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[META] Out Of The Frying Pan, Into A Different Frying Pan

We have somehow survived another move.

I feel like a broken record here, but, seriously, good job everyone, and thanks. While the moderators of a community are important, the community simply doesn't exist without its members. Y'all came over here and kept on posting, and that's exactly what we needed.

With luck, this is going to be the last move we ever need to make; we have our own domain and servers, we're no longer really existing with any specific other person's permission.

We are, however, not out of the woods.

I mentioned during some of the original Reddit-exodus posts that I had a serious medium-term worry about userbase. We've cut ourselves off from the Reddit pipeline and that means we're in danger of slowly eroding away; people will always leave the community and right now we don't have a good way of getting new users. We wouldn't be the first community to do so! Every community needs an influx of people, and now we need to figure out the right way to manage that.

So I now have a few requests, ordered roughly by how comfortable I am asking it.

First: Send links to people that you think will be interested. If you know someone looking for political discussion, send them a link to the site as a whole; if there's a specific post you think they'll be interested in, link that. Remember that we have The Vault, which has unfortunately gone a bit neglected while I worked on this changeover. Please don't spam anyone - I don't want anyone just posting links to our front page on a hundred subreddits - but if you have a good opportunity, either regarding friends or communities that you're an established member of, take it.

Second: Propose places that might be willing to do a link trade. I'm planning to reach out to a bunch of subreddits shortly and see if they're willing to crosslink, especially places that are serious-political-discussion-adjacent in the hopes that we can draw off that section of their population and both be better off for it. If you have personal connections you can bring it up to them yourself, otherwise just let me know and I'll see what I can do. I expect a low success rate but even a low success rate might be pretty dang valuable.

(And don't limit this to subreddits! There's a number of good communities out there that aren't on the big social sites.)

Third: If you have time, help out. We have a dev server that you can join if you want to work on a huge number of pending issues, and it's thanks to the people on this server that we've had such a constant flow of updates, fixes, and tweaks. If you're less programmery but more editorial, we do have a lot of Vault-related editing that we'd like to get done; this goes faster than you might think. If there's some other skill you have that you think might be valuable, hop on the dev server and send me a message.

And finally, fourth, which is the one that I really hate to ask, but I'm doin' it anyway.

I've set up a Patreon to take donations. If you have spare cash and think this is a worthy destination for it, please chip in.

I'm not sure what this whole "money" thing is going to end up looking like. At the very least this will pay for server costs; any income above that will go into making the site better, in whatever way seems most valuable. I've been thinking about taking out ads in an attempt to pull more users here, for example, and that isn't cheap.

This is going to be very experimental and will probably involve false starts. I'd love to hear suggestions on good ways to spend money on the site - if you have any, let me know - but note that in order to hire programmers we would need a lot of money.

For those who are more crypto-minded, I'm also taking donations via Ethereum (0xa97e126DCEcC7Ea3AF05d252B49c03ae35547dD9) and Bitcoin (bc1qnj0mvg90dfawjq3kxq4wdvcq0ejksgyf2m0xnq). All of these links are on the new (and very primitive) Support page.

I know there's going to be people who think that we left Reddit just so I could cash out. I frankly suspect that even if I just pile all of the results into a giant sack with a dollar sign on it and walk off while cackling evilly, I still won't be making minimum wage, so this would be a terrible plan :V No, I do actually like this community a ton, and want it to keep going, but I can't fund an indefinite amount of stuff on my own. And part of this push is to figure out just how useful this site is to all of you, in order to see what can be justified and what can't be justified.

So there's the ask! If you have connections, use them; if you have time, contribute it; if you have money and want to put it towards this, please provide financial support so I can figure out how to keep the new-user pipeline going.

If you don't, that's cool! Keep on posting and I hope you enjoy your time here.

Finally, this is the new Bugs/Suggestions/Small Comments thread. If you have feedback, post it here! A lot of the stuff in that Pending Issues link up above was submitted by users, and we're getting through it slowly.

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

Just looked through the codebase.. WTF xD....

  • No classes, all functions.. (Routes)

  • No in code documentation at all..

  • rDrama-esque comedy variable names..

