Edit - I removed the hyperlink because I'm going to change the post so that it includes less about EA. I'd rather reframe it so that it speaks to a different/original audience rather than to EA'ers. 

 I'll leave the parts about EA here so anyone who wants to see them (or your mods can take it down if they'd like). I hope you dig into what I said here. I hope you encourage/pressure your institutions to investigate the "high power individual" whose name I gave them. I hope, EA folks, that you take a critical look at what you might be doing to encourage rape in your communities, and what your leadership is doing/not doing to prevent assault. I also hope you - as participants in the movement - start asking questions and talking to people with different opinions - thinking critically - instead of shutting down voices that say things you don't like, and look at the content of what's being said instead of focusing on the way it's said. IMO, shutting down critical discourse helps no one. 

 Here where I live in the bay area, you (EA as a movement) have a reputation for being highly "rape-y". After the Time magazine article, I had survivors outside of the bay area contact me with their stories of being assaulted in London and Oxford, which leads me to think that the problem isn't "bay area EA" only, but EA in general. 

I hope you take a look at why the survivors who report to me think it's your movement that has a problem with rape. Even if - as most of you would claim - that's untrue and the rest of us are "piling on" to you or have ulterior motives - the sort of reactions you have to the Time article, what I've said, or the woman who spoke for the Time magazine who had posted here originally - those reactions aren't helping your reputation. 

 

 

The most pertinent quotes: 

___

These non-mainstream communities holds themselves to higher standards, and the purposes they work toward are to influence the future for the better – and so, even a below-average or average level of rape should be acknowledged, worked on, and rape should be reduced. Unlike other professional and social groups, these interconnected communities deny the problems they have, and go so far as to silence stories of rape because those stories may be detrimental to their purpose/cause. For example, I received two reports about a high-powered individual who had assaulted and silenced the women accusing him. When I shared this with two people (who are “deep EA” and employed/founded orgs in EA) who knew and worked on the same cause as this high-power individual – the two people spoke to the harm their cause would suffer if the story came out, and how it could be used against the cause. I had to remind both that this high-power individual had been credibly accused of sexual assault.

___

Recently, there’s been a spotlight on EA through the media. Not every story/accusation I’ve received or detailed above are related to EA, but some are. More specifically, I have stories of leaders in bay area and London/Oxford accused of fairly egregious sexual assault and misconduct. In February 2023, I calculated that I personally knew of/dealt with thirty different incidents in which there was a non-trivial chance the Centre for Effective Altruism or another organization(s) within the EA ecosystem could potentially be legally liable in a civil suit for sexual assault, or defamation/libel/slander for their role/action (note: I haven’t added the stories I’ve received post-February to this tally, and I’ve gotten several stories since that time). Of course, without discovery, investigation, and without consulting legal counsel, this is a guess/speculative, and I can’t say whether they’d be liable for not with certainty without legal advice. 

___

In response to my speculation, the community health team denied they knew of my work prior to August 2022, and that it was not connected to EA. Three white community health team members have strongly insinuated that I’ve lied, and treated me – an Asian-American – in much the way that survivors reporting rape fear being treated. As I stated in the previous paragraph, I haven’t yet consulted with lawyers, but I personally believe this is defamatory. Additionally, the Centre and Effective Ventures Foundation are in headquartered in a jurisdiction that is much more harsh on defamation than the one I’m in. The statements not only damage my reputation in this field – which I work in full time –but I have a string of messages/texts, DMs, and emails that disprove them. The earliest messages date back to February 22, 2019. The founder of an org with the EA ecosystem shared my work with the then-only liaison of CEA in February 2019, and the liaison confirmed earlier receipt of shared work in an email dated August 2022 – she additionally confirmed the aforementioned EA founder shared them. She also confirmed I had helped publicly days before. Someone on another nonprofit EA team confirmed via DM that the community liaison had shared my work with them “years ago”. Another founder of an EA nonprofit org emailed me through my website, sharing (quote) “I heard through the grapevine that you hold some sort of record on individuals in the EA community in the Bay Area, and that you are open to sharing whether you have received any concerns about certain individuals in confidence.” I have a few more messages/emails as well. In their final emails to me, all three members of the Community Health team for the Centre for Effective Altruism signed off by asked me to continue sending survivors their way.

