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    So I guess I missed the drama here. Can anyone summarize what motivated this post? Something to do with LambdaConf inviting someone to speak?

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      This is in reference to the Curtis Yarvin previously banned from attending StrangeLoop [0].

      LambdaConf invites him after a month spent soliciting feedback from its community [1].

      Twitter goes crazy and activists begin calling for sponsors and speakers to drop out from LambdaConf. 6 of the 7 sponsors drop out.

      A number of opinions are had on both sides [2] [3].

      Finally Curtis responds by saying that he won’t be going as ‘moldbug’ and that his views have been misunderstood [4]. He also gets deep into discussing what he originally meant in one of the posts people found most offensive [5].

      LambdaConf upholds their original decision [6]:

      If a conference allows all peaceful people to attend and speak so long as they treat attendees exceedingly well, then guess what I think it’s going to select for? Wait for it… a diverse community of peaceful people who are willing to treat attendees exceedingly well, even when they strongly disagree with them!

      HaskellBook is the remaining sponsor and this is their reason why.

      [0] http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2015/06/curtis_yarvin_booted_from_strange_loop_it_s_a_big_big_problem.html

      [1] http://degoes.net/articles/lambdaconf-inclusion

      [2] https://twitter.com/seldo/status/714258138325626880

      [3] https://twitter.com/simon_penn_r/status/713956774122893313

      [4] https://medium.com/@curtis.yarvin/why-you-should-come-to-lambdaconf-anyway-35ff8cd4fb9d#.bskx6ny3y

      [5] https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/4bxf6f/im_curtis_yarvin_developer_of_urbit_ama/d1da212

      [6] http://degoes.net/articles/lambdaconf-controversy

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        There was a lengthy discussion on another thread.

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          The length of that discussion is one of the reasons I strongly urge that news, especially this sort of event, should not be submitted to this site.

          It tends to balloon up to fill available space, and consume lots of cycles as people try to ferret out the truth and convince one side or the other of something.

          Basically, it’s pure noise against signal. :(

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            You’ve said that before. At least in this specific case, I find it clear that people wanted to talk about that, and I can’t see any argument that they shouldn’t. The assessment that it’s noise is yours; I suspect everyone who upvoted anything in that thread considers it signal. I know I thought it was one of the most productive possible conversations on that topic, and was glad to encounter some new ideas in it.

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              Out of curiosity, what new ideas did you get from it?

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                The potential framing of the whole issue as a boycott rather than in terms of conduct is a really interesting thing, and a lot to chew on. Since that entire idea was new to me, there were several points and counterpoints about the ethics of boycotts in that fork of the discussion which were also new.

                In addition, I found it worth thinking through the question that came up about what immediate inappropriate conduct might be expected from this particular speaker at this particular conference. I came to the conclusion that the bad effects I’m concerned about are larger-scale issues, orthogonal to what he does or doesn’t do while in attendance. In particular, my major concern is how his speaking affects the audience of the conference - who will stop going, and who will start going, and what conduct the newcomers might have that would reinforce the audience shift as a long-term effect. Codes of conduct are, in a sense, last-line tools for this kind of policy decision: important, but not the only important thing. I realized this as a result of pondering the sincere questions of other Lobsters users; I might have realized it through discussion elsewhere eventually, since this is topic I think about a lot, but it happened to be here.

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                  Ah, thank you for writing that up!

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          People who have demanded that speaker selection is done in an anonymized fashion to not discriminate against minorities realized that it selected someone they would like to discriminate against.

          After that these people tried everything to punish the organizers and bring the conference down.

          http://i.imgur.com/LhI5pje.png

          In the end, the conference is worse off, the speakers are worse off, the attendees are worse off, and the stupid ideology of that speaker is more well-known that ever. But hey, they made their point, and that seems to be everything they care about. “Improving society? Social progress? Shut up, we just want to share our collective, dignified outrage!”

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            People who have demanded that speaker selection is done in an anonymized fashion to not discriminate against anyone realized that it selected someone they would like to discriminate against.

            Speaker selection is always anonymous rating with following curation. It’s called anonymous for short, but it is still a decision process, not a random raffle.

            The problem at hand is that the conference made a value statement when they announced the conference and chose a speaker directly opposing that statement. Some people supported that statement and promoted the conference are understandably upset.

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              Speaker selection is always anonymous rating with following curation. It’s called anonymous for short, but it is still a decision process, not a random raffle.

