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Both sides of the story

One way in which Manifest is unusual: we’re bringing together folks who have been embroiled in various internet disputes.

  • Ben Pace vs Nonlinear/Tracing Woodgrains
  • Trevor Klee vs Aaron Silverbook
  • AI Pause (Holly Elmore) vs Accelerate (Brian Chau)
  • Scott Alexander vs NYT (?)
  • and of course, Kalshi vs Polymarket

Some musings and personal reflections:

  • Is this a “normal” amount of movement drama? Or an unusually high amount, because of contrarianess/debatefulness
  • There’s something particularly catchy about conflict and drama; it makes for really good, engaging news
    • Many of Manifold’s largest news cycles showcase this kind of conflict (Sama firing; LK99)
  • I find myself with very strong sympathies to the folks on both sides of the disagreement.
    • And often feel like the conflict is needless, as a result
    • For example, with Trevor and Aaron I spent a bit of time trying to encourage the two of them to talk it out:

      Trevor: I'd recommend you pick up the phone and just, like, talk it out with Aaron.

      I think I'm a neutral-ish observer of this debate -- not in the sense of "unbiased", but in the sense of "biased towards Trevor and Aaron". I've invested in both of your companies, consider you both friends, and think you'll both do great things for the world. I also got the probiotic on my teeth, so am quite keen to learn whether this thing is useless or harmful.

      All that said, Trevor, I think you're jumping the gun here. I already thought this with your original post on ineffectiveness, which on one hand asked important questions which I'm grateful for, but on the other (IMO) didn't give Aaron/Lumina enough time to respond. It calls to mind the recent Nonlinear drama and TracingWoodgrain's critiques of the post: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/bwtpBFQXKaGxuic6Q/effective-aspersions-how-the-nonlinear-investigation-went ?

      And with this post, you're imputing motives to Aaron/Lumina, which make it harder for both you and them to think clearly about the issue. Reading Aaron's email, I don't interpret this as a threat of libel, but like, a serious good-faith effort at trying to bridge the gap. (Rob's reads as pretty angry, and I think he should have tried to cool off a bit instead of sending that, but idk people get emotional when you call them wrong and bad). This is quickly turning into a public spat which gets easily distorted when the parties involved just like, don't talk (or worse, talk defensively over text/public internet, which amplifies controversy). I really think hopping on a call with Aaron would defuse this a situation, give both of you the chance to express how you feel, and remember that you're both humans beings trying hard to help the world.

  • Would be nice to suss out some kind of “nemeses fight it out” event at Manifest, in a mostly playful and satirical spirit
    • I proposed that we pit these folks together in a wrestling ring at Manifest; alas, nobody else was excited for this