Author Topic: The $2 psychologizing debacle  (Read 6663 times)

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Anarchist

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The $2 psychologizing debacle
« on: January 22, 2013, 10:17:37 PM »
Stefan spent a lot of time psychologizing the infamous $2 donator: on a YouTube video and a forum post where he talks to the people who are truly curious about why he was sad.

Let's take a look at that forum post and some of the responses.
Quote from: Stefan Molyneux
So a day or two ago I got a $2 donation with no note from the donator, and I posted this on Facebook:

"You received a donation of $2.00 CAD from..."
I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but... :(

My post promptly lit up with a vehemence that was probably visible from space. (If you’re interested, and have a strong stomach, you can check it out here:https://www.facebook.com/stefan.molyneux/posts/10151611301626679)

I don’t remember many people asking me why I was sad to receive a $2 donation, but for those few who were curious, I will tell you.

Let’s call the donator “Bob.” Why would Bob send me $2?

First, Bob might really love Freedomain Radio, but sadly is completely broke.

I have said many times that I don’t want donations to my show to be financially difficult for anyone. When people write to me saying that they are broke, but want to donate, I thank them but tell them to keep their money and take care of themselves first. In a recent Freedomain Radio Sunday call in show, one listener wanted to quit college and donate all of his tuition fees to Freedomain Radio. I thanked him, but refused. If he stays in college, he'll need the money – if he quits college, he'll need the money even more!

If Bob is so broke that $2 is close to the maximum of his disposable income, I don’t feel comfortable accepting it - I mean, what if Bob suddenly needs to take a bus to the hospital? (I used to refund these small donations with a note of thanks, but then some of the “donators” went on Facebook complaining that I was rejecting their generosity, spitting in their faces, etc. etc.)

So I don’t feel comfortable accepting Bob’s last remaining two dollars, but refunding it sometimes leads to more problems.

That makes me feel sad.

The second possibility is that Bob has a lot more disposable income than $2, but has only listened to a few shows, and really likes them. However, if Bob likes Freedomain Radio to the point that he wants to donate, then clearly he’s going to continue listening, so why not just wait until he has listened to more shows, and donate then? Imagine if I went to a convenience store knowing I wanted to buy 10 packs of gum, and then paid for each one as a separate transaction – and with Visa! Clearly I’m imposing unnecessarily high costs on the store, and doing something quite irrational. If that is Bob’s level of thinking, that makes me quite sad.

Ah, but perhaps Bob has only listened to a few shows, doesn’t like them, and is not going to listen to any more. If so, then why donate? That seems like blindly following “orders,” which also makes me sad. Or, he is just spending 10 minutes sending me $2 so that I really understand that he doesn’t like my show and isn’t going to listen to any more.

(Of course, if Bob has only listened to a podcast or two, and doesn’t like my show, he’s not going to be following me on Facebook, so if I post about the $2 donation, that isn’t exactly going to hurt his feelings.)

Now perhaps there is some other reason for a $2 donation that I haven’t thought of, but that is easily taken care of. Some people who have sent me very low dollar donations have included a note – very easy to do – letting me know why, which is much appreciated. For instance, somebody send a small donation yesterday, but included this nice note:

“Thank you Stefan for all of your hard work. I am regretful that my donation could not be more. I frequently share your links and try to present them as professionally as I can to engage those more well off to assist in your endeavors. I'm a poor artist ;(“

If I were to send someone only $2, I would tell him why, just so he wouldn’t feel bad. If I sat through a three hour “pay what you want” concert, and then went up and handed the sweaty musicians $2 and walked away without a word, how would they feel?

If Bob sends me $2, and doesn’t have the basic empathy to understand how that can make someone feel, then I feel sad about that - for Bob.

Another possibility is that Bob is kind of vindictive and mean, and wants to send me a tiny donation so that I feel bad.

That also makes me feel sad.

This is not exactly an exhaustive list - I’m sure there are other possibilities - but I hope it gives some sense as to why felt sad, and hopefully that it can be of some value to ask a question or two before indulging in a silly flamefest that doesn’t make our community look overly rational and mature.


So, let's take a small moment to...actually glance at the donation page. Below is the top part of the current rendition of it. Pay particular attention to the phrases "All support is deeply appreciated, thank you so much for your help!" (hard to see as it's black on blue), "Donation Request", and (below that) "$1.50" and "$2.00".


