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Small-Scale Question Sunday for November 20, 2022

Do you have a dumb question that you're kind of embarrassed to ask in the main thread? Is there something you're just not sure about?

This is your opportunity to ask questions. No question too simple or too silly.

Culture war topics are accepted, and proposals for a better intro post are appreciated.

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

Can someone who understands computer explain how kiwifarms managed to come back with even its .net address intact?

I thought they'd had their domain registration stolen and were being null-routed by all the backbone ISPs, but I can access them reliably again. Is the owner just a wizard, or is there something to the old "the internet routes around censorship" line?

I've never seen a single organization hold up under the full weight of the blob before. It's honestly awe-inspiring to watch.

They got their registration registered with a reliable provider, and as for being null-routed it was either a rogue employee or more likely Null himself fucked up lol. You gotta remember, it's just one guy flying by the seat of his pants. Even this website has more cumulative competence I suspect (though idk, maybe Null also has a secret cabal of nerds advising him).

it was either a rogue employee or more likely Null himself fucked up lol.

According to Null, the problem resolved itself without his intervention somehow. Liz Fong Jones did take credit for somehow making a top level provider add an exception just for kf so make of that what you will.

Funny thing is: at least one Russian ISPs blocks kiwifarms too.

Might that just be general censorship with Russia being an authoritarian regime that’s increasingly keen on cutting itself off from the outside world?

It's not a random site site, blocking kiwifarms is antithetical with "keen on cutting itself off from the outside", it's a world practice

KF was blocked by Roskomnadzor (Russia's FCC equivalent) for hosting an meme of Santa saying "ho-ho-holocaust" in 2020.

Damn the new culture war thread has 500 comments in one day. Reports of our death are greatly exaggerated.

I wouldn't say fears of death are unfounded, if anything they are the voice of the reasonable. New users stumbling their way into the motte sub not being a thing anymore is still THE major issue.

It fills me with great joy to see that the motte is doing well but as the cliche goes nothing good lasts forever. Until there is a substantial amount of evidence that the forum in its current state is sustainable, I'm going to reserve my celebrations.

I wouldn't say fears of death are unfounded

It absolutely was. Most of the activity always came from regulars churning out content. I'd bet The Motte could probably be active indefinitely even if you banned everyone but the top 100 users.

FWIW, across /r/slatestarcodex, /r/TheMotte, and /r/theschism

  1. The top 20 posters authored 14% of comments.

  2. The top 100 posters authored 35% of comments.

  3. The top 200 posters authored 48% of comments.

  4. The top 1000 posters authored 79% of comments.

  5. The top 2000 posters authored 89% of comments.


Obviously this says nothing about the quality of the content.

Like it or not we are still part of a much looser marseyverse network. Even in the old world the /r/drama to /r/themotte pipeline was probably responsible for more user flow than anyone wants to admit. I don't have any of the data I'd need to prove it but there were a couple rdrama posts to some post here this week and I'd put money on that being responsible for the comment uptick.

Redscarepod's reddit I s on the crossroads where they must choose to accept the cappy's help or perish.

I feel like it'd be useful to have a "who's linking here" news section (pingbacks, blogs used to call them, right?). I like knowing where people are coming from if there are any weird shifts.

New redditors stumbling into the motte was by far the biggest problem with the old site, worse than anything the admins did. Every week was just a constant cycle of "'how dare you,' he explained" that got in the way of any discussion.

With the chaff came the wheat.

At-least there was a pipeline that didn't rely entirely on word of mouth or preexisting knowledge of the rationalist sphere.

Nonetheless I'm hopeful in that the forum started off with a good seed userbase and that so many people were willing to make the move with the subreddit.

Is it mostly people arguing with Points, or did I miss something?

Edit: yeah, a variety of spice

Is there any neuro/psychological significance to habitual and unaffected non-symmetrical facial expressions? I don't mean stroke symptoms, I mean things like smirks instead of smiles, single eyebrow raises, sneers, head tilts etc.

Asking because it occured to me that I find it an engaging and attractive characteristic while on the other hand finding symmetrical expressions more open and genuine, or at least less nuanced. Wondering if there's something like a left brain right brain factor or if it's just learned behaviour and unconscious imitation.

I'm not sure there are any examples of a non deliberate use of asymmetrical facial expression aside from tics. It always implies one is consciously putting on a face.

Why is this Sunday thread unusually active? 230 comments at the time of me posting this.

Also to admins, any statistics on how the forum is doing? Also noticed some new usernames I don't recognise from reddit. Any stats on new accounts?

Also it seems like there's just a lot of activity. New CW thread has 500 comments in one day that's pretty outsized.

Questions about building a PC, software development, and food all usually get a decent number of replies as most of the folks here have built a PC, many work in software development, and either can cook (in some cases I expect quite well) or have a strong opinion about why everyone should stop cooking and eat meal squares or whatever the most current version is. So there's a large number of replies to many of the questions (some of which generate chains of replies themselves).

