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Andreas Schou
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On Moderation: An Ass-Backward Guide to Managing a Community Which Extends From Revolutionary Socialists to Anarcho-Capitalists

(1) When responding as editor, always assume that you are talking to a reasonable person making the most reasonable possible version of their argument. This is not always true in the real world, but this sort of bad-faith good-faith heads off any risk of escalating, tit-for-tat misinterpretation of the other person's argument.

(2) A new member of the community, especially a dissenting member, will often appear to be a troll. Dissenting members who have been socialized to dissent helpfully eventually become valuable members of the community.

(3) Use soft power until you have reached its limits. If the community has a disruptive member who disagrees with you, see if you can get someone who agrees with the disruptive person to intervene on your behalf. It will seem less like you're punishing dissent.

(4) There is no reason to be rude or cruel to someone whom you will not have a continuing relationship with. If you need to exercise hard power -- banning, reporting, excluding -- decide that that's what you need to do, do it, and don't comment on the subject.

(5) Try to be epistemically multilingual. If you can explain a position using only assumptions that you and the other person share, don't try to force a new set of assumptions down their throat. More than likely, they'll just reject your position outright, and you will no longer have anything interesting to talk about.

(6) The most difficult problem an ideological diverse community faces is not antisocial disagreement, but antisocial agreement. It is difficult to convince people that any such thing exists, but community punishment of people who operate outside the editorial consensus can stifle dissent and cause the community to go wildly awry.

(7) Hard apriorists are not a useful part of most conversations. If someone believes he can determine the appropriate federal funds rate from I Think, Therefore I Am, you will probably not have a productive conversation with him, and it is best to politely tell him that he is being ignored.

(8) Biographical details are important. They are anecdotal, but not peripheral. If someone believes they have insights into their own region, ethnicity, profession, gender, government, family, or life experiences, this is likely to be true. What's more, people demand more respect for their own lived experiences than for beliefs which they hold for other reasons.

It is fair to demand that people tread carefully around biographical details and lived experience.

(9) People overgeneralize from their own biographies. Anecdotal experience derived from lived experience is important. It is, however, still anecdotal. If you are inclined to make a strident point based on a biographical argument, it would help if you also went and found some data to support it rather than simply demanding concession from the person you're arguing with.

If you see someone genuinely trying to make a fair argument against your biographical details and lived experience, try to assume that it was made in good faith. 

(10) If you find yourself looking at a Wikipedia page to construct an argument against someone whom you believe to be better-informed on a subject than you, stop. At best, you are denying yourself the opportunity to learn something from a subject matter expert -- even one who turns out to be wrong. At worst, you are about to embarrass yourself. 

(11) Argument about rules of evidence, especially in the middle of another argument,  is seldom productive. If you are aware of the rules of evidence generally adhered to by the people you're arguing with, try to produce evidence which at least meets that standard, and table the argument about evidentiary rules until it can be addressed separately.

(Note: If you have seen this before, and you are seeing it again now, it's because I've pinned the rules for my space to the top of my profile.)

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I can't quite get this one right, and so it hasn't gone to publication yet. If you have any feedback on what isn't working -- because something isn't -- I'd apprecaite it.

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When interviewed by the FBI, Flynn expressly lied about whether he had discussed sanctions with Kislyak. This is a felony.

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A reminder: Paul Manafort's Ukrainian chief of staff is a former Russian intelligence officer. In public. He may as well be wearing a badge reading, "Russian spy."

Here is the kind of day it is: female assassins just killed Kim Jong-Un's half-brother in Malaysia using poison needles, and it isn't even the second-weirdest or most distressing story in the news today.

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n.b.: the "prostitutes pissing the bed" parts of the dossier are not a crime. The "Trump campaign accepting money from a foreign power and coordinating on opposition research with a foreign intelligence agency committing felonies in the US" parts are.

This is especially interesting:

"Some of the individuals involved in the intercepted communications were known to the US intelligence community as 'heavily involved' in collecting information damaging to Hillary Clinton and helpful to Donald Trump, two of the officials tell CNN."


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I can't figure out how the details in this story would be available without an open wiretap on Flynn.

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Home.

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The UK asked for assurance that its assets in Russia would not be compromised. Five days after Flynn got access to all of America's classified information, the head of cybercrimes enforcement and the head of Russia's largest cybersecurity firm were arrested on charges of treason which are suspected to be related to the election hacking campaign. 
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