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Am I an acceptable poster for theMotte.org?

Hi, I'm a long time reader of Slate Star Codex and I used to post on the Reddit forum until I got banned. There are a few reasons that I believe I got banned.

  1. Uncharitably claiming that Leftist censorship was a threat to the rationalist community

  2. Advocating for violence

  3. Not being kind

I understand why all of these things could have been a problem on the Reddit community, but I would like to know if they're still going to be a problem here, since I don't want to invest a lot of time creating a profile and having good-faith discussions with people if I'm only going to be banned again. Here are the reasons that I think these three issues shouldn't be a problem anymore.

  1. I was right, and everybody who disagreed with me was wrong. The fact that the community had to move here proves it. I'm not expecting an apology but I think that time has proven me correct on that score.

  2. Violence is a completely justifiable response to tyranny. While calls to violence may be against Reddit rules (and the community was right to ban me from Reddit because my rhetoric could have caused problems for the mods) there are no such rules here. In fact, rdrama (which helped set up this offsite community, and whom you should all be grateful to) actively encourages calls to violence. If a rational and logical case can be made for violence then I think there is no good reason not to hear that case out. If you're forced to censor people you disagree with because you're unable to make a stronger case for pacifism over violence in the open marketplace of ideas, then you should question whether your pacifism is actually a worthwhile philosophy.

  3. Kindness and truth are different terminal values. If you optimize for kindness then it is self-evident that you will have to sacrifice truth at some point. Obviously the Reddit community has chosen kindness as its terminal value, but I'm hoping that this offsite community is enlightened enough to choose truth.

I'm linking to a few articles from my Substack here so you have a few examples of my style of writing and can make a better judgement about whether I would be a good fit for the offsite community. I'm also on rdrama where my username is sirpingsalot. If you think I'm not a good fit for the offsite either, then no hard feelings - I'm happy to take my ideas to more sympathetic communities instead. I just don't want to put in the effort of investing time and energy here if I'm only going to get banned again for the same reasons.

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If you optimize for kindness then it is self-evident that you will have to sacrifice truth at some point.

I don't think it is self-evident. It would be only self-evident if you were forced to express opinion on every subject where expressing a truthful opinion in a kind manner is impossible. But I suspect a number of such subjects is not that large. Also, experience teaches me that at least some people who claim they are rude because they optimize for truth if fact are just optimizing for rudeness because they feel it makes them look cool or powerful truth fighters, not some weaklings that have to be polite. I'm not saying this applies to you, but one needs to be aware of this frequent failure mode.

I have disagreed with this person in the past but I respect him not holding back in his writings.

I find online calls to violence not morally abhorrent, but uninteresting and discrediting as an online argument. It's perfectly possible that I'm the one and only terminally online pussy who wandered into a forum full of hardened experts in gorilla warfare. But I highly suspect that this isn't true. Claiming in a pseudonymous online forum to be a psychopath ready to murder your way to the top isn't really productive.

If you want to suggest that war is good, that violence is good, that revolution is necessary fine. But don't go around claiming you're going to do it, or that you're going to win, because you're not.

I'm gonna be that guy and suggest you mean "guerilla" warfare

It's a deliberate reference to the Navy Seal copypasta. But in a sense, you are correct.

Well now I feel uncool for only being sort of aware of the Navy Seal copypasta, at least not enough to catch the reference first time round. Here, have this bit of internet humor I am familiar with

Hey now, online pussies shoot up places all the time

Yeah, but online pussies outside of the USA generally don't have guns.

Do they form and lead organized movements or do they /self with ideological garnishes?

But don't go around claiming you're going to do it, or that you're going to win, because you're not.

I'm not going to do that, I'm going to spread infohazards to dangerous people and see what happens until I get what I want. Ideas are more powerful than individuals and I can achieve much more by working through others than I ever could on my own

An alternative way to frame this is that spreading infohazards is good for people near the bottom of society but bad for those near the top, since higher societal instability is like heating up a bubbling cauldron of soup - the increased volatility makes it more likely that ingredients at the bottom will bubble up to the top.

Watch "Mr. Robot" TV show. a) it's great; b) shows things going the other way around than you expect, so you might notice sth you haven't considered.

