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Andreas Schou
Works at Snake Parliament
Attended Awesome Skeleton Hell College
Lives in Mountain View, California
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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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"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."
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Andreas Schou

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Again, a promise which requires authority which the presidency does not have. The president is not a serial dictator with full control of all levels of government.

Here's an exhaustive list of things which the president might reasonably make promises about: war, diplomacy, regulation, appointments, enforcement, vetoes, speeches, legislative proposals, federal agencies. Not on this list: people already incarcerated. Unless his intention is to pardon everyone currently in federal custody, and then 400,000 more people besides, this promise is factually impossible.

For what it's worth, I don't think Sanders is delusional. He doesn't think his promise can be carried out, either. He's bullshitting: making promises without any particular attitude toward whether those promises can be carried out.
After a number of Democratic debates in which criminal justice got barely any air time, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton spent several minutes agreei ...
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Steve S
+Bill Wohl That turns out not to be the case.
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In 1976, the Supreme Court mandated that Arizona aquifer levels be maintained above a certain level to protect the Devil's Hole Pupfish. This inch-long, blue-grey minnow lives exclusively in the hot, mineral-rich water of Devil's Hole. Drawing water from the aquifer brings down the level of water in the natural hot springs, baring the refrigerator-sized limestone shelf where the pupfish lay their eggs.

In order to maintain compliance, the EPA set up a monitoring station, bolted to the wall of Devil's Hole, immediately above the shelf. By all metrics but one, the pupfish monitoring has been a remarkable success: the population has remained consistent at around 240. But in 2004, the monitoring station fell on the breeding shelf, obliterating 1/3 of the world's population of Devil's Hole Pupfishes.

The fish's future is still in doubt.

I am uncertain whether there's a moral to this story.

(You may have seen this before, because it's one of my favorite anecdotes. But someone asked for it again, because they couldn't find it, so I've reposted it.)
Nicolai von Hirsch's profile photoAnthony Zana's profile photoKhin Maung Lwin's profile photoAltaf Abbasi Muhammad's profile photo
But, but you didn't tell the part about the 7 earthquake that jiggled the water in that hole -- and someone was there to get video...
"A fortunate National Park Service biologist and a Scientific American reporter interviewing him were standing at a deep natural pool in Death Valley when it began to be dramatically rocked by an earthquake that had occurred 2,000 miles away."

(I think those fish must be cursed...)
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Andreas Schou

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"Yeah. A total ABCD."
"A class-A B-school C-Suite D-bag." 
dave arnold's profile photojeremiah ani's profile photoAaron Hamid's profile photoMatthew Baggott's profile photo
Yeah, you are right man
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Suggested Term for Computer-Generated Hilarity: Big Dada. 
please try this recipe i made using a predictive text imitator and The American Woman's Cook Book (1938). Embedded image. 5:45 PM - 3 Feb 2016. 3819 Retweets4069 Likes. Reply to @jamieabrew. Replies. jitka. Feb 3. jitka @jitka. @jamieabrew 4 slices of hot food. Benjamin Zanin ...
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Don't worry. AI = Ad Index. It's good enough for targeting. People who buy ads won't notice the difference. Smart spam is still spam.
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Dear Norway,

Okkupert is a genuinely great show. Even though the scenario is a tad unlikely, it's still the most adult fictional treatment of geopolitics I've ever seen. A few notes:

(1) Are those really your military dress uniforms? Giant, ridiculous epaulets? A bowler hat with... is that a ponytail? The whole thing looks like it was cobbled together out of random pieces of 19th-century upholstery.

(2) Everyone just goes ahead and calls the Prime Minister by his first name? Including random police officers? I'm pleased by the egalitarianism.

(3) Is Oslo really that gorgeous? It's all 19th-century architecture which looks like it was built yesterday and brushed-metal-and-pale-wood saunascapes everywhere else.

(4) Everyone is cheating on their partner. No one really comments on it.

(5) Do the politics of this show code as relatively right-wing in Norway? The trajectory seems to be "milquetoast socialist PM transforms into resolute warlord-PM." I'm a little surprised.

(6) Why does everyone in Oslo speak English better than I do. That isn't a question, I suppose. Just an observation. (Surprisingly, I find myself understanding snatches of Norwegian by analogy to Danish or German.)

(7) Even for a show with a rightward orientation, the treatment of the EU's representatives as craven, simpering bandits is a bit shocking.

For people who aren't Norwegians and who have Netflix -- it's more than worth watching. Going through a fictional analogue really clarified my feelings about what's going on in Ukraine right now.
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I've lived in one or another of those islands all my life, I guess. I had no idea anything else existed until the interwebs. Whole lotta crazy undereducated bigots on the USA interwebs.
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"Beezow Doo Doo Zopittybop-bop-bop arrested in Wash. officers' assaults" is now the actual title of an actual article. 
The man with the outlandish sounding name, who first made headlines in a 2012 arrest, was arrested after allegedly assaulting an officer Sunday
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Andreas Schou

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So, the FBI is raiding the Malheur refuge right now. The militiamen are livestreaming it.

You may not want to listen to this.
ANON DARKMATTER's profile photoAndre “Place Holder” Ware's profile photoCarmelyne Thompson's profile photoJadwiga Wróbel's profile photo
Well, it had to happen sooner than later. Despite how long they've been there.
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The accumulation of small and distant injustices eventually requires a body capable of crude intervention to rectify it. Otherwise, those injustices are simply rounded down to zero and made to disappear. Those capable of engineering such small injustices in their favor eventually become petty monarchs, operating a system which is topologically identical to coercion.

