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I Am Being Framed

Someone has been impersonating me to post racist or otherwise terrible comments on various blogs. They are using my real name, linking to my old website, and then saying really nasty things.

I don’t want to link to them to raise their Google visibility, but you can reverse-engineer the following (yes, I know these reveal my real name, there’s no help for it at this point):

brainsize dot wordpress dot c-o-m /2014/09/23/ masculine-guys-more-likely-to-be-republican-the-genetics-of-being-gay/comment-page-1/#comment-1590

unz dot c-o-m /gnxp/dissenting-from-american-liberalism-and-conservatism/#comment-710363

I feel like it’s most likely someone from neoreaction since they seem to know a lot of the reactionary lingo, but I’m not sure. Some SJ people were making vaguely threatening noises on Twitter recently, but I feel like they’d be more likely to stab me in the front.

This is a big problem for me. Patients will search my name to figure out what kind of a doctor they’re getting, and they’re going to come across this kind of thing. When I start trying to get jobs presumably my employers will also search my name and find this.

If the person doing this is reading this, please stop.

If anyone reading this knows the person doing this, please make them stop.

I’ve already contacted the people in charge of the associated blogs privately, but if they’re reading this, I would appreciate them deleting the offending comments and maybe getting some IPs.

I’d also appreciate any help anyone else has to offer. Has anyone else been in this position? Is there a known solution?

The best idea I can think of is to just post something here under my real name titled “If you are Googling [NAME], you will find a lot of false results” in the hope that I can make it the first result for my name and anyone searching me will notice – but that would require permanently breaking anonymity for this blog, which would sacrifice some ability to talk about controversial things. Does that sound like a good idea? A bad idea? Possibly if someone with a highly-Google-ranked blog wants to do me a favor, I can post it there instead of here? I would feel weird doing it on LW, which was the other suggestion.

The second best idea I can think of is just to switch to my real name permanently, in the hopes that SSC-related uses of my real name overwhelm other ones beyond a potential stalker’s ability to click through Google.

And while I’m on the subject – I’ve been thinking of setting up a parallel psychiatry blog, in the sense of “all of my psychiatry posts, and only my psychiatry posts, get automatically displayed on some other site along with the comments, in a way that’s hard to trace back here.” Then it would look like I have a popular psychiatry blog and I could show it to patients and employers and be like “Look! I have a psychiatry blog!” I could also put that one under my real name, which might push fake uses of my real name down the search results a little. I could pay someone a small amount of money ($100? $200?) for help making this happen.

PS: I know the formatting here has gotten a little weird recently; I’m working on it.

ADDED: Someone gave me the bright idea of retooling for this purpose. It is done! (As an added bonus, if I ever feel the need to actually go on profanity-laden racist rants, I have a perfect cover.)

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202 Responses to I Am Being Framed

  1. Protagoras says:

    That is pretty awful. I think the plan of having a psychiatry blog under your real name makes some sense, but of course one wishes cunning strategies were unnecessary. And on posting the “If you are Googling for [NAME], you will find a lot of a false results;” perhaps you could post something like that to Less Wrong or something. Of course that would mean that anybody could easily find out who the author of this blog is, but this blog still wouldn’t pop up on a casual web search for your name, and a casual web search is all most people will bother with. So it won’t completely destroy your ability to talk about controversial things without them being publicized to anyone curious about you in real life.

  2. gunlord500 says:

    I’m incredibly sorry to hear this. Although I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, I’m honestly at a loss as to why anyone would do this to you. You’ve always struck me as one of the most charitable and level-headed commentators from *either* side of the aisle, reactionary, ‘social justice,’ or whatever. I hope the jerk who’s pretending to be you gets his/her comeuppance.

    • subforum says:

      I endorse this comment entirely.

      Scott, your blog is an inspiring reminder that thoughtful, good faith discussion is still possible on the Internet in 2014.

      Person who’s impersonating Scott, your behavior is shameful and you should stop it, even (especially) if you think it’s okay because he’s a critic of [X] and [X] is objectively good.

  3. whatever says:

    When I saw it on Twitter, I hoped it was going to be a hilarious case of name collision but he links to a site of yours, right?

    So maybe cop to your name on that site, and put a visible notice there that someone is impersonating you on the Internet. That other site is already pretty high in Google for your name, and if he keeps up, it may even help.

    On the psych blog idea, if you post the same stuff on two websites, it will always be easy to link them. It’s a good idea on its own, to post psych-related posts there and only there.

    • FeepingCreature says:

      When I saw it on Twitter, I hoped it was going to be a hilarious case of name collision but he links to a site of yours, right?

      Use referrer checking to redirect to an info page. See here for instructions.

  4. Douglas Knight says:

    Since you know how to set up a blog, you know how to set up a psychiatry blog. Why not just have two blogs, rather than duplicating the content? A big downside to duplicating the content is that the people who know you here might keep linking here, failing to feed the new blog googlejuice. (But even if you do make a new and separate blog, you probably want to move your old psychiatry posts over there, which may require help.)

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ll add that having duplicate content my result in google flagging one of the sites as being blogspam and penalizing it a lot.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Because most of the people who read this one wouldn’t read that one, and then I would feel sad that no one is reading my psychiatry posts. Also, it would be nice if I could show people a blog with lots of comments and stuff so it looks popular.

      • Douglas Knight says:

        Every time you post there, you could make a short post here with comments closed telling people to go there.

        • Scott Alexander says:

          Yeah, okay, you’ve convinced me.

          • Eric says:

            Just to reinforce this: I like DK’s idea, and I promise to click through every time I come here and see a link to your psychiatry blog.

        • Nick says:

          I’m just going to subscribe to Scott’s other blog if he makes one. I don’t know that I’ll always read the posts, but I have always read his medicine related posts on here so there’s a strong precedent that the new blog would interest me and get lots of views from me.

      • Faul_Sname says:

        I would read the psychiatry blog. Your psychiatry posts are some of the most interesting ones on here.

      • MugaSofer says:

        I’d definitely subscribe to any blog that credibly promised to have “just” a subset of what you currently post here.

        (I imagine a lot of the commenters here are the same, but then I would, wouldn’t I?)

  5. social justice warlock says:

    The top results that I see for your real name are attached either to your real identity or to your real fake identity, not your fake real identity, if it’s any consolation. (This also means that you never were particularly anonymous, however.)

    As one of probably a handful of SJ types who can pass that particular Turing Test and who has expressed some hostile attitudes now and then, I suppose I should affirm my commitment to stabbing from the front (except as part of $SECRET_ENTRYIST_PROJECT, which differs from this in that it would move the epistemic landscape in rather than away from our favor once all was revealed, assuming such a thing exists, which of course would be absurd.)

    E: actually now that I look at the comments the thing that strikes me most is that they think a reasonable simulation of you would type “ha, faggot!,” which is precisely the sort of thing I’d expect a totally ingenuous commenter at a place like BRAINSIZE MASCULINE GAYS DOT COM to say, but not anyone who’s familiar enough with/gives enough of a shit about you to know your True Name to say. So maybe the other guy actually is named Yourfirstname Yourlastname? I mean, it seems unlikely, but so do all the other explanations I can think of.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, it really isn’t someone else with the same name, because he links to scott’s website.

    • Khoth says:

      > So maybe the other guy actually is named Yourfirstname Yourlastname? I mean, it seems unlikely, but so do all the other explanations I can think of.

      It can’t be that – Other Guy’s name links to

    • Zubon says:

      This also means that you never were particularly anonymous, however.
      It is a very small fig leaf. I only recently started reading, but the past month’s posts (and links in them) give you everything from Scott’s address to his social circle to Ozy’s camgirl site. And it takes less than a minute to get to this site from a real name search, so identity was not hidden in that direction either.

