If I post a rant defending SBF, will I regret it?
34%
chance

Key points of maybe rant
1. This was bad judgment not ill intent. Denouncing fraud is unhelpful
2. Loyalty and forgiveness are virtues; fast denunciations are distasteful/cowardly
3. Ambition is still good, and failed bets are worth celebrating
4. If you preemptively police yourself in fear of PR, PR has won

Update: Rant is out at https://manifold.markets/post/in-defense-of-sbf

I plan on resolving this on Jan 15, 2023, based on how I currently feel at the time.

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EmrikGarden avatar
Emrik Garden
bought Ṁ100 of NO

Even if I think it's likely fraud, all the other points are solid, so don't give in to the noisy people who want to punish you for not being angry enough! Let the decoupling perspective triumph for once! : )

EmrikGarden avatar
Emrik Garden
is predicting NO at 35%

(encouragement isn't market manipulation, shh!)

EllieHigh avatar
Ellie High
sold Ṁ32 of YES

taking the L on this one -- if you haven't changed your mind i doubt you will. idiot

JamesGrugett avatar
James
is predicting NO at 20%

@EllieHigh Let's keep Manifold a friendly place and not insult each other.

EllieHigh avatar
Austin avatar
Austin
is predicting NO at 20%

@EllieHigh I'd welcome any persuasive arguments to convince me I'm wrong!

EllieHigh avatar

@Austin alas i already cashed out, incentive evaporated

Austin avatar
Austin
is predicting NO at 20%

@EllieHigh Buying back in is cheaper than ever~

Austin avatar
Austin
sold Ṁ287 of NO

For what it's worth I think people are way over-updating to the NO side; eg I just noticed John Roxton's comments here https://manifold.markets/post/in-defense-of-sbf#YPV4rinbR6cgjaFxwcCm and it strikes me as the kind of comment that would make me sadder to have posted the rant, at least in its current wording

GavrielK avatar
Gavriel
is predicting NO at 35%

@Austin You did phrase the last section pretty badly tbf; was super easy to misunderstand your point there. (Fascinatingly, your felony market was sitting at 8% earlier today.) If you regret the wording of that section but not the gist of the whole thing, how does this resolve?

Adam avatar
Adam
bought Ṁ25 of NO

you won't but you should 🤷

Austin avatar
Austin
is predicting NO at 35%

Feeling pretty good about my rant after seeing

Gigacasting avatar

He literally looted customers assets for 4b of personal loans, 9 figures of real estate, all while assets in which people had 100% title and FTX was legally prohibited from touching in any way are now gone—trading at five cents on the dollar.

Of course he’s a great propaganda artist—that’s how he strip-mined the company and fooled all of you.

But embarrassing to take this seriously.

GavrielK avatar

I disagree with you so strongly and am in equal measure glad you posted it. Also, your post strongly suggests that taking risks is good, so it'd run counter to your own argument if you were to later regret it!
(commented fully here)

MattP avatar

Promising 8% return on a saving account is not the kind of thing someone operating aboveboard does. People are more likely to believe "too good to be true" narratives when they surround crypto, and they got taken in by a product that should've been obviously recognizable to anyone looking at it critically as too good to be true.

Either SBF believed his own hype, in which case he's not nearly as smart as everyone thinks he is and shouldn't be held up as an example, or he deliberately offered terms he knew he had no way of guaranteeing and were way riskier than he advertised, in which case fraud. I'm neither case is he particularly worth defending.

jack avatar
Jack
bought Ṁ200 of NO

@MattP I'm not convinced by this argument - glancing at https://www.coininterestrate.com/ there are plenty of offerings are in a similar rate range. They probably aren't all scams, I'd guess they are loaning out the money to somebody for even higher rates, or perhaps are using it as a growth strategy (i.e. they onboard a bunch of customers and then lower the interest rates later perhaps) - which certainly is something a scammer could do, but someone aboveboard could also do.

MattP avatar
Matt P
is predicting YES at 34%

@jack I mean, it's the same thing. It's like most crypto - fundamentally a pyramid scheme that relies on continued ridiculous growth through unfounded hype to allow those who bought in earlier to make a profit, but generates nothing of actual value (economic or otherwise) in the process.