              Eh … you can’t have it both ways. Additionally, it was not done this way at the conference we are talking about if you bothered to read their description of the events.

              My lesson from this debacle: I might just invite some controversial speaker to the next conference I’m organizing. Looking at the behavior of these “upset” people, I probably prefer having one person with completely abhorrent and despicable views at my conference rather than dealing with this mob in attendance.

              Congrats to them for making the world a worse place!

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                Eh … you can’t have it both ways. Additionally, it was not done this way at the conference we are talking about if you bothered to read their description of the events.

                Sure you can. That’s what many conferences do, e.g. https://cfp.eurucamp.org/guide#the-selection-process (JSConf does that similarly and was the originator of that process). There is always the point where you de-anonymise proposals and that’s a point where you make a final decision. You are still the curator of that conference.

                My lesson from this debacle: I might just invite some controversial speaker to the next conference I’m organizing. Looking at the behavior of these “upset” people, I probably prefer having one person with completely abhorrent and despicable views at my conference rather than dealing with this mob in attendance.

                I described precisely what is at odds here: you cannot go around and rally support from many diversity projects just as LamdaConf did and then show them the middle-finger like that and expect them to not be upset.

                Be my guest in running the most controversial conference under the sun - if you state so before. Also, don’t come crying if people oppose or don’t support - that’s perfectly within their right.

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                  Sure you can. That’s what many conferences do […]

                  This is so nonsensical that it doesn’t surprise me that mainly untyped languages seem to do this. /s

                  I described precisely what is at odds here: you cannot go around and rally support from many diversity projects just as LamdaConf did and then show them the middle-finger like that and expect them to not be upset.

                  From what I gather, the large majority of “diverse” people actually backed them. The upset crowd seemed to largely consist of people continually looking for reasons to be angry and offended about something. That’s exactly the crowd I prefer not to have in attendance.

                  I frankly find it deeply troubling that these people think that they have to tell minorities what to do and what to think. You know, maybe the minority is still a minority because many don’t like to be treated by these people as fragile, insecure creatures which can’t look after themselves?

                  This whole thing reminds me of the creeper card movement which devolved from “women are weak, fragile, helpless human beings confused by choice and communication, let’s make colored cards for them to communicate” to “OMG! Who didn’t agree with our brilliant idea with those cards?! Let’s go after people who disagree with our approach.” at one conference. (Then it turned out that most of the people who made fun of the cards were actually those infantilized by the creeper card organizers, not the intended receivers of these cards.)

                  Also, don’t come crying if people oppose or don’t support - that’s perfectly within their right.

                  Isn’t that the whole point?

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                    Sure you can. That’s what many conferences do […]

                    This is so nonsensical that it doesn’t surprise me that mainly untyped languages seem to do this. /s

                    I guess we can stop talking here, then. Way to be blatantly dismissive.

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                      I’m glad to you found a snippet (even if it was explicitly marked as non-serious) that gave you a reason to stop dealing with completely unrelated opinions you didn’t like!

                      1. -1

                        No, my point is that I don’t wish to engage with people that can’t bite their tongues for a second when it comes to low stabs. My time is limited and I wish to spend it on people that actually want to discuss.

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                          Sure! Let’s all pretend you didn’t just run out of arguments here. :-)

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                            I flagged this as incorrect because, frankly, you have no idea whether or not skade had additional arguments to make. Don’t be a jerk.

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            Specifically “Mencius Moldbug” (real name Curtis Yarvin), who has a history of racist and antidemocratic writings and speech.

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              Technically, one could argue that his arguments are racialist and not racist. He believes in “racial” differences in abilities but not in moral superiority. I still think he’s wrong, and I find his writing unpleasant, his conclusions errant, and his views (as far as I can discern them, and it’s not easy as it might seem) offensive.

              I would argue that he probably is racist, because racism is a systemic illness and everyone has some racism in them. What’s important is understanding that racism is wrong, and fighting racist tendencies in oneself and others.

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                Technically, bullshit.

                Plessy vs Ferguson defended Jim Crow laws by saying separate is OK as long as it’s equal. You and I both know (and Brown v. Board of Education established) that separate is inherently unequal. Saying someone has different abilities (makes a better slave) because of their race but that’s OK because it’s morally equal, is no different. I dare you to go to a bar, walk up to the biggest guy there and say, “Your girl is a whore, but don’t be offended because I’m not making any judgement about the ‘moral superiority’ of whores.” (Do you see how offensive that is?)