Then by your own metrics, the best thing someone could do is shoot you in the head, since you are a self-declared sociopath who has no scruples about destroying society since it won't give you what you believe you deserve.

Do you see why this is not a good model for running a society, or do you really think "Yeah, sure, shoot the people I don't like in the head, works for me!"

I used to post on the Reddit forum

I was right, and everybody who disagreed with me was wrong.

You and every other Redditor.

I was right, and everybody who disagreed with me was wrong.

I'll tell you something for nothing - going into anywhere with that attitude is only going to end up with friction and it'll all end in tears. Maybe you were right and everybody else was wrong, but were you a pain in the arse about it? Because if you steam into a debate with "I'm the only sensible person who knows the truth here and the rest of you are a bunch of sheeple", I for one will roll up my sleeves and have an argument with you even if the topic is "is grass green" and you said "yes it is".

Start off with an aggressive, oppositional stance and that sets the tone for replies.

In fact, rdrama (which helped set up this offsite community, and whom you should all be grateful to) actively encourages calls to violence.

They do it in an exaggerated, satirical, parodic style. Nobody should take it seriously. On the other hand, if you are going all-in on "The tree of liberty is watered with the blood of tyrants" over a stupid Internet slap fight, then you are cutting a rod to beat your own back.

I'm hoping that this offsite community is enlightened enough to choose truth

And the big question here is: what is truth? Who decides? How do we decide? Why should I think you are telling the truth, rather than pushing your partisan opinion in a maximally objectionable manner?

Welcome aboard for discussion, debate and yes, even an amount of shouting and banging your fist on the table, but if you're coming in here with "I will be rude, call for the heads of my enemies on spikes, and generally stomp around claiming I'm the only one with the brains and the guts to know the truth while everyone else is spineless and would rather be nice even if that means lying - but nobody should hold me accountable for my behaviour, because it is all in the service of TRUTH", then you will get objections to that.

To adapt a quotation from Lewis' "The Four Loves":

But the domestic Rudesby means something quite different when he claims liberty to say "anything." Having a very imperfect sort of Affection himself, or perhaps at that moment none, he arrogates to himself the beautiful liberties which only the fullest Affection has a right to or knows how to manage. He then uses them spitefully in obedience to his resentments; or ruthlessly in obedience to his egoism; or at best stupidly, lacking the art. And all the time he may have a clear conscience. He knows that Affection takes liberties. He is taking liberties. Therefore (he concludes) he is being affectionate. Resent anything and he will say that the defect of love is on your side. He is hurt. He has been misunderstood.

"Oh! I thought this place cared about truth? But I see I was mistaken - you only want to be nice" when someone calls you out on being rude doesn't mean "I'm in the right and they're in the wrong", it means "You're being an asshole".

EDIT: I read a couple of your Substack articles and while I would like to be in general agreement with you, as a conservative myself, man you're an idiot. You write a manifesto about revolution and overthrowing the incompetent elites and installing a true meritocracy - "it was simply a calculated and very strategic attempt to overthrow an unjust system that discriminates against ambitious and intelligent people like myself". Well, great. The Great Day has come, the top 20 ruler slots are filled by the truly deserving on merit. And you're one of them. Now, what about numbers 21-40 who are also smart and ambitious, but didn't get one of the slots? Well, by your own metric, their rational self-interest means that if they want to gain the rewards they feel that they have earned on True and Pure Merit, then they should revolt against you in turn and drag you down and kill you.

And so we get the French Revolution, where the ideals of True And Pure Merit turned into the Terror, and those who were sending people to the guillotine last week were being carted off in tumbrils themselves this week. Yeah, that's going to make for a stable society! Sorry, but this is stupid. As a revenge fantasy about how you'll show them, you'll show them all! it's cathartic but it won't work in reality.

EDIT EDIT: And a second article brings me to the conclusion that you are one of the incompetent kids of the rich elites ("My ex-wife ... so that she could exploit my family’s wealth") who don't deserve what you have and should be pulled down so a poor but smart deserving person gets what you have on True and Pure Merit, not by being a nepo baby like you (" ruler parents working hard to ensure that their own kids grow up to claim ruler positions...held by worthless idiots who attained their positions either through affirmative action or through nepotism ...their children, who constantly have an unfair advantage over you".

