Introducing EA Resources by LEAN

by Martin_K28th Nov 201811 comments

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Today we announce the launch of EA Resources, an open platform for EA group organizers and a structured, user-friendly repository of content tailored to their needs. It is offered as a part of the new EA Hub which previously hosted details on local groups, a database of EAs and EA Survey data, and currently undergoes a makeover before its full release. The services are developed and operated by Rethink Charity's Local Effective Altruism Network (LEAN).

Our core motivation behind EA Resources was simplifying the transfer of valuable knowledge within the EA network. This has led us to creating a collaborative project with a primary focus on influencing the growth and direction of groups. As their leaders and core members are already preoccupied with a plethora of tasks, they frequently feel overwhelmed with following and searching through numerous communication channels to find content relevant to their present priorities and challenges.

After selecting articles to include and obtaining authors' consent for re-publishing, EA Resources collects the previously scattered information in one place, linking to their original destination to avoid missing out on the broader context and comment sections. Our project is intended to serve a complementary and supportive role to both Effective Altruism Forum and LessWrong 2.0, and will hopefully contribute to the multiplication of impact generated by already existing and newly formed EA groups.

We are starting with a limited set of functions which will likely get expanded and integrated with other EA Hub services in the future, therefore your extensive feedback, questions and suggestions will be greatly appreciated. In order to deliver an added value in the global scale, we put a particular emphasis on utilizing viewpoint diversity in distilling signal from noise, thus welcoming novel and refreshing perspectives. If you'd like to offer your insights and skills in the editorial committee, consider joining our team of volunteering editors or contributing to the project in any other way, and fill out this form.

See you on EA Resources!

11 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 3:23 PM
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Good to see! I used screen flow to record myself going through the site for the first time, and recorded my reactions and thoughts. I'm hesitant to post it publicly (though invite you to ever do so, if you want), but sent it in Slack. In general I encourage people to review new projects in that way and similar; text feedback could take more time and be less information-dense (unless you spend a while summarizing it).

Thank you, Ozzie. We agree that this form of feedback is usually more informative and time-efficient for both sides than the written one. As we currently focus on making adjustments based on your commentary, you should be able to see them soon!

This looks great, I'm so glad that the EA Hub is getting revamped! My main question has to do with this:

Our project is intended to serve a complementary and supportive role to both Effective Altruism Forum and LessWrong 2.0, and will hopefully contribute to the multiplication of impact generated by already existing and newly formed EA groups.

EA Hub is obviously branded specifically for EA groups, but given that you mentioned LessWrong, I was wondering if you're planning to include resources for organizers of LessWrong/rationality groups as well? I know that there are branding issues, but there's a lot of overlap in the problems the groups are trying to solve, their activities, and their membership, and plenty of groups even double as EA and rationality groups (e.g. in cities where the community is small), so I really think it makes sense to have all the resources in one place.

This is important to me because I've been involved in efforts to centralize resources for rationality groups and coordinate among group organizers, but there have been some confusions regarding whether or not to include EA groups, since some of them are reasonably worried about the PR implications of associating with LessWrong/rationality. Unfortunately this makes coordination and centralization quite difficult. I guess I'm just wondering how you're thinking about that issue.

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I also second OllieBase's concern that despite (or maybe because of?) multiple attempts to centralize these types of resources, they remain spread out among many sites (EA Hub, CEA's website, the LessWrong community page, various semi-private Google Docs, etc). I see several possible solutions to this - the pages could all link to one another as 'additional resources' (definitely not ideal, but easiest), one group could explicitly be given the mandate for this work by the others, or each site could narrow its scope to fill a particular niche. None of these solutions seem great. It might be a good idea for LEAN, CEA, and LessWrong to get together and discuss this?

Thanks, mingyuan!

It might be a good idea for LEAN, CEA, and LessWrong to get together and discuss this?

We actually did! With resources.eahub.org, we wanted to share LEAN's idea of what texts you should look into when you're a group organizer. We discussed this with our partners at CEA and decided that offering 2 perspectives is better than offering 1 and that we should work together on 2 independent products.

We figured out we don't want the Resources to be a fixed, static list, but an open, collaborative platform. This way, you're all invited to decide on its shape and content.