We had each topic come up this week, which is good for the reply count of the small questions thread.

Why do we have "private profiles" here? It seems to serve no function other than to make it obnoxious to look up someone's comments. Given that everyone can see your comments anyway right there in the threads, it hardly does anything for privacy.

Why do we have "private profiles" here?

The answer to almost every question about how the site presently operates is "because that is the codebase Zorba inherited." A number of alterations have been made by Zorba and a small army of volunteers, and all of it is well over my head, but there is a long list of code requests in the repository, as I understand it.

Asked this last week, but where's a good place to park a few 100k right now? Treasuries? Treasury ETFs? I don't want to throw any more into the stock market right now, but obviously don't want to hold onto that much cash.

I've been buying 4-week T-bills for a few months and rolling them over. Nothing at all looks remotely attractive so safety is king.

Janet Yellen being the least ugly girl at the bar is a sad state of affairs, but that's the same thing I've been doing. Everyone was hyped for i-bills the other month, but the variable rate on those is going to drop like a rock.

I'm just wondering if bond prices will bounce when the dip comes.

Guys, what's even going on with the economy? I'm simultaneously flooded with interest rate / stock price doomerism, and complaints about there not being enough qualified workforce, or even shortages of students who would want to get qualified.

It could be journos writing nonsense, but I'm getting the feeling of the system being torn apart...

Yeah, I have no idea at this point. There's been so much cash dropping out of the sky that there's no connection to reality any more. I can't tell if we're in for a depression or yet another redistribution-fueled bubble.

Real estate?

Not as liquid but it's still possible to use as collateral for a loan.

And can rent it out in the meantime. Although check the property tax rates in the region in question.

If I had that much cash lying about, I would 100% buy some property and rent it out to trusted family or friends at slightly below the market rate, to avoid the general hassles that come with tenants or short-term rentals.

You can be reasonably sure this investment will never plunge to zero.

Assuming a few is >300k USD? Create a local machine shop, employ one industry veteran guy who is semi-retired for 400-750 hours/yr to train some goofballs who seem interested in making exact complicated parts for extreme tolerance demanding airplane parts or medical machinery.

I know the investing guide to that: "how do you make a little money in small scale machining? Start with a lot of money"

What's your investment horizon? You trying to see if stocks will drop another 10% before going all in?

I assume you're looking for more than the ~3.5% savings. Suppose you could try some bond ETFs, if you think the Fed is going to ease up. Risk might be lower if you wait till the next FOMC in three weeks.

There is always the YOLO route. Go all in on TSLA or ETH and you either double that by EOY or lose half. Isn't SBF a vocal fan of that St Petersburg Paradox or whatever approach? ;)

Sure, but if you lose it, then dozens of mottizens will have to tell you how EA is problematic.

Do we still have a meta thread for suggestions? The way notifications work is very inconvenient, since you have to manually look through all the threads in your notification tab to figure out what's new.

Also, do mods see who submitted a report?

Seconded. If only there were a way to search for the blue highlight in browser.

Aren't new replies highlighted in pale blue for you?

Ok, so they are highlighted in light grey, but there's still no way to find them except by scrolling down, which is very annoying if you have multiple threads or different comment chains.

They are, but that still isn't very convenient for notifications. For example: I make a comment, I get 7 replies, see the notification for all of them, then way later someone else replies. That new reply, though highlighted in blue, will still be way down below all the ones that came before it. Not really the best way to present them.

I would say that notifications should put the newest replies to your comment up top, or better still, only show you the new replies. Highlighting blue doesn't really solve the issue with notifications, unfortunately.

I don't know if it works for notifications (Edit: it does), but if you go to your profile settings and add the following custom CSS rule, you can ctrl+f for new comments:

.unread::before {

	content: "new";


Just like the old slatestarcodex comment section.

Edit: those are supposed to be tildes around "new", but the markdown code block is rendering it as a strikethrough on my machine, no matter whether I use 4-space or triple-backtick format. escaped inline backtick

Not that I've noticed. I'm using dark mode, maybe that's why? If there is a highlight it's not obvious enough for me to have noticed it.

Also, if you navigate away and come back won't they no longer be highlighted? Reddit had an option to see all replies in reverse chronological order, which was often helpful.

this is the case for me and I appreciate it but I had a reddit addon that let me pick something like "6 hours" and would highlight any comment within that period, which is good for certain browsing strategies.

Like I mentioned in another comment, I'm playing historian. In my research I saw some articles mentioning a court case that I'd love to look into. I have the approximate date, the court it has been brought to, the names of (some of) the defendants, and I can take a good stab at the name of the plaintiff. Basic google-fu has failed me so far. Are historical (well sort of, we're talking about the 70's) court documents public in the US? If so how would I go about getting them (I don't care if it involves fees)?

