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Who owns LessWrong?

6 Post author: PhilGoetz 29 September 2011 04:22PM

The LessWrong wiki contains a biased and offensive entry on group selection.  I edited the wiki page, to append some points representing an opposing view at the end.  Eliezer removed my points, leaving only a link at the end.  He said he thought my points were wrong, but would not say which points he thought were wrong, or why he thought they were wrong.

Is it reasonable for me to restore my changes over Eliezer's edit, since he is unwilling to give reasons for his edit?  What sort of rights or privileges does Eliezer have over LW or LW wiki content?

(Please try not to turn this into a discussion of group selection.)

ADDED:  Please go meta, folks.  I am not trying to argue about this specific Wiki article.  I am not asking for redress.  Specifics about this wiki article are irrelevant.  I am asking whether this is still a benevolent dictatorship.

The relevant questions are not what the appropriate form of debate is, or anything about this wiki article.  The relevant questions are:

  • Who owns the domain?
  • Who created the Wiki?
  • Who owns the code?
  • Who pays for the servers?
  • If someone is in charge, what rights do they reserve for themselves?
  • At what point does the ratio of community contributions to Eliezer's contributions mean we have the right to claim some ownership?

The Wiki main page says, "The wiki about rationality that anyone who is logged in can edit".  Apparently that is a lie.  If I do not have as much right as Eliezer does to write a wiki post, I want that point explicitly spelled out.

Comments (83)

Comment author: jimrandomh 29 September 2011 09:04:53PM 24 points [-]

As far as I know, this is the first edit-fight between humans to take place on the LW wiki, and no procedure for resolving edit-fights is currently in place. I don't think framing this is a matter of ownership is quite right; we'd be having approximately the same discussion no matter who did the edit and reversion. It's worth noting that Wikipedia has been struggling with this issue for its entire lifetime, and ended up with a situation that people seem mostly unhappy with.

The best outcome would be for some neutral writer to step in, receive support from both of you, and then adjust the article to accurately reflect the consensus(es) and controversy(ies), in that order.

As for the object-level discussion about group selection, I think it's fairly obvious that group selection does happen sometimes, but there should be a very strong prior against attributing any particular trait to it.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 29 September 2011 09:29:16PM 9 points [-]

It's worth noting that Wikipedia has been struggling with this issue for its entire lifetime, and ended up with a situation that people seem mostly unhappy with.

Yes. The English Wikipedia has a set of solutions for this that a lot of people are unhappy with. And then you look at what other wikis have tried to do, and you realize that their methods create even more serious problems and that if you tried to scale them to something of the size of the English Wikipedia disaster would ensue.

This is very much not an endorsement of Wikipedia approaches to the Less Wrong wiki. The purpose is very different, the community is much more narrow, and the total size is much smaller by many orders of magnitude.

Comment author: JenniferRM 30 September 2011 01:03:55AM 14 points [-]

I wish there was a way to transfer karma between LW users because all kinds of awesome social hacks become possible with point transfers. Like cake cutting algorithms :-)

For example, each person could privately commit to a karma amount they would be willing to either pay or receive in exchange for getting their way or not for a period of time (say the next six months of wiki time), the high bidder gets their way and transfers the average of the bids to the low bidder, with a public note in the transfer logs that cross references the relevant wiki page and revision. Eliezer would rightfully dominate such transactions, if he cared enough, but the facts of each case would accumulate publicly, and the basis for his preferences receiving weight would flow from the natural fact of his substantial positive contributions to the community.

Comment author: Kevin 30 September 2011 04:15:22AM 1 point [-]

+100 for wanting to allow karma transfers!!!

Comment author: Bugmaster 30 September 2011 08:27:20PM 6 points [-]

As far as I know, this is the first edit-fight between humans to take place on the LW wiki...

This is somewhat off-topic, but have there been edit-fights between non-human agents on the LW Wiki ? ... Because that sounds kind of awesome. :-)

Comment author: jimrandomh 30 September 2011 08:29:58PM 11 points [-]

There have been edit fights with humans on one side and automated spamming on the other. In those cases, there's no dispute about who's right.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 02 October 2011 08:18:09AM 3 points [-]

Of course. Right = on our side. ;)

Comment author: Bugmaster 30 September 2011 09:14:24PM 0 points [-]

Aw... ok that makes more sense than any of the things that I was thinking. Oh well.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 29 September 2011 10:12:38PM 4 points [-]

The best outcome would be for some neutral writer to step in, receive support from both of you, and then adjust the article to accurately reflect the consensus(es) and controversy(ies), in that order.

