Recognizing the Obvious

Well, it’s not an issue of Firefox interacting poorly with a CATCHPA, as has happened to me before.

LessWrong refuses to register either of the handles Eliezer knows me by. Any handles he’s not familiar with are immediately registered.

I always thought the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes ended unrealistically. In reality, the child would be committed to an asylum and drugged until he wouldn’t know a hawk from a handsaw no matter what direction the wind came from.

We know what the Emperor had to fear – what’s Eliezer so frightened of?

17 Responses to “Recognizing the Obvious”

  1. Just for testing purposes, try “recover password” – it tells you whether that username exists, and whether it has an e-mail address. It might be information-providing.

  2. I also failed to register. I emailed Eliezer about it. I just think it’s a bug.

  3. Hi anymore details you could provide on the registration issues you had would be appreciated. I can assure you there’s no blocked user names or anything link that in the code base.

  4. The page said “submitting” endlessly. The names were never permitted, nor explicitly rejected.

  5. That’s the behavior you get, in my experience, if you try to register a name that already exists. Maybe Wes can check if it’s already in the database? Some joker might have been using it during testing.

  6. I’m sure something could be done to repair the situation. I don’t doubt EY’s sincerity in wanting to downvote your comments, and I don’t think that would be as fun without a familiar handle.

  7. That’s not the desired behaviour, it is supposed to tell you when a username is taken. Unfortunately this didn’t happen all the time as you experienced. I released an update yesterday that should correct the problem.

    We have a separate server for testing so no one would have taken a username for testing purposes. If a name is taken its because someone signed up with it.

  8. I have now managed to register, though the username I attempted to use earlier was taken and (assuming that was due to my earlier attempts to register) when I asked for it to email me my password it said there was my email address wasn’t registered.

  9. I suspect someone registered both names in an attempt to keep me from posting under them.

    I fail to see the point of this – it would make it harder, not easier, to ignore me. Anyone who disliked my comments under my old names no longer has the ability to identify me on that basis. Same thing applies to anyone who liked them.

    People are now generally worse off than before. The only ‘benefit’ that accrues to the person who did this is that I’m inconvenienced slightly; whoever they are, annoying me slightly was worth harming everyone who posts or reads OB and LW slightly.

  10. Never attribute to malice what could be a software bug?

    Perhaps the usernames became registered due to a bug in the signup process the first time you tried.

  11. “I don’t doubt EY’s sincerity in wanting to downvote your comments”

    I don’t doubt his sincerity in wanting to avoid my comments. Whether he has enough integrity to let them exist regardless is less certain; given that he banned me from OB, the available evidence points to ‘no’.

    I’ve been wondering whether his votes have a built-in greater value than general commenters’. It’s the sort of thing he’d sink to.

  12. “Never attribute to malice what could be a software bug?”

    Once is happenstance, twice is a coincidence, three times is enemy action.

    Never attribute a problem to a software bug when known malice controls the program.

  13. Eliezer didn’t ban me, but I was temporarily inconvenienced. I was using the same email address, so I don’t think malice was the culprit.

  14. @Thom A bug is always a possibility.

    @melendwyr, what user name did you try to use? Again I assure you there is no special cases for accounts in the code. The site is open source and totally available for review at

  15. There doesn’t need to be a special case for certain names.

    All you have to do is type in the name you want to exclude and create an account for it, then never use it. Instant exclusion.

  16. Douglas Knight Says:

    Here’s another way to test the existence of accounts:

  17. Thank you, Douglas Knight. That’s a rather elegant demonstration.

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