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Peter_Twieg comments on Well-Kept Gardens Die By Pacifism - Less Wrong

105 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 21 April 2009 02:44AM

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Comment author: Peter_Twieg 21 April 2009 05:39:09PM 9 points [-]

I can't think of a specific example that a broad audience might know about, but it's relatively easy to see how this could arise. Take a community of "idiots", by whatever criteria we'd use to apply the term to the lone troll. Many of them exist which espouse all sorts of nonsense. Throw in someone who actually understands the topics which these people purport to discuss. Unless that person is incredibly subtle and eloquent, they will be denounced as an idiot in any number of ways.

I can speak here from my own experience as an economist who's tried to make arguments about public choice and decentralized knowledge to a general (online) audience in order to defend free markets. A lot of crowds really will have none of it. I think this is a frustration which even the best libertarian-leaning individuals have run into. But given persistence, one can gain ground... and subsequently be accused of "ruining" a safe space which was reserved for the narrow worldview which you challenged. In face, any community with "safe space" disclaimers is probably extremely vulnerable to this - I just doubt you've engaged with many.

Comment author: ciphergoth 22 April 2009 11:11:36AM 4 points [-]

OK, yes, that's a counterexample. However, in all those instances, the community itself is screwed in a fundamental way, and the fix is not for people to welcome the "idiots": the fix is to leave the community and go somewhere more sensible. Is there an example of a community good enough that you would recommend anyone to join, but which would have been improved by taking the criticism of unpopular members more seriously? It doesn't have to be a well-known example, and you don't have to link to it; even anecdotal evidence would be enlightening here.

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 20 October 2011 06:10:08PM 0 points [-]

Damaging such a broken community might be a good thing, much as tearing down a dangerously decrepit building can be better than letting squatters stay in it until it collapses on them.

(I think that analogy as gone about as far as it should go)