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Culture War Roundup for the week of October 24, 2022

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@ymeskhout has written a couple of posts recently discussing the treatment of the Jan 6th defendants, a sequel of sorts to his series of posts on the evidence and court cases surrounding the Red Tribe accusations of election fraud in the 2020 election.

These post has gotten a bunch of responses raising a variety of objections to Jan 6th, arguing for violations of symmetry based on other events, questions about fairness, questions about framing, and so on. The objection that immediately springs to mind, for me, is that the posts are narrowly focusing on specific questions where the facts are on their side, in a bid to minimize surface areas to relevant counter-arguments relating to the Jan 6th riot in general. Certainly, I have encountered similar tactics by others in the past, and previous conversations with the OP have left me with the clear impression that they're a member of my outgroup.

So I think it's useful to state, as clearly as possible, that the general thesis I've just laid out is dead wrong.

Rumor-mongering is an obvious failure mode for political discussion. A lot of different people raise a lot of different arguments, present a variety of different facts, these cross-pollinate, and people walk away with an erroneous impression of facts. Then someone tries to correct the record, a whole bunch of people raise a whole bunch of new arguments, and people walk away with their erroneous impression strengthened, not weakened. This is a very easy problem to fall into, especially if you are good enough at rhetoric and arguments to self-persuade. Normal argument effects dig you in, and bias inclines you to think worse of the people arguing against you.

This effect combines poorly with another of the basic failure modes of political discussion that shows up here with some regularity: speculating and theorizing rather than simply checking facts. This allows one to spin out "evidence" ad hoc to support a position that can turn out to be entirely spurious. It is woeful to see an event commented here, and then a whole tree of a hundred comments going back and forth on some speculation, followed by a five-comment thread where someone points out an easily verifiable fact that renders the entire previous discussion and all the arguments in it completely pointless. More woeful is the realization that the entirely-fictional hundred-comment-thread did vastly more to modify peoples' internal model than the factual disproof. The third or forth time one sees this, one begins to contemplate serious drinking. Since examples are always helpful in driving a point home, here's an example of me confidently talking out my hindparts.

It is extremely important to be able to notice when you're wrong. It's important personally, and it's doubly important for a community like this one. Often, the people who are the best at pointing out that you're wrong are going to be people you disagree strongly with, and maybe don't like very much. The ability to point out error is one of the main reasons such people are so valuable to have around.

Here's what I've seen so far in the recent Jan 6th threads:

  • @ymeshkhout was presented with a number of specific arguments about Jan 6th. Many of these arguments consisted of bald assertions, absent supporting evidence or even links.

  • They did some googling, looked at the evidence available for the specific events named, and found that it absolutely did not match the claims being made.

  • They wrote up a calm, unfailingly polite post detailing the claims, who made them, and what the actual evidence was, with copious links.

  • If anyone actually conceded that their claims were false, I didn't see it. What I did see was a flurry of additional claims, some thankfully including links at least.

  • They then wrote up a follow-up post taking apart a number of the additional items raised.

  • the follow-up post appears to mainly be responded to by more claims, many of them highly tangential to the topic at hand.

I am no stranger to arguing with bad-faith bullshit. This is not what bad-faith bullshit looks like. This is, near as I can tell, what being wrong looks like. The proper response to that is to admit it and take your lumps like a grownup. If you can't do that, if you don't actually value seeing misconceptions corrected, you're acting like a jackass, and ymeskhout is doing this place a tremendous service to make that fact as obvious as possible, with bonus points for style.

I am fairly confident that both Jan 6th and the 2020 election were some degree of bullshit in meaningful, provable ways. Arguing it would take a fair amount of effort, effort that I have not chosen to spend, and so it behooves me to admit that it's entirely possible that I'm wrong, and not to expect other people to give my gut feelings any consideration. It's an argument I want to make, but it's an argument I cannot actually back up, and so it's not an argument I should expect others to take seriously.

To the extent that I think that the picture ymeskhout is presenting is false, the proper response is to put together a detailed argument, backed by the best supporting evidence I can dig up, on exactly how and why he's unambiguously wrong. Until then, I should accept that my point of view is just, like, an opinion man. That's my understanding of how this place works, and why it's valuable. In the meantime, the next time you see someone talking about mistreatment of Jan 6th defendants, a reasonable starting question might be "what's your evidence of this?"

Hell, that's a pretty good practice generally, isn't it?

But Person A responding to Person B’s narrow claims is only grounds for fruitful discussion if C and D are allowed to chime with alternative or more refined arguments. Otherwise we’re all just passive spectators to the framing of A’s arguments in regards to B’s initial argument. Although maybe there’s a solution in allowing OP’s to specify required assumptions for participation in their post, and then C and D can make new posts instead of commenting underneath.

But Person A responding to Person B’s narrow claims is only grounds for fruitful discussion if C and D are allowed to chime with alternative or more refined arguments.

They can, though. ymeskhout is not your mom, and neither am I; you can post any claims you like about J6 or anything else. But there is, in fact, something approximating the dreaded "distributed motte and bailey", and it really does burn community goodwill for little good effect. The proper response to this isn't rules and mod action, it's self-policing by the community. Hence the above.

People should engage with evidence. We should draw conclusions and update priors in a reasonable fashion. We should certainly extend enough charity to not conclude that if someone on the other side wins an argument, it's because they cheated. I don't actually think that adding additional claims underneath a discussion is the problem. The problem is when people don't acknowledge that prior claims were refuted.

Suppose I argue that J6 has been unfair for reason A, and you argue that J6 is unfair for reason B. If I get disproven, it's easy for you to carry on with your argument... but if you're interested in finding errors, you should be interested in my errors as well. You should give at least a little thought not only to why J6 is wrong, but about why I'm wrong about why J6 is wrong. Doing this helps keep you honest, helps avoid a situation where your rigor is isolated.

I actually find this kind of post completely useless. You need fact-based arguments between two parties, you are doing little more than making a final judgement in bold.

Not that it’s a wrong statement, it’s just this post moves away from an evidence-based discussion.

A fair criticism. What evidence would help, in your view?

I could have gone back and actually compiled some greatest hits, but I don't actually think spotlighting specific people would be particularly kind, or terribly relevant. "distributed motte and bailey" is a community problem, not an individual one. I tried to lay out a description of the subsidiary problems and offered an example of my own for what it looks like to make them.

The bold part comes from me noticing that I'm ignoring who picks the arguments. ymeskhout can't select weak arguments when he's responding unless he ignores some and focuses on others, and he's responded to enough of the claims that it doesn't look to me like he's cherry-picking weakmen.

If people are convinced in their heart of hearts that he's pulling a fast one, then it should be possible to make a coherent, supportable argument. Until such an argument is made, surly muttering and passive-aggressive sniping are poor form.

ymeskhout can't select weak arguments when he's responding unless he ignores some and focuses on others, and he's responded to enough of the claims that it doesn't look to me like he's cherry-picking weakmen.