Here are some of the replies to Stefan's post within its thread.
Quote from: ribuck
What an ungrateful post!

The FDR donate page specifically suggests $1.50 and $2.00 as example donation amounts. There's no caveat saying "but whatever you do, don't send small amounts anonymously without a covering note".


Quote from: ribuck
Quote from: Nathan
Quote from: ribuck
... The FDR donate page specifically suggests $1.50 and $2.00 as example donation amounts. There's no caveat saying "but whatever you do, don't send small amounts anonymously without a covering note".

It's weird that you can write a post but can't read one.

I spent about 15 minutes reading Stef's post very carefully and thinking about the possible explanations that Stef mentioned for the $2 donation.

I noticed that the list didn't cover all of the reasons why someone might donate $2. I considered talking about that in my post, but I decided it would be more relevant to point out that Stef's own website encourages small donations. The donation page doesn't suggest that these small donations might cause anxiety or unhappiness.

Presumably you feel that I didn't correctly read Stef's post. Please feel free to enlighten me if you wish.


Quote from: ribuck
Quote from: Dave Bockman
Quote from: ribuck
The FDR donate page specifically suggests $1.50 and $2.00 as example donation amounts.

No, it doesn't.

Well then what am I misinterpreting? Immediately above the figures "$1.50" and "$2.00" are the words "Donation Request", and to the right are various donation options including "One Time Donation" next to which it says "All support is deeply appreciated".


Quote from: Water
As of the time I'm writing this, your donation page still says:

---

What is Philsophy Worth?

Number of Podcasts: 4

Donation Request: $2.00

 

All support is deeply appreciated, thank you so much for your help!


---

The most simple explanation as to why the donator gave $2.00 is he listened to a few podcasts, liked them enough to want to give you money, and picked the exact amount you asked for!

So revise your band example to include a sign in front of the tip jar that says "Suggested donation: 50 cents per song" and ask yourself if you'd feel the need to explain yourself after only having listened to a few songs.

And revise your store example to include the sign that's in almost every existing convenience store: "Minimum credit card purchase: $x".  Convenience stores and other businesses that deal in small transactions do things to protect themselves from getting eaten up by processing fees.  I don't hear or see you taking personal responsibility for allowing a transaction you say you don't want.  You're a former CTO, aren't you?  How much time would it have taken to modify your donation page/code to prevent donations under a certain amount?  I can't believe it would take any more time than what you've already spent on this issue.

I also don't know what to think when I read your post here compared to your initial reply on facebook:

---

I know, I know, it really does sound ungrateful, I get that, but I did want to express some frustration, because of course PayPal takes almost 20% of the $2, and then I end up having to track and record and summarize and report and pay taxes on $1.60, which I'm pretty sure ends up costing me money. I really do appreciate everyone's feedback, and I get that the comment came across as a little 'precious,' but really, I am spending enormous amount of money on this documentary, and I've never talked about small donation amounts over the past 6 years, even though it happened more times than I care to remember...

---

I don't see any curiousity about your donator's situation or motivations there, only how much money ends up in your pocket.  If processing a $2 transaction really does cost you money, then there's something wrong with the way you're handling them.  There are digital goods being sold all over the internet (songs, apps, etc.) for even smaller amounts at a profit.  Again, I don't see you taking responsiblity for this.  You chose your business model.  You chose PayPal as your processor.  You chose how to do your accounting and reporting.

What I'm curious about more than anything in this situation is how the donator felt (and anyone else who donated similar amounts) when you left your initial facebook comment, along with the follow up posts.

plateofshrimp

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Re: The $2 psychologizing debacle
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2013, 10:53:41 PM »
Donor Levels posted on the forum ... starting at $1!

If Stefan Molyneux dislikes women so much, why doesn't he act more like a man??

HansKarlsson

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Re: The $2 psychologizing debacle
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2013, 12:02:36 AM »
If he's asking 50 cents/podcast and he puts up 10 to 15 podcasts a month, why would anyone donate more than $5 to $7.5 a month? Why are the monthly subscriptions starting from $10/month?

Either people are that generous or they watch his stuff multiple times.

