Talk:Scott Alexander

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"a phrase he subsequently regrets using"[edit]

And the people who talk about “Nice Guys” – and the people who enable them, praise them, and link to them – are blurring the already rather thin line between “feminism” and “literally Voldemort” EDIT: ARE TOTALLY GREAT, NO NEED TO TAKE THIS ONE SENTENCE OUT OF CONTEXT AND TRY TO SPREAD IT ALL OVER THE INTERNET.
[1]

Is that not a sentiment of regret? Would an alternative term be better? @David Gerard Deku-shrub (talk) 16:43, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

Regret at being quoted, maybe. The context really doesn't improve it in any manner, and it concords with his aside about the 30% of sane feminists (the other 70% being the ones who wouldn't bother debating a neoreactionary). Furthermore, it concisely describes how he consistently talks about feminism. There's no sense in which he walked back the sentiment of the quote - David Gerard (talk) 16:59, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
So maybe not regret, but he made (in an edit) an active attempt not to have this phrase disseminated as-is. Given the text with written pre-edit, it makes sense to update it 'somehow' to reflect this surely? Deku-shrub (talk) 12:27, 21 April 2016 (UTC)
Well, he said it and he doesn't like it being quoted. A footnote probably - David Gerard (talk) 13:38, 21 April 2016 (UTC)

"Millennialist ideologies"[edit]

, and has been persistently critical of what he views as Millennialist ideologies. http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/09/28/ssc-endorses-clinton-johnson-or-stein/ It's entirely unclear that his use of the label "Millennialist" matches any conventional usage of it, and to the degree it does that he isn't just using it as a snarl word. I'm also unconvinced that a post that's just bending over backwards to reassure his TRUMP 2016 readers that he's totally onside with them if not with Trump himself is a substantive ... anything - David Gerard (talk) 17:15, 3 November 2016 (UTC)

From the piece: The millenarian longing for a world where all systems are destroyed, all problems are solved, and everything is permissible [...] Which of the candidates in this election are millennarian? [...] Hillary represents complete safety from millennialism. In the last instance, he likely meant to refer, as in the first two, to millenarianism (there will be a major transformation or cataclysm that will usher in a Golden Age), of which millennialism (usually a specific thousand-year Golden Age) is a subset. Though in practice, people seem to mix them up. I'll edit fix the mixup in the article. 104.132.0.83 (talk) 22:42, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

Racism[edit]

(there is almost nothing he won't try to apply human biodiversity to,e.g. Harry Potter 
Despite apparently having never read them, but he can tell you all about Jensen.)

I removed this excerpt, because I do not believe that the quote appropriately supports the underlying idea that Scott Alexander is racist. It seems to me that he's engaging the reactionaries but not necessarily agrreing or disagreeing with their premise. This is at least big bundle of Poe's Law.

Also, it's a snark that only addresses the issue obliquely, which is not the appropriate way to debate whether someone is racist or not.

What I have read on his blog is a consistent belief in a lot of genetic determinism (which is sometimes quite uncomfortable and probably warrants a section). But I do not remember anything that unambiguously crossed the line into racism (if someone finds an occurrence, please put on the page). A quick search came up with him praising an anti-racist FAQ[2] for actually trying to convince racists:

I thought I was the only person who had figured out that this worked better than
“YOU ARE DUMB AND I HATE YOU. NOW PLEASE AGREE WITH ME.”

Kirekegaard?[edit]

Kirkegaard is a regular in the Reddit /r/slatestarcodex comments, but has he actually been in the site comments? - David Gerard (talk) 21:40, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

Upon occasion, e.g. here [3]. Ouosvavv (talk) 06:28, 25 June 2017 (UTC)


r/slatestarcodex[edit]

The section was clearly written by someone with an axe to grind. The account is inaccurate and mostly useless because it focuses on a single event in the subreddit. The ban was overturned almost immediately, so it doesn't seem to represent mod policy. The quoted comment by the moderator wasn't made in an official capacity, so it doesn't represent mod policy, just that specific user's opinion. A one day ban is an incredibly minor event in a subreddit that sees multiple bans and warnings every week. This reads as a petty squabble that someone wanted to complain about in their private fiefdom of the wiki, not a serious or even slightly useful account of the subreddit and its relation to the rationalist sphere. --Reddituser (talk) 22:20, 3 October 2017 (UTC)

