r/SneerClub archives
They targeted rationalists. Rationalists! (https://i.imgur.com/PlTTgwj.jpg)

My favorite part of this debacle is the widely voiced assumption that this is clearly a leftist plot at The NY Times to attack Scott, and not the hilarious result of one of his genuine fans bumbling their way through writing a piece on him, and not understanding why the subject would want to stay anonymous since the reporter publishes articles under their full name all the time. It’s an ouroboros of rationalist myopia.

The Scott-loving subs have been full of the most wild speculations along that and similar lines. It’s baffling.
Did we ever get to the bottom of whether or not Scott blabbed to the reporter without establishing that he wants to remain anonymous?
It's also a function of them misunderstanding "mainstream" journalistic standards. Outside of someone being like a white house official or with a very high security clearance, sources have to be named. I imagine middle-aged NYT editors don't think that "doxxing" is that much of a threat (as opposed to what they would call it, "quoting a source.")
"Leftist" plot? This comes like, a week after Scott proposes a cultural norm of undermining the paywall business model. The New York Times' business model. "Leftism" is not the most plausible ulterior motive here.
The claim is that people have *imputed* to the NYT reporter (Metz) a leftist “let’s take down Scott” motive This is in stark contrast to various sources with whom I have personally been in touch who say that, having contacted Metz themselves, the plan was a puff piece about how interesting Scott Alexander is Thanks to Alexander Streisanding himself with the knee-jerk panicked/paranoid closure of his blog the story has taken a more amusing direction since then
Meanwhile, see the HN threads, TheMotte and r/SSC for dozens, if not hundreds, of examples that go against whatever your weird persecution complex has manifested as.
I talk to a lot of SSC fans, and I actually don't hear that assumption much. Maybe some people are vocal about that assumption, but it seems pretty uncommon to me. (Or maybe the discourse on Reddit is worse than what I see from individuals on Facebook, as is often the case.)
I'm pretty much going by the 1000+ post HN thread about Scott. It's devolved into people spooking each other over phantom leftists.
The fate of almost every big HN thread that touches politics edit: lol this is the first time I've ever seen HN downvote comments by its creator (edit: Never mind, see comment below. pvg is not Paul Graham) https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23611034 "Lots of people receive death threats and even more claim they receive threats or perceive types of loud criticism as threats. Being on the wrong end of these is no picnic but it is not, in itself, a substantial risk of harm. And again, his own efforts to protect his identity seem to have been relatively superficial. He just didn't think he was going to end up in the NYT and he was mistaken. As I said elsewhere, it's a bummer this is a disruption for him but it's not obvious we (let alone the journalist who actually figured out his name, as anyone wishing him harm could have) should take the claims of risk of harm at face value."
Creator is here: https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=pg Check the karma # and creation date
Damn, you're right, sorry. I mixed them up.
No worries

globe emoji

Of course lol.

Tbf, the red rose has been a leftist symbol for over a century now. It's on things like the UK Labour Party's logo.
Globe emojis is how MAPs identify each other.
Wait, seriously? I thought that was a meme
It started as a meme but several cases have been revealed. Creepy professor using his power to creep on his minors and globe emoji enthousiast is a big overlap.
It's the pedo globe

NYT rabidly promotes pro-war fabrications and propaganda for decades: I sleep.

NYT half-assedly tries to write a puff piece on a blogger using his real name: REAL SHIT!

Remember Judith Miller? We don’t.

yuge meltdowns on twitter today

So … a large group of very online people just said ‘if you do this will destroy you’ and think it will end well for anybody involved? After the accuse the journalist of just doing things for clicks? Have they learned nothing from the gawker era? (Or do they want to see the dox so they can max outrage?)

News tomorrow

E: just to make it clear the NYT is in the wrong here, and if they post the dox it is shit, but it is almost like people have not heard of the streisand effect the rokos basilisk fallout (or realized how this is easily manipulated by malicious actors). And the people cancelling, the NYT has 600k subs. This is is going to be like when Sargon and friends tried to get patreon cancelled.

