Learning to Mastery and Repetition

I originally wrote this to the Fallible Ideas email list in 2019.


every adult learned some stuff to the point of MASTERY – very low attention needed, can do it great while tired/low-focus/low-effort, very low error rate, etc.

like walking. and talking. and reading. and, for many people, basic arithmetic. and, for many people, the year WWII ended and the number of states in the US and the number of original colonies (they don’t have to stop and think about those things, they just know, instantly).

doesn’t work in all contexts. giving a speech or walking on ice are different. but that’s ok. they know that. they pay more attention in those contexts. they understand pretty well what is mastered and what isn’t.

there are generic things that ~everyone gains mastery over, like walking. and there are generic things that lots of ppl gain mastery over, like some basic arithmetic.

and there are other things that only a few ppl gain mastery over. like i mastered tons of chess skills. lots of stuff is automated to the point where i can play good chess moves in under 1 second. and i could still mostly do that even though i quit chess many years ago – like i’d be worse now, and rusty, but still worlds better than a beginner. and giving me 10 minutes to think about a move right now, vs. 10 seconds, still wouldn’t make a ton of difference. the skill i still have is still mostly automatic. (when i was actively playing, 10 seconds vs. 10 minutes also wasn’t a huge difference. it matters, especially when playing someone who is very similar skill level to you, but over 90% of your skill works within 10 seconds, and the extra 10min of thought only adds a bit extra.) btw i haven’t mastered chess as a whole, i just have mastery over lots of pieces of chess to the point that i’m a good player as a whole but certainly not the best. mastery doesn’t mean perfection overall, it can just mean mastering a specific piece of something, or sub-skill, and then you have mastery over that piece. mastery is about getting something to the point of it being really automatic – very low error rate while using very little conscious attention.

some ppl get really good at an instrument or a sport or many other things.

but most stuff that ppl master, they master in childhood. and they don’t remember the learning process very well. and so, as adults, they don’t have a good example to refer to for how to learn. they haven’t mastered anything recently.

most adults either learned to touch type as a kid or they still aren’t great at it. actually mastering it as an adult is uncommon.

Dennis replied:

I agree wholeheartedly. It's a really rewarding experience to have learned something new and somewhat mastered it as an adult. It's a neat way to reward one's future self. I still thank myself for teaching myself to 10 finger touch type last year. Somehow I had gotten by using just three or four fingers over the years, and this is just so much better now.

My original email continued:

so one of the things i recommend ppl do is master something. learn something. see how learning works. doesn’t matter what it is. just gotta succeed. it shouldn’t be very hard. don’t make philosophy be the first thing you learn really well in the last 20 years. that’s ridiculous. learn something easier for practice. you can learn a bit of philosophy but don’t go for mastery until you master some easier stuff.

the best thing to master, in general, for practice, is a video game. there are lots of options but video games have a lot of very good characteristics. but if you don’t like them, or you have something else that you really wanna use, you can consider alternatives. i have explained in the past what’s good about video games, what kinda characteristics to look for in something to master, and written about many game examples.

what lots of ppl do is learn stuff a little bit, halfway, don’t master it, and move on. then repeat.

so, yet again, i advise ppl to learn a video game to get a feel for mastery and how learning works. or master something else. but no one listens to me. to the extent anyone else here plays video games, they don’t stream it on twitch, they don’t master it, they don’t talk about it much, and they aren’t very good.

Dennis replied:

In one of Popper's essays I read the other day he talks about the difference between creative learning (ie problem solving) and learning by repetition. [...]

Do you differentiate at all between the two modes of learning? I've been wondering about Popper's remark about learning by repetition. He seems to claim that its akin to induction, but induction is impossible, so... how could anyone learn by repetition? Also, I doubt people actually have two different modes of learning. [...]

I replied:

You can’t learn merely by repetition, you have to think about what will and won’t work. Repeating can’t figure out solutions and can’t do anything to find or correct errors.

Some of my examples are simpler because people should master some easier things before aiming for some harder ones. There has to be a progression.

In order to effectively think creatively about chess strategies, you can’t be too distracted by remembering how the pieces move. Practice does help automate one’s understanding of the piece movement rules. But practice isn’t just about repeating things, you think through what the rule for moving a piece is and figure out where it can go – it gets actual conscious attention when you’re learning it. You couldn’t just repeat correct piece movements without conscious attention, as a practice method, because you don’t know them well enough yet. (You could repeatedly move a rook back and forth between two adjacent squares, or something else simple, and thus make correct moves without thinking about it even though you don’t know the piece moves well, but you wouldn’t learn much by doing that, that’d be bad practice.)

It’s the same with everything else. Interesting, creative conscious thought is always building on many layers of thinking that were conscious in the past but no longer require conscious attention – that attention is now freed up for more advanced things.

Learning touch typing requires directing conscious attention to doing it correctly, as well as some creative problem solving – identifying what you’re screwing up and figuring out how to fix it. Generally this means doing things slowly at first so you can get it correct even though you’re barely able to do it. Then you speed up a bit at a time and check for new errors happening due to going faster. Trying the same thing at successively faster speeds isn’t really repetition because the speed is changing. You do repeat a little because of variance – to find out if you are making mistakes at a new speed, you might need to do it 20 times, perhaps more, depending on what sort of error rate is acceptable. Doing it once at a new speed doesn’t mean you can do it reliably at that speed. The same method is common with instruments and many other things people learn.

Since there’s infinite potential progress, ideally ~all our current thinking would be so easy in the future that it takes almost no conscious attention, and we could consciously focus on more advanced things. I think this is an atypical goal, but important. I generally don’t regard things as finished if I can do them but it’s hard or slow or it only works 1 in 3 times (or even 99 out of 100 can be too low depending on what it is). As one example, I think it’s a travesty that most of the world’s so-called “intellectuals” can only read at 300 words per minute or fewer and aren’t trying to improve that, they think they’re done learning to read even though they do it slowly using lots of conscious attention.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (0)

Learning with Easy Steps in Vindictus

This is reposted from a blog comment I wrote in 2019. On FI, Kate asked about my Hardness, Emotions, Mental Automation post:

I think the meaning of hard/easy used in the statement is the second one, i.e. hard/easy for me (now). Whether or not something is also considered inherently hard doesn’t matter. The key is whether it’s currently hard for you — whether your manager is going to have to do it.

It’s still unclear to me whether “only do things which are easy" is suggesting that people not try to fix irrational thinking methods or figure out how to use FI if they consider those things to be hard.

there is a learning/doing distinction. first you learn how to do something, say dentistry, then you do it (fill cavities, etc). so one of the meanings is you should learn enough that dentistry is easy before it's your job. don't learn enough you can do it, learn enough that it is now easy. dentists should have mastery so they can do it with a low error rate (and VERY LOW rate of major errors) even when tired, distracted, unfocused, etc.

and also the learning process shouldn't really be hard. say you're trying to beat a level in a video game. if your goal is "beat the level" then that's hard. but that's about doing, not learning. if your goal is "try strategy X and see if it works or not", that could be a step towards learning to beat the level which is also easy. if strategy X is too hard, then you could have easy immediate goals like "try action X1" and "try action X2" and so on – try out individual parts of it before trying to do the whole thing.

in Vindictus (example gameplay video) there are lots of boss fights you can do by yourself and get a gold medal for being hit 3 times or fewer. success is hard in some sense. but the learning process doesn't have to involve hard steps. first you can just stand there and let the boss hit you and watch what he does. that's easy! after you watch a bit, you can start to figure out what his attacks are. lots of the bosses only have like 5 different attacks. if remembering is hard you can write them down. you can even record video clips of each attack. that's more work but it isn't hard. so this step of seeing what the attacks are can be pretty easy, especially if you aren't rushing yourself. like if you are trying to remember every attack after you've seen it once, that's hard. but if you take your time and are OK with remembering an attack after seeing it 10 times, then it's not very hard.

the next step is blocking/dodging attacks (each character in the game has a few defensive options, mostly dodges and blocks). you can figure this out without doing anything hard, too. for each boss attack, try your first defensive move at various different timings. you can get a good idea of the right timing by letting the boss hit you and seeing what you take damage. your defensive move should generally be used around .5 seconds before the time you took damage, though it varies by move. if this isn't working well, try your character's second and third defensive moves and see if they work better for dealing with this attack.

many boss attacks have multiple parts. like they swing their sword 3 times in a row, and it's a set pattern of those 3 swings. so you can figure out a series of 2-3 defensive moves to defend against all 3 sword swings. (sometimes attacks come close together and you can stop multiple attacks with one defense.)

for each attack, there is some kind of clue that it's coming. the main clues are animations like a boss moves his sword or shoulders back before swinging forward. you see them getting ready to attack in some way. so you also need to learn some kinda thing that you will react to – the signal that it's time to do that defensive pattern for that move.

this can all be done pretty intuitively but it can also be done by conscious design and you write a list of every attack, every signal its coming, and what defensive moves you plan to use for that attack.

which part of that is hard? no part. if you do it in this methodical way, every part is easy. it's not like you need super fast reactions times. the game isn't hard in that way. if you calmly watch for the signal that a specific attack is coming, and you aren't worrying about anything else, then you can block/dodge it with a bit of practice, it's not that hard (and if a different attack happens first you just let it hit you and wait until the boss does the one you're trying to stop).

the individual parts of the game aren't that hard. but the complexity adds up when you're watching for 10 different possible attacks (on the harder, more complicated bosses) while also doing your attacks and also there are other allies on your team who the boss might target (if the boss does a move aimed at you, or aimed at a guy off to your right, then the patterns of blocks and dodges that protect you, and the timing to do them, can be different. where the boss is aiming changes where his sword ends up at different times.) and also you can be remembering to drink health potions every 4 seconds and use your cat statue every 70 seconds and tracking how much SP you have (points for doing special moves) and then managing which special moves to use, when, and so on. and then your ally dies and you want to go resurrect him but that requires standing still for 3 seconds so you have to find a safe time to do that between boss attacks. etc.

