturbatory nerdwank. It ain’t good.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                The only thing that one really has to worry about if the people who are saying “Shut up, you fascist swine!” start being joined by people who are saying things that would have been mocked as being fascist fewer than 3 cycles ago.

                Or, I suppose, if the cycles get short enough that you can easily find examples of today’s fashy position being a fashionable one post-twitter (but pre-today).

                (The “premature anti-whatever” position might be able to take off… now that people don’t read anymore… but it’s likely to turn into arguments over whether someone who opposed police unions in 2018 really deserves clout in 2020 for opposing them. “It’s not about clout. It’s about ending police unions.” “That’s what someone who only cares about clout would say! Ooooh, wait. There’s a flash mob pulling down the Emancipation statue! Gotta run!”)Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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                Yeah, I agree there is an inevitable slippery slope, but that goes both ways. I don’t have a good answer. Nor can I give a perfect place to draw the line. That said, race science should certainly be way outside of the Overton window.

                And indeed, the reason for this is moral. It’s also social. There are not-good reasons that the Stalinists purged certain viewpoints —

                About which, sometimes the Stalinist motivations were absurd. They suppressed the knowledge of linear programming, for {reasons}. Honestly I can’t even begin to understand why. You would think the cult of central planning would jump at tools like linear programming. They did the opposite.

                However, linear programing and race science are different, because … *deep breath* *another deep breath* … I mean jimminy fucknuggets look at how fucking racist our society has been. Look at the inertia of racism. Look at how the founders of the Pioneer Fund thought Hitler was peachy keen.

                I mean, just look!

                “Oh, but we must be empirical” (about bad studies published by racist liars).

                Grrrrrr!

                The social reasons we should summarily reject this stuff is because of racism and the clear desire for so many people to justify racism.

                Sure, investigate this stuff empirically — but it only needs to be done once, by experts. We don’t need to keep doing it. Nor should we have a gaggle of half educated nerds debating this topic endlessly. It’s nerdwank. It’s a cesspool.

                It will attract very terrible people to your forum.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                Eh, it seems like crucifying wrongthinkers and people who hint at being able to conceive of wrongthought independently gets used as a way to distract from the fact that, no, we’re not going to change the zoning laws.

                It does appear, on the surface, to be “doing something” though.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I’m pretty sure I’ve never suggested crucifying anyone, only banning “race realists” from any forums you run.

                I remind everyone, I don’t approve of the NYT publishing Scott’s name. I certainly don’t want people harassing him at work, or any similar thing. That isn’t the point. All I’ve said is he created a fertile ground for spreading hateful reactionary views. He could have, and should have, chosen otherwise.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                Then let me rephrase.

                Eh, it seems like cancelling wrongthinkers and people who hint at being able to conceive of wrongthought independently gets used as a way to distract from the fact that, no, we’re not going to change the zoning laws.

                It does appear, on the surface, to be “doing something” though.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                That sounds like whataboutism to me.

                I’m not sure if it’s really an argument for our against. After all, you can debate zoning laws in a forum free of white nationalists with ample fervor. Plus, your conversations will get sidetracked less.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                It’s more asking “what’s the goal?”

                If the goal is to address racism, I can’t help but notice that we’re making people anathema instead of changing things.

                Maybe the goal is only to change who holds the whip.

                I guess that’ll be obvious enough, in a short enough amount of time to notice.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                The goal is to have a better forum. Race realists attract more race realists. Moreover, the more otherwise high quality forums that do this, the less space for racists to recruit.

                That’s it. It isn’t complex.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to veronica d
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                What this conversation is dancing around is whether it is acceptable to have taboo subjects.

                Subjects which simply are prohibited to be discussed, at the risk of social banishment.

                Most people have boundaries where they are willing to agree with taboos, for instance those who question age of consent laws.

                The question on the table is whether questioning racial equality is one of those taboo subjects or not.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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                I think things have gone well beyond that. Anyone who asserts that people should be treated like people without regard to race is probably going to be labeled a fascist now.