"But I really am smart and deserve what I have!" Yes, and so say all the people your other article dismisses as the worthless beneficiaries of nepotism. "No, my family isn't one of those rich ruler elites, it's someone else!" It's always someone else, it's always different when it comes to me. Cis straight white male from a background of wealth? Check your privilege, as they say. Into the tumbril with you, aristo!

But an NPC never feels guilt over their behavior because in their mind they are always the hero of their own story.

"I was right, and everybody who disagreed with me was wrong. The fact that the community had to move here proves it. I'm not expecting an apology but I think that time has proven me correct on that score." "Society mistreats neurodivergent people like me, and until society adjusts its attitude towards people like me and starts treating us better, I feel zero obligation to contribute to society’s well-being: I prioritize my own well-being first and feel no shame over this choice."

NPC or Quest Hero? Let the people decide (it's the True And Pure Meritocratic Way)!

man you're an idiot

Don't do that, you know better.

I honestly can't find a better way to describe him. He writes an entire Substack that is self-contradictory ("my ex-wife tried to exploit me because my family is wealthy; I'm smarter and better than everyone else and should be in one of the top twenty slots ruling the world" versus "hi, I'm an ordinary guy like you, the rich only get rich by exploiting everyone else and promoting their dumb kids into jobs they don't deserve, so rise up and pull them down and take over yourself!")

He's metaphorically putting his own head on the chopping block - 'you feel you have been cheated out of what you deserve? burn it down!' while 'I should have one of the top slots' meaning that for the person under him to get the slot, that person should burn him down.

How else would you describe "kill them all - including me" but not recognising that is what you are calling for except as idiotic? And who behaves idiotically? An idiot.

I honestly can't find a better way to describe him.

Don't give me that. You know, at the very least, the difference between "This argument is idiotic" and "You're an idiot." I didn't warn you because I disagree with your assessment; there are a lot of people I think are idiots and/or raging assholes, but if someone calls them an idiot and/or a raging asshole, I'm going to mod them because that's not allowed.

That's the mod policy, fair enough, go ahead. But I'm not shifting on this. It's not merely that the argument is bad - all of us can make a bad argument now and again - it's the entire attitude. I've read through his Substack and merciful God. If I expand on the impression that made on me as to this person's character, intellect, and likelihood of ending up ruining a lot of lives, "idiot" is going to be the mildest epithet I attach to them.

All of which notwithstanding, you are perfectly within your rights to smack me over the knuckles for it.

EDIT: And I won't even try seeing how near I can step up to the line with "If it's okay to say 'this argument is idiotic', can I say 'this argument could only have been constructed by an idiot'? I mean, I'm not directly saying 'you are an idiot'?" 😁 I don't mess around with word games and rules lawyering like that.

@Amadan is moderating you for tone, not content. Please let's not get into the «but this particular idiot is such an idiot I deserve lenience for my tone» once again. Sure, bureaucracy is not without its pitfalls, but legible and respected laws are valuable. Normalizing ad hominems at such fringes is only the first step to the collapse of decency across the board.

You can easily express your distaste and condemnation for his entire attitude without setting yourself up by using a direct insult.

Moreover he's clearly not an idiot in terms of raw intellect. This really isn't the problem here.

I'll tell you something for nothing - going into anywhere with that attitude is only going to end up with friction and it'll all end in tears. Maybe you were right and everybody else was wrong, but were you a pain in the arse about it? Because if you steam into a debate with "I'm the only sensible person who knows the truth here and the rest of you are a bunch of sheeple", I for one will roll up my sleeves and have an argument with you even if the topic is "is grass green" and you said "yes it is".

This is what I mean when I say kindness took precedence to truth in the old sub. When it turns out over time that I was right and other people were wrong, I expect them to be humble and admit it. If their pride takes precedence over the truth, and it's more important for them to stubbornly avoid admitting that they were wrong rather than conceding error, then I'm going to hurt them really badly until their survival instinct kicks in and they learn to prioritize facts over their hurt feelings. For example, if you don't like that I said "the grass is green" because you previously said it was blue, and I rubbed it in your face later when I was proven right, so you prefer to continue arguing with me about the color of the grass even though we both know you're wrong, then my position is that you will eventually admit the grass is green when we elect somebody who starts executing people who don't believe in the color of the grass. In other words, objective truth is more important to me than either your ego or your life. I don't see any value in the continued existence of people who are unable to admit when they're wrong because their pride takes precedence over the truth.