but basically all of that can be learned as a sequence of easy steps, too.

once you learn to defend attacks you practice until it becomes more of an automatic habit. you get it to the point its easy to do all the attacks for a boss, it's second nature, its intuitive, your error rate is low. then you try attacking in between the bosses attacks. you'll already have a sense of how much downtime there is after which attacks since you've seen them a bunch. so you can estimate how big of an attack you can fit in after each boss attack, and you try it out and see what works. that's assuming you can already do your attacks easily. if you can't, no problem, you just practice attacking without worrying about defense (initially just do this in an empty area with no enemies). and then practice on easy enemies where getting hit isn't a big deal, so even if your error rate for defense is high, cuz you're focused on attacking, it doesn't matter much.

before you actually use your attacking or defending as a skill – before you try to DO it for real instead of doing it in a learning/practicing context – you need to get it to be easy, you master it so an automatic mental workstation can do it. so by the time you're trying to kill the boss, you have all the skills needed to do it, and it isn't scary or hard like it would be if you just went up to him the first time and tried to win.

and after you practice, you still don't expect to win. if your goal was to go straight from practice to success then that'd be hard. instead, you practice and then you try fighting the boss for real as a test to see how well you do. you're checking how effective your practice was, what your error rate currently is. that's easy cuz the goal isn't "make no errors", the goal is "see how many errors i make". so you do the blocking and attacking in easy, automated ways, which is important cuz now your conscious attention is mostly used for just watching to see how often you screw up. that's not a hard thing to do! you just autopilot attacking and defending while consciously watching how well it works. that's it. ez. then you can see if you need more practice, and if so for which parts. and you can also identify problems like a particular strategy for blocking a particular move is unreliable, so maybe you need more practice or maybe you need to change the strategy – do a different defensive option or do the first block after an earlier visual cue. there are other errors you'll see happen, like a boss can have two different attacks that look similar at first, so you mix them up and sometimes you do the defense for attack 1 when the boss is doing attack 2, so it doesn't work. so while you're autopiloting and seeing how it goes, you can watch for issues like that with your conscious attention, and then you can figure out a solution, like you can look at the attacks more closely until you find a difference which is pretty easy for you to recognize once you know what to look for, and then you can start looking for that and, with a little practice, autopilot doing that. or you can also find a defensive option that works for the first part of both attacks, so it's ok if you don't know which is which until you're doing the second defensive move.

people find the game hard cuz they are trying to e.g. do lots of attacking right now instead of just focusing their attention on defense. or they never practice alone, they just fight in groups where other people are always moving the boss around and creating chaos, and everyone is rushing to keep up with everyone else on doing damage. and if you are just less ambitious in the short term, you can make tons of stuff way easier. i was having trouble with some bosses in the last two days and what i started doing is only using my simplest attack which takes the shortest time. that immediately solved the problem of doing an attack that is too long and then i'm not ready to defend against the boss's next attack. and it meant attacking took even less attention and i could focus on defense more. the downside is that the simplest, fastest attack does the lowest damage. but so what? a bit of patience made it way easier and actually saved time overall (cuz it takes longer to kill the boss, but fewer retries, so actually that saves time). that works great on bosses where my goal is to get the gold medal one time – if it's 5 minutes slower but saves some retries that's fine. i don't need efficient offense for a boss where i just want one good kill. there are other bosses that you fight more often so you want to learn to do your offense more efficiently, but it's not needed in all cases. (also part of the issue is some of the old bosses i was fighting, which i only needed one good kill on, actually have different designs than some of the modern bosses that people fight more. some of them actually have overly short windows for you to attack during if you are playing alone. it's fine if you play with an ally cuz then half the time the boss attacks the ally and you can just go stand behind the boss and have time to attack. but for certain heroes, soloing some of the old bosses involves shorter attack windows than you're used to with the modern bosses, so partly you just need to be willing to use your small attacks and be content with that. and if you had to fight that boss every day it'd be annoying, but you don't, and the newer bosses you fight more often have some larger downtime parts built in, on purpose, to let you do your big attacks sometimes.)

the point of this example is if you approach things step by step, every step can be easy. cuz you have a specific goal in the current step which is not big picture success, and you just do that.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (0)

David Deutsch's Books and Fans

I've become very suspicious of any fan of The Beginning of Infinity (BoI), who says it's great, but who has not read The Fabric of Reality (FoR). I've seen a repeated pattern where people who haven't read FoR are shallow fans of BoI who don't know much about Critical Rationalism (CR). Overall, BoI is more popular than FoR, but is attracting worse fans than FoR did. Anyone who has read both and likes BoI way more is also highly suspicious and likely didn't understand much from either book. I don't think "BoI is way better than FoR" is a reasonable opinion. Anyone who goes around recommending BoI, but who recommends FoR much less or not at all, is probably a bad thinker.

Also, Deutsch's books should be read visually (which makes it a lot easier to catch more details, take your time and only advance to the next paragraph when you're ready, reread things, etc.). Be very suspicious of the understanding of anyone who's read them only as audio books. (Deutsch is irresponsibly selling audio books with no warning that understanding his ideas from an audio book is unrealistic. It's an unsuitable format for a first reading of his difficult, wordy books that contain many long, convoluted sentences. Audio books are fine for a casual second reading to review the book a bit while knowing you're missing a lot. They're also fine for a blind person who is very experienced with audio books, listens at a much slower speed than they usually listen to books at, and regularly rewinds to hear parts again. But a sighted person who starts with the audio book is almost certainly fooling themselves rather than actually understanding much.)

BoI is doing a much better job than FoR of attracting social climbers who talk about the book as a way of bragging. BoI is more popular, and it's a bit easier than FoR to read in a shallow way and think you liked it without learning much. BoI also has more things that can be used as slogans or sound bites.

If you haven't read either book, FoR should be read before BoI. I strongly recommend reading them in the order they were written. FoR does a better job of introducing and explaining CR ideas for new readers. FoR also does a much better job at introducing the many worlds interpretation of quantum physics. Deutsch put his most important things to say in his first book and didn't repeat them all in his second book (which would be fine, except that he doesn't tell anyone to read the books in order).

FoR is a deeper book with more technical details. It goes into more depth on some specific topics rather than focusing as much as BoI on being of general interest. It is a popular science book meant for the general reader, but some sections are less useful for most readers. In particular, the two chapters (11 and 12) about the physics of time can be skipped. The last chapter (14), about the end of the universe, is also skippable, especially the omega point discussion.

FoR talks about four strands, CR, evolution, quantum physics and computation. The key chapters in FoR to learn about CR and evolution are 1, 3-4 and 7-8. The CR and evolution strands are the more useful and easier to understand for almost everyone.

But if you're trying to learn about philosophy, I don't recommend starting with Deutsch's books. I used to recommend them more, but most people find them too difficult to learn anything substantial from, especially as a starting place. Most people who like them, and think they're learning something, didn't actually understand much.

Some good places to start learning are my Critical Fallibilism website and Eli Goldratt's books (especially The Goal, It's Not Luck, and The Choice). After that, you'd have a better chance to actually learn from FoR, though I'd recommend first reading chapters 1 and 2 of Philosophy: Who Needs It by Ayn Rand and reading Understanding Objectivism by Leonard Peikoff (which talks about how to learn a philosophy).

Also, if you don't already read books regularly, you may be more successful by first getting into reading and then trying to read FoR later when reading a book is already a common, easy and enjoyable activity for you. Many people should start by trying to form a habit of reading regularly, and enjoying it, using fun books like novels. I like Robert Heinlein best for sci-fi (start with his juveniles) and Brandon Sanderson for fantasy. My reading recommendations in the previous paragraph are much easier to read than Deutsch's books, and might actually work for newer readers, though they're significantly harder reading than Harry Potter. Also, you may want to start getting into reading more with audio books or text to speech, and that's fine and works well for many people, but at some point you should transition to also getting comfortable with visual reading, which you'll need for reading authors like Deutsch or Popper.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (0)

Sarah Fitz-Claridge Lied About Me

This is part of a series of posts explaining the harassment against me from David Deutsch and his fans and associates. It talks about his TCS co-founder lying about me in a similar way to his lie.


Sarah Fitz-Claridge (SFC) (formerly named Sarah Lawrence) is David Deutsch’s (DD) co-founder for Taking Children Seriously, their education and parenting philosophy that builds on Critical Rationalism and classical liberalism. They are longterm, close associates. After they’d known each other for roughly five years, SFC moved from London to a new home in Oxford in order to live roughly a mile away from DD. SFC has been actively promoting TCS and naming DD as her co-founder recently, e.g. last month she gave an online talk about TCS which DD attended.

In 2009, SFC banned me from a public TCS email discussion group. Lulie Tanett (LT) asked SFC to make it a ban on sending posts, but to still allow me to receive the emails. It didn’t matter much because I could easily get a friend (like LT) to set up automatic forwarding for all the emails.

SFC replied to LT to refuse and she also lied about me:

No, he [Elliot Temple] has so grossly violated the many requests of him that I do not want him to even read it. It is such a joke for him to suggest that no common preference was attempted when he himself has walked all over everything we have asked of him -- you know -- little things like not posting stuff from the tcs list to other forums without the consent of those quoted, not cross posting, etc. he is AWFUL! So far from concerned about consent that it is shocking that he pretends to give a shit about consent!