                Suppose someone popped into this forum and said
                “Black supremacy is as dangerous as white supremacy, and God is not interested merely in the freedom of black men and brown men and yellow men.” Clearly, this is an attack on BLM activists and is a racist dog whistle to white male chauvinists.

                Yet one of the defining features of a moral panic is everybody one day looks back on them on wonders “Why were people so angry and stupid?”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                Well, we now live in a world without SSC.

                Some people think it’s better. Good people, I’m told.

                Some people think it’s worse.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                “The goal is to have a better forum. Race realists attract more race realists.”

                And censors attract the censorious. Which is preferable is, of course, your opinion.Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to veronica d
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            says:

            The moralization of empirical questions is epistemic cancer. All of the hypotheses you listed above are entirely compatible with liberalism, so yes, it was very much a mistake to abbreviate this to “fascists.”

            Incidentally, I have never seen a “debunking” of a genetic contribution to racial gaps in cognitive ability that actually holds water. Although I think the balance of the evidence points towards a genetic factor, I remain open-minded and think that this question is unlikely to be conclusively settled until we actually have a good model for predicting IQ from genes. This is an empirical question, and people keep trying to make a priori arguments, which are invariably dumb because it’s not a question that can be settled that way.

            You accuse HBD proponents of arguing in bad faith, but seriously, have you seen the garbage your fellow travelers try to pass off as serious arguments? Not to mention the moralization, which is a nuclear-grade bad-faith move.

            All that aside, I didn’t even get the impression that that’s what the Kolmogorov Complicity post was about. The narrative machine has pushed so much more than that out of the window, and IIRC Scott never really wrote much about that sort of thing even before he got bullied into bowing out of the culture war. He called out bad SJ arguments and behavior, but I don’t recall him writing much about the biological aspects.Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to Brandon Berg
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              says:

              Here’s the thing. None of us are genetic biologists. So we have to depend on expert consensus.

              The consensus is against race realism, very much so. That said, the race realists have created an alternative publishing framework. They publish and cite each other, under the auspices of various pro-eugenics organizations. These organizations often date back to the 30s, such as the Pioneer Fund. They try to appear like empirical science, but they are not.

              And so the debate goes on and on. And yes, people like you will play the “both sides” card. Fine. I get it.

              It’s rubbish.

              What motivates people to create these alternative publishing frameworks? A commitment to truth? Why do you believe that? They have a long history of extreme racism.

              This is not Galileo saying “but it moves.” It’s people deeply committed to the idea that black people are stupid, who will do everything in their power to sell that conclusion.

              And yes, it’s a moral issue, because their racist motives are primarily immoral.

              #####

              And here is the big thing. There is a high degree of probability that someone will respond to this comment with a gish gallop of shit studies, which if I wanted to I could dig through and try to debunk, but no, I’m not going to do that. It’s been done many times by people more qualified than I am. It’s been done again and again and again and again and again.

              Just stop. Ban the “race realists.” They offer nothing but tedious bullshit that carefully masks their belief that black people are stupid.

              And like, at this point the proper response is, “Shut up you racist swine.” Really, we don’t have to engage with racists who pretend to be empirical.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                This is from an essay I need to finish reading someday, but to me it sums up perfectly why trying to link genetics and intellectual ability is so fraught (hint: too many variables).

                How did my mom go from a top-tier student with a strong family background to selling perfumes at a flea market as a single mom hovering preciously close to Medicaid-level poverty? This isn’t my autobiography, so I’ll cut that part of the story short and summarize: mental illness. Many people fail to appreciate how success is just as much about emotional intelligence/stability as it is about intellectual and analytical capacity; and the formula for producing the former is often far more complex and nuanced than what’s necessary for the latter.

                And from what I read, that is but one variable that impacts intellectual development and ability. Other variables include diet, sleep, stress, culture, exercise, etc.