On talk pages, please sign your comments using four tildes (~~~~) or by clicking on the sign button: SigButt.png on the toolbar above the edit panel. You can also indent successive talk page comments using one more colon (:) for each line. Thank you. You can edit the article to correct it. ClickerClock (talk) 07:11, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
Emil Kierkegaard is a regular, race realism is a regular topic, that's literally a moderator saying "A belief in HBD doesn’t automatically equate to racism" ... it's an alt-right sub convinced it's "liberal" - David Gerard (talk) 21:40, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
I did edit the article to correct it. Someone undid the change, and their only justification for undoing the change was "bias can be ok". You have a reddit user name linked in your profile. Its easy to search where a user has posted. That reddit user has never posted in the ssc subreddit. I don't understand how you can claim to serve as a valid source for what happens in that subreddit when you literally never go in there, or if your only interaction with the sub is through r/sneerclub links. I also never claimed its not an alt-right subreddit, you are changing the subject to something more disputable. I just claimed that the specific incident you wrote about was:
1. Minor and not noteworthy. 1 day bans are relatively common. You could instead link to their public list of bans if you want to discuss their moderation policy, or c/p the rules.
2. Not representative of official policy. The quoted text was not made by a mod writing in their capacity as mod. The moderators are users too, and unless they mark their text as mod policy its not assumed by anyone that they are speaking in an official capacity. This would be equivalent to me interpreting every comment you make as official policy of rational wiki just because you have done some admin work for them.
3. Fabricated. The ban example was overturned by the other moderators.
Since you offered to let me edit the article to correct it, I will redo my previous set of changes, and point to this conversation as justification. If you want this to continue being your personal yelp where you can lob overblown accusations then feel free to re-undo my changes. --Reddituser (talk) 22:20, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
Additional update: and now your reason for undoing the changes are "yeah, no". Wow, shameless. --Reddituser (talk) 19:44, 6 October 2017 (UTC)

Recent changes to SSC subreddit moderation policy[edit]

It's clear that Scott is upset that an unnamed "left-wing wiki" (i.e. RationalWiki) has written about him what we have, but I'm not actually sure what - if anything - we should remove and update. I'm bending over backwards here trying to figure out a fair and accurate thing we can say, by trying to infer the course of events. "Culture war" topics have now been explicitly banned from the SSC subreddit since the "Culture war" thread was exiled to /r/themotte, but I can't find any explicit mention of them being banned from the actual blog comments. And of course, Scott himself still covers culture war topics in his posts.

I'm guessing that he initially allowed "race realism", fascism, anti-feminism and assorted political and social extremism from commenters everywhere, and he gradually swept it more and more under the carpet in stages until this point where they're literally on a subreddit that doesn't mention SSC in its description at all - but is this actually what happened, or is it just me retconning? Is there any documentary evidence for my theory, maybe on archive.org? He doesn't state what happened in the past in his update blog post - I'm guessing that's because it would make him look bad - well, worse than he already does.--Greenrd (talk) 15:49, 17 March 2019 (UTC)

This is approximately the case. More broadly, rationalists really don't like having their receipts shown, and Scott has yet to work out that if you don't want to be called on saying awful things repeatedly, probably the first step is not to say awful things repeatedly - David Gerard (talk) 11:53, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

AI[edit]

The section on AI misrepresents the argument that it could be dangerous. It references a single scientist who says that people who are concerned about AI think that it would incorrectly guess humanity's goals. But that has never been the argument. Scott, and other people who believe AI is a concern, have repeatedly acknowledged that a superintelligent AI would presumably know full well what humans want. It just wouldn't care, if its programming happened to make it care about some other thing besides making humans happy. The analogy is how humans may know that evolution designed us with the "goal" of passing on our genes to offspring, but knowing this doesn't necessarily motivate us to care about that goal and have as many children as possible.

So I think the parts about AI "misconstruing our goals" or "[getting] them so hideously wrong" are aimed at a strawman and should be removed from the article. Can we do that? I took them out (without having logged in) and someone reverted it without comment.