      • Daniel Speyer says:

        I suspect it would take more than a minute without “raikoth” as a bridge. But giving up that means moving URLs and probably losing Google rank (unless 301 avoids that). Especially since the old blog is trivial to find, so people might stop looking.

  6. I can’t help but feel that attention will encourage this person based on my past interactions with trolls. You may want to delete this and go out of band to ask friends to help out.

    • Zargon says:

      I would have to agree with this. Internet trolls enjoy the suffering of others. If you broadcast that you’re suffering due to their efforts, this will make them more persistent. I’d delete this, then try and contact those blogs privately and ask them to delete the comments. Trolling comments get deleted every day, so it wouldn’t be unusual to see the comments disappear, and hopefully they’ll get bored and find something else to do. If they keep it up for a week, then maybe think about more drastic measures.

      • Scott Alexander says:

        I tried that, but they’ve been keeping it up consistently for a couple of days now.

        • I don’t think a couple of days of being ignored is enough to drive a troll away.

          This being said, I agree that this sort of attack is serious enough that it’s appropriate to take measures to protect your reputation and your enjoyment of being online.

    • I’ve seen some women bloggers say that not feeding the trolls isn’t a good policy. (There may be men who say this too that I haven’t seen.)

      It’s partly that not reacting to trolling can leave the person attacking feeling helpless and isolated, and partly that there are enough trolls to supply social support for each other– just not reacting doesn’t work all that well when there’s a serious attack.

      • Cauê says:

        This might be using the same word for different situations. People who want nothing more than drawing a reaction, or seeing the world burn, will probably (I’m speculating) lose interest or find better targets if there’s no reaction.

        But people that engage in similar behaviors for some kind of cause will probably not.

        • Cadie says:

          I think it is two different situations. Ignoring trolls works when they’re just trying to get attention or stir up drama. Leaving an offensive comment on a message board, sending random hate messages, and that sort of thing. A directed attack meant to damage someone’s reputation is different, and sometimes taking action is necessary.

        • fubarobfusco says:

          Agreed. “Troll” isn’t a single cluster. There are at least two clusters that often go by that name, but could perhaps be better described as “cranks” and “bullies”.

          Cranks persistently go where they’re unwelcome to pick fights with people they dislike. Bullies pick someone they think is vulnerable, and compete with each other to humiliate or destroy that person.

          Cranks want to be surrounded by enemies, because that proves they’re righteous. Bullies want to gang up on someone who can’t defend themselves, because that gives them an opportunity to show off to each other.

          • nydwracu says:

            What, there are no trolls sowing completely untargeted and mostly-harmless chaos for fun anymore? The state of the internet is worse than I thought.

            (Then again, social media doesn’t really allow for that sort of thing.)

          • Could you recommend some examples of completely untargeted and mostly-harmless chaos for fun?

            These days, I think fake but plausible mews is being done professionally.

  7. Ialdabaoth says:

    The second best idea I can think of is just to switch to my real name permanently, in the hopes that SSC-related uses of my real name overwhelm other ones beyond a potential stalker’s ability to click through Google.

    I would strongly recommend in favor of this strategy, from personal experience. Also, everyone who has a blog or a tumblr or a facebook or anything internet-related should mention your real name and link to this very post – it will cause this post to be the top-rated google result, which will contextualize everything else. (I will not begin doing so without your permission, but merely give the word and I can throw what meager weight I have behind this process, along with everyone else.)

    Also, should you need it, you have my sword.

    • Douglas Knight says:

      Linking to this post is very premature, heading towards the Streisand effect. If people google his real name (Scott, try it!), these comments don’t come up. There is no need to do anything about them now. And it is pretty unlikely that they will ever come up. Comments are a very minor part of a page and google pays them little attention. (If someone takes one of these comments and creates a blog post responding to it, that could be bad.)

      Dominating the google results is a good long-term strategy against many classes of attacks. But dominate it with useful or at least normal content, not complaints about something that isn’t visible on google. A very easy suggestion: create a linkedin profile.

      • Scott Alexander says:

        For me they come up starting on the second page.

        • Douglas Knight says:

          I’m pretty sure that I’m getting baseline hits of someone that google doesn’t know anything about, and I don’t get any even through the 10th page. Of course, what your patients get will be neither what you get nor what I get, but I don’t see why they’d get these pages (nor do I really see why you get these pages). Try searching from a library computer or something.

          But second page is disturbingly high.

          • Scott Alexander says:

            Thank you. I double-checked with private browsing enabled and didn’t find it. All I got was a few things about me, a singer in Vegas, an artist in Colorado, and several websites that have helpfully opened profile pages for me even though I have never used them.

            I think maybe either Google knew I was just at those troll comment pages, or else knows that I like Gene Expression, and so rated those more highly.

            You have taken a load off my mind. I’ll keep the retooled as a preventative measure in case this happens again.

          • Zubon says:

            Also seeing 2nd page, logged in using Chrome with my ID or logged out in IE. Looked more buried on Bing.

            More disturbingly high: my IE was apparently using some sort of “Google custom search” from an old malware infection, and unz was a first page result.

          • Scott Alexander says:

            Awwww, darn. Maybe Zubon is another previous GNXP reader?

          • Zubon says:

            Is GNXP “Gene Expression” or something like that? No, but I did visit that Unz link after you mentioned it above.

            Trying more experiments: still second page in Chrome incognito mode. Google recognizes the IP?

            We might also be getting similar results from both being in Michigan.

          • Douglas Knight says:

            Google definitely pays attention to your location and I am not in Michigan. You should do lots of tests from Michigan, but not tests by your readers like Zubon. Try your coworkers’ computers.

            Yes, GNXP is Razib’s abbreviation/branding of Gene Expression.

          • Hannah says:

            I see the same unz result on the second page in and out of private browsing, as well as in IE.

            On the plus side, the bit that it excerpts is “Your Name (really) … Note: the person above is not me.”… so there’s that.

            (Edit: not in MI, coworkers’ computers sound like a good idea if you must know; whole train of testing probably a distraction anyway because that particular result is likely to be cleaned up by Razib eventually and fake comments showing up some of the time for some people is often enough to be a problem.)

          • g says:

            Google from Chrome in private mode, nowhere near Michigan: unz is not on the second page but is on the third.

            Google from Firefox in not-private mode, still nowhere near Michigan: unz is on the second page.

            Duck Duck Go from Chrome in private mode, still nowhere near Michigan: I scrolled a while and didn’t see any of the fake stuff.

            Bing from Chrome in private mode, now in Michigan still in the UK: nothing in the first four pages of results.

            (The absence of fakery in the non-Google searches may just indicate that DDG and Bing aren’t as quick to index things as Google, of course.)

            (These were all searching for your-real-first-name your-real-surname, no middle name, no quotation marks.)

          • Scott Alexander says:

            Hey Zubon, have you ever been to our Michigan meetups? Would you like to?

          • Fazathra says:

            By the way Scott, although I don’t get any of the fake comments until the sixth page of google, I do get something called “dead children currency” on the second page with the preview being “I think dead children should be used as a unit of currency. I know this sounds controversial, but hear me out”. If I were a patient or whoever googling you, that would freak me out more than the racism to be honest.

          • Douglas Knight says:

            Now I’m getting gnxp on the 2nd page. Probably I just missed it before. Sorry for the false reassurances.

            Also, g reminded me of the possibility of setting my location. I tried Detroit and Ann Arbor and it didn’t change anything (except to bring up your brother – I didn’t know he was also in MI).

            GNXP probably has a boost because it is recent and maybe people are linking to it, but it will fade over time. If the guy keeps posting there, new posts will pop up there. The other sites are pretty obscure.