                You just can’t control for them all in any meaningful way.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                And as far as genetics, there isn’t any reason to think the the process of natural selection would select for that one variable of intelligence.

                What we call IQ is mostly abstract problem solving ability. In the Industrial age this is an important variable for a lot of the tasks we perform, but historically it was not any more important than physical dexterity or sociability.
                That is, the final outcome- whether you lived to pass on your genes- was only slightly affected by your IQ.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Brandon Berg
              Ignored
              says:

              The problem with “genetic component of cognitive ability” is that there isn’t much evidence of it in the wild. That is, it doesn’t seem to correlate to real world outcomes over time and geography.

              It doesn’t explain the past or predict the future, both of which are critical components of any valid scientific theory.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                One distinction that I see fail to get made a lot is the difference between “heritable” and “genetic”.

                There are many things that are both genetic and heritable, of course.

                There are a handful of things that are heritable but not genetic, though.Report

          • Avatar David Friedman in reply to veronica d
            Ignored
            says:

            I note that you didn’t actually answer my question about what you mean by “fascist.” From the rest of your response, I conjecture that what you mean by it is someone who holds views on some politically relevant issues that you think he shouldn’t hold, or at least shouldn’t express. Combining that with your comment on the correct amount of fash for any social space, I conclude that you don’t want to talk with people who disagree with you and would prefer that other people not have an opportunity to talk with them either. The second half of that strikes me as closer to a fascist attitude than any of the things you mentioned.

            I don’t read r/theMotte or r/slatestarcodex, so can’t comment on them, but I have been a regular reader of SSC for years. I expect most people who post on SSC, like most other people, believe there are biological differences among humans, since it’s obviously true — I don’t know what beyond that you require for HBD. I expect most of them believe that IQ measures something and that it is of some importance — is that what you mean by “IQ fetishism”? If “race realism” means the belief that the only important reason for differences in outcomes by race is differences in heritable characteristics, I expect that few people commenting on SSC believe that, since it’s pretty clearly inconsistent with the evidence, but if you mean the belief that there are significant differences in the distribution of heritable characteristics by racial group as commonly defined, I expect most people on SSC, like most other people, believe it, and perhaps more people on SSC than elsewhere are willing to say so.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to David Friedman
              Ignored
              says:

              her opinion is that there’s absolutely no difference of any kind between any person in any way at all whatsoever, and anyone who says differently is an evil person who’s addicted to hate and wants an excuse for hating.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      I find it especially interesting that the Journalist (and presumably the NYT itself) are citing it as policy. What exactly is the Policy, and why would one even have that as a policy… especially a policy that doesn’t employ prudence?

      What is “policy” in this case, and how in the world do we have institutions incapable of managing their “policies?”

      It’s Policy is a strange talisman.Report

  2. Avatar InMD
    Ignored
    says:

    So the basic lesson- if you are a government operative, politician, or appointee with serious and obvious self-interest in the matter on which you are commenting your anonymity is safe with the NYT. If, on the other hand, you are the hoi polloi rif raf of the land, daring to aim for intellectual honesty? Insert evil laughter here.Report

    • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to InMD
      Ignored
      says:

      This was exactly my take. Anonymous White House sources must be quaking in their boots this morning. /s

      (Written as someone who’s never read a word of that blog.)Report

  3. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    There can be no dissent.

    “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

    ― George Orwell, 1984Report

  4. Avatar veronica d
    Ignored
    says:

    One of Scott’s problems is his real name is fairly well known. I’ve heard it before, although I didn’t write it down. I work on the same team with people who know him irl. The point is, it isn’t a huge mystery. Sooner or later this was going to happen.

    Still, I see no point in doxxing him other than malice. Moreover, I’m not certain deleting his blog will help much, unless it motivates the NYT to change their minds. If they print the article, then anyone googling his name will still find a ton of unpleasant information about him.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d
      Ignored
      says:

      “If they print the article, then anyone googling his name will still find a ton of unpleasant information about him.”

