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New Community Site Planning Update

For new community stuff, my current plan is to have:

  • Critical Fallibilism website with curated articles (likely jekyll, wordpress or ghost)
  • Critical Fallibilism forum, publicly viewable, $20 for an account that can post (Discourse is the leading candidate)
  • Critical Fallibilism youtube channel
  • maybe a new email newsletter setup (or have a way to get email notifications about new articles). or maybe keep using current email newsletter or kill it.

Currently planning to name it Critical Fallibilism b/c that sounds like the name of a philosophy. It has downsides (particularly it could sound too sophisticated and intimidate people). I considered some other names but I think an "ism" that sounds like a philosophy is better overall than something like "Learn, Judge, Act" or "Decisive Arguments" cuz ppl won't immediately know what that is. Those don't really work as a brand name either.

Plan is other stuff goes mostly inactive, e.g. Discord, FI google group and curi.us. I think people misuse chatrooms to try to say stuff that should be on a forum, so I'm inclined to just not have a chatroom in order to better focus all discussion in one place.

Taking suggestions on what website software to use and taking offers of help.

If making suggestions, FYI one of the main requirements for stuff is markdown support.

The purpose of paywalling forum posting is to increase quality and keep out harassers, not to make meaningful amounts of money.

I want somewhere good to discuss long term with good features. I think custom software is too much work and isn't going to happen. (Some coding help offers fell through. I don't want to spend the time to code a lot of features myself. I could code something simple like curi.us myself but I think getting modern features is a better plan.)

I plan to have different subforums. Current concept is something like:

  • Unbounded Critical Discussion
    • Main
    • Debate
    • Other
  • Casual, Gentle Learning
    • Main
    • Technical Details
    • Other
  • Elliot's articles
  • Community

That's 2 main areas with 3 subforums in each, and then 2 additional subforums.

"Casual, Gentle Learning" name is to be decided (suggestions welcome). The point is to have a section for more criticism and analysis of what ppl say and do (e.g. social dynamics, memes and dishonesty that they do), where you can't control critical tangents, discussions don't get ignored or forgotten after some time passes. etc. And a section for ppl (or specific topics) who don't want to deal with that and want to just arbitrarily, casually drop discussions, ignore relevant discussion continuations, ask a question and never follow up, not do Paths Forward, act socially normally etc.

A different way to view the distinction is a section limited to socially normal criticism and a section for rational criticism that could seem overly rude or aggressive to ppl. And persistence and criticism of things seen as tangential or irrelevant to the original topic are two of the main ways that comes up. In Gentle, if ppl wanna drop an issue they can just drop it. In Unbounded, you can't just drop a discussion and make a new topic about something else. If you post a new thread, ppl might respond about the pattern of not finishing discussions then creating new threads, but in Gentle they won't do that.

Unbounded is the section where discussions can involve reading a book and then coming back and continuing. It's where people might actually do whatever is effective to seek the truth without putting any arbitrary limits on it.

Part of the point – which I know ppl don't want – is to label who is actually presenting serious ideas in the public square for consideration as the best existing ideas, and who is not making serious claims meant to contribute to human knowledge. People want ambiguity about how good or serious their posts are.

Anyway I'll try to come up with a reasonably tactful but also reasonably clear way to explain the distinction for the forum.

"Technical Details" is meant for stuff that isn't of general interest or isn't accessible to everyone, e.g. posts involving coding or math (that way Main only has stuff for everyone). I'm not sure if having that subforum exist is necessary/worthwhile or not. I don't have that separation in the unbounded forum b/c topics there have no boundaries on what could be included – in other words, whatever topic you bring up, you can't know in advance that replies won't use math.

The "Other" sections will allow off-topic discussion, including politics, food, music and gaming. Main will allow a lot of topics but not everything. You could post about food, music or gaming in Main if your post had explicit philosophical analysis and learning stuff, so it was really obviously relevant to a rationality forum. But if you wanna talk about those things at all normally just put it in Other. I think abstract political philosophy or economics would be OK in Main but no discussions about current political news or events – those have to go in Other (or Debate).