          • Richard says:


            But if you actually hear him out, the dead children idea is simply brilliant. I guess it’s a problem if potential patients only read the headlines though…

          • Fazathra says:

            @ Richard

            Yeah, I know that essay’s good, but for someone who doesn’t know about utilitarianism or effective altruism and all the other stuff discussed here and who just skims headlines, like I imagine most of his employers and patients would do, then it could be problematic.

        • destract says:

          How would you dispose of the body?

          Hide it on the second page of Google search

        • Auroch says:

          A good way to check a fully-anonymized search is to use a search aggregator like Dogpile. Any search you do through them has your personal attributes diluted into a massive pile of aggregate searching (if those attributes are even sent), and you can get an unbiased results page.

      • Ialdabaoth says:

        Actually, my experience says this would result in the opposite of the Streisand effect – in this case, you WANT to bring attention to the fact that something is going on, so that it will be an available hypothesis if someone sees you say something weird.

        • Douglas Knight says:

          If people see the original thing, you want them to see the response. But if few people see the original, the response isn’t worth it. Does the response have any downsides? It might encourage people who were only going to do a simple search to keep digging to find the original. And it’s just a little weird on its own. The worst scenario, the only that really justifies the name “the Streisand effect” is if someone sees the response and chooses to amplify the original.

      • Paul Torek says:

        Pile on! If this is still a problem – the search results investigation seems unsettled right now, but if the results aren’t comforting – create a LinkedIn, AND a Twitter, and a Zerply, and a Meetup … and we will pitch in and drive up the SEO ratings.

    • memeticengineer says:

      Never thought I’d say this non-jokingly, but: “And my axe!”

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hmm I guess what you should do is write a couple of blog posts using your real name, at a site that has your real name in it and will rise to the top of Google. The redirection of psychiatry stuff sounds reasonable too, although clearly some of it would make you unpopular with some psychiatrists [edit-and duplicated content would be easy yo trace back]. I’m no expert on this stuff though. Ryan Carey

  9. Nisan says:

    Putting your real name on your blog seems like a bad idea if your goal is to preserve your professional identity. It would provide many more opportunities for employers and patients to find out something about you they don’t like, and a claim that you’re being impersonated might not have a strong positive effect (it might even cause people to go looking for the counterfeit comments). Also, posting your real name here and now would attract internet denizens who like to amplify drama.

    Creating a professional website for yourself using your real name seems like a much better idea. It’s a good thing to have anyways. It would allow you to maintain plausible deniability. If you put some hours or dollars into making it look professional, manually copy over a few of your psych essays, and get some colleagues or psych bloggers to link to you, I bet you’ll beat any blog comments in the search rankings.

  10. Nestor says:

    Agreed, I would have handled it by giving the author of the attack no visible indication that you are even aware of the attack, privately deleting the comments by emailing the site admins and without fanfare.

    Welp if it comes up you can blame the graphic designer guy. I have a rare name surname combo but there are enough nutcases out there sharing it I can blame them for almost anything…

  11. Anonymous says:

    You are impersonated at Razib’s blog. Razib is impersonated at another blog on the same site.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Link to Razib impersonator? I feel bad for Razib, but from a selfish perspective that’s sort of promising – if it’s happening to a bunch of people it means no one has it in for me personally, and people will be more likely to take action.

  12. Kate Donovan says:

    This is incredibly shitty, and I’m very sorry it’s happening to you.

  13. TJIC says:

    I’m sorry this happened; I echo the comments above that you’re one of the most fair people out there.

    I disagree about the likelihood that it’s a Nrx-er; this reads much more like SJW tactics to me. Too bad that there’s not some betting market to let me earn a piece of bitcoin and for you to harness the wisdom of the crowd. …not that this is really a good time to joke.

    Best of luck exposing this jerk and getting the comments removed.

    Anyway, best of luck.

    • theunitofcaring says:

      I thought this too until I read the content of the comments. And…nope. I’ve read SJ efforts to imitate perceived ideological enemies and they look nothing like these. If there’s a way to set up a betting market, I’ll give you 2-1 odds, up to $100 (or up to $1000 to an effective charity of your choice.)

      • Anonymous says:

        I read some more comments. I’ll give you 5-to-1.

      • Susebron says:

        That seems to lend credence to Multiheaded’s theory that it’s a rightist-impersonating-leftist-impersonating-rightist.

      • Nathan Cook says:

        The use of the word ‘leftoid’, the rather hateful quality of the racism and the focus on hierarchies and biological realism point to a Chateau Heartiste reader. In other words part of the evil-right, albeit with an interest in neoreaction.

  14. zaogao says:

    A cloaked figure pulls his Sith hood back to reveal Arthur Chu’s face in a maniacal rictus.
    Scott: “Do you expect me to talk [about our differences in a respectful fashion]?”
    Chu: “No Mr. Alexander, I expect you to die [from false flag induced struggle sessions]”

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I actually feel really bad about how everyone has decided Arthur Chu is my arch enemy (I think Nick Land is my arch-enemy, but no one else is with me on this).

      I didn’t like a couple of comments he posted on Facebook, and I wasn’t even going to mention anything about them, but then Hallq signal-boosted them and I felt like I had to respond. That people are using this to discredit him in general bothers me.

      I actually emailed him a little while ago asking if he wanted me to obfuscate his name there, but I haven’t heard back from him.

      He is another one of those people whom I would expect to stab me in the front. Yes, I know he talks about how he supports fighting dirty. But people who talk about how they support fighting dirty don’t usually fight dirty. The people who fight dirty are the ones who are saying “What? Me? I would never fight dirty, you can relax and let down you guard.”

      • James Miller says:

        True Slytherins fool the sorting hat to get into Hufflepuff.

        • Multiheaded says:

          True Slytherins are cool people proud of who they are. They are not cartoonish sociopathic liars. Niccolo Machiavelli was an infantry captain before he was a statesman.

          • Auroch says:

            Niccolo Machiavelli was at least as much Gryffindor as Slytherin. There’s a reason why there’s debate about how honest The Prince is.

          • Matthew says:

            Machiavelli also wrote the Discourses before he wrote the Prince. But almost nobody who cites him has any sense of the political context in the Italian city states at the time.

          • Multiheaded says:

            And the Discourses are very much Slytherin – what Slytherin ought to be, at least.

          • Slughorn was true Slytherin. Voldemort was a poseur. Unfortunately, the rest of Slytherin wasn’t able to coordinate well enough to do anything about Voldemort.

      • Susebron says:

        I think the reason people use Arthur Chu as opposed to Nick Land is because you haven’t written a long response to/refutation of the latter. Meditations on Moloch came close, but it wasn’t solely a response to Land.

        (On the subject of Moloch: What exactly was Elua a metaphor for in that case? It’s a bit confusing, especially since you also used Elua to mean liberalism in Niceness, Community, and Civilization. Was Meditations-Elua supposed to be “human values”, “a societal organization which optimizes for human values”, “FAI”, or something else entirely?)

        • It might be that Scott is equivocating because using the same word for ‘my preferred politics’ and ‘the Totality of Human Values’ makes his view look more objective and middle-of-the-road.

          A few things can be said in defense of the link, though. Scott identifies as some combination of liberal and libertarian. He unpacks liberalism as “‘Do as you will, so long as it harms none'[…] Your job isn’t to enforce your conception of virtue upon everyone to build the Virtuous Society, it’s to live your own life the way you want to live it and let other people live their own lives the way they want to live them.” The archipelago based on this conception of libertarian liberalism ( may link up to ‘Human Value in general’ in a few senses:

          1. within reasonable bounds, it permits (if not encourages) people with arbitrary values to go after them
          2. it’s not really all that partisan; libertarians and liberals can compromise to arrive at Elua, and conservatives can love Elua because he promotes tight-knit (and stable?) communities
          3. it might well be the best way to actualize people’s values; and if it’s not, Scott (and/or the LW/SSC community) will probably ditch it once a better contender makes itself known

          Quoth Scott in “I predict that human values, lifted to heaven by a human-friendly superintelligence, would end up looking something like the Archipelago – many places for people to pursue their own visions of the Good, watched over by a benevolent god who acts only to ensure universal freedom of movement. Indeed, given a superintelligence to magic away the problems – no inter-community invasion, no competition for (presumably unlimited) resources – it seems to that a plurality of humankind would endorse this scenario over whatever other plans someone could dream up.