Also, in general, the section just seems dismissive/mocking of the idea that superintelligent AI might be worthy of concern. Is it RationalWiki consensus position that these concerns are obviously false/stupid? If so, can someone explain why? GranChi (talk) 00:30, 25 June 2019 (UTC)

Old comment, but for those scanning, a problem with concerns about "artificial intelligence" is that this name is a really misnomer (and thus has led to over-speculative promises, and over-speculative worries). The current core of technologies labeled "artificial intelligence" is essentially either long-known statistical techniques (random forest classification, Bayesian, etc.) or newer techniques (machine learning / neural networks) that still have some history, but now these techniques have the benefit of very fast computing power and gobs of data. In general, they are *pattern recognition* or *data crunching* techniques.
No artificial intelligence currently that I am aware of has the capability to utilize some basic human intelligence traits, like the ability to logically deduce, the ability to morally reason, or the ability to perform experimentation. Even a heavy pattern-recognition skill (such as music) has too my ears been quite the failure, because the "narrativium" is not present, and even the structure is often off. So not very "intelligent" to be honest. And as a classification technique, AI is prone to some weird errors without some serious human massaging.
Basically, if you know what terms like "underfitting" and "overfitting" are (even only a little, which is where I'm at, but I have coded a Bayesian classifier before), you're aware that a superintelligent AI that ends up being a menace to the planet is not going to happen anytime soon. If someone thinks that, well, I'd love to hear the technical details how they think these algorithms will work to do this. Until then, I treat AI worries as a science fiction threat (worth exploring, of course, but nothing to imminently worry about).
If there is an "AI" that is *possibly* a "threat to the planet", it is abuse of these pattern-matching algorithms for nefarious reasons. An example that comes to mine is any "AI" used on social media to promote pure bullshit to the top of social media timelines at ever-increasing speed. Yellow journalism bullshit bubbles is nothing new, but the speed bullshit spreads now certainly is. Worry less about AI itself and more about Facebook etc. misusing AI, in other words. PanGalacticGargleBlaster (talk) 21:58, 17 February 2021 (UTC)

"Race and IQ"[edit]

The bias against Alexander in this section is pervasive. It should be rewritten quoting directly from Alexander's pieces and setting them in context.

There is no evidence in the links referenced that he considers Charles Murray a close ideological ally. He stated that his beliefs overlap with Murray's on two points: that solving poverty is hard, and that capitalism is nevertheless worthwhile. He said nothing about race. He contrasted those beliefs with others on a quadrant; e.g. communism, which believes that capitalism is bad and reform is not possible; capitalism is bad and reform is possible; and capitalism is bad but solving poverty is easy.

While this section calls out Alexander for associating himself with the ideas of the "hereditarian left" and Greg Cochran, it doesn't offer an accurate view of Alexander's position. He and the authors he links to have stated that genetically caused advantages in intelligence do *not* lead to the conclusion that one group is superior to another. In addition, Alexander has said that while IQ itself is correlated to higher performance, that should *not* affect the self image of individuals with lower IQ scores, since there are many other factors contributing to performance. Docent8 (talk) 13:59, 17 June 2020 (UTC) Docent8 (talk) 18:41, 17 June 2020 (UTC)

@Docent8 Which bias? ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 20:55, 17 June 2020 (UTC)

Anonymity[edit]

Given the new request of anonymity: https://slatestarcodex.com/ can we remove mentions of even his pen-name. — Unsigned, by: 204.60.1.215 / talk

Given that your beef about doxxing is with the New York Times, that's where you need to resolve the issue. Removing the name here is not going to fix things due to our page history, as well as the archival sites (archive.org and archive.is) having copies. Bongolian (talk) 08:08, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
"Scott Alexander" is his pen name and what he's known as everywhere. We already specifically refrain from using his tax name here (it's unusual and easily searchable) because he's been harassed at work previously for his blogging, and that's not what we're here for - David Gerard (talk) 09:26, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
Scott Alexander appears to be trying to change his own page. He is welcome to explain anything on the page that he thinks is incorrect, and we will attempt to address it here or on the page itself. Bongolian (talk) 00:08, 24 June 2020 (UTC)

archive site links[edit]

Scott's pulled the blog down. Who wants to slog through all the links looking for the archive.org copies? (Or archive.is, if he drops the site in robots.txt) - David Gerard (talk) 09:26, 23 June 2020 (UTC)

I'll take care of the citations some time today. Bongolian (talk) 17:19, 23 June 2020 (UTC)

Scott's posted his name publicly, and it's in the NYT, and here's the scientific racism receipts[edit]

Comes out as Scott Siskind: https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/still-alive

NYT (also names as Scott Siskind): https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/13/technology/slate-star-codex-rationalists.html

scientific racism: https://twitter.com/TopherTBrennan/status/1362108632070905857

that last is from Topher Brennan, whose name before marriage was Topher Hallquist - blogged as The Uncredible Hallq at Freethought Blogs and Patheos for a while, years ago. Knows Scott well. Has the receipts - David Gerard (talk) 20:52, 17 February 2021 (UTC)