Now, Stef's not a moron, he knew what he was doing when he posted that. It can be that he's thinking that any kind of attention is good attention. But most of all, he continued his natural way of bullying his listeners as he does in the shows, by using guilt, shame and manipulation. He uses guilt when he says his listeners don't support his charitable work, he uses shame when he says his listeners are damaged people (suffering from childhood traumas) who can't comprehend his obvious reasoning and he uses manipulation when he has to justify his position on any debatable topic, just like this one.
"Everything that's rich and deep is crap."
-Stefan Molyneux

Prodigal son

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Re: The $2 psychologizing debacle
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 02:52:09 AM »
Apart from the fact that she is far prettier, I think there is a big difference between Paris Hilton and Stefan Molyneux:
Paris is widely considered to be a superficial person with a very low IQ, but I believe this media-driven persona to be misleading. Even disregarding the fact that she has become immensely wealthy in a highly competitive environment, I have listened to her interviews and formed the subjective opinion that she is far smarter and more philosophical than is commonly credited.
Mr Molyneux is a mirror image of Paris's situation.
I stood up

Kaz

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Re: The $2 psychologizing debacle
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 07:21:16 AM »
I find it interesting to hear some FDR posters donate "to feel better about themselves," instead of "I want you to have..." or donating to further something outside of themselves.

Methinks it sounds as if they are being manipulated/guilted/shamed and a donation, like an indulgence will temporarily ease this state, until they feel lousy again and need to make another donation.

Stefan Molyneux said, "I don't want to be precious, but..."  I  found this an interesting word to choose.  He is not showing much business sense and as Argent previously speculated, could the donations function more than as money for him, perhaps a reflection of his (self)importance?  A criticism is an attack, perhaps a small donation is an affront to his ego?

“He that gives good advice, builds with one hand; he that gives good counsel and example, builds with both; but he that gives good admonition and bad example, builds with one hand and pulls down with the other.” Francis Bacon

Argent

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Re: The $2 psychologizing debacle
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 07:54:54 AM »
Hate to psychologize, but I wonder if this is a cry for help. He's shouting it from the rooftops.

Anarchist

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Re: The $2 psychologizing debacle
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 08:50:31 AM »
Hate to psychologize, but I wonder if this is a cry for help. He's shouting it from the rooftops.

I think it's more that he's beginning to turn his YouTube and Facebook pages into places where people will accept his whining and psychologizing in order to think that he's getting bigger and spreading the message more effectively instead of having to harbor the inkling that people know he's full of it. He's begun to more strenuously remove messages that show his flaws from those places.

He's fundamentally lazy (like all people) and has no regard for rigorous formal logic, so he relies on his honed skill with language. This leads his reasoning process to be tripped up by really simple things like conflating homonyms, as is on ample display in his UPB book and most of his other proofs of things.

It's just so obvious that anarchist morality is true that when his own confusion when proving it became very apparent to him, he knew just what the reason was! Hint: it's the sole cause of all confusion when accepting obvious truths. Come on guys... OK, it's childhood trauma (not the limited nature of language-based reasoning).

Thus, because you should trust your intuition, he found that things were so much less confusing when he just accepted the results of his reasoning. And thus, he had some wisdom to provide his followers when they too were greatly confused.

The true nature of that process is, of course, why no one can get an incredibly clear, simple, logical view of what the hell UPB is. Incidentally, this is also why he can't be pinned down in a debate. His style of reasoning doesn't permit him to understand that he's made an error. After all, his arguments look good to people who reason with language skills. This includes everyone to some degree, which is why he's so persuasive.

And so, I'm guessing that he thinks he's 'reaching all the people at YouTube' or something like that rather than understanding that he's actually winnowing down the crowd to people willing to be cultists. I don't think he actually thinks he's running a cult because of the retardation caused by his style of reasoning.

That's why places that aren't moderated by him, like various subreddits, are currently having the most lively opposition to him. He doesn't currently have moderator control over the various subreddits there. That's why lots of his followers are such downvote warriors and propagandists there. Downvoting to obscurity is an attempt to indirectly erase dissent, after all, when you can't do it directly.

They try strenuously to turn all places into containers of whitewashed propaganda, purified of any significant dissent. They are the Borg, pissed off by all the psychotic assholes who get in their way by disagreeing strongly with them on the Internet.