To be fair it's just not possible for me to address every argument with equal measure, even if it happens to be within my wheelhouse. That I've cherry-picked weakmen always remains possible, and people should call me out if they see it. But even if I'm guilty of that, it would only be relevant if I'm using the weakmen as a way to bury the rest of the group. It would be wrong for me to claim I destroyed a battalion by citing my victory over some toddlers in a wrestling match. So to speak.

The issue here that I found acutely frustrating is the resistance on display in letting go of specific premises, not necessarily overall conclusions. To use a deliberately outlandish example, someone arguing "J6 defendants are treated unfairly" links to video footage of Hillary Clinton using a hot iron to torture a MAGA prisoner. I swoop in with my google-fu and point out that the video is actually a scene from a porn with surprisingly high production values. A satisfying ending to this story is possible: the person who linked the video can just say "Damn I was wrong!" and we both can just move on, skipping into the horizon.

There are several things that I think definitely should NOT happen. One, I cannot cite my deboonking to claim I've conclusively proven that J6 defendants are actually treated fairly. That wouldn't follow, especially if I'm deliberately ignoring other, much stronger arguments. Two, the person who posted the hot iron porn shouldn't refuse to admit they were wrong on that premise. This evasiveness serves absolutely no purpose in this space, and it's startlingly immature. And three, now also would not really be the time for them to pivot towards dredging up ancillary reasons for why their conclusion still remains correct.

The last point especially seems like a clear "arguments as soldiers" situation. I gather that people get reflexively defensive when they believe their conclusion is under attack, and so the instinctual reflex is to retreat into another defensive line (hey-o fortification metaphor!). Either way, I try to make an effort to announce what my aims are. You'll know if I'm coming after your conclusion.

These are a lot of words to just say you don't like someone.

These post has gotten a bunch of responses raising a variety of objections to Jan 6th, arguing for violations of symmetry based on other events, questions about fairness, questions about framing, and so on. The objection that immediately springs to mind, for me, is that the posts are narrowly focusing on specific questions where the facts are on their side, in a bid to minimize surface areas to relevant counter-arguments relating to the Jan 6th riot in general.

How can you talk about fairness if you don't use specific examples. Isn't this just you saying 'Nah, I don't want to consider your points'?

I don't care about Jan 6th but are you really saying it was treated the same of the protests the summer before? I've never heard a good explanation as to why CHAZ was just forgotten about... Literal sedition, they shot 2 children!

How can you just ignore this?

These are a lot of words to just say you don't like someone.

...Who are you under the impression that I don't like?

How can you talk about fairness if you don't use specific examples. Isn't this just you saying 'Nah, I don't want to consider your points'?

I offered links to the two threads in question, with themselves contain links further back the chain of conversation. That's the evidence. I didn't actually compile together specific chains of conversation, so it's actually possible that I'm wrong here. Do you think I'm wrong?

I absolutely want to consider your points. I want to consider everyone's points. I stated fairly explicitly in the above that I am fairly confident that J6 was handled differently enough from the Floyd Riots. Notably, that certainty is less than it was before, because I got a lot of my information about both events from here, and it seems to me that there is, in fact, considerable misinformation floating around. Still, I'm down from 100% certainty to maybe 80% certainty.

What I'm saying is that my personal certainty isn't an argument. It's not evidence. And at some point, someone needs to actually make an argument, backed with solid evidence, and until that happens, and especially when people attempt to do it and fail, people should not allow themselves to round rumor into fact.

How can you just ignore this?

I don't. I think there's a pretty decisive argument to be made that the two events were the back-and-forth wrenching that tore the spine out of America. But that argument has to be made persuasively. Just assuming it should be self-evident is setting yourself up for failure.

I don't care about Jan 6th but are you really saying it was treated the same of the protests the summer before?

No, because it was a literal attempt at overturning a democratic election result, ie. a coup attempt. No matter how farcical or amateurish, that's what it was. The people invading the Capitol obviously thought in some way that their actions would lead to Trump being declared the president, despite that, according to the law, this wasn't supposed to happen, and indeed didn't happen. That's a coup attempt by whatever definition of the words you are using; it is absolutely not surprising at all that a coup attempt would be treated more harshly than an "ordinary" riot.

  • -11

No, because it was a literal attempt at overturning a democratic election result, ie. a coup attempt.

Suppose one argued that the Floyd riots were an attempt at Revolution? Is an attempt to violently seize power during an administration meaningfully different than an attempt to violently seize power during the handover?

Notably, I don't think the floyd riots were an attempt at actual revolution. But they were much closer to it than J6 was to a coup.

The extra qualifiers are completely irrelevant or flat out wrong. Irrelevant in the sense that, similar to how people want to put themselves behind thought crimes, if I break a window in response to a republican getting elected am I then a better person than if I break a window due to a democrat getting elected?

Flat out wrong in the sense that the people went to protest, not to overthrow the rule of law but to, in their view, justly impose it. They believed that Pence had the legal authority to overthrow the FAKE election results and reinstate a the authentic election results.

In either case it's an wordgame of chess where the entire argument is based on bad faith assumptions about these people. But also, in either case, it would still be completely wrong and irrelevant since we have an example of the same actions taking place when Trump was elected. But then, every single time, the argument oscillates back to 'but that wasn't a serious threat' despite it being already established that no one believes that the J6 was a serious threat either.

It was not a coup attempt, because (1) nearly all of them own weapons at home and consciously chose not bring them in the capital, (2) nearly all of them left on their own accord, (3) there was no meaningful action attempted which would conceivably lead to an election not being certified within the relevant time span.

I am bewildered at this idea that the protest was a coup. I know that this has been the DNCs chief messaging about the event. Why wouldn’t the same logic apply to BLM which demanded the end of policing, tried to blind police with lasers, firebombed a precinct etc? That is a coup of the existing powers that led to serious harm.

There have been similar protests that included a small amount of illegal behavior every time a Republican has been elected president since 2000.

https://wgntv.com/news/hundreds-of-peaceful-trump-protests-overshadowed-by-violent-acts-arrests/

Some of these anti-Republican protests were even organized by foreign powers: https://thehill.com/policy/technology/358025-thousands-attended-protest-organized-by-russians-on-facebook/

Did those people not, in some way, think their actions might lead to Trump being deposed? Their explicit statements to the media suggest they too were engaging in a coup attempt:

“Trump is illegal,” she said. “He is in violation of the constitution. I am doing everything I can to prevent his presidency.”

There's a very obvious way in which these weren't similar protests; they didn't happen literally during the confirmation of the electoral vote (and thus the Biden presidency) in the literal location where that confirmation was taking place. The first link (I had to VPN it - not available outside of US) took place after the inauguration; it was literally a protest in the sense that nothing they could do at this point could make Trump a not-President and they were just expressing their frustration.