      It’s not about what Internet People Are Saying About Him.

      If you want to know what it’s about, ask your therapist if they have a blog and whether they’d want you reading it if they did.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        Here is the way I see it: a patient googles his name. They find the NYT article. They google “Scott Alexander”. They don’t find SSC. Instead, they find things others have written about Scott Alexander. Those things will include fierce criticism, along with out-of-context excerpts.

        If, instead, his blog was present, they may spend their time digging into the blog, instead of what people say about the blog. I suspect this would be better for Scott.

        I’d rather be attacked for what I say rather than what others say that I say.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d
          Ignored
          says:

          If you want to know what it’s about, ask your therapist if they have a blog and whether they’d want you reading it if they did.

          If you want to know what it’s about, ask your therapist if they have a blog and whether they’d want you reading it if they did.

          If you want to know what it’s about, ask your therapist if they have a blog and whether they’d want you reading it if they did.
          If you want to know what it’s about, ask your therapist if they have a blog and whether they’d want you reading it if they did.
          If you want to know what it’s about, ask your therapist if they have a blog and whether they’d want you reading it if they did.
          If you want to know what it’s about, ask your therapist if they have a blog and whether they’d want you reading it if they did.If you want to know what it’s about, ask your therapist if they have a blog and whether they’d want you reading it if they did.If you want to know what it’s about, ask your therapist if they have a blog and whether they’d want you reading it if they did.If you want to know what it’s about, ask your therapist if they have a blog and whether they’d want you reading it if they did.If you want to know what it’s about, ask your therapist if they have a blog and whether they’d want you reading it if they did.

          It’s not about Internet People Saying Mean Things. Internet people say mean things about therapists, by name, all the time, on Yelp and Google Reviews and Facebook and the internet in general. It’s about forming a personal relationship with your therapist outside of the session, which is a bad idea, and how Scott Alexander considered “reading my weblog” to be forming such a relationship, which is why he didn’t want a high-profile news source to publish his full name and directly link it to his weblog.

          “I’d rather be attacked for what I say rather than what others say that I say.”

          it’s fucking jawdropping that you say this while at the same time ignoring what he wrote in the sole post remaining on his weblog about why he deleted it.Report

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to DensityDuck
            Ignored
            says:

            Are you okay, dude?

            Don’t forget to breathe.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d
              Ignored
              says:

              I mean, this is you:
              “I’d rather be attacked for what I say rather than what others say that I say.”
              and this is also you:
              “The correct response to such people is shunning, but Scott won’t do that. Anyway, given that, and given Scott’s nerd resentment, it was kind of inevitable which way his forum would fall.”

              And I kind of think you mean the second thing more strongly than you mean the first thing.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                The difference here is Scott runs the forum. I’m not blaming him for what some rando said on another blog. I’m blaming him for the comment section on his own blog, where he moderates.Report

  5. Avatar Doctor Jay
    Ignored
    says:

    It seems that the fundamental thing Scott wants to address is “what happens when a patient types my name into Google, in a naive way?”

    I can’t say this makes me more likely to read the NYTimes. Rather than asking whether he has a right to anonymity, we could ask what purpose is served by doxxing him? What value is added for the readers?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Doctor Jay
      Ignored
      says:

      A million years ago, I expressed concern that Joe the Plumber got doxxed for asking Obama a question on the campaign trail. I learned how much debt he had and how much money he made.

      Ken Bone? I know that he has a vasectomy.

      Soon I will know Scott Alexander’s last name.

      Never attract the attention of the gods.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        It’s not like he closely guarded the secret.

        He used to blog under his full name, then when he decided to go pseudonymous he changed is blogging account name rather than create a fresh account.

