Esoteric Allusion
It appears the NYT was/is going to do a story on the blog and as part of it, was going to reveal the identity of its runner against his wishes. Rather than have it affect his personal life, he just took everything down.

I think Slate Star Codex is a mixed bag in terms of content. Some really good stuff, some really bad stuff, and lot in between. It sucks that it’s gone because of fear of what feels like being doxxed.

The NYT’s stance is revealing his indentity is a standard and necessary part of the reporting. That’d be easier to understand stand if the NYT didn’t constantly launder claims through anonymous sources that shouldn’t be anonymous or rely on “some people” or “some experts” framing to underwrite a dubious claim or dispute a sound one. The values they have for when it matters to know who is doing this seem to be distorted.
Quote
Ivan the Terrible
That's a pity, and also kind of a surprise. I was under the impression details about the runner were already known.

I hadn't really followed it since Trump won, but there were a number of posts there I enjoyed.
It's the lack of stabbing that makes NoCrimesVille the kind of city I'm proud to live in.
Quote
Ergill

I hadn't really followed it since Trump won, but there were a number of posts there I enjoyed.

I'd only read this and that, but one of the worst posts was an extensive one arguing "Hey, guys, Trump's not so bad," which he wrote shortly after the election. He added a brief note about a year later saying roughly, "Looks like this holds up." If you can imagine, it was very poorly argued.
Quote
MadMan
Never heard of it. Also the guy running that site probably should have told the NYT to piss off. 
Quote
Paquito
We should just make a NYT sucks thread, and post the ceaseless examples of their suckitude.
Quote
Ivan the Terrible
Ergill wrote:
I'd only read this and that, but one of the worst posts was an extensive one arguing "Hey, guys, Trump's not so bad," which he wrote shortly after the election. He added a brief note about a year later saying roughly, "Looks like this holds up." If you can imagine, it was very poorly argued.


I remember that post. My recollection is it was meant as a warning against the 'boy who cried wolf' effect; that, when people call Trump an open white supremacist even as he claims he's the least racist person ever and brags about how much he's done for black Americans, they're opening up the possibility that an even more overtly racist, David Duke-like figure could come to power and when the left raises the alarm people will shrug it off as their usual hyperbole.

And in the writer's defense, he made a long post just before the election making it clear he sees Trump as an existentially dangerous candidate and urging people to vote for anyone else, and held off on making the post you refer to until the election was already done, out of fear it might cause someone to vote for Trump.
It's the lack of stabbing that makes NoCrimesVille the kind of city I'm proud to live in.
Quote
Ivan the Terrible
I remember the guy also had an entire 'non-libertarian FAQ' explaining why he isn't a libertarian and rejects a lot of the arguments libertarians use. Given how many libertarians are on this board, I'd have found it entertaining to read reactions to that.
It's the lack of stabbing that makes NoCrimesVille the kind of city I'm proud to live in.
Quote
Ergill

I remember that post. My recollection is it was meant as a warning against the 'boy who cried wolf' effect; that, when people call Trump an open white supremacist even as he claims he's the least racist person ever and brags about how much he's done for black Americans, they're opening up the possibility that an even more overtly racist, David Duke-like figure could come to power and when the left raises the alarm people will shrug it off as their usual hyperbole.

And in the writer's defense, he made a long post just before the election making it clear he sees Trump as an existentially dangerous candidate and urging people to vote for anyone else, and held off on making the post you refer to until the election was already done, out of fear it might cause someone to vote for Trump.

Fair enough. I pulled the post back up and I'd remembered it wrong. It's primarily over the question of bigotry:

https://web.archive.org/web/20200204225658/https://slatestarcodex.com/2016/11/16/you-are-still-crying-wolf/

Scanning back through it, though, this still comes off as an awful, poorly aged argument. I won't dump my whole PM where Jean lobbed this at me and I tore into it, but I'll say this much. For Scott, the bar couldn't possibly be higher for accusations of bigotry or lower for alleging consequences of bad accusations. It's all a question of whether we can say Trump is "openly" bigoted against blacks, Mexicans, LGBTQs, etc., and if we can't, the consequences are invariably pushing appreciable segments of the population towards more "openly" bigoted candidates. (Of course, people already claim that this is what gave us Trump.) This is an incredibly narrow ground for argument with incredibly overblown hazards. If Trump doesn't fall into this very narrow ground, very literally rendered, then welcome the flood. Instead of framing this with a fable where we need to take people's claims on faith, why not have a breakdown of what bigotry is and how to identify it? No, he gives us a lot of special pleading and then a brief excuse for special pleading, and all the while shows an extreme reluctance to acknowledge anything beyond a minor, but shruggable, bigotry. Take this bit, his overall "explanation" of what's going on with Trump:

Quote:

16. But didn’t Trump…

Whatever bizarre, divisive, ill-advised, and revolting thing you’re about to mention, the answer is probably yes.