          “It is a minor sin to speculate on what could happen after the Singularity. I’m not saying it will be a world like this. This is something I thought up in ten minutes. It is a lower bound. Something thought up by a real superintelligence would be much, much better.”

          The liberal-libertarian model (on which we do our best to give everyone what they want, without judging object-level preferences) is contrasted with

          (a) completely inhumane values: Gnon, Azathoth, Death, Unfriendly AI, etc.

          (b) a selection of human values to the (arbitrary) exclusion of all other human values: egoism, tyranny, ingroup-ism, pathological sadism

          Straw libertarianism, which doesn’t even try to prevent harm or reconcile dissonant values, degenerates into a war of all against all, which degenerates into pure death and destruction (a) and/or tyranny (b). Neoreactionaries generally fall under (b) — they argue that finding one person with Pretty Correct Values to overrule everyone else’s preferences is worthwhile because the coordination will defeat Moloch, even though this means throwing a lot of people’s values under the bus.

          On the other hand, if the king is perfectly wise and humane, this option should collapse into Elua — this is Eliezer’s ideal, Friendly AI. A perfect king exists only to create and preserve Archipelago (or whatever all-human-preferences-respecting system would trump Archipelago). This convergence of ideal monarchy with ideal liberty is another reason Elua can claim to be somewhat nonpartisan.

        • RCF says:

          There’s also the fact that Nick Land didn’t spend several weeks dominating a television program seen by millions with controversial tactics that generated significant discussion. At least, not that I’m aware of.

          Personally, I’m not as disturbed by Arthur Chu’s statements, as the fact that it appears that there is a large swath of the populations for which one’s ability to answer trivia questions is more important than whether one endorses dishonesty.

      • roystgnr says:

        There are three kinds of people: those who don’t fight dirty, those who fight dirty and are good at it, and those who fight dirty and are bad at it.

        Someone who proclaims an intention not to fight dirty might be in either of the first two groups, but someone who proclaims an intention to fight dirty is definitely in the third.

        • I don’t think Arthur Chu actually fights dirty. You might not like his style (I don’t), but he’s fighting for his beliefs on the battlefield of intellectual discourse, just like the rest of us, and he hasn’t committed any serious transgressions of the rules of discourse. It’s just that the beliefs he’s fighting for include the idea that those rules aren’t moral imperatives.

      • zaogao says:

        I am not using what you wrote to discredit him. He achieves that handily on his own.

        Enemies aren’t neccesarily symmetric, which is a lot of what your debate was about. He can view you as an enemy without you seeing him as such. However I think more antagonism just increase the chance of bad things happening, and I think you have done a very good job in general avoiding such things, so I wonder if I should be bringing it up even jokingly.

        (But note that by declaring his intention to fight dirty he averted your suspicion that he is fighting dirty. “You only think I guessed wrong! That’s what’s so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia” – but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line”! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha… “-Arthur Chu (>This also implies the framing is somehow to your benefit that he is unaware of, or that you have fully mithridized yourself against all libel. This becomes apparent when a 1337-hax LWer succesfully doxxes the framer and ruins his life.))

      • Brian says:

        Dude yes. I totally agree with you that Nick Land is your actual archenemy. Arthur is mostly just a funny joke, while Land is (i) super intelligent and (ii) ideologically pernicious.

        Like, nothing Arthur has said is novel or interesting or particularly concerning. He’s basic.

        Land, however, is not messing around ideologically. His thesis that intelligence/self-cultivation/growth is maximizing the dissipation of entropy – maximizing the capacity to do work – is not super original**, but he makes it explicit and develops it in a bunch of very interesting and impactful ways.

        And he’s got very good arguments illustrating that this fundamental thermodynamic force – “intelligence”, “evolution”, “techno-economic growth”, etc. – is not necessarily our friend. As soon as humans and human values cease to be aligned with ‘increase the dissipation of entropy’, the world will cease to be a nice place for humans. This is what you’re getting at with Moloch, I think. So on the big picture, you guys seem to be relatively close.

        But in terms of values and the moral direction of society, Land gets really ugly. As an explicit and unrepentant accelerationist, he’s basically arguing that we should continue to feed into this entropy-maximization process until it eats us and spits out the machine gods that replace us. He’s also pretty big on human extinction and other petty doomsterisms, too.

        I do not want to see a Landian century. I would like very much to combat Land’s accelerationist theses, and I am glad that you do as well.

        I think a good first line of attack would be to talk about how the development of the physical world doesn’t jump straight to the maximal entropy state–there are really a whole bunch of paths through state-space towards the maximal entropy state, and some are more human-friendly than others.

        27chaos posted a fascinating comment here recently linking to an article about the explanatory power of genetic algorithms in physics, and how they are an analogue of entropy-dissipation-maximization. One of the differences between genetic algorithms and entropy-maximization is that geneticism emphasizes the plurality of possible paths forward–a tree structure with branches occasionally culled.

        Making this point will oppose the cosmic inexorability in Land’s ideology. Sure, in the long run we’re all screwed, but there’s a whole lot of possibility between here and the end. We do have a ten-thousand mile head start on Moloch–how can we extend it? Presumably by either increasing capacity to do work (accelerationist), by increasing the amount of resources we store for the future without investing in growth, or by intentionally relaxing selection pressures (troubling in its own way). If we’re smart and creative, spectacular human flourishing can be aligned with entropy-maximization for a long while still.

        Another important point of opposition will be to develop the concepts relating human values to this world-value of entropy-maximization. As much as I love your Meditations on Moloch, I think that you sorta garbled the issue a little bit. Like, you partially sketched out an explicit abstract picture and illustrated it with examples, but you kept trying to translate it up into the whole anthropomorphic vocabulary; this translation wasn’t clean, and Land’s “Gnon” came out as simpler and more powerful.

        That whole anthropomorphism/new-agey crap is another (easy, trivial) point of opposition. It’s a lazy way to talk and think, and it’s a bad and epistemically dangerous way to talk and think. Same goes for his hip, continental-ish writing style. Seems cool and edgy, is occasionally good for threading together disparate ideologies, is often bad because obfuscation. I’m over it, and I don’t want to see it spread.

        The final main conflict (that I can yet see) will be over his thesis that accelerationism is the only theoretically or methodologically consistent principle. He argues that all human values were created by the process that maximizes the dissipation of entropy, or that this entropy-dissipation is what underlies our idea of “good” in all magisteria. And so, “what we really want is [maximizing the dissipation of entropy].”

        I’m tempted to agree with him here, which troubles me a lot. On one hand, I want to think that a global society could be founded on common human values: love, family, friends, cooperation, good food, etc etc. I think your Elua-metaphor does good work here. However, I’m skeptical that there could be a truly cosmic or universal society that did not explicitly and only value the maximization of the dissipation of entropy–this is the core “value” underlying the great plurality of values. The rise of capitalism as a global unifying principle is evidence for the latter position, and Land is quick to advance on this.

        I don’t yet know how to rightly oppose him here. I think that diving deeper into genetic algorithms might provide some insight/escape routes. Formulating the problem in terms of entropy-dissipation probably gives Landian acceleration the advantage. We need to explicitly establish the (large) gap between maximally dissipating strategies and deleterious strategies, because it’s somewhere within that gap that we flourish.