Have you tried PACER?

Thanks! It's a state court case, but this might be useful in the future.

Judicial records are open to public scrutiny unless the parties can convince the judge to "seal" those records (barring some exceptions that vary by state—juvenile prosecutions, names of children involved in divorce proceedings, name-change requests, names of rape victims, etc.). I assume you can just submit a records request to the court, possibly under the state's FOIA equivalent.

Thanks! I'll try that.

Downthread I asked about upgrading PCs; I hope to get some advice now on upgrading cars.

Well, very specifically just one component--push start.

I have a 5 year old compact SUV. No complaints whatsoever, especially since I don't drive much. But the one feature I wish it had is keyless/push start. The nonretractable key takes up more space in my pocket. More inconveniently, I can't just lazily leave it in my pocket and have the car's door auto unlock when I'm nearby, and then push a button to start without having to take the key out of my pocket, insert into ignition, etc.

I know, first world problems. In my defense, like 90% of the culture war thread is first world problems.

I did a bit of light googling, and it looks like there are after market kits you can buy and self install. Best Buy had a promo just a couple of days ago selling a Compustar 2-war remote start for $140. But the YouTube video I saw was extremely intimidating. Forget about swapping out CPUs, this looked 10x more complicated!

So I'm definitely going to a shop for this. My questions for the DIY community are:

  1. I don't need remote start. I just want push start & keyless entry. Any suggestions on reputable brand or model of the kit I should look into?

  2. Is this after market modification even recommended? Since it deals with unlocking and ignition, I feel it carries much more risks than changing the audio system or something. It'd suck if a faulty product or installation caused the car to crash (which I assume is extremely unlikely but not impossible...?), or more likely, maybe cause me to be completely locked out in the dark and cold one day, or the latest Kia boys to buy some USB stick to take all Compustar-modified cars to joyrides. I guess I'm asking if this after-market tech is mature enough to be trustworthy.

  3. What's a fair price you think to pay for this? Say if I buy the parts, would you expect $300 for the labor? $500?

Thank you amigos.

Oh thank God, I thought you were about to buy a new car over the key shape

On the other hand, if there's ever a time to do something like that it's now. The used car market has gone mad. I could literally sell my car for more than I paid for it.

Meat. How do you know you're getting the good stuff and not some ultra-processed slop filled with cheap, rotting bits o' this and that?

It seems like this choice is a spectrum.

On one hand, you have the raw stuff: steak cuts, chicken thighs, pork chops, etc. Things that look like meat. Here, you can discern quality by figuring out the origin.

On the other hand, you have spam and spam-like products. It's probably sat in that can for months. It's probably a mix of all sorts of meats and meat-things, along with a bunch of chemicals that aren't too good for your body.

But what's in between? Like, if I buy ham at the store, how can I discern whether it falls more into the ultra-processed category or rather into the raw stuff category?

(I'm trying to be more systemic about my diet and part of the equation seems to be minimizing ultra-processed foods. This is easy with stuff like chips, sweets, soda, etc. but not so much with meat.)

Edit: My thanks for the excellent advice!

I just stopped buying processed meat at all. Sometimes miss corned beef, but it made me realize that the majority of processed meats were just a byproduct of needing to store it without freezers. Like sauerkraut for the fall cabbage crop.

Honestly I'm going off of packaged meat entirely the way the quality of chicken has been dropping. DIYing the whole thing has kinda spoiled me on store bought stuff.

the majority of processed meats were just a byproduct of needing to store it without freezers. Like sauerkraut for the fall cabbage crop.

Well yeah. But the reason for developing those techniques doesn't change that they make meat delicious.

Eh, I've kinda gone off the salt content of stuff like bacon. Although right after posting I had some great Italian sausages, which tasted better than anything I cooked with a pig from the same litter, so who knows.

Hey, if you don't like it by all means don't eat it. We all have things we don't like, after all. I'm just saying even though the techniques of curing/smoking meat have outlived the need for food preservation, doesn't mean we should by any means stop doing it.

My two options are the following:

a) Buy expensive meat directly from local farmers where you can look the cows in the eyes or

b) Get whatever's convenient and don't look at all, just be glad it's something to eat.

Choices are usually dictated by the state of my wallet.

On the other hand, you have spam and spam-like products. It's probably sat in that can for months. It's probably a mix of all sorts of meats and meat-things, along with a bunch of chemicals that aren't too good for your body.

Hormel's Spam™ is perfectly fine meat made from pork rump and shoulder, salt, potato starch (to prevent the infamous gelatin at the top of the can), sugar and sodium nitrate. It really doesn't deserve the reputation it gets.

Of all the readily accessible preserved meats, Spam is probably the least processed option.

to prevent the infamous gelatin at the top of the can

But it's the best part of spam! I used to scoop it off every canful back when canned ham humanitarian aid was a thing in Russia.