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When I shared this with two people (who are “deep EA” and employed/founded orgs in EA) who knew and worked on the same cause as this high-power individual – the two people spoke to the harm their cause would suffer if the story came out, and how it could be used against the cause. I had to remind both that this high-power individual had been credibly accused of sexual assault.

 

I find this highly disturbing. Even putting aside the whole "don't do evil things in the service of the cause" thing that I thought everyone was onboard with after FTX, ignoring abuse doesn't actually help any cause. An abuser is inherently compromised, they will put their own wellbeing above the cause by nature. They are likely to be caught eventually, and the later they are caught, the greater the reputational damage to the cause will be and the more damage will be done. Also, EA may end up being highly influential in policy and in the values of future AI systems: it's important that those values don't include things like "cover up abuse". If we're poisoned at the top, the rot will grow.

I'm hoping sentiments like the quote are fringe opinions, or else EA is gonna keep sleepwalking into scandal after scandal, and things will get worse and worse.

Came here to say exactly this. It's extremely short-sighted, even by strict utilitarian standards. Apart from anything else, it assumes that the stories will be kept secret forever, and that the abuser will end up being more impactful than any victims they drive away. Tbc I'm not convinced that explicit cost/benefit calculations are the right way to approach these things, but even by that standard protecting abusers just dramatically fails imo.

And without litigating the whole issue of potential EA leadership awareness of SBF being rather shady, that topic has already left EA open to charges of employing an ends-justifies-the-means morality in practice. For example, I think there would be a real risk of second-impact syndrome if convincing evidence came to light that leadership EAs had failed to act on well-supported allegations because of the perceived object-level importance of the accused's work. (I am not expressing any view on whether this has happened, only noting how there is an interaction between this topic and the SBF one.)

Hm, I didn't think that bit was the worse. I DO have both of those people's words in text (DM on this forum that I took screenshots of & FB messenger messages). I've shared them with one other person. 

I feel that the potential legal claims - including the one I'm contemplating bringing, or the accused/accusers that I have connections to (again, caveat with - these are still speculative, and I'd like to share the speculation as a warning to the community) - would be far more scandalous and damaging than those DMs/messages. They would be more public than the messages, take more time, and could make other information more public (no idea what this other information could be), they'd piggyback on the SBF/FTX ties and scandals, and they'd piggyback on the Time and Bloomberg pieces. 

I would like to add that I did give the name of that high powered individual to CEA via email. I'm not one of the accusers, so any information they received from me would be second hand and highly circumspect and would need further investigation before action was taken. When I shared the name, they asked several questions that I did not answer, then a couple days later - they also wrote this and chose to stop engaging with me. 

From that post - "She referred to some other situations both on the Forum and privately, which did not contain enough information for us to identify the situation or learn more." I'm a private individual, and the onus cannot be on me in any way whatsoever to provide "enough information" or help CEA. They have the name of someone powerful, and they can chose to pursue that lead and investigate it. They have the resources and absolutely should work with the proper professionals. Rather than stating that my statements did not "contain enough information for us to identify the situation or learn more", I would have hoped they said something to the effect of "She referred to some other situations both on the Forum, and we need to investigate further before taking action." That they responded in the manner that they did is at best, not sharing information with the community (eg, if they are investigating instead of simply dropping it as stated in their comment - then they misrepresented the situation to me and the community in that comment), and at worst, disavowing their responsibility to mitigate sexual assault within the EA movement (by choosing to drop the issue altogether because I didn't give them more than "I received an accusation of SA and silencing by high power individual") --- though I suppose there is an even worse possibility that you (@titotal and @Amber Dawn) allude to you in your comments. I'm speculating here, because it's hard to say what the intent behind that comment was when so much information is kept hidden, and there are no open channels of communication.

As an outsider to these orgs, there's not a lot I can do here, except strongly advocate for people to take abuse seriously and not look the other way when it happens. I certainly hope it's not the case that people are looking the other way, but people will always find it tempting to rationalise doing nothing when they thinks their career (or in this case, the fate of the world) is at stake, so I want to be as clear as humanly possible that the results of doing so could be disastrous.  

