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Thanks, Eve and Jonathan, for sharing your favorable impressions of the tenor of that recent Astral Codex Ten comment thread about discrimination in hiring.

While there are clearly many exceptions, I've also personally found this blog by Scott Alexander tends to attract thoughtful and respectful discussion of controversial topics – even where the participants may strongly disagree – in comparison with many other blogs and social sites.

It'd be interesting to explore the 'whys' of this in more depth!

Perhaps as one possible approach, you might see if it's possible to survey some of the participants in those discussions? (For instance, there are occasional Open Threads on that blog where one can post invitations to participate in such a survey.)

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Trying to figure out why ACX often does well here would be an interesting project... I wonder what that survey could ask? And how we could compare to spaces that fail at this?

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Just briefly went down a rabbit hole of skimming some readings about Scott Alexander, which included some bloggers' summaries and highlights from SA's former blog, Star Slate Codex.

Some observers have noted that Scott's writings have subtly changed, from featuring somewhat more far-reaching, bold takes to somewhat more summarizing, aggregating, and reflecting on others' writings. (There's some speculation this change may in part have been due to changes in his own career, from student/residency to professional work, and in part to the aftermath of his 'outing' by a New York Times article.)

Related to the current question, some have opined that the SSC comment threads were friendlier than those of ACX. And there's also a Reddit community based on ACX which has its own culture around commenting, and also claims some superiority over ACX with respect to civil discussion, https://www.reddit.com/r/slatestarcodex

Even to the extent either or both of those opinions are accurate, it's still the case that perhaps you and Eve, and definitely myself, have found ACX's comment threads to have a higher light-to-heat ratio than some other forums.

A survey might conceivably ask respondents: "Have you found this the case, as well? And if so, to what do you attribute that?"

A few off-the-cuff possibilities might include:

* The example set by Scott himself, in his own writing – which is brimming with intellectual curiosity – and in his interactions with others in comments.

The types of people who might be unduly drawn to his blog, such as rationalists and adjacent folks and/or people having some non-neurotypical traits.

* Some degree of moderation and/or informal policing/norm-setting by participants who've long been part of that community, to try to steer discussions towards more constructive paths.

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