The lie here is that I “violated […] many requests”, and in particular that I violated requests not to cross post or not to quote public emails at other forums. SFC never made those requests. Here is my response (from 2009) to LT, who forwarded me SFC’s email. The first two nested quotes (the ones with a black line on the left) are written by LT.

Incidentally, is any of this remotely true? Is it flat-out lies, or did you have reasons for not doing what she said?

She didn't make those requests. She's lying or she remembers her silent wants as requests.

I'd like to know in what way she's wrong.

She didn't request that I don't cross post, or don't copy stuff to other lists.

I checked my inboxes for Sarah emails. I found 44. The majority are friendly. Back in 04 she said some things which weren't a clear request but could be interpreted as a request not to "cause unnecessary work for the moderators" by, I think (it doesn't really say), posting meta discussion. It also had a threat to ban me, which I'd forgotten.

In 03 she made an actual request not to post meta discussion on the TCS website.

She made a request about me only posting anonymously somewhere else. Which I did.

She requested permission to post my stuff to the TCS website several times.

Here's a quote of Sarah from aug 06 after she was here IRL:

I just wanted to hear what you were going to say, and felt like forcefully telling people to shut the fuck up and listen to you -- it was driving me nuts!

I did find a request I made to Sarah:

please don't post edited versions of [my] emails on the public forums anymore.

Note that LT was aware that SFC is liar, and was already considering that it could be flat-out lies before I commented.

I had been cross-posting regularly since 2002. SFC, DD and other TCS moderators knew that, personally received many of my cross-posted emails and saw that they were cross-posted, and never objected. I don’t think cross-posting replies to public messages is bad, plus they didn’t request that I stop. Suddenly, after I’d been doing it routinely for seven years, SFC apparently decided it was a big deal and lied about it in a private email to a friend of mine (but still didn’t say anything to me about it). Fortunately, in this case, the friend showed SFC’s lie to me and allowed me to defend myself.

This lie is notable because it’s so similar to DD’s recent lie about me. DD and his co-founder behave similarly. In DD’s lie, he falsely claimed that I had violated several no contact requests. In 2009, I dealt with Sarah’s lie by going through 44 emails and reviewing the facts. Recently, I dealt with DD’s lie by going through more records than that (DD and I talked a lot more than SFC and I did) and posting the facts.

SFC’s lie is also notable because she has held onto a hateful grudge for over a decade. She has a leadership role in the community that is harassing me and she’s currently following Andy B (the worst harasser) on Twitter. Note that I only started writing about the problem and defending myself in 2020. I tried leaving SFC alone for many years but she won’t move on. I’ve actually barely interacted with her since 2006. (Two examples: In 2015 – six years after the 2009 issue – she still actively hated me and was involved in joking about murdering me (source: LT). And in 2021, a few days ago, her husband wrote multiple friendly tweets with Andy B.).

Context

As further context for this, and for my relationships with DD and LT generally, I’ll tell more of the story about me being banned from this group. Here’s what happened next:

DD and LT sympathized with me and we formed a plan to deal with SFC’s attempt to suppress my TCS posts. We planned that I would continue writing TCS posts as usual, but I would send them to LT, who would post them under her name. DD approved of this plan and didn’t want me banned but was too busy to confront SFC about it (DD was near the end of writing his book, The Beginning of Infinity). The explicit approval of a TCS founder is one of the reasons I was willing to circumvent the ban. I normally don’t ban evade, but I respected DD’s judgment. I thought that if a TCS founder wanted me to keep posting to a TCS group that he’s involved with, then it was reasonable to do it. (Do you think DD’s approval could also be relevant to Andy’s ban evasions at my sites? I think Andy believes he has DD’s approval to harass me, and that that substantially encourages him. Andy believes he’s standing up for a great intellectual, DD, against an evil enemy. I think DD knows this and has intentionally chosen to never once say one word discouraging or delegitimizing the harassment because he actually does approve of it.)

One of the results of the plan was that SFC was thrilled to see LT writing more TCS posts and praised her about it.

This is DD’s first email to me about the ban, from 2009-07-28:

I can't imagine why [SFC banned you]. Probably one of the posts I just skimmed, and missed where you advocated puppy-blending.

Have no time to do stuff.

Nowadays I can't think 'Ban' without thinking Ki-Moon. And I have no idea what justifies him either.

Hope that helps.

-- D

Talking about blending puppies was a recurring joke from the pro-Iraq-war blogs that DD liked. DD is sympathetic and unable to imagine any reasonable reason to ban me, and is mocking SFC. Ban Ki-moon was a South Korean politician; in that paragraph, DD is saying that he has no idea what justifies my ban, and mocking SFC a second time.

LT wrote about the ban (this is the precursor to SFC lying to LT, above):

That sucks. I've emailed her asking for the posting-only ban. I'm sorry she did this.

[…]

It's disgusting. She's insane. This makes me want to boycott her/her-related TCS stuff, but I think that will do more harm than good. If there's any way I can make things better -- for you or TCS, tell me. I'm still playing with the idea of asking one more time for the TCS site, or influencing her decisions about it (like, by suggesting things to change and offering to change it for free, or something).

(After years of not working on TCS, SFC had promised to give control of the TCS site to LT, but then broke that promise while still leaving the TCS site inactive.)

When LT and I discussed what to do about the situation, LT called me the “best poster” and expressed her belief that SFC was destroying TCS:

If she wants to exclude the best poster […]

Or is the fact she's destroying TCS more important? If so, shouldn't we make a separate TCS site of our own?

In IMs, I asked DD if he thought ghostwriting TCS posts to be sent by LT was a good idea:

22:09:18 oxfordphysicist: I see no problem. Oh, maybe there'll be some friction if Sarah finds out.
22:09:27 curidotus: yes. heh.
22:09:43 curidotus: presumably she will ban lulie from the tcs list.
22:10:12 oxfordphysicist: Or let you back on.
22:10:19 curidotus: umm. yeah right. lol

DD not only saw “no problem” with it, he thought SFC might unban me if she found out (he’s naive or unrealistic sometimes).

Another Similar Story

Years before this story, there was another incident where Sarah didn’t communicate a request. Here’s the context:

  • As a general policy, the TCS moderators sent emails letting you know when they rejected a post and giving a short reason.
  • The moderators were sometimes aggressive and frequently inconsistent, and the rules were unclear, so many people had posts rejected. That was common.
  • Email was less reliable back then, so there was a policy: If your email didn’t show up after a few days, and you didn’t receive a message from a moderator, then resend it. Similarly, in a 2003 announcement saying a few days of emails had been lost due to a technical glitch and that people should resend their posts, SFC said “Posts should never disappear into the ether.”

So one time my email didn’t show up and I resent it. I believe I’d successfully done that several times previously. After a few days, my email didn’t show up again, and still no moderator had said anything to me, so I resent it a second time. SFC then got angry with me for spamming the list and wasting the moderators’ time with an email they didn’t want to approve. From memory, she still didn’t say anything to me, but I started hearing some unclear, negative things indirectly because I talked with lots of the TCS community members.

I found out later, from Alan Forrester (another TCS moderator), what happened. SFC had come up with a new policy to save moderator time by not sending rejection notes to me when moderators rejected my emails (that new policy was directed only at me personally). My posts would just silently not appear with no reason given. But SFC never told me this policy. In my understanding, she also failed to tell the moderators that she hadn’t informed me, so they assumed I knew and assumed that I was resending posts to cause trouble, rather than resending because I thought there was a computer glitch and I was trying to follow SFC’s post-resending policy.

So the moderators thought I was spamming the TCS list with rejected posts to get some kind of revenge – and Sarah encouraged that with anger at me and gossip about me. But I was actually making a good faith effort to follow the list rules plus anything that a moderator told me.

SFC didn’t communicate about what she wanted. That’s an ongoing pattern with her. As soon as I actually knew what was going on, I stopped resending posts that didn’t show up. When I knew what she wanted and what her policy was, I went along with it. But before I found out, it was confusing, and my innocent actions bothered the moderators who incorrectly believed I was being intentionally disobedient by twice resending a post they’d rejected.

SFC seems unable to understand that I don’t know what she’s thinking. She thought I was purposefully violating her policies that no one had told me. And she tricked other people into thinking that, too. I don’t think she was even fully aware that she was misleading people to have false, negative beliefs about me. I don’t think she ever realized her mistake or explained to the moderators what had happened in order to undo some of the damage to my reputation that she’d done. But being irresponsible and not thinking much about what’s going on, or about the consequences of her actions, doesn’t absolve her of responsibility.

Conclusion

SFC is part of the group of people who hate me, gossip about me, and encourage harassment of me. She’s a leader who has been doing it for over ten years. She has been caught lying. I knew about this problem but let it go and didn’t expose her; I didn’t realize what sort of harassment campaign it would grow into. DD co-founded TCS with her and lied about me in a similar way (after he switched from especially liking me to especially disliking me without any clear explanation about why). It’s part of a pattern. These people repeatedly lie and also confuse unstated wants (in their head) with stated requests (in external reality). They’re caught up in their emotions and bad at communicating, which explains a lot of what’s going on today. It also helps explain why my articles about the facts of the harassment problem have been unable to fix things.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (0)

Second-Handers and Criminals

I've found, over and over, that issues I'm thinking about were already covered in Ayn Rand's books, particularly Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Rand knew so much about people, social dynamics and morality.

Lately, I've been thinking about the harassment against me and my community. One of the things I've been surprised by is how the CritRats, like David Deutsch and Lulie Tanett, can be OK with having a serious criminal, Andy B, in their community.