I'm not asking for resolution of this page, because I don't expect to have time to get into an in-depth debate over group selection for at least a couple of months.

Really, I want to know a) what the legal facts are, b) who sets policy and what the policy is, and c) what the community thinks the policy should be.

Comment author: gjm 29 September 2011 10:29:55PM 24 points [-]

I'm having trouble thinking of any halfway-plausible way that the legal facts could be relevant here. Surely (1) you wouldn't so much as consider taking legal action to get your preferred position on group selection enshrined in the LW wiki, and (2) you wouldn't expect Eliezer or anyone else to do so either? In which case, "what's the legal situation?" might be an interesting question, but it basically has nothing whatever to do with your dispute about group selection. In which case, mentioning that dispute at all seems like a total distraction.

Let me put it differently. What you wrote reads to me rather like this: "My wife and I just had an argument about who should put out the garbage. In a divorce, what exactly determines who gets custody of the kids?"

Comment author: billswift 01 October 2011 10:18:29AM *  4 points [-]

In this context, I think "legal facts" translates into "established formal rules". Not necessarily state enforced rules.

Comment author: rhollerith_dot_com 30 September 2011 11:31:52AM *  9 points [-]

I think you have or almost have a point, but it is also true that back when divorce laws favored men more than they do now, men won more of the arguments about small things like who should put out the garbage because their negotiating position was stronger. Specifically, if the husband's best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) is much more comfortable (for the husband) than the wife's BATNA is (for the wife) then the husband will tend to take most of the "surplus value" in any positive-sum transaction (and the wife will tend to pay most of the "deficit value" in any negative-sum transaction). The point is that even though divorce is extremely costly for either player ("cost" in the broad sense) it can still have a big influence on small things like who will put out the garbage.

Perhaps the point you wanted to make is that a participant who is comfortable with shades of gray and ambiguity about power relationships will tend to have more influence in this (egalitarian, non-authoritarian) community than a participant who feels the need to ask questions like "Who owns Less Wrong?"

Comment author: gjm 30 September 2011 01:15:14PM 9 points [-]

back when divorce laws favored men more [...] men won more of the arguments about small things

I would be very interested in evidence that (1) this was true and (2) that was because of different divorce laws (rather than, e.g., because women's status was generally lower, leading to both effects).

In any case, supposing for the sake of argument that #1 and #2 are both correct, presumably the mechanism is the one you describe -- in which case what matters is not the facts about divorce law but the beliefs of the parties involved about those facts. In the present instance, it seems that what matters is not who actually "owns" the LW wiki, but Phil's and Eliezer's opinions about that.

I don't think Phil's questions seem much less weird in the light of all this.

Perhaps the point you wanted to make [...]

So far as I can see, that has nothing whatever to do with the point I wanted to make. It's probably true, though.

Comment author: jimrandomh 29 September 2011 10:54:20PM 2 points [-]

b) who sets policy and what the policy is, and c) what the community thinks the policy should be.

No one has set a policy and there is no policy. There is no authority who could set policy unilaterally, but anyone could set a policy if it sounded reasonable, they put it on a wiki page, they did so at a time when no controversies that the policy would refer to were active, and no one came forward to object.

Comment author: wedrifid 29 September 2011 10:58:38PM 3 points [-]

but anyone could set a policy if it sounded reasonable, they put it on a wiki page, they did so at a time when no controversies that the policy would refer to were active, and no one came forward to object.

I don't think people are likely to approve if said someone skipped the 'propose strategy to others' phase and went straight to setting it. Even if they would otherwise not really care about the subject. (And their is good reason to have that sort of aversion.)

Comment author: Vaniver 29 September 2011 07:18:21PM 24 points [-]

Ignoring the request to go meta in the direction you went:

Look, Eliezer obviously pattern-matches too harshly when it comes to group selection (recent example). That appears to be the root problem here. What is the best way to solve that problem?

