Has 'In defense of SBF' by @Austin aged well?
resolved Nov 26

Has this post by @Austin aged well?


This poll was created to answer /NicoDelon/will-austins-in-defense-of-sbf-have

Feel free to comment on why you vote YES or NO.

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They literally had a communication channel named wire fraud. There is no defense possible when you outright admit to fraud.

"Aged well" typically refers to whether a post seems prescient in hindsight. In this case, the post's main thesis seems to be 1) that SBF was behaving basically ethically, but got unlucky 2) that EAs were throwing him under the bus inappropriately.

Since then, it became clear that SBF was basically a pathological liar who abused the trust of the EAs around him, so I think the post seems completely not prescient.

@mqp The post also serves as a guide for upcoming fraudsters on how to fool the EA community.

Every point in the deleted Sequoia article is still true.


  • Is a committed vegan

  • Earned to give while at Jane Street

  • Led CEA for a few months

  • Sent money to Ukrainians in time of need

  • Incubated hundreds of millions worth of good longtermist causes through Future Fund and related spending on eg Anthropic

Voted YES because the essay recommended a manga I haven't heard of and it's pretty good

I think Austin's post got a lot of stuff wrong. I think it has basically been shown to be willful fraud. I think Alameda wasn't printing money. I think they were bleeding money on dumb investments. But I think he was right at the time for writing it and I think the EA community would do good to give it a read as they seem to have way over updated on the SBF case towards a community that frankly, would never create another billionaire due to fund its endeavours due to extreme aversion to taking risks.

I think it aged well given that a lot of this wasn't obvious at the time but it is correct in hindsight.

@MarcusAbramovitch That sounds reasonable. There’s definitely several angles from which it’s aged well—for one, friendship; it’s not reprehensible to defend your friends, especially before all the evidence has come out. In fact, it can be admirable. There is however a sense in which I think it hasn’t aged well, and it’s that we’ve learned—fairly quickly—that there were warnings about SBF within the community long before the fraud came to light. Probably Austin didn’t know but humility, instead of doubling down, seems warranted in such cases. And finally, Austin never wrote a post-mortem, as far as I can tell, at least here, to update on the evidence that has come out.

Seems people are voting on hindsight bias. Austin's post was reasonable at the time, and the fact that it later turned out to be wrong is completely irrelevant. Knocking Austin for not having private information that no one else had at the time does not seem fair.

@IsaacKing You’re totally understating what evidence was already available then. You’re also misunderstanding the point of this. One analogous question could be, were his predictions right? If you get your predictions completely wrong, even based on the evidence you have, then they haven’t aged well. That’s not irrelevant. That’s how we update. This question is not about blame or ‘knocking someone out’. That’s a reading you’re injecting into the discussion.

@NicoDelon You can also read the comments under his post. That’s not hindsight bias. That’s instantaneous feedback. The hindsight bias is forgetting how much we knew already early on.