        Of course, as much as I want to oppose Land, I still love and respect his writing and thinking. He’s immensely interesting and important, but his ideology will steer us in a deathwards direction, and that’s bad.

        I’m very curious as to what else you see as the main conflict with Land, and how you intend to oppose him. How can we coordinate an anti-Landian opposition, so to speak?

        Now, I just need to get off my ass and start writing. Mine is not a dogmatic slumber so much as a lazy-and-tired slumber, and that’s sad. As always, advice and suggestions on overcoming are welcome.

        ** For others arguing the same general point, see ‘Causal Entropic Forces’ by Wissner-Gross & Freer, or ‘Empowerment: A Universal Agent-Centric Measure of Control’ by Klyubin et al and the attendant literature. ‘Energy Rate Density as a Complexity Metric and Evolutionary Driver’ by Chaisson seems to be excellent on the same, but I only skimmed it and can’t endorse fully.

  15. Multiheaded says:

    It’s either an SJ hanger-on or (slightly more likely) a /pol/ type impersonating SJ crudely impersonating Scott. /pol/-style rightists are known for freaky little plots like these, but deranged SJ people with an axe to grind sure do happen.

    • What are the odds that it’s someone who has no strong political opinions, but who just wants to make trouble for a popular blogger?

      • RCF says:

        Or maybe it’s a Boltzmann troll. There must be some Everett branch in which someone posted a completely random comment that, just by chance, constituted an impersonation of an actual blogger.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I’m still saying reactionary. The intersection between SJers familiar enough with opposing arguments to be able to namedrop Greg Clark and Greg Cochran, and SJers stupid enough to do something like this is probably pretty low.

      It looks like the same person is after Razib, and I don’t think he would be a big target for SJ. My guess is upgraded to “someone peripherally associated with the HBD community who is annoyed when people show knowledge of the relevant research but don’t join their side full-on”

    • jaimeastorga2000 says:

      I think it’s more likely to be an SJW than an NRx based purely on reference classes, but your whole “right pretending to be left pretending to be right” theory is so beautiful that I find myself wishing it were true.

      • Matthew says:

        Sigh. I know some people think HPMOR is an instruction manual for life, but I don’t think this is what they had in mind.

    • cpopell says:

      Having been unfortunately coming across /pol/ much more in recent days due to strange bedfellows…a lot of them actually rather like Scott. Words Words Words gets cited quite often.

    • nydwracu says:

      That’s not SJ’s style. They’re not that patient. I’m guessing HBD.

  16. David says:

    To be fair , I know your real name* and it’s not as if I had to go digging for it, I just followed some links to your quartz’n’jackdaws zone. Is it an option to go back to your WordPress blog and change every instance of it to your screen name, or is that too soul-destroying a faff to even contemplate?

    *as in, I was already aware, not in the sense that I’ve been actively looking for it in the light of this 🙂

    • Emily says:

      Going from web presence to name is pretty easy (I did it, too, also not in response to this post), but I assume the desire is to keep people (like, potential future employers) from easily going from name to web presence.

    • Andy says:

      I was aware of your real name (Scott, not David) from emailing you and receiving a reply.

    • I learned Scott’s real name a while ago from Facebook. I don’t know anyone from the rationalist blogosphere in real life, but some prominent people (most notably Eliezer Yudkowsky) maintain publicly followable Facebook presences, so when I follow any of them I end up getting a window into their real-life social circles.

      Presumably this isn’t a huge problem for Scott since it doesn’t cause people Googling his real name to arrive at this blog.

  17. I’m very angry that this is happening to you. I hate it when people feel compelled to wreck other people’s fun.

    Best wishes for your countermeasures.

  18. Hannah says:

    What an awful thing for someone to do.

    I would read a separate psychiatry blog, but cross-posting would give up some anonymity (assuming it doesn’t get you flagged as blogspam). It would probably keep both this blog and the troll comments out of sight of prospective patients, but it’d make it easier for people who are mad at you on the internet to get hold of your personal information.

    What you have on seems pretty effective, though google hasn’t updated its title/text snapshot yet.

  19. Anonymous says:

    You have a legal cause of action against whomever is doing this to you. Consider offering a DOX bounty of a percentage of any future moneys you receive in litigation or settlement.

    • JRM says:

      I am a lawyer. That a cause of action could exist may be true. The bounty of a percentage of the net funds Scott would get from a lawsuit is a substantial negative number.

      I find the behavior of the impersonator to be awful, and this totally sucks. I understand the urge to cockroach-stomp this particular insect. But:

      1. Lawsuits cost money. Yes, lawyers take pro bono cases. (I can’t; it’s illegal for me to do so.) But if you’re looking for pro bono cases, there’s more good to be done than on some jackass impersonator. (The very litigious Speedway Bomber generates a lot of pro bono work, for instance.)

      2. You probably have to sue the impersonator where he lives. This is… not a cost savings.

      3. Let’s say you win. Let’s say you win a $20K judgment, which seems remote for reasons too dull to go into here, but what the hell. Let’s say your lawyer, who is not the sort to concern himself with filthy lucre, charges you nothing, has the costs funded in some other way, whatever. Now you have a judgment for $20K.

      A judgment for $20K is not twenty thousand actual dollars. You then have to go get those dollars. Good luck to you.

      In this case, in my opinion, suing is a completely terrible option, unless it turns out to be the rich guy six blocks over whose arch-enemy is Joseph T. Goodlawyer, whose vanity plate reads “I H8 MNY.”

      ETA: This is not legal advice. Legal advice comes from someone competent in that field of law in your jurisdiction. Relying on semi-anonymous internet commenters for professional legal advice has led generally to awesomely humorous results.

  20. Douglas Knight says:

    Here’s an example which is a couple months old. It is clearly the same guy – posting under your name, with your website, dropping the same names. But it doesn’t look at all like he’s trying to discredit you. I found it on the 8th page of results on google.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      That’s….really weird.

      • Scott F says:

        It is evidence for the ‘associated with HBD community and frustrated you understand but don’t agree’ theory, but it also pushes up some other weird hypotheses, like the cloud of mental-illness-related “believes they are you”, “believes they are impersonating you so well nobody would be able to tell”, “became convinced this is what you want to say but can’t bring yourself to, so they are doing it for you”, etc.

        I think that downgrades the risk of harm slightly?

        • BenSix says:

          I once noticed that some of the reactionaries had picked up a weird stalker of their accounts and the streams of faux-naive questions remind me of him. Could be that weird people often sound alike.

        • Daniel Speyer says:

          If there are thousands of people across space time, including you, who are absolutely certain they wrote slate star codex, what are the odds that you are correct?

          • Ken Arromdee says:

            In order to answer questions that require reasoning at all, you have to assume that you are capable of good reasoning. So Scott should assume that, for instance, his memory of writing the blog means that he actually wrote the blog.

            Mentally ill people who also think they are Scott probably wouldn’t comprehend that they need to make this assumption. Even if they somehow did, it would be false information. They would then incorrectly conclude they are Scott as well, based on the false information. It is not news that people reach incorrect conclusions based on false information. They’re actually in an asymmetrical situation with respect to Scott, even if you naively look at it and think “it’s symmetrical since they have the same beliefs and evidence as Scott”.

          • Forgive me for asking if the answer is yes, but because I’m curious: Did you know what this joke was referencing?

          • Richard says:

            From time to time I teach ‘Theory of knowledge’ @ high school level. Is it OK if I use your jesus parable as a class assignment, and if it is, would you like to be credited or prefer to stay anonymous?

          • Ken Arromdee says:

            No, I had no idea that was referencing anything.

          • @Richard that piece is rather awesome, but are you sure you’re not going to massively regret using it?