This is equally true on race-related and non-race-related issues. People ask “How could Trump believe the wacky conspiracy theory that Obama was born in Kenya, if he wasn’t racist?” I don’t know. How could Trump believe the wacky conspiracy theory that vaccines cause autism? How could Trump believe the wacky conspiracy theory that the Clintons killed Vince Foster? How could Trump believe the wacky conspiracy theory that Ted Cruz’s father shot JFK?

Trump will apparently believe anything for any reason, especially about his political opponents. If Clinton had been black but Obama white, we’d be hearing that the Vince Foster conspiracy theory proves Trump’s bigotry, and the birtherism was just harmless wackiness.

Likewise, how could Trump insult a Mexican judge just for being Mexican? I don’t know. How could Trump insult a disabled reporter just for being disabled? How could Trump insult John McCain just for being a beloved war hero? Every single person who’s opposed him, Trump has insulted in various offensive ways, including 140 separate incidents of him calling someone “dopey” or “dummy” on Twitter, and you expect him to hold his mouth just because the guy is a Mexican?

I don’t think people appreciate how weird this guy is. His weird way of speaking. His catchphrases like “haters and losers!” or “Sad!”. His tendency to avoid perfectly reasonable questions in favor of meandering tangents about Mar-a-Lago. The ability to bait him into saying basically anything just by telling him people who don’t like him think he shouldn’t.

If you insist that Trump would have to be racist to say or do whatever awful thing he just said or did, you are giving him too much credit. Trump is just randomly and bizarrely terrible. Sometimes his random and bizarre terribleness is about white people, and then we laugh it off. Sometimes it’s about minorities, and then we interpret it as racism.

This is inadequate to a gobsmacking degree. Aside from just parroting the claim the judge was "Mexican" (the fuck, Scott?), he throws up his hands and chalks up Trump's apparent bigotry to statistical noise. "He's just weird and opportunistically mean!" Part of me gets where he's coming from near the end of the post about wanting to downplay fears that were putting people in some dangerous headspace, but veering into willful ignorance doesn't cut the mustard. All it does is provide grist for the mill for people already inclined to downplay Trump's obvious prejudice.
Quote
Usyless
Slatestarcodex was mostly good and this is a shame.
Quote
Jinnistan
I'm not terribly familiar with the blog, but what would be a hanful of controversial subjects that could have motivated NYT to out the guy?
Quote
Ivan the Terrible
Jinnistan wrote:
I'm not terribly familiar with the blog, but what would be a hanful of controversial subjects that could have motivated NYT to out the guy?


So far as I'm aware, there wasn't much that was too controversial.

Probably his most controversial stuff was criticizing the modern social justice movement and feminists, in a way which suggested sympathy with the message but frustration with the messengers. For example, in spite of those criticisms, he wrote a lengthy defense of the idea of trigger warnings.

My guess is he's just a guy who really prefers to maintain his privacy, so when he felt he had to choose between losing his blog and his identity being outed through the NYT, he ditched the blog. I'm not even sure how frequently he was posting there anymore, since I hadn't been keeping up with it in recent years, so not sure how much of a sacrifice it was to him.
It's the lack of stabbing that makes NoCrimesVille the kind of city I'm proud to live in.
Quote
Ivan the Terrible
The full explanation for why he took down the blog is here.

TLDR: He's a psychiatrist and feels it would have a negative impact on his real life work, both in terms of the confidence of his patients and in terms of his ability to hold on to the job, and people have made various death threats against him for his views and he doesn't want it to be too easy to find him.

