Sam Harris takes Giving What We Can pledge for himself and for his meditation company "Waking Up"Harris references MacAksill and Ord as having been central to his thinking and talks about Effective Altruism and exstential risk. He publicly pledges 10% of his own income and 10% of the profit from Waking Up. He also will create a series of lessons on his meditation and education app around altruism and effectiveness.Harris has 1.4M twitter followers and is a famed Humanist and New Athiest. The Waking Up app has over 500k downloads on android, so I guess over 1 million overall. https://dynamic.wakingup.com/course/D8D148I like letting personal thoughts be up or downvoted, so I've put them in the comments.
This seems quite likely given EA Survey data where, amongst people who indicated they first heard of EA from a Podcast and indicated which podcast, Sam Harris' strongly dominated all other podcasts.
More speculatively, we might try to compare these numbers to people hearing about EA from other categories. For example, by any measure, the number of people in the EA Survey who first heard about EA from Sam Harris' podcast specifically is several times the number who heard about EA from Vox's Future Perfect. As a lower bound, 4x more people specifically mentioned Sam Harris in their comment than selected Future Perfect, but this is probably dramatically undercounting Harris, since not everyone who selected Podcast wrote a comment that could be identified with a specific podcast. Unfortunately, I don't know the relative audience size of Future Perfect posts vs Sam Harris' EA podcasts specifically, but that could be used to give a rough sense of how well the different audiences respond.
How are we going to deal emotionally with the first big newspaper attack against EA?
EA is pretty powerful in terms of impact and funding.
It seems only an amount of time before there is a really nasty article written about the community or a key figure.
Last year the NYT wrote a hit piece on Scott Alexander and while it was cool that he defended himself, I think he and the rationalist community overreacted and looked bad.
I would like us to avoid this.
If someone writes a hit piece about the community, Givewell, Will MacAskill etc, how are we going to avoid a kneejerk reaction that makes everything worse?
I suggest if and when this happens:
individuals largely don't respond publicly unless they are very confident they can do so in a way that leads to deescalation.
articles exist to get clicks. It's worth someone (not necessarily me or you) responding to an article in the NYT, but if, say a niche commentator goes after someone, fewer people will hear it if we let it go.
let the comms professionals deal with it. All EA orgs and big players have comms professionals. They can defend themselves.
if we must respond (we often needn't) we should adopt a stance of grace, curiosity and hu
Yeah, I think the community response to the NYT piece was counterproductive, and I've also been dismayed at how much people in the community feel the need to respond to smaller hit pieces, effectively signal boosting them, instead of just ignoring them. I generally think people shouldn't engage with public attacks unless they have training in comms (and even then, sometimes the best response is just ignoring).
You are an EA, if you want to be. Reading this forum is enough. Giving a little of your salary effectively is enough. Trying to get an impactful job is enough. If you are trying even with a fraction of your resources to make the world better and chatting with other EAs about it, you are one too.
Post I spent 4 hours writing on a topic I care deeply about: 30 karma
Post I spent 40 minutes writing on a topic that the community vibes with: 120 karma
I guess this is fine - iys just people being interested but it can feel weird at times.
I strongly dislike the following sentence on effectivealtruism.org:
"Rather than just doing what feels right, we use evidence and careful analysis to find the very best causes to work on."
It reads to me as arrogant, and epitomises the worst caracatures my friends do of EAs. Read it in a snarky voice (such as one might if they struggled with the movement and were looking to do research) "Rather that just doing what feels right..."
I suggest it gets changed to one of the following:
I am genuinely sure whoever wrote it meant well, so thank you for your hard work.
Are the two bullet points two alternative suggestions? If so, I prefer the first one.
EAs please post your job posting to twitterPlease post your jobs to Twitter and reply with @effective_jobs. Takes 5 minutes. and the jobs I've posted and then tweeted have got 1000s of impressions. Or just DM me on twitter (@nathanpmyoung) and I'll do it. I think it's a really cheap way of getting EAs to look at your jobs. This applies to impactful roles in and outside EA.Here is an example of some text:-tweet 1Founder's Pledge Growth Director@FoundersPledge are looking for someone to lead their efforts in growing the amount that tech entrepreneurs give to effective charities when they IPO. Salary: $135 - $150k Location: San Franciscohttps://founders-pledge.jobs.personio.de/job/378212-tweet 2, in reply@effective_jobs-end
I suggest it should be automated but that's for a different post.