Why is the NYT in the wrong here? Answers without referring to 'doxxing' please - use specific words to describe what might happen.
The main issue is that Scott's professional career is compromised if his name is linked to SSC. Basically psychiatrists try hard to be effectively anonymous to their patients because openly holding different views (on politics, religion, etc., even seemingly trivial stuff like sports) from patients can impede effective therapy. Others have explained this better in the main RIP SSC thread, but I don't have a specific link. Even if it weren't professionally relevant, publishing the name of someone who wishes to remain anonymous is ethically questionable in general, because the publishing organization doesn't know for sure what problems deanonymization might cause.
> The main issue is that Scott's professional career is compromised if his name is linked to SSC. Given that Scott Alexander is his first and middle name, I honestly imagine it wouldn't be very hard for anyone he works with to figure it out if they know what SSC is
Scott shouldn't be doxxed but man it seems like he's not been particularly careful about hiding his identity. I've never spelled out even my first name in any online profile and I'm a nobody, yet someone who is posting a lot of personal and potentially controversial thoughts, and whose livelihood could be affected doesn't see a problem using First Name Middle Name. Maybe it's just a generational difference, and being younger than scott I see more reason to be paranoid. Idk
I'd want to know if my psychiatrist had weird ideas about my race, and thus intellect. Someone who controls the medication I need to live a functional life has too much power over me for me to be comfortable with them "openly holding different views" like those.
I understand the professional career, but in the great words of whomever, "that sounds like a you problem". If I analyze this situation from the idea of journalism as a public good, and a public service there are two major situations to consider here: - SSC and his followers are a fad, and really not noteworthy, and who he is doesn't matter. Probably should spike the article then. - SSC and his follower ARE noteworthy, and it's an important public good for people to understand who is creating these ideas, who is signing on to them, and so on. In this case, yes we write the article, and the identity of a key player is a notable item. This is the way journalism works and is played. Investigative journalism doesn't stop because the target might be upset, for example consider the journalism behind the panama papers: the newspapers didn't know the problems that deanonymization might cause, yet they (a) had a legal defense and (b) had a public case to make. Clearly the author and their editor thinks that SSC&friends belong in the second camp: noteworthy, and apparently including Scott's last name. All that other information about his profession being uniquely this and that melts away in the face of public interest. Ultimately Scott made a critical strategic error being 'kinda but not really anonymous', and it might cost him his license. I don't really know if this is right or wrong, but this is his chosen path and the ethical boards might be the ones with the final say.
And for what it's worth, I think from a public policy pov, protecting investigative journalism is more important than Scott's life and career. What is it that they say, "play stupid games, win stupid prizes" ?
I'd agree if it were worthwhile investigative journalism. If it was in any way relevant to SSC, or to whatever they had uncovered, then I'd be fine with them publishing his name. But I genuinely cannot see how his real name would contribute anything. His online presence (the bit important to the article) is entirely under the pseudonym. Journalists really do need to consider the effects that their publications have had on their subjects more often - lives have been ruined of people who absolutely did not do anything wrong because information was released that should not have been. Scott won't be among their number either way, but we have to consider if ruining his life is useful or necessary - and from a journalistic perspective, it is probably better quality journalism if you focus on your actual subject Scott Alexander and SSC - rather than the person who happens to write under that pseudonym.
It’s also possible that the journalist doesn’t consider “Scott Alexander” a pseudonym. What’s one more name to be revealed? It’s an open secret anyways etc? I don’t know really. I have the luxury of not needing to take a strong stand or get worked up about this. Only so many worry points available.
I generally believe that screwing people over for no reason is kind of *really* unethical. I just don't see that revealing his name contributes to the journalism - it's just hurting someone for no good reason.
There are other frames of mind where your logic doesn’t work or apply. For example you say “no reason”, but maybe that isn’t how they see it? Like I said, there a journalistic ethics which talks about revealing information in the name of the public good. The public interest is the good reason. Again, just like the Panama papers - that screwed people over for “no good reason”. After all who’s business is it to get into the private financial details? That’s breaking privacy, contracts, etc, etc. I do think the statement by someone else is right: SSC met his worst nightmare and it was someone who was a fan of his and thought he was news worthy and all that entails. Besides which it’s plenty obvious that Scott isn’t writing under a pseudonym. He’s writing under his real name, giving real details about his life just barely fuzzed, and clearly not well if he has gotten calls to his work. That’s probably why the journalist didn’t worry about it much, and didn’t trigger any of the confidential or other policies.
The information in the Panama papers were revealed precisely because redacting identifying information would have compromised the effectiveness of the journalism. I don't see that that is the case for an article about SSC - revealing his identity just honestly doesnt help in any real way.
I still think we just don't know the purpose or the tone of the piece yet, and thus I cannot say with certainty if using his last name is journalistically problematic. It might be a problem for Scott, but perhaps he shouldn't have uses 2/3s of his real name while writing a blog that now serves as the thin wedge onramp to all sorts of odious ideas. I mean that's why this subreddit exists: because we think that the ideas pushed on SSC & other places are bad, right?
Thinking that those ideas are bad is one thing - thinking that he deserves real life (rather than online) consequences for it is much more debatable - I'm here because I think that the best counter for (or at least relief from) such ideas is a mockery - doing something that would turn Scott's following toward action would be counterproductive to our actual goal.
Two things: academic honesty is means writing ideas under your real name. So this notion that people shouldn't be held to their ideas is not a universal opinion. Second, this is why having an anonymous or pen-name is important if you are doing stuff like this. I would argue that using 2/3s of your real name isn't a strong sign that you're using a pen name. "Richard Bachman" is a pen name (Stephen King). Honestly I'm not sure what the best solution is. Social pressure can be highly effective too.