  • PEP8 not even once

I mean it works, and that's worth something but the rDrama dev who got this thing running must have been smoking some good shit.

I'll probably try to help fix some of the issues once I familiarize myself with the codebase gonna take a bit.

Yeah it ain't great.

If you enjoy fixing up codebases, I would love:

  • more tests

  • Python type hints

  • fixing some of the massive amounts of copypasted code

There's kind of an unlimited amount of work here, unfortunately, but the good news is that I'm okay with people changing things for long-term benefits.

Hop on the dev discord if you haven't already and want to!

It seems to be that underscores breaks it :V Got a bug posted - once I get time to rotate back to this, I'll get it taken care of :)

I have 42 successfull comments and two additional comments that I made, but do not appear in my profile or in the thread. Lost to the ether. Not a big deal, but indicative of some sort of minor issue.

I'm using Firefox on android. I don't know if this is happening to others or just me. Maybe leaving the culture war roundup thread open for a few hours sometimes breaks my ability to comment? That's the only idea I can come up with.

That's bizarre. Normally I'd say this might be the new-user filter but I'm pretty sure you're well past that threshold.

I take it you hit the "comment" button and it seemed to work, and now they're gone?

Yes. The comments appeared to be posted when I hit the button.

It would be great to have a remind me bot to help people follow up on some of the big predictions we see every day.

We actually had someone with a remindmebot offer to run it here, but the API wasn't working and we weren't sure why; unfortunately I've been dealing with more pressing issues and haven't had time to get it functional.

For some reason I have trouble pasting copied text on my mobile device. Any tips or solutions?

Works fine on Firefox on android.

Well, it works on my phone :V

What problems are you having, and what device/browser are you using?

I’m using chrome on my iPhone 12. For whatever reason when I double click so I can paste, the little “paste” option bubble never pops up. I have no idea why, could just be a glitch on my end

We did have a bug with editing the email field on iPhone 8. I wonder if this is related?

Unfortunately it's kind of impossible for me to debug this, I don't have an iPhone :/

Repeating a request to increase font size through the site. Extremely helpful for viewing on tablets, right now the text is ludicrously small.

Using Firefox on android on a fairly large phone: this font size is just right.

Hrm - don't most browsers have a way to increase font size? I'm not sure if there's a sensible way we can detect "is a tablet", unfortunately, and I'm also not sure there's a clean way to increase font size globally.

Looks like there might be an "accessibility" option.

Can you post a screenshot of what it looks like on your tablet? Or a photo, I guess :V

Yeah I’ll try and do this later today.

And I have tried scaling up the browser/kindle text but the problem is this site doesn’t scale even though others like Google Reddit etc do.

Well that's weird; I promise it does on desktop Chrome, at least.

Yeah, looking forward to screenshot :)

Here you go!

It's hard to get perspective on that one so here's a pic from my phone of the tablet as well:


Yeah, that's pretty dang small. Hrm.

It looks like the right solution is to define all font sizes in terms of em instead of px, which is . . . a significant amount of work. I've added a bug for it but this might be a bit, I'm afraid.

(This is also what's necessary to make user font choices easy, note.)

All good! I figured if it could be fixed it would be a while out, definitely not a dealbreaker just wanted to make sure it was on the list. Thanks.

  1. On the default theme, there is a line separating different top-level comments, and the line that collapses comments is visible. I use the "reddit" theme (which actually doesn't resemble Reddit very much; it's just a nice theme: dark, but not too dark like the actual "dark" theme) and both lines are invisible, though the collapse-line is still functional. I haven't checked, but this may also be the case with other non-default themes.

  2. The "Website Backgrounds" option in the "Profile" tab in the settings doesn't seem to do anything. If this is intentional, maybe remove the option?

  3. In the "Content" tab, there is an option to "Disable signatures". I believe signatures have been removed site-wide, so the option is redundant.

I use the "reddit" theme (which actually doesn't resemble Reddit very much; it's just a nice theme: dark, but not too dark like the actual "dark" theme) and both lines are invisible, though the collapse-line is still functional. I haven't checked, but this may also be the case with other non-default themes.

It probably is, yeah.

