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    The post prompted me to look back through Tim Tyler’s post history, to judge for myself whether he was usefully provocative or just annoying. To my surprise, he was neither. Focusing on the latest few negative-point comments, he:

    • Comments critically on the karma situation and marks surprise at rationalists punishing disagreement. This could come off bitter, but, well, read on.
    • Agrees with someone else that a suggested ‘positive’ book wasn’t.
    • Suggests that natural-fitness-reinforcing behaviours shouldn’t be viewed as “cynical”
    • Discusses how humans could be viewed as utility maximisers
    • On the interestingness of paperclip-maximiser universes “Apparently-simple processes can easily produce great complexity. That’s one of the lessons of Conway’s game.”

    None of these were particularly obtusely made points, they were all perfectly polite. Concise but not dismissive. He wasn’t a troll, nor did he resemble one. More than that, his contributions weren’t even, to my eye, particularly contentious or surprising. True, most of the five comments mentioned above made some disagreement with the original post he commented on, but surely that’s the expected behaviour in a community of contrarian-types? If you’re not disagreeing or extending (which is disagreement by parts or incompleteness) the post, you’re probably not contributing much.

    Really, what I’m saying is I find it bizarre that this sort of person should be (a) downvoted for entirely ordinary and mildly useful comments, and (b) lauded as an outsider taking alarming stances to provoke diversity of opinion.

    He’s neither, he’s an ordinary LessWronger, unless my expectations have deviated very significantly from those of the community.*

    *It’s worth noting I was never really active on the site, and rarely look at it.

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