r/SneerClub archives
Come for the face eating leopards, stay for the earnest discussion of moderation via ChatGPT (https://scottaaronson.blog/?p=7243)

Throwback to when Scott evangelized Texas a few years ago. I remember this post because I thought it was so funny that he listed Sheldon Cooper (who doesn’t even exist!) having come from Texas as a…positive? Says a lot about Dr. Aaronson’s psyche

And then there’s this…wow, aged like milk

Money. Texas, as it turns out, has a lot of it. Now, the conventional wisdom would be that Texas’ wealth is mostly irrelevant to academic scientists, because it’s controlled by reactionary oilmen for whom curiosity-driven research is not exactly the top priority. That might have been true about the administrations of George W. Bush or Rick Perry. But Texas’ current governor, Greg Abbott, while still a right-wing Republican, also pushed through an aggressive -billion measure called the Governor’s University Research Initiative, one of whose central goals is to recruit leading scientists to Texas.

Amazing. And he’s not 100% wrong about liberalizing red states, but boy Texas is the wrong target. You gotta look for purple ones.
Texas is purple but migration is keeping it red actually > Do the tech workers who I’d like to relocate even vote blue? Given the unremitting scorn that the woke press now heaps on “racist, sexist, greedy Silicon Valley techbros,” it can be easy to forget this, but the answer to the question is: *yes, overwhelmingly, they do*. Mountain View, CA, for example, went 83% Biden and only 15% Trump in November. C'mon Scott this is bad logic even for you. This are how the ones who *don't* leave vote, but people moving to Texas are somewhat attracted to the fact that it's conservative. A similar thing happened with Florida when it rapidly lurched to the right after covid. There's [plenty](https://www.texaspolicy.com/new-poll-finds-all-those-people-moving-to-texas-arent-going-to-be-voting-for-democrats/) of [material](https://www.npr.org/2022/02/18/1081295373/the-big-sort-americans-move-to-areas-political-alignment) around if you look for information about "ideological sorting"
And wouldnt that even matter in texas? Even if true. 'Yeah this gerrymandered district now votes 75% blue up from 60%!' As Gimli said. Still counts as 1.
Matters for presidential elections, though.
That is fair.
So... not red states, then. (except Georgia, somehow).
The perfect middle spot for rationalists is a conservative state with urban centres liberal/libertarian enough for their lifestyles, but where they'll never have to see a poor person of they don't want, so much of Texas, at least for now, fits that bill perfectly.
I’m being sloppy about definitions; should have just said “liberalizing states.”
Yeah you need to be strategic about this shit, Republicans weren’t which led to disaster for them in the midterms
On a personal level, my WFH location decision matrix had a highly weighted column for political climates where my vote and activity might matter! Wisconsin and North Carolina did well.
It's a common problem for jurisdictions with right-wing anti-intellectual/anti-science governments to repel researchers, and then pour as much money as possible to attract those researchers back while still becoming more reactionary, and then not understanding why they can't attract the scientists they need to avoid becoming a backwater no matter how much money they throw at the problem.