I should honestly edit it to say that other themes are unsupported; they may work, but they may not, I just haven't been spending the time to maintain them. The entire theming system really needs a lot of work, we're sending like 100kb of absolutely unnecessary CSS and that oughta be fixed.

Bug filed, at least :)

The "Website Backgrounds" option in the "Profile" tab in the settings doesn't seem to do anything. If this is intentional, maybe remove the option?

I think we originally meant to support it again later but I don't think that's happening right now. Bug filed.

In the "Content" tab, there is an option to "Disable signatures". I believe signatures have been removed site-wide, so the option is redundant.

Yup, sounds legit! Bug filed too :D

I feel a low effort/bare-links CW thread would be best. Now that we own the codebase I imagine we can have multiple pinned posts and the bare-links post could be separate from the CW thread. So if users dislike it they can just ignore it.

We can, but I think the arguments against the bare-links post that were made before are still valid. If it's making discussion worse, we're better off without it.

Any chance we can have the net upvotes for comments display next to the poster's handle or timestamp, i.e. at the top of a comment?

This is more of a benefit for very long comments or viewing on mobile. I've occasionally spent minutes reading a comment only to realize halfway through it's just word salad without anything interesting to say, and that becomes obvious once you see the negative score at the bottom. I've been burned by this sufficiently that for long comments, I often scroll all the way down to ensure it's not a negative post before scrolling up to read it, which makes for poor UX.

Counterargument is this may promote groupthink by encouraging people to only read high-upvoted comments and skip possibly high-quality new comments or contrarian opinions. That is a risk, but I think an important goal of the site should be to encourage readership retention, and some users who find themselves continuously frustrated by this QC problem may simply stop reading, and that to me is a bigger loss.

I actually prefer having the net votes at the bottom of a post because I can start reading the comment from a neutral point of view. On reddit when the votes are at the top I feel like it influences me to read the comment from the point of view of it being good or not based on the number of up or down votes and I'd rather choose for myself whether the post is good or not.

Whoops I forgot to respond to the original comment. But yeah, @vpn, this is part of the justification; forcing people to go to a bit of extra effort to see the total score when reading a comment.

(Our entire relationship with votes is one of the things that might get a serious overhaul, note, this is just what was available at the time.)

If I may dig into that logic a bit more, then would it stand to reason that neutrality also calls for even the identity of the poster to be ideally placed beneath the comment? Over time, readers become more familiar with usernames of quality posters and can use it to approximate the likely votes. But I don't imagine most people would support demoting the username...?

I don't think this is particularly persuasive, but one of the things I dislike about ACX is Scott's disabling voting for comments. I can see why it might make sense for him, given he has a brand to protect, to avoid making it too obvious for outsiders to try to gauge the partisan leanings of his readership, in case comments that go against the narrative are too highly voted and vice versa. But to me that's a bit of an unfortunate side effect of protecting the golden egg, very understandable but also regrettable (and a bit reminiscent of online newspapers disabling comment sections). I understand it's probably justified publicly using the same neutrality rationale, but I'm willing to bet imaginary internet points that the majority of his readership, if given an actual choice, would prefer to see comment votes than not.

Huh. Maybe, yeah :V

One problem here is thread organization; it's really useful to be able to see whether a respondant is the original poster or not. I don't have a good fix for this offhand.

I also do want to build up a community, and knowing the other people involved is really helpful for this; this is part of why I've left user avatars enabled (really gotta set up my own avatar soon.) But yes, I would agree that this clashes, to some extent, with asking people to vote based on content and not on person; it's a tradeoff.

I understand it's probably justified publicly using the same neutrality rationale, but I'm willing to bet imaginary internet points that the majority of his readership, if given an actual choice, would prefer to see comment votes than not.

You're not necessarily wrong here, but it also doesn't factor in much to my decisions, I'm afraid. Note that I come from a game development background, and one of the big things you learn in game development is that most players will happily optimize all the fun out of a game and then complain that the game is bad. "People want X" is, to me, something to be considered, but by no means a slam dunk in terms of whether it should be done; it's amazing how often a game is improved by ignoring user requests and doing something else.