The New York Times piece wasn't even a hit piece. The blog gained the attention of someone over there because, apparently, Scott Alexander.wrote some blog posts that correctly predicted how things might go with the COVID-19 pandemic early on. But I guess it's policy for NYT to publish full names, even if the subject of an article protests the idea.
It's the lack of stabbing that makes NoCrimesVille the kind of city I'm proud to live in.
Quote
Ergill
Here's his explanation fwiw:

https://slatestarcodex.com

Doesn't sound like the NYT was making a hit piece, largely the opposite really. It's not even clear that they were doing it to doxx him in that there doesn't seem to be any malicious intent. But his concerns are fair, and I don't see much in the public interest outing him. (I do doubt that anyone is all that interested in killing him. Dollars to doughnuts, if you're a public figure, you're bound to receive death threats.) My sense is that he's trying to stir up a big backlash (his mild tone and "please be polite" notwithstanding) to pressure NYT out of revealing his full name.
Quote
Esoteric Allusion
When Slate Star Codex criticized feminists, at least in the posts I've read, he tended to bring the receipts by extensively quoting exactly who was referring to rather than just vaguely gesturing at groups and ideas as it is easy to do. I appreciated that. 

There was a post on "nice guys" that I think would draw some ire that I thought was excellent. I think when people complain about women rejecting them even though they're a nice guy, what they often mean is something like, "I'm lonely. I have a hard time finding a relationship. I see these men who treat women terribly, much worse than I think I would, who have no problem having relationships and it feels unfair. I'm lonely." That's not to say there aren't men who say this who act entitled, are sexist, or aren't as nice as they imagine themselves to be, but the way people can be vicious to them has never sat well with me. 

He started with that premise and was critical of the culture of feminist writers who go way overboard on attacking "nice guys." It was quite good. I wish I would've saved that one.
Quote
Esoteric Allusion


So far as I'm aware, there wasn't much that was too controversial.


The blog seemed to have a robust comments section with minimal moderation. Because his posts sometimes were critical of leftwing stances on social justice issues, he drew in a lot of alt-right / alt-lite types to debate which genes make black people intellectually inferior and whatnot. I don't think he should be blamed for what they said, but I can easily imagine a world in which he gets attacked for running a gathering of hate groups.

I mean, it wouldn't surprise me if there was a Slate Star Codex to Jordan Peterson to Neo-Nazi My Little Pony porn pipeline. 
Quote
Jinnistan
But I guess it's policy for NYT to publish full names, even if the subject of an article protests the idea.

Oh, well, you can't go against policy, can you?

I have to imagine that they would have been aware that publishing his name would have caused him to shut the site down.  And for what?  A story about a blog that no one can read anymore?
Quote
Ivan the Terrible

Ergill wrote:
(I do doubt that anyone is all that interested in killing him. Dollars to doughnuts, if you're a public figure, you're bound to receive death threats.)


Death threats are probably empty in 99.99% of cases, so I doubt he's particularly worried on that score. I certainly wouldn't be in his place.

But getting doxxed? That's a legitimate concern for anyone, famous or no. I'm a nobody online, with an extremely minimal presence, but even I don't particularly like my personal information floating around online, and would certainly not be pleased if the New York Times decided to post my full name and personal information in a piece with links to every controversial opinion I've ever held.

It's the lack of stabbing that makes NoCrimesVille the kind of city I'm proud to live in.
Quote
Ivan the Terrible
It was quite good. I wish I would've saved that one.


https://web.archive.org/web/20140901101456/http://slatestarcodex.com/

Just scroll down a bit to 'Radicalizing the Romanceless.'
It's the lack of stabbing that makes NoCrimesVille the kind of city I'm proud to live in.
Quote
Ergill
Death threats are probably empty in 99.99% of cases, so I doubt he's particularly worried on that score. I certainly wouldn't be in his place.

But getting doxxed? That's a legitimate concern for anyone, famous or no. I'm a nobody online, with an extremely minimal presence, but even I don't particularly like my personal information floating around online, and would certainly not be pleased if the New York Times decided to post my full name and personal information in a piece with links to every controversial opinion I've ever held.

We're talking about revealing his last name. He already posts under his first and middle name and talks a lot about his work, so I don't see why we should be talking about this on par with dumping people's names, addresses, family members, place of business, etc. Like you've said, and from what I can tell, he isn't known for posting deeply controversial opinions. I think his anonymity should be respected here regardless.
Quote
Paquito

Ergill wrote:

We're talking about revealing his last name. He already posts under his first and middle name and talks a lot about his work, so I don't see why we should be talking about this on par with dumping people's names, addresses, family members, place of business, etc.