"mystery incel" Damn, look at the posts from "Incel Troll", the last one is a cry for help if I ever saw one. >I have Autism Spectrum Disorder and develop extremely strong obsessions/fixations. I’ve been fixated on Scott Aaronson over the past year or so. ​ >Scott Aaronson has paid more attention to me in the past year than anyone maybe even including my parents have my entire life. Nobody else cares about me, but I managed to forge a very strong relationship with Scott through my personas, even if it is based on trolling and cruelty and hatred. I have nothing else in my life and this blog is my own place where I’m in control, where people pay attention to me.
I genuinely can't tell if they're serious or if this is a brilliant way to sow discord about who is or is not a real commenter on Scott's blog. edit: so I dug into it more because it's just so strange and it seems like they're being 100% earnest and they really are doing what they said they were doing. Scott posted this in a comment from earlier this week: > Brady bunch #174: As far as I know, it wasn’t a bunch of incels coming here, but a single determined incel who assumed countless aliases, trolled and gaslit me, impersonated real people who were then collateral damage, and after all that, demanded my time and sympathy and angrily rejected my attempts to provide it as insufficient—classic chutzpah, like the guy who begs for leniency after murdering his parents because he’s an orphan. I was burned so badly by this experience that, unfortunately, if an actually decent loveshy guy came here wanting sympathy, I might not be able to tell him apart from the troll. Not only are they serious, they've also made Scott and others suspicious of non-trolls. Insane and amazing at the same time.
There are some rationalists who get ripped so hard that, as okay as I am with how hard they get sneered at because propagate dehumanizing tropes themselves, part of me feels like they don't deserve the hate so much. Some of them are such pathetic troglodytes that I can't help but pity them no matter how gross they are. And then there are those who like this who live to prove they're really the dregs of the Earth like nobody else and then they don't even have my pity anymore.
I just don't understand how someone like that exists, doing what they do, seemingly aware of just how fucked up it is.
I didn't read anything other than Scott's blog post linked, so I don't know but if he owns a ranch too, he's lost my sympathy. I'll never have that much job security or property in my life. Even if Texas goes fill fascist/theocrat and threatens to throw everyone with a Ph.D. in jail for knowing how to read, he can just sell his probably overpriced land in Texas and buy a home somewhere with cheaper living costs in a blue state. The property he can just buy is one I'll probably only able to rent for the rest of my life. His idea of a dead end job might be the best job I'll ever get. And the meagre prospects I have are nothing compared to the absolute discrimination marginalized people like trans people face that will kill them and the deprivation that will prevent them from being able to even move out of the state killing them. And advocates for them are the same "wokesters" being crushed by the fascists he fears now. Of course he'd say that this is all ridiculous because he believes in transgender rights. It's just that it's too hard when the wokesters have gone too far. What a fucking privileged shitlib. This is the new red scare. Thee centrists are now digging even their own graves the fascists will shove them into the the year after next, without realizing it. Fuck America.
Scott doesn't own a ranch, the commenter was saying they [the commenter] did. But sure, I agree with a hypothetical ranch-owning centrist transphobe being a privileged shit.


"somehow" maybe because the Texas GOP has actual power and is willing to use it in unethical ways? Gee Scott, it's not like everyone's been telling you this since like, 2012. Oh wait....


Only STEM fields of study matter, duh! How are we going to save Western European civilization by reading *books*?
First, they came for the humanities, and I said nothing because the humanities were too woke. Then, they came for the social sciences, and I said nothing because the social sciences were too woke. Then, they came for the doctors, and I said nothing because medicine and the FDA were too woke. Then, they came for me, but didn't read my blog post about why they should spare me because there was nobody left who knew how to read.
Think the idea is that only STEM has high end free market competition via coporate world with well educated STEM people being able to demand higher prices. So they will attract all the good talent, non STEM doesnt have this problem, so the big brained word rotators stay at universities. (Which is quite nuts, as academia and corporate requires quite a few different skillssets (and I doubt switching late in your career is going to be easy and well paid unless you are well known), and iirc anybody with a degree does better already. So it is partially the lack of realizing his own privilege (as a well know researcher and Rationalist type, which helped him get a job at a pretending the robot god is near company (wonder what will happen to his job when they realize we have hit a plateau)) and culture war disdain for english and history majors. But yeah lol at the idea of old tenured STEM profs suddenly doing well in the corporate world).

The comments from “Texas Redneck” are why I don’t believe in the principle of charity lol

>Hi scott, I continue to be amazed how you prostrate yourself at the feet of the Woke Mob
I almost broke my neck creaking it when I read that sentence.
Considering they admitted to being a troll who stalkes Scott you were right.
Libertarian rationalists and media-literate wokesters both reject middle America. Horseshoe theory confirmed.

I think the thing about Scott is that he is a fairly extreme paleoconservative deeply unhappy with the fact that women are allowed to choose a husband - extreme enough to name his blog (which isn’t even about that!), based on handmaid’s tale level sexual fantasies about getting an arranged marriage to the prettiest girl in the shtetl just because he’s so nerdy. That kind of thing is right of center even for Texas.

