Nov 8, 2022Liked by Sarah Constantin

Great article! I just wanted to point out that open source intelligence is nowadays doing interesting investigations, though beings separate from the formal investigative institutions. Take MH17 {the plane shot down over Donbass back in 2014) and how their findings were (IIRC) admitted as evidence in the court. It's not a replacement for the court, but maybe a food for thought and a hint of what's coming.

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Nov 7, 2022Liked by Sarah Constantin

Wait, so what's the deal with small-claims court? My understanding is that it was created due to the usual court system being too expensive and inconvenient. But it seems like people don't really use it much so it's not really serving its purpose anymore? What happened there? Why isn't it working?

(I realize this is off your main point, but it's something I'm pretty confused about...)

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Well now I'm dying for the follow up. How can we build this thing we so need? The broad, nearly universal collapse of public trust in institutions has introduced an escalating cultural chaos that could wreck literally everything. In other words, I agree with you, top to bottom. I'm impressed by your measured description of the problem. I tend to have a lot of exclamation points in my head around topics like these.

All of which is to say, again, I'll eagerly await your ideas about how to move forward and build the kinds of institutions we so desperately need.

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Nov 14, 2022·edited Nov 14, 2022

>Canonicity isn’t an impossible dream. Wikipedia is the canonical source on most factual topics. If two people have a disagreement about the kind of fact you might find on Wikipedia, they can generally say “let’s look it up and see what Wiki says.” Wikipedia has a justified reputation, across communities and ideologies, for being largely accurate and for having a “neutral point of view.” As a Schelling point for fact-checking, Wikipedia is clearly the best thing around — it’s the highest-quality source that most people know about, and most of us can agree to trust it most of the time.


Edit: Decided to continue reading, against my better judgment (mistake #1 on my part, but at least I'm willing to own up to it).

>Emily Oster’s call for a “pandemic amnesty” is right that endless partisan recriminations are undesirable and we need some kind of compassionate way to move on from the pandemic. Maybe, indeed, we want something like “amnesty” in the sense of choosing not to punish anyone for what they did during the pandemic.

This deserves a response:


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Super great piece, thanks for writing it! Super curious to hear your follow ups, it seems like several questions might be implied in some of this:

1. Why people (more specifically, disputing parties) need *commonly* trusted arbiters to cohere/cooperate/coordinate/resolve--and the (seemingly dysfunctional) state of that is today for various disputes/parties

2. What does it take (e.g. what kinds of economic, cultural, social capital) to run a functioning arbitration/disrupte-resolution institution, especially ones that start involving complex fact-finding, technical or ethical judgment? Why are the current ones not functioning up to expectations, and is it feasible for them to cover their entire scopes? (E.g. investigating all possible health risks / pollutants at the rate that such issues arise?)

3. What does it take to build *trust* in a complex technical arbiter, on behalf of everybody else who by construction is not going to be an expert with the time/resources/etc. to try to independently verify / appeal the arbiter?

Super curious to hear if any of these come up in the course of your follow ups. Very exciting!

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