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 02 October 2011 09:45:51AM 4 points [-]

Well, we tried heavy downvoting there, do you think it'll work? ;)

But in any case, it seems the problem is the lack of a policy for resolving edit disagreements. When it becomes possible for some minor aspect of Eliezer's way of thinking to be referred to as "the root" of what's blown up as a whole policy issue, something is wrong.

Comment author: lessdazed 02 October 2011 04:31:23PM *  3 points [-]

the problem is the lack of a policy

It's beginning to look like the problem isn't the lack of a policy but the policy of having a lack of policies.

Comment author: wedrifid 29 September 2011 09:19:18PM *  9 points [-]

Look, Eliezer obviously pattern-matches too harshly when it comes to group selection (recent example). That appears to be the root problem here. What is the best way to solve that problem?

I think you're handling it rather well already. Downvotes and polite but clear public criticism. :)

Comment author: [deleted] 29 September 2011 04:27:03PM *  6 points [-]

When I click his name he has the tag: Editor

I had always assumed he was exactly that. And under that I assumed he has the right to override non-editors.

Comment author: wedrifid 29 September 2011 05:13:08PM *  14 points [-]

What sort of rights or privileges does Eliezer have over LW or LW wiki content?

He can do whatever he likes. Editing out a relatively minor case of someone trying to make his point on a wiki page instead of the board is a comparatively trivial use of power - I mean, he didn't even yell, swear or threaten! In this instance I would not even consider it inappropriate for, say Vladimir_Nesov to revert your changes, given that he tends to be the wiki guy.

The wiki is not the place to try to sway public opinion. Sway public opinion with essays for main or well targeted discussion threads. Don't post the lesswrong equivalent of original research on the wiki.

I followed along on this exchange of edits on the wiki as they happened. If Eliezer hadn't intervened then I would have made a discussion post myself to bring it to the attention to Vladimir and the powers that be. Because while I don't disagree completely with everything you added to the wiki I do care strongly about keeping original research and conflict off the wiki. Fight it out here and leave the wiki out of it.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 29 September 2011 05:23:42PM *  4 points [-]

He can do whatever he likes.

Why? As I asked in the title, Who owns LessWrong? For example: Who pays for the servers?

Don't post the lesswrong equivalent of original research on the wiki.

This is not me posting original research. The existing article is offensive in tone, commits several logical errors, and its main conclusion - that there is no selection for behaviors that benefit the group rather than the individual - is one that no evolutionary biologist today would agree with.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 29 September 2011 05:42:35PM 9 points [-]

If those problems are present in the sections of the existing article, they wouldn't be corrected by having a different section that argues the opposite way.

If the existing article is offensive in tone, the solution is to correct its tone, not to just add paragraphs of a different or opposite tone. If it commits logical errors, the solution is to correct the errors. If it speaks falsely, the solution is to have it speak correctly.

Not to have the article just have a new section that says "All the above is wrong, and here's why."

You were effectively not editing the article, but carrying out an argument about the issue, and you were carrying it out on the page itself. That isn't how the process must work with wiki pages.

Comment author: wedrifid 29 September 2011 05:38:19PM 5 points [-]

Why? As I asked in the title, Who owns LessWrong? For example: Who pays for the servers?

Roughly speaking, he does. Or whoever does does so essentially at the behest of him or the SIAI. You chose the wrong grounds to challenge him. You would have been better served to target your questioning at how the wiki edit process should be. That is, you want to make Eliezer look like a dick in the eyes of the lesswrong community if he throws his weight around rather than question his practical right to do so if he pleases.

This is not me posting original research. The existing article is offensive in tone, commits several logical errors, and its main conclusion

This is you posting original-to-lesswrong research. The edits that you made are not all commonly accepted by the community and some of the dot points were not even presented as theses in any of your own posts. So yes, that is what I am talking about. I am not commenting in support of the group selection wiki page as it stands. I'm talking about putting new stuff on the wiki.

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 29 September 2011 06:33:34PM 0 points [-]

Which bullet points are not supported in Phil's article?

