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By Julia Wise, Damon Sasi and Chana Messinger

There's a lot of younger people around EA right now. A call with one led to a writing up of some boring "you probably already know this but it's good to make it explicit" advice, which the others of us fleshed out and added to.

Full access is back.

I, Chana, am experimenting with making this a linkpost to a google doc with full comment access. Please feel free to add feedback / thoughts / disagreements, with good epistemic norms (ideally nonanonymous, and putting whether you have thoughts from personal experience as a young person in a community like this, or working with them or neither).

(Experiment meaning comment access might get taken away, or doc might get put on private to reflect on how the experiment is going)




Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 10:26 PM

Was just about to post this

I also like Scott Adams's list of generic skills that "make you luckier" if you're good at most of them:

Public speaking
Business Writing
Design (the basics)
Overcoming Shyness
Second language
Proper grammar
Technology ( hobby level)
Proper voice technique

(though some—golf stands out—are kind of idiosyncratic)

Tyler Cowen's standard generic advice is "find excellent peers and mentors". I agree with that as one of the most valuable things to do, whether teenager or otherwise.

To elaborate on the point that I think Arjun is making, the general tip seems self-evidently good. It's not very valuable to state it, relative to the value of precise tips on HOW to get a mentor or how good this is relative to other good things (to figure out how much it should be prioritised compared to something else). 

At a previous job, HR would tell all the new hires to try to find a mentor. However, what they did not mention was that going up to a random senior person and saying 'hello would you be my mentor' was seen as cringe and annoying by many such people!

Useful context: I'm 19. I stopped reading after the "Use your brainspace wisely." 

Overall impression: boring as stated :D

More specific feedback: 

  • The tips seem very diverse (tips on relationships, mental health, physical environment, and learning skills were all under the "Use your brainspace wisely". It's unclear how they relate together. Thus it's confusing to read / figure out where you can find what tip. 
    • This could be addressed by having very clear headings. Ex: "Tips on Where You Live." Ex: "Tips on the Relationships You Develop." Ex: "Tips on Skills to Learn."
  •  Tips don't seem valuable without stories/examples. This is most true for a young person who doesn't know of an experience about each tip. Ex: If you say "Get a mentor" - that goes in one ear and out the other. A more helpful way to say that might be: "Get a mentor. When I was working on a startup to do X, my mentor Y helped me figure out that doing Z was better. I was down to my last thousand dollars and changing course helped me save the company."
  • I like when there were links to specific actionables. Ex: You can read this post if you're having mental health troubles, that post if you're looking for friend advice, etc. I'd love to see these links wherever you're aware of resources :-)
  • I don't know why you're telling me these things. That is to say, the intention seems unclear. It's worth putting some kind of statement about the purpose of each category of tips under the headings. Ex: Before a heading on "Mental Health Tips," you might say "Young people are the most vulnerable to mental health problems. If we learn to work on these problems early, it makes them a lot less severe later in life. Here are some helpful actions you could take if you're experiencing mental health issues:"

I hope this feedback is constructive enough to give practical ideas on how to improve this post. Please feel free to let me know if something seems unclear. I'll do my best to give a timely response :-)

Admittedly I’m not a teen but I don’t seem to be able to access the doc.

Yes, currently restricted, sorry.

Invitation-only link post is an interesting format.

A couple of things I can imagine being more likely to write if I'm permitted to do the same.

Suggestion: tell people what to say about themselves in the "Request access" box to help you decide whether to grant access.

It's open to everyone when open, I restricted it because some people wanted to take a closer look first, but thanks for flagging that "restricted" is unclear.

I think it's undesirable to force people to click to outside websites unnecessarily (adds inconvenience for users, makes searching harder, not great for RSS feeds, etc.), but doing so and then almost immediately bait-and-switching the document seems especially bad, as it wastes the time of anyone who clicks on the post. 

Sorry about that! Having open comments is a new experiment, so getting some more eyes on it and hoping to open it back up soon. But yeah, maybe I should change the title in the meantime, or put it back in drafts.

But good idea for a future experiment!

It doesn't seem hard to allow this kind of feature to be natively supported by the forum, either by having wiki articles which aren't tags or by allowing a mode where anyone can edit a post.

More here: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/NxWssGagWoQWErRer/community-posts-the-forum-needs-a-way-to-work-in-public 

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