r/SneerClub archives
Twitter thread: it looks very like Scott *actually* deleted Slate Star Codex when Metz said he'd be looking into critical sources too, and not just cheerleaders. (https://twitter.com/melissamcewen/status/1275493977672777733)

So we ARE to blame for the shutdown. Phew, I was doubting our power, after we managed to take down Hsu and Trump. (This is a self referential joke).

But if this is true and confirmed that would be big, as that would show that Scott wasn’t totally honest on why he deleted everything. (Not that a large portion of his fanbase would believe this. Esp not the people who were considering the NYT piece a hitjob in revenge for Scott writing that he doesn’t like paywalls (who does?)).

shocked at the implication that Scott could ever have posted disingenuously
He already made 4k a month on patreon iirc.
Yes for a simple blogger that is pretty high amounts of cash. Not sure if he works fulltime btw. (Easy to find out btw, just ask at r/ssc people will fall overthemselves to prove they know more about their prophet than the rest of the sub). And while it is a bit ghoulish from me to say this, considering the current drama, but I do find it slightly weird he isn't going 'if you want to support me, donate money to a charity instead'. (But, I have not looked into this at all, so I don't know what he is doing with his patreon, I just recall it being mentioned when the blog was moved to /dev/null)
[Scott already admitted](https://www.reddit.com/r/slatestarcodex/comments/hew8bc/my_thoughts_on_the_whole_affair_as_a_ssc_fan_24/fvvslhh/) there is no way he will not put up an archive. So the [library of Alexandria](https://www.reddit.com/r/slatestarcodex/comments/he95ak/blog_deleted_due_to_nyt_threatening_doxxing_of/fvsmpgc/) is safe...
I’m op and yeah I saw people here and on Twitter talking about contacting the reporter before Scott did the delete. I of course can’t prove that Scott knew but if I were Scott it would have made me nervous. This is all very amusing though because the reporter LOVES ssc and during our talk basically tried to convince me how it’s great and has a diverse fanbase. So imho the reporter was gonna write a total love letter with maybe an offhand remark about critics. Now that Scott deleted and sent his followers after the reporter and editor, maybe a more investigative reporter will pick it up. I saw a lot of reporters I know Tweeting things like “what is ssc?”
yeah, the two of them may have accidentally Streisanded this to the point that someone else will actually give SSC a proper report while we're all speculating anyway, here's what I imagine: at the end of a very friendly and charitable interview, Metz mentioned that by the way the normal Times policy is to print your True Name if you haven't negotiated to be a confidential source, and journalistic balance will require his puff piece to include a graf about the critics too, kthxbai then Scott freaked out and baleeted his whole blag then Metz was shocked because what a weird thing to do just for having your name published as the author of an amazing and wonderful web-log that everyone loves and hell he probably could have gotten an exception from his editor if he'd simply asked
That was my read of the situation too. I doubt we'll ever get any confirmation on what actually happened, but it does seem to be the most plausible series of events.
If you're talking to journalists, I've found the [SSC Lifecycle post](https://old.reddit.com/r/SneerClub/comments/7gnzdb/is_it_the_people_or_the_philosophy/) useful in explaining to people how a place that initially seems so smart and interesting eventually starts to look like a cesspool.
I've pushed back hard against the notion that the journalist is "doxxing" Scott. I mean ffs Scott is using 2/3s of his real name already! And doesn't go to lengths to protect his last name either! That is NOT most people's reasonable interpretation of pseudoanonymous. So I just didn't feel comfortable tossing this situation with doxxing which IS a serious problem, and much more intrusive. I also have thought that this piece may be morphing beyond a love letter - the journalist has an editor who puts checks on them. Making sure to check with critics, taking the inquiry seriously. And lo and behold, we have a whole bunch of people on this subreddit, elsewhere who hold the opinion that EA/rationalists are 1 step on the trail to scientific racism, and SSC is part of that onramp to truly bad ideas. The article might be more of an expose, and in terms of public interest, his last name may very well be part of that public interest.
Yeah I really do think it is part of that public interest. Being in tech it scares the fuck out of me that first of all platforms like Twitter and Facebook are so powerful and second of all so many of their higher ups/people making product decisions are fans of SSC and its ilk. It shapes so much about what is tolerated on those platforms.
I work at Google, and while a lot of people like SSC, a lot of people don't know him, and a lot of the management is... frankly older and 'out of touch'. They have kids, families, responsibilities, and take their role in the community seriously. The real AI risk in the short term is biased-AI presented as neutral. And there's a lot of people who are very concerned and are doing REAL effort to fix it. And ultimately Sundar and other senior leaders get the final word. I'm not going to say all is well, but I do think the upper echelons of Google and many other companies are above this fray. I also suspect that people age out of this stuff. Especially if they are more NT. I do think that EA/x-risk/etc serves as a trap for a certain kind of autistic person you can find in the bay area (why I was attracted to CFAR initially, but thanks to my mental illnesses I fell out of favor (there's no space in CFAR/EA/etc for ADHD folks I suspect)). Facebook on the other hand... holy shit, talk about an amoral cast and crew. I've never thought about working there for this exact reason.