Comment author: wedrifid 29 September 2011 07:04:38PM *  0 points [-]

I am hoping that Phil (or someone else) makes a discussion post directly on the subject where this kind of thing can be discussed. Would you mind if I held off until then? (You could even make the post with your own views if you like!)

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 29 September 2011 08:30:38PM 4 points [-]

Yes, I would mind. I am not asking for debate on whether the bullet points are correct or accepted, but on the simple factual matter of whether they come from his article. I think the claim of "original research" is flat-out false.

Comment author: wedrifid 29 September 2011 08:39:54PM 0 points [-]

Your disagreement is noted. I invite you to start the relevant discussion thread if you consider it important enough to discuss further.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 29 September 2011 04:31:28PM *  13 points [-]

The reasonable way to proceed would be to make a discussion post to make your case (escalating the disagreement to get it more attention from the community, which is a standard trick).

Comment author: shminux 29 September 2011 05:43:44PM *  16 points [-]

The LessWrong wiki contains a biased and offensive entry

A rational way to proceed would be to forget the subjective "offensive" part (for example, most of Wikipedia is offensive to one group or another), and concentrate on the more objective "biased" claim.

May I suggest that for each statement that you find biased you list the bias you claim it suffers from and your arguments why it suffers from it.

Here is an intentionally ridiculous example, just to show what I mean:

Postulating group selection is guaranteed to make professional evolutionary biologists roll up their eyes and sigh.

Bias: Generalizing From One Example

Why: EY rolls his eyes when confronted with the claims he finds ridiculous, and assumes that everyone does, including professional evolutionary biologists. However, the evidence [cite] unequivocally shows that the eye-rolling behavior is mostly confined to teenage girls talking to their parents.

It is not reasonable for two rational people to get pissy and engage into an edit fight instead of discussing the evidence, so show that you have learned something from LW.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 29 September 2011 05:58:28PM *  19 points [-]

Please go meta, folks. I am not trying to argue about this specific Wiki article.

If you have more examples of such one-sided reversion that can make us think there's a wider, deeper or more extensive problem here than a single reverted edit, then you ought give us those further examples.

If not, if what happened with this article is the only thing that motivates your complaint, and the only example you have for wrongdoing -- then you most definitely should be arguing about this specific Wiki article, and not trying to make the issue into something bigger than it is.

The Wiki main page says, "The wiki about rationality that anyone who is logged in can edit".

The Wiki's User Guide also says "please think carefully before making the summaries longer" and also "The default workflow for putting content on this wiki is as follows

Idea for posting -> write post on the blog

Notice something generally accepted on LW without a wiki page -> write wiki page "

Apparently that is a lie.

From a single reverted article into accusations of villainy. I'm rather losing interest now.

Comment author: saturn 30 September 2011 05:19:22AM 7 points [-]

Who owns the domain?

TrikeApps

Who created the Wiki?

TrikeApps

Who owns the code?

As in who holds the copyright to the wiki software? Around a hundred different developers. I would guess few if any of them have ever heard of LessWrong.

Who pays for the servers?

I'm not sure about this one, probably either TrikeApps itself or Matt, the founder of TrikeApps. My next guess would be SIAI.

If someone is in charge, what rights do they reserve for themselves?

More or less all of them.

At what point does the ratio of community contributions to Eliezer's contributions mean we have the right to claim some ownership?

I'm not aware of any case where rights can be transferred by that means without prior agreement.

All in all, the only way you're likely to get the sort of rights you're asking about is to create your own web site, where you can then establish whatever policies you think are fair.

Comment author: pedanterrific 30 September 2011 05:34:16AM 1 point [-]

All in all, the only way you're likely to get the sort of rights you're asking about is to create your own web site, where you can then establish whatever policies you think are fair.

Might want to get together with thomblake on that one, he seems to have the right idea.

Comment author: matt 11 April 2012 07:56:29PM *  0 points [-]

a minor clarification:

Who owns the domain?

TrikeApps

We registered it, but some not quite specified coalition of Eliezer and SIAI has the moral right to the domain. I've added a task to our queue to update the whois db to point to SIAI.

Comment author: shminux 29 September 2011 05:59:03PM *  7 points [-]

You are justified in asking that these questions be explicitly answered in an easy-to-find area of the site.

