I’m off to California for the weekend to attend Alicorn and Mike’s wedding, so don’t expect much SSC for a few days. Here’s an Open Thread to keep you occupied till then.
2. Frequent SSC commenter Ialdabaoth has unfairly fallen on some hard times, and also-frequent-SSC-commenter Elissa is asking us to help him out:
I’m posting here on behalf of Brent Dill, known here and elsewhere as ialdabaoth. If you read the comments at SSC, you’ll recognize him as a contributor of rare honesty and insight. If you read Less Wrong, you may have enjoyed some of his posts. If you’d had the chance to talk with him as much as I have, you’d know he’s an awesome guy: clever, resourceful, incisive and deeply moral. Many of you see him as admirable, most as relatable, some as a friend, and more, I hope, as a member of our community.
He could use some help.
Until last Thursday he was gainfully employed as a web developer for a community college in Idaho. Recently, he voluntarily mentioned to his boss that he was concerned that seasonal affective disorder was harming his job performance, who mentioned it to his boss, who suggested in all good faith that Brent should talk to HR to see if they might help through their Employee Assistance Program. In Brent’s words: “Instead, HR asked me a lot of pointed questions about when my performance could turn around and whether I wanted to work there, demanded that I come up with all the solutions (after I admitted that I was already out of brainpower and feeling intimidated), and then directed me to turn in my keys and go home, and that HR would call me on Monday to tell me the status of my employment.” Now, at the end of the day Tuesday, they still haven’t let him know what’s happening, but it doesn’t look good.
I think we can agree that this is some of the worst horseshit.
On the other hand, he’s been wanting to get out of Idaho and into a city with an active rationalist community for a while, so in a sense this is an opportunity.
Ways to help: Brent needs, in order of priority: a job, a place to stay, and funds to cover living and moving expenses– details below. Signal boosts and messages of support are also helpful and appreciated.
Ways NOT to help: Patronizing advice/other-optimizing (useful information is of course welcome), variations on ‘cool story bro’ (the facts here have been corroborated to my satisfaction with hard-to-fake evidence), disrespect in general.
1. Job: Leads and connections would help more than anything else. He’s looking to end up, again, in a good-sized city with an active rationalist community. Candidates include the Bay Area, New York, Boston, Columbus, San Diego, maybe DC or Ann Arbor. He has an excessively complete resume here, but, in short: C#/.NET and SQL developer, also computer game development experience, tabletop board/card game design experience, graphic art and user interface experience, and some team leadership / management experience.
2. Crash space: If you are in one of the above cities, do you have/know of a place for a guy and his cat? How much will it cost, and when will it be available? Probably he’ll ultimately want a roommate situation, but if you’re willing to put him up for a short time that’s also useful information.
3. Funds: Brent is not now in immediate danger of going hungry or homeless, but a couple of months will exhaust his savings, and (although it is hard to know in the current state of things) he has been told that the circumstances constitute “cause” sufficient to keep him from drawing unemployment. Moving will almost certainly cost more than he has on hand. There is a possible future in which he runs out of money stranded in Idaho, which would be not good.
If you feel moved to help, he has set up a gofundme account here. (the goal amount is set at his calculated maximum expenses, but any amount at all would help and be greatly appreciated– he would have preferred not to set a funding goal at all.) Though Brent has pledged to eventually donate double the amount he raises to Effective Altruist causes, we wouldn’t like you to confuse contributing here with charitable giving. Rather, you might want to give in order to show your appreciation for his writing, or to express your solidarity in the struggles and stigma around mental illness, or as a gesture of friendship and community, or just to purchase fuzzies. Also, you can make him do stuff on Youtube, you know, if you want.
Thank you so much for your time and kindness.
I don’t yet have a principled policy on when I will and won’t signal-boost requests for help but I hope it doesn’t reach the point where I have to form one.
3. SOMEONE (who wishes to remain anonymous) MADE FANART OF ME!!!
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PS: NO RACE OR GENDER IN THE OPEN THREAD THAT NEVER HELPS