Yeah I don't know anyone at Google who is a SSC fan. Mostly people at startups, Discord, Twitter. I don't personally know anyone who has ever worked for Facebook I guess that's too bottom of the barrel even for my own tech circles.
There is a kind of 'type' that SSC & friends seem to attract. I'm not really sure what that type is honestly. I'm also kind of over startups where I am not a controlling founder. If I'm gonna work for someone else, at least pay me the big bucks, none of this 'equity that might be worth something' b.s.
people who like to cosplay as academics but don't like to put in the actual effort it requires to do research and people who want to be told what is "rational" (which is logical until it no longer supports their viewpoints) without doing much actual critical thinking themselves are the two types I see the most.
Actually really critically thinking about stuff is hard tho, especially if you don't have anyone to discuss it with. What draws me the most about it is the lively comment section, like I'd have happily given an arm to experience it IRL as a kid.
There was an SSC meetup (which he attended) at Google maybe 7 years ago? A few dozen people showed up.
there are a lot of tech follow who've read a few articles like Meditations, Outgroup etc. but don't really delve much further past that. I'm pretty sure when statistics were collected most of the people who read SSC actually worked in IT (no offense intended to IT people) which I personally find not very surprising. On the other hand what's so sketchy about Facebook (beyond their general lack of ethics as a whole - I'm talking like why you'd say SDEs at Facebook are amoral)? Out of all FAANGs, I definitely would say Amazon cultivates by far the worst environment and most obnoxious individuals at least in my limited experiences in interacting with them.
Probably not run of the mill SDE but people who make product decisions like this [https://twitter.com/JuddLegum/status/1275785257112002560](https://twitter.com/JuddLegum/status/1275785257112002560) I don't know anyone at FB but I know at other companies sometimes SDEs do make these decisions (and are usually bad at it).
Let me more specific, I think that the upper decision makers of Facebook have some serious morality issues. Zuck and his crew are obviously trying to split hairs and court republicans both at the political as well as 'every day' level by playing the whole culture war thing. Additionally, the structures of incentives at facebook bind and control the rank and file. I have friends who work at facebook, and I don't think they are immoral people, they are just working in a system that is building a certain kind of outcome I disagree with. And insofar that I have choice, I choose not to work there. I understand the idea of 'working from the inside for change', and I don't think its a b.s. line - change from within is real important and difficult, and not the only answer. I have worked at Amazon as well and you are totally right that the cutthroat nature of how Amazon does business is not good.
I have heard about Google AI people punching walls when they hear the bozos at MIRI open their mouths.
MIRI and Yud is a semi-frequent joke butt on the SSC Discord too.
What percentage do you think know who Scott even is?
Honestly, probably fairly low. Probably not a lot more than 25%, in part because the company is big, isn't all programmers, and I think SSC is a 'bay area' kinda thing. His articles make their way around, but honestly people arent always interested in a new philosophy.
> there's no space in CFAR/EA/etc for ADHD folks I suspect I mean, is there **anywhere** for useless scum like us tho? I'd like to hear about your experiences with them, I've only ever once met some German EA folks and didn't get to experience too much.
Yes, but it's in artistic or cross disciplinary places. Burning man art community. I went to a CFAR workshop, which I found very personally helpful. It was over 3-4 days. The format was like a series of mini lectures most the day, with some larger group activities here and there, along with common food and hangout times. I think the content kind of had two 'tracks', one is more logical/mathematical, eg: how to estimate using bayes in your head. Then there was 'emotional' classes. "Againstness" where one of the instructors has a student stand in front of the class, and he gently probes some area of your life until you have a physical reaction - adrenaline/sympathetic nervous system, then he coaches you using breathing to get thru it. A form of exposure therapy essentially. Ironically I found the 'emotional' content more helpful, which was taught mostly by the men. Some of the tips and tricks and hacks clearly only work for certain kinds of people. I didn't realize I had ADHD at the time, and that made of the advice kind of 'not easily applicable'. There is definite a kind of 'cult' like behavior to it. A lot of the instructors and attendees lived in various Berkeley