Am I going to attack people that way here, on this specific website? No, of course not. This is just my general philosophy of life. On this specific sub, I'm here to have fun. That means I will be polite and obey all the rules, except for "be kind" which I really can't do since that's a very nebulous and poorly defined metric. (And if the mods can offer a more concrete definition of "kindness" that is not subject to their individual whims then I'm happy to comply with "Be Kind" also. For example, you calling me a "moron" seems very unkind, but I notice no mods are stepping in to punish you for that. So I would like a definition of "kindness" that is more clear and precise so that instead of having that rule be selectively weaponized against me, it will be weaponized against everybody equally.) Instead, I will attack my enemies indirectly by supporting politicians who dog-whistle for their deaths, as well as promoting ideologies offsite that are inimical to their continued existence. Like I said, I'm not here to spread propaganda, I have plenty of other places where I can do that. I'm here for fun, and hopefully to learn something. But I don't like people who can't admit that they were wrong just because they think I'm a big meanie, and those people are my enemies. Are you capable of sharing a website with somebody who is your enemy as long as they agree to be polite and play by the same rules you do? Are you capable of even sharing a world with that person? These are important questions to ask.

Now my question is, can the Motte handle this attitude, or is "kindness" (whatever the hell that means) more important than honesty and truthfulness? I would like a mod to weigh in, because I don't feel like investing my time here if I'm just going to be banned again. If the mods don't feel that I'd be a good fit, then no hard feelings - I'll spend my time elsewhere.

You have not given any examples of how you are smarter and better. Your descriptions of what happened in your personal life could be easily read another way, in favour of the other person.

If you start off with "Punch me in the nose, I dare you" then you have no right to be surprised or offended when you get punched in the nose.

In other words, objective truth is more important to me than either your ego or your life.

No, your ego is nore important to you than objective truth. Objective truth does not require that people accept it; it is enough to be correct. "I am correct and you must admit it" is the ego speaking.

Objective truth does not require that people accept it; it is enough to be correct. "I am correct and you must admit it" is the ego speaking.

Not really. In a democracy other people's opinions directly affect you and yours. In a forum that aspires to implement the "better" parts of democracy the same applies, as far as not having your opinions silenced in various ways goes.

So if there's a substantial number of people who'd rather argue that grass isn't green than admit that they were wrong, your options are a) use democratic means to crush them, b) switch to a less democratic political system where their wrong opinions don't matter, or c) vote with your feet towards a community that's more amenable to a or b.

  • For example, you calling me a "moron" seems very unkind, but I notice no mods are stepping in to punish you for that

Technically, she called you an idiot, and no one said anything until we (I) noticed it. Now I have - are you satisfied?

I have to say, now that I know you who are (I had my suspicions before), that if you follow your previous patterns, yes, you will probably wind up banned. Of course, you do have the option of changing your behavior so that doesn't happen. Hope springs eternal.

But this rather self-centered thread you started just to try to secure some sort of assurance from us that you can say whatever you want however you want without being banned does not bode well for your willingness to conform to community norms. The rules are, for the most part, pretty much the same as they were in the old sub, we just don't have to worry about AEO slapping us down because we let people be a little too forthright in their opinions on CW topics.

Thank you for appreciating the shades of distinction between "moron", "cretin" and "idiot". He's not a moron, he's smart. In a dumb way. Where he thinks showing off how he is sociopathic is somehow clever and impressive. Or perhaps that we will be intimidated by the veiled threat of drawing his ire upon us unless we fawn and slobber over him.

(I don't know why I'm writing in sentence fragments recently, I must have read something that affected my prose style).

OK, thanks for the candid assessment. I'll go elsewhere, no hard feelings.

Society mistreats neurodivergent people like me, and until society adjusts its attitude towards people like me and starts treating us better, I feel zero obligation to contribute to society’s well-being:

Without having to open the substack, I knew the moment I saw this who OP is.

The main issue with any argument about the perceived legitimacy of violence is that it will cause whatever site you’re on to eventually shut down.

The main issue with any argument about the perceived legitimacy of violence is that it will cause whatever site you’re on to eventually shut down.