A friend asked about effective places to give. He wanted to donate through his payroll in the UK. He was enthusiastic about it, but that process was not easy.
Feels like making donations easy should be a core concern of both GiveWell and EA Funds and my experience made me a little embarrassed to be honest.
EA short story competition?Has anyone ever run a competition for EA related short stories?Why would this be a good idea?* Narratives resonate with people and have been used to convey ideas for 1000s of years* It would be low cost and fun* Using voting on this forum there is the same risk of "bad posts" as for any other postHow could it work?* Stories submitted under a tag on the EA forum.* Rated by upvotes* Max 5000 words (I made this up, dispute it in the comments)* If someone wants to give a reward, then there could be a prize for the highest rated* If there is a lot of interest/quality they could be collated and even published* Since it would be measured by upvotes it seems unlikely a destructive story would be highly rated (or as likely as any other destructive post on the forum)Upvote if you think it's a good idea. If it gets more than 40 karma I'll write one.
I dislike the framing of "considerable" and "high engagement" on the EA survey.
This copied from the survey:
No engagement: I’ve heard of effective altruism, but do not engage with effective altruism content or ideas at allMild engagement: I’ve engaged with a few articles, videos, podcasts, discussions, events on effective altruism (e.g. reading Doing Good Better or spending ~5 hours on the website of 80,000 Hours)Moderate engagement: I’ve engaged with multiple articles, videos, podcasts, discussions, or events on effective altruism (e.g. subscribing to the
Nuclear risk is in the news. I hope:- if you are an expert on nuclear risk, you are shopping around for interviews and comment- if you are an EA org that talks about nuclear risk, you are going to publish at least one article on how the current crisis relates to nuclear risk or find an article that you like and share it- if you are an EA aligned journalist, you are looking to write an article on nuclear risk and concrete actions we can take to reduce it
Factional infighting[epistemic status - low, probably some element are wrong]tl;dr- communities have a range of dispute resolution mechanisms, whether voting to public conflict to some kind of civil war- some of these are much better than others- EA has disputes and resources and it seems likely that there will be a high profile conflict at some point- What mechanisms could we put in place to handle that conflict constructively and in a positive sum way?When a community grows as powerful as EA is, there can be disagreements about resource allocation.  ... (read more)
There is no EA "scene" on twitter.For good or ill, while there are posters on twitter who talk about EA, there isn't a "scene" (a space where people use loads of EA jargon and assume everyone is EA) or at least not that I've seen.This surprised me.
If this gets more than 20 karma, I'll write a full post on it. This is rough.
Where would we find these forecasts
To begin with I would look at those with public records:
Beyond these, one could build a community around finding forecasts of public fi... (read more)
Is there a way to sort shortform posts?
The amount of content on the forum is pretty overwhelming at the moment and I wonder if there is a better way to sort it.
EA Book discount codes.
tl;dr EA books have a positive externality. The response should be to subsidise themIf EA thinks that certain books (doing good better, the precipice) have greater benefits than they seem, they could subsidise them.There could be an EA website which has amazon coupons for EA books so that you can get them more cheaply if buying for a friend, or advertise said coupon to your friends to encourage them to buy the book.
From 5 mins of research the current best way would be for a group to buys EA books and sell them at the list price... (read more)
Question answersWhen answering questions, I recommend people put each separate point as a separate answer. The karma ranking system is useful to see what people like/don't like and having a whole load of answers together muddies the water.
EA global1) Why is EA global space constrained? Why not just have a larger venue?
I assume there is a good reason for this which I don't know.2) It's hard to invite friends to EA global. Is this deliberate?I have a close friend who finds EA quite compelling. I figured I'd invite them to EA global. They were dissuaded by the fact they had to apply and that it would cost $400.I know that's not the actual price, but they didn't know that. I reckon they might have turned up for a couple of talks. Now they probably won't apply. Is there no way that this event could be more welcoming or is that not the point?
Re 1) Is there a strong reason to believe that EA Global is constrained by physical space? My impression is that they try to optimize pretty hard to have a good crowd and for there to be a high density of high-quality connections to be formed there.Re 2) I don't think EA Global is the best way for newcomers to EA to learn about EA.