And, of course, in support of Reddit, Stefan was, very quickly once it was reported, banned from the entirety of it for spamming and pushing people to vote him up.

Argent

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Re: The $2 psychologizing debacle
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2013, 01:02:14 PM »
Hate to psychologize, but I wonder if this is a cry for help. He's shouting it from the rooftops.
I think it's more that he's beginning to turn his YouTube and Facebook pages into places where people will accept his whining and psychologizing in order to think that he's getting bigger and spreading the message more effectively instead of having to harbor the inkling that people know he's full of it. He's begun to more strenuously remove messages that show his flaws from those places.

Ahh, you make a good point, Anarchist. Just the other day I noted that discussion of his work has largely shifted from the FDR site to youtube. Facebook too, it seems. I guess it was only a matter of time before the heavy-handed moderating followed them there.

I think the joke is on Stefan, though. The people he's taking action against now are not necessarily fans. (Fans being more likely to give him the benefit of the doubt, or crave his approval and so ignore his antics). However, they are possibly well-connected to the rest of the community. Show your true colors around them, and you could quickly end up the laughing stock of the entire libertarian/ancap community. I've already noticed some making-fun of Stefan going on in my Facebook feed.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 01:04:13 PM by Argent »

HansKarlsson

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Re: The $2 psychologizing debacle
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2013, 02:07:00 AM »
Since this thread is called 'The $2 psychologizing debacle', I thought to write what I think would happen if Stefan would take 'the $2 problem' to a psychologist (other than his wife), to talk about it.

The session would start with Stefan rambling for at least half an hour on how his community attacked him for simply expressing/sharing his sadness/frustration about a $2 donation, how his community lacks self control, empathy and self knowledge... and of course, how he's a victim of his own good intentions.
Once he's done, the psychologist would probably strike to the roots (just as Stefan says he likes to do to others), and would identify two problems:
First - Instead of dealing with his emotions (sadness and frustration -- he mentioned them both) and instead of taking ownership of his own problem (the $2 donation was his problem and nobody's else), Stefan decided to act out and dump his feelings on his community, so the community gets to deal with them instead of him.
Second - He bullied his community multiple times. It started with him implying that small donations make him sad, while big donations make him ... (you guess)... feel appreciated. It continued with him accusing the community it can't comprehend his advance reasoning that lead him to getting sad and that "just a few" were curious to find out why he was sad to receive a $2 donation. He also stated the community can't control their emotions (like he could control his emotions...) since they are products of abusive childhood, traumas they are projecting on him instead of solving them. He also told them not to call themselves 'free', if they are not free of that kind of reactive rage on him. He can feel as he wishes about the actions of the community members, but you see, they don't get the same privilege, because the followers can't feel anything for him other than love and adoration. Stefan also told the community they are worse than any religious group, since the donation rate in the religious communities is close to 100% ("even children donate there") while in his community the donation rate barely tops 2%. He also said their reaction made the movement look crazy, but that it's not about the movement, "movement be damned".

The psychologist should be able to identify this only listening to him rambling and not taking into consideration he advertises on his donation page a $1.5 and a $2 donation, or that in most podcasts he's claiming that any amount is appreciated, when it clearly isn't.
"Everything that's rich and deep is crap."
-Stefan Molyneux

Kaz

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Re: The $2 psychologizing debacle
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2013, 12:00:29 AM »
Since this thread is called 'The $2 psychologizing debacle', I thought to write what I think would happen if Stefan would take 'the $2 problem' to a psychologist (other than his wife), to talk about it.