It's the specific context (location, timeline etc.) of Jan 6 that makes it a (farcical) coup attempt, not just there being protests against a presidency in general during some generic time around the election-inauguration period.

I guess you didn't read my links carefully. The specific quote I provided of a woman trying to prevent his presidency was from an inauguration day protest (i.e. before Trump assumed the presidency) at literally the location where he would be inaugurated. Violent actions - e.g. setting a car on fire - also happened. So by your stated criteria, it was a coup attempt.

But I guess you can gerrymander your definitions even more carefully now that I've pointed this out.

The protests against Bush in 2000 and 2004 were also pre-inauguration, and were generally aimed at influencing the vote counting process.

it was literally a protest in the sense that nothing they could do at this point could make Trump a not-President and they were just expressing their frustration.

You seem to be claiming that because anti-Trump protesters (including violent ones) had no hope at achieving their stated goal of preventing him from becoming president, they are "just expressing their frustration". But when anti-Biden protesters (mostly peaceful) engaged in protest but had no hope of stopping Biden, it's a coup attempt. Weird.

I believe they had hope of stopping Biden. They had no chance of stopping Biden. Intent matters.

Similarly, people say this sort of thing all the time, and then one side or the other makes drama from it all the time; the critical factor is undertaking steps of a concrete plan to bring it about. It doesn't particularly matter if the plan is very, very hopeless, because you want to nuke any incentive gradient that could lead to a better second attempt. Conversely, "we don't like Bush, so let's set a car on fire" is not even based on any whatsoever plausible model of how an election could be overturned.

Is "lets take selfies while illegally wandering around and vandalize Pelosi's desk" based on a plausible model of how an election could be overturned?

From what I can recall the goal was to persuade Pence to do some maneuver of questionable legality, much like the protest attempts directed at vote counters/courts in 2000 and 2004. But those weren't coup attempts.

Anyway glad to know that the crux of the issue is how hopeful the mostly peaceful rioters feel.

P.S. There were literal death threats directed at members of the electoral college, also in an attempt to stop Trump. No arrests for that "coup attempt" that I can find either.

protest attempts directed at vote counters/courts in 2000 and 2004. But those weren't coup attempts.

(I am not committed to these not being coup attempts. However, there is a difference in scale.)

My response to this is what the previous poster said to your previous remark: You're slicing things very finely so that the exact definition of what counts as a coup is contrived to only count January 6, and to not count anything done by a leftist. This became especially obvious when he told you that the leftist versions did meet your criteria and you changed your criteria so as to exclude them. You're also using vague terms like (ironically) "concrete plan" and"plausible model". I can easily imagine setting a car on fire to be a concrete plan; someone has the general idea "people respond to shows of force" so burning the car will lead to the government reconsidering. Sure, there's a step in the chain of reasoning that's not likely, but that's also true for any January 6 protestors who wanted to change the result.

Those criteria are guided by my understanding of culpability in German law, where I live. Particularly the idea of a plausible model is founded in § 23 of the criminal law, where the presence of a crime requires that the particulars are suited to lead to success in principle. For instance, you are committing a crime by shooting at a plane flying overhead even if your gun is fundamentally too weak to shoot bullets that high, but not by attempting to curse the plane down via strategically buried nailclippings.

edit: Reread, correction: it is a crime but may go unpunished or be punished leniently.

I'm not sure how a judge would decide "burning a car leads to Bush not being elected", but I see it as more an expression of powerlessness, a substitutive behavior that is more an expression of psychological defeat than particular criminal intent aimed at overturning the election. In other words, the J6 protesters had hope of an outcome that favored them; an anti-Bush protester did not.

More comments

So like with Disrupt J20? The distiction made here exists, but doesn't separate J6 from J20.

And if intent matters, /r/witchesvspatriarchy should be investigated for attempting to harm Trump using magic.

This specific case is actually explicitly not covered under my understanding of criminal intent! It'd be called a "superstitious attempt" in German law and be considered leniently because there's no actual danger.

AAQC material. Thanks for spelling it out.

The degree to which people are willing to twist their minds into knots out of sheer loyalty to Trump (loyalty that they claim is reciprocation of his promise to be loyal to them, despite his consistent inability and at times unwillingnessto deliver) is just sad. The sooner this band-aid is torn off, the better.

It's not loyalty to Trump, it's anti-loyalty to the regime, and opposition to perceived anarcho-tyranny. Same goes for Alex Jones, no amount "this is happening, because he's a bad dude doing bad things" is going to make people forget all the bad dudes who get to do bad things with impunity.

It's not loyalty to Trump, it's anti-loyalty to the regime, and opposition to perceived anarcho-tyranny.

People who see anarcho-tyranny as an existential threat, and will do ANYTHING to stop it.

For what it's worth, I think this is the prime motivation, or at least it became the prime motivation for Trump. At some point. (I'm still not a Trump supporter, because I don't see him as effective opposition, to be frank, but I'm not going to dismiss the obvious motives)

And to add to the Alex Jones case, he may be a bad dude doing bad things, but it’s unclear he did anything seriously illegal.

I am sufficiently fixed in my views that engagement with you would likely only produce heat. Nonetheless, I dislike you calling me sad for sticking with my man.

He was the only President in my working life whose administration produced an economy sufficient for me to earn money for a retirement account, which is now down to 60% of what it was when he left office. Tangible personal results like that are memorable and anecdotal by their very nature, and thus unfalsifiable, so no data-based argument would sway me.

Are you within 10 years of retirement, and if not, why do you care about the drop?

He was the only President in my working life whose administration produced an economy sufficient for me to earn money for a retirement account,

If so, your working life must be very brief to date, or you are not very representative of the norm. See chart here, indicating that median real retirement savings in 2019 ($65,000) was just $1200 more than it was in 2016 (63,814).

which is now down to 60% of what it was when he left office.

The SP500 closed on Jan 20, 2021 at 3851. It closed yesterday at 3807. That is obviously not anywhere close to a 40% decline; it is a one percent decline. If your portfolio is down 40% then you might want to rethink your investment strategy. If you are young and you are comfortable with volatility, a portfolio like yours might be a good idea. But it sounds like you are not comfortable with volatility.

I had a comment with numbers and info in it, but I cannot paste on iPhone (fix plz @ZorbaTHut ASAP), and so it is lost. Suffice it to say that, had I simply kept my IRA out of the market when I was laid off in Dec 2020 (EDIT: 2021) and just let it bear interest, I would have 150% of my life’s savings in that account.

I honestly have no idea how to fix that, I don't even own an iPhone. Any developers out there with mobile Apple tools who can work on this one?

I don't understand -- your savings would have grown 50% in less than 2 years? That would require an annual interest rate of over 20%.

Sorry, 150% of my current IRA, which has lost a third of its value after I reinvested my 401(k) in January 2022 upon losing the job it was dependent on in December 2021. (I also missed a year in my previous reply.)

I am reminded by your comment of the Trump supporter who validated his support because his buisness had been doing so well. His buisness iirc was repossession or some similar business.