It's also very good when cooked in a heavy skillet or flat top.

Yes. Slice, pan fry, enjoy.

Find a butcher you trust, get meat from them. How do you find a butcher you trust? That's a harder answer. I would look the quality of their meats, you should be able to tell visually to some extent (e.g. by looking at steaks for good marbling). Buy some and taste it, determine for yourself how good the product is. Get to know the butcher and talk to them about how they source meat. A good butcher will care about the quality of their product, and you should be able to pick up on that when talking to them.

All that said, I have a local butcher I trust and I don't always go to her shop to get meat. Sometimes I just get meat at the supermarket because I'm already there, and it's easier. But if you're concerned about the quality, finding a butcher you trust is the best way.

Good question, difficult answers. I’m assuming you’re in the US, because everyone on the internet is. This makes my number one tip more difficult: Find a butcher that still slaughters their own animals. If you generally like the quality of their meat, buy it. When in doubt, ask them.

More generally, buying things with a clear name definition can help. Parma, Black Forrest, etc. are protected and while that doesn’t guarantee everything, it might help.

Most generally, use your noggin. Ham, both dried and cooked (aka Prosciutto vs. Honey Glazed or whatever, should be from whole animal. I’m not going to get into what is healthier, but the difference between that and Bologna-style deli meat or any form of salami should be apparent in taste and texture. If it is mandatory, look at the label.

In general, meat that is not bought raw is probably quite a ways towards that processed label of yours. The one exception is air cured things, but even there, salts or lyes are often used to help in preserving. If you put some raw meat on a hook for 6 months, you’re probably not going to want to eat it.

I remember some posts at the previous place talking about an Islamist (Taliban?) leader that was radicalized when he studied in the US and was horrified by American attitudes to casual sex, homosexuality etc.

Does anyone remember the guy's name and have a link and/or more details?

Well, he was radicalized by things like church youth dances. Truly the most chaste and proper monitored mingling opportunities for young adults. Sayyid was of course horrified and disgusted by women in long skirts dancing with men who belong to church social clubs. But I don't think that acceptance of homosexuality was on anyone's agenda among these people.

Where’d you see this? Wikipedia only says that he condemned the licentious West, but doesn’t really give any examples.

It does sound like this guy was quite an idealist.

In 1948 or 1949 he attended a church social in Greeley, Colorado. Here are his thoughts:

The dance hall was illuminated with red, blue and a few white lights. It convulsed to the tunes of the gramophone and was full of bounding feet and seductive legs. Arms circled waists, lips met lips, chests met chests, and the atmosphere was full of passion.

Which is a less disgusted and condemning than I recalled. But anyways, it is silly that he thinks a 1940s American church social "convulsed" with "seductive passion". He spent the rest of his life bitterly complaining about all aspects of American culture and saying that opposition to all white people must be the cornerstone of the Egyptian nationalist movement.

I was especially unimpressed by the part where he asserted an Islamist country would need no government.

and was horrified by American attitudes to casual sex, homosexuality etc.

And by the song "Baby, It's Cold Outside".

This seems like the right person, thanks!

Do any of you keep diaries or journals?

If so - what do you write in there? What format do you use: notebook, digital, etc.? And how long have you kept it up?

I write down all kind of things from reviews to essay drafts and todo lists in Trillium.

I have a journal folder as well though I can rarely be bothered to touch it, usually only when something particularly interesting happens in my life.

I keep notes, random thoughts and pictures in an empty Discord channel because it's convenient and accessible from anywhere. Discord automatically timestamps everything and gives me a very powerful search engine and API to use bots to auto scrape and save an offline copy every week. Very useful for transferring small information between my phone, home PC and work PC.

Not judging because I've done it too, but oh God I hate that this is the easiest way to sync stuff between your own devices.

I use a slightly more bootleg version of this. I use a whatsapp chat with myself as a commonly shared dump among my phone, PC and laptop.

Much in the same way, GitHub is just free cloud storage for my personal coding projects.

I don't find much use in longform private emotional introspection but I do find it helpful to keep a record of any significant actions I've taken. It's useful for reference and for finding any patterns that could provide a benefit in making plans and adapting routines, whether it's charting exercise or recording work I've done around my home.

It's all kept in OneNote along with a plethora of other notes, drafts, saved documents, cuttings and the like. Before I started using OneNote I used various handwritten to-do lists for actions combined with minimally organised digital files for anything more demanding. Having everything available in a single trivially editable digital format is significantly more versatile so now I only use paper to-do lists for short term items and information.

Onenote is amazing but the absence of interoperability sucks. I have used it on and off for years, eventually exported everything and was all the happier for it. Unique features like infinite canvas are not that helpful, it turns out.

Inline calculation was neat.

Microsoft dependence is a drawback for sure but since I'm using the OS already it's a minor negative. Where it shows up the most for me is the disparity between integration with Edge and the Office suite vs Firefox.