        So you can read his older articles on the site where they currently appear under the name “Scott Alexander”, and read the same article on archive.org as it originally appeared, where it’s under the name “Scott Alexander Lastname”.Report

  6. Avatar LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    I can’t think of any reason why the NYT or really any other mainstream media source wants to cover Slate Star Codex. It isn’t even really internet famous as a blog. The only thing more weird might be Good Morning America wanting to do a piece on Slate Star Codex.Report

  7. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    This story is weird in a few ways. It is very questionable ethics of the NYT to dox someone for a piece like this. Not sure what they are thinking or what their editors are doing. There is no purpose in it. They have a lot of editors trying to explain what they hell they are doing and this should lead to another, probably poor, explanation.

    SA has been doxxed as a i recall and as he says he already uses his first two names and his last name is out there. He is dancing around wanting to stay hidden but not really doing it. If you are really concerned about a pseudonym why use your first two names. I’ve never understood that about him. If you really want to not be known, then do that.

    I completely understand a doc or mental health pro not wanting a lot of their personal views out there. There are ways to do that of course. One is to not share them. If you want to share them then maybe a giant comment section is not a good thing to have. If you want a comment section then maybe it should be very tightly moderated.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      ” It is very questionable ethics of the NYT to dox someone for a piece like this.” Really? It’s just another step in the path away from “impartially” and providing the full story and towards full on support of the Left and their politics. I’d expect nothing less..Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Damon
        Ignored
        says:

        Ummm huh? The NYT is fully supporting the left is ludicrous based on the history of who and what they have published for years. Nobody is truly impartial. How doxing SA relates to being impartial is another big, huh?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          See also: Lincoln was a Republican and the Dixiecrats were all Democrats.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Comment rated almost 15% coherent.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
              Ignored
              says:

              I’ll let you go back to appealing to the history of the institution to defend against recent misadventures then.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Umm yeah. I guess this is over 50% conherant. It is ludicrous to see the NYT as a vehicle for The Left. Tom “no quarter” Cotton doesn’t really get printed in The Nation. I guess cheerleading the rush to Iraq I is to far back to count as not being Left. It’s good to know Bari “IDW” Weiss works at a bastion of the left. Good work Mother Jones.

                The local paper of NY that often focuses on the interests of the richest NYer’s is a real bastion of the left. Yeah.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                We you aware of the various argle-bargles, kerfuffles, and foofaraws in the editorial office that followed Tom “no quarter” Cotton’s editorial? Here’s a Voxsplainer, if you haven’t.

                The editor who okayed Cotton’s editorial resigned for having run it.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah i’m aware of the struggles of a once great paper. Seeing the NYT at left wing is silly. It may be a lot of things but that ain’t it. There are all sorts of adjectives to describe the NYT, feel free to use them. But Left is still silly.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, you gave the Tom Cotton editorial as an example as if it didn’t result in people being tossed out on their hind end.

                I’m just trying to point out that defending the editorial posture today as if it were the same one as, oh, 2019 is a mistake.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m sure you can find editorials on NYT that are broadly supportive of social democracy. I doubt you’ll find any that advocate for anything to the left of that. You’ll find no arguments for anarcho-syndicalism, nor for Marxism, nor anything else of that caliber. For example, find an article that advocates the elimination of private property? I don’t think you can, particularly in the last five years.

                Regardless of the “kerfuffles” around Cotton’s essay, it was outright authoritarian. He advocated using state violence to suppress popular dissent.

                One can easily argue that the NYT favors “enlightened centrism” or “neoliberalism” or many similar positions. However, they aren’t “leftist,” not even close.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                Sure. And the NYT has since accepted the resignation of the person who ran it and has given hints that if they knew then what they know now, they wouldn’t have run it. Certainly not in its current form.

                I’m not sure that it’s fair to use the editorial as evidence of how they’re totally willing to run that sort of thing given the resignations and apologies for running that sort of thing.Report

              • Avatar Zac Black in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I agree, and I think hyperfocusing on this one incident when there are a million other examples of the point you’re trying to make is…odd. Does nobody remember when they were refusing to call torture torture? Are our memories so short?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Zac Black
                Ignored
                says:

                Hey, I’m down with saying that the NYT isn’t on the left… it pushed for the Iraq war! It published Tom Cotton!