group homes. Some of the people worked for or ended up working for MIRI or EA. People wanted to unlock their life (as did I), and they provided a path, although it wasn't highly proscriptive, there were informal evening talks about things like polyphasic sleep and the importance of the 5 people you spend the most time around. Most attendees end up with a 'super-person' kind of feeling after. There is all this 'secret' knowledge you know, and you can do anything. I certainly felt it. It dissipated after not too long because my partner wasn't really into their ways, and I wasn't going to break up with her and move into one of the group homes. About 2 months later I went to Burning Man, which was a bigger and more permanent change (since I still belong to various burning communities), and then teaching myself CBT that fall was another helpful moment. But ultimately in the end, all that stuff needed to be backstopped with meds. Now that I have the meds, and the mental training (from burning man, CBT and a much lesser extent CFAR), I am in a pretty solid place. In short: get therapy, maybe go to burning man, if you have ADHD get on meds, and skip the cult like atmosphere. Oh one other tidbit... I also did some work as founder of a startup and got into the 'executive leader' headspace for a bit. When the infamous 'google memo' about 3 years ago hit (and I worked there at the time), I thought it was entirely obvious that the guy would HAVE to be fired. His contribution is outweighed by all the other employees he pissed off. Additionally his memo was filled with tons of bad faith and poor arguments. None of it passed the smell check for me. I KNEW his arguments were bogus but in my ADHD-deprived state I wasn't able to precisely nail why. Various really good quora articles have illustrated exactly what's wrong, from basic statistical errors, to mis-representing various studies (a fave 'rationalist' tactic), generally doing a 'gish gallop' style barrage of weak and poor studies. (btw 1 study does not a fact make) But apparently for some of the upper leadership of CFAR they thought his memo was totally cool and logically sound. And that's when I realized that they were nuts, and I defriended most of them on facebook. I wasn't really part of their alumni community actively, but I stepped away from it. I couldn't support a memo that said that female googlers were hired with a lower bar than anyone else, which I found profoundly insulting to those who worked hard to interview fairly and rigorously, and all my women colleagues who I know are smart as hell, and deserve to be there, and contribute so much. The basic reality is epigenetic, environmental, and social contributions drive so much of who we are. Since then I've had a child, and literally starting AT or before birth boys and girls are treated different. Kids are insanely sensitive and pick up and are guided by their parents, and those little differences when they are so so young grow into huge differences. The reality is the ADHD mind is all over the place and is too cross disciplinary to fall for the focused sophistry of EA/CFAR/rationalists. Only when you zoom out and look at the entire world, you realize that many of the 'major problems' the rationalist community goes on about is addressed by philosophy, religion, and legal theory. The challenge of AGI seems unlikely to be met by increases in CPU power, and clever machine learning techniques. There are so many brain structures we know are essential to how we think that have no analogy in ML/AI yet. We've spent a solid half decade making speech recognition pretty okay, and image recognition so so, and it's great advances, but it's still not even anything close to AGI. Logical agents have been theorized for decades now, but without the ability to describe intents in a plain english conversation, it's still tedious to program or set them up. Yes I know this is very similar to the whole 'dont look at where we've been to know where we are going', but I've also seen this stuff circle for a long time. Perhaps we'll replicate a human brain in software, but there is so much randomness in human brains, that I suspect the game theory stuff and other MIRI ideas may not play out. I might not have enough of a galaxy brain to understand it, but I can still place the work in the greater context, and it's payoff may be measured in more than a century if ever.
> Additionally his memo was filled with tons of bad faith and poor arguments. See, that was also my impression, though uneducated, when I got around looking into bits of the memo. I still hate most most management theory bullshit and it being unavoidably pushed on people without reasistance, creating cover for politicking and incalculable effect on efficiency, and the peremis of dunking on that just sounded appealing. > I KNEW his arguments were bogus but in my ADHD-deprived state I wasn't able to precisely nail why. Fuck, I really feel that, and hate that I do. For me it's often talking and sounding smart but failing at actually getting stuff right in details on the spot, it makes me feel soo shitty. I hate stuff where I can't go back and reiterate on the mistakes I did at first/second go, hope work will suck less than school in similar regard. > from basic statistical errors, to mis-representing various studies (a fave 'rationalist' tactic), generally doing a 'gish gallop' style barrage of weak and poor studies. (btw 1 study does not a fact make) This is why I loved reading some Gwern dunks on stuff like this and distantly wish for becoming knowledgeable enough to comprehend study flaws that fast. But kinda I unlikely for me to become an academian anyway. > MIRI galaxy brain stuff Even the SSC Discord thinks MIRI is cringe. My annoyance is that they hyperfocus on one particular vision of future threat and don't bother checking up how plausible it even is, or save look around more subtle but much more relevant and iminent stuff like, say, recommendation algorithms' effects, text bots and other stuff. I could probably find some people who actually do this and maybe grow the guts to join in.