No it won't. There's plenty of calls on right-leaning websites to do it, and nobody shuts them down. If calls to violence on the internet were such a big deal, then January 6th couldn't have happened.

In the past, when we lived in a society dominated by the Left, then calls to violence were indeed forbidden (at least, calls to violence against the Left - it was perfectly acceptable to threaten and smear the Right for some reason). But we live in a new world order where the old rules no longer apply, and the taboo against violence has eroded rapidly. My only question is whether the Motte is playing by the rules of the old paradigm, or the new paradigm? I mean obviously I don't plan to call for violence here since rationalists aren't exactly gun-toting revolutionaries (so using this place as a recruitment ground would be pointless even if I was inclined to do so), but if I feel that violence is the correct and logical solution to a societal problem then I think I should be allowed to discuss the reasons why. If the only tools and methodologies you consider "legitimate" are nonviolent ones, then you're limiting your toolbox substantially (and also being a bit hypocritical).

When were their calls to violence on Jan 6 on the internet? Some private Dms perhaps but it’s not like the proud boys were openly calling for violence on social media.

but if I feel that violence is the correct and logical solution to a societal problem then I think I should be allowed to discuss the reasons why.

You can do that. There are several regular posters who discuss why they think violence is a correct and logical solution.

What you can't do is say "Let me explain why I think we should do violence to this specific group of people," let alone "this specific person."

If you want to talk in generalities about how "the elites" need culling and it's time to water the tree of liberty with blood again, well, as long as you don't cross over into outright fedposting, sure, indulge yourself.

Well, there's always onion address space. Can you even really kick people out of there, apart from hacking them ?

I mean, there's the option of doing IRL violence to the person, either directly or via the state. Dead and imprisoned people rarely post. Does require some means of identifying the person posting, though.

(This is, of course, merely a factual note, not an endorsement.)

People still haven't doxxed such annoying individuals such as e.g. Zero HPL, so staying anonymous is definitely an option.

In fact, rdrama (which helped set up this offsite community, and whom you should all be grateful to) actively encourages calls to violence.

I'm betting either they have limits on this, or they've put a great deal of effort into reinforcing their site against being taken down. It's highly nontrivial to get a functioning website where people can say "Please kill John Doe" in public view, because you can't outsource essentially anything and your principals need to live in the right countries in order to avoid personal legal liability.

Kindness and truth are different terminal values. If you optimize for kindness then it is self-evident that you will have to sacrifice truth at some point. Obviously the Reddit community has chosen kindness as its terminal value, but I'm hoping that this offsite community is enlightened enough to choose truth.

I mean, insofar as the downvote button exists, there is clearly some allowance for truth to override kindness when there is an irreconcilable conflict; they don't seem to be optimising for kindness above truth. But the vast majority of points can be made in a relatively-kind manner.

Kindness and Truth being different terminal values seems like a bit of a Motte to me, where the Bailey is "be as unkind as I feel like being". Introducing yourself via a link to your substack, and in fact introducing yourself at all, also smells to me of an above-average sense of self-importance for a participant on the motte. That, or you're just fishing for clicks.

But

  1. I may be wrong, my impression may be off. Maybe I'm being uncharitable.

  2. You may still be an acceptable poster.

Since you already made a profile, what do you have to lose by just participating?

Since you already made a profile, what do you have to lose by just participating?

Time and effort

Well, I'd like @ZorbaTHut to weigh in on this one, but here are my three cents:

  1. I am not sure who you were on /r/TheMotte, but I frankly do not believe you were banned for "uncharitably claiming that Leftist censorship was a threat to the rationalist community," unless "uncharitably" is doing a lot of work here. (E.g., if what you actually said was something like "Leftists are a bunch of lying liars who lie and we should treat them as the lying filth they are.") People argued then and now that leftist censorship is a threat to the rationalist community, and everyone else, all the time. So your claim that this particular position got you banned is not credible.

  2. Yes, advocating violence is still prohibited. We are a little looser here about allowing people to discuss their accelerationist fantasies, and we're less worried about hypothetical discussions or predictions of political violence, but fedposting or explicitly threatening (or wishing) to harm others is still not allowed.