I appreciate your thoughtful replies. I would dispute that my requesting having votes above comments fits with your analogy of users optimizing the fun out of a game, however. My objective for reading The Motte is to absorb high quality content, and knowing the community ratings of content seems very aligned with that. I suppose you could argue that in the long term, my overall enjoyment could benefit from having unwitting exposure to contrarian views (as signaled by net negative voted comments). But that would mean the community here is actually fairly poor at discerning content quality and would vote high-quality but contrarian comments into the net negatives. I don't believe that, do you?

Regardless, I understand you have plenty of more impactful feature requests, so arguing about this is more a rationalist exercise in optimized design than a wholehearted push for turning this into reality.

Actually I like the idea of demoting the username to the bottom of the comment too. I would prefer that over moving the votes to the top.

A few features I like from the reddit RES suite that I'd love to see here:

  1. Hide child comments button (clicking this hides all of the responses to a comment)

  2. Clicking the body of a comment and then typing "a" to upvote or "z" to downvote

  3. Tracking your personal upvotes/downvotes of each individual user (for example, next to a username it will have +1 if I've upvoted them once or -12 if I've downvoted 12 of their posts/comments)

Edit: I just figured out how the lines on the left of posts work to collapse threads so disregard my first suggestion above.

Not that I think it's important but cheating the recruiting badge is very easy by just signing up without email from your own referral link.

Referrals are tracked, so if we have to go back later and remove people's badges if their referrals don't really contribute, then it's easy enough to do.

Overall I'm not generally concerned by this :V

UI request: Move the "comment" button and the preview pane up a bit.

Current vs. Desired

For some reason I only have downvote buttons, for both posts and comments. Is this a bug or did I do something wrong? I note that I saw only downvote arrows while not logged in, and logging in did not fix it. (I have tried force-reloading the page, opening a new tab, etc.)

Or maybe we are going to have only non-positive scores going forward? That seems… a bit negative to me. ;-)

Nope, that's a bug!

Uh, hrm. Can you grab another web browser (Chrome, Firefox, or Brave) and see if that has the same issue? Also, what web browser is it?

If it were only when you were logged in I'd ask if you had custom CSS set up; I guess, do you have something like Tampermonkey to modify the website? (Yeah, that's a longshot.)

Edit: Any idea when this started?

Also, if anyone else sees this and is having this issue, lemme know!

I also had this issue on rdrama (on firefox) and it had to do with uBlock origin. Try deactivating it and seeing if it goes away.


Sorting by top only sorts the top tier comments; child comments remain chronological.

(This may have been reported already, in which case feel free to ignore)

Yeah, the sorting system in general is kind of flaky right now unfortunately. I'll see what I can do, but it may take some time.

Edit: Bug filed, though:

Is there a way to block users here?

I believe there is a Block button, but I'm not sure exactly where it is; maybe their profile? We may redefine what "block" means at some point, note.

I definitely do not want the "ha ha I get the last word" but just that I do not ever need to see it.

It could be entirely client-side now that I think about it.

Yeah, I'm thinking about doing something like:

  • You will not see comments from blocked people

  • You will not see notifications from blocked people

  • Blocked people can still respond to you

  • Blocked people will actually get a notification when responding to you that they are blocked and the person won't see their post, and that they are welcome to get the last word in but will be held to a stronger standard of civility while doing so

There's probably problems with this.

I hope not.

Well even on the most uncensored sites like Truth social you will have flat out straight up trolls who want to post deranged trash. So individuals need to be able to block the trolls one on one not censor them on the site. Everyone should be free to troll and get blocked is the ideal for uncensored community.

I've so far seen only a handful of actual trolls here, mostly in the earliest days, and those were swiftly deleted along with their posts and PMs.

I wish that it remain this way. Actual trolls being expunged utterly and nothing else. Everyone seeing the same thing and not living in parallel world where this or that poster is invisible to this or that mottizen for whatever reason.

Worth noting that we're not trying to be an uncensored community, though. We do actually have specific standards we're aiming for.

New here. Let me start by saying I think attracting more immigrants likely to become high-income earners ought to be a priority.

Not really the place for this type of comment and the place for this type of comment would require significantly more effort.

we just had a comment removed for discussing the meaning of various types of parenthesis, I'm not making that up, I'm not exaggerating, that's a thing that happened

Out of curiosity, what was the comment?