He also believes that he is a good guy, and he also believes that being this kind of paleoconservative is bad, therefore he believes he’s something else. A good liberal guy being persecuted by SJWs or something.

He has little interest in other rightwing issues (like guns), he’s a single issue guy, so he has no trouble making the right noises in every other political context (and regardless of how Texas swings politically he’ll be able to continue making the right noises).

edit: and conversely, when it comes to anything to do with women’s rights, even mild and uncontroversial things (like a college telling male students to refrain from raping, just so the college can say they are doing something) are enough to send him into a fit of accusations of how he in particular and nerds in general are oppressed.

1. Not that I want to dwell too much on anyone's personal life but since it's so relevant here, is he even married or have domestic relationship, or not? 2. It's not unusual. There are millions of Americans who pass as independent moderates by taking a strong liberal stance against this or that fascist position the Republicans are wedded, though are otherwise conservative. That's basically every person who has ever voted for both a Democratic president one time but also a Republican president some other time.
He's married which makes it even more crazy. The anti SJW stuff of his started with someone mentioning sexual harassment and assault on his blog at which point he "opened up" about how much he was "bullied" by the whole anti sexual assault on campus thing making him supposedly have some sort of complex as a young adult. It's not even like he was going against any kind of controversial feminism, he has a problem with things that are only controversial among the worst of incels. The kind of objection to "wokeism" that is so far out it is yet to enter mainstream politics. The politicians rail against "critical race theory", but it isn't even a thing yet for politicians to rail against campuses telling men to be please less rapey. That's what is kind of mind blowing. Just how *far* his views are on that single issue.
That's all of a piece with "anti-woke" views. The politicians who oppose campus anti-rape campaigns typically frame that view in different ways at the moment (cf. all the recent attacks on birth control), but their footsoldiers don't. What, you haven't seen chuddy dudes perennially invoking the 2006-07 Duke lacrosse team case like it's the last best word on the matter?
Scott completely disowns all of the fig leaves, though. As far as i know he’s either mute on the topic of “pro life” or isn’t “pro life”, for example, it isn’t about some ostensible fear of false accusations, either. His own fig leaf is some incoherent thing about nerds and feminism, posted on a blog called “shtetl optimized” featuring an explanation of the blog name. The guy simply and naively broadcasts his dislike of the fact that feminism didn’t let him get arranged married; what ever little he does for fig leaves he put on his own eyes. Edit: that is also how he got stanned by that incel posting fake feminist hate and all that. Like, come on, if you name your blog that, and explain what you meant, and complain about feminists, his making liberal noises there puts a huge strain on the very fabric of the blogosphere.


With these laws, the sloppiness in language is the point. Of course [this thing we want] doesn't count, but [these ones] do. Gives them flexibility and, for the moment, deniability.

Roger Schlafly is in the comments. And without looking into it, I’m immediately convinced its the real Roger Schlafly.

What lovely company Scott keeps.

As is often the case I feel a bit for Aaronson; he’s well-meaning and capable of making some level of distinctions. But you helped bring this on yourself, dude.