I think in your shoes I probably would have sent on more information about the high profile EA accusation, but I recognize you're in a tough position here (and I'm also not as familiar with the relevant laws and stuff as you are). Hoping you're doing okay, and that any wrongdoing gets exposed as soon as possible. 

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Hey folks, a reminder that this topic is sensitive and can get very heated for several reasons:

  • A lot of relevant information is private and hard to discuss publicly or comes from people's personal experiences, which will vary a lot.
  • The situations discussed are extremely serious and disturbing, and readers may have experienced something related, which would make engaging with these topics especially stressful.
  • Harassment and power dynamics are often emotionally loaded and can be difficult to discuss objectively.

Please keep this in mind. It's really important to be thoughtful and to respect Forum norms here.

I apologize for possibly embarrassing, but I think I see a couple problems with this forum post (I'm intentionally saying little of the original piece in this list, but I do say a couple thoughts at the end)

1. It's extremely important to note that the author says: "The broad community I speak of here are insular, interconnected subgroups of tech, EA (Effective Altruists), rationalists, cybersecurity/hackers, crypto/blockchain, Burning Man camps, secret parties, and coliving houses."

This is stated early in the original piece, and I believe this should be quoted at the start of this forum post. 

2. So I get that the idea is to share the bits pertinent to EA here on the forum. But I'm not sure what implies that the first paragraph of this forum post is "pertinent" to EA?

I realize that the author later writes that these groups belong to the "same community". Well that is what they think anyway. But I find that disingenuous as, if if it were so, you are unlikely to need a grab bag of names to describe that "same community". This is the author that wrote this post so they have definitely been told that EA is not necessarily connected to these other communities at all.

3. Within that paragraph, I also will note that I don't understand this sentence: "Four, five, and eight people have accused specific persons of completed rape." What does this mean? Unless you understand something I don't, I would discourage from sharing confusing language like this or add a caveat in brackets. If I'm being dumb, I'll retract this item.

4. In the last paragraph, it would have been better link the CH Team's actual response (I assume the lie is meant to be in there? That they had never had contact before?) by/in that hyperlink.

Finally, I encourage everyone to at least skim the full piece. I also want to remind people to form their own opinions rather than defer to the opinions and emotions of other commentors. Eg, If you want to grab pitchforks, please do so because you genuinely want to (and have at least tried to inform yourself reasonably well by reading the piece and OP's original and the discussion there), not because other people are grabbing pitchforks. 

I'm writing some personal thoughts (those I mentioned in beginning) as a response to this comment.

A couple more personal thoughts:
(these ended up long, I hope the algorithm collapses them. Interested parties can choose to read and the rest ignore)


1. I'm having trouble trusting the terminology being used is accurate because of the author's liberal use of terminology in the past that did not make sense to me then. Eg, would the victim describe their experiences as they are described here? And again, teminology around calling people EAs? It's possible the author is trying to do better this time, but I'm very unsure of that as they might just be sticking to their guns as well. And anyway, even solid attempts to do better might still end up wrong for an EA outsider/newbie (eg, is the "highpowered" person Michael Vassar perhaps?). I wish I could tell but without instances and more specificity I just find it very hard to trust.

2. Emotionally, I feel frustrated. Truth is that for the last 3 weeks I've been avoiding the Forum because of stuff like this, and the day I resolve to come back, this was just posted. I feel cursed or something (tongue in cheek, but also..). I'd like the Forum to not feel like a cursed place. I'd like EA to not feel like a cursed movement doomed to never become respected again because once the waters calm someone has something else to say (valid or not it may be, [most of us can't keep dealing with this]). I'd like to feel like my mental health is not at risk by visiting the Forum or participating in EA generally. I feel such a drive to defend EA from what I view as epistemically-lacking piling on, and I have doubts that anyone else will stick out their neck to do so. FWIW there doesn't appear to have been much of this "piling on" while I was gone though! But yeah I'm frustrated. [I came back all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and now I feel deflated again]

3. Idea: I wonder if all Forum community posts could go through a brief review period, eg "We review all community posts within 24 hours of submitting. If this post doesn't meet our epistemic standards we will give you some feedback and you are free to integrate some or all of it and resubmit. We also reserve the right to approve this post but add some caveats at the top". I believe that my complaints I listed above would also have been noted by the Forum team and I do believe that helping people improve their posts is worthy. 

