If you are reading thing, you probably have heard of the New York Times threat to doxx Scott Alexander, despite his please that they do not, and that it might put his life in danger. In response, he has deleted Slate Star Codex.
I want to put down what Scott Alexander has meant to me. He’s been an inspiration, and the reason I’ve written anything on this blog that I am truly proud of – the Anti-Racialist Q&A most of all. He was incredibly sweet about that last piece and gave me most of the readership I treasured.
What Alexander taught me was epistemic generosity – to try to do ones best to understand the other point of view, and to put it as best you can. I was on a spiral into standard blogosphere outrage mode, and he provided a better model with which to engage the world. His essay “In Favour of Niceness, Community and Civilisation” did make me a better person.
I didn’t always agree with Alexander, and I have discussed those disagreements in detail. That is the point. Slate Star Codex was perhaps the only thing on the internet where one could go and disagree, without it devolving into screaming matches. Where discussion was a tool of investigation, not a weapon in a war.
On the modern internet, that’s unique. I only hope the NYT does the right thing.
If it does not, I only hope that we are able to rally, and somehow preserve that spirit of open-mindedness and generosity that Scott Alexander showed.