I'm adding a link to my email to the NYT editor. Journalism has multiple purposes. The stated purpose of this journalism was to describe to a broader audience something that exists, not to dissect it such that it no longer exists anymore. Investigative journalism is forensics, descriptive journalism is more like cultural anthropology. [https://www.reddit.com/r/slatestarcodex/comments/he95ak/blog\_deleted\_due\_to\_nyt\_threatening\_doxxing\_of/fvrgr1f/](https://www.reddit.com/r/slatestarcodex/comments/he95ak/blog_deleted_due_to_nyt_threatening_doxxing_of/fvrgr1f/)
I would argue that we do NOT know the purpose of this piece. We have Scott's opinion about what he THOUGHT the piece was about or for. But first off journalists obviously aren't obliged to be 100% forthcoming, and also he may have formed a mistaken impression. Journalists are good at getting people to talk, and one powerful mechanism is to allow people to mislead themselves and not correct them. I realized something... this subreddit exists because people find SSC and other things wrong and potentially offensive. I would even argue that they serve as a philosophical backing for an onramp to the alt-light/right. After all, funny how so many rationalists seem to be arguing for various forms of scientific racism. So maybe the article comes from that angle... After all, we have a licensed psychologist who is pushing a style of thinking that seems to lend it's followers to radical and anti-social ideas. Basically my point is: we don't know what this article is about, what it's angle is, and therefore if the inclusion of the real name is noteworthy or an accessory point. While any newspaper can write 'fluff' pieces, I do think the NYTimes takes themselves very seriously, so I'd say this article may in fact come out with a darker tone and not quite as complementary as Scott would want. And the only solution to that is not to work with journalists.
Everyone talking about covid19 have gone on the record with their real name. This includes the whistle-blower doctors in China and researchers there. Why is scotts need for anonymity outranking theirs? It shouldn't.
Because psychiatry and practical treatment of a pandemic virus are *wildly* different. As a psychiatrist, it's best if he doesn't have a known political standpoint or really any particular affiliation to anything - were he deanonymized, that non-affiliation is compromised to the rather *divisive* content of his blog.
If somebody nicely asks you not to do something, dont do it. His real name isnt relevant. It is clear this is causing him mental stress (even if people like the other scott think he will prob be fine). This is disregarding the whole psych angle. That you would even try to start an annoying debate over this after i made my opinion on these things (like dont go bothering scott aar) abundantly clear is a bit meh. And feel free to read 'I think' in front 'this is bad' every time I say it, I don't know anything about journalistic ethics and back practices, im a ~~nerd~~ sneerjock.
The view that is forming here is "the journalist is a bad person", and I'm just trying to understand how the journalist could carry forth doing this without being a bad person. It's essentially a value clash between internet people who expect to be semi pseudo-anonymous, and journalism which has a totally different point of view. Why do I do this? Because I spent a lot of time "knowing" "how" people "should" be, and ultimately it didn't bring me happiness, just endless suffering because I was always at odds with people. So I decided to try to frame people as reasonable without strong evidence otherwise. So my angle here is: assume the journalist is reasonable, and what he's doing he doesn't consider unethical or problematic. What then? The debate IS open, is isn't settled. There are, as I noted in a different thread, important journalistic reasons to use real names and also not to let sources drive the story. I can't say for sure if this is one of those cases: I haven't read the story. Someone else said it was a cultural anthropology story, and maybe, but it might be a 'expose the dark underbelly of the onramp to alt-right and naziism'. Scott isn't an entirely innocent and blameless person here: his philosophies have done real harm, and that's part of the mission of this subreddit: to debate, counter arguments, and reveal the bad logic that Scott & others are profligating. I'm waiting to see this article, if it ever comes out, before I serve judgement. Given how easy it is to turn his current "pen name" into the rest of his real name, the inclusion of his last name might make little difference. I'm just not willing to cast moral judgements on someone over the smallest of information. ​ EDIT: PS: your objections to my reply are odious. You state that you expressed an opinion and that somehow shields you from criticism or debate over that opinion. That is bizarre. You state an opinion: I ask clarification questions, and push back. Is that a problem for you?
Look, I'm not going to debate you on this. And I don't think I have to explain myself to you. Feel free to have your own different opinions. Feel free to debate with others about it, but im not going to do it. I'm sorry. E: esp as the whole 'don't do it' thing is just ignored, as was the other post by somebody else (for which I said thanks, and by 'disregarding the psych angle' I meant, 'I'm going to disregard this, because somebody else already mentioned it, and im not going to repeat what they said'). This just smells like JAQing to me. And this: > why didn't I get a response to my questions or argument? I think I was trying to be respectful, raise what I considered were real issues, not use ad hominem attacks, etc. prff, you just sound like a sealion here. All this is just way to much like the rationalist stuff which I'm not a fan of. Go play gotcha with somebody else. And calling my reaction odious because I don't want to play your 'tell my why this is bad, and don't say doxxing is bad' game is pretty shitty. Esp as you just flat out ignore my 'it is causing him mental stress' thing, seems like you already have a conclusion and just don't want to listen. Added to that, I don't know you, you hardly seem to post here, why are you suddenly on a 'make sneerclub pro doxing stance?', you will have to accept that im not really in the mood to do debate club while a lot of people are acting pretty insane on this. Why are you so weird in demanding a specific answer to this question?
You don't have to debate me. That's totally fine. For everyone else that is reading this, it's up to you to conclude: why didn't I get a response to my questions or argument? I think I was trying to be respectful, raise what I considered were real issues, not use ad hominem attacks, etc. I read a line somewhere that arguing on the internet isn't to convince the other person, but to influence all the bystanders who are watching. So if you are reading this: is there a world where the journalist is doing what they consider to be proper and ethical behavior, even if Scott doesn't like it or thinks it's a major problem for him? Why do we have to take the smallest of information nuggets and use to cast 'evil' on someone who may well be just doing their job in what is considered a forward and ethnical manner. People have bitched a lot about journalists using anonymous sources, and this is the flip side of that.
Ew @ Patreon.