4. My unfairness alarm is ringing, and it's saying something like "I hope that this 'pertinent' info is being shared in major tech forums, burning man camps etc as well. Those groups which are likely to be more implicated." If not, this seems like a vendetta against EA. I mean the article does talk more about EA than the other groups and I'm wondering if it is because EAs are the ones the author tried to interface with about all this (correctly or incorrectly) and when the author didn't get the response they wanted, EA started to get classed in their mind as the "bad guys". Maybe EA is getting punished because it is the only group of those listed which does actually have a [dedicated] team which is actually trying and having conversations about this. The visible are easier to name than the invisible. It definitely feels to me that we are getting most or all the responsiblity for the SF SAs that the author has heard of, even if the victims or accusers may have been 2 or 3 steps removed from EA? Perhaps I am wrong and I'd be glad to see that I am. I'd like to trust that the world is not just piling on EA but that this is an overall motion throughout the SF Bay area. The way that I can be proved wrong here is if someone shows me evidence that this is being brought to other groups too with equal fervor? Of course it is hard to do with this article since it basically let's everyone else off scott free except EA.  I'd appreciate anyone sharing links to such discussion in other communities if you have it, and in future I'll calm down about my suspicions that EA is getting scapegoated. The communities named in the piece are: subgroups of tech, EA (Effective Altruists), rationalists, cybersecurity/hackers, crypto/blockchain, Burning Man camps, secret parties, and coliving houses.

5. On a complimentary note, I agree with the author's ideas that a more formal and professional process is needed in reporting and determining community response. I wish I could stop at the compliment, but that said I feel confused that the author appears to believe that a closer-to-judicial process is out of bounds. In my mind, if you don't want a judicial-like process for claims of rape and sexual assault (which boggles my mind but moving on), the CH team's process is quite good. At least as a starting point, I'd think it's like 80% of the way there and leagues better than what most non-corporations/social communities have? So I wonder what else they might mean.
So, to clarify, I want a more formal process too but personally I think that if anything the CH team's reporting process right now isn't judicial enough, notably in that the accused is not necessarily privy to the details of the claims made against them. I think as long as things are not fully transparent to the accused, we should expect problems to go under the radar and accused parties to return to private parties and things, because frankly people will assume it was less bad without knowing details. If victims want justice and proper response and are wiling to report at all, that's great and I really want to support them! I also think it's the nature of the world that you can't expect a proper response without something more trial-like occurring. I think many different cultures evolved toward the schelling point of trials for a reason. 
We have a duty to other members of the community and future potential victims as much as to the victims, and trial-like-things do the best job at ensuring future safety and ensuring that concrete policies (which the author seems to like) are implemented, I think.
And we (or, the people handling reports anyway) also have an ethical duty to hear both sides as accurately as possible. I have learned from personal experience that it is often unworkably labor-intensive to do due diligence on complaints without doing the discussion in real-time with multiple actors/jury present. I'm not saying that the victim and accused need to be on the same call or anything, but that processes which are deliberately not in-person or deliberately giving the victim more services than the accused to avoid the judicial feel, and avoid putting the victim on the spot, either lead to a lot more work in writing (an unworkable amount. Like think 2 weeks or more of work-hours of writing back and forth for each serious detailed case), or missed opportunities to address things and ask clarification as concerns arise, or misunderstandings that will come up later. BTW I say all this as someone who has reported men in my personal life and EA. Communities should support victims in coming forward.. and with serious claims that will sometimes mean all the way forward to ensure proper response.

I expect this comment to get disagrees from most because there are multiple different unpopular or rarely voiced things so it has something for everyone to dislike lol. I've noticed forum users tend to disagree-vote any comment that has even one false/disagreeable statement even if the rest is okay, in true logician fashion. I'll just remind anyone who got this far that its just my thoughts I didn't even want as a top level comment, but maybe someone will find value here and there.

