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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Silicon Valley’s Safe Space

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I awoke the next morning to a torrent of on-line abuse, as did my editor, who was named throughout the farewell phrase. My deal with and cellphone amount have been shared by the weblog’s readers on Twitter. Protecting the identification of the particular person behind Slate Star Codex had became a set off among the many many Rationalists.

More than 7,500 people signed a petition urging The Times to not publish his title, along with many distinguished figures throughout the tech enterprise. “Putting his full name in The Times,” the petitioners talked about, “would meaningfully damage public discourse, by discouraging private citizens from sharing their thoughts in blog form.” On the net, many in Silicon Valley take into account, everyone has the right not solely to say what they want nonetheless to say it anonymously.

Amid all this, I spoke with Manoel Horta Ribeiro, a computer science researcher who explores social networks on the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. He was nervous that Slate Star Codex, like completely different communities, was allowing extremist views to trickle into the influential tech world. “A community like this gives voice to fringe groups,” he talked about. “It gives a platform to people who hold more extreme views.”

But for Kelsey Piper and loads of others, the precept problem received right here all the way in which all the way down to the title and tying the particular person acknowledged professionally and legally as Scott Siskind to his influential, and controversial, writings as Scott Alexander. Ms. Piper, who’s a journalist herself, for the data site Vox, talked about she did not agree with each little factor he had written, nonetheless, she moreover felt his weblog was unfairly painted as an on-ramp to radical views. She nervous his views could not be decreased to a single newspaper story.

I assured her my intention was to report on the weblog, and the Rationalists, with rigor and fairness. But she felt that discussing every critic and supporter might probably be unfair. What I needed to do, she talked about, was in some way present statistically which side was correct.

When I requested Mr. Altman if the dialog on web sites like Slate Star Codex would possibly push people in direction of toxic beliefs, he talked about he held “some empathy” for these concerns. But, he added, “people need a forum to debate ideas.”

In August, Mr. Siskind restored his outdated weblog posts to the net. And two weeks prior to now, he relaunched his weblog on Substack, a corporation with ties to every Andreessen Horowitz and Y Combinator. He gave the weblog a model new title: Astral Codex Ten. He hinted that Substack paid him $250,000 for 12 months on the platform. And he indicated the company would give him all the security he needed.

In his first submit, Mr. Siskind shared his full title.

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