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My Paths Forward Policy

If you think I'm mistaken or ignorant about something important, I want to hear it. I am open to public comments and criticism. See Paths Forward for an explanation of my methodology for not blocking error correction (always having some Path Forward so that if I'm mistaken, and someone knows it, and they're willing to tell me, then I can be told and I won't ignore it).

I do not reply to everything addressed to me, at all venues. I do reply to a fair amount, but I don't have time to answer everything. However, I will guarantee you some attention if you follow a method of getting my attention which anyone can follow with predictable success. Here's what you do:

  1. Post your issue to my Critical Fallibilism Forum.

  2. If you don't receive a reply from anyone within a few days, post a self-reply with some followup points. Try again. If the first post didn't have them, follow up with a brief statement of why this is important and a brief summary (one paragraph max, each). Also make sure you're providing a clear question or call to action. What do you want to happen next? What sort of response do you want? Mention you want a Path Forward from me.

  3. If you still don't receive a reply within a few days, write a self-reply asking why you didn't receive a reply, and include a brief statement of why replying to you matters and what you're looking for.

  4. If you still don't receive a reply within a few days, email me personally (curi@curi.us) and ask for an answer and say that you've read Paths Forward. Link the CF Forum topic.

Summary: Post to CF. Follow up on why it matters and what reply you want. Follow up asking why no one is answering. Follow up by emailing me. You will get an answer by the end of this process.


You're welcome to try contacting me in other ways, and that often works, but no promises.

I don't answer everything the first time, but if you are persistent as stated above, then I can guarantee you an answer.

The reasons I want you to post on my public forum are that I want other forum readers to benefit from my answer, I want my answer to have a public permalink so I can refer other people to it in the future, and I want other people to be able to answer you (instead of me).

If you receive an answer from another person, and you think it's inadequate and really want an answer from me personally, you can continue with the steps outlined above and explain this (say why the answers from the other people are inadequate and why you want my personal attention).

I (or someone else) commonly will answer a point before reaching step 4. Often at step 1. (I'm most responsive on the CF forum, so just posting there is frequently enough to get a reply.)

Like many busy people, I am less inclined to answer if I think something is low quality. I certainly don't want to reply to every low quality thing addressed to me. However, if you follow the steps then you'll get a reply from someone, including from me if necessary. (Often other people are fully capable of answering issues, especially the comments I consider lower quality, so I don't always want to do it personally if someone else will do it.)

If you don't want your content to be exclusive to my forum, that's fine. You're welcome to put it on your own website and post a link or copy/paste.

If you want me to address something which costs money, offer me a free copy somewhere within the first 3 steps. If you won't do that, say why.

If I still don't answer after step 4, your personal email went in my spam folder. I don't think this is a common problem, but if it happens feel free to post to CF again and bring it up and I'll see it or someone else will who can contact me. Or it'd be fine to post 10 blog comments in a row or tweet me or something until I notice. Say that you did the 4 Paths Forward steps and I didn't reply, so maybe the email went in spam, and identify the CF posts in question so I can find them. Or you can email Justin or Alan and they'll get my attention. I mention this because spam filtering is a conceivable problem that could get in the way of Paths Forward, and I don't want that to happen. Email is not 100% reliable for contacting me, but it's pretty good and there are solutions if it fails.


What if you don't want to be so demanding and challenging as to ask for a Path Forward from Elliot/CR/CF? Maybe you expect you're wrong (rather than offering a correction), but you're still interested in pursuing the issue and learning something and getting it resolved? Perhaps you want some Path Forward for yourself to make progress?

Follow up on your own posts with new questions, new explanations of the issues and their importance, new angles and perspectives. Rewrite what you're saying a different way. And report what you've done to make progress, what effort you've put in (and what the result was), what you're planning to do, and if you're running out of ideas and if you'd like help with something. Keep at it over time. Be persistent, honest and curious and CF people will want to help. And make it easy for them: take short advice/comments/suggestions and then do a bunch more on your own initiative (and share this so they see giving you help was worthwhile), rather than expecting them to guide you step by step. Put effort into your learning as independently as you can, e.g. by taking book and link suggestions and doing series of blog posts about them as you read. Be a pleasure to help and offer more value than you ask for. (If you don't know how to offer value, but want to, ask.)

Update My Paths Forward Policy is a now a backup for my debate policy. The debate policy should handle most issues. Use it first. If something goes wrong with that, the Paths Forward Policy is still available.

Elliot Temple on November 28, 2017

Messages (9)

Offering Value

So how could I offer more value?

Anne B at 10:35 AM on December 6, 2017 | #9412 | reply | quote

You could add category tags to curi blog posts.

Anonymous at 12:45 PM on December 6, 2017 | #9415 | reply | quote

You could make book outlines when you read books.

You could post more questions.

You could keep a list of emails you particularly like and make a website with them. (Better than large, disorganized, mixed-quality archives.)

Anonymous at 1:08 PM on December 6, 2017 | #9416 | reply | quote


@curi- what is your experience when I post a comment here? Do you receive an email every time someone does a comment? And are these comments integrated into the FI google group somehow?

Gavin Palmer at 4:02 PM on June 6, 2020 | #16618 | reply | quote

> Do you receive an email every time someone does a comment?

I personally do have email notifications. They are not publicly available. If you click "Discussion info" you can find other notification options.

> And are these comments integrated into the FI google group somehow?


curi at 4:04 PM on June 6, 2020 | #16619 | reply | quote

I find out about new curi blog comments here:


At the top of that page, there are suggestions for other ways to find out about new comments.

Anne B at 4:51 AM on June 7, 2020 | #16623 | reply | quote

Alisa's paths forward policy

My paths forward policy is currently here: https://hg.sr.ht/~petrogradphilosopher/fi/raw/pf.md .

Alisa at 5:16 PM on June 7, 2020 | #16638 | reply | quote

I agree that conversations are important and tools like Paths Forward and Conversation Tree can help. I would like to see representatives in government trying to have conversations. There seems to be zero representatives in government trying to have a public asynchronous conversation.

Gavin Palmer at 1:56 PM on June 12, 2020 | #16680 | reply | quote

Want to discuss this? Join my forum.

(Due to multi-year, sustained harassment from David Deutsch and his fans, commenting here requires an account. Accounts are not publicly available. Discussion info.)