In The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, Gail Wynand says to Howard Roark (my emphasis):

“I think your second-handers understand this, try as they might not to admit it to themselves. Notice how they’ll accept anything except a man who stands alone. They recognize him at once. By instinct. There’s a special, insidious kind of hatred for him. They forgive criminals. They admire dictators. Crime and violence are a tie. A form of mutual dependence. They need ties. They’ve got to force their miserable little personalities on every single person they meet. The independent man kills them—because they don’t exist within him and that’s the only form of existence they know. Notice the malignant kind of resentment against any idea that propounds independence. Notice the malice toward an independent man. Look back at your own life, Howard, and at the people you’ve met. They know. They’re afraid. You’re a reproach.”

That makes sense. Andy B is like a parasite. He has nothing to do on his own, independently. He's not a creator. Besides Deutsch, the other CritRats are like that too. They don't create. They don't think independently. They put up a public pretense at being intellectuals, but it's all a fake show they put on for others. I think most of them know it and feel bad about their inability to be productive; certainly Lulie does. So they have a major spiritual similarity to Andy B. Deutsch is second-handed too, but unlike the rest of them he has also accomplished things as a creator.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Message (1)

Tree: State of the Objectivism Debate

This tree documents the state of the debate for Objectivism. Click the image to expand. The PDF has clickable links to sources (everything underlined) and selectable text.

The goal of the tree is not perfection, nor to comprehensively document every argument anyone ever made. It’s to cover important issues (as I see them) in an organized way and thereby enable someone to learn from me and/or critically engage with my position.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (0)

Tree: State of the Critical Rationalism Debate

This tree documents the state of the debate for Critical Rationalism. Click the image to expand. The PDF has clickable links to sources (everything underlined) and selectable text.

The goal of the tree is not perfection, nor to comprehensively document every argument anyone ever made. It’s to cover important issues (as I see them) in an organized way and thereby enable someone to learn from me and/or critically engage with my position.

Update: Typo: In "I’ve discussed with my Critical Rationalists.", the "my" should read "many".


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (0)

Tree: State of the Austrian Economics Debate

This tree documents the state of the debate for Austrian Economics. Click the image to expand. The PDF has clickable links to sources (everything underlined) and selectable text.

The goal of the tree is not perfection, nor to comprehensively document every argument anyone ever made. It’s to cover important issues (as I see them) in an organized way and thereby enable someone to learn from me and/or critically engage with my position.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (0)

David Deutsch’s Irrationality

This is part of a series of posts explaining the ongoing harassment against me from David Deutsch and his associates and fans. To provide background information, I’m sharing some of the most negative things DD ever said to me, which I think reveal some irrationality on his part and reveal some ways that he doesn’t follow his own philosophy principles.


This is an email David Deutsch (DD) sent me on 2011-09-30 (the nested quotes, displayed indented with a black line to the left, were written by me):

you've shown disinterest in explaining these topics for months if not years. e.g. WRT the tcs archives. and lately (several years) have not in general pursued conversations to a conclusion (like deduction, hard to vary, qualia, value of mises, gold standard, burke, tcs archives). so i'd be concerned about the short term strategy lasting a long time.

In regard to hard-to-vary and qualia, the discussions have paused because we have not managed to crystallise a clear statement of what the disagreement is. Both disagreements are rooted in subtle and interesting differences in world view, such that whenever we have gone into details we find agreement, yet stepping back to the overall issue we find strong disagreement. This is a commonplace occurrence among philosophically-minded people. Philosophy is hard. Making progress would require further discoveries, which there is no guarantee of making. I expect there are important things in there to be discovered (by both of us) but it is a fatal mistake to allow an unsolved problem to become a black hole absorbing all one's time and attention, paralysing progress on other problems. This is what you are blaming me for not doing.

The other issues have stalled for a less benign reason. It is that you have developed a repertoire of argumentative tactics which, when applied (you do not always apply them), effectively prevent you from being persuaded of anything. With each particular item on which this has happened (including deduction, Mises, gold standard), I have stopped when I have run out of ideas for how to present the relevant idea to you in a way that gets round the tactics. Just tactics. Nothing to do with content, and I say this independently of whether I'm right or wrong on the issues. These are all issues on which neither of us has any axe to grind anyway.

Currently you are insisting on a reinterpretation of (what seems to me) the plain meaning of a Godwin passage, in order to deny that Godwin expected that in future people would give away most of their wealth. This is a debate that I haven't yet given up on, but the next step, if I pursue it, will require me to explain how you're misinterpreting the word 'if', and I can already think of half a dozen ways you will find to avoid the implication, and I'm guessing you'll succeed in constructing an effective baffle, so I'll have been wasting my time.

And now, in addition to the above-mentioned patterns of argument, your tactics have escalated to include accusing me of fabricating quotes, and having a variety of other personal failings on account of not dropping, and in the TCS-archive case sacrificing, everything else in order to solve things for you.

please advise.

I can't advise on that because I don't know the answer. As for the other things you asked about, I have some ideas about what you should do in order to achieve success and happiness, but it's rather pointless to address those while you consider yourself to have grievances.

I replied:

you've shown disinterest in explaining these topics for months if not years. e.g. WRT the tcs archives. and lately (several years) have not in general pursued conversations to a conclusion (like deduction, hard to vary, qualia, value of mises, gold standard, burke, tcs archives). so i'd be concerned about the short term strategy lasting a long time.

In regard to hard-to-vary and qualia, the discussions have paused because we have not managed to crystallise a clear statement of what the disagreement is.

i disagree.

Both disagreements are rooted in subtle and interesting differences in world view, such that whenever we have gone into details we find agreement, yet stepping back to the overall issue we find strong disagreement. This is a commonplace occurrence among philosophically-minded people. Philosophy is hard. Making progress would require further discoveries, which there is no guarantee of making.

i don't think this is it. i will explain why if you want.

I expect there are important things in there to be discovered (by both of us) but it is a fatal mistake to allow an unsolved problem to become a black hole absorbing all one's time and attention, paralysing progress on other problems. This is what you are blaming me for not doing.

i do not think i am blaming you.

it's not even clear to me what you think was blaming, or why. i made some factually oriented statements which, based on your reply (including below), i think you agree with. i said you had shown disinterest and you gave two reasons for disinterest.

The other issues have stalled for a less benign reason. It is that you have developed a repertoire of argumentative tactics which, when applied (you do not always apply them), effectively prevent you from being persuaded of anything. With each particular item on which this has happened (including deduction, Mises, gold standard), I have stopped when I have run out of ideas for how to present the relevant idea to you in a way that gets round the tactics. Just tactics. Nothing to do with content, and I say this independently of whether I'm right or wrong on the issues. These are all issues on which neither of us has any axe to grind anyway.

so, you have adopted a negative meta/psychological view of me, and that is why you dropped those topics without explanation.

thank you for clarifying that.

but what can we do about it?

i think your description (reminiscent of claims made by kolya, about you as well as me) is false. would you like to hear why?

you think it's true. would you like to persuade me of it?

if neither, then what do you think should happen?

Currently you are insisting on a reinterpretation of (what seems to me) the plain meaning of a Godwin passage, in order to deny that Godwin expected that in future people would give away most of their wealth.

changing a key word of your claim (share -> give away) seems like a mistake to me.

This is a debate that I haven't yet given up on, but the next step, if I pursue it, will require me to explain how you're misinterpreting the word 'if', and I can already think of half a dozen ways you will find to avoid the implication, and I'm guessing you'll succeed in constructing an effective baffle, so I'll have been wasting my time.

so, it's the meta/psychological view governing your interaction again.

i don't see why you would debate the "if" part. i said that if one reads on then he finds that the "if" clause is godwin's view, and i accepted it as his view. so, all you could accomplish is to convince me the shorter quote is compelling in isolation. doing so would not have any direct relevance to the discussion.

I said that equalization can be achieved in more than one way, not necessarily by sharing. Why doesn't your intended reply focus on this main point i made?

And now, in addition to the above-mentioned patterns of argument, your tactics have escalated to include accusing me of fabricating quotes,

I did not make that accusation.

this came up previously (w/ your wording "made stuff up"). i explained that you had misinterpreted my meaning. you didn't ask for clarification or debate anything, but now you have repeated this claim as before, seemingly disregarding my reply. why?

and having a variety of other personal failings on account of not dropping, and in the TCS-archive case sacrificing, everything else in order to solve things for you.

i don't understand your seeming strategy here of interpreting criticism -- offered in confusion more than anything else -- as unpleasant accusations.

please advise.

I can't advise on that because I don't know the answer. As for the other things you asked about, I have some ideas about what you should do in order to achieve success and happiness, but it's rather pointless to address those while you consider yourself to have grievances.

what grievances? i do not have grievances.

I think my response email covers a lot of the issues well. I’ll comment further on something I think is particularly important.

This was the end of the conversation; DD didn’t reply to my email. His choice not to reply conflicts with his philosophy that says problems are soluble and advocates common preference finding. For context, keep in mind that we had been friends for ten years and that DD has written thousands of emails to me. The issue wasn’t the time it’d take to write a reply. The issue was that DD was in the process of ending our friendship and his email above gives some info about how and why he did that.

DD was unwilling to discuss any approaches to problem solving regarding the negative meta/psychological view of me that he’d formed. Further, he’d never given me an example. He’d apparently formed negative, undiscussed opinions, for years, and hidden that from me. He disliked some things I said, regarded them as irrational tactics, but never told me even one, so I had no way to stop doing the things he disliked, change my mind or improve. Nor was there any way to correct him if he were mistaken. I still, today, don’t know which things I said that he thinks were irrational tactics, let alone any arguments explaining how my statements were irrational tactics. I’d understand more if he stopped discussing when he though someone was being irrational, but he kept having lots of discussions with me for years while hiding relevant information from me.

If your approach to debate is to decide that the other person is irrational and give up on debate – and to refuse to discuss what the other person did wrong with any examples or arguments – then you are irrational and you are closed to debate. (This is an idea DD taught me, and which he’s repeatedly advocated in writing.)