The report comment button is grayed out and clicking it doesn't do anything.


How many people have you tried to report already?

Reporting is how you nominate AAQCs.

I went ahead and created an issue for this:

Should be fixed now! Thanks for the report :)

I think it would be good if there were seven weekly posts like the Culture War Round-Up. That would help with user retention, I think. Like there could be one for economics, since that's not necessarily "culture war" per se.

That would be too chaotic

I think it may actually do the opposite :V

A big problem with communities is that you need a critical mass. I've likened this to a nuclear reaction; if you don't have enough material in one place, the reaction fizzles out and dies and you get no community. It's common for people to stretch their community way too thin and then be surprised when it never takes off.

If anything I kinda want to reduce the number of weekly posts, or combine one of them with the Meta post, or something similar.

The context link doesn't work in ios/Mac safari browser. It just takes you to the general page of the post instead of the specific comment I wanted to access. It works on Chrome though. I did not manage to try if this might be due to my aggressive content blocking on safari, so if someone has access to an Apple device and can try this out it would be great.

It's actually kinda broken on Chrome too; the only part that changes, I suspect, is that it skips to the right comment. Still loads the page though.

We've got plans for fixing that, we just haven't gotten there yet I'm afraid. Legacy of the old codebase.

I just set up a 17.50€/M patreon donation to The Motte. Money is tight here, so this wasn't done without a little pain. Zorba, make it worth it!

Discuss: Donations like these should be made publicly to encourage others.

The Motte uses Patreon? I harbor a grudge against them for deplatforming Carl Benjamin (Sargon of Akkad) after they swore, just like a year before, that they were deep free-speech advocates and would remain so. I still don't want to give any money to them.

I haven't heard that name in a while. What did he even do?

I'd forgotten, myself, and I just looked up some of the details to remember. It wasn't just that Patreon said they were free-speech advocates, it's that they said unequivocally that they will not ban people for content that isn't hosted on Patreon. And then they banned Sargon for content that wasn't on Patreon, just cause they don't like him. Here's relevant excerpts someone did on a rundown I found in Quora

On the 31. July 2017 the CEO of Patreon, Jack Conte, is interviewed live by Dave Rubin. In the interview, one of the things that are discussed is none other than media censorship. Jack explicitly states that the Terms of Use of Patreon apply only to content that is on their site or is directly sponsored by patrons.

Carl Benjamin (a.k.a. Sargon of Akkad) wakes up one day and after logging on social media sees a lot of tweets and messages concerning his Patreon account. Naturally, he tries to log himself on and, lo and behold, his Patreon account has been deleted without any explanation or prior notice. Taken aback by the fact, he sends them an e-mail: the main question being why exactly they removed his account. A few hours later he receives an answer stating that his account has been deleted due to a violation of their Terms of Use. As he wasn’t aware of what exactly he did wrong, he followed up with another e-mail asking about the specifics of the violation.

A day later, they reply: he had said the N-word on stream and that’s why they are banning him.

He responds by saying that the ban is nonsensical on the grounds that: 1. The stream in which he said the N-word, wasn’t on Patreon; 2. The stream wasn’t on any of his accounts and therefore not sponsored by his patrons; and 3. That the manner in which he used the N-word was, first of all, against an alt-right group and second, to mock how people who are actually racist use it.

Thus far, they have not responded with how Carl can appeal the removal of his ban.

Following these events, Patreon, fully knowing what they’ve done, have contacted some of their users to “butter them up” in a way, their message being along the lines of: “Don’t worry, we won’t come after you. If you behave…”

I remember some of that. One of those people Patreon called recorded their conversation. And the patreon rep kept saying that they didn't really want to ban Sargon, they just wanted him to apologize for what he said, even though by their own terms of service at the time, they had no right to demand that of him. What a shitshow that all was. I really wish that people had banded together against Patreon at the time and that Patreon went under, but in retrospect, years later, it's had no impact on them, and they're still the industry standard for patrons. How sad.

It is extremely appreciated, thank you!

But if you do start having serious money pains, I encourage you to think of yourself first; seriously, don't want anyone burning themselves out over this.

