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Houshalter comments on A few misconceptions surrounding Roko's basilisk - Less Wrong

39 Post author: RobbBB 05 October 2015 09:23PM

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Comment author: Houshalter 07 October 2015 06:08:13AM 4 points [-]

Examples of censorship failing are easy to see. But if censorship works, you will never hear about it. So how do we know censorship fails most of the time? Maybe it works 99% of the time, and this is just the rare 1% it doesn't.

On reddit, comments are deleted silently. The user isn't informed their comment has been deleted, and if they go to it, it still shows up for them. Bans are handled the same way.

This actually works fine. Most users don't notice it and so never complain about it. But when moderation is made more visible, all hell breaks loose. You get tons of angry PMs and stuff.

Lesswrong is based on reddit's code. Presumably moderation here works the same way. If moderators had been removing all my comments about a certain subject, I would have no idea. And neither would anyone else. It's only when big things are removed that people notice. Like an entire post that lots of people had already seen.

Comment author: Lumifer 07 October 2015 03:32:35PM *  1 point [-]

Most users don't notice it and so never complain about it.

I don't believe this can be true for active (and reasonably smart) users. If, suddenly, none of your comments gets any replies at all and you know about the existence of hellbans, well... Besides, they are trivially easy to discover by making another account. Anyone with sockpuppets would notice a hellban immediately.

Comment author: Houshalter 08 October 2015 02:09:14PM 3 points [-]

I think you would be surprised at how effective shadow bans are. Most users just think their comments haven't gotten any replies by chance and eventually lose interest in the site. Or in some cases keep making comments for months. The only way to tell is to look at your user page signed out. And even that wouldn't work if they started to track cookies or ip instead of just the account you are signed in on.

But shadow bans are a pretty extreme example of silent moderation. My point was that removing individual comments almost always goes unnoticed. /r/Technology had a bot that automatically removed all posts about Tesla for over a year before anyone noticed. Moderators set up all kinds of crazy regexes on posts and comments that keep unwanted topics away. And users have no idea whatsoever.

The Streisand effect is false.

Comment author: Lumifer 08 October 2015 02:45:07PM -1 points [-]

I think you would be surprised at how effective shadow bans are

Is there a way to demonstrate that? :-)

Comment author: philh 09 October 2015 01:00:57PM 0 points [-]

There's this reddit user who didn't realize ve was shadowbanned for three years: https://www.reddit.com/comments/351buo/tifu_by_posting_for_three_years_and_just_now/

Comment author: Lumifer 09 October 2015 02:37:05PM 2 points [-]

Yeah, and there are women who don't realize they're pregnant until they start giving birth.

The tails are long and they don't tell you much about what's happening in the middle.

Comment author: VoiceOfRa 08 October 2015 02:11:45AM 0 points [-]

I don't believe this can be true for active (and reasonably smart) users.

Note Houshalter said "most users".