Currently, the About section says only that "Less Wrong is associated with the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University and the Singularity Institute, where Yudkowsky is a senior researcher. The site is hosted and maintained by Trike Apps."

Presumably whoever pays the bills can do what they wish with the site, but it would be good to have this explicitly spelled out.

As for your last question, "not even in your wildest dreams" is the obvious answer. You likely retain copyright for your own posts, but that is it.

Comment author: pedanterrific 29 September 2011 04:46:02PM 9 points [-]
Comment author: PhilGoetz 29 September 2011 05:39:51PM 13 points [-]

I emailed Eliezer and said that I did not think that was his final objection, and that he would not care whether it was common or not if he thought it was correct. He agreed. I listed several bullet points, and asked him which he thought were incorrect, and why. He declined to answer.

Comment author: wedrifid 29 September 2011 05:46:10PM 11 points [-]

Suggestion: Make a new discussion thread giving other people the chance to agree or disagree with those bullet points and any other bullet points that represent questionable content of the current wiki page. You could also consider including suggested changes to wording that could make the page less bad in your eyes and see how people respond to those suggestions.

Comment author: James_Blair 30 September 2011 03:55:05AM *  1 point [-]

And in light of Eliezer's response, perhaps find someone he is willing to debate on the topic.

Comment author: wedrifid 30 September 2011 04:06:19AM 3 points [-]

To be honest I suspect it may be interesting to hear what other people than either Phil or Eliezer have to say on the details of group selection applicability. It's a red flag for both of them.

For my part it strikes me that there is something rather different between the thing that Eliezer ridicules and the thing that species selection can be considered an instance of. There is also more to be said on what modern biology has to say on the subject.

It may also be worth seeing if there are contributors with suggestions on how to mellow out the group selection page without introducing any inaccuracies.

Comment author: Craig_Heldreth 30 September 2011 02:16:09PM 5 points [-]

Group selection is a topic which breeds contention for some reason. For example I do not understand why Robert Sapolsky (top primate expert) seems to treat the subject with a tone of voice which is almost sanctimonious in these lectures:

Biology and Human Behavior.

It seems as if he has a muscle memory of getting bludgeoned by hours of arguments.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 30 September 2011 09:09:24AM *  5 points [-]

For my part it strikes me that there is something rather different between the thing that Eliezer ridicules and the thing that species selection can be considered an instance of.

Correct. Species don't breed - they are not part of a sexually reproducing population - so the theory and simulations ruling out group selection against a countervailing individual selection pressure (invaders take over the gene pool under all realistic conditions) doesn't rule out species-level selection. Modus ponens to modus tollens, observed examples of species selection don't argue for group selection being realistic and Phil Goetz's entire argument is a nonsequitur. This was obvious to me at a glance but experience has taught me I do not enjoy arguing with Phil Goetz.

Comment author: Crux 01 October 2011 12:08:06AM *  13 points [-]

Does this not count as an indirect argument or something?

I for one would be sort of annoyed if somebody announced that due to an alleged unamiable personality of mine they're declining to debate me, and then in the same public venue proceeded to state that my whole argument was an obvious non-sequitur.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 01 October 2011 11:41:49AM *  2 points [-]

I for one would be sort of annoyed

Does your annoyance suggest a way in which the decisions in question are wrong? If not, it might be wrong to endorse this emotional response (in this sense). If it does, then it's better to describe that explicitly, irrespective of emotion. Or maybe you are drawing attention to the emotion itself as a relevant consideration? It's not clear from your comment.

Comment author: lessdazed 30 September 2011 04:39:44AM -1 points [-]

I think it may involve dividing it into two pages, one about biases, the psychology of biologists, the failings of permissive science, etc. and one about natural selection.

Failing to understand amoral stochastic systems may lead people to believe true things for bad reasons. We can criticize this even when and where they happen to be right.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 30 September 2011 02:16:09AM *  5 points [-]

I declined to answer because I gave up arguing with Phil Goetz long before there was a Less Wrong, back in the SL4 days - I'm sorry, but there are some people that I don't enjoy debating. I'll leave it at that.