Nah, I'd cancel it before it comes to that, and the Motte is giving me a lot of value in return. It's fair.

Podcasters ?

I feel like there's a rise of interesting "heterodox" podcasters recently, but it's probably just my new Spotify subscription making me dive deeper into the format. But I feel like Brian Chau's From the New World, who received Zvi, Tyler Cowen, Yarvin and more, is probably up your alley.

Also Dwarkesh Patel.

Has anyone reached out to Scott?

It's been a long time since he enacted the ban on CW discussions on his site and the SSC sub, given the NYT debacle, maybe he's slightly less worried about being PC these days?

While I don't think it's more likely than not that he'll agree, it's still worth a shot, given that The Motte has always had close ties to its roots.

(Similar argument for the SSC sub, is there any overlap in moderation nowadays?)

Has anyone reached out to Scott?

@ScottA is his account on here, presumably.

He stated in this comment that he'd advertise the site in the next Open Thread.

I left Reddit, and, by extension, this group a while ago but saw Scott’s post and figured I’d check in and see what’s new. Definitely some familiar names here. Nice to see you all.

That's extremely reassuring to hear! I knew he still harbored a soft spot for us, even after all the shit he was through. Thanks for letting me know.

EDIT: looks like you can also sort and filter:

Can we have a war megathread? Not the culture one, the Russo-Ukrainian one.

Much appreciated; always nice to know someone’s listening.

I know there's going to be people who think that we left Reddit just so I could cash out. I frankly suspect that even if I just pile all of the results into a giant sack with a dollar sign on it and walk off while cackling evilly, I still won't be making minimum wage

There is a way to make decent money off this sub without ads at all: cookie stuffing. Shady though.

The problem with promoting on reddit is the mods are stridently against any self-promotion to competing subs or communities. I think word of mouth will help, although it will take a few months to kick in. Maybe Scott and some top Substack bloggers (large overlap of readership) can give a shout-out.

Yeah, this is part of why I'm not pushing this hard on Reddit; I can't, Reddit will just boot me.

Rdrama maybe? I suspect they care about userbase as well and the site design is identical which is huge for user retention.

There's massively overlap when it comes to rdrama/themotte posters

One suggestion regarding user pipeline would be maybe to use the old /r/TheMotte for certain things? Maybe posting links to Quality Contributions over there or even posting links to regular weekly threads? I am not sure how reddit mods would look at it, but it may work to some extent.

This is a good idea. Use /r/themotte as a feeder sub

Farm league

I'd like it if we could somehow promote original user content, over commentary. There's the Quality Contributions thing, but now that we can actually add our own features, I think it would be a good idea to turn them into something more than comments showcased by the mods.

Original content could create a gravity well of it's own for this place, making the pipeline issue less pressing.

I generally agree with you, but the details are tricky.

We already have the Vault set up, intended to be something similar to that. Unfortunately this takes a bit of extra HTML editing. I'd like to rig things up so that our quality contributions go straight there but I haven't gotten that together yet; unfortunately it also requires a bit more editing (for context and such) than the main posts do.

I've been thinking about one of the most successful forums I know, specifically Something Awful. I posted on there for several years and it turns out they actually have a front page which collects both best-of-the-forums and original writings by people. Maybe duplicating that would be a good idea?

Maybe we actually need a few sets of things:

  • Quality contributions that make sense with context

  • Quality contributions that make sense without context

  • Specifically-chosen top-level posts to form the bulk of the front page

but of course all of this is a lot of work.

If you've got other ideas, or have a more specific idea on how this could work, let me know :)

If you've got other ideas, or have a more specific idea on how this could work, let me know :)

Maybe somehow integrate comparative sorting into the site? Gwern's text about it. I'm not sure how this could be done though. Make a shortlist of QC's, have users vote on whether the thing they read previously was better/worse than current item? If people actually used it, that'd provide a lot more value than upvotes, I think.

I've got ideas for a whole host of things that basically come down to "click a button to volunteer a few minutes of your time", and then we ask you to rate things or approve things or whatever. A lot of this is bottlenecking on tech stuff; right now we've got a bunch of important fixes we need before we can work on new things. But these are planned.