I suspect we just have different prior about crypto in general, which is fine. I'm probably in the minority in the Manifold community as a skeptic.

IsaacKing avatar
Isaac King
is predicting NO at 34%

@MattP I don't think so, I've seen a fair number of anti-crypto people on here. I think it's around an even split.

agrippa avatar

if you endorse fraud when the ends justify the means, then you should endorse fraudulently claiming that SBF should be outcast, since it's good PR to do so.

Austin avatar
Austin
is predicting NO at 39%

@SneakySly Reposting in full form (because I've blocked Twitter for myself):

kazoo avatar

@SneakySly what a disaster. a fraudster, immoral and no intelligence.

barak avatar
Barak
bought Ṁ10 of YES

hmm. I guess Austin could think the post was knowably wrong at the time he wrote it and yet not regret it, because writing it helped him realize he was wrong. Therefore, I will not further buttress my positioned. that said, I don't agree with the post and don't understand how Austin could have coolly read his own cited sources and yet come to his conclusion.

barak avatar
Barak
is predicting YES at 77%

@barak position*

JamesGrugett avatar
James
bought Ṁ100 of NO

@barak Agreed.

Starting from a presumption of innocence and trying to see the best in people is good in general. It's especially good to help combat a known human tendency to bandwagon together or react based on recent evidence rather than complete evidence.

In that way, I don't think Austin should regret posting a rant defending SBF even if he turned out to be bad all along.

Austin avatar
Austin
is predicting NO at 47%

I just spent (wasted) a bunch of time reading https://milkyeggs.com/?p=175 and the linked archive of Caroline's blog. I think my updates are: More likely this was deliberate, so "fraud"; but still very sympathetic to SBF/Caroline as people in a way I'm not sure is logically justified.

NathanpmYoung avatar

This should be a 4 option market with will and won't you also. Currently I doubt you'll post something you're gonna regret.

IsaacKing avatar
Isaac King
is predicting NO at 47%

@NathanpmYoung It already got posted. And what would be the point of having a market on whether Austin will post it? That isn't very useful to them.

IsaacKing avatar
Isaac King
is predicting NO at 41%

Wow, I didn't realize this market is pretty much me against the world. Don't let me down Austin!

IsaacKing avatar
Isaac King
is predicting NO at 41%

(That volume number might be wrong, it's somehow showing less total volume than 24 hour volume.)

jack avatar

@IsaacKing Yeah, total volume is definitely wrong somehow, I've observed this before. But even if it were right, note that your shares cost <1 each, so the better number to compare is how much M$ you invested.

jack avatar

FWIW I also predict NO here, although I haven't decided how confident I am.

Conflux avatar
Conflux
bought Ṁ5 of NO

Personally, I appreciated the rant as an epistemic data point. Before reading it I hadn't thought a lot about the counterfactual universe where the fraud was discovered later and hadn't had substantial negative consequences. To be clear, I think the fraud was very unethical, but I do think in this counterfactual people would be much more sympathetic. The rant also updated me a bit towards SBF being more misguided than malicious. I would not consider myself persuaded, since there's a lot of evidence in the opposite direction from this post, but I thought it was a helpful perspective.

Conflux avatar
Conflux
bought Ṁ5 of NO

@Conflux I just now ended up reading the entire Sequoia profile of SBF, and in a vacuum it certainly makes him seem awesome, a major force for good in the world. Act utilitarianism is a fragile philosophy - if you screw up, as he did here, things can get extremely bad - but I don't know, the article makes me feel like if things had shaken out differently he had a nonzero chance of doing massive good in the world. Though again, I think I agree with Eliezer's assessment that this particular case was textbook fraud.

Anyway, the TL;DR is that I feel I learned from the rabbit hole that your rant sent me down, and I appreciate the courage it took to write it, even if it ends up damaging your reputation. I think the world is better for having more takes in it, and hope that circumstances don't force you to regret this.