                This is a big problem in our industry: we don’t look up from the keyboard long enough to have social skills and nuanced thinking. We all too often operate in binary. For example, show me another industry where talented women quit and run away in horror at their treatment. We’re a massive embarrassment, as an industry, as a collective, as a whole.

                Shame on the organizers of LambdaConf. Yarvin isn’t famous for his technical prowess, Urbit isn’t interesting; he’s famous for his hate speech which resonates with all-too-many of our pueril industry. Inviting him isn’t defending free speech, it’s telling a sick industry not to worry about curing itself, that it’s “racialist” – not racist, it’s telling it to put down the water because this house fire is just fine.

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                  Technically, bullshit.

                  The difference between racialism and racism is arguably academic, and perhaps I shouldn’t have brought the distinction up. I find both abhorrent. He holds views that are (in my view and presumably yours) incorrect, revolting, and downright depressing.

                  If he were running for political office and had a credible chance of winning, I’d spend every moment I have to defeat his candidacy.

                  This is a big problem in our industry: we don’t look up from the keyboard long enough to have social skills and nuanced thinking. We all too often operate in binary. For example, show me another industry where talented women quit and run away in horror at their treatment. We’re a massive embarrassment, as an industry, as a collective, as a whole.

                  I agree with absolutely everything that you have said in this paragraph. Every word. I know that it takes a lot of courage to point this out, and I thank you for having it.

                  On the other hand, I’ve been “de-platformed” for my own political views (leftist, anti-sexist, anti-racist, supportive of collective bargaining). I was erroneously [1] placed on a “suspected unionist” list while I worked at Google, and this has complicated future job searches, because if there’s one thing that technology executives can agree on, it’s hatred of anyone who’s shown any support for collective bargaining. Last September, Y Combinator extorted Quora into banning my account. So I’m sensitive to this sort of thing.

                  I absolutely fucking despise Moldbug’s ideology, but let’s talk about consistency. Many people in the Silicon Valley billionaire class hold the same views. They just don’t get caught expressing them. Curtis Yarvin is just a poorer Paul Buchheit. Yet I doubt that people would pull out of LambdaConf if Paul Buchheit were invited to attend.

                  it’s telling a sick industry not to worry about curing itself,

                  That is certainly not my position.

                  I doubt that I would ever attend Mr. Yarvin’s talk. I wouldn’t want to work with or for him. However, when I hear people calling for someone to be “de-platformed” when he is delivering a technical talk, it makes me nervous. De-platforming (and blacklisting, and undesirable publicity) happens all the time and it’s usually people on “our side” (leftists, anti-corporates, feminists) to whom it happens. Remember how much malicious garbage was said about Ellen Pao (in particular, about her work performance) for having the gall to challenge an obviously illegal termination?

                  Do we fix the industry by “de-platforming” one person, though? Or do we do it with much more sweeping changes, throughout the industry, that might finally give the individual technologist more safety and status? I’d rather focus energies on the latter.

                  Footnote [1]: I say “erroneously” because, while I support that cause, I don’t mix my politics and my job.

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                    Remember how much malicious garbage was said about Ellen Pao (in particular, about her work performance) for having the gall to challenge an obviously illegal termination?

                    And for anyone without sympathies to Ms. Pao–remember what they said about Eich?

                    This sort of muckraking hurts everyone in our industry, and the problem with mob justice is that a face in the crowd today could just as easily be on the pillory tomorrow.

                    We have to act civilized, even if we don’t see ourselves getting the same courtesy all the time.

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                    Speaking of generalizations, why assume the biggest guy in a bar is so quick to anger and prone to violence?

                    And if I understand the attempted analogy, wouldn’t “some whores are better than others” be more accurate? That seems less rage inducing, even in big guys.

                    Urbit isn’t interesting.

                    A number of people seem to disagree.

                    1. 1

                      I didn’t say the biggest guy would be quick to anger. I’m saying it because a normal person wouldn’t offend someone in a situation where that person can do them harm, and I said it to highlight the offensiveness of it. And you’re right, the analogy would work better if he had a Thai girlfriend and you told him, “They make better whores.”

                      About Urbit, I’ll give you that; a number of people find CSS3 interesting. I still think the organizers should be ashamed of themselves.