I admit I hadn't thought of that particular one, but I do like it. I think right now I need to come up with something reasonably simple to prototype this on - comment approvals, perhaps - but, well, one step at a time here.

I just made my first comments on the site, and, from checking in incognito, they did not appear publicly at first. This was the case for both a top-level comment in the CW thread (which stayed invisible for hours, overnight), and a reply (which stayed invisible for a few minutes).

In both cases, the comments only appeared publicly after I reported them myself (as in pressed the "Report" button on the comment, and submitted one to request they be "approved" or whatever the mechanism in action here is), but also in both cases they appeared publicly within seconds of reporting them. So either the mods are extremely on the ball in responding to reports (but up-to-hours off the ball in approving new comments unprompted), or it was the act of reporting them which automatically caused them to publically appear (which leaves it frustratingly unclear what would have happened to them if I hadn't self-reported them).

I doubt I would have been singled out/shadowbanned since I hadn't done anything yet, so I assume it is representative of the (new?) user experience. It is off-putting.

It would help to know what the intended behaviour is here and what to expect.

New users get filtered to start with in order to cut down on spam (seriously, this is really effective). I'm pretty sure most of them don't notice (seriously, how many people check their comments incognito?) and I don't want to call attention to it. Gotta wait until a mod shows up and hits approve.

I suspect you just had weird timing in terms of getting approved, but it's possible there's some bug around reporting that causes things to appear - I'll look into that.

I do have some tentative plans for a better system, but developer time is, as always, a constraint.

I might rethink this

Its pretty discouraging to put effort into a post, and then crickets....

If you're actively making this happen,

that seems like a recipe for driving new users in, making them feel unwelcome, then immediately have them take off

Yeah, it's not ideal. But it's a tradeoff between that and constantly putting out fires caused by flames and low-effort culture warring.

Back on Reddit we didn't have a filter that could apply to everyone, there were ways to (accidentally, usually) get around it, and a significant number of our worst threads and biggest problems were caused by newbies dropping in, giving a hot take, and having it not be filtered. Thankfully that isn't an issue here, which is why the filter is set so low, which so far is working out.

But there have been some pretty grim posts and comments that, thanks to the new-user filter, we've gotten to before they caused problems.

I frankly think you may already be out of the filter; if you're not, you're really close, fwiw.

Yeah, I appreciate its a tradeoff,

Thanks for the reply

For the above comment: again, did not appear in incognito at first, then did within a few seconds of self-reporting the comment.

I will leave this one un-self-reported for a few hours as an experiment.

20 minutes: this comment still does not appear publicly.

45 minutes: comment appears publicly after Zorba's attention

Can someone explain what is meant by "We survived another move?" We moved from reddit to here, right? Do you mean the split off from SSC on reddit was the first move? Or did we move again and I missed it?

Yeah, SSC -> The Motte Reddit -> here. I wasn't really confident the first move would work either.

Also SSC Comment section ➡️ SSC Subreddit before that.

I'm not super familiar with this process myself, but thought I'd bring it up in case someone here is and can comment on whether it'd make sense to apply for a grant from EA's infrastructure fund.

The link between this community and EA ranges from tenuous to actively hostile.

At best, we're a friend of a friend of an EA-heavy community. The overlap is certainly higher than most other neutral forums. But it remains neutral. There's no mission statement, no overall ethos calling for altruism, let alone EA. It's a discussion board with some people who might be EA or at least sympathetic...

...and plenty who aren't. I can think of a lot of reasons why a conservative board with a penchant for contrarianism skepticism might attract EA opponents; we've got critics of globalism, critics of anything centered on California, maybe even a couple radical egoists. One of the last top-level posts to the sub, immortalized forever in granite, is Yarvin's attempt to jump on the EA criticism bandwagon.

I don't think we have any standing to claim EA funding.

There is a not-totally-insane argument that marginally raising the sanity waterline of the culture war is an altruistic cause in and of itself. As the old saying goes, the worst thing they can possibly do is say "no", so if it's not very costly in labour terms it's worth a try.

If we branded as or even made token lip service to doing it as an EA effort, yeah.

But if everybody who heard about EA started panhandling for their money, I think it’d be a waste of their I Kant endorse it.