The reality is you just need... a lot of focused time to work on this stuff. You know, focused. Maybe you'll get lucky and hyper-focus will come to your rescue. Or maybe not. One thing I DID know about diversity and inclusion teams is they took their job seriously, they had a lot of data and methodology, and some top notch thinking that was a lot more than 'all men bad!' kind of sterotypes that are often thrown at these people. For a company the size of Google, they really are building and selling products to the ENTIRE world. Localizing products in India will probably require indians living in india. The bottom line is D&I as practiced at places like Google is thoughtful, focused on business success, and doesn't want to repeat the mistakes of 1990s era programs. Additionally, being inclusive is a basic theory of the company. And one thing I've learned is there are some basic theories of companies, and if you disagree with them you should quit. One memo isn't going to convince leadership - in part because their thinking is deeper than yours, and secondly there are some things you cant argue. For example, you can't argue that black people inherently have low IQ and that is a permanent biological feature of 'them'. That argument will NEVER fly with me, no matter the 'evidence' you bring to bear.
> For example, you can't argue that black people inherently have low IQ and that is a permanent biological feature of 'them'. That argument will NEVER fly with me, no matter the 'evidence' you bring to bear. Yeah, a thing why I really like Contrapoints is that she points at the potential effects of having various socially relevant beliefs/attitudes, even if one feels they are 'correct' that doesn't mean they aren't an asshole/aren't going to hurt people out of inconsiderateness. I also believe that if we actually want to improve stuff, we have the know the object level details, but it's indeed very hard to avoid having bad actors run with stuff out of context, and I can empathise with people freaked out about the prospects of that.
> I saw a lot of reporters I know Tweeting things like “what is ssc?” Surely you linked them to RationalWiki.
I'm still very confused, like, if the reporter is such a fanboy why is the name reveal even on the table?
I think Epistaxis has a good theory. My impression is that when he did the interview with Metz he didn't demand to be pseudoanonymous and only started to freak out when Metz found his name (since it's a quick Google search) and was going to use it.
to be fair, if even Cade Metz can find your name, you're not anonymous
Yeah I have trouble believing this count as "doxxing" as Elizabeth Sandifer has pointed out he's used his real name to publish SSC nonsense in journals. My thinking is he struggles between the need for validation (talking to reporters who love him, publishing in journals) and the constant paranoia that "cancel culture" is coming for him which has led to the inconsistencies.
it must be coincidence that people worried about "cancel culture" coming for them keep having so many reasons to worry
Well, to be fair, I think we should also be slightly worried, I doubt all the 200 new readers of the sub are nice and friendly people. And there is a reason some people sneer with a sneerclub specific pseudonym. (E: of course, im paranoid)
It's not unreasonable to be worried. So far he's on "any feminist on the internet" levels of harrasment, if the piece gets published he might jump up to "feminist giving popular game 9/10" levels of harrassment.
No I meant, we should be worried for crazy pro ssc people blowing back shit to us.
oh yeah, agreed. I hate that being on the internet means that no matter the opinion, someone will use it as an excuse to be a harrassing dickhead.
Yes, and while the Scotts will get all the support in the world, any blowback upon us will be met with silence or even support, as we are evil (in their eyes). Esp if Scott just goes ahead and disappears, all the anger has to go somewhere, esp now the rightwing culture warriors are also taking note.
Cancel culture worries me because I don't trust mobs, regardless of its political affiliation. Once you've become a mob's target you're done, unless you're someone with enough clout to withstand them. And I don't have any clout.
Bruh, I always assumed that if he cares that much about his anonymity, he woulda mentioned that immediately, if what you guys are saying is true, most of the blame is on scott
Anyone with more than a couple of brain cells knows that you establish anonymity before talking to the press, mostly because it's the only leverage you have.
Yeah I worked with anon sources as a writer once and these were just random people with no experience as sources but they said they needed anonymity or they wouldn't talk to me
His editor probably told him he couldn't publish a story about his favorite blog unless it contained some actual news