      • social justice warlock says:

        I suppose it could be a more subtle attempt to smear you by association with people like Cochran and Pinker, but let’s not beat around the bush, you do that plenty well yourself. (Also “subtle” doesn’t really jive with the “lol faggot” comments, though both fail to capture your writing style. This applies to the more substantive comments at GNXP as well – too breathless.)

        • Scott Alexander says:

          Maybe the guy logged in to frame me, then didn’t log out and posted things he genuinely wanted to say?

          • 27chaos says:

            Maybe he likes you, and you’re his mascot. Like, someone else might put Einstein as their username. And this weirdo put your name.

    • g says:

      I wouldn’t be certain that the person isn’t trying to discredit Scott. I mean, pseudo-Scott there sounds pretty dim, especially in comparison to real-Scott.

    • Douglas Knight says:

      And a middle ground, a comment of the polite form “what do you think about…,” but probably trolling the author.

    • Douglas Knight says:

      Two more, six months ago, both on the subject of Wade.

      savageminds org 2014/05/14/what-happened-at-the-fuentes-wade-webinar/
      violentmetaphors com 2014/06/02/nicholas-wades-troublesome-approach-to-scientific-critiques/

  21. Elissa says:

    I’m sorry this is happening. I’m also pretty confused about what this person is trying to accomplish. The comments are poorly written in a distinctive unScottlike style and are not even well-optimized for offensiveness.

  22. Lambert says:

    A) Impersonator uses ‘Data’ as singular, commas before the word ‘and’ and does not leave spaces before / after ‘/’.

    B) Razib blog impersonator seems pretty typical right / libertarian comment. 😉

    • Anonymous says:

      The conjunction of your two comments suggests that you think there are two impersonators. But the Razib one doesn’t use / or and, so what’s the point of A?

      • Lambert says:

        It could potentially narrow down potential trolls. It was more of a thought I had from the post a while ago on MsScribe and sockpuppets, about whether it would be possible to tell two people apart by their writing style, in ways that are hard to fake.
        (This is in the fashion of the Medieval Islamic sholars who invented letter frequency analysis while trying to determine whether certain texts were genuine writings of the Prophet.)

      • RCF says:

        “But the Razib one doesn’t use / or and, so what’s the point of A?”

        Well, that sentence sure is a festival of use-mention confusion.

        Also, Lambert said the impersonator puts commas before “and” (otherwise known as the Oxford comma).

    • RCF says:

      Do you think that there these are unusual habits? The slashes one is particularly odd. That’s like saying “The impersonator capitalizes the first word of each sentence.” I don’t know where you acquired the habit of surrounding your slashes with spaces, but it is not grammatically correct (and the Oxford comma is a perfectly legitimate variant, and singular “data” is arguable).

  23. Illuminati Initiate says:

    I don’t even know what to say to this, this is horrible.

  24. Random Person says:

    Maybe you should start digitally signing your posts/comments so that people know when someone is attempting to impersonate you. might be a good start.

    • jaimeastorga2000 says:

      Yes, because potential patients and employers know all about cryptographic signatures.

      • Protagoras says:

        Indeed. Anyone willing to regularly go through that much effort will probably do enough research to figure out the fraud anyway. Scott seems to be worried (sensibly) about looking bad on the kind of quick google search which is all most people would ever bother to do.

  25. Douglas Knight says:

    The same guy left comments on 9 posts at brainsize, starting a month ago. I can supply a list, but do you really want it? here is the earliest: /2014/08/26/radical-theory-for-explaining-the-flynn-effect/

  26. platypus says:

    There exist companies which will produce bland positive articles about you and use SEO (ugh) to promote them higher on web search than that sort of slander.

    I don’t necessarily endorse that sort of thing but it is an option you might look into. Try searching for [reputation management].

    (Heh: how do you figure out which SEO company is the best? Just do a web search and take the top link, you’ll be correct by definition…)

  27. Stuart Armstrong says:

    That’s hideous! The FHI can probably signal boost your “Moloch” post (or maybe a few others) if needed; can’t think of what else to offer, though.

    Alternative approach: create a third online persona, one that is manifestly not you (“I’m a student at Moscow and I collect tropical fish with my daddy!”), with your real name, and boost it. People searching you out would realise that there are multiple people with your name, and stick to the more official links.

  28. veronica d says:

    This is gross, terrible, awful, and bad. I’m sorry it is happening.

  29. I regret I haven’t anything useful to suggest, but I hope that supportive comments are worth more than their weight in gold at times like this; please be assured I am indignant on your behalf and sorry that this is happening.

    • I suspect gold would be more appreciated, but I’ll add support here. If there’s anything we can do (e.g., help advertise or a new site), let us know; I’m sure SSC readers will gladly mobilize in your favor.

  30. I’ve seen this troll around the HBD blogs I frequent. He seems to be sincere in his views and does indeed defend them when challenged. I reckon he’s from the HBD-sphere because their knowledge seems in-depth and obscure enough to not be anyone else. I don’t know why someone would want to pass you off as a HBD follower or whatever, but I apologize as one myself.

    • Actually now that I think of it there are many idiots in the HBD movement. I have no doubt at least one of them is petty enough to do shit like this. This is the reason why I only relegate myself to the good parts of HBD blogs, in short: not the comments sections.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I’m confused to see you describe yourself as an HBD follower, because I think I got some emails from you a while ago where you seemed really upset that I hadn’t challenged the reactionaries enough about HBD in my anti-reactionary FAQ. I vaguely defended a few things like the usefulness of race as a biological concept, and you sent me some links on how this was wrong and race wasn’t a biological concept at all, and I didn’t want to sound like an HBDer myself so I bowed out.

      Was that you, a different autonomousoblast, or has the identity-stealing troll got you too?

      • That was me. Now let’s never speak of what happened :P.

        • Scott Alexander says:

          If you mean that seriously I’ll shut up, but I’m actually kind of intrigued. It would be one of the most dramatic changes of opinion I’ve ever seen, on a topic with very highly charged opinions on both sides. Without necessarily passing judgment on your specific object-level decision, people Actually Changing Their Mind is relevant to my interests. If you prefer to talk about this privately I would of course keep what you say confidential.

          • If you so wish, I wouldn’t know how to explain it too well, but I have actually flipped positions a couple of times, starting off on the HBD side. Now I am highly skeptical of most of what I see. In essence, most HBD is honestly not very good, being empirically lacking most of the times, polemical or poorly argued many other times. I wouldn’t consider myself a true believer like so many others, all who’ve obviously jumped on the bandwagon to find some scientific basis for their prejudices, but I find that this leads to cherry-picking of data, willful ignorance of counterpoints, and more. I know it’s weird to call myself a HBDer and still criticize it so, but there are problems within HBD to be sure. Also, this is a pointless digression that doesn’t really answer your question…

            My position can be described as HBD but with a more in depth knowledge of the opposition’s arguments.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I know this probably seems like a big deal right now (I’d be nervous too), but it’s probably not. You’re sufficiently high-profile that you’d have to do a lot of digging to find the troll comments – not even employers will do that much research, unless they are internet natives themselves (and even if they are THAT internet savvy and persistent, they’re much more likely to get lost in your actual writing)

    (he bloggers who receive your comments, however, might be fooled. My guess is that the troll wishes to discredit you as a blogger, not as a person.

  32. Edit: Important, hey Yvain read this!********

    Just sign your posts with an openpgp key and other tools that the underground uses to confirm their identities, i’m sure gwern will be glad to help you with this, or I will be. That will be enough to confirm your identity if this is bothering you until this guy cuts his shit.

    Sounds reasonable, right?

    If this is any one from NRx; cease you fool. I don’t know what you want us to do, but we could attemt to locate this individual under some umbrella of related identities with some information.

    We could write a script to follow this guy around, or that might just motivate him even more.

