If you're new to the EA Forum, consider using this thread to introduce yourself! 

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8 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 10:10 AM

Just trying to get myself comfortable with posting on the forum, since I'm new to it.

I'm from Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), I consider myself deeply concerned about ethics, and I believe there are analytical methods that can get us closer not only to ethical truths (be they objective or not) but also to the methods whereby we may abide by those truths. 

I have a medical degree and I'm currently taking an online MicroMasters in Statistics and Data Science at MITx. I plan to take part in public health research, though I'm pretty much open to change gears if presented with sufficient evidence to do so.

Thank you all for supporting the EA community!

Hi there!  I'm new to the forum and thought I'd post here just to break the ice and get comfortable posting on the forum.  It's great to meet all of you!  Looking forward to interesting conversations!

Hi! I joined the forum recently, and wanted to introduce myself. 

I am a Bachelor's student in Computer Science and Economics in the Eastern US. Throughout the years, I attempted to introduce effective altruism to my friends and classmates - when appropriate. The concept seemed to resonate especially well with students in engineering and finance, but ultimately the efforts rarely resulted in concrete changes. 

That problem got irreversibly stuck in my mind: Why do these people, who are both good and can intellectually see the net benefits of EA, find it difficult to engage with? Was it because we are students and stereotypically dislike spending any amount of money?

From what those people have done and said, the problem might lie in the perceived inaccessibility of EA (for example, the added research step of ensuring effective use of donations discouraged many from taking action) and/or perceived emotional distance of the results (for example, using evidence and logic to discard some altruistic missions in favor of others may have taken away from the emotional component of altruism, which seems to be the more traditional aspect) .

I don't know why EA is not more prevalent or 'easy' to get into. I think it should be. But maybe it was my approach that was faulty; I have a lot to learn. So, I am here to learn more and do better, effectively. 

Hi there!

A quick thought about your quandary: I have been very puzzled by this throughout my time as an EA as well and my best model for people who 1) intellectually understand EA but 2) don't act on it is that they are mostly signalling, which is super cheap to do. Taking real action (e.g. donating your hard earned money that you could have used on yourself) is much more costly.

Experience has also born the following out for me: For people who don't intellectually (I'd go so far as to say intuitively) get EA, I think there is (almost) no hope of getting them on board. It seems deeply dispositional to me. This lends itself to a strategy that tries to uncover existing EAs who have never heard of it rather than converting those who have but show resistance.

Just my two cents!

The barrier to action is definitely a big thing. When I was a student, I avoided donating money. I told myself I'd start donating when I got a job and started making good money. Then, when I did get a job, I procrastinated for another two years. 

The thing that convinced me to finally do it was joining a different online group where I tried to do a good deed every day. When I got that down, I got into the habit of doing good, which made me rethink EA. After some thought, I committed to try giving 10% just for a year. A month later, I made the Giving What We Can pledge. After I'd made the commitment I realised it wasn't that hard, and I felt a lot better about myself afterwards.

If I could go back in time, I think what I'd ask my past self to do is not to commit to donating 10%, but to commit to donating just 1%  for a year. 1% is nothing, and anyone can do that - but once you start intuitively understanding that A) You feel better donating this money, and B) You really don't miss it, it's a lot easier to scale up. Going from 0 to 1 is a bigger step than from 1 to 10.

I still don't have a full solution, but I think that might be a place to begin.

Medium-time lurker, first-time commenter (I think)! I'll be posting a piece tomorrow or Friday about whether Effective Altruists should sign Up for Oxford’s COVID challenge study. Hoping to start a lively discussion!

Another great initiative in trying to make the Forum more friendly. Congrats!

 I'm from Brazil, São Paulo. Joined EA community in Dec 2016. Trying my best to help the community grow well.

Hiiii!  I was drawn on to here by the creative writing contest! Hoping to participate... except the thing I'm trying to write will. not. behave. (It's driving me bananas.) That said, I love writing fiction. SOMETIMES it flows. And sometimes it lets me grapple with the way Reality is tangled up with so much ambiguity.

I end up bumping into EA and EA-interested people on Discords! ...and I heard about the creative writing contest on a really fun Discord server I'm on.