Comment author: play_therapist 29 September 2011 09:45:38PM 0 points [-]

The fact that you didn't get an answer to that question doesn't conclusively mean that he declined to answer it. Perhaps he over looked the question, got distracted and forgot about it, or wanted to think about it some more. It seems to me that more attempt at a dialogue just between the two of you would be a good idea.

Comment author: wedrifid 29 September 2011 06:19:56PM 25 points [-]

ADDED: Please go meta, folks. I am not trying to argue about this specific Wiki article. I am not asking for redress. Specifics about this wiki article are irrelevant. I am asking whether this is still a benevolent dictatorship.

I cannot fathom how you could possibly think this was a practical direction to move your attack. I honestly expected you to quickly backpedal from the ownership challenge and into a more productive method of bringing attention to the group selection issue and making Eliezer look silly. But now you seem to be escalating in a direction that can only end badly.

You had the potential for having a minor moral victory while influencing people about the contentious issue that has your interest. But you're throwing it all away!

  • Who owns the domain?
  • Who created the Wiki?
  • Who owns the code?
  • Who pays for the servers?

You left off "Who cares?" Eliezer's practical power over the website itself is not in question. If there was (another) shift of power and control at the SIAI and people there really cared then it could in theory be wrested from him. It is also conceivable that lax legal precautions could allow technical folks like, say, Tricycle to pull a defection. But this is all meaningless. What you should be interested in is the lesswrong community, which is ephemeral, social and not subject to absolute control by legal powers.

Comment author: rysade 30 September 2011 08:24:00AM *  3 points [-]

I might be stepping in over my head here, and I want to make it clear I am taking NO ONE'S side. But this seems like a legitimate concern to me. Are we really here for the community, or are we really here for the truth? Which configuration of power best serves the community, and which best serves truth?

EDIT: Given the vast amount of very clear thinking I'm seeing in these comments, I want to say I don't really see this thread as the most appropriate place to pose a question like mine anymore. If I see a real Truth vs.Community controversy, you can expect this comment to appear there.

Comment author: lessdazed 29 September 2011 10:32:15PM *  9 points [-]

If I do not have as much right as Eliezer does to write a wiki post, I want that point explicitly spelled out.

This is the problem.

I am reminded of when the execrable post "The Conjunction Fallacy Does Not Exist" was added to the main page, Eliezer removed it, in his words, "...on grounds that I've never seen anything voted down that far before..."

He removed it because he felt like it, and he felt like it for two reasons: because the post was downvoted to oblivion and because Eliezer didn't see anything good about it (neither did anyone else). There was no explicit policy about what voting results would get something off the main page, and there still isn't.

The policy of not having any policies except post hoc is not good policy.

Comment author: [deleted] 30 September 2011 01:42:08PM *  3 points [-]

In all fairness, it was a really awful post, and it was downvoted through the lithosphere.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 29 September 2011 05:17:40PM *  4 points [-]

As wedrifid said -- regardless of whether your specific arguments about the issue of group selection are right or wrong, the wiki page itself is probably not the place to have the argument take place.

Comment author: Morendil 29 September 2011 08:23:10PM *  3 points [-]

Google "c2 DocumentMode". Wikis are not for debate. (ETA: as with any Wiki, the core issue is stewardship, not ownership. Ask the right questions.)

Comment author: JenniferRM 30 September 2011 01:50:40AM 3 points [-]

Interesting link is interesting. Thank you!

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 30 September 2011 02:32:15AM *  5 points [-]

This is still a benevolent dictatorship.

I hope that answers your question.

Comment author: matt 03 October 2011 05:06:10PM *  20 points [-]

That is TrikeApps understanding too - we pay for and maintain the servers, but we do so for Eliezer and SIAI, don't consider ourselves to have a moral right to use the practical powers we have, and generally do what Eliezer tells us to do.

So a longer form answer that completely agrees with Eliezer's claim above is…

We care about what the LW community wants, and if we thought Eliezer was being too much of a dick we could be driven to resign, but if we did that we'd carefully and responsibly hand control back to Eliezer and SIAI first. And he'd have to be a lot more of a dick than he occasionally appears to be.

Who owns the domain?

http://www.whois.net/whois/lesswrong.com, but the moral right is SIAI's (in a fairly well documented way).

