I have no idea how to start this post. I don’t even have the resources (mostly health-like ones lacking) to figure out the meta-strategy to reach out for help, and this is like the billionth place I’ve tried these last weeks since things became to urgent to do things the right way. My instincts and social anxiety are screaming at me that I am burning bridges and am going to be downvoted and hated and booed by everyone I consider high status for posting this mess for the rest of eternity but no matter how I run the numbers over and over again to try to find an excuse not to post this they still come out saying I have to write this even if it ruins my life. So here goes nothing please don’t downvote.
There’s a topic that really deserves a long article that is beyond my resources to create but I’d probably call something like “The expert, the hobbyist, and the 998 crackpots”, the idea being a simplified version of the real scenario that will probably happen at some point and might be happening right here. The idea is basically that a hobbyist has had a critical insight, and needs to get it to the expert, and the expert desperately needs that insight, and everyone knows this, but there are also 998 Crackpots that each have their own useless garbage insight and the expert needs to spend a significant amount of time to determine if a given contact is the hobbyist or one of the crackpots, and due to the nature of crackpots and impostor syndrome, the hobbyist or crackpot cannot tell from the inside which one it is they are. As such, even though each one (me) knows they are far more likely to be a crackpot than the real hobbyist they all need to transmit the insight they have and treat it as potentially important, and all these players together needs to find a way for the expert to find the useful needle insight in the 999 haystack.
Now, there is a partial solution we’ve been using; this website, with community vetted articles and votes to filter out and iterate on ideas and the experts only reading the ones filtered through this process, but it fails in two important cases that both apply here (and potentially others that I haven’t thought of):
One, the hobbyist ends up being someone like me; someone who can’t write articles to the needed standard, doesn’t have the psychology needed to participate in the social context, and is simply to ill and lacking capabilities to get their ideas into the system. This might seem unlikely, but remember that often the root of a new insight does not require competence or knowledge, it merely requires novelty and thinking in a different way and out of he box compared to everyone else, and this kind of thing correlates with mental illness.
Secondly, it fails if the idea isn’t known to be safe, either because there’s a specific possible danger, or because the person who had the original insight does not have the skills required to evaluate the degree of danger the idea may or may not pose. Arguably, some very broad reference classes of ideas have that last issue if the person who has them doesn’t happen to be an expert in the field already, and we’ve already over the years had a few close shaves with ideas that turned out to have small amounts of danger and would have been better of having never been published, but the person who originally had them didn’t realize that danger. In my opinion it seems necessary that if you have an idea that you suspect might possibly be dangerous, and you don’t know how to evaluate the degree of danger, you have to treat it as if potentially apocalyptically dangerous, even if you don’t see how it could be and assign an extremely small probability that it is.
I don’t know what the solution might be for this, but one obvious patch that comes to mind is the expert delegating the task of talking to each crackpot one at a time in emails or something to one of the many people that seem to exist they trust personally and have a moderate knowledge of the safety relevant topics but who’s time is less valuable than the people who work directly on important things. But I am not aware such a person exists, so if they do it needs to be more clearly advertised.
So… please help, what should I do?