The following links are a list of relevant reading materials which inform how we run the site, decisions we’ve made in creating and structuring the site, administering the site, and so on. We don’t agree with all facets of them, nor are we necessarily unanimous on which parts are the most important - but they’ll give you a good idea of what we prioritize and why. A brief quote from each is provided.

  • Evaporative Cooling of Group Beliefs by Eliezer Yudkowsky (December 7, 2007), LessWrong. “My own theory of Internet moderation is that you have to be willing to exclude trolls and spam to get a conversation going. You must even be willing to exclude kindly but technically uninformed folks from technical mailing lists if you want to get any work done. A genuinely open conversation on the Internet degenerates fast.”
  • Well-Kept Gardens Die By Pacifism by Eliezer Yudkowsky (April 20, 2009), LessWrong. “This about the Internet: Anyone can walk in. And anyone can walk out. And so an online community must stay fun to stay alive. Waiting until the last resort of absolute, blatent, undeniable egregiousness—waiting as long as a police officer would wait to open fire—indulging your conscience and the virtues you learned in walled fortresses, waiting until you can be certain you are in the right, and fear no questioning looks—is waiting far too late.”
  • The missing stair. by Cliff Jerrison (June 22, 2012), Pervocracy. “People had gotten so used to working around this guy, to accommodating his “special requirements,” that they didn’t feel like there was an urgent problem in their community. […]Like something you’re so used to working around, you never stop to ask “what if we actually fixed this?” Eventually you take it for granted that working around this guy is just a fact of life, and if he hurts someone, that’s the fault of whoever didn’t apply the workarounds correctly.”
  • On a Technicality by Eevee (July 26, 2016), “[…]rules are written in human language, which makes them just as squishy. Who decides what “swearing” is? If all caps aren’t allowed, how about 90%? Who decides what’s a slur? What, precisely, constitutes harassment? These things sound straightforward and concrete, but they can still be nitpicked to death. We give people the benefit of the doubt and assume they’ll try to respect what we clearly mean, but there’s nothing guaranteeing that.”
  • A community isn’t a garden, it’s a bar. by Derek Powazek (December 5, 2022), “The important part is, each bar cultivates its own culture and you can’t walk in to a bar and expect it to be like every other bar you’ve ever been in. […] In the same way, community spaces online should be true to themselves. Not every community has to be for everybody. What a failure of imagination it is to think that all community spaces should look and act the same.”
  • Killing Community by Viktor Lofgren (June 11, 2023), “If you want to absolutely destroy a website that is all about building communities and meeting new people, then aim for the site and all communities to always be growing as much as possible.”

Last updated 10 Sep 2023, 13:37 -0400 . history