I do not believe that you like Trump on the account of economic indicators during his tenure, nor do you try to make it plausible.

It’s true I did believe he would increase my fortunes when I voted for him, because I believed he was a selfish man who would increase the ability of businessmen like himself to profit. His tax cuts validated my choice. Why I liked him was his enthusiasm for America, his wholehearted dismissal of the woke nonsense as foolishness and tripe, and his awareness of the games being played by those in power.

You don't consider the economy a plausible reason to motivate someone's political leanings? That defies belief.

Tangible personal results like that are memorable

I agree with that, but I don't think either president had that much impact on the economy. Funnily enough taking off the gloves to win the last election might have been a huge mistake for the Democrats because of that.

The President doesn't have that much impact on the economy in general. Not directly, anyway. Appointing the Fed Chair is a big deal, but that almost invariably ends up being someone responsible and non-controversial because no one wants a weirdo who is going to drive the economy off the cliff.

In a contaminated media environment filled not only with not only bad-faith actors, but poor-capability ones? Heavens no.

To pick one recent example of how sub-par framing distorts discussion-

To the extent that I think that the picture ymeskhout is presenting is false, the proper response is to put together a detailed argument, backed by the best supporting evidence I can dig up, on exactly how and why he's unambiguously wrong.

I am no stranger to arguing with bad-faith bullshit. This is not what bad-faith bullshit looks like. This is, near as I can tell, what being wrong looks like. The proper response to that is to admit it and take your lumps like a grownup. The proper response to that is to admit it and take your lumps like a grownup. If you can't do that, if you don't actually value seeing misconceptions corrected, you're acting like a jackass, and ymeskhout is doing this place a tremendous service to make that fact as obvious as possible, with bonus points for style.

Here's what I've seen so far in the recent Jan 6th threads:

The single word in the third section that undermines all the rest is the qualifier 'recent.' Recent does not negate the iterative game-nature of people's engagement of a topic, and basing an argument only on the most recent action is less an isolated demand for rigor, as much as a demand for isolated rigor.

Just as any analysis of the Jan 6th legitimacy is fatally flawed if separated from the nature of election-law changes and documented coordination between partisan activists, government officials, and media groups to support that party before the election (and admitted afterwards- you can find the link yourself, thank you kindly, and if you can't then this goes back to competence rather than faith), a discussion on motte posting dynamics in the present is missing something very significant if it doesn't address that this isn't just a 'recent' exchange, it's someone who brought their pet hobby horse into the themotte.org after an established history, and pattern, of the same. A pattern that- as you say- did increasingly little to change minds, and the number of people who maintained engagement with said individual gradually declined. They did not stop doing so because exhaustive links to specific incidents or contexts of concern were disproven and overturned by the power of logic, they did so because over time they realized there was no point in engaging in such a way. The people whose minds could be shifted were already shifted; the people who could not were not going to be.

This is not what being wrong looks like. This is what evaporative cooling looks like, when the only people remaining to make effort-posts are the most-motivated. You may as well ask why Julius's Motte opposing arguments decreased in quality, when by the end he was probably the source of more warnings and kickings than meaningful counter-arguments.

Which, actually, is a better substitute-person for your argument, since it's clear where your sympathies are on this context but your broader point- if it's to be valid- needs to be valid for not just the people you think are in the right, but also wrong. Just as a justice system isn't for the people we sympathize for, a critique of the quality of engagement on the motte needs to address what engagement expectations realistically are.

One of the issues Julius B-something, or highschool-is-slavery McGee, or whatever his various alts were- wasn't simply that he was a bad faith actor, it was that he was just bad, as in incompetent, in both communication and scholarly skills, but he was only ever open to changing one of those. (The writing part, to be clear- so that he could be a better sophist in selling his point.) The people who were more familiar with the scholarship did not, in fact, respond to every Julius post with yet another immaculate sourced response decisively proving he was wrong... after the first few times. They gradually stopped replying at all, leaving him unchallenged except for the likes of less-scholared (and more prone to banning) people, for the sheer fact that he just kept posting. Once people knew what he was posting, and what he was going to continue posting regardless of what was said, and that saying so would make no difference...

By your framework, the point that after a year or so Julius B-whatever ended up with opponents like BestIrishGirl Ame who got in more trouble for opposing him rudely and who weren't able to really engage on a evidence level was a failure point of the community. With only a modicrum of twsting, Julius was providing a community service even, for exposing the jackasses, and overcoming them with style. (And endurance.)

I must dissent. And not simply because who is the asshole, or who has the style, is a subjectivity that does more to reflect the evaluator's preferences than the subject. Or that low-quality responses still serve a valid role in challenging motte-and-bailey arguments that would otherwise go uncontested for lack of engagement of at all, but be expected to continue indefinitely and shape the expectations of the forum as a whole if completely unchallenged.

I must dissent because recognizing when [insert actor here] has [pet topic x] for which they are sufficiently fixed in their views to negate the value of engagement, not engaging with their argument is the appropriate way to deal with [insert actor here]. Engagement on their preferred passion project really is a waste of time for all involved, it is an invitation for angry rebuttals and accusations of bad faith more likely to draw censor themselves than the actual person of bad-faith-but-is-polite-about-it, and it's not apparently changing the minds of anyone involved. By not engaging [pet topic x] directly, you can instead address other topics of possible mutual engagement (Julius's poor writing skills), or provide general signalling to the broader audience of what, and why, the risk of engaging the person is so that they are aware of the dynamics and risks at play.

I don't think I'm alone in this either- you're doing a similar dynamic, in this particular post, whether you intended to or not. You're speaking broadly, generally, and non-specifically about unnamed posters, and without source citations or evidence to boot. You're not calling out individuals, or confronting them in long exchanges. You're doing a relatively limited, relatively polite, dismissal of their arguments without engaging them directly, and doing so with a broader intent to shape the broader discourse, but no real expectation of affecting the individual(s) in question.

(And how could they? Many may not even realize you're referring to them.)

Per any model where conclusively proving your opponents are wrong every time is the right way, this is the wrong way. But as a model for engaging- or rather, not-engaging- with individuals for whom not-engaging is not only the path chosen, but attempting to marginalize through rhetoric rather than counter-evidence is the way, this is fine. You can call people jackasses or losers without being in violation of the Motte's rules if you're sufficiently vague, and that's fine. (It'd be pretty unenforcable otherwise.) Far be it for me to tell you otherwise.

But to do this, you had to make a decision on whether the person or group of persons was a good-enough actor (faith, competence, whatever) to pursue engagement going forward, or so bad that you instead began a general effort of isolating the sort of individuals in the community, so that they do not remain as unchallenged in their bailey as in an otherwise pleasant motte. Yes, this accelerates the process of evaporative cooling, where eventually only the assholes or the obsessives engage. But evaporative cooling around a poster is not the problem, it is product of the mitigation process, and more importantly the mitigation process is itself the consequence of prior patterns and past history.