I plan to post less in the Casual section than the Unbounded section. I want to have somewhere I can do share my full critical analysis of stuff. I plan to restrict that criticism to:

  • public figures
  • publications (books, articles, serious blogs)
  • public examples (reddit threads, tweets, casual blogs). i could omit the name and link cuz i don't wanna get them any negative attention but i like sources, context and giving credit, so undecided on the best way to handle this. (suggestions?)
  • stuff posted in the Unbounded section

And I also plan to check with people who are new to that section that they know what they're consenting to and let them back out and be like "nevermind I'll go use the gentle section". I think just "this person posted in this section" isn't enough for nubs and they should be asked too before getting full crit. I'll also have a general recommendation written somewhere that new posters who aren't familiar with the community should use the Gentle section for at least a month.

One awkwardness is people might consent to receive criticism but then want to back out after receiving some criticism, but I don't want to delete analysis that's already written, nor do I want to stop analyzing something if I started posting analysis and thinking it through and still have more to say, nor do I want to stop other people from taking an interest, responding to my analysis, starting their own analysis, etc. after critical analysis has begun. Thoughts on how to handle that? (Note: I hope to disable deleting posts and/or save version history.) Maybe once there is an example of what ppl don't like, we can make ppl say they've read it and are OK with it b4 they can post in Unbounded.

Hopefully the casual/gentle section will provide most of what people wanted from a chatroom while being way better organized.

Elliot Temple on April 18, 2021

Messages (11)

The name Critical Fallibilism is slightly in use. There are just a few hits on the internet which are CR related and Lakatos:






> Lakatos introduced the term fallibilism, adapted from Popper's "critical fallibilism," into the philosophy of mathematics.


> He terms this philosophy 'critical fallibilism', and it maintains that all scientific theory and knowledge is falsifiable.


> 2.1 Kant’s Critical Fallibilism


> Karl Popper advocated his theory of critical fallibilism as a potential solution to the Humean problem of induction.


> Popper fully accepted Hume’s rejection of the logic of induction and proposed as part of his own solution to the problem of induction an approach often referred to as critical fallibilism (Bailey, 2000; Swartz, Perkinson, & Edgerton, 1980) or critical rationalism (Miller, 1983; Ormerod, 2009).

Not sure why a few people seem to think CR is called CF. CR is Popper's own name for it, so this is odd. I'd literally never heard of CR being called CF before and there's almost nothing on Google about it.

The CF naming cites in the last quote go to:



Both of which have zero Amazon reviews.

I have a folder with 63 Popper books and articles (and some Popper-related ones), including some duplicates. Searching it for the text "critical fallibilism" has zero results while "critical rationalism" has 33 results.

In C&R Popper writes:

> This answer sums up a position which I propose to call ‘critical rationalism’.

I think it's OK for me to use CF. CR has its own, different name (CR), which Popper chose in print. Anyone know why anyone is at all is trying to call Popper's philosophy by a different name than Popper himself did?

I'm find with having a name *similar* to Popper's. That's intentional. My epistemology builds most on Popper. I'm trying to improve CR.

Anyway I think it's OK to ignore a few obscure mentions and use CF. Feedback?

curi at 3:32 PM on April 18, 2021 | #1 | reply | quote

Some of the hits make it sound like Popper may have used the CF term in the original German edition of LScD. Not sure.

curi at 3:41 PM on April 18, 2021 | #2 | reply | quote

No one cared enough to own the .com (which I bought) which is a pretty good sign it's not taken:


curi at 4:08 PM on April 18, 2021 | #4 | reply | quote


> I think it's OK to ignore a few obscure mentions and use CF.

I think it depends some on how much you care about other people using CF. A term that you are the first originator/user of could be easier / clearer for you to own than something with prior, if obscure, references.

