May 31, 2017
The CEA research team just published a new paper - Considering Considerateness: Why communities of do-gooders should be exceptionally considerate (PDF version). The paper is co-authored by Stefan Schubert, Ben Garfinkel, and Owen Cotton-Barratt.
When interacting with others you can be considerate of their preferences, for instance by being friendly or reliable. This normally has small positive direct effects. But, by improving your reputation or strengthening aspects of culture that make a community more cooperative, the positive indirect effects can be large.
We present the case that these indirect effects are further strengthened when you are acting as part of a community of people doing important work. For instance, being considerate can improve the level of trust and collaborativeness among members of the community. It can also improve the reputation of the community. Conversely, failing to be considerate can harm the community, both internally and in its reputation.
This means that for communities of people striving to do good, such as the effective altruism community, considerateness should be a surprisingly high priority. It could be that, in order to do the most good, they should be considerably more considerate than common sense morality requires.