Good rounded criticism without even broaching the mountain of skulls. If anyone wants to talk about that then I suggest this substack post.





I suggest Hacker News.

Submit interesting materials there. Do not even try spamming, that will not work.

Tracing Woodgrains had a blog post frontpage there a day or two ago.

Could we pay Scott for an advertisement?

I'm happy to advertise you on the next Open Thread. Let me know if there's any specific wording you want, otherwise it'll just be a few sentences about you and a link.

Yeah, sorry, forgot, will do it next week (do you believe me?)

I think it would be good to also mention that we have a long backlog of development tasks and we welcome volunteer developers who support our mission.

This imposter! I bet this username was chosen so we would falsely attribute to him all the great things Scott Aaronson has posted!

(I think Scott Alexander is pretty great, too)

Just kidding, but the real reason is so we could make this joke, right?

I think the only thing I'd ask is to use some quote you consider appropriate out of the top of the sidebar:

This website is a place for people who want to move past shady thinking and test their ideas in a court of people who don't all share the same biases. Our goal is to optimize for light, not heat; this is a group effort, and all commentators are asked to do their part.

or the sidebar:

The purpose of this community is to be a working discussion ground for people who may hold dramatically different beliefs. It is to be a place for people to examine the beliefs of others as well as their own beliefs; it is to be a place where strange or abnormal opinions and ideas can be generated and discussed fairly, with consideration and insight instead of kneejerk responses.

but otherwise, use your own words.

Also, many thanks :)

(other people may have better ideas; you're welcome to ignore mine and use theirs :V)

There are occasional classifieds posts, one was posted recently for all kinds of spam.

Maybe! I don't know if he'd be OK with it; my gut feeling is that either we don't need to pay him for an advertisement or we can't pay him for an advertisement.

Maybe Scott could give us money via one of his fancy ACX grants.

ACX Grants are mostly for things that are sort of EA-like and probably wouldn't give one to the Motte, sorry. Happy to talk about other ways I can support you.

Aside from "a lot of money", which I'm pretty sure everyone could use, honestly the biggest thing we need is just an influx of users. I don't know if you're feeling up for tying these communities together again, but we could really use a spot on your sidebar.

Regardless of whether you're up for that yourself, I'd also appreciate any recommendations on blogs that would be interested. This is something I'm looking for in general, but in addition I'm specifically hoping for some rationalist-left-wing blogs (add "adjacent" in there as many times as necessary); I know this is a tough thing to find but I'm kinda worried about the whole evaporative-cooling witch thing.

That is a good thought, and might double as free advertising even if he only gives us a token amount.

First of all, thank you for doing this! The site looks & works fine for me. One thing you should consider in order to raise funds, is to sign up for Brave Rewards. Users of the Brave browser can then send you BAT tokens, some type of crypto, in an automated fashion in some set interval. I have no idea whether this is feasable or worth your time, but I think the concept is quite neat. So far I have only found one creator (Agadmator on youtube) who has signed up, so I have some BAT to spare.

I guess the big question I have is how much it's likely to be; if it's, like, cents per user at most, which it probably is, then it's not worth the time to sign up and I'd feel weird selling out for a browser also.

I'd feel weird selling out for a browser also.

Brave users opt in to the program so anyone that sees ads chose to see them. I see it more as taking the money that's on the table from users who already use Brave to browse themotte.

Yes, that was my thought too.

I’d be more comfortable contributing money if I was confident it would be spent responsibly. Some kind of regular financial report or other kind of transparency would go a long way towards that.

My big concern here is that the financial reports end up consisting mostly of time spent writing financial reports. I'm happy to talk about roughly what's going on and where the money is going (right now, server fees, somewhere around $50/mo) and if we get to Serious Money (tm) stages then yeah I'll do the legwork or hire someone to do it for me.

But if we're looking at $100-$200/mo then I'd actually rather not have the money than have to do a detailed financial report.

Finally, it's worth noting that "spent responsibly" is a kind of squirrely concept. I worked on a World of Warcraft mod a while back that took donations, and I made a big thing over how contributions would go towards the future development of the mod. And they did! They went to my pocket