                I’m also down with saying “those people don’t work there anymore and there was a revolt in editorial that resulted in a significant resignation and here’s a link explaining what’s going on there” as a response to that.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Fine, but how often do they “accidentally” publish an op-ed calling for a worker’s revolution?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                And even (or especially) when they leave Manhattan to do a field survey of “Real Americans in Flyover” they invariably find a rural white male conservative.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Can someone summarize that. I’m not signed up for NYT, and I don’t want to give them access to my info.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                I opened it into an incognito window and listened to it using the audio recording.

                Basic summary: We need to dismantle a whole lot of institutions before we can rebuild America to achieve what America originally promised to be.

                (It’s really a sweet essay, if you don’t think about what dismantling institutions has looked like when attempted before.)Report

              • Avatar David Friedman in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                An OpEd, not an editorial. OpEds, unlike editorials, often present positions that the editors don’t agree with.Report

        • Avatar Damon in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          I didn’t say that the NYT is fully supporting the left. I said very clearly that “it’s another step in that direction”.Report

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to Damon
            Ignored
            says:

            Can you support that claim? The NYT, as far as I can tell, tries to balance lukewarm centrism with an occasional gesture to the right. Can you show any editorials that supports any flavor of leftism stronger than AOC or Bernie? How frequently do they even stan for AOC or Bernie. In other words, if AOC and Bernie are on the edge of their local overton window, is that really “a step in that direction,” when they give as much attention to the right?Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      well.

      maybe there’s just a tiny little itty-bitty baby BIT of a difference between “if you search the Reddit archives with the right terms you can find where someone posted my full name, and if you know that I’ve got a weblog and you know that’s my name you can link the two” and “the freakin’ New York Times posted my full name and tagged my blog directly to it”.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      Yeah, Scott has been doxxed a million times over. He never even tried to separate his online identity from his identity-among-the-rationalists. We knew who he was dating, for example. He shared a lot of personal stuff.

      Note, back then he was a minor poster on a weird subcultural blog. Although it was partly online, the subculture always had a meatspace presence. Moreover, being a known online person will improve your status in meatspace. Thus it is unsurprising he would be open about who he was, not his real name, but enough so that when he showed up at a rationalist meetup people would know who he is.

      More or less anyone can show up at a rationalist meetup. They aren’t secret. Moreover, there are a ton of ex-rationalists who left the scene. A fair number of them know Scott IRL.Report

  8. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    I remember the thing with CNN and HanAssholeSolo, and CNN saying “well we COULD doxx this guy, but that would be WRONG”.Report

  9. Avatar Zac Black
    Ignored
    says:

    Well, this really sucks. SSC was one of the few blogs I still read with regularity, and while Scott and I may be pretty far apart politically in a lot of ways, I always enjoy his writing. Really hoping this blows over and SSC can come back like nothing ever happened.Report

    • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Zac Black
      Ignored
      says:

      Same here.

      Once in a while, I encounter a blog author whose writing I like and it’s a pleasure for me to read, that I start going through their archives and read…not everything, but everything that I find interesting. I started doing that with SSC just a couple weeks ago, although I had read occasional blog posts for the last several years when they came to my attention or I happened over thee.

      And now I’m only in April 2013, and it’s canceled. Too bad.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to gabriel conroy
        Ignored
        says:

        I suspect it will be back. First, the NYT might back down. In fact, I hope they do. Moreover, someone will probably post the archive. It’s floating around. Likewise, the expect Scott will start posting again with a new pseudonym.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d
          Ignored
          says:

          Why would they back down? They don’t care what a bunch of neckbeard alt-right-adjacent Internet Males think, but they very much care what their friends think, and their friends all think that Scott Alexander getting doxxed is A-O-K…and even if their friends worried slightly about doxxing someone who specifically asked you not to do it, their friends definitely don’t think that you should do things because a bunch of neckbeard alt-right-adjacent Internet Males said you should.Report

