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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.)

Obviously, you should obey flight crew. But you don't lose all of your rights the moment you enter the fascism tube.

There is no specific duty to obey the orders of flight crew. Where it's been held to exist, it's basically federal admiralty common-law. And while this isn't strictly criminal, it would empower the flight crew to use extraordinary means to remove someone from the plane.

The closest criminal law is 49 USC 46504, which makes it a crime to interfere with flight crew by "assaulting or intimidating" them. The guy dragged off the plane really appears not to have done that.

But the important thing here is that neither the admiralty-by-analogy rules nor the criminal law kick in until the plane is under special aircraft jurisdiction, which is 49 USC 46501. And this plane wasn't, because special aircraft jurisdiction only kicks in at the moment all external doors are closed following boarding. Which they weren't. Because they dragged the guy off.

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Gotham, Season 1
When Gotham becomes unstuck in time following the Wayne murders, '80s cop Jim Gordon faces a city on the brink as 1973's Falcone crime family battles its 1930s rivals, the Maroni, while an invasion of '90s villains threatens to upset the underworld.

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Capsule Review, That Poppy: Nightmare Korean makeup vlogger as Laura Palmer in a series of commercials for apparently itself.

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Only +Steven Flaeck is going to get this, but: Roger Stone is an object lesson in why you should not make a drunkard Flamboyant Schemer your Spymaster.

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Contra Chomsky, holding an errant state to the ideological standards of its founders is not a uniquely American trait, and not strictly an instrument of oppression. The French appealed to "liberté, égalité, fraternité" in resisting fascism, even in light of the Reign of Terror. Iran is appealing to the legitimacy of a repressive Shi'a theocracy to justify political change. In both, as in America, you can see appeals to ideological legitimacy deployed in support of social change.

Because America lacks blood-and-soil legitimacy, these appeals to ideological legitimacy are proportionally more important in American discourse. There is no 'American-ness' which stands apart from our mutual consent to be Americans. Accordingly, the idea that "this is not who we are" frequently underlies objections to government action.

Even objections to slavery and the restricted franchise took this form. Strictly speaking, these objections were untrue: America has been, to one extent or another, an apartheid state, an oligarchy, a slave state, and an empire. At some point, however we could no longer be a nation that kept slaves while claiming to be free; then we could not be a country with a system of peonage that claimed not to hold slaves; then we could not be an apartheid state that claimed to be a democracy.

Whenever America has decisively rejected injustice, protesters have claimed the strand in history which agreed with them, even when that strand had never been dominant. Is it dishonest to identify America with the oppressed who have overcome, rather than the oppressor? Chomsky demands we choose the latter.

On some level, this is more honest. I frequently find myself telling people who justify the old regime's explicit policy of torture that, "We're America; we don't torture," knowing full well that we are America, and that we do torture, and that we are likely to continue our implicit policy of permitting torture, and benefiting from other states' explicit use of torture. But we have rejected torture in the past when it might have served our interests. And even within the power structure that tortured, there was strong and sometimes even illegal resistance.

Abandoning the "American idea" to those who would use it to oppress cedes the battlefield. The "American idea" is the disputed ground where ideological differences are resolved, and the only commitment which separates Americans from being being strangers living in a stolen country. If stripped of any nationalist commitment to human rights, I suspect that we would not revert to a sense of global responsibility, but rather blood-and-soil nationalism or Straussian nihilism.

I am not delusional about our history. But that history includes resistance, and it is as dishonest to elide that resistance to attack the American idea as it is to protect it.

So, okay.

Let's say that you're Trump. You've spent your entire career in the vaguely mobbed-up world of New York real estate developers, and after being forcibly ejected from that by a series of bankruptcies, you enter the even more mobbed-up world of international financing for hotels intended for Saudi princelings and Russian oligarchs in countries with a lot of natural-resource wealth.

No one will lend you money through normal channels because, again, whenever anyone lends you money you piss it all away on gold toilets and giant shit-fights with subcontractors, so you have to rely on things like Bayrock Group, headquarted in Trump tower, which developers describe as just a weird giant money pipeline from Kazakhstan and Russia to New York. And in the midst of all of this, you decide that you're just going to stop paying taxes, not pay your contractors, and basically act like a sexual-harassing parody of a 1970s boss.

It's not that Trump can't stand up to an investigation of his Russia ties, although that will produce an embarrassment of minor revelations immediately -- Felix Sater, for instance, who's a minor Russian mafioso who provided financing for Trump projects in the 1990s. It's that Trump can't stand up to literally any investigation whatsoever. Turn over literally any rock in Trump's life, and you'll find a weird squirming nest of maggots underneath it.

There might be not much to the Russia story: the worst of it might be that Roger Stone was scheduling document dumps with Wikileaks. (He has already strongly implied that he was doing this.) But if you start pulling on any loose thread in that sweater, the entire thing is going to come unraveled and a giant pile of borderline criminality is going to come spilling out.

I would be surprised if even Trump has a strict accounting of where all the bodies he's buried in his career are. Which means that he has to prevent an investigation of Russia ties whether or not he's guilty.

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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."
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