EDIT: To be clear, neither 1) nor 2) are necessarily endorsements of the choice to structure EA Global in this way, just an explanation of what I think CEA is optimizing for.EDIT 2 2021/10/11: This explanation may be wrong, see Amy Labenz's comment here.
Personal anecdote possibly relevant for 2): EA Global 2016 was my first EA event. Before going, I had lukewarm-ish feelings towards EA, due mostly to a combination of negative misconceptions and positive true-conceptions; I decided to go anyway somewhat on a whim, since it was right next to my hometown, and I noticed that Robin Hanson and Ed Boyden were speaking there (and I liked their academic work). The event was a huge positive update for me towards the movement, and I quickly became involved – and now I do direct EA work.I'm not sure that a different introduction would have led to a similar outcome. The conversations and talks at EAG are just (as a general rule) much better than at local events, and reading books or online material also doesn't strike me as naturally leading to being part of a community in the same way.It's possible my situation doesn't generalizes to others (perhaps I'm unusual in some way, or perhaps 2021 is different from 2016 in a crucial way such that the "EAG-first" strategy used to make sense but doesn't anymore), and there may be other costs with having more newcomers at EAG (eg diluting the population of people more familiar with EA concepts), but I also think it's possible my situation does generalize and that we'd be better off nudging more newcomers to come to EAG.
Thank you for bringing this up!
1) We’d like to have a larger capacity at EA Global, and we’ve been trying to increase the number of people who can attend. Unfortunately, this year it’s been particularly difficult; we had to roll over our contract with the venue from 2020 and we are unable to use the full capacity of the venue to reduce the risk from COVID. We’re really excited that we just managed to add 300 spots (increasing capacity to 800 people), and we’re hoping to have more capacity in 2022.
There will also be an opportunity for people around the world to participate in the event online. Virtual attendees will be able to enjoy live streamed content as well as networking opportunities with other virtual attendees. More details will be published on the EA Global website the week of October 11.
2) We try to have different events that are welcoming to people who are at different points in their EA engagement. For someone earlier in their exploration of EA, the EAGx conferences are going to be a better fit. From the EA Global website:
Effective altruism conferences are a good fit for anyone who is putting EA principles into action through their... (read more)
UK government will pay for organisations to hire 18-24 year olds who are currently unemployed, for 6 months. This includes minimum wage and national insurance.
I imagine many EA orgs are people constrained rather than funding constrained but it might be worth it.
And here is a data science org which will train them as well https://twitter.com/John_Sandall/status/1315702046440534017
Note: applications have to be for 30 jobs, but you can apply over a number of organisations or alongside a local authority etc.
This perception gap site would be a good form for learning and could be used in altruism. It reframes correcting biases as a fun prediction game.https://perceptiongap.us/It's a site which gets you to guess what other political groups (republicans and democrats) think about issues.Why is it good:1) It gets people thinking and predicting. They are asked a clear question about other groups and have to answer it.2) It updates views in a non-patronising way - it turns out dems and repubs are much less polarised than most people think (the stat they give i... (read more)
I think the wiki should be about summarising and synthesising articles on this forum. - There are lots of great articles which will be rarely reread- Many could do with more links to eachother and to other key peices- Many could be better edited, combined etc- The wiki could take all content and aim to turn it into a minimal viable form of itself
EA criticism[Epistemic Status: low, I think this is probably wrong, but I would like to debug it publicly]If I have a criticism of EA along Institutional Decision Making lines, it is this:For a movement that wants to change how decisions get made, we should make those changes in our own organisations first.Examples of good progress:- prizes - EA orgs have offered prizes for innovation- voting systems - it's good that the forum is run on upvotes and that often I think EA uses the right tool for the job in terms of votingThings I would like to see more... (read more)
EA twitter bots
A set of EA jobs twitter bots which each retweet a specific set of hashtags eg #AISafety #EAJob, #AnimalSuffering #EAJob, etc etc. Please don't get hung up on these, we'd actually need to brainstorm the right hashtags.
You follow the bots and hear about the jobs.