  3. Be kind is still a rule. It's probably our most frequently broken and least enforced rule, but yes, you are still required to at least pretend to be making an effort at kindness even if your terminal goal is truth. So if what you're really asking is "Can I say things like 'You're an ignorant crazy retard' because it's true?", no, you cannot. "Can I say things like, leftists are vile lying scum because it's true?" No, you cannot. Can you give me some other example of a "true" statement you are afraid would get you banned because it's unkind?

Is @ZorbaTHut the moderator who would make a ruling here? If so, then yes, I would appreciate if he could weigh in.

So (ping @Amadan, obviously) I think this is one of those complicated bits where you may not like the outcome.

I think having an official rule for "no calls to violence" is perhaps obsolete. We don't need it, we're not on Reddit anymore. New world! Everything has changed!

But that doesn't mean calls to violence are okay. They've just moved from being "not OK because our hosting site says so" to "mostly not okay as an offshoot of the rest of the rules".

For example, we have

Be no more antagonistic than is absolutely necessary for your argument.

and

Don't attempt to build consensus or enforce ideological conformity.

and

Write like everyone is reading and you want them to be included in the discussion.

A lot of calls-to-violence are going to break one or more of these, and a lot of the calls-to-violence that don't break those are going to end up hitting Egregiously Obnoxious ("no, we are not okay using this as an admitted recruiting ground for terrorists, knock it off".)

So if you want to say "well, in my opinion, the best way to solve this issue is actually some level of violence, in this specific way", then okay, maybe I side-eye you a bit but let it pass. But if you're going with something more like "we should kill all the [outgroup], who's with me" then that's a quick trip to bantown.

And given that you quoted three reasons you got banned, one of which isn't even a thing that we'd ban for so you're probably doing the arrested-for-wearing-a-baseball-cap thing, and clearly have absolutely no plans to change for two of them, I admit I'm more than a bit skeptical that you're going to be providing the carefully-measured "call to violence" that we'd allow.

tl;dr:

Taking your post literally, you're fine and won't be banned! Also, I give it around ten-to-one odds that you'll end up banned.

I guess my summary is:

Kindness and truth are different terminal values. If you optimize for kindness then it is self-evident that you will have to sacrifice truth at some point. Obviously the Reddit community has chosen kindness as its terminal value, but I'm hoping that this offsite community is enlightened enough to choose truth.

that you've misunderstood things. We've chosen discussion as our terminal value. This requires some level of kindness in that people a strata that they can disagree on. This does not require kindness in the sense that entire concepts are banned, because then they couldn't be discussed. However, that does not mean truth wins; you can always come up with a sufficiently antagonistic way to say something true so that you'll end up banned.

Well, no, any one of us mods can make a ruling about whether a post breaks the rules. And there is no "ruling" to be made about whether you can post here. You are welcome to post; whether you think it's worth your time is up to you. If you're hoping Zorba will contradict me and say "No, actually, we'll change the rules just for you," I suppose that's possible, but I doubt it.

I asked him to weigh in because he's better at explaining his intentions for the sub and why the rules are the way they are.

Yes, advocating violence is still prohibited.

Maybe this rule has more nuance? If I wrote something to the effect of: "Murderers should be arrested, even if they resist arrest.", I am advocating violence, but I don't think I'd be scolded on this forum for that expression.

Well, yes, I'm not going to spell out every possible interpretation of "advocating violence" because we use a reasonable standard with our human judgment, we don't try to anticipate every loophole a pedantic rules lawyer might try to exploit.

Most people know what we mean when we say "You may not advocate violence," and if someone is unclear, we'll explain it to them.

Advocating that the state use its monopoly on violence against those who are the reason for that monopoly in the first place? Sounds like a rational position to me.

Calling for crimes to be committed (which inherently includes asking for consensus) is bad, prohibited, and different from the former.

Calling for crimes to be committed (which inherently includes asking for consensus) is bad, prohibited, and different from the former.

Rather than having this glaring asymmetry (it's okay to cheer for violence sanctioned by our current rulers, but not for violence not sanctioned by them), it would be better if we could (follow/go back to) the interpretation that you shouldn't call to any action at all. Argue the consequences of depersonalised actions ("if the state arrests all the murderers, things happen and then utopia", "if every responsible citizen went and beat their local CoD player half-dead, things happen and then utopia"), sure, but no deontological prescriptions ("the state ought to arrest all the murderers", "you should go and beat up a CoD player").

This makes sense to me.