Gigacasting avatar

There are two valid arguments: there were zero internal controls and Caroline/Tabasco rugged him and left him to clean up the mess

Stealing 10b from customer funds is good to marginally rig the election and give ~1% of that to anti-AI research and stuff (this is not one of the valid reasons)

The inner circle always knew of his abysmal ethics and it’s hypocritical to dump him so quickly for doing exactly what they knew he’d do. (How many of them would you trust not to steal your organs and such? Not many, really.)

Sbf spent more on real estate than charity (and the charity might all have been a marketing ploy that paid off generally); giving $25 to Ukrainians isn’t exactly material and again is cheap marketing;

There’s no shame in being fooled but the guy had 100-1000x the negative impact on the world versus positive and is one of the greatest criminals in modern history. He set crypto and “altruism” back by miles and if you want to accuse the Future Fund board of not knowing better, that’s one thing, but the knock-on effects of fraud are greater than all the good effective altruism might do over many decades.

SneakySly avatar

This market is interesting, because I think The Rant was not a good idea at all, but I also think that Austin might not regret it. Not sure how to bet. 🤔

Austin avatar
Austin
is predicting NO at 48%

@SneakySly mind sharing why you thought it was a bad idea?

IsaacKing avatar
Isaac King
is predicting NO at 48%

@SneakySly I'm glad Austin posted it, but I'm worried the market is going to resolve to YES based on the EA forum post not getting many comments.

  • This wastes a lot of my time, because it was either insignificant or generates too much controversy

Austin avatar
Austin
is predicting NO at 48%

@IsaacKing based on a couple private reachouts I've gotten, I'm unlikely to conclude this was too insignificant. We'll see about the controversy...

SneakySly avatar

@Austin
1 - I think Fraud was committed with very high likelihood.
2 - Bad optics.
3 - Many people were personally negatively impacted by SBF here, and those negative feelings could be placed onto you through association, especially as like the only person defending him.

IsaacKing avatar
Isaac King
bought Ṁ65 of NO
  1. Agreed.

  2. If optics are trumping our dedication to finding out what's true and right, why should we expect EA to be any more trustworthy of source of charity recommendations than anywhere else?

  3. Yeah that's a risk. But then again Peter Singer and the antinatalists have done fine for themselves with some pretty controversial opinions of their own.

SneakySly avatar

@IsaacKing
2 - I mean, that's valid, but I personally think optics matter a lot. Especially from a organizational perspective.
3 - Antinatalists are more like strange holders of weird quirky beliefs. Noone really cares about them. Endorsing/supporting someone who you as an individual hits very differently from a pure emotional valence standpoint.

SneakySly avatar

@SneakySly Wish we had an edit button.

Should be:
"Endorsing/supporting someone who [harmed] you as an individual hits very differently from a pure emotional valence standpoint. "

IsaacKing avatar
Isaac King
is predicting NO at 36%

@SneakySly

  1. I agree they matter a lot, but if the focus on optics compromises the primary mission, what exactly is the point? When someone in EA does something controversial, people need to be able to say "what if this was actually ok?"

  2. I don't know if we disagreeing on anything significant here. I agree Austin might encounter some anger from people who are (quite justifiably) mad at SBF. I just think that's ok.

EliLifland avatar
Eli Lifland
bought Ṁ100 of YES

If information comes out after Jan 15 2023 (the current close date) that causes you to regret posting, does this resolve as no or yes?

Austin avatar
Austin
is predicting NO at 47%

@EliLifland I plan on resolving this on Jan 15 2023; 3 months feels like a reasonable amount of time to make a judgement call on whether this post was worthwhile.

I'm curious what trader expectations were, by the way -- there were 3 sections, so if I regret one section should I resolve to YES or 33% or NO?

SG avatar
S G
is predicting YES at 47%

@Austin I think if you regret the entire post on net, you should resolve YES, otherwise NO.

IsaacKing avatar
Isaac King
is predicting NO at 46%

@Austin Yeah, I was expecting this to be a yes-or-no market, no PROB resolution.

IsaacKing avatar
Isaac King
bought Ṁ50 of NO

"Truthful, but mistaken” seems like a better model for SBF than “masterful schemer”. I choose to believe this. Maybe I’ll be wrong; feel free to bet on whether I’ll change my mind.

If you change your mind, does that mean you'll resolve this to YES? That doesn't seem right to me. Why would you regret posting something that gives you new information and causes you to have a more accurate picture of SBF's actions?

