The “Berkeley, CA based Rationalist Community Forum” sent you to this a few times. In which EY stated that the infohazard itself, not “emotional brittleness” was the cause. This included a direct statement from EY, whereas the links and sources that suggested “emotional brittleness” were sourced as “rumors.”Be careful of DDCT!
@ Shouperfluous: Would you please reread the post to which you are responding? If you can in fact provide suitable evidence then would you please quote and cite it?Please note my prior: “No one could provide evidence that THE CLAIM [ Yudkowsky censored mention of Roko’s basilisk because it “caused some readers to have nervous breakdowns”] is false and sufficient to meet Wikipedia’s evidentiary standards so as [to allow editing Wikipedia so as] to rebut or remove the THE CLAIM”.”No one could provide a citation to a specific denial from Yudkowsky that THE CLAIM did not figure into the decision to censor mention of Roko’s basilisk.” I emphasize that the issue here is evidence “sufficient to meet Wikipedia’s evidentiary standards”. You might not like Wikipedia’s evidentiary standards. I might share your dislike. But that is not the point. Wikipedia, not us, sets Wikipedia’s evidentiary standard.
As a former Wikipedia admin, I don’t think the current basilisk content on Wikipedia meets Wikipedia’s evidential standards (or general site standards):
The page claims that “Yudkowsky had stated that it caused some readers to have nervous breakdowns”, but none of the three sources cited for this claim say this. The source instead seems to be this claim in an Observer article cited elsewhere on the Wikipedia page: “It seemed like little more than a harmless thought experiment, but rumor has it that the discussion thread was deemed a danger to susceptible minds and exorcised from the blog after a reader had a nervous breakdown.” This whole chain seems to be a game-of-telephone bastardization of Roko’s statement “one person at SIAI was severely worried by this, to the point of having terrible nightmares”.
The Wikipedia edit claims that Eliezer deleted Roko’s post because “the idea [of Roko’s basilisk] was ‘a genuinely dangerous thought’”. Eliezer says that’s not true, and that he’s being misinterpreted (source).
The only source Wikipedia quotes regarding the basilisk argument itself, what it says about the rationalists or the history of LW, etc. is Auerbach’s “Roko’s basilisk is a referendum on autism” hit piece from 2014, specifically: “the combination of messianic ambitions, being convinced of your own infallibility, and a lot of cash never works out well, regardless of ideology, and I don’t expect Yudkowsky and his cohorts to be an exception. I worry less about Roko’s Basilisk than about people who believe themselves to have transcended conventional morality.”
Large parts of Wikipedia are inconsistent with the site’s standards. This is why the encyclopedia is a work in progress. (Well, that plus the fact that the world is big and keeps changing, and our knowledge isn’t exhaustive.)
If one of the editors thinks that no strong evidence is required to include claims like ‘some readers of Roko’s post had nervous breakdowns’, but thinks strong evidence is required in order to remove that claim once it’s on a Wikipedia page, then the editor just doesn’t understand how Wikipedia works. You’re welcome to quote my claims here on the relevant WP Talk page and start a discussion there if you think there’s any disagreement on any of these points.
Regarding 2: Eliezer’s original reply to Roko’s post was ambiguous. The current WP article version claims the correct interpretation is X; Eliezer disputes this, and says he meant Y instead.
The actual meaning, in Eliezer’s telling, is roughly: ‘Roko’s argument is silly, but there seems to be non-negligible probability (here in 2010) that there’s some structurally analogous argument out there that would work, and the field hasn’t had time to explore the space and confirm that there’s no such argument; when we haven’t done that basic due diligence, we shouldn’t go around posting about this on the public Internet.’
Which is easy to round off via a game of telephone to ‘Roko’s basilisk is dangerous’, and thereby to ‘Eliezer thinks Roko’s argument is sound’. But Wikipedia isn’t supposed to be in the business of contributing to games of journalistic telephone. It aspires to be more like the ‘final draft’ of humanity’s knowledge—an extremely vetted encyclopedia, more carefully fact-checked than Britannica, with large conservative boundaries in place to ensure it errs on the side of excluding any information it’s even slightly uncertain about. It obviously hasn’t reached that ideal, since it’s hard to wrangle thousands of volunteer editors spread across millions of articles; but that is what the editorial policies are trying to create.
In this case, both interpretations are perhaps consistent with the text (neither is silly or obviously false). I think a case can be made that Eliezer’s claim about what he had in mind makes sense, there’s no special reason to doubt it, and it can just be reported on, if the topic is noteworthy enough to justify that level of detail.
… But if there is serious published disagreement about whether Eliezer is making stuff up here, then: In cases like this, as a matter of policy, Wikipedia avoids doing original research / detective work into sussing out that Eliezer’s lying and his real meaning was something totally different from what he claims it was. Instead, if the topic is important enough to cover in detail at all, you quote the source text and then report on noteworthy claims about what that text means.
Regarding 3: This wouldn’t necessarily be out of place in a long Wikipedia article that includes a bunch of other quotes, so long as the article is detailed enough to provide any context for why Auerbach thinks any of those things. (As is, someone reading WP to learn about LW for the first time won’t know what any of this has to do with ‘transcending conventional morality’ or ‘messianic ambitions’; bringing all this up without context is just bad writing.)
However, on its own, this is an obviously axe-grindy choice of quote that makes the Wikipedia article look like an op-ed that’s trying to support a critique of LW, rather than looking like an encyclopedia.
My response is a direct refutation of THE CLAIM, in that Yudkowsky explains the rational for the prohibition.
@Shouperfluous — You don’t understand the meaning of “direct refutation”. An actual direct refutation of THE CLAIM would be a quote from Yudkowsky to the effect that “my decision to censor mention/discussion of Roko’s basilisk was in no way motivated by emotional reactions from members of ‘the rationalist community’ including but not limited to nervous breakdowns and nightmares.’You might infer a refutation to the THE CLAIM from the above-linked post but your inference is not a “direct refutation”.