Don't get me wrong, publishing identifying information about someone when they've explicitly said not to do that is not okay. But if the NYT does go ahead with this, it won't even be [the worst thing they've published this month](https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/03/opinion/tom-cotton-protests-military.html).


Also, doxxing: "search for and publish private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the Internet, typically with malicious intent." Your name isn't strictly speaking private information. It's identifying, sort of depending on your name and other information that you've revealed about yourself. I am not even sure there is malicious intent here: investigative journalism isn't mean to coddle the targets, and tying a story to a person is an important part of the journalism.
The same thing is true about other Internet social swarming behaviors that appear common and well-known to people highly attached to, say, Twitter, and much less so to those with unafflicted brains. Cancel culture comes to mind as an example.

I can see a public interest in revealing his real name, and tying his opinions to a real identity. This is a way of making ideas accountable in the real world. That is the world journalists operate in.

I’m not really sure I feel comfortable describing what the NYTimes might do as “doxxing”. It’s just his name. Most doxxing includes: phone numbers, addresses, SSN number, alternate emails, work places, etc.

Because Scott is a licensed professional, turning his name into his medical license number and other information isn’t that hard, which is part of how doctors are held accountable as well. I don’t really have any good solutions here, except clearly Scott didn’t think that bedding down with the alt-right would be a bad idea in the long term. “they’re just ideas”, and so on.