    • Bugmaster says:

      The problem with this defensive measure is that it only works on people who know what an “openpgp key” is. These people are vastly more technologically savvy than the population at large; and, as such, are unlikely to fall for the character assassination in the first place.

      Unfortunately, random journalists, doctors, and medical employers are not nearly as knowledgeable; and for them, the openpgp key will do absolutely nothing.

    • Just in case you don’t understand. You sign your identities with your openpgp key to prove that it is you, it does not have to be exhaustive, but if some one is impersonating you, you can use it again to prove which one is your identity. The guy who is framing you cannot unencrypt messages/get your openpgp anyways, so he will be stuck.

      Things might be somewhat complicated but this will neuter most of it, if not all.

      • Bugmaster says:

        My point is that the following scenario is highly unlikely to happen:

        Potential Employer: Sorry, sir, but we did a Google search on you and apparently you’re a racist loony. Have a nice day.
        Scott: Actually, that loony is some troll who impersonating me.
        Potential Employer: Uh-huh, and I suppose you have proof ?
        Scott: Yes, check out this pgp key.
        Potential Employer: Oh my, you are absolutely right; I understand how cryptography works, and this proves that the other guy is not you. You’re hired !

        Instead, the last two lines in this conversation are more likely to turn out like this:

        Scott: Yes, check out this pgp key.
        Potential Employer: This just looks like a bunch of letters and numbers to me. Don’t try to bullshit me with your mathematical mumbo-jumbo, and get lost. Have a nice day.

        • Nornagest says:

          More to the point, you can’t use your key to prove that you’re not writing the troll’s posts — only to prove that you are the author of signed content. Even if the troll’s posts are signed, that still doesn’t prove it’s not you; a crypto package that supports digital signatures can generate as many key pairs as you want, which is a handy feature for anyone that wants plausible deniability.

          Since your employer is unlikely to care about the (presumptively inoffensive) signed content, this doesn’t help you much.

          (Even positive proof that you are who you say you are is a little tricky. Digital signatures can be used out of the box to verify that a set of messages come from a single source, but there are situations where that’s not sufficient; corporations generally shell out for certs vouched for by entities like Verisign, while PGP takes a distributed approach that relies on other users vouching for you.)

        • jaimeastorga2000 says:

          That’s if Scott even gets a chance to explain himself, as opposed to the googler quietly deleting his contact information.

        • SanguineEmpiricist says:

          We have few other options, at least if he started digitally signing his posts, then we could point to the fact that he tried to distance himself from this behavior.

  33. Fazathra says:

    Let the Wild Mass Guessing commence!
    *puts on tinfoil hat*

    I propose that the identity of the troll is obvious: it’s Scott himself. The motive, too, is obvious. He has been reading much more Marxism and leftist theory than his last few posts have let on; he has been swayed by their arguments and has gone over to the dark side of the left, to Multiheaded and Arthur Chu, and now he sees that they were right; that liberalism does not advance by fair debate and cuddle piles but by gulags and lies and war and fire; that lying for the cause is not only not wrong, but a moral imperative. And so he has launched a false flag operation to discredit the neoreactionaries by pretending to be a neoreactionary launching a false flag operation to discredit SJW leftists who would obviously be launching a false flag operation to tar neoreactionaries with trying to tar Scott with various racist/trolly comments. Thus Scott is a leftist pretending to be a rightist pretending to be a leftist pretending to be a rightist.

    Evidence for this proposition: None, except for the fact that it is exactly the sort of thing that he would do if what is described above was true, and also the fact that he is reacting to the trolling in exactly the same way you would expect him to be reacting if he was competently trying to fake a framing against himself.

    (Mostly a joke, but this would be hilariously awesome if it were true!)

    • Alejandro says:

      [Continues tinfoil hat mode] After all, we are talking here about the man who boasted:

      So MsScribe? I’ll give her this: she was a gifted amateur.

      (Scott, if you are sensitive to this topic and don’t want us joking about it, apologies and feel free to delete).

    • Multiheaded says:

      VALIS preserve us! Just as Grand Master Scott has led me to renounce the Sith way, the holocrons we’ve been sending his way might have finally corrupted him! This is all the more reason for me to return to the Sith Empire and work towards reforming it.

      • jaimeastorga2000 says:

        Since when do leftists use the Sith metaphor? I thought that was an exclusively reactionary trope.

        • Proposed: that reactionaries shall identify themselves with the Sith, and the leftists with Mordor. Because the enemies of the Sith are the Jedi and democratic Republic that they serve, and the enemies of Mordor are the noble kings of the West. Conversely, in conversations with leftists the reactionaries shall be allowed to call themselves Numenoreans, and in conversations with reactionaries the leftists shall be allowed to call themselves Jedi.

          • Andy says:


          • social justice warlock says:


            Note also that Sauron was a good bourgeois revolutionary, breaking the society of the hand-loom with the steam-engine, assembles a pan-racial coalition, and so on.

            We can probably further analogize the Rings of Power to popular participation in politics.

        • Multiheaded says:

          Inspired by the very general allusions to “light side/dark side” in Scott’s SJ post. And this is implied to correspond to liberals and social libertarians vs. activists in means, dynamics and structure – reactionaries having some diametrically opposed goals which change the context.

    • Hainish says:

      No!! I say, James Donald did it (in the library, with a pipe wrench).

      (Srsly, though, it’s a pretty terrible thing to have happen to you.)

  34. Gilbert says:

    Man that sucks. Like everyone else, I’m commenting to offer some useless but sincere sympathy.

  35. Multiheaded says:

    Mordor? Fine. Jedi? No way. Compare the Sith code with e.g. abolitionist writings, and the old Jedi code with Japanese Buddhism.

    • Well, suit yourself. The original idea is that each side has one light avatar (for when you want to present yourself as being on the side of the angels) and one dark avatar (for when you want to present yourself as edgy and contrarian). But if you wish to forego one of them, I won’t stop you.

  36. Randy M says:

    Sorry this happened, but at least you have a good villain for the next Dungeons and Discourse game–the Identity Stealing Troll.

  37. Sam Rosen says:

    That sucks Scott. Eloise and I would make you a pie if you were around.

  38. Harvey says:

    Sort of amazed this hasn’t happened before. You haven’t exactly gone out of your way to avoid making people upset with you. But you haven’t used your real name in a long time, right?

  39. suntzuanime says:

    My heart aches for you, Scott. Slander is a horrible crime to commit against a professional, especially when it’s not true.

  40. Some1 says:

    Hello, just would like you to know that your revamped R****** page gives me a really bad feeling about you and if I hadn’t been reading your content for a few days now, I’d certainly think again before hiring/consulting with you because of it. If you could change the following 2 things, I personally think it’d be an improvement:

    1 – “much of what you find if you search for me will be fake.” – This gives me the impression of a thing a charlatan would say. As if you were scamming people or doing some other objectionable thing and were trying to discredit them.

    2 – “Somebody – whether an unhappy patient” – heh, I know accidents can happen and it might be pretty hard to not have a single unsatisfied patient after decades of work, but if they’re going through all of this effort just to discredit you.. it might not pass the best image to your future potential clients. It’s honest and I like that, but it might lose you clients/job opportunities in the long run. And, honestly, given the lango being used the impersonator is more likely to be a neoreactionary or someone who doesn’t like your ideas rather than a patient.

    Feel free to delete this post.

    • Scott F says:

      Yeah, some alterations to make to the raikoth statement:

      “Right now, it’s here to convey an important message: there are fake comments out there, pretending to be me.” (Much of what they find will be not be fake; better to restrict the domain of ‘stuff to be skeptical about’ to just the stuff that is actually being faked. Of course, expand this if the framer starts writing blog posts, etc.)