Scott Alexander should be allowed to take his mask off slowly, inch-by-inch over the course of several years, instead of having it taken off for him by that nasty NY Times reporter. /s

To any reporters reading this: My PMs are open if you want some good dirt about Scott Alexander not being able to read properly.

Following both this sub and SSC has turned into a full-frontal assault on my brain

Same. I feel like I have a multiple personality disorder...
Are you still sick if your psychiatrist is the cause of your symptoms?
The only people who know what's actually going on are Scott and a few NYT folks. The headline of this submission are just playing telephone from "it is interesting he'd delete his blog just as the reporter was going to start looking at more critical sources" (which proves nothing other than "reporter continues work on article"). Frankly, Scott would be an idiot to delete his blog on that basis. That's gonna produce an NYT article that says "We went after critical sources, then he deleted his blog based on some made up nonsense reasoning"


This would be easy to confirm, just let the NYT announce that they’re not going to be using his real name, and see if the blog comes back.

Here’s my alternate timeline/theory:

  1. Scott starts to talk to the NYT journalist who is a fanboy
  2. Scott warms to the idea of a ‘love letter’ story being written about him
  3. Journalist now starts to dig around in the darker corners
  4. Scott realizes that this isn’t going to be a 1 sided piece, and that his big back catalog of posts and comments presents a challenge: There’s a lot to defend against.
  5. Scott deletes blog providing the excuse

Scott seems both naive enough to go willingly along with a NYT article until he realizes it might actually expose him to serious critique by people who don’t think his reasoning is sound. Millions of people will be linked to the deeper darker parts of his arguments. Along with detractors who are willing to provide well reasoned counter-arguments.

This just isn’t something a blog like SSC can withstand. It’s raw opinions and ideas that are not very well considered all the time. (The lengthy nature of the posts clearly indicate a need for a stronger editor who doesn’t just spell check)

I think this is plausible (though we'll likely never know the truth) but it seems weird that Scott, if he did want a puff-piece, would go to the NYT. They still maintain at least some level of journalistic integrity, the editors surely wouldn't let a pure puff piece pass through, right? But there must be a dozen random blogs and smaller sites that'd jump at the change to write a SSC love-letter, so why not go with them? Is NYT's "legitimate journalism" sheen that tempting?
The journo is a fan and went to him so that's step 0. here: techie journalist is a fan of SSC and pitches an article about it to his editor.
> the NYT. They still maintain at least some level of journalistic integrity, Do they, though? Do they?

What is the “orange hell site” she’s referring to? (Is it.. is it.. us?)

[hacker news.](https://news.ycombinator.com/)
for reference, www.n-gate.com is the sneerclub to HN.
That site is :chefs kiss:
Thanks, this is great.
This site is Babylon Bee levels of straw manning.
Hacker News

So, it wasn’t because Scott Alexander would have to reveal his True Name and Noble Phantasm to defeat the Dark Lord New York Times ? Oh okay. Glad we cleared that up

I don’t feel like making another post for this, but I noticed this from someone trying to pretend to be “Scott Alexander” on Twitter: https://theifors.com/art-1.html

The Institute for Studies had not planned to go live today. Unfortunately, you go to war with the topic you have, not the topic you want, and the New York Times has declared war on anonymous bloggers.

The blog of war is a subject dear to our hearts. The Institute is anonymous: many of us identify with marginalised communities and cannot publish under our own bylines. Our commitment to anonymity is so great that our Fellows do not know each other’s names, our Master is unaware of the Institute’s bank account details, and nobody knows how to access our Bitcoin wallet.

This is with scotts approval, he said on the subreddit that people should go ahead with faking his style, after people asked. See https://www.reddit.com/r/slatestarcodex/comments/he95ak/comment/fvpyd3a Which seems to me like a pretty bad idea.
"Hello to my many unhinged fans, perhaps your future rants written on the walls in your own excrement should be signed with *my* name"
'This is my lifes work i had to close it, it is so horrible' also 'feel free to use my style and name for any weird nrx racist creed you can think up'. Of course if anybody does this he will just blame us for the identity theft... No my supervisor, i didnt write 70% of all feminists are unhinged, it was sneerclub!
I am ~~Spartacus~~ Scott Alexander!
I have no mouth but I must cringe.
It seems a lot of people are changing their Twitter handle to "Scott Alexander." It's a bit cringe, tbh.

I have a twitter account where I never tweet, reply, retweet or like anything. I just use it to follow interesting people. But it appears that I’m blocked by @melissamcewen. Any idea why she might blocked me, and is anyone else blocked by her?

Edit: Ah nevermind, she has a tweet that explains it. It’s still strange IMO.