Frankly, I do not care what EA/CEA thinks at this point, nor is my piece meant to persuade you.  suspect the way I think and the way you think are so divergent that there is no middle ground; further, I believe you will poke holes in whatever I say no matter how I say it. I didn't include the whole piece because you are correct in that the "interconnected community" stuff isn't relevant to EA/CEA. I hyperlinked to CEA's response earlier in the article, as soon I mention CEA (I don't find it necessary to hyperlink more than once). I only hyperlinked/screen shot public forum posts, and not private emails/DM/etc. However, there are a couple things I wanted CEA/EA/the orgs to be aware of, and those are the parts I've added to this post. 

That post from Catherine Low is the post that I would give to a lawyer as being defamatory. I've also included that I've counted at least 30 situations in which I believe a legal claim CAN be brought against CEA/another org in the system. I can't understand why CEA didn't hire lawyers to investigate their risk. I can't understand why you're focusing on the parts of the article that don't relate to EA instead of engaging in further discussion and debate, approaching with curiosity to learn more about these situations, and especially, if we're going to be purely utilitarian, approaching with curiosity about any potential liability that the movement may expose itself to. Social stuff, whether someone is "thought" to be part of EA, is popular or signed the pledge, etc. won't matter in a court of law (IMO, consult a lawyer for actual legal advice). I suggest you speak to a lawyer if you want to understand the criteria I used (which I understand you dont have access to, what I mean by this is that you speak to a lawyer to understand what sorts of relationships CEA/other org could be held liable for). CEA's claims in that post that you feel is sympathetic is defamatory - IMO, not legal advice, I haven't yet consulted a lawyer - because it blatantly lies about the length and nature of the actual relationship. 

The piece is (1) to highlight a problem you do not see as a problem to the world outside of you, and (2) a warning of the legal risk, including the legal risk in the treatment of me (just a warning not legal advice).

 

PS, no, the high powered person isn't Michael Vasser, who I don't consider "high powered". It's someone that hasn't been outed publicly yet. 

PPS no, EA is not the "only" group that is trying to do something. Far from it - many groups have taken action, and are very effective, and I'd highly recommend you look further/do your research into this before accusing others of not taking action. 

PPPS if you "I feel such a drive to defend EA from what I view as epistemically-lacking piling on, and I have doubts that anyone else will stick out their neck to do so. FWIW there doesn't appear to be much of this while I was gone though!" - maybe EA ought to consider how it treats those outside of EA - especially people such as myself, who, as an outsider, helped your movement fo years, until you were unkind to me - and not see yourself as the blameless victims. Your movement has made some egregious mistakes, and taking accountability and treating others with kindness may yield others treating your movement kindly back, and others wanting to join and help you grow instead of piling on. You cannot be unkind and expect kindness back.

But I know you expected kindness back when you posted that old aggressive post you've now deleted/rewritten though?

Also, everyone had been quite kind to you in forum discussion before that point [I remember from other discussion and actually liking what you wrote and you got a lot of upvotes] So it's a little odd to say that you helped "until [EA] was unkind to you". Maybe its more accurate to say "helped until people pushed back against your unkindness, [which you did start with that highly unusual post]"

That said I don't think my response here was even unkind at all. I am going to say what I think but I recommmend you not take what I think personally. I made it overt that I was sorry for possibly embarrassing so I'm not sure what else I can do other than be silent which is I think a bad habit of EAs that we should break. Like fwiw I didn't even downvote this post.

I'm not sure where the relevance to EA is though when it comes to the Asian rape. That's what I'm confused about. I'm honestly not aware of such cases in EA and you've not given enough info that anyone can pin it down and understand what you are talking about. I definitely do "see that as a problem" but I have no idea what it has to do with EA.

[Relatedly I focus on the problems with the post and the claims it makes that I see as misleading and likely to lead to problems/misunderstandings in future. As a critic yourself I expect you to understand this.]

I'm not saying other communities aren't taking action when it is brought to their doorstep (EA is too), I'm saying I suspect it is mostly only being brought to EAs doorstep or is being brought way out of proportion to EA involvement. And this rings my unfairness alarms.

Feel free to DM me with the high-powered person's name. I'd greatly appreciate it.