Which comes back to not just what is recent, but what previous trends established the pattern of treating people like infohazards, or possibly Julius B-somethings.

I must dissent because recognizing when [insert actor here] has [pet topic x] for which they are sufficiently fixed in their views to negate the value of engagement, not engaging with their argument is the appropriate way to deal with [insert actor here]. Engagement on their preferred passion project really is a waste of time for all involved, it is an invitation for angry rebuttals and accusations of bad faith more likely to draw censor themselves than the actual person of bad-faith-but-is-polite-about-it, and it's not apparently changing the minds of anyone involved.

I would caution against making this a rule. People often don't think highly of their opponents, and motivated reasoning is easy (its's not that my arguments are terrible, it's just that nothing will change his mind!) Sometimes the better the opponent's arguments are, the more that people react like this--bad arguments can be shrugged off, but good arguments from your opponent are infuriating.

If you're going to do it, at least be able to point to a place where the argument has been addressed before.

I would caution against making this a rule. People often don't think highly of their opponents, and motivated reasoning is easy (its's not that my arguments are terrible, it's just that nothing will change his mind!) Sometimes the better the opponent's arguments are, the more that people react like this--bad arguments can be shrugged off, but good arguments from your opponent are infuriating.

If you're going to do it, at least be able to point to a place where the argument has been addressed before.

In general respects, I would agree, but as a more general rule, I don't keep lists of previous arguments for citation purposes, as that way lays madness, and weird portfolio lists. Knowing why you disagree enough to disengage, but then letting out of sight and out of mind, is better practice. This is especially so in not-archive-friendly thread chains, like reddit threads.

Hello everyone, I continue to have no idea what Dean is talking about, either in the post above or in the many responses to me (ex. most recently here). I know that Dean does not like it when I talk about 2020 election fraud theories, but I have no idea exactly why. This is a saga that has been going on for almost two years now, and I keep linking to this exchange in May 2021 as illustrative.

For example, Dean accused me of being selective with what theories I cover. When I asked which ones I should pay attention to, his responses were: "I'm not particularly interested in trying to feed you sources to be judged by you on your standards on credibility to consistency standards you impose that helpfully weed out things other people might care about and could even be true." and "I am uninterested in providing you sources on other people's positions given your conduct on this topic."

I don't know if I'm off-base here, but this reads to me as "It's not my job to educate you" which does not strike me as helpful or productive. Does anyone disagree with my interpretation?

I still continued trying to figure exactly what I should do differently. When I asked if focusing on Trump's theories was valid, Dean claimed accused me of incompetence and bad faith because "you are supposed to know that a lot of what Trump says is nonsense no matter what he talks about" and then I'm accused of lying about something (no idea what exactly): "In two sentences you have given what could be called lies about other peoples positions already given to you. This faux ignorance of other people's posts made just hours or minutes ago, and significant mis-representation of what has already been given to you, robs an exchange of sources or justifications of any value."

I've confessed that I don't know what I'm supposed to do differently. I mean, besides adopting Dean's preferred conclusions of course. Short of that, can ANYBODY provide ANY insight into the specific concerns and what EXACTLY I should do differently? I love feedback! Especially when I can understand it.

I'm not particularly interested in trying to feed you sources to be judged by you on your standards on credibility to consistency standards you impose that helpfully weed out things other people might care about and could even be true.

Holy shit. In a place more lively and with lesser tolerance for loquacious casuistry this would have become an iconic copypasta, to respond with when called out on evidence-free bullshitting.

Of course, it's a perfectly valid meta-level take... assuming it rests on some substance, such as there having been some earlier interaction when sources one can reasonably deem high-quality had been presented; and that's a big assumption which does not match my recollection of this discourse. That said –

you can find the link yourself, thank you kindly, and if you can't then this goes back to competence rather than faith

My recollection is probably retarded anyway.

Thanks to you and @Dean both for lessons in Advanced English.

Of course, it's a perfectly valid meta-level take... assuming it rests on some substance, such as there having been some earlier interaction when sources one can reasonably deem high-quality had been presented; and that's a big assumption which does not match my recollection of this discourse. That said –

you can find the link yourself, thank you kindly, and if you can't then this goes back to competence rather than faith

My recollection is probably retarded anyway.

Not that specific link, but for some of what was being referenced to in the thread chain were same-day postings by

motteposting

https://old.reddit.com/r/TheMotte/comments/nowgdg/culture_war_roundup_for_the_week_of_may_31_2021/h02is5b/

anti-dan had some relevant sources

https://old.reddit.com/r/TheMotte/comments/nowgdg/culture_war_roundup_for_the_week_of_may_31_2021/h04dnh3/

There are some other posters there who are referring to then-contemporary news or events.

Further, that was a post chain that started from a position of explicitly referring to multiple prior exchanges. Reminder that this was 31May thread, so about 5 and 1/2 months after 6Jan, with nearly a third of a year of information degredation on the reporting contemporary to 6Jan itself, and over half a year since the election, with even more about the reporting (and prior culture war threads) about that.

And since navigating that chain is a nightmare, but since I may apparently need it in the future, the root-thread- including higher-level exchanges before what ymeskhout likes to link to but which cover the lead-up that was summarized- is here

https://old.reddit.com/r/TheMotte/comments/nowgdg/culture_war_roundup_for_the_week_of_may_31_2021/h025iak/

Thanks to you and @Dean both for lessons in Advanced English.

My loquaciousness in english is proportional to my state of mind.

Sure. Stop lying.

Stop lying about other people's positions are when they give it to you. Stop lying about people having never given you other arguments in the past. Stop lying that you haven't been provided insight into the specific concerns.

For reference, the above is what you asked me to stop doing.

For posterity's sake, I already responded (multiple instances and down thread) to each comment you are linking to in your post. It's refreshing to see you link to actual examples rather than speak in vagueries.

  1. I looked through and I could not identify any false statements I've made about other people's positions, so that part is taken care of. Anyone who disagrees with this assertion is welcome to demonstrate otherwise by pointing with some specificity.

  2. I've never made the claim that people have not given me arguments in the past, and that would be an especially silly to say given that you're linking to a thread where...I respond to people's arguments. So that part is also taken care of.

  3. Ditto with me claiming to not being provided with insight into specific concerns, as the thread shows otherwise. The one aspect I'd agree with is that I don't believe I've gotten a reasonable attempt to answer some variant of this question: "We still come back to the same question. Why are these supposed blockbuster claims ignored by every level of the institutions this country has built specifically to ferret this out?"

Overall, this is good news! You've had some concerns about me lying, and those concerns appear to be misplaced, so maybe we can be friends now. Of course, I suspect you will remain perennially angry with me unless I adopt wholesale whatever preferred conclusions you have about the topic. That has been my operating theory for a long time. If that's the case, I think that's really silly and there's nothing else to discuss. Please just admit it and save us both the time.

