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You're being a bit unfair. It's equally inappropriate for me to speculate about his motives, but I recall there being an undercurrent of melancholia in Aaron's writings even pre-indictment.

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I still remember a comment he posted on an "Ask PG & other rich folks: how has your life changed since getting FU money?" thread a few years ago (pre-indictment):

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1511204

"In the short-term, my life was much worse. I spent a lot of really painful time struggling to come to grips with my situation.

"After that was over, things went pretty much back to normal. There's now a low-level fear all the time of losing all the money (something PG's written about recently) and I'm constantly worried I've invested it badly. I didn't make any dramatic life changes so people don't really treat me differently.

"The biggest thing is that it provides a sort of mental backup -- when I'm feeling bad about myself or about to do something risky, I can tell myself not to worry.

"My sense is that it bears out what the happiness research says: dispositional factors are much more important than situational ones. PG was an abnormally happy person before he got rich and he's still abnormally happy. I was pretty miserable before and I'm still miserable. (The reasons are more complicated but the result is I prefer my misery.)"

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He posted what appeared to be a suicide note on his blog five years ago, and the police were called.

It's still there, but he edited it to change the name to "Alex".

http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/dying

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I'm being quite restrained. I'm calling for a feeling of guilt, not their public lynching. If I'd been involved in the prosecution I'd be feeling guilty for proceeding in too heavy-handed a fashion and I'm sure most of the people on this forum would too[1].

Frankly if someone is incapable of self-recrimination when something like this arises I don't want them in this kind of role.

[1] Of course this presupposes a motivation of "doing what's best for the country/society" and not "showing this uppity young guy who's boss".

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In which case the prosecution should have realised he was a suicide risk and acted appropriately. They seemingly did not.

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How would prosecutors go about that? Going through all his blog posts to look for depression? And that would be standard procedure for everyone they prosecute?

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Psychiatric assessment is a routine element of any criminal case. At any rate, it is in the UK.

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So you're saying that in the UK they don't prosecute people who are depressed? As a Brit, that's news to me.

Come on. This prosecution may be unjust for other reasons, but it's just daft to claim that they should not have prosecuted him because he was depressed.

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Did I say at any point that depression should exempt someone from prosecution? No. I said their handling was inappropriate.

If someone is a suicide risk you watch them, and typically ensure they're not left alone.

Stick your straw man where the sun don't shine.

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You think Aaron would have let the DA put him on some kind of suicide watch when he wasn't even in custody?

I don't think you're thinking this through. It's natural to be angry, but the DA didn't do anything wrong in relation to his depression, even if the prosecution was unjust for other reasons.

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Social care doesn't require custody.

See http://www.mind.org.uk/mental_health_a-z/8042_mental_health_... for an explanation of (in the UK, at least) the rights for those with mental health issues in prosecutorial circumstances.

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1) This occurred in the US, not the UK.

2) All of that requires the consent of the person involved. Do you think AS would have suddenly decided to accept support because the DA prosecuting his case offered it? If his family and friends couldn't stop his suicide, you think the DA could have done so?

3) Are you sure it is typically the responsibility of the DA to sort that stuff out in the US?

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If you were a driver, wouldn't you want to be that awesome of a driver?

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  (def check-usernames (u)
    (or (nil? u)
      (and
        (has-email? (user (car u)))
        (check-usernames (cdr u)))))
or something

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Try many, keep few?

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In other words, we should dismiss a priori the possibility of any racial correlates?

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The filtering phenomenon is obsolete; as you note, GM probably still cares because it's old fashioned, but modern companies don't care at all. Even if the filter exists/existed, that's hardly a sufficient or effective motivation to start a startup -- good startup founders don't seem like the type who'd just take a salaried gig and become complacent if it was offered to them.

There's probably some traits useful to startup founders that are more common amongst dropouts than the general population -- like a willingness to take responsibility for one's future into one's own hands.

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If widespread filtering means a founder couldn't get a salaried gig long enough to pay the bills and accumulate some savings, that's a worst-case problem they need to be aware of. I keep hearing it really is rough out there without a degree, but I started out with one so I don't actually know.

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Find a good therapist (psychologist) to talk to about this. Working through shyness will be a long process, and having a smart caring person to coach you through it will be a big help. Therapists are people who are genuinely interested in helping people in this way, and they have been developing and honing the relevant set of skills. I'd say it's important to find someone who works well for you and your personality, so maybe it would help to talk to a few to see who you have the best rapport/connection with.

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I second this. If your shyness is bad enough that it seriously, negatively affects your life, consider talking to a psychologist. Speaking from personal experience, it can help. There's no shame in it. A psychologist offers a non-judgmental, safe atmosphere to talk to someone well-versed in the kinds of problems you're facing. Social anxiety is a much more common problem than most people would guess, and there are ways of thinking and habits you can form that can help you overcome it.

Some people can overcome these things without help, of course, and more power to them. Just another option to consider.

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This is much better advice than much of what's been posted here. The idea that you can simply wish away shyness is a little silly; you'll be much better off talking to someone who has training and experience in dealing with social anxiety. Trust the experts on this one, and you've got a very good chance at achieving your goals for being less shy.

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Can we declare this "startup scenester" thing to have officially jumped the shark now?

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Agreed!

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Exactly right, and a self-deprecating meek geek with bad posture who comes to realize that the world works this way can use this information to his advantage. First, observe that social skills can be learned the same way as anything else: by making empirical observations and performing experiments, and combining this with analysis and theory. More specifically: Actively seek out friends and opportunities for socialization and force a constant minimum level of social activity [empirical observations]. Push your boundaries and don't fear unfamiliar social situations [experiments]. Observe yourself in social situations and (dispassionately) note what you could have done better [analysis]. Read everything from pop psych self-help stuff (e.g. succeedsocially.com) to social psychology and evolutionary psychology (e.g. books and papers describing nonverbal communication and social signaling) [theory]. Learn to project confidence yet be your own worst critic. Be extremely aware of the breadth of your ignorance but don't be sheepish about what you have learned and done. Understand when to be a little hubristic and when to be a little deferential. These are things that we all do automatically to one degree or another, but we can all be more effective by actively observing ourselves and deliberately making adjustments. The downside is that getting better at these skills will necessarily involve a lot of fucking up, but the alternative is to just stay where you are without improving things.

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I've recognized that what holds me back is what I fear and in some cases I feel default non-optimal social habits are my default because I am addicted to the feeling of being a lone wolf, the wallflower in a social situation.

As you point out, hacks only work if you iterate on them. You can't unit test social graces you can only have good exception handling. And good exception handling may come down to experience handling situations earned by actual trial-and-error and as this article says - a certain amount of cockiness.

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Take http://www.flickr.com/photos/35034351734@N01/137275735/, subtract the black sweater and microphone, and you get what I call "canonical PG", in an orange polo shirt and khaki shorts.

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