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                        Fair enough, though I find “argument with big guy” unconvincing in general. It does rely on a threat of implied violence. Might makes right?

                        Trial by combat also leads to some likely erroneous conclusions. There’s a few bars around here where saying “Snowden is a hero” will get you punched. Not sure what that says about the inherent offensiveness or correctness of the statement.

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                          I’m saying it because a normal person wouldn’t offend someone in a situation where that person can do them harm,

                          Have you never seen an argument at a bar? Or anywhere else?

                          People are remarkably good at offending others under any circumstance.

                          You are also backpedaling on the Urbit thing–at least have the spine to stick with your out-of-hand dismissal.

                          1. -1

                            I’m not back-pedaling – you just missed the joke.

                      2. 5

                        Saying someone has different abilities (makes a better slave) because of their race but that’s OK because it’s morally equal, is no different.

                        Except that isn’t a statement of the argument being made. The argument made by the author was (as recapped in other thread with a minor clarifying point):

                        1. Humans naturally form patron-client (master/slave, lord/serf, boss/employee) relationships.
                        2. Some humans are better suited to slavery than others due to natural variance in phenotype. One may say the same about, say, metabolic requirements or fitting into a small space.
                        3. Different populations (colloquially, races) are expected to have different rates of natural variance and to have variance in different qualities. Presumably, this means some are better tempered (by 0) towards being subservient.
                        4. Spaniards and other slavers found that, because of 1 and 2, certain subgroups were better for enslavement than others.

                        Now, this is something that is probably false–because 0 is quite open for debate, and 3 is pure conjecture on something that could’ve been influenced by any number of things.

                        Make no mistake–Moldbug is probably wrong in his argument. However, that argument has nothing to do with the separate-but-equal tangent you are trying to introduce here.

                        How Moldbug is wrong, one might say, is a matter of nuance.

                        I dare you to go to a bar, walk up to the biggest guy there and say, “Your girl is a whore, but don’t be offended because I’m not making any judgement about the ‘moral superiority’ of whores.” (Do you see how offensive that is?)

                        This is, I suggest, a poor attempt at mimicing the structure of Moldbug’s argument. I racked my brain for a few minutes trying to figure out how to illustrate what a proper one would’ve been, and really the basic problem is that your formulation is just bad: it doesn’t show it’s logic, it supposes a specific character defect instead of a general principle (compare “is a whore” with perhaps the more Moldbugian “could have sex with multiple partners”), and brings in the whole moral superiority thing which didn’t really spring out from Moldbug’s article.

                        Again, nuance.

                        For example, show me another industry where talented women quit and run away in horror at their treatment.

                        Teaching. The military. Any form of waitressing. Tech hardly has some magical monopoly on misogyny–or on general maltreatment of good people.

                        Then again, talented women leave all industries for other reasons too, and it’s a little disingenuous to act like the only thing happening in our industry (partly because it ignores the progress a lot of us have fought hard for!) is the bashing of women until they depart.

                        Urbit isn’t interesting;

                        What drives you to make this claim? Why do you find it uninteresting?

                        Perhaps it is less interesting in immediate utility (or lack thereof) than a witchhunt, but it really does seem like an oddly interesting idea. Unless you are claiming it is uninteresting because you simply want to silence a minority you disagree with?

                        Inviting him isn’t defending free speech, it’s telling a sick industry not to worry about curing itself, that it’s “racialist” – not racist

                        There is a slight difference between racialist and racist, just as there is a difference between being a misanthrope and a misogynist/misandrist, between being an artificial inseminator and somebody who practices bestiality, or between being a clergyman or a con-artist. In those small differences, we find a great deal of meaning–some of us do, I suppose. They may seem similar, and may even do some of the same things, but the intent is different.

                        This is a big problem in our industry: we don’t look up from the keyboard long enough to have social skills and nuanced thinking.

                        You know, it’s times like this I kinda wish we had a downvote option for “internally inconsistent” or “unintentionally hypocritical”.

                        Your complaint about “We all too often operate in binary” is really a good point, and one that I wish your post helped promote instead of illustrating by counterexample.

                        ~

                        And yeah, we’re in a sick industry, for many reasons that people like michaelochurch have been slowly expanding upon. However, there is very little to gain from the sort of self-flagellation and uncritical outrage that posts like yours represent.

                        EDIT: Minor grammar fixes.