DD wasn’t taking his fallibility seriously. In his email, he said that he might be mistaken about the object level disagreements, but didn’t acknowledge that he could be mistaken about his meta claims (that I’m irrational and that some of my statements were irrational tactics). DD doesn’t seem to view meta claims as ideas he has which may be false. He treats meta ideas as a special category that shouldn’t be discussed, and that viewpoint prevents error correction of his meta ideas. (DD repeatedly, and in writing, advocated not having meta discussion. That is an idea he said, not my speculation.)

So DD forms off-topic, meta, psychological views of people (his dislike for meta discussion doesn’t prevent him from thinking it and attaching importance to those thoughts). Then he refuses to explain or discuss them, but still assumes they’re true and acts on them. He won’t have meta discussion (sometimes). But he will have meta ideas and let them control and ruin the object level discussion, and then just give up on the object level discussion with no attempt at problem solving because he doesn’t want to critically discuss his unargued beliefs about other people being irrational, having bad psychology, etc. This is a way of destroying the means of correcting errors, not a way of making unbounded progress by truth-seeking.

There were plenty of other times that DD did engage in meta discussion with me. He isn’t consistent about it and never explained a delineation between good or acceptable meta and bad meta. Trying to avoid meta discussions was a recurring theme with DD and also an (inconsistent) moderation policy on TCS list, but he never acknowledged that he wasn’t really against all meta discussion. If he’d acknowledged that, he’d have had to make some statement about which meta discussion he had a problem with and why that sub-category is different and bad, but he didn’t have a good answer to that (I brought it up several times).

This particular comment from DD’s email is particularly notable:

I have stopped when I have run out of ideas for how to present the relevant idea to you in a way that gets round the tactics

Not only did DD never say that he thought any particular statement was a tactic or point out anything wrong with it, he also stopped discussing when he ran out of ideas for how to persuade me. He viewed discussion in terms of coming up with ways to change my mind. But he didn’t take seriously that I might be right about some of the topics. He dropped topics until he had ideas for new arguments, but wasn’t open to listening to my arguments. He didn’t come up with ideas for how to be persuaded and continue discussions when he had some of those. He approached discussion in a one-sided way that didn’t leave scope for him to learn. At least that’s according to his own statement – though actually in practice he sometimes did better than that. He did sometimes listen to me rationally, learn things from me, accept my arguments and change his mind, etc.

You may wish to forgive DD for assuming he’s right because he’s way smarter than most people. That attitude contradicts his philosophy and there’s another problem with it. He had thousands of hours of discussions with me and told me that he respected my intelligence and considered me one of the smartest people he’d ever talked with. He hid his condescending, one-sided, biased approach to discussion from me for ten years of discussions (or maybe he was better in earlier discussions and changed at some point without telling me – I don’t know). He communicated to me that he was taking me seriously. He asked for, and got, huge amounts of my time. That context is nothing like having a short chat with a fan that he doesn’t know. Assuming you’re right briefly with a low social status stranger is problematic, especially given DD’s fallibilist philosophy, but at least that would be conventional arrogance. DD’s condescension to someone after being close intellectual associates for a decade, and very strongly praising their thinking, learning and rationality is worse than that. It indicates that DD assumes he’s right when dealing with everyone – he’s just a poor fallibilist. Or maybe he just assumes he’s right when an issue comes up that he’s biased or emotional about, and it isn’t about the other person or what they say.

In conclusion, DD is irrational and doesn’t live up to the philosophy he advocates. He was dishonest with me for a long time, and the stuff he was hiding built up to major problems which were finally, belatedly revealed in a few harsh incidents like the email above, and then he stopped talking with me. He didn't want to solve problems as we went along and communicate openly about them, nor solve them later either, and he misled me about that for a decade. All this helps explain how his bad and irrational behavior regarding the harassment campaign could be possible.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Message (1)

David Deutsch’s Fear and Revulsion

This is part of a series of posts explaining the harassment against me which has been going on for years. The harassment is coming from David Deutsch (DD) and his community. This post provides info about DD’s motives and the historical context. I’ve tried to address the problem privately but they’ve refused to attempt any private problem solving.


This complete chat log between me (curi) and David Deutsch (oxfordphysicist) spans 4 minutes on the afternoon of 2011-10-04 (bold highlighting added now):

curi:
hiiiiiiiiii

curi:
szasz :D

oxfordphysicist:
You're entirely mistaken. I'm terrified, and will be unable to work for at least a day now. And who knows how long after that. Receiving an e-mail from you is sheer fear and revulsion before I even look at it.

curi:
i think you're mistaken and i do not want to do anything without coming to some resolution

curi:
i am attempting to follow my understanding of tcs methods. you aren't following them. perhaps we disagree about what tcs says to do.


This is the most negative thing DD ever said to me. It struck me as totally out of character. In retrospect, given how his character seems totally changed today, I think he may have been hiding his character from me for years. I think, originally, he may have been trying to hide his flaws in a noble, honorable way to shield me from them and let me interact with the best parts of himself. That’s the kind of thing he advocates parents do for their children, and he acted like a father-figure to me in some (but not other) ways.

For context, “You're entirely mistaken.” refers to some emails we’d exchanged that day about the TCS archives. He meant that my claims about the TCS archives, in those emails, were mistaken. I explained the TCS archives conflict here.

The message was a surprise to me. You can see the friendly tone of my messages beforehand. DD didn’t gradually lead up to it. He held some things in and then let them out abruptly like this.

DD still talked with me a lot after this, repeatedly initiated contact, and never said something similar again later.

This is by far the closest DD ever came to making a no contact request (which is notable because he lied about me breaking several of those that he never made). At the time, I took this as probably being a no contact request even though it was phrased as providing information rather than making an explicit request.

Note: Based on our personal history, DD knew how to make explicit requests to me, and knew that I would see that this logically wasn’t one. This may sound unreasonably pedantic, but DD and I were both like that, and literalness was a standard part of our communications. DD had actually set up this dynamic himself: He’d told me repeatedly that if he wanted something he would ask, and that I shouldn’t try to guess what he wanted and act on those guesses. He convinced me that it was better for him if I just listened to direct requests and avoided trying to guess other ways to accommodate him. He also had me use lots of explicit requests with him, which he could then say yes or no to at his option. I think I got over 50% ‘yes’ answers, but lots of ‘no’ answers too, which is unusual – in most relationships people try to avoid asking for stuff without being over 90% confident they’ll get a ‘yes’ answer. That’s how DD wanted our relationship to work (it benefited him if I asked 5 short things that I’m not confident he’ll say ‘yes’ to, and got only 1 ‘yes’, because he didn’t want to miss out on that opportunity and giving a few quick negative answers is a cheap price to pay in effort if no one gets their feelings hurt, plus even a declined request can be interesting and worthwhile to read).

Since I thought it was probably a no contact request, I stopped contacting DD. This prevented me from attempting to discuss and solve some of our problems, or doing common preference finding, as I wanted to. But I was trying to respect DD’s wishes.

What happened next?

DD kept emailing me privately, like normal (less frequently, especially since I never replied or started any discussions anymore, but he was initiating contact and emailing me stuff instead of trying to avoid contact). He acted kinda like he’d never sent the message about fear and revulsion. He didn’t act like he’d issued a no contact request. His actions were compatible with nothing having happened and us being too busy converse like normal.

In total, after the message about fear and revulsion, DD sent me 81 personal emails (plus other emails on discussion groups). Many were friendly emails that were purely optional. He had no reason to send them other than wanting to have a conversation with me. E.g. he did not have to, but did, have a long email conversation with me about schizophrenia.

After 52 days of not responding to any of DD’s emails or discussing the problem in any way, and waiting, and him not acknowledging what happened, I became concerned that I was being cold to him and ignoring him. I worried that my coldness could confuse or hurt him, especially since he hadn’t literally requested that I stop sending emails. I was also concerned since he hadn’t suggested any plan to fix anything and didn’t seem to be initiating any problem solving, and didn’t appear to intend to do problem solving later (since he was just going on with normal communications). I decided to clarify. I sent him a short email on 2012-11-25:

Do you still want me not to send you emails? Should I wait more? I'm unclear on what to do and realize that waiting could itself be taken negatively (as cold, distant).

I think 7.5 weeks was a long time to wait with someone I’d been talking with for years, often daily (in our total relationship, DD sent me roughly 4,000 private emails and spent thousands of hours chatting and engaging with me; I’ve estimated that the total amount of words he wrote to me is more than ten times the length of his book, The Fabric of Reality). That shows how much I was trying to respect his wishes. And it turned out that I was right to send the email. DD didn’t complain about it or treat it as a violation of a request.

DD’s response to my clarification request did not acknowledge ever wanting me not to send him emails, or ever sending the IM from 52 days earlier. He didn’t respond directly at all or answer my questions, but instead reinitiated conversation and invited me to try to persuade him of something by email. So we moved on and had more email discussions. He never suggested that he’d made a no contact request that I should be following. He sent 81 emails after the negative IM because he was still having contact with me. DD’s rate of sending me emails reached near zero in late 2012, around a year after his worrying IM. He stopped sending more emails without any announcement. I gave him a lot of space and tried not to push him about it, and was disappointed when he didn’t come around over time. I also realized that the opportunity to discuss the issues more had been missed (as I think DD wanted).

I now interpret DD’s harsh IM as asking me to back off temporarily, for an unspecified amount of time. And I backed off more than long enough, so that was that. He was alerting me to a problem and wanted some space, which I gave him.