But! If my suspicion is terribly misplaced, I will forever maintain an open invitation for you to describe (in precise detail) what exactly I can do to change your opinion of me. In this (very long) thread from Aug '21, I invited @motteposting to outline what evidence and arguments I should consider. Who knows if they found my attempts satisfactory, but anyone can click and decide for themselves how diligent my efforts are, and whether or not I operate on good faith. I'm not trying to hide the ball here.

Hello everyone, I continue to have no idea what Dean is talking about, either in the post above or in the many responses to me (ex. most recently here). I know that Dean does not like it when I talk about 2020 election fraud theories, but I have no idea exactly why. This is a saga that has been going on for almost two years now, and I keep linking to this exchange in May 2021 as illustrative.

Indeed it is, and as said before I maintain it is more condemning of you than defending. To quote from the May 21 you link to-

It was a reflection of your reoccuring flaw on this topic, which is to conflate far too diverse circumstances and contexts into a nominal narrative that ignores or dismisses people's actual positions/concerns while presenting a viewpoint they don't hold as the undisputed reality.

I maintain this is the case, because you are continuing to do this in your attempt to defend against it.

For example, Dean accused me of being selective with what theories I cover. When I asked which ones I should pay attention to, his responses were: "I'm not particularly interested in trying to feed you sources to be judged by you on your standards on credibility to consistency standards you impose that helpfully weed out things other people might care about and could even be true." and "I am uninterested in providing you sources on other people's positions given your conduct on this topic."

I don't know if I'm off-base here, but this reads to me as "It's not my job to educate you" which does not strike me as helpful or productive. Does anyone disagree with my interpretation?

Yes, and claims of ignorance like this is why I doubt your good faith.

I have, by your own link that you keep referring to, stated that I am uninterested in providing you sources on other people's positions given your conduct on the topic. What is my allegation of your conduct on the topic? My characterization of your conduct is- per the May 21 link- your reoccuring flaw to conflate far too diverse circumstances and contexts into a nominal narrative that ignores or dismisses people's actual positions/concerns while presenting a viewpoint they don't hold as the undisputed reality.

Your very response is to conflate different circumstances (quotations, in this case) to ignore a stated position, and assign a position I do not hold.

In this very citation paragraph you engage in this. The very reason of why I do not provide you sources is in your link, because of your conduct. Which you conflate with... 'it is not my job to educate you.'

My position is not that it is not my job to educate you. Stop lying about the position not only given to you, but that you cite.

I still continued trying to figure exactly what I should do differently. When I asked if focusing on Trump's theories was valid, Dean claimed accused me of incompetence and bad faith because "you are supposed to know that a lot of what Trump says is nonsense no matter what he talks about"

Oh, hey, conflating past conversations for a unified narrative. I'm sure that the actual context had no meddlesome distinctions from any other discussion, such as the literal versus serious dynamic that was relevant around Trump, or specific Trump messages in the context they were provided.

and then I'm accused of lying about something (no idea what exactly): "In two sentences you have given what could be called lies about other peoples positions already given to you. This faux ignorance of other people's posts made just hours or minutes ago, and significant mis-representation of what has already been given to you, robs an exchange of sources or justifications of any value."

Clearly a sentence that internally references other posts made at the time is has no missing context that is being ommitted for the sake of a narrative here and now.

I've confessed that I don't know what I'm supposed to do differently. I mean, besides adopting Dean's preferred conclusions of course. Short of that, can ANYBODY provide ANY insight into the specific concerns and what EXACTLY I should do differently? I love feedback! Especially when I can understand it.

Sure. Stop lying.

Stop lying about other people's positions are when they give it to you. Stop lying about people having never given you other arguments in the past. Stop lying that you haven't been provided insight into the specific concerns.

If you can't understand what someone says, confess incapability. If you can't remember what someone said, or find where it was, confess the failures of memory or recordkeeping. If you can't accept what other people say as valid, you won't be able to confess that sort of failing by its nature, but lack of selfawareness is no reason to lie about not being given reasons in the past.

To stop doing the flaw you have been described as having, stop conflating far too diverse circumstances and contexts into a nominal narrative that ignores or dismisses people's actual positions/concerns while presenting a viewpoint they don't hold.

Now, I have no expectation of you doing such, and fully expect you to pull out the May 21 link the next go around to go 'why has she never told me', instead of this, but that's only because this is, what, the fourth exchange on this subject where you ask the same questions about why you've never been given an answer?

My characterization of your conduct is- per the May 21 link- your reoccuring flaw to conflate far too diverse circumstances and contexts into a nominal narrative that ignores or dismisses people's actual positions/concerns while presenting a viewpoint they don't hold as the undisputed reality. Your very response is to conflate different circumstances (quotations, in this case) to ignore a stated position, and assign a position I do not hold

That's a lot of words, and if he was doing that, it'd be bad, but can you link these broad statements to specific examples when you make them? You linked a few reddit posts and I have no clue how they relate to the above.

having, stop conflating far too diverse circumstances and contexts into a nominal narrative that ignores or dismisses people's actual positions/concerns while presenting a viewpoint they don't hold

Which circumstances, contexts, narratives, what actual positions/concerns are being dismissed, what viewpoints aren't held? I genuinely don't know what you're saying.

Sure. Stop lying.

Okay, you get some slack because of our unofficial, unwritten policy of being more lenient with people giving mods shit than non-mods (even when they are arguing with a mod who is speaking in a non-mod capacity) but directly calling someone a liar is always going to cross the line unless you can unambiguously prove that the person you're accusing is in fact lying. From my perspective, what you have here is a failure to communicate. I don't doubt you genuinely believe that @ymeskhout is a liar. However, I do doubt that @ymeskhout believes he is a liar.

I am not going to dig through all of your back-and-forths line by line to extract the exact phrase that you contend was a willful mistatement of the truth (and for which I would then have to dig through probably two years of previous conversations in order to render judgment on whether it is in fact a lie). What I gather from a quick read is you think @ymeskhout is riding a personal hobby horse and coming back over and over with the same talking points until those willing and able to argue with him in detail are worn out and have ceded the field. Which, fair enough, you can think that and you can say that. Is he lying? You can't read his mind and know that.

Here's a very simple rule which we have always enforced: don't make personal attacks. You are certainly verbally adroit enough to get your point across without calling someone a liar, and if that sounds like "You can say you don't think someone is being honest as long as you don't outright call them a liar," that's correct. Attack the position, attack the words, point out what you perceive to be the contradictions. That leaves the ball in the other person's court, and they can then either rebut, clarify, or say nothing and let the audience be the judge.

But your hostility has ticked past the "slightly heated" phase and seems to be entering "personal grudge" territory, so cool it.

