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A refugee from Kurzweilai.net


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24 replies to this topic

#21
Voight-Kampff

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"Amara" was the name of the "lady moderator" you describe, and yes, she was indeed guilty of the incompetence and poor judgement you mention. 

 

Yes, that was the name. I intentionally try to forget the names of people I don't respect since I don't want to help history remember them by my mentioning their names.

 

 

During a particularly intense period of acrimony on the forum, a few concerned users and I got together and made a concerted effort to petition the forum's leadership (possibly Ray Kurzweil himself) to get rid of the handful of people who were harassing everyone else, and Amara defensively revealed that none of the problems were her fault since she wasn't actually the site's "moderator." She had some other title and role, like "content manager" or something vague like that, and the actual moderator (e.g. - the person with the ability to suspend and ban forum users and to lock and delete threads) was an unnamed person we could only contact via XYZ@kurzweilai.net email. That revealed a lot about the fundamental dysfunction on the forum: the person everyone thought was the moderator and to whom all the complaints were directed was not actually the moderator, and even though she was aware for years that users were mistaken in their belief about what she did, Amara didn't correct the misunderstanding until things hit rock bottom and a group of angry users confronted her about why she wasn't doing anything to help. 

 

Interesting! That confirms what I was saying even more: not even Amara was what she claimed to be! I remember talk of a petition, so I might have jumped ship around that time.

 

 

I recommend you stick to writing about futurism, technology and science and avoid any unrelated political talk. Good to have you. Start posting content! 

 

Thanks.

 

If I remember correctly I was unable to read the rules page when I joined this forum--I think it came up blank, if I'm thinking of the right site. The issue of political discussion came up a few times on KurzweilAI, and the consensus there was that low-level political discussion was not allowed, but high-level politics was, and I liked that policy and I stick by it in any forum I visit now. In fact, that bickering between America's main two parties really annoys me as hopelessly trite, like cows bickering about whether they take the left entrance or right entrance to the slaughterhouse, as my posted cartoon showed. I don't follow most specific political issues, and I didn't even vote in the 2017 presidential election. I'm concerned about the big issues, like who's really pulling the strings of power (it certainly isn't the president), and how science and technology is thwarted or stunted due to political issues.

 

I've been studying high-level politics assiduously for the past two years, so I'm pretty knowledgeable about it, and it's a topic I like to talk about since what I've found out is absolutely mind-blowing, especially for how it relates to science and technology, and I wonder what other people think of my findings since I don't get to share them often. However, I've found that most people aren't ready for them. They either roll their eyes in disbelief, or they just post a few harsh words without reading/viewing any of my references, and without posting any references of their own to support their claims, and aren't ready to consider new possibilities. Any kind of meaningful exchange requires open-minded people willing to learn new things, and requires references, just as in science. The problem from refraining from even high-level politics is just what was mentioned on KurzweilAI: everything is filtered by and impacted by high-level politics. For example, when I responded to that thread recently that asked when humans will start living on other planets, that presents a dilemma if I respond: Do I pretend I don't know what I do know, and just say 2100 because the Singularity will occur about 60 years before then, or do I say what I really believe, which is that humans are already living there, that there will be an economic collapse and world war holding back human civilization at least 20 more years before any of us common folk set foot on Mars (if ever)? There's a big difference between 2100 and never. Future timelines become meaningless in the latter case, because the timeline is almost completely governed by the whims of whomever is really pulling the strings of power.

 

I'm not sure yet if I'm going to stay here. What really interests me nowadays, other than high-level politics, is of course AGI (my field), to some extent quantum computers and quantum mechanics, and in general any frontiers of science and technology. That Hyperstealth invisibility cloak discussed on KurzweilAI was awesome, for example, and lately because of my involvement in our local science fair I've been reading up on parascience, pseudoscience, and any such frontier areas of science. Some math interests me, and some physics, too, and drones.



#22
Erowind

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I dunno, it sounds more to me like the forum attracted a motley crew of cranks and mentally ill trolls that weren't removed due to a dearth of moderation.

 

Maybe not the same capacity, but we're a fairly eccentric bunch over here too.


Current status: slaving away for the math gods of Pythagoras VII.


#23
Voight-Kampff

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I dunno, it sounds more to me like the forum attracted a motley crew of cranks and mentally ill trolls that weren't removed due to a dearth of moderation.

 

I think all AI forums attract that crew. Some drool over the potential power, some drool over the monetary possibilities, some drool over the intelligence they want for themselves, and there are always the Christians in the middle of the fray, claiming that humankind is shaking its fist at God.



#24
Yuli Ban

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Yes, that's my point. The reason why you may have felt that something evil was going on is because the site itself was shoddily run and had no effective moderation team. Either there was no consistent moderator or the mods were so damningly open-minded that they spilled their brains out, believed that any and all discourse was worthwhile, and played devil's advocate to diffuse tensions. I suspect it's both, as we've sometimes had to do the latter. It completely failed because it just enabled the maligned behavior to continue and even become emboldened and feel more persecuted simultaneously, so I personally adopted a much more intolerant stance on forum disruption ever since. 

 

If the FutureTimeline forums had zero moderation from 2011 to today, I bet you all ten of my fingers that we'd have been overrun by trolls and conmen. I'm fairly sure one such troll (i.e. "Jared") from around 2013 may actually have been Spikosauropod or RedQ in disguise, but he was stamped out precisely because this site actually has competent moderation. We've also had conspiracy types come through to try to spread Alex Jones-tier theories, but again, they're usually finished within a dozen posts because the mods do their damn job. 

 

So all in all, it's starting to sound even more like the tragedy of the KurzweilAI forums is a tragedy of a lack of moderation run amok.

 

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity!


  • rennerpetey likes this

And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#25
Voight-Kampff

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The reason why you may have felt that something evil was going on is because the site itself was shoddily run and had no effective moderation team. 

 

You might well be right, and I'm hoping you are. In analyzing my impressions, if Amara had been more straightforward, and if the site more transparent as to its functioning and reason for its rules, and about its reason for very existence (why the requirement to transfer ownership of quotes?), and if there had been fewer trolls there, I think I would have gotten a very different overall impression. I don't know what's wrong with conspiracy theories--I just consider them to be alternative hypotheses for an observed set of phenomena, and often are even testable hypotheses--but if this site doesn't like them then I'll try not to bring those up. It would be nice if the site had some posted rules I could find, though.






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