I was still concerned after this incident and was more careful about sending DD anything. Some of the underlying problems were still there. But I don’t think it was ever actually a no contact request, just a serious complaint meant to raise a problem. Even if it had been a no contact request, DD retracted it by not reiterating it, by talking about something else when I asked for clarification of whether it was OK to contact him, by sending me 81 more emails, by acting like he never said it, by being friendly with me after it, and by never complaining that I was doing something wrong by emailing him again. So, to the best of my knowledge, I didn’t violate DD’s wishes about that specific matter.

One of the lessons here is that DD is an emotional, irrational, fragile person who loses days of work over his strong feelings. And he has strong feelings about things he hasn’t read – so his feelings do not depend on the merits of the arguments being made or how reasonable they are. That’s important context that helps explain his involvement in harassment against me.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (0)

What Happened with the TCS Archives

This is part of a series of posts explaining the harassment against me. This post shares background info about my conflict with David Deutsch. I’ve tried to address the problem privately but he’s refused to even attempt private problem solving or common preference finding.


The closest thing to a reason that David Deutsch (DD) ever gave me for turning against me was that he was upset about the TCS archives issue. I never considered that explanation to be very good. In short, he didn’t want them published and I agreed not to publish them. Would he really end ten years of friendship and productive discussions over that!?

I’ll explain what happened, then after that I’ll give additional facts, quotes, details and sources.

Taking Children Seriously (TCS) was a parenting and educational philosophy co-founded by DD and Sarah Fitz-Claridge (SFC) around 1992. They, I and others believed that TCS had very important ideas which all parents should learn and which could dramatically improve the world.

TCS List was a public email discussion group that started in 1994. The archives were tens of thousands of emails posted in the past. I joined in 2001. In 2002, DD and I both wanted to share the discussion archives with millions of parents so that they could learn to treat their children better.

For years there were automated, public archives which were searchable and downloadable. There were instructions on how to do this. Everyone was warned not to post anything private. But eventually AOL limited and/or removed archives for all their groups. In my understanding, that was because they didn’t want to store the data or spend money on the groups, and that change was a precursor to the groups being poorly maintained for years and then eventually being shut down entirely. So the archives needed to be reposted elsewhere.

In 2007, SFC and Kevin (SFC’s tech guy) wanted the archives to be posted on a public website and were working on making that happen. They publicly announced this and Kevin told me that the only obstacle was the software work necessary to make it nice.

Because SFC and Kevin were not very involved with TCS anymore starting around 2003, and didn’t get much done, I got a copy of the full archives for myself. I wanted to read it and I was also interested in sharing it with the world because no one else was getting that task done. I got my full copy of the archives from Lulie, who got it from Kevin. Before that, I had archives starting in 2002 (all the emails since I joined the group), plus some additional, incomplete, older archives that I’d gotten from several other people.

I believed the only obstacle to sharing the archives was getting the data and making a website for them. I believed sharing the archives was just restoring the previous status quo – getting TCS back to where it was before AOL changed their archive software.

At some point between 2002 and 2010, DD changed his mind about sharing archives. He no longer wanted them shared. But he didn’t tell me (or I think anyone else, at the time) that he had changed his mind. DD belatedly let me know there was an issue after I was already in the process of sharing the full archives. He could easily have told me earlier because we were talking regularly and he knew what I was doing (I didn’t go behind his back about any of this).

In 2010, DD told me that sharing the archives would be bad, and that he’d explain why after he was done writing his book, The Beginning of Infinity. So, to accommodate him, I waited for over a year. Then DD still didn’t want to explain and got upset with me for expecting him to explain. If he didn’t want to explain, he should have said that in the first place instead of asking me to wait and then, after I waited, saying that he wouldn’t explain. He bait and switched me but wouldn’t acknowledge having done that. He is the one who offered to explain and proposed a timeline. I had an expectation that he would explain because he voluntarily chose to create that expectation.

Despite that, I was willing to drop the matter, not receive an explanation, and not share the archives. I clearly communicated that I was willing to defer to DD. DD knew that but said it was inadequate. He didn’t want me to defer to him or do him a favor. He wanted me to see for myself that sharing the archives was bad. He wanted my judgment to match his. But that would have required him arguing his case and persuading me. Since he wouldn’t do that, I kept disagreeing with him. I still agreed with the earlier DD who wanted the archives published, since he’d never explained why he changed his mind. DD demanded that I somehow persuade myself and come up with reasons that he was now right; I did try doing that but I failed to reach his newer conclusion.

The case for publishing the archives was simple. They had lots of good, important, original ideas in them which people could learn from and use to treat children better. Plus there was no TCS book or organized body of writing teaching TCS, so learning TCS without the archives was unrealistic due to the lack of other material. DD didn’t provide a rebuttal to that, and as far as I could tell he still believed that was true.

DD did make some brief attempts to argue a few points about why sharing the archives would be bad. They were nothing like the thorough discussions we’d had on many other topics. Previously, DD had successfully persuaded me of many things. I gave counter-arguments about the archives and I wasn’t even close to persuaded. I had a bunch of arguments that I thought were great points that DD never tried to answer.

Why did DD want me not to post the archives? He said it could damage his career if people saw and disliked his TCS ideas. I wasn’t convinced by that argument for multiple reasons. I didn’t think that sharing good ideas would damage his career just because some people would mistakenly think the ideas were bad. Also, it was his responsibility to consider that before co-founding TCS and publishing ideas. He had also published TCS ideas in the paper journal and on multiple websites and was making no effort to take those things down or to retract any of the public advice he’d told thousands of parents they would be immoral not to follow. I didn’t see the point of inconsistently trying to suppress some TCS information while a bunch of other similar information was available.

The Autonomy Respecting Relationships (ARR) group had public, searchable, downloadable archives available dating back to 2001 because ARR had been using Yahoo Groups since 2001 and Yahoo’s archives still worked. ARR was a spinoff of TCS which DD had posted a bunch of unpopular ideas at (like attacks on monogamy and marriage), but DD showed no interest in taking down the ARR archives. He didn’t even try to explain the discrepancy. The FoR Yahoo group also had around a decade of archives available and DD didn’t seem to mind that either.

I’m unclear on why DD thought sharing the TCS email archives would cause a significant additional problem given the other info available. And he’s a public intellectual who co-founded TCS around age 40. Wanting and trying to unpublish his ideas and take them back, and get a clean slate when he’s around age 60, is bizarre and violates the reasonable expectations of the people who not only were trying to use his ideas in their lives, but whom he had pressured as coercive parents if they didn’t listen to him. And he didn’t actually retract anything or say he changed his mind about any of the ideas (I still don’t think he did change his mind about the ideas). He told me he wanted to share more TCS info later, which implied he still thought the ideas were valuable.

You shouldn’t share parenting advice for 20 years, get thousands of people to change their parenting, tell them they will having ongoing help, support and advice, and then try to take away the advice that was already given. Merely ceasing to share further advice was already seriously letting down a bunch of parents and their children – it betrayed their trust and violated their reasonable expectations – but DD and SFC never acknowledged or apologized for that. Preventing people from accessing the TCS archives made that betrayal worse.

I don’t see why DD’s preferences about his career should create obligations for other people not to create mirrors or archives of public discussions.

As best I know, DD agreed with me that sharing the archives wouldn’t violate his rights. So I wasn’t convinced that sharing the archives would be bad. I thought it’d be good for the world and also good for DD. But I was still willing to do what DD wanted due to our friendship and my respect for his intellectual accomplishments.

DD used his reputation as a public intellectual to spread TCS and give it legitimacy. People took it more seriously because there was a smart author involved and writing for it, not just some mom. But if you’re going to put your name behind it and use your public intellectual status to promote it, then you ought to act accordingly: it’s stuff you said in your capacity as a public intellectual, and it is therefore public (plus he literally said it publicly, in writing, with public archives that only disappeared for technical reasons). Trying to hide ideas DD promoted using his book is fairly similar to if he’d tried to hide the contents of his book itself after it was published and had sold tens of thousands of copies.

Conclusion: So DD got very upset with me, and stopped associating with me, because (maybe) of my not agreeing with his reasoning about limiting the spread of TCS ideas to the world. He didn’t tell me his reasoning in much detail and I still did what he wanted, but he demanded intellectual agreement – he wanted me not only to do and not do certain actions, but also to have and not have certain thoughts. I let him control my actions regarding the TCS archives but not my thoughts. That’s the story. I’ve never found it very convincing. I figured there must have been some other issues that played a significant role in the end of our association. DD has never spoken clearly about the matter, but as best I can tell, he claims that the TCS archives issue was the main reason that he stopped talking with me (which then led, eventually, to his leadership role in a harassment campaign against me).

Details and Sources

This is a chat log between me and DD from 2002:

Curi42 (4:50:37 PM): sarah mentioned putting all the old TCS posts on a CD to sell. that'd rock
OxfordPhysicist (4:51:56 PM): Yes. They'd have to be sorted first. And then there's the permissions problem. But yes, it's a great idea.

Here’s Kevin posting publicly on TCS list, in Dec 2007:

We have nearly complete archives now, and hope to make them readable on the TCS web site in the not too distant future.

We are still missing posts from October 16 to 23, 1995.

The TCS list started in Nov 1994 and Kevin gathered emails back to the very start. It was a public group that anyone could join, for free, with no screening. Joining the group was automatically handled by software without a human even having to click “approve”.

The TCS list had rules against posting any private information. They urged people to discuss hypothetical examples only and never to share info about their kids. Moderators enforced this sometimes (moderation was never consistent and people were warned that a post appearing on the group did not mean that a moderator had bothered to review it). They created a way to post anonymously and people were told to speak hypothetically even their anonymous posts. It was always made clear that the list was public, that you shouldn’t share anything that could embarrass your kid later, and that many people had private discussions by emailing other posters off-list. SFC even said that there were a lot more private off-list discussions than public discussions, and encouraged people to consider whether they should be posting something publicly or having a private conversation instead.