Okay, you get some slack because of our unofficial, unwritten policy of being more lenient with people giving mods shit than non-mods (even when they are arguing with a mod who is speaking in a non-mod capacity) but directly calling someone a liar is always going to cross the line unless you can unambiguously prove that the person you're accusing is in fact lying. From my perspective, what you have here is a failure to communicate. I don't doubt you genuinely believe that @ymeskhout is a liar. However, I do doubt that @ymeskhout believes he is a liar.

The reason I call him lying now, but not before, is specifically because he specifically (and has repeatedly) quotes a post (the May21 post and thread) that says why I no longer provide him with sources, and then claims I provide him no reason, but also that my reason is something else. This is not the first time he's pulled this particular phrasing (not my job to educate you) either, or the first time it's been clarified that, no, the reason is in what he is quoting. He then repeats the same claim, and the same wonderment, at the next opportunity.

The first time could be a misinterpretation (hence why it was initially described as a flaw), the second time a miscommunication, the third even a sloppy strawman, but after the fourth or fifth exchange of a saved post being re-raised in the right way it ceases to be credible that it's accidental. Consistent misrepresentation of text and position, especially after multiple clarification, indicates will.

The charge of lying, to be clear, is specially for how he uses the May 21 quote chain he keeps on hand. I do not consider his flaw of conflating different conversations into a single narrative to be a lie, just a flaw, except when it engages in willful misrepresentation of the specified quoting.

I am not going to dig through all of your back-and-forths line by line to extract the exact phrase that you contend was a willful mistatement of the truth (and for which I would then have to dig through probably two years of previous conversations in order to render judgment on whether it is in fact a lie).

No need, since the lie accusation specific to this week, but I understand (and agree with) the premise behind this decision. I, too, would prefer (/expect/respect) focusing on behavioral trends rather than re-litigate past months of packed weeks of material.

Which is ironically relevant to this dispute, since demands to relitigate past months of culture war exchanges was one of the points that led to the assessment he cites.

Here's a very simple rule which we have always enforced: don't make personal attacks. You are certainly verbally adroit enough to get your point across without calling someone a liar, and if that sounds like "You can say you don't think someone is being honest as long as you don't outright call them a liar," that's correct. Attack the position, attack the words, point out what you perceive to be the contradictions. That leaves the ball in the other person's court, and they can then either rebut, clarify, or say nothing and let the audience be the judge.

I understand and accept this chastisement in the spirit it is intended.

I also note that the exchange that started this exchange this week was a response to boo-outgroup remarks that would be personal attacks were the people who'd stopped engaging him still around. (This is where we get the evaporative cooling point from in the separate thread this week, which was not a response as I walked away.)

But your hostility has ticked past the "slightly heated" phase and seems to be entering "personal grudge" territory, so cool it.

I will try, but it would probably help if the mod in question stopped trying to pull saved-quote-jutsu to misrepresent the same saved quote.

I offer the link in the interest of transparency. People can click the link and read it themselves, I'm not hiding the ball. I think it's an illustrative exchange, because you've expressed clear enmity towards me for several years. Again, people can click and read themselves and you can write and explain yourself. Maybe some people will get it, maybe they won't. That's up to them.

I remain surprised by just how much outright hostility and anger I've engendered from you. I try my best to use clear language, precise terminology, links to sources, citations to evidence, et cetera. I have made earnest attempts at reading your posts multiple times and I am here again to say that I do not understand your positions. I think the clarifying questions I ask are simple enough, and you've either refused to answer them or you have and I'm just incapable of understanding them.

On the specific topic of 2020 elections, I've engaged with motteposting and shakesneer and others various times over the years. Even when I maintain my disagreements, I rarely walk away completely befuddled from what they've written. I have no explanation for why your posts are so inscrutable to me, but they are. It's up to you to choose if this continues to be a worthwhile use of your time.

There's no reason to talk about Jan 6 on themotte. The topic exists for one person and they hold it hostage as a one man army. It's pretty remarkable but I don't have the wherewithal in me to withstand the scrutiny.

It feels like what would happen if ChrisPrattAlphaRaptor showed up any time you mentioned COVID to disprove you or interrogate you as if you were a collegial equal. And it's not even solely about that kind of engagement, the obvious amount that this matters to ymehskhout is so large that I'd feel uncomfortable with any engagement at all because without full agreement I'd be immediately be dealing with a hostile adversary who knows far more about this than I do and is schooled in the subject much more than I am as well.

It feels like that guy who posts about Ivermectin and Scott. He probably knows what he's talking about more than me, but it's obvious from the persistence on a specific topic alone that something altogether alien to me is happening for them that's not happening for me and I'd rather just skip and move on to the next topic than engage.

It feels like what would happen if ChrisPrattAlphaRaptor showed up any time you mentioned COVID to disprove you or interrogate you as if you were a collegial equal.

I apologize if you feel like I held the topic hostage or stifled conversation. I can sympathize with the idea that someone might be more knowledgeable about a field but not necessarily share your values or background, and I'm sure if you had access to all the same facts you may reach different conclusions than me. With that in mind, what would you suggest I do? Just lay off the hobby horse for a while? Be less aggressive?

No need to reply if you're uncomfortable, I know this is tangential to your point.

I was trying to imply you didn't do that but what it would be like if you did.

Ah, I see. My apologies.

I apologize if you feel like I held the topic hostage or stifled conversation.

I'm not the boss of you or anyone else, but if we're voting, I vote that you continue exactly as you have. I valued your Covid posts very highly.

It would not surprise me that people value this space for wildly divergent reasons, but everything I wrote above would apply to your Covid posts, as well as to @Dean's Ukraine posts. I have been on the wrong end of "hobby horses" and "aggressive" posts before, a number of times. In every case I can think of, it was a valuable experience that served to moderate poor thinking and bias on my part.

Like Iconochasm, I didn't read the commenting as suggesting you do that, as much as that you could.

Now, I am not the person you were asking, have no personal sense of your practices, and so can't speak to your habbits, but if you were serious about seeking general suggestions...

'Be less aggressive' is probably the best advice if you raise it for yourself. That doesn't mean not having your position, but don't burn bridges for random encounters, and express a intellectual humilitary that acknowledges how you could be wrong, especially if it leaves a way for the other person to maybe be partially right.

For most/more casual people, overkill is worse than just enough. Providing context- rather than a direct challenge- is far less intimidating, and it doesn't need to be patronizing either. 'You might be interested in reading X, Y, Z' is a much more engaging way than 'You obviously hadn't read X, Y, Z.' A summation of points is better than filibustering and gish-galloping. Not addressing every point- and just being clear you're only addressing a few points for Reasons- makes an engagement more of a redirection (had you considered this/this isn't supported by other things) than a full body tackle (let me tell you how each and every one of your points is wrong). There are absolutely some people you should engage more for public audience perception than individual persuasion (ie, bad faith actors), but if you just think someone is wrong, it's rarely worth it to rub their nose in it. Unless, again, you're very explicit and deliberately deciding to write off future engagement with them.