Because the privacy of a piece of information is defined by how difficult it is to get that piece of information.

Yea, he wasn't totally anonymous. He mentioned some irate readers were able to find his place of employment and tried to get him fired. But his last name is a key identifier that makes it vastly easier to find out who he is. Having that identifier broadcast by The New York Times makes knowledge of his last name even more discoverable. (Internet search engines are going to prioritize content from the NYT as relevant). Making it easier to find out his personal information makes it less private.

The less private it is, the more people will end up with that information. That increases the population of self-righteous crazies that can, and will, do him harm.

Quote
Ergill
Paquito wrote:

Because the privacy of a piece of information is defined by how difficult it is to get that piece of information.

Yea, he wasn't totally anonymous. He mentioned some irate readers were able to find his place of employment and tried to get him fired. But his last name is a key identifier that makes it vastly easier to find out who he is. Having that identifier broadcast by The New York Times makes knowledge of his last name even more discoverable. (Internet search engines are going to prioritize content from the NYT as relevant). Making it easier to find out his personal information makes it less private.

 

The less private it is, the more people will end up with that information. That increases the population of self-righteous crazies that can, and will, do him harm.


It does increase the ease of crazies being able to identify him and do him harm. How likely would the end up being overall? I don't know. I doubt it would be high. Even excluding people who have security, I can cite dozens of more inflammatory figures who's names we know in full and yet haven't been attacked, killed, or otherwise harmed. Not a lot of scenarios come to mind where the latter is the case. Maybe I could put on a Scott mask in one of his more sealiony moments and calmly break it down statistically to an extent acceptable to me and some bystanders, but I wouldn't expect that to make him feel better. I couldn't really blame him, but that's a separate thing from "This is a clear and present danger!". His concern about maintaining a healthy distance and relationship with his patients seems like a more pressing concern. I don't see why a profile is worth threatening that, let alone a profile the substance of which doesn't rely on knowing his name.

Quote
Paquito

Ergill wrote:

It does increase the ease of crazies being able to identify him and do him harm. How likely would the end up being overall? I don't know. I doubt it would be high. Even excluding people who have security, I can cite dozens of more inflammatory figures who's names we know in full and yet haven't been attacked, killed, or otherwise harmed.


I meant the term "harm" in a broad sense. (I should have excluded the bit about self-righteous crazies) You did mention that him "maintaining a healthy distance and relationship with his patients seems" is a concern. Him losing that as a result of the NYT piece is harm.

Also, you had asked:


Ergill wrote:

We're talking about revealing his last name. He already posts under his first and middle name and talks a lot about his work, so I don't see why we should be talking about this on par with dumping people's names, addresses, family members, place of business, etc.

If you argue the likelihood of him being significantly harmed is low, because he's not really that inflammatory a figure, then that's still the case if he were more robustly doxxed. I'm just pointing out why he would react as strongly to having his last name revealed as "names, addresses, family members, place of business, etc"

Quote
Ergill
Paquito wrote:

I meant the term "harm" in a broad sense. (I should have excluded the bit about self-righteous crazies) You did mention that him "maintaining a healthy distance and relationship with his patients seems" is a concern. Him losing that as a result of the NYT piece is harm.

I've never denied that. I just think people are sometimes overplaying the crazies angle. Doesn't sound like the few that have already supposedly reached out to his employer managed to do anything. Is him posting the NYT editor's information putting the guy at risk? Will Scott stans accept his qualification that the editor might not be responsible? Is the idea of the injustice of his doxxing and the loss of a treasured blog sending a stan into war-mode? Is EA on a plane as we speak, a cheesehead Gradus with murder in his heart? Probably not.

Paquito wrote:
If you argue the likelihood of him being significantly harmed is low, because he's not really that inflammatory a figure, then that's still the case if he were more robustly doxxed. I'm just pointing out why he would react as strongly to having his last name revealed as "names, addresses, family members, place of business, etc"

I don't think his reaction is crazy or anything. I think it springs from some genuine concerns and I think it's largely calculated to stir up a response that will encourage NYT to maintain his anonymity. He talks about taking down the blog as having a "wait and see" angle to it.
Quote