This is not purely hypothetical.

After formal law arrived in the American west, this was frequently the case in places like Montana, Idaho, and Colorado. Territorial magistrates were controlled by large mining interests, private contracts were enforced by strike-breaking police, and currency (rather, scrip) was issued by a private central bank. An alien visitor arriving in the year 1885 would be hard-pressed to understand the difference between Jay Gould and George Hearst and a European king.

The former owed some sort of formal fealty to some greater authority. The latter, usually, did not. This is not a good basis for making a political distinction.
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mk , ??, my th mmmk?9?,? ? , ?20th known? if m mmjm jmewww?3?, 23b2m22skw2
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Dear CafePress,

I Googled "hot garbage water," and a page of water bottles (presumably, for hot garbage water) was the first result. This particular model, imploring me to keep calm by focusing on tripe (?), is my favorite.

What is your algorithm for automatically generating slogans doing.

What is it doing.

How can I keep it doing that forever?

Approved by lunch ladies and Mother Nature, our 1.0L Stainless Sports Bottle is perfect for green thinkers on the go (or on campus). Eco-friendly and compact, it's sure to quench your thirst f
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+Jennifer Freeman I kind of do too, but it really ought to be something more like 
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In other words, "Saudi Arabia offers to send ground troops to Syria to start a region-wide, genocidal, sectarian war with Iran. Because I guess murdering its most prominent Shi'a cleric and bombing Shi'a in Yemen wasn't provocation enough."

Every time I think Saudi Arabia can't sink any lower, they just limbo straight under the bar. 
Saudi sources told the Guardian that thousands of special forces could be deployed, probably in coordination with Turkey
Mariam Mariam's profile photoJohannes Riecke's profile photoDinyar Rabady's profile photoMAN RAF-KHACH's profile photo
Saudis and Turkey have no other choice. They thought Asad is over within 5 months and now it is 5 years. So they have to finish the job. But this path leads to hell for them. Saudis can not defeat Yemenis who fight with sleepers and simple guns. Russia gave Turkey a good lesson and terrorism spread there because of their support for terrorism. So their tourism revenues in danger. I think if foolish Saudis attack to Syria they will sank there.
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I just want to amplify what +Tshaka Armstrong said about how awesome Robert Smalls was. Just to give you some details which fall between the big bullet points here:

* Born into slavery.

* Started out with seriously unpleasant menial jobs. Taught himself to read. More importantly, taught himself navigational trigonometry. This is not simple to do yourself. This is especially not simple to do when you grew up speaking Gullah creole, and your first exposure to standard-dialect English was when you were ten.

* In general, was seriously awful at being a slave. Ran away. Resold tobacco and candy to make money his master didn't have access to. Bailed out of slave lockup over and over again because, despite the fact he never took to the whip, he was too competent to punish.

* Stole a Confederate ship. Sailed off with it. Gave it to the Union.

* Pushed for Congress to pay him the bounty, and was paid about $37,000 for it. Which is to say, "more money than a slave would likely see in five lifetimes."

* Joined the US Navy. Which is notable, because the US Navy was not admitting black sailors at this point.

* Convinced the US Army to admit black soldiers. You know. Like you do.

* Oh, did I mention that all of this happened before he turned 23? Because it all did.

* Assigned to pilot an experimental ironclad steamship in an attack on Charleston harbor. This fails. The ship sinks. Smalls is nonetheless commended for bravery.

* Reassigned to the Planter, the ship he stole less than two years ago, with some of the black crew which originally stole it. The captain of the Planter, caught in crossfire between Confederate and Union ships, attempts to surrender to the Confederates.

* Decided he's going to have none of that, because black soldiers and sailors are killed on capture. Sails the ship back to the Union lines against his captain's orders, saving the lives of his black crew.

* Commended for bravery again. And promoted. Which makes him the first black naval captain in US history. He's actually captain of the Planter, the ship he stole less than two years ago.

* The war ends.

* Used the money he got from stealing Confederate ships to buy the house he lived in when he was a slave. Moves in. Runs for Congress.

* Won.

* Kept running for Congress. Kept winning. Became the longest-serving black Congressman until the late 20th century.

* Reconstruction ended. Gerrymandering, poll violence, and the like keep him from running again.

* Stayed active in politics. Attempted to return the black vote to South Carolina. Fails, but consider that this is precisely the sort of thing which would get you lynched between the years of 1876 and 1920.

* Appointed to be customs inspector. Which, again: this is a math-heavy job, and Smalls had no formal education.

Name an important thing which a human being could have done between the Civil War and World War I, and Smalls did it. He didn't just rise up from poverty: he rose up from the most abject position an American could be consigned to, and just ... kept rising. Even after the tragedy that ended Reconstruction, he somehow managed to keep his head above water.

He died the owner of the house in which he had been a slave, serving the country which had both rewarded and betrayed him.
#BAMF for #BlackHistoryMonth  Now THIS is a cat I'd love to see a biopic about!

From Wikipedia: As a politician, Smalls authored state legislation providing for South Carolina to have the first free and compulsory public school system in the United States, and founded the Republican Party of South Carolina.
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  • Snake Parliament
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Dilettante. Incapable of boredom. Diverse interests. If you'd like a distilled stream of my best posts, try here:
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