Rather than using Facebook as a way to collect EA jobs we should use an airtable form1) Individuals finding jobs could put all the details in, saving time for whoever would have to do this process at 80k time.2) Airtable can post directly to facebook, so everyone would still see it https://community.airtable.com/t/posting-to-social-media-automatically/209873) Some people would find it quicker. Personally, I'd prefer an airtable form to inputting it to facebook manually every time. Ideally we should find websites which often publish useful jobs and then scrape them regularly.
Does anyone know people working on reforming the academic publishing process?
Coronavirus has caused journalists to look for scientific sources. There are no journal articles because of the lag time. So they have gone to preprint servers like bioRxiv (pronounced bio-archive). These servers are not peer reviewed so some articles are of low quality. So people have gone to twitter asking for experts to review the papers.
This is effectively a new academic publishing paradigm. If there were support fo... (read more)
With better wiki features and a way to come to consensus on numbers I reckon this forum can write a career guide good enough to challenge 80k. They do great work, but we are many.
There were too few parties on the last night of EA global in london which led to overcrowding, stressed party hosts and wasting a load of people's time.I suggest in future that there should be at least n/200 parties where n is the number of people attending the conference.
I don't think CEA should legislate parties, but I would like to surface in people's minds that if there are fewer than n/200 parties, then you should call up your friend with most amenable housemates and tell them to organise!
Do we prefer
I am gonna do a set of polls and get a load of karma for it (70% >750). I'm currently ~20th overall on the forum despite writing few posts of note. I think polls I write create a lot of value and I like the way it incentivises me to think about questions the community wants to answer.I am pretty happy with the current karma payment but I'm not sure everyone will be so I thought I'd surface it. I've considered saying that polls delivery half the karma, but that feels kind of messy and I do think polls are currently underrated on the forum.Any ideas... (read more)
EA podcasts and videosEach EA org should pay $10 bounty to the best twitter thread talking about any episode. If you could generate 100 quality twitter threads on 80,000 hours episodes that for $1000 that would be really cheap. People would quote tweet and discuss and it would make the whole set of knowledge much more legible.
I edited the of wikipedia on Doing Good Better to try and make it more reflective of the book and Will's current views. Let me know how you think I did.https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=William_MacAskill&editintro=Template%3ABLP_editintro#Doing_Good_Better
Has rethink priorities ever thought of doing a survey of non-EAs? Perhaps paying for a poll? I'd be interested in questions like "What do you think of Effective Altruism? What do you think of Effective Altruists?"Only asking questions of those who are currently here is survivorship bias. Likewise we could try and find people who left and ask why.
We are definitely planning on doing this kind of research, likely sometime in 2021.
Plant-based meat. Fun video from a youtuber which makes a strong case. Very sharable. https://youtu.be/-k-V3ESHcfA
Effective altruism and politicsHere is an app that lets you vote on other people's comments (I'd like to see it installed in the forum so there is a lower barrier to entry) You can add thoughts and try and make arguments that get broad agreement. What are the different parties of opinion on EA and politics.https://pol.is/283be3mcmj
EA WikiI've decided I'm going to just edit the wiki to be like the wiki I want.Currently the wiki feels meticulously referenced but lacking in detail. I'd much prefer it to have more synthesised content which is occasionally just someone's opinion. If you dislike this approach, let me know.
Why do posts get more upvotes than questions with the same info?I wrote this question: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/ckcoSe3CS2n3BW3aT/what-ea-projects-could-grow-to-become-megaprojectsSome others wrote this post summarising it:https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/faezoENQwSTyw9iop/ea-megaprojects-continuedWhy do you think the summary got more upvotes. I'm not upset, I like a summary too, but in my mind, a question that anyone can submit answers to or upvote current answers is much more useful. So I am confused. Can any suggest why?
At what size of the EA movement should there be an independent EA whistleblowing organisation, which investigates allegations of corruption?
Clubhouse Invite Thread1) Clubhouse is a new social media platform, but you need an invite to join2) It allows chat in rooms, and networking3) Seems some people could deliver sooner value by having a clubhouse invite4) People who are on clubhouse have invites to give5) If you think an invite would be valuable or heck you'd just like one, comment below and then if anyone has invites to give they can see EAs who want them.6) I have some invites to give away.
Fun UK innovative policy competition:
Will probably be worth signing up to if that's your area of interest.
Please comment any other places people could find mailing lists or good content for EA related areas.