Who owns the code?

Open Source, forked from the Reddit codebase. See https://github.com/tricycle/lesswrong/blob/master/LICENSE.

Who created the Wiki?
Who pays for the servers?

TrikeApps and TrikeApps, but for SIAI/Eliezer.

If someone is in charge, what rights do they reserve for themselves?

There are practical powers TrikeApps hold, but we reserve only the right to withhold our labour, and only that after handing back practical control to Eliezer/SIAI.

Comment author: MrMind 30 September 2011 07:56:33AM *  14 points [-]

... demonstrably friendly dictatorship? :)

Comment author: [deleted] 30 September 2011 09:51:39PM 9 points [-]

Past friendliness is weak evidence of future friendliness isn't it?

Comment author: MichaelHoward 30 September 2011 04:46:38PM 7 points [-]

For readers who, like me, have an immediate Ugh reaction to That Sort Of Thing... Well-Kept Gardens Die By Pacifism.

Comment author: lessdazed 30 September 2011 04:53:27PM 2 points [-]
Comment author: MichaelHoward 30 September 2011 05:30:20PM 3 points [-]

I meant the link as a treatment for immediate Ugh reactions to That Sort Of Thing, which might cause one to immediately reject benevolent dictatorship, not a definitive argument in favour of benevolent dictatorship.

Comment author: lessdazed 30 September 2011 05:45:27PM 5 points [-]

Very good then!

For online communities I have a warm fuzzy feeling about dictatorships in general, so I missed that. It's just that it is suboptimal here.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 08 October 2011 03:32:30PM *  4 points [-]

No, it isn't that simple.

All this could have been avoided if you had merely deigned to discuss the wiki post in question with me. I shouldn't have to make a discussion post on LessWrong to get your attention. I believe that we deserve to be treated with respect. Deleting my comments, then refusing to discuss it, then coming here and saying "I am still dictator" without even enunciating any policy for the wiki, and thinking that's the end of it, is not treating us with respect.

If the policy is "Eliezer will do whatever he pleases", I respectfully request that you put that on the home page of the wiki.

If this happened every day, I could understand that you were tired, and weary of the burden of overseeing the wiki. But apparently it's only happened once in two years. Furthermore, I've contributed about a hundred posts to LessWrong, some of which were good. I'm not some random newbie who made an account and started editing the Wiki.

I don't really care about the wiki. It's about respect. After spending a thousand hours providing content for your website, I'd like to get at least a little.

Comment author: thomblake 05 December 2011 04:19:20PM 0 points [-]

I don't really care about the wiki. It's about respect.

An excellent argument for PhilGoetz not having any ability to edit the wiki.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 06 December 2011 10:10:51PM 4 points [-]

An excellent example of taking a quote out of context.

Comment author: thomblake 08 December 2011 03:11:04PM 0 points [-]

The context was about editing the wiki. If you have a complaint that stems from editing behavior on the wiki, and it comes to be known that you don't really care about the wiki, then I don't need to read any further; I've located the problem.

And in general, if you care more about something like respect than doing a good job, then you shouldn't have that job anymore. Even (especially?) if you were doing it for free. Your ego has no place in our wiki. Well, it has one place.

Comment author: cousin_it 29 September 2011 09:34:49PM 1 point [-]

Given Eliezer's track record, I feel our wiki would become a worse place if he couldn't delete things he disagrees with.

Comment author: ciphergoth 30 September 2011 02:04:37PM -1 points [-]

Voted down for unnecessarily emotive language.

Comment author: Bugmaster 30 September 2011 05:35:48PM -1 points [-]

I don't think it matters who owns the domain or the code, etc. Eliezer is in charge of the site; whoever owns the domain or pays for the servers or whatever does so on his behalf. So, if Eliezer wants to, say, remove the entire Group Selection article and replace it with a picture of a cute bunny, he has the power to do it.

You might argue that he shouldn't have the power to do it, for some sort of moral or game-theoretical reasons, but doing so would be more or less futile, because what should exist doesn't change what actually exists. Even if you manage to persuade the entire community that a world where Eliezer has no such power would be better than a world where he does have such power, you would still have to contend yourself with living in our current world.