The TCS list software kept automatic, publicly-searchable archives starting in at least 1996 when they used AOL. SFC shared instructions about how to search or download the old posts. The plan to share the archives were merely an attempt to restore software features that had already existed.

When SFC moved the TCS list away from AOL software in 2008, her announcement said:

Please note that the content of the list will be public, and assume that whatever you write could end up reaching an audience of billions.

On Yahoo, like AOL, there were automatic, public archives and SFC’s welcome message said:

Bear in mind that this list is public and please take care to avoid violating privacy or writing anything that might embarrass your child when he or she is running for President of the United States or whatever. Please note that we reserve the right to move posts from the TCS list to the TCS website.

So not only did the list have public, searchable archives on the Yahoo website, they also explicitly warned everyone that they might repost anything to another website. And they warned people to write like they would have billions of readers in the future, and like whatever they say could affect their child’s career decades later.

Similarly, the TCS website said in 2008 (my emphasis):

Please be aware that anything you post on the TCS list is public and will be permanently available on the internet. Take great care not to write anything that might embarrass your child later when he or she is running for President of the United States or whatever. In many cases parents themselves have later regretted bitterly having posted something. You will not be able to delete something you post later, so do not post unless you are in a calm state of mind. Delay posting for as long as it takes for you to be in a calm state of mind. That way you will be less likely to regret having posted later.

As was pretty well known at the time, deleting or editing posts was never possible with email lists because all members receive their own copy of emails and you can’t delete other people’s data from their personal computers.

That webpage had different text in 2007 before moving to Yahoo. It said (my emphasis):

When you have subscribed to the List, you can retrieve the archives, which provide a rich source of information about the List, about TCS and about subjects about which you may have questions.

Unfortunately, that was out of date. In 2007, you could no longer retrieve the full archives (or maybe any at all) because AOL had removed features from their service. But it shows the intention to have the archives available.


See also: The History of Taking Children Seriously and Harassment Summary. (DD’s fans have been severely harassing me and my fans for years, and instead of asking them to stop, DD lied to attack me, thereby encouraging more harassment.)


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (0)

Sam Harris on Defamation; Comments on David Deutsch and Others Defaming Me

This is part of a series of posts explaining the ongoing harassment against me from David Deutsch and his associates and fans.


Sam Harris in his Response to Controversy post (from 2013):

A general point about the mechanics of defamation: It is impossible to effectively defend oneself against unethical critics. If nothing else, the law of entropy is on their side, because it will always be easier to make a mess than to clean it up. It is, for instance, easier to call a person a “racist,” a “bigot,” a “misogynist,” etc. than it is for one’s target to prove that he isn’t any of these things. In fact, the very act of defending himself against such accusations quickly becomes debasing. Whether or not the charges can be made to stick, the victim eventually seems thin-skinned and overly concerned about his reputation. And, rebutted or not, the original calumnies will be repeated in blogs and comment threads, and many readers will assume that where there’s smoke, there must be fire.

Such defamation is made all the easier if one writes and speaks on controversial topics and with a philosopher’s penchant for describing the corner cases—the ticking time bomb, the perfect weapon, the magic wand, the mind-reading machine, etc.—in search of conceptual clarity. It literally becomes child’s play to find quotations that make the author look morally suspect, even depraved.

Whenever I respond to unscrupulous attacks on my work, I hear from smart, supportive readers who say that I needn’t have bothered. In fact, many write to say that any response is counterproductive, because it only draws more attention to the original attack and sullies me by association. These readers think that I should be above caring about, or even noticing, treatment of this kind. Perhaps. I actually do take this line, sometimes for months or years, if for no other reason than that it allows me to get on with more interesting work. But […]

These are problems I'm dealing with. Some people think I'm overly reactive, thin-skinned or reputation-focused because I've written too many blog posts about the persistent, ongoing, criminal harassment against me. And I keep using strong, rude words like "criminal" and "harassment".

The harassment has been severe enough – for multiple years – that I've closed free, public comments. They are closed right now. The harassment is affecting me and my community today.

Defending myself by telling my story derails this blog and focuses it away from my usual topics. But not defending myself is awful too. They stalk me to other forums. If I try to use Less Wrong, Twitter, Reddit, Basecamp, Discord, Slack, etc., they can and do stalk and harass me there. And on those sites, I don't have adequate tools to protect myself. On a website I control, I can at least install security tools of my choice that give me a chance to defend myself (that's hard and unreliable, which is why I made a new forum with a paywall, but it works much better than defending myself on other sites).

Twitter (for example) allows you to block users, but that doesn't do me much good. They can and do create many different accounts. They also impersonate beginners, fans or any other group of people I want to talk with. They also post ambiguously hostile stuff, passive aggressive derailing, concern trolling, and other attempts to be unpleasant. They sometimes try to make it negative but ambiguous about whether it might be an actual new person unaffiliated with the harassers. They also mix in extreme, blatant harassment, which makes a toxic atmosphere and alienates people who see it.

Even if Twitter let me see IP addresses of people who talk with me – which it doesn't – that wouldn't be enough. Andy B alone has used over 100 different IP addresses while harassing me. Better security tools are necessary but unavailable.

Impersonating Beginners

Sometimes they pretend to be a beginner who is trying but has negative emotions about my responses. This creates a negative interaction which is alienating to readers who think that they, too, would end up alienated if they had a discussion. But I’m not actually alienating someone who was making a good faith effort; it’s just a fraud. That both creates a toxic atmosphere and wastes my time. It’s also misleading to me when I’m unsure if it’s a real beginner and I just need to try harder to explain, or if it’s bad faith. It makes it harder for me to know how difficult it is to talk with real beginners in positive ways and to figure out what will and won’t work with people who discuss in good faith. When it’s a fake account from a harassers, then no matter what communication methods and friendliness I test, the experimental result I get will be negative: it doesn’t work. Except that’s fake data, and the same communications might have worked great with someone who isn’t sabotaging on purpose.

They try to create a pattern of what appears to be me having negative interactions with many different people interested in my ideas. But it’s fake, and isn’t what was happening in my discussions before the harassment began (some ended negatively, but a much lower proportion). It’s frustrating and unfun for me and it discourages my actual fans from talking with me. Similarly, they’ve used fake accounts to support themselves (both at my sites and elsewhere, e.g. on Twitter or Reddit) to make it look like more people agree with them than actually do.

Beginners often say some partially negative things while making a good faith effort to engage. People are sometimes a bit rude, a bit upset about a controversial idea, or say something illogical. I try to be tolerant and charitable about that stuff. Most people need some tolerance in discussions. But harassers can abuse that tolerance by e.g. making stuff as negative as possible that they think I might tolerate. They can also get worse to be slightly past the line so I want to end the discussion but it’s not obvious to all observers that the discussion is so bad that I should stop tolerating it. Or sometimes they just go past the line into obvious hatred to fake a record of someone starting out friendly and then being very upset by me so that they became hateful.

It’s hard to tell what might be an honest mistake from a beginner, which should be dealt with in a kind, helpful way. So having harassers on fake names wasting our time and charity with dishonest mistakes is a problem. And then when they escalate to make it look like our helpfulness failed, that’s nasty too. Being flamed and harassed – sometimes in extreme ways – is nasty but the ongoing attempts at ambiguity are even worse. They have done over a hundred experiments to find out what’s hard to deal with and to optimize their harassment.

Hateful, Private Gossip

David Deutsch (DD) falsely called me a no contact request breaker to an unknown number of people privately which avoids rebuttal. Accusing me of breaking several no contact requests is similar to calling someone a "racist" or "bigot" like Sam Harris mentioned. Breaking no contact requests is really awful and is currently something cancellable – a lot of people really hate it. Responding to that and defending myself is itself toxic, and DD has a much larger reach than I do. The hate that has been spread against me is so strong that many people who its been spread to are entirely unwilling to speak with me or consider my side of the story. I can't defend effectively against preemptive strikes powerful enough to get total strangers to shut their minds closed and refuse to ever consider my side of the story.

Many associates of DD have been spreading hate about me. I know this for a fact because there have been a few leaks. I’ll give some examples.

In the past, Lulie Tanett repeatedly shared private information with me, e.g. that some of DD’s associates were joking about murdering me (from memory, that was in 2015), which gives some idea of how hateful they were and also that they talk about me in their private conversations.

In 2009, Lulie Tanett showed me Sarah Fitz-Claridge (SFC, DD’s TCS co-founder) lying that I’d violated many requests from her (a very similar lie to DD’s lie, which seems to show a pattern of people bad at differentiating between what they wanted and what they actually requested with words).

Another person told me that, around 2010, SFC’s husband wanted to collaborate on a forum for the purpose of hurting Elliot Temple. I'm told SFC's husband was blatant, not subtle, about his goal: he wanted to shove a (presumably metaphorical) red hot poker up my ass. The person declined because they weren’t interested in harming anyone. The person told me about it, years later, after the Andy B harassment became a big deal.

Another way I got information was people sending me quotes from the Four Strands Google Group. My haters used their semi-private philosophy forum to have multiple discussions about me in which they attacked me. When caught, their response was to kick everyone off their forum who they thought might sympathize with me and to limit new membership in order to better hide their activities. That forum is where Dennis Hackethal lied that I’d threatened him with violence in order to gain clout with other forum members and justify hatred and harassment towards me.