Think naive would be a better word. I just don't get why he stays that way, esp with rightwingers. (At least this time he didn't blame anything on us, even if he goes after the SJF (sigh, just call them SJW)). For example: > I find it hard to imagine that SB 18 will actually pass both houses and be enforced as written, simply because it’s obvious that if it did, it would be the end of UT Austin and Texas A&M as leading research universities. The eternal cry of the American centrist. 'Surely the Republicans will not do X' followed by 'Republicans do X+1' (Surely the Republicans will accept the public pools becoming desegregated after the lost the lawsuit. Republicans close the public pools). I wonder if the inability to change his mind on this is some sort of ego protection because if the SJWs are right on the fascist Republicans, perhaps a few things I did were also not that great, and perhaps I should remove the old poem from my website, as I'm no longer 17 years old.
There’s little to no value to him in pretending to be generally centrist liberal and he generates a fair amount of hostility whenever he says things like this. He’s more than usually sensitive to people yelling at him, as evidenced by the fact that he’s still cranky about Arthur Chu’s criticism years later. Unlike the other Scott, I don’t think he’s putting on a face. Is being well-meaning useful in any way? God no.
No, I’m using it as shorthand for “he means well.” The sensitivity issues I note are evidence, not the thing I’m trying to describe. I do not put a high value on meaning well. If I say someone means well but I don’t say they do well, that’s a criticism. Good intentions are absolutely meaningless if you’re incapable of realizing that your actual actions sabotage your desires. “Bless your heart.” Edit: my partner often notes that my sneers are overly subtle. She’s not wrong.
A good number of the things he means are not "well" or "good".
I think "well meaning" these days is more like shorthand for "is not intentionally provocative/trolling people/calling for harm"? Like how one might describe a quiet kid in class as a "good student"; just because they aren't screeching up the walls and stabbing other kids with pencils... is that really sufficient to call someone good? Well meaning as opposed to "insincere, trying to provoke reactions", I suppose is accurate.
I think you're going to get push back on using phrasing like 'well meaning' because for those of us more directly in line for the chopping block of the eugenics movement he loves to push, there's not a lot of ways to read him as 'well meaning'. He might be naive, he might be historically illiterate, he might not understand the consequences of the policies he pushes, but he's not well meaning anymore than any other eugenicist who claimed to be doing what's best for humanity. >There’s little to no value to him in pretending to be generally centrist liberal I think there is. Yeah, you cop some static, but these types are vital for maintaining an ecosystem for the least engaged (the majority lurkers rather than the minority commenters) to pretend they are 'open minded' and accepting of 'diverse viewpoints'. Like Dave Rubin has been on a long decline since 'coming out' as a conservative and dropping the pretense of being the 'last sane liberal'.
I think he has a certain image of himself as a good guy centrist liberal. So let's say he was sexually frustrated and has fantasies about [arranged marriage](https://scottaaronson.blog/?p=476) for being nerdy. Weird, whatever, his fantasies are his alone, he could've just kept them inside his head. Treat it as a metaphorical devil at the shoulder and all that. Then the campus starts telling male students to be less rape-y, with total disregard for the psychological harm that may cause poor Scott who just wants to have a mental image of himself as the perfectly nice guy simultaneously with the fantasies. Fast forward to today and he has the whole anti woke professor thing going on. The "woke SJW" things that he's upset with, most republicans are not even upset with (and conversely he's not particularly upset with the things republicans are upset about).

This is an odd comment, weird inceller admits to sending scott fake feminist hate, to have him become incel friendly. (Welcome to eternal 2015 I guess)

Turns out the whole texas redneck persona was made up. (E: Scott really needs to ban that user before he gets Stanned, because that is a very stalkery crazy behavior level).

I feel compelled to note that in "Stan" the object of obsession himself is never harmed with anything worse than guilt-tripping. (The stalker's girlfriend, on the other hand...)
Yes, i expected selfharm to be a bit more likely than the person going to whereever Scott lives/works and the person going to 'talk' to their 'best and only friend'.

This is your brain on techno-optimism. GPT in its highest form to date (GPT4 pre-neutering for public consumption) still needed to be moderated. They want its predecessor to be the moderator. Holy fuck man

On the one hand: > I asked ChatGPT about you. It’s not good: > "Shmi’s comment appears to break the following rules of Shtetl-Optimized: > No ad-hominems against me or others: Shmi uses the term “Texas Redneck,” which can be considered an ad-hominem attack against the person they are referring to." Except that's actually the guy's username. You heard it here, calling someone by their username is an ad-hominem attack! On the other hand: User Shmi posts: > ChatGPT on Texas Redneck's comment: > "The commenter has used ad-hominem attacks, making unfounded accusations of Aaronson’s supposed “prostration” to the “Woke Mob,” as well as referring to those with different political views as “Ivory Tower harpies”" Yeah, that's pretty accurate.
It gets weirder. Texas redneck is a made up persona by an incel troll who has a parasocial relationship scott. (Guess nobody at the shtetl checks ip adresses).