      “Somebody has taken a dislike to my personal political opinions, and has been trying to systematically discredit me by posting racist and profanity-laden things under my name.” (You do not want to put scary hypotheses in peoples’ heads! If you want some humour or you think ‘personal political opinions’ piques too much curiosity, here is an alternate: “Somebody is apparently angered by my lack of racist opinions, and so has been trying to systematically discredit …”)

      “The end result is that if you Google me to try to find out what I am like, you may come across comments from an angry racist who uses lots of profanity. Those comments were not made by me. Please take this into account.” (The average person googling you will probably NOT end up thinking you are an angry racist who uses lots of profanity, although it really does feel like they would. This also further cements the specific skepticism about comments, which is much more effective than general skepticism about everything they see of yours. Also, a bold authoritative statement is better than an earnest ‘I promise’, especially since you have the also-earnest ‘Please take this into account’ in the very next sentence.)

      A swift and uncompromising response, entirely apart from being more effective, is also more soothing to your psyche.

      • Scott Alexander says:

        Thanks. I’ve made some of the changes you suggest.

        I am going to keep the part speculating that it might be a patient, just because my main concern here is employers, and this happens frequently enough in psychiatry that nobody will hold it against me. I think it will trigger an “Oh, yeah, that thing” response from them that will be much more sympathetic than if I had the weird problem of it being someone I know from a blog.

  41. Lucia Dremsly says:

    Best wishes. I wish I could say more but I can’t think of much.

  42. Nick E says:

    Yudkowsky mentioned in a facebook post last week that someone on Tumblr was falsely attributing a quote about transgender people to him. Not nearly the same scale as this, but possibly related.

    This makes me as angry as actual racism probably would if it were more surprising.

    • That wasn’t even a quote. That was just somebody claiming that Yudkowsky had said something about transgender people not passing, with no details or context or anything. Which makes it kind of hard to disprove (although, fortunately for him, his faceblindness makes it very implausible that he would say anything like that and he was able to point this out).

      • Zorgon says:

        The most entertaining thing about that whole kerfuffle was the ending, where Ozy essentially demanded that now his honour was restored, Yudkowsky should GET OFF TUMBLR AND GET BACK TO SAVING THE WORLD PLZTHX.

        Frickin’ messiahs, always poking around on social media.

  43. Patton says:

    Scott – sorry to see news of your travails; I can’t think offhand of anyone who’s less deserving of such treatment.

    It’s a shameful irony that the protection you need is to avoid being misjudged by people who’ve never read your work. Anyone who has would be able to tell the troll isn’t you, based both on content itself and the low quality of presentation.

  44. Avantika says:

    I am sorry to hear this. But even a cursory google search on your name points out several other people with the same name, and it brings up those hits before the racist comments. Patients searching for your name won’t necessarily assume the racist comments are by you. (I know they still might.)

    I second the comments about changing the statement. It’s too defensive and gives a bad impression. Consider taking down entirely. Then there’s nothing to link the false commenter with the actual you beyond the name – which others share.

    (If you take down please repost the poetry here. The internet should not lose that poetry.)

    (I second the recommendation of the Identity-Stealing Troll as a D&Dis villain. Possibly singing a song about how personal identity is an illusion.)

  45. Luke Muehlhauser says:

    You probably considered adding a tip jar to your blog sidebar earlier and rejected it, but if you incur substantial monetary expenses dealing with this problem then I suspect some of your readers will want to help you pay for them, so you may want to give us the opportunity to do so.

    Note that in many places, there are civil and criminal penalties to credibly impersonating someone online.

  46. Anon says:

    For me, a search on [NAME] gives a message that “Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe.” with a link to

    However, the unz result does appear on the third page (when searching as myself – it doesn’t appear in the first ten pages in private browsing mode).

  47. mjgeddes says:

    The neo-reactionaries are your chief suspects. What a bunch of weirdos! Michael Anissimov in particular is a sad case, his tweets are filled with an obsession with violence, techno-disasters and nationalism.

    Speaking of NR, I came across a trailer for an upcoming sci-fi that could be the first real ‘neo-reactionary sci-fi movie’.

    Check out ‘Jupiter Ascending’:

    “Jupiter Jones was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning toilets and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine, a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along – her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.”

    • AJD says:

      I’m sorry, movie, the name Jupiter Jones is already taken, please find another name for your character, thank you

    • Andy says:

      This comment is so rude and terrible that I actually felt good reporting it, not a feeling I get except with the worst of the NRX crowd. And the better half of that crowd has decent points, and are at least charitable enough to realize that someone disagreeing or liking weird stuff (like techno-disasters, violence, and nationalism, three things I am obsessed with too, in a more discreet way) does not make them a suspect for reputation-destructive sockpuppetry. I have been impressed by the generally high rhetorical quality of many NRxers and their willingness to engage opposite opinions. With some exceptions, of course, but they’re certainly not the only ideology to suffer from an outbreak of trolls.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      As per Andy, this comment is a sufficiently weird combination of personal insults and off-topic that the commenter is banned until the next time I need good scifi movie recommendations

  48. AlphaCeph says:

    You could change your name. Try something like John Andrews or Robert Smith – you will become impervious to this kind of bullshit if you have a common name.

    Oh and keep your real life name off the internet if you do.

  49. Anonymous says:

    “(As an added bonus, if I ever feel the need to actually go on profanity-laden racist rants, I have a perfect cover.)”
    scott no what r u doin

    Is this some kind of metaphorical suicide-by-cop attempt? Please, edit out that sentence and delete this comment.

  50. Zorgon says:


    While I’ve so far remained blissfully free of anyone actively attempting to pose as me while posting awful crap (also, from further down one of those comment threads – “Scott Cisscum”? Um… what?) , I’m reliably informed that one of my chosen aliases is also held by someone who is into some seriously weird crap. I’m currently in the process of moving my primary pseud for exactly that reason.

    But at least they’re just some random perv, not someone actively doing a full-on Walter Mitty dressed as me. That’s just… messed up.

    • For anyone who doesn’t want to bother following the obfuscated link, the text of the further-down comment in question is:

      get rekd u scrub im the real slate star cokex

      This does not sound like someone who wants to be taken seriously in any respect (unlike the main troll); it sounds like someone making an immature but basically harmless joke. I’ll admit that I did laugh, in spite of myself.

  51. Someone did a similar thing to my sister and it really upset my whole family. I have no advice but I send you many hugs and good wishes.

  52. EoT says:

    Something similar happened to me (although the implication was very different). And that’s why I no longer have a YouTube channel. 🙁

  53. RCF says:

    Your request to have the name on the comments changed seems to have broken the link.

  54. Shenpen says:

    >Does that sound like a good idea?

    No. We have a saying for this in Hungary, it is called “the case of the stolen coat”. If you run around yelling that someone stole your coat, people will forget about it and half a year later they will only remember that this guy had something to do with a coat stealing case. Which probably means he is a fucking coat-stealing thief. NO HIRE. Or even in the best case he is sort of the guy who somehow attracts trouble, has poor luck, so NO HIRE.

    The same way how most people would not want to hire a woman rape victim, even if she was 200% innocent do you want to import a bunch of emotional problems, trauma, suffering and suchlike into your organization or you want to have generally sunny, optimistic, happy people in there? You would not want to hire people who are open about a problem in their past, because by “buying” them you bought their problem too.

    This means don’t ever get publicly associated with anything bad, not even as an innocent victim!

    First of all report it to the police or try to see who has access to ISP logs legally.

    Second close and delete your old blog, hope your real name is not that widespread so that you can always deny it was about you, probably close this one as well, and 6 months later start a new one under a pseudonym but strictly avoiding any kind of personal information, like, don’t say you are a doctor, don’t talk about your relationship with Ozy etc. only write from an impersonal angle.

    This is my advice.

  55. Douglas Knight says:

    Now that the gnxp stuff is cleaned up, maybe you should reset Raikoth.