Your enemies or ppl who are just dumb/confused/wrong might post crap as CF, and claim they're as entitled to use the name CF for their crap as you are since you didn't originate CF.

Andy Dufresne at 4:14 PM on April 19, 2021 | #5 | reply | quote

HN lets logged-in users set the color of the top bar. That could be helpful here. If someone has purchased multiple accounts, they could set the color differently for different accounts to help remind them who they are posting as.

Alisa at 4:42 PM on April 19, 2021 | #6 | reply | quote

I thought of a problem. I'll want to post all my stuff in Unbounded. But people will want to reply in Casual. And I want people to be able to make casual comments about my articles, give feedback, etc. But then they'll have to start a new thread in Casual, link my post, possibly quote parts b/c it isn't on the same page, and that will really explicitly show they are going out of their way to avoid criticism, and it's too much barrier to entry and they won't do it as much – it'll reduce casual responses a lot.

I don't think making duplicate copies of my posts in both sections – with completely separate replies – is a good solution. That's bad for readers b/c the discussion of that article is split into two places. Like even if we could automate that, it'd still be problematic. Having people do essentially the same thing ad hoc isn't better.

Not sure what to do about this.

Even if you could tag individual messages as Unbounded or Casual (I'm not sure that Discourse or some of the other forum options would support that), having them mixed together in the same topic would be problematic. People might not pay attention to the tags or forget about it – it's not as clear a distinction as subforums. People might not feel safe if they see criticism they wouldn't want right next to their comment, or they might feel irrational about opting out of criticism more in this situation. People might also feel ignored if there are some people writing Unbounded comments and then all the comments a Casual tag just get no replies but people are active in the thread.


curi at 6:21 PM on April 19, 2021 | #7 | reply | quote

Thanks for saying in advance that the FI group and this site will go mostly inactive. May I still react to things posted there?

Julia at 4:30 PM on April 25, 2021 | #8 | reply | quote

> One awkwardness is people might consent to receive criticism but then want to back out after receiving some criticism, but I don't want to delete analysis that's already written, nor do I want to stop analyzing something if I started posting analysis and thinking it through and still have more to say, nor do I want to stop other people from taking an interest, responding to my analysis, starting their own analysis, etc. after critical analysis has begun. Thoughts on how to handle that?

I published some dart packages last year and the repository made a big deal about the idea that *publishing now is committing to publishing forever*. You can unlist and mark as discontinued, but can't delete. From memory there was a more detailed disclaimer (than their docs, below), but this was the best I could find. The other disclaimer came up when publishing a new package for the first time, IIRC.

IMO something like this could work. Like: a warning that you can opt out in future but you can't delete posts. (depending on policy)

and the relevant admin options for context

Max at 1:33 AM on April 29, 2021 | #9 | reply | quote

People using your old code later and people criticizing you or your ideas later are pretty different experiences.

Anonymous at 9:27 AM on April 29, 2021 | #10 | reply | quote


> People using your old code later and people criticizing you or your ideas later are pretty different experiences.

Maybe we have different ideas about the goal/context?

I was thinking they were similar b/c once you post in Unbounded then other discussions will use that post as a dependency. That seems like a similar situation. There are also other similarities, like between *ppl using your code for stuff you don't like* and *ppl having discussions you don't like*.

The goal of the disclaimer would be to make sure ppl knew what they were getting in to, and to help them realize that it's not just about the discussion they want to have. It marks a line in the sand, and ppl can't claim they weren't told.

Anon or pseudonymous accounts could be a useful thing here, too -- that option could be mentioned in the disclaimer. I guess that ppl who get criticism they don't want will react more intensely when it's tied to their IRL identity (which also means other stuff could come into it, like their job mb).

Max at 7:07 PM on April 30, 2021 | #11 | reply | quote

Due to multi-year, sustained harassment from David Deutsch and his fans, commenting requires an account. Accounts are not publicly available. Discussion info.