The session would start with Stefan rambling for at least half an hour on how his community attacked him for simply expressing/sharing his sadness/frustration about a $2 donation, how his community lacks self control, empathy and self knowledge... and of course, how he's a victim of his own good intentions.
Once he's done, the psychologist would probably strike to the roots (just as Stefan says he likes to do to others), and would identify two problems:
First - Instead of dealing with his emotions (sadness and frustration -- he mentioned them both) and instead of taking ownership of his own problem (the $2 donation was his problem and nobody's else), Stefan decided to act out and dump his feelings on his community, so the community gets to deal with them instead of him.
Second - He bullied his community multiple times. It started with him implying that small donations make him sad, while big donations make him ... (you guess)... feel appreciated. It continued with him accusing the community it can't comprehend his advance reasoning that lead him to getting sad and that "just a few" were curious to find out why he was sad to receive a $2 donation. He also stated the community can't control their emotions (like he could control his emotions...) since they are products of abusive childhood, traumas they are projecting on him instead of solving them. He also told them not to call themselves 'free', if they are not free of that kind of reactive rage on him. He can feel as he wishes about the actions of the community members, but you see, they don't get the same privilege, because the followers can't feel anything for him other than love and adoration. Stefan also told the community they are worse than any religious group, since the donation rate in the religious communities is close to 100% ("even children donate there") while in his community the donation rate barely tops 2%. He also said their reaction made the movement look crazy, but that it's not about the movement, "movement be damned".

The psychologist should be able to identify this only listening to him rambling and not taking into consideration he advertises on his donation page a $1.5 and a $2 donation, or that in most podcasts he's claiming that any amount is appreciated, when it clearly isn't.

A third thing I bet the shrink would probably identify is that this is the kind of patient who makes them rich, as they can go to therapy and ramble on for years and years until the shrink can discreetly find an opening to gently direct their thinking to what really needs examining.  Even then, they still risk the patient suddenly abandoning the work while either devaluing it and the shrink, or deciding that he has made a breakthrough and is now cured.

« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 12:07:43 AM by Kaz »
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Argent

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Re: The $2 psychologizing debacle
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2013, 01:20:47 AM »
This was posted by Nathan:

Quote from: Nathan
All Stef "said" was a f*cking sad face with a caveat that he doesn't want to sound ungreatful and apparently that was enough for overwhelming vitriol, stabby memes and flow charts.  Yes digging, trolly flow charts based on a total straw man.  That kind of overreaction is not the reaction of people who have a high level of self-awareness or empathy.  Surely, for at least some of those people, Stef had earned at least a little curiosity before jumping to narratives, foregone conclusions and cold, calculated attacks.

Upon seeing the facebook thread, it was apparent to me that people were reacting to more than the $2 comment. But there are possible explanations other than that Stefan's friends list was harboring a horde of trolls just waiting for a chance to jump at his throat. The more reasonable explanation (for the majority anyway) is that they had been building up a list of misgivings about Stefan, and this comment was the straw that broke the camel's back. And then once the thread got going, it snowballed (it's easier to find courage to speak your mind when everyone else is doing it, too).


And did you guys see this comment from Stefan about the debacle?

Quote from: Stefan Molyneux
Thanks, it's actually been a very positive experience overall, and it's given me a lot of empirical information to work with...

Lisa

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Re: The $2 psychologizing debacle
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2013, 03:17:39 AM »
I saw the thread yesterday, when it had nearly 700 comments, almost all blasting Stef for being so insensitive & inappropriate, & rightly so. Now the thread has around 140 comments, almost all of them neutral or forgiving of Stef, often rationalizing right along with him. Seriously, who can take this guy... seriously at all?  :o

Argent

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Re: The $2 psychologizing debacle
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2013, 03:36:45 AM »
Man, I wish I had taken the time to save it. Ridiculous!

If Stefan thinks this round of blocking will solve the issue, he's got another thing coming. People are catching on to him all the time. I think that's why these dramas tend to come in cycles.

Prodigal son

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Re: The $2 psychologizing debacle
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2013, 03:48:43 AM »
I think Mr Molyneux's comment refers to his realisation that he is not surrounded by "friends" and so, like all dictators through history, he will reach for his revolver rather than revise his policies.
What follows is the FDR equivalent of the infamous "Night of the long knives" in 1934.
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Lisa

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Re: The $2 psychologizing debacle
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2013, 04:57:22 AM »
Screen-shot or not, we all know what happened & so do many, many others. So many people on that thread were extremely unforgiving of that post & his subsequent excusing of his self-absorbed behavior, that I doubt the level of damage that occurred can be rectified. He is still deleting comments on his excuse-laden latest youtube video as well. All the people criticizing his behavior have the highest rated comments.

Someone said they were glad that this happened. I am too, not because I want to see him suffering, but because Stef has the position to do a lot of harm & I believe he already has. It's time for his bad ideas to get challenged so the harm can't go as far as it has been able to.