  10. Avatar Carl Schwent
    Ignored
    says:

    Here’s what I wrote to the NYT –
    “About the Slate Star Codex, two points:
    First, you routinely protect sources names citing “journalistic ethics” (quotation marks deliberate), even risking jail sentences. Next time you’re in court, expect to have this thrown in your face. But he’s not a source, he’s a subject of an article. That makes him fair game?
    “Second, I don’t know if you have any reporters or columnists who are pseudonymous, but I do know of other papers where the restaurant reviewer, e.g., is pseudonymous and never has their picture shown so that they can go into a restaurant and not be recognized. Other people who need anonymity or pseudonymity to do their jobs don’t get that consideration?
    “I’m sorry, but I expected better out of the New York Times.”

    It’s not about Alexander’s politics or writing ability, or the NYT’s politics (or writing ability). It’s about a stupid policy. The right to privacy has always been tenuous, but can we at least have some respect for privacy? Any paper CAN publish anything about anyone and if it’s reasonably true, you have no recourse. But that doesn’t mean they should. To not honor a reasonable request for privacy in despicable.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to Carl Schwent
      Ignored
      says:

      I’d write them, but do they even read that stuff? I wonder if bashing them on Twitter is more effective. Is anything effective?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Carl Schwent
      Ignored
      says:

      Well written.

      Thank you.Report

    • Avatar Paul in reply to Carl Schwent
      Ignored
      says:

      For me, the fact that he’s the subject of the article rather than a source for it is all the more reason for them to not reveal his actual name.
      I can see a prima facie reason for journalists to ask a source to put their name to a given comment (particularly if the source initiated the contact). I don’t see any such reason when writing about a pseudonymous online personality. If you’re writing a piece on a pseudonymous blogger, then all things being equal the piece you’re writing should leave her/his pseudonymity intact.
      It’d be extremely weird if the NYT published a feature article on Banksy an insisted on publishing his actual name, saying “Sorry, [Banksy’s real name]. We have this policy.” I don’t see that this situation is any different. Hard to say whether its incompetence or malice that’s in play here.Report

  11. Avatar veronica d
    Ignored
    says:

    Welp, someone I follow on Twitter just doxxed him.

    I unfollowed them. Needless to say I’m disappointed.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d
      Ignored
      says:

      Just doxxed Scott Alexander?Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        Yep. They posted his real name.

        The poster is a well known ex-rationalist who has an axe to grind with them. I followed them because they have legit complaints, dealing with systemic sexual exploitation in the rationalist community. I agree with them on many particulars.

        However, posting Scott’s real name seems out of line to me. It won’t help.

        I enjoy many of this person’s tweets. They’re smart and interesting. The fact they had beef with the rationalists never bothered me, because their beef was legit. That said, posting Scott’s real name is irresponsible and petty.

        It’s probably not a big deal. Those who follow this person are probably the sort of people who either already knew Scott’s name or could easily find out. They aren’t exactly the NYT. Moreover, they only posted Scott’s real name. They did not post “Scott Alexander,” so a person would have to be familiar with current events to connect the dots. This won’t leave a google trail.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d
      Ignored
      says:

      Lotsa people doing it, actually, to show how morally superior they are by spreading around the name of a guy who said “I don’t really want my name spread around kthx”.

      But I guess it’s his own fault really, for, y’know, not shunning the HBD gish-gallop crowd and all that. He should have known what he was in for, letting those people hang around his blog.Report

  12. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t have a strong opinion on SSC, but it doessound like the guy is getting a raw deal from the NYT for no apparent reason.

    I will say that the issue of anonymity is complicated and whether it is right or wrong is highly dependent on context and conditions. There’s a good reason why we as a society simultaneously protect whistleblowers and enshrine the right to confront ones accuser in law.

    As for myself, I cloak my real identity in an obviously absurd Big Nose, Beard and Glasses disguise.Report

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