Why We Changed Our Name and Why We’re Migrating to Slack
EA Engineers (a community for physical engineers, announced here) is now called High Impact Engineers (HI-Eng) because we think that this name better describes the direction that we are heading. For consistency with the wider community and for professional reasons, we are migrating over to Slack (join here) to the dismay of the organisers and many in the community. We hope that other budding groups will find our reasoning helpful. Please also check out our new website!
The name “EA Engineers” was one we adopted very quickly during the set-up of the Discord server. It was the obvious choice and we wanted to attract existing EAs who had an engineering background. However, we believe we have good reason to change the name and will outline why in this post.
We believe that setting up on community on the Discord server worked well to begin with but that Slack will serve us better going forward. We'll detail this reasoning towards the end of the post.
Reasons For Not Including EA In The Name
In recent weeks we have received some feedback on the name “EA Engineers” with respect to our vision for our community, which has provided compelling reasons to change the name.
Some arguments for not including “EA” explicitly in the organisation's name are listed below in what we believe is descending order of strength:
- Avoiding a narrow audience. The term “EA” carries a decent amount of baggage and would likely increase the difficulty of outreach to engineers who don’t know about or identify as EAs but are interested in increasing their impact.
- To not monopolise funding for engineering-related EA organisations. This is significant consideration from a funder’s point of view as they may be hesitant to fund another organisation that may help to serve engineers in a different way to ours because they are under the impression that we are already fully serving this space.
- Quarantining brand damage. Funders may perceive the organisation as a higher risk to fund if its name contains “EA”. If something goes wrong and the organisation receives bad press then this may blow back on the broader EA community.
- Project scope. Including “EA” in the name feels appropriate for a community space, however, we will be offering an additional level of service to both our members and the broader EA community and this updates us weakly towards a name change.
- Ambiguity in what EA is an acronym for. Is it “Effective Altruism Engineers”, “Effective Altruist Engineers”, or “Effectively Altruistic Engineers”? It’s a small thing but may make it marginally more difficult to explain to non-EAs.
We don’t believe that PISE’s findings will apply to us because a) we don’t need to explain the link between EA and HI-Eng; b) we believe we will grow to be a community that includes EAs and non-EAs, and eventually provide recruitment services and resources similar to High Impact Professionals and High Impact Medicine; c) aligning with HIP and HI-Med will make us more searchable online.
Process of Changing Our Name
It's easy to overthink this sort of decision, so we workshopped a few options, checked their web domain availability, requested feedback on them, and picked the most popular option (which also aligned with our preferred options).
Reasons for Switching to Slack
Although our Discord community has a fantastic culture (ideas are being shared, people are reaching out to ask for help or advice, and people are engaging willingly), we still think that Slack is a better platform for HI-Eng.
Some arguments for switching to Slack are detailed below again in order of strength:
- Other EA communities and professional groups are on Slack. People generally check Slack for their EA news, and having a consistent platform makes cross-posting, messaging and promotions easier to do.
- EAs generally have a Slack account, but not necessarily a Discord account. This increases the activation energy to join the Discord, and it is common that people join then forget to check it for weeks (or ever).
- You can see people’s real names in Slack. People who commonly use Discord have pseudonyms, which makes it difficult to figure out who is who and reach out to people via LinkedIn or IRL. Displaying real names by default is more appropriate for a professional group.
HI-Eng will be migrating over to Slack - please add yourself using this link here and introduce yourself (please do introduce yourself again if you were already on the Discord!) We’re confident that we won’t lose too many people in the transition, and Slack will be a more suitable platform for us as a professional community but we will keep the fun culture that we collectively cultivated over on Discord. We’ve also set up our shiny new website, and we hope you will join us for the next stage in HI-Eng’s development!