Did you export straight into Obsidian? Or was it more involved than that? Is there anything major that you miss beyond little QoL features like calculation? I might start a new page of notes in preparation for adding it to my to-do list.

Basically straight to Obsidian, probably via this script, or some predecessor. The worst thing about it was garbled image OCR that got embedded into md files. Not pretty.

I wonder. Everything valuable about Onenote is either implemented natively, or via community plugins, or is a nothingburger. Command palette > OneNote UI. Even drawing is supported okay-ishly now with ExcaliDraw.

Obsidian tables are not as nice. There's no Excel integration (but there is some csv support). There is multi-frame and tabs, but no multi-window. No straightforward OCR. Eh, I can live with that.

For about 13 years, in different forms.

Used to be a physical notebook, with the chronicle of ongoing problems and solutions and dreams and other stuff. Now Obsidian-based pile of Markdown files (primarily). I hope to one day integrate it all – maybe neural networks will soon get up to the task of OCRing my scribbles.

I have a backbone structure in the form of a diary, where I write things I generally do not want to forget or might find valuable to review in a year or more, plus registration of mundane events that might or might not come in handy later (health/security concerns), plus everything else from drafts of Motte posts to documents to code to dumps of web pages, sometimes interlinked for convenience.

All of this is streamlined with templates. The daily template looks like

  • Headline (date, one-line summary)

  • Mission

  • Day Planner section with a more or less precise timetable that is parsed into time tracker with notifications

  • Diary section

  • What I have read (links to files or webpages)

  • What I have written/made (links to files)

The Weekly note template consists of a mission, one-paragraph summary, a table for recurring observations, and expanded links to individual days.

There are independent hierarchies of nested tags and folders, plus some minor structures implemented with dataview.

I believe that my system, like many others of this sort, is a product of path-dependency and cognitive sluggishness, far from optimal for its purposes, so I'm uninterested in providing more details and spreading it. There are communities of people obsessed with journaling, GTD, Zettelcasten, you name it; they care a great deal about optimizing it, but it doesn't seem to help very much.

Day Planner section with a more or less precise timetable that is parsed into time tracker with notifications

Interesting, how does the notification system work?

Yeah. I use mine it to mainly yell into the void. There are certain days where certain things bother me to such an extent that only way I can make sense of the situation; is if I force myself to sit down and write out my entire monologue on text as if its a writing I will have to put out into the world. I can write more calmly than I think.

Looking back at my earlier entries since I started in 2017; The quality of my writing has improved a fair bit. Incidentally I started getting all A's (used to get B's) in essay based courses after I started effort posting on the motte (Early 2020). Kind of a lame and too good to be true sounding anecdote, but it totally happened and no one will believe me if I told them.

Incidentally I started getting all A's (used to get B's) in essay based courses after I started effort posting on the motte (Early 2020). Kind of a lame and too good to be true sounding anecdote, but it totally happened and no one will believe me if I told them.

I think the same happened with me. Part of it is just practice, but the thing I was most conscious of while writing college essays was thinking "if I posted this confidently on themotte it would get torn apart in the replies" (my standards for posting on the rest of reddit are far lower in comparison).

I've always found "my fake internet friends will think I'm stupid if I screw this up," to be a much stronger motivator for good writing than grades.

That's pretty inane, I much prefer my prime motivation for writing well. "Someone is wrong on the internet, now I need to dunk on them as eloquently as possible".

Definitely a strong motivator that one.

Not as strong as that girl from college who totally remembers you exist watching you lift (while being on the other side of the country).

Weirdly, I use a spreadsheet with columns for various things I keep numbers on (lifts, dinner, garden, weather, animals, purchases, etc). It works surprisingly well.

When I go work out I take notes regarding my lifts, form, and how I feel in a given day. It's about as close as I'll ever get to journaling I think. Been taking dates since August, so not very long, but it's pretty helpful for figuring out what I should be doing and how to best approach the gym on a given day.

I tried to keep a journal. Did it for 3-5 years very off and on, just wrote about my day and general updates. Did a physical notebook, wasn't very helpful.

I've been doing another notebook for a dream journal for about 6 months and am much more consistent with it. Plus I remember my dreams more which is fun.

What does EA mean? I've seen a few people use the term but I guess I'm out of the loop. (Not electronic arts I don't think).

Probably Effective Altruism, a kind of meta-charity that seeks to find the most bang for your charity buck. The posts were about a recent scandal surrounding one of its backers, Sam Bankman-Fried and his company FTX.

How does moderation work now? Someone copied a controversial-sounding Twitter thread on phrenology and it got nuked. While I do think it was annoying and potentially a troll/shit-stirrer, I'm not sure what to think about things just disappearing.

Typically ban evasion is the reason for nuking posts and comments.