Because the CritRats spread their hate through gossip but don’t write public arguments, it’s hard to answer it. I’ve never even seen most of what’s been said against me, but the effects are visible: I’ve been repeatedly ghosted, and sometimes flamed or harassed, by people I’ve never had a conversation with. The behavior of CritRats differs from any other group I’ve interacted with. And keep in mind that I’m not really a public figure: almost no one has heard of me, but people I don’t know care enough to hate me because of whatever gossip is circulating among CritRats. It seems like the gossip includes lies that I’ve done actions so bad that I must be entirely shunned and ghosted. I’ve seen some of the really nasty lies being told (about violating several no contact requests or threatening violence) but don’t know what else they’re circulating. Someone who repeatedly breaks no contact requests or threatens violence is actually a reasonable person to dislike, ignore and avoid – if that were true. (BTW, Andy B and Rami Rustom both made threats but the CritRats don’t avoid and ignore them.)

Not knowing what’s being said prevents me from targeting my replies well. I have to either not answer stuff or write more and answer more stuff without even clearly knowing it’s the right thing to answer – which some people interpret as me being obsessed because they don’t see the actions of the other side, whereas my actions are public. It’s also more work for me to write about more issues, which sucks.

Meanwhile, many people think that where there's smoke there's fire, or that the evils being done to me are so extreme and nasty that they can't be real (certainly not from the people who appear otherwise respectable). (Other times, contradictorily, I’m told that what’s been done to me is mild and ignorable. Not having any official position lets them make a wide variety of arguments without caring if they contradict themselves.) And people keep repeating and spreading the hate. I wouldn't even care much about the hate if it didn't lead to harassment that limits my ability to have conversations on the public internet, and which follows me around, and which comes to my spaces to harass and DDoS my blog. I have no way to be left alone and ignore them because they use force not just insults.

Like Harris, I’ve tried not responding for long periods of times. The attacks on me actually started in 2009 or earlier and gradually ramped up. I basically ignored it for a decade, and it grew much worse. Even after the extreme harassment from Andy B, I’ve tried ignoring it for months at a time, which hasn’t helped. Sam Harris felt it necessary to respond even though he’s just facing words without direct harassment like DDoSing. That’s perfectly reasonable, and it’s notable that my situation gives more reason to respond because the problems cross major, additional lines. Harris also has the advantage of facing claims made in public which he can quote, whereas the group harassing me acts in a shadowy way.

It’s horrible that – as a person who is not very popular – I have to literally charge people money to be able to discuss with me because it’s the only way I think I may be left alone by the harassers.

I think the best thing I can do is to explain myself rationally. I want to help reasonable people judge the issue by providing the information and reasoning that I can. And I want to show that I’m the one willing to expose factual statements and arguments to critical scrutiny, unlike the other side. I have more posts in progress, and plan to continue writing about this sporadically as long as it’s an ongoing problem affecting my life. If anyone has a better idea, I’m open to it. So far I’ve received no substantial criticism of anything I’ve said about the matter from anyone – my fans, the people who hate me, or neutral third parties. I’m trying to deal with a hard situation in the right way using my limited resources, and I hope people will be sympathetic and supportive about that.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Message (1)

Harassment Sucks

Being harassed – and writing about it – is an unfortunate distraction which is delaying Critical Fallibilism articles. If you don’t like that, complain to David Deutsch and the others involved. I can’t ignore them because they are using ongoing force and I have no way to choose to be left alone. They come to my websites and follow me to public discussion places like Less Wrong or Reddit. One of them joined and vandalized my FI Learning Basecamp, and I realized that using Basecamp is not a realistic option because it doesn't have good enough security. I’ve tried not talking about them for months at a time but they won’t stop. I’ve tried to discuss the problem privately and deescalate (I did that before going public and tried again later too), but they’ve refused to discuss – they have no demands, have no stated grievances, and have offered no terms under which they’d end the harassment campaign. Fan support regarding this major problem would be appreciated.


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Callout Blog Posts Policy

Some people may be worried that if they have discussions with me, they’ll end up called out and exposed in a blog post attacking them. So I want to clarify who I do that to and why.

A callout post is one where I’m trying to draw public attention to a problem I’m having with someone who has mistreated me.

I call out people who violate my rights. That requires things like getting banned and then ban evading to post harassment on my sites, like Andy B. Or persistently lying about being coached and mentored by me, like Rami Rustom did, so I needed to deny that. Or spreading really nasty lies about me, such as Dennis Hackethal’s lie that I threatened him with violence or David Deutsch’s lie that I broke several requests to stop contacting him. Plagiarizing my ideas is also something I will blog about if you refuse to fix it. (I mention that because it’s debatable whether plagiarism is a rights violation).

I also frequently criticize public figures regarding publicly available information like their writing. And I also have critical discussions on forums, but if a non-public-figure loses a debate with me I don’t go call them out on my blog. My goal in those discussions isn’t to call public attention to the flaws of my discussion partners.

Let’s discuss some examples of callouts I’ve done.

I never blogged about Rustom when he was just some fan who was bad at learning. I never mocked him for stuff that many people would laugh at. I still didn’t blog about him after he wrote a book heavily plagiarizing me, because he apologized and took it down instead of ending communication (as Hackethal did about his plagiarized book). Rustom merely got one negative blog post after I found out he was lying to people about his association with me – and I was unable to get the matter resolved privately – so I considered it necessary to publicly deny association with him. He was actually using my name to try to sell his business coaching products. In response to me making it harder for him to sell my name for his profit, Rustom further violated my rights by making threats, escalating his threats, sharing a private recording, lying about me, and spamming my blog. My restrained response was merely to update my one blog post to cover the new developments.

I never blogged about Hackethal when he was just some guy who had admitted to me (with no reasonable expectation of privacy) that he was a second-handed social climber who cared about reputation over truth. Hackethal quit my community (at least I thought he did – but I later discovered he’d kept reading my blog in order to include mangled versions of my posts in his book without credit) because, basically, he thinks I’m autistic. He wanted to interact with people who are more responsive to social hints instead of reasoned statements or explicit requests – but I didn’t publicize his bigoted, ableist attitude. I only blogged about Hackethal due to his book plagiarizing my ideas and his involvement in harassment (including his public collaboration with Andy B, his libel against me, and his role in the DDoSing of this website). I know which woke, cancel-culture-friendly employer Hackethal works for but I never contacted them or named them because, even when extremely provoked, I act with restraint.

Before he harassed me, I never cared or talked about Andy B rage quitting my group over an intellectual disagreement. I still didn’t blog about the issue after he initially harassed me and got caught. I only made a big deal of it after I discovered he was behind months of extensive sock puppeting (using false identities) and harassment. I’ve always been tolerant of rude posters and minor, short-lived harassment.

Everyone I’ve called out got multiple warnings first. I tried to speak privately with Rustom, Hackethal, Andy B and Deutsch before blogging anything negative about them.

The point is, those people did really bad and easily avoidable things, and then persisted and amplified the issues when given multiple opportunities to change course. Anyone who wants to can avoid doing what they did and getting called out. It’s easy. I’m actually more tolerant than most people and I try to resolve things privately first. In each case, I only called people out on my blog after they refused to try to solve the problem privately.

I focus my blog criticism on public intellectuals and on people who initiate substantial force against me plus refuse communication. So if you aren’t going to do that, you’ve got nothing to fear.


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David Deutsch Tweets with my Cyberstalker and Harasser, Andy B

This is part of a series of posts explaining the harassment against me. This post shares more info about David Deutsch’s direct involvement with the harassment: he talks publicly with my largest harasser ("Andy B" has been cyberstalking me for years, has written hundreds of harassing messages from over 100 IP addresses, and has ongoing support from a community of Deutsch fans who have done some harassment themselves too). I’ve tried to address the problem privately but they’ve refused to attempt any private problem solving.


David Deutsch's (DD's) involvement with Andy B is worse and more blatant than I knew. I wrote skeptical comments about DD's claim to not know Andy. I said he might be in contact with Andy or one of Andy's many identities, but somehow not count it in his mind. I gave an example about him previously falsely claiming not to know someone. I speculated (but didn’t know specifically) that DD could be in direct contact with Andy. He is:

DD has been tweeting with Andy's primary Twitter account since at least 2018 and also tweeted with Andy, twice, within the last few days. Andy has renamed the account multiple times, and also deleted all his old tweets, so this is not a complete list of the times DD has spoken to Andy. Using other searches, I quickly found another time that DD tweeted Andy that isn't in this pic (and more here).

Note: Andy only recently stopped putting the 'Andy' name on his twitter. He stopped going by 'Andy' roughly around April 2021. Old tweets by DD would have been to an account that was openly announcing that it was Andy. (Some but not all old tweets get updated to tag the new name when Andy changes his name; it depends how it's saved in Twitter's database. That's why it says SeekingApatheia on some tweets from years before Andy used that name, but other tweets don’t show up in this search because they weren’t updated.)

The SeekingApatheia account is still Andy's main Twitter account, which he created in April 2010, but renamed. That means that e.g. if DD had ever blocked Andy, the block would still apply to the new name (DD chose not to block Andy). DD could easily know that SeekingApatheia is Andy by asking one of his friends like Lulie, or by asking an FI person, or by reading info posted to this blog. DD either knows that SeekingApatheia is Andy or is burying his head in the sand and refusing to make any effort to avoid ongoing contact with Andy (while also making public statements about not knowing Andy).

Tweets from DD directly to Andy encourage Andy to continue harassing people he perceives as DD’s enemies (me and other FI community participants, because we're DD’s old community that he left and now has an unexplained grudge against). DD has never said a word to delegitimize Andy's harassment of me, and this is another thing he's doing to legitimize it.

I just want to be left alone but have now been persistently cyberstalked and harassed for years. DD has encouraged it in multiple ways, like tweeting with the worst offender who is clearly a criminal, and lying to make it sound like I'm the bad guy, and DD has refused to negotiate in any way or to ask his fans even once to stop harassing.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (2)