No, you're right that post was unkind. It was written in a time of great stress for me, and in DMs and emails - CEA WAS being very unkind to me which added to my stress. The unkind tone is one reason why I deleted it - the other being that I simply do not want a relationship with CEA or EA. ADD: I do stand by the content of the post, although not the tone I used at the time. 

Also, everyone had been quite kind to you in forum discussion before that point. So it's a little odd to say that you helped "until [EA] was unkind to you". Maybe its more accurate to say "helped until people pushed back against your unkindness

Absolutely inaccurate - IMO. Additionally, I had 8 - 9 people DM in the forum when I was posting under J_J apologizing for how unkind everyone was to me right from the start, so it seems other people in your movement disagree with you as well. Further, I'm not speaking of the forum when I say "unkind". I'm speaking of all the private emails, etc. I strongly feel that EA/CEA was silencing and bullying - I understand you/the movement overall may disagree - and I became angry and reactive. The way CEA treated me strongly brought up the way I was treated post-rape, [add - tbf, maybe someone else without my specific trauma wouldn't feel as I did. If that's how they treat people], I refuse to send more survivors their way. I've honestly not felt so gaslighted and triggered and upset in 5 - 6 years as I did then. 

ADD: re: 30/point 1 in your response. You said you have "trouble trusting" because of my "liberal" definition (FYI: it took me a while to parse which "definition" you referred to) I am not (IMO) trying to mislead you as to having 30 cases that (IMO) are somehow tied to EA. I am using a different metric/definition than CEA/the movement. I am saying "I think CEA could be sued by the accuser OR accused in this many situations".  My impression from this forum & conversations with people in the movement is that you guys are saying "does this person (the accused only) have power and/or influence/is known in EA".  Additionally, I hadn't and haven't shared all the names and information with CEA/anyone. So when they say "4" and "30", those are two reasons why. This is also why I think it's important that the movement look into their actions in these situations and ascertain whether or not they could end up in a situation in which they'd have to spend the time and money and reputation points to defend themselves - and then what the risk of legal liability would be in those situations as well. 

You're also ignoring that I had investigated and provided information to EA/CEA for four years prior with no benefit - no credit, no compensation - to myself, which WAS kind on my part. I hope that the years of kindness and help aren't undone by a post, even if the post was unkind. And you're not addressing that despite the unkind tone I took, I was ultimately trying to provide CEA/EA with information that could have helped you. I believe that the utilitarian response would be to find out what I was talking about (probably after things calmed down/mediation), and the emotive/reactionary response was the post response. I absolutely would not work with CEA/EA today, but at the time I thought that the information I had would be paramount in importance over the personal relationship dynamics/tension. 

Your response was not unkind, but it was pretty defensive and reactive, as were many of my responses at the time of the Time article. 

I stopped providing information to CEA after February. I will not provide names of accused or accusers to anyone in this movement, and will not DM you. 

Maybe someone in this forum can start this conversation here or elsewhere - but I am also curious about why issues of liability/legal stuff aren't brought up as important factors in these discussions. Outside of survivors being harmed, I would imagine that they are the most important factor. I feel a slight sense of shock whenever I've engaged with EA folks about how that's not discussed, and most EA folks I've spoken to will move the conversation if I try to bring up those issues. 

 

Add: Back on February 22, 2019 - an ex-friend who started an "EA org" (that is, an organization that is strongly funded through EA channels) said that it was likely that the person I accused of rape had strongly enough ties to EA to be banned. If I google his name + EA, some hits do come up. 

I've never reported this to CEA or other organization. I don't think the situation is important enough to have reported, but also, at the time and for several years after, I didn't know I could report it anywhere. 

Sorry it took me so long to come back.

Okay thanks for clarifying that you only mean that some private reception by CEA was unkind. Some others have attempted to paint EA forum response with a negative brush and if it isn't true. People here might not be the most warm but they try pretty hard to avoid unkindness.

Tbh I think I understand your frustration a bit from experiences in my own life, like feeling like I've done someone's dirty work or grunt work and then being pushed aside. That said, feelings being what they are (unreliable, even if if they are sometimes right), I still wonder if a misunderstanding happened about who you spoke to or if there was forgetting rather than willful dishonesty on anyone's part, but I guess that is between you, them, and decision-makers. Although I'm more interested in the prevalance of sexual assault in EA and how that is handled, I wish you luck in your professional goals.