Austin avatar
Austin
is predicting NO at 63%

@IsaacKing It might be the case that I had enough data at the time to eg condemn SBF completely, as many others seem to be doing already. In which case, this post may be me loudly proclaiming incorrect information and worsening community epistemics.

Other possible sources of regret:

  • Somehow this causes a lot of bad things to happen to Manifold, or to EA

  • This wastes a lot of my time, because it was either insignificant or generates too much controversy

IsaacKing avatar
Isaac King
is predicting NO at 63%

Ok, but again, if you had poor epistemics at the time of writing, and then after posting you learned about your mistake and corrected it, why would you regret that?

I don't think that posts containing legible, reasonable information posted with the intent to get to the truth worsen community epistemics just because the information turned out to be wrong.

Austin avatar
Austin
is predicting NO at 56%

@IsaacKing Yeah, that's what I mostly think myself (and why I posted it lol). But oftentimes people seem to regret writing angry rants on the internet; I have not had this experience very often, so was curious to see if other people have thoughts on the wise way to proceed

Austin avatar
Austin
is predicting NO at 72%
IsaacKing avatar
Isaac King
bought Ṁ100 of NO

@Austin If you haven't cross-posted this to the EA forum and/or LW, I would recommend you do so.

IsaacKing avatar
Isaac King
bought Ṁ200 of NO

Oof, -8 votes already.

ShakedKoplewitz avatar
Shaked Koplewitz
is predicting NO at 67%

I think 2-4 are reasonable, but currently (1) seems like it was a mix of both.

IsaacKing avatar

I don't know if you'll regret it, but I think it'd be beneficial the community if you did so.

Personally I've also been thinking of posting a writeup against the extremely quick and harsh denunciations we're seeing, though I wouldn't call mine a "defense" of SBF.

ShakedKoplewitz avatar
Shaked Koplewitz
is predicting NO at 67%

@IsaacKing +1 to this

tcheasdfjkl avatar
tcheasdfjkl
bought Ṁ20 of YES

I was going to sketch out a brief counterargument to your points but actually I think point 1 is the crux for the rest of it - if it WAS ill intent, then I think none of the other points are applicable. So if you DO write such a rant I think you should really focus on point 1 lest it look like you are saying we should be loyal to people who are doing bad things on purpose, etc., and because I suspect this is gonna be the crux for a lot of others as well.

tcheasdfjkl avatar
tcheasdfjkl
is predicting YES at 80%

As for whether it WAS intentional bad behavior - for the most part I assume you're going off of much of the same info as me, but I want to link this article that I just saw recently and don't know if you have, which does seem to make that more likely https://www.reuters.com/markets/currencies/exclusive-least-1-billion-client-funds-missing-failed-crypto-firm-ftx-sources-2022-11-12/ (specifically the "backdoor" bit)

Austin avatar

@tcheasdfjkl Thanks for your feedback, I really value it. I had not seen the article but it actually makes me believe even more in the "bad judgement" thesis.

Of course, we're now getting into pretty definitional debates. I roughly think "ill intent" looks like "SBF consciously and with full knowledge decided to give client funds to Alameda", vs bad judgement looks more like "things were really confusing, Sam was moving fast".

I think a separate axis is "how tied into utilitarian logic was this bad call/ill intentioned call" and my guess is EA detractors are saying "haha look how utilitariansim leads you astray" while EA stalwarts are defending with "no no true utilitiarianism doesn't support fraud" whereas I mostly just think "utilitarianism just wasn't much of a decisive factor/being considered by SBF at the time"

jack avatar

Personally, I think right now the situation is highly unclear and I don't have a solid understanding of whether it was ill intent or not. I do think there's a reasonable general argument that it's bad to make excessively quick denunciations on the basis of unreliable, fast-changing information.

I also agree that I highly doubt EA considerations were the motivating factor. It's possible, but unlikely imo. There's plenty of motivation from standard stuff like SBF just wanting to save his companies.

ManifoldDream avatar

If I post a rant defending SBF, will I regret it?, 8k, beautiful, illustration, trending on art station, picture of the day, epic composition