Similarly, being generous with your own limited understanding- not in a 'I can't see how reasonable people could see that', but 'my own difficulties are in the nuances of X, Y, and Z'- can be a good salve, especially if it just-so-happens overlays with someone's interest/point. 'I believe you're wrong about much of what you say, but this is one area you may be right and I wrong' is a good way to offer a face saving exit to the other person, while presenting two tokens of respect to them. First, you recognize what they do right, not just disagree about what they do wrong. Second, you offer the respect of acknowledging your own limits, and that you might have something to learn from... if not them, then someone they might have read from, or respect in turn. This builds a different sort of dynamic, of senior-junior rather than master-novice, with a far less domineering tone. To pick a personal example, there are many cases when international politics come around that US-skeptic/anti-US people will do what I see as jumping to a conclusion that the US is to blame for [incident X]. Even if I disagree, I'm often willing to concede 'well, I wouldn't be surprised' in the mix of 'but all these other points really don't work.'

For the timing of your hobby horse, it's probably good to not jump into every thread/discussion on it- at least not to argue- but really just not being a one trick animal. Throw in a little variety in there- an effort post about something else, a piece of reflection not about your hobby, even some pop culture or something funny- just to prove you have other interests, and aren't obsessed about this One Thing.

Which- to reiterate- I don't think you are, because I don't have enough of an opinion on you to have an opinion. (Other than I read your ask as sincere, which I respect, as opposed to false-humility, which I don't.)

Thank you! All very good advice, and you were correct that I misread OP. Yes, I was being sincere.

I didn't read that comment as suggesting that you do that, merely that you clearly have sufficient subject matter expertise that you could. In a community like this, where many of us have an amateur interest in complicated legal matters, it is very noticeable which of us are actual practicing lawyers.

Here is one example of the sort I brought up, where someone did not even enter the building.

Couy Griffin. Founder, Cowboys for Trump. Ordered held without bail. Convicted of a charge of entering a restricted area. 14 days jail time, $3000 fine, $500 restitution, 60 hours community service, 1 year supervised release.

There have been several who have been found guilty of felony "obstruction of an official proceedings", when the actual act behind that charge was trespassing. Note this crime was passed as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act which was about financial crime; this tells you how much of a stretch that it is. But since the actual charge wasn't "trespass", these cases "don't count".

But since the actual charge wasn't "trespass", these cases "don't count".

That sucks, do you happen to know who made up these rules about which examples should "count"? Whoever they are, I hope they are held accountable.

Not I, counselor. If you read that post my claim is that some rioters who "committed no crime worse than trespassing" are getting harsh punishments for political reasons. And that some did not enter the building. Not "were charged with no crimes worse than trespassing" (since part of the issue is the difference in charges for similar acts). Not even "were convicted of no crime worse than trespassing". And I did not limit "punishment" to the actual sentence imposed; being held without bail in this case I consider punitive.

You responded to this by interpreting these statements in a much more restricted way, declared them false based on a source showing actual sentences, asking why I believed these false things. Well, the answer to why I believe these things is because they were widely and gleefully reported in the press at the time. That March 2021 D.C. Court of Appeals decision that said some non-violent defendants had to be granted bond? That happened because they were, in fact, NOT being given bond.

You responded to this by interpreting these statements in a much more restricted way, declared them false based on a source showing actual sentences, asking why I believed these false things.

You are not being honest here.

My immediate reply was to ask you to clarify what you meant by "harsh punishments". I then showed my work about what I found after a quick search and asked you if this is what you meant, then again asked you for any specific cases you believed met your own definitions. You didn't respond. So my first top level post showed my work again, explicitly stated that I was relying on an incomplete database, explicitly admitted what you wrote could be interpreted in multiple ways, again asked you to provide any examples you knew about. You finally did reply by citing the Q Shaman guy's case, and I pointed out that your original claim appeared to have been much more expansive than just that guy, then again asked you multiple clarifying questions, to which you did not reply. When I badgered you again about this, it was to again ask you how you arrived at your position, and since at this point you didn't seem eager to defend it, I asked if it was actually based in fact. You responded, but not substantively, and instead implied that I would tie you into knots somehow.

Here's another question: What would you have me do differently? When your original claim was ambiguous, I asked you to define the terms you were using. When you didn't respond, I searched for examples on my own and asked you if this is what you meant. I continued asking you to clarify what you meant even after multiple unanswered prompts. I do not understand what purpose your evasiveness serves. If you're unhappy about being misinterpreted, you can't blame it on the guy hounding you for days repeatedly asking you to explain what you meant.

What you wrote directly above actually cleared up a lot of my original questions (finally!) and had you just said exactly this, we could have avoided much of the long and exhaustive trail of ask-ask-ask-ask I left behind. So once again, what would you have me do differently? I'm actually listening.

I posted that you did the exact same thing Nybbler complained about above--looking for charges, not acts, but now that I look more closely at your links (at least the first two), I don't see where you even compared January 6 protestors to leftists at all, with or without charges. "Harsh punishments for political reasons" here means "harsher than the left is punished". You have to make a comparison (and once you do, "don't look up charges" then becomes relevant).

"Harsh punishments for political reasons" here means "harsher than the left is punished". You have to make a comparison (and once you do, "don't look up charges" then becomes relevant).

Edit to your edit: how am I supposed to know/assume this? Besides asking for clarification, what else am I supposed to do here?

He was referring to what the protesters did, not what they were specifically charged with. Even if protesters who did no more than trespass were charged with "Treason" that would not undermine his point about them being treated differently from how trespassing protesters are usually treated. As it happens, what a lot of them was charged with was "Obstruction of an official proceeding", an incredibly broad law created for people trying to interfere with criminal investigations/trials that had never been used in this way before. The Wikipedia article is divided into "Use prior to 2021" and "2021 U.S. Capitol attack" for a reason. And then, even if you think that undermines the point somehow, the specific guy he linked was just charged with "entering a restricted area", which is even more overtly about him trespassing.

He was referring to what the protesters did, not what they were specifically charged with.

I'm not a mind reader. I asked him numerous times to clarify his position. If he chooses not to respond, I can't be blamed for the lack of clarity. I did my part.

Are we reading the same thing? I see:

... many of the "rioters" who committed no crime worse than trespassing (in some cases not even entering the building, just supposedly-forbidden parts of the grounds) are getting harsh punishments...

The source article describes it as (emphasis added): "January 6 defendant found guilty of trespass at US Capitol" and "...Griffin guilty of trespassing...". Even if you want to defy their language choice and stick with strict legal definitions ("It's not trespassing, it's 'entering a restricted area'."), you'd still have to face the caveat in the original comment: it's crimes worse than trespassing that they didn't commit, not just one specific law.

I am not the enforcer here, if Nybbler wants to broaden or modify their original claim that's totally fine! It's just bizarre to lament how something doesn't "count" because of contours they themselves created!

I find it hard to imagine how he could make any relevant statement without saying that the crime had to be worse than something. And anything he used would be a "contour".