While I’m not excited as to what might happen to him, I’m also pretty meh on moving the goalposts of what doxxing means, and also the idea that journalists can’t/should’t use people’s real names without their permission. It’s called investigative journalism, and it’s fully first amendment protected.

but you don't understand, this might affect the *ingroup*
So in theory you're right. But in practice there is a major gap. Demonstrating evidence is difficult. The world is very complex and there are a lot of weird complexities. A single study may not qualify as evidence, even if it was peer reviewed. Small-N, poor methodology, wrong statistics, causation vs correlation, unaccounted for variables, and much more all pollute the results. Even meta studies may not reveal systematic biases caused by an entire field not understanding a fundamentally missing piece. Part of what made the academy work is an ongoing track record that historically has been tied to one's personal identity. This isn't the only way, but this is the way most people think - if you are unwilling to put your name on something, you have less credibility. And in a world which is too complex for any one person to really understand, relying on credibility of experts is important. Think licensing of doctors, civil/structural engineers, and a lot more. It's not wrong to rely on experts without questioning them: it's a time saving device. But it only works if experts are held accountable to their views and rewarded/punished for it. After all, would you like your doctor to have been delicensed in another state, only to be able to work on you? The reality is that 'evidence X shows that Y is true' isn't a boolean logic. It's a probabilistic calculation. And even so, a lot of science works by models, and you are demonstrating the validity and predictive power of the model, not that 'Y is true'. For example, newton's law of universal gravitation: is this true? Well, not really, it is just a simple mathematical model that doesn't work in all places in the universe. But also yes, because it works in nearly all the places in the universe. To discuss the 'truth factor' of it is misleading: its a model that is reasonably accurate at predicting things, but it also isn't complete (eg: 2 body vs N body gravitation, in addition to black holes, early era of the universe, expansion/acceleration, etc). But it's still useful to think about and use. And finally: yes, by writing under your real name you are inherently limited by whatever social blowback you think you can weather. That's why pen names exist. Scott didn't use a pen name, he used 2/3rds of his real name. The whole situation has grown far out of his control now.
First off I reject the term “doxxing”. It does real disservice to people who have had their actual pseudo anonymity decloaked with personal phone numbers etc revealed. I don’t think that it’s “authoritarian” and “intolerant” for someone else to have an alternate worldview. That’s what’s I’ve been trying to say here - the journalist is working on a different base of assumptions. I wouldn’t call that authoritarian because it’s just independent actors working. There’s no government coercion. What I’m saying is... Scott is no hero or antihero. And some people may think revealing his personal identity is in the public interest. Since I’m not publishing the article, I’m not taking any action. Nor do I take a strong stance for or against it. I’m just putting out other explanations that are just as reasonable. Two things I do believe though: Scott has gotten himself into this situation. He might not have foreseen it, but there it is. Second is I don’t have to feel badly or sorry for Scott. I have plenty of real life shit in my plate that is much more important, and I don’t consider his blog as value so that also doesn’t help too. And that’s ok: he’s just a person who’s in a bad situation. He’s white. He’ll get over it. EDIT: maybe you could be specific and clear about how a sneer club regular has “decided to doxx him”. Telling a journalist to talk to some of his detractors doesn’t qualify. The decision to publish is owned by the journalist and editor of the article alone.
Also ironic that you reference the kkk which in fact used anonymity to murder people. So there’s clearly downsides to anonymity.
> but it's actual people that make the decision to dox him, including a SneerClub regular. Given the nature of reddit pseudonyms, I suppose it's impossible to rule out the impossibility of the NYT reporter or editor being regular posters on r/sneerclub. But to try to blame sneerclub for a decision made by the NYT is some bullshit. Last time Scott Al. was worried about his legal name being associated with SSC, when he shut down the culture war thread on his subreddit, a bunch of his fans on reddit blamed sneerclub. We, of course, had nothing to do with that. (And my understanding is that it was some right-wing weirdos who were responsible—anyone with even a passing familiarity with sneerclub would know we truck with right-wing weirdos.) Parts of the rationalist community have a history with """retributive""" doxxing—look at what happened to su3su2u1 for the crime of criticizing a Harry Potter fanfic. So I have zero patience with attempts to blame sneerclub for what the NYT does. Banned.

Somebody send this to badlegaltakes ASAP.

Regardless of what you think about SSC, doxxing anyone who’s not a nazi or pedophile is wrong.

They organize attacks in real life, just look at theNZ mosque shooting and the charlottesville car incident.
What on God’s Green Earth...

Doxing is wrong and also Hulk Hogan fucking sucks.

Remember his pasta restaurant? I do.