LEAN wants to make sure we only add features that offer a lot of value to the community, which is why we rely on your feedback. As a matter of fact, this is why we released this humble feature before the whole thing is ready.

The new Hub will come with a number of new features, some of which offer integration across multiple platforms like forum.effectivealtruism.org or www.lesswrong.com. One of those is a cross-platform search allowing for searching through a multitude of sources with a single search box [that can be implemented across multiple platforms].

Thanks for your feedback and stay tuned!

Based on the recent EA Survey data, we believe that there's a significant value in fostering coordination and bridging the gap between EA and rationality circles. While these two may often overlap at the local level, our sample indicated that the ratio of people on one platform (EA Forum or LessWrong) to these on both of them is over 2.6:1. In addition, it pointed out to surprisingly low numbers of EAs on Forum (20%) or LW (19%) compared with EA FB (50%) and in groups (40%). From a more personal perspective, chatting with many EA organizers in person taught me that many of them haven't previously heard about important sources like the Slate Star Codex blog, while their questions and intellectual dilemmas were satisfyingly explainable by posts written few years ago. This state of things likely results in missing out on important insights and valuable interactions with a mostly goal-aligned group having useful comparative advantages and a slightly different demographic composition.

Given these, it seems beneficial to encourage non-intrusive cross-posting and linking to each other in the spirit of a more interconnected network. While there might be some benefits to decentralizing the centralization of resources, we obviously intend to stay in touch with each "big player" to avoid duplication of work and maintain mutually beneficial relationships. This is also largely reflected by our choice of a specific niche - providing time- and effort-saving services tailored to the needs of current and future leaders managing local high-impact groups.

Great job! The website design looks really slick and certain sections, like 'Guides and Tips' are really clear and helpful :)

I was somewhat surprised to see a report I wrote* over a year ago (Big Match Warwick 2016 Review) on the 'Evaluation and Strategy' page. I'm not sure it's something I'd want promoted as an activity local groups should try anymore, since their comparative advantage is community building and not fundraising. I think I frame that kind of campaign in too positive a light and don't offer reasons for why a group might not want to do it, implying that I think groups should run a Big Match campaign. I won't request that it be taken down, I just wanted to give those updated thoughts :)

On a more general note, I'm a little concerned that this site overlaps quite a bit with CEA's Resources and Support and Effective Altruism Community Building pages. Do you intend for this site to compliment these pages and CEA's approach? Or offer something different? I don't speak for CEA, by the way, I just know that those pages exist.

*James Aung only added comments in a late stage of editing which is why it might have been mistakenly attributed to him.

Thanks for the kind words and a clarification, Ollie. James' comments were the reason for misattribution, which we corrected. :) Many of us also believe that unless there are exceptionally good opportunities, local groups do better by filling talent gaps and influencing career paths rather than raising funds. By re-publishing the article on Big Match campaign, we wanted to enable more organizers to learn about your past experiences and potentially draw insights useful for their current projects. Feel free to request adding notes, updates or any other actions at any point.

While there is an overlap with CEA's materials, we intend to increase exposure to them (given the value of promoting great content collected and/or produced by CEA), as well as to add more resources from organizers and core teams. Offering them a grassroots platform to exchange diverse perspectives constitutes a primary goal for EA Resources.

Thanks!

In which case, could you possibly add this note somewhere: "I'm not sure it's something I'd want promoted as an activity local groups should try anymore, since their comparative advantage is community building and not fundraising. I think I frame that kind of campaign in too positive a light and don't offer reasons for why a group might not want to do it, implying that I think groups should run a Big Match campaign". Feel free to write in the third person (i.e. "the author is not sure that this campaign is something they would want promoted etc.")

I think you more thoroughly address my concern in your reply to mingyuan. I'm not sure I agree with your strategy of providing an interconnected network instead of deferring to CEA or LW but I appreciate that you've considered this carefully and provide justification :)

Done. Let us know if you'd like to share some good counterarguments to our current line of thinking and/or alternative ideas on making the best use of EA Resources platform!

I'm curious why parts of the old website were removed, instead of being left up while the redevelopment occurred.

The primary reason was the stability of the old platform. We decided to not invest any more time in fixing it and move our resources to building the new version instead. We plan on releasing it within 2 weeks. Meanwhile, reach out to lean@eahub.org if there's any way we can help!