I agree with you about liability and have been finding that odd it hasn't been mentioned too. That said, I think that shouldn't be the main concern tbh, or even a primary one (there is so much else on the table to focus on). Also, publicizing things out of concern for CEA getting pinged for liability seems to me to be putting the cart before the horse. So personally, I'd just put that concern to the side and try to do the right thing, and take a lot of notes, and hope that trying to do the right thing washes out in court  god forbid anyone tried to move forward with that. My understanding is that CEA is trying to do the right thing and has been for some time. It's good to encourage people to try to do better.. I guess I just would want to see that as actual encouragement not like... worded in a way that easily strikes fear into the hearts of EAs that we are about to deal with another big public fiasco without having had adequate time to handle and respond to whatever last one.

I agree my response was defensive (and reactive though I tried to separate that bit out into a different comment). One of my intentions is definitely to defend EA (always with finding and protecting the truth as primary even more important goal though). Even if I go too far some of the time, at least I hopefully move the overton window toward defending EA as being acceptable and normal. I actually think people (not just EAs, but everybody) are morally obligated to defend themseves, and often others. Right now, the world spins based on claims and responses... accusations and rebuttals. As long as that's the case, I think it's almost always ethically warranted, even necessary, that someone come in and speak an honest, good-faith, altruistically-intentioned response that points out potential pitfalls, alternative considerations, and such. Frankly most people who stumble across this piece won't be informed enough to do it themselves.

Anyway, best of luck.

I quoted your comment by number so I can respond to each point you bring up.

(1) I disagree. Calling someone "scary", accusing them of just wanting to get paid (after years of working for free AND turning down more lucrative requests to speak to the press & investors while I was still trying help CEA and EA overall), being doxxed - and the mods responding to other requests in the forum post while waiting multiple days (3 I believe, but it might have been 4) to respond to my multiple requests from me - none of that can be construed as "kindly" intended. And while my language is at times harsh, expresses frustration, and isn't the way that EAs speak --- at the end of the day, I've been trying to help the movement for years before giving up. 

(2) Tbh I think I understand your frustration a bit from experiences in my own life, like feeling like I've done someone's dirty work or grunt work and then being pushed aside. That said, feelings being what they are (unreliable, even if if they are sometimes right), I still wonder if a misunderstanding happened about who you spoke to or if there was forgetting rather than willful dishonesty on anyone's part, but I guess that is between you, them, and decision-makers. Although I'm more interested in the prevalance of sexual assault in EA and how that is handled, I wish you luck in your professional goals.

I think this should be addressed in other ways - “this” being the specific claim you made that CEA forgot. Its pretty hard for me to believe someone forgets four years of passing around accusations

Re: I disagree about emotions. I sometimes find my emotions - eg, anxiety or fear - will alert me to situations that are unsafe before my rational brain catches up. 

 

(3) Having spoken to CEA, being in contact with survivors who have spoken to CEA, and having dealt with this with CEA versus other groups in the bay area - I strongly disagree. But my underlying motive is to get rape to be taken seriously, and to create conditions in which CEA/EA and rape is exposed. 

Additionally, when the Time article came out, I stated in the forum things that should be done, eg, policies around consent and bans. I knew very well that CEA wouldn't hire me when I sent over a proposal, but I had hoped they'd explore the suggestions I made in that proposal with lawyers and experts. I gave them a roadmap to explore with others. 

Re Also, publicizing things out of concern for CEA getting pinged for liability seems to me to be putting the cart before the horse. 

IMO, after the past four years, the Time article, and the aforementioned points, the hammer that is the law and liability might scare them into action. In my earlier posts as J_J, I said I wanted to "call in" EA. You've shown you're not receptive to being called in - literally, CEA has said it's unproductive to talk to me. I understand that for many of you, this issue only came to light post-Time article, and my perspective is different because of the length of time and additional information. If the laws around defamation and the way defamation is being handled in the courts post-#metoo were different, I'd share more information. But such as the law is and my understanding of it, I don’t feel comfortable doