Silicon Valley’s Safe Space



Greater than 7,500 individuals signed a petition urging The Occasions to not publish his identify, together with many outstanding figures within the tech business. “Placing his full identify in The Occasions, the petitioners stated, “would meaningfully harm public discourse, by discouraging non-public residents from sharing their ideas in weblog type.” On the web, many in Silicon Valley imagine, everybody has the correct not solely to say what they need however to say it anonymously.

Amid all this, I spoke with Manoel Horta Ribeiro, a pc science researcher who explores social networks on the Swiss Federal Institute of Know-how in Lausanne. He was anxious that Slate Star Codex, like different communities, was permitting extremist views to trickle into the influential tech world. “A group like this provides voice to fringe teams,” he stated. “It offers a platform to individuals who maintain extra excessive views.”

However for Kelsey Piper and lots of others, the primary subject got here right down to the identify, and tying the person recognized professionally and legally as Scott Siskind to his influential, and controversial, writings as Scott Alexander. Ms. Piper, who’s a journalist herself, for the information web site Vox, stated she didn’t agree with every thing he had written, however she additionally felt his weblog was unfairly painted as an on-ramp to radical views. She anxious his views couldn’t be lowered to a single newspaper story.


I assured her my objective was to report on the weblog, and the Rationalists, with rigor and equity. However she felt that discussing each critics and supporters may very well be unfair. What I wanted to do, she stated, was one way or the other show statistically which facet was proper.

Once I requested Mr. Altman if the dialog on websites like Slate Star Codex may push individuals towards poisonous beliefs, he stated he held “some empathy” for these issues. However, he added, “individuals want a discussion board to debate concepts.”

In August, Mr. Siskind restored his previous weblog posts to the web. And two weeks in the past, he relaunched his weblog on Substack, an organization with ties to each Andreessen Horowitz and Y Combinator. He gave the weblog a brand new title: Astral Codex Ten. He hinted that Substack paid him $250,000 for a yr on the platform. And he indicated the corporate would give him all of the safety he wanted.

In his first publish, Mr. Siskind shared his full identify.


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