Not to be defeatist, but is ban evasion really solvable? Twitter's been in the news for months for its bot problem, and they had a ton more resources to solve it than this website, which doesn't even require email addresses. How do you stop someone from hopping onto a VPN while incognito and starting new accounts? I guess you can try to infer through whatever limited data you can gather from user agent?

I've never moderated a website so am just speculating. But my layman's perspective is that it seems far more practical just to delete posts because they intrinsically violate site rules as opposed to being suspected ban evaders.

We have some major advantages over Twitter:

  1. We have far less content to moderate. I'd also guess that our ratio of moderators:content is at least two orders of magnitude better than Twitter's, and possibly even three orders of magnitude better.

  2. Most banned users aren't trying too hard. Twitter is a big platform and lot of people want to be on it. This is a tiny tiny platform that only a few hundred people want to be on. We had rdrama users trying to come over for the first few weeks, but consistent banning and removal of troll content mostly solved the problem.

  3. Some of the banned users that are trying hard seem unable to avoid outting themselves. If we ban a user that can't stop talking about a particular topic, and then notice a new user account created the next day that also loves to talk about the same topic ... well things can be pretty obvious.

There might be a group of banned users that comes back under different aliases and successfully hide. And they don't break any of the same rules that got them a ban in the first place. Idk, I guess I feel like "mission accomplished" if that is what happens. We aren't trying to punish people with bans, we are trying to reform, and permabans take place for two reasons: we think you are beyond reform, or we are trying to protect the community from extremely bad behavior (for example we are generally going to nuke any accounts that post CP).

Yeah I'm moderately pissed that my comments disappear without forewarning or mod ping.

I silently lost one here, too. It was a request for update on the worker’s strike; I assume the level of effort was too low?

(@)johnfabian: Will you be making another report on the Ontario strikes? It sounds like they have seen an effect. I’d like to hear your impressions if you attended.

@cjet79 would you mind confirming?

That's my bad I removed that and had a message typed up, but never sent it. Basically what you wrote was too short for a top level post, I'd suggest just using the message feature instead of posting a top level comment in the culture war thread.

Thanks. Will do.

Which comments? I don't see any removed comments on your profile from the last month.

A branch here is purged and my comments are only visible through my profile. Same here. It's not technically a deletion, but responses to deleted/hidden posts are non-discoverable within the thread. We seemingly don't have the old reddit mechanic where [deleted] was a legitimate node.

Ugh, yeah, that kinda sucks. I don't think I've ever noticed it because mods can see deleted comments, so I just never got the opportunity to realize that was happening. Sorry 'bout that.

I've got a bug filed and I'm hoping I can get to this soonish, but it may be a bit, I'm afraid.

I'll bring it to zorba/the devs attention. I guess I don't really know the expected behavior there.

Not a fan of comments being removed. A bad post with a warning allows for discussion at least. OP would have limited opportunity to make bad posts anyways.

The forum should aim to maximise discussion given its position (much lower new user inflow than reddit).

In almost all cases, comments are either removed by virtue of the poster deleting them, or by virtue of us removing a ban evader. We have one annoyingly persistent evader right now (they're up to 15 separate accounts last I checked, most of which want to talk about the Jews, although there's been one lately which entertained me because he started complaining about how the community is obsessed with the Jews) and it would not surprise me if they alone are responsible for most of the removed comments in the last month or so.

I mostly want to inconvenience them and make it unfun to rejoin, but it's possible we're inconveniencing ourselves more than we should be in the process.

A moderation log does exist. In this particular case, though, it does not seem that the moderator (@Amadan) listed a reason for removal.

So, what are you reading?

I'm reading The Picture of Dorian Gray. Have never managed to get past the beginning.

I read The Picture of Dorian Gray maybe 15 years ago. I recall it being equal parts boring and pointless.

Edit: Below someone says it made a big impression on them. I guess it really shows different strokes for different folks. What a waste of paper and my time that book was.

Blood Meridian. Dorian Gray is on my shelf waiting to be read.

Just started Augustine's Confessions. Last book was Runaway Horses.

Two of my all time favorites. What did you think of runaway horses?

Amazing. Spring Snow was very good, but Runaway Horses was even better, perhaps because it draws so closely to the events of Mishima's life. I'm tempted to write an effortpost on my thoughts on it. I'm looking forward to reading Temple of Dawn, but I've heard that it and Decay of the Angel aren't as well-regarded.

Please do! I haven't read Mishima in years now and I'd love love love to think about it again.

Just found out yesterday that there's a new Mistborn book out, so I picked that up tonight. Really looking forward to it!

Still on Anne Rice's vampire novels. I'm on the fifth now and it's a noticeable drop in quality, I may stop on this one if it doesn't get better soon.

How did you find Flowers for Algernon? I remember it being very sad, particularly towards the end where Charlie goes to a lesson just like at the beginning of the book and his teacher runs out crying after realizing he had reverted to his old self. I also thought the author exaggerated or maybe found it hard to portray Charlie as being smart in a convincing way at his peak, especially implying he had learnt several languages during the experiment (which took less than a year iirc). This felt silly and the book would have been stronger without it.

Less intellectual or darkly funny than I hoped it would be, given the humour at the beginning. Played heavily on sentiment. Felt a lot like a myth. Can't say it stirred much sympathy in me, but the portrait of the less intelligent was memorable, so it might become a counterweight to careless thoughts about intelligence in the future.

It gets credit for making the smart Charlie genuinely fascinating in his prose and focus, though it took some time for the writer to prove that he could write such a character. I think I would have liked to see this character play a more independent role. He was inspiring if cynical when he was being himself, unpleasant when he was crazy, dull when he was letting his life be owned by others.

Charlie whisking away Algernon, the quiet parts with Fay and his work were the best parts. Overall, eh. Can see why it's a classic. Seems like a book that I'll likely return to when I'm more interested in its themes, but it felt a lot like those sentimental sci-fi movies that pop up every now and then. Maybe it set the example. Either way, it managed to reach some heights, so it was worth the time.

I encourage you to stick with that book, it made a huge impression on me as a young man.

I am currently reading The Living Reed by Pearl S. Buck. I have a nearly complete set of Pearl Buck novels, which were previously my mother's, which were previously her mother's. There's something kind of neat about being the third generation of my family to read Pearl S. Buck; there's nothing specific about us or our history that would push us to do this. I just like it. I really appreciate Buck's virtuous characters, wide dramas, and honest, deep exploration of other cultures.

By the way: has anyone reading this ever read the works of Edward Rutherfurd? If so - would you recommend them?

After seeing many quotes from it on the Motte, I started reading Chesterton's Orthodoxy. Coming from an atheist POV, it's style of thinking is quite alien but refreshing at the same time. A few years ago I would have dismissed it as nonsense sophistry, but the excerpts made sense in the contexts where I saw them quoted, so I approach it with some benefit of the doubt and some more understanding of this flavor of writing.

Personally I'm pretty open to his ideas (leaning somewhat conservative and low-key wishing someone could explain Christianity in a way where I can accept it), but I found his arguments baffling and nonsensical on closer inspection. I had much more luck with CS Lewis's Mere Christianity. I'm glad it worked for you though!

He has a nice simile at the start about a man who set to the sea, got in a storm after a while, reached land and found wonderful things then realized he actually ended up back home not on a foreign land. Chesterton claims that he had thought he discovered something new, but then realized that it was just Christianity all along. Color me skeptical.

After nearly 2 thousand years there had been so many things said in so many ways, including contradictory in the name of Christianity that I doubt it's something as singular that someone can rediscover it. Too much path dependency.

The way I now make sense of Christianity as a non believer is that it's a framework, a toolkit, a vocabulary, a language. Like a musical instrument. It's possible to play many different songs, though only within limits and at the frontiers the instrument starts playing the musician. That is, the constraints of the system will not allow fully arbitrary expression. You can package lots of different types of wisdom in a Christian framework. Though not everything, and as you are busy shaping your message into Christian form, your thought also adapts and the path you follow ends up winding in a particular way.

It's like CBT guidelines passed down from the ancients. Or similar to the idea of divination or the anecdote wherein someone flips a coin to make a decision but instead of checking the result he pick whichever option he hoped for in the moment before the coin dropped.

Chesterton's fiction is also great. The Man Who Was Thursday was a kind of masterpiece. His Father Brown was good, though I only read a few of the stories.

I’m a recently re-reborn Christian. I was raised a mix of Protestant, agnostic, and none. I later became a non-Catholic Catholic, then a Catholic convert, then nothing, then somewhat Episcopalian, and nothing. Recently, I’ve really rediscovered my faith. I’ve started reading the Bible, and reading/listening/watching a lot of apologetics stuff. I’ve tried a couple churches, too. So, I have some questions:

  1. I attended a non-denominational church this morning for the first time. From their website and what I’ve seen about them, it seems to me like it is of the conservative and evangelical variety. That’s good. That’s what I want. But the more I didn’t, I can’t find anything firm beyond the “sola scriptura,” Grace by faith, stuff. No comments on LGBT issues or abortion. By contrast, there are some local churches that are very explicitly evangelical and conservative, though they approach it in a conservative way. Is this lack of clarity the norm for non-denominational churches? I’ve looked up reviews for the church, but those are all over the place.

  2. With that said, how much does denomination really matter? Of course, if a church is Catholic, Orthodox, Reformed, etc it matters. But within, say, Arminian Protestantism (meaning non-reformed) does it REALLY matter as long as you believe the basics?

  3. Any book recommendations (or podcasts or articles) on apologetics, denominational difference, converting, or similar topics?

  4. Any denominational recommendations? I want a Bible-believing, conservative-ish, evangelical-ish, church. I like churches with groups. I like ones that help the community. I like both traditional and contemporary services, too.

Thanks in advance.

It sounds like you have commitment issues.

In my mind, it's key to commit to a church and stick to it. Be a Catholic. It's not that difficult.

Hi, I have a couple of thoughts for you on this. Re: #1, yes churches can be very cagey about that stuff. If you read a lot of the doctrines/statements of faith that they publicly post, it's astonishing actually how similar they can be on the surface.

It's no secret that polarization has hit the church as much as anywhere else. Some pastors have gone all-in on one political side or the other, and many, many more pastors try to walk a tightrope so as not to alienate anyone. I've found the only real way to know is to go and visit and see what the vibe is. Or you can at least start by emailing the pastor about questions or issues that are important to you, and see how they respond.

On your other questions, it's hard to answer because it's really such a personal decision and so much depends on the local community. I do think overall, unless you take a hard stance on certain questions, the question of denomination does not matter as much as things like small versus large church, worship style, member engagement (small group Bible study, volunteers), and community outreach/service.

Although, as a Christian who I believe takes the Bible seriously, just make sure it's a place that teaches the Bible above all else. Christian nationalism is not a Biblically defensible stance and neither is prosperity gospel stuff or the pastors who give the hard sell on giving. I'm a deconstructionist and an exvangelical, and if I may warn you to be discerning there - just because it's my home turf and I know the pitfalls. Too many non-denom evangelical churches get a nasty case of tunnel vision. Read stuff that's over 100 years old. Heck, read stuff that wasn't written in our current political moment. With two millennia of tradition and Christian theology and philosophy, it's inexcusable when a church wants to treat tradition as if it's a dirty word, when in fact evangelicals are as beholden to tradition as anyone else, they just don't recognize it.

FWIW, you may have seen this but here's a quiz to help you choose a denomination.

Here's a handy chart although this is Protestant only:

Here is an article with probably more information than you wanted to know:

TLDR; visit churches in several denominations. Listen. Meet people. Find one where you feel comfortable, and get plugged in to a regular small group for Bible study or prayer. Commit to volunteering and loving your neighbor. Go to a church service to receive blessing as well as bless others. Go in God's grace.

here's a quiz to help you choose a denomination

Man, I knew this was going to be funny, but we didn't even get past the first question.

The One True God is Triune.

(God is three people in one God)


Yes, God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


No, only God the Father is really God, Jesus is created.

No other options. Fantastic.

I don't know how to ask it in a fanciful way, so: How can I be more evil and self-centered? I've basically sacrificed myself multiple times, halting my own life to help others (7 years to finish a BSc for being an active participant in a family problem) and I've received... Nothing. I've even had people refuse invitations for dinner, at my expense, because they're "soooooooooo busy" even though their social media reveal a very different schedule, one where I am not present.

Then I remembered during college we had a Physics Lab and decided to be a total dick as an experiment: disrespecting other, uneven workload, stumping my feet when others didn't do things my way, I was really disgusted at myself and thought other saw me as an asshole... and then I received lots of compliment for "my leadership", for having "a tough attitude but worthwhile the pain" (I'm copy-pasting literal text here). Are people retarded? Am I? Are they masochists? Was I taught wrongly and this is actually a positive role model? I don't really understand this social dynamics.

All advice is autobiographical. Which is the most obvious statement ever but that didn't stop Scott from having rediscovered it from first principles.

Your natural temperament might be far too agreeable and advice of "be more disagreeable" is made for you.

Social dynamics is very multi-factorial. Being an "asshole" worked in that context, with you, with those people, in that time, for that task with that exact position of the moons and the stars. Be wary about extrapolating too much insight from it.

I don't know if this qualifies as a "dark art" but as for being a "leader" there is something that will actually guarantee you get away with that every single time. Just be better at the shared task than everyone else. And be made sure to be seen working more than them.

Why do you conflate "self-centered" with "evil"? Those are very different. You can be focused on yourself without harming anyone - actually quite the opposite. Usually when you focus and better yourself you can pull along your loved ones, either by example or by gaining the means to help them (e.g., financially). I think the first step is to really hammer that in.

Another thing to consider is that nobody likes a covert contract. You can read more about this in the book No More Mr. Nice Guy, which is usually recommended in red pill circles for good reason. Actually, just read the book - it's not gospel, but it helps. I mention this because you said:

I've basically sacrificed myself multiple times, halting my own life to help others [...] and I've received... Nothing.

Which is a classic example of a covert contract. You did something, gave up quite a lot, and expected something in return. Did you ever mention that to anyone? What were you expecting? If the other party to your contract isn't even aware of it, how can they be expected to act on their side of this unstated contract? These kinds of things should be talked about, ahead of time, otherwise you can't expect anything in return.

Was I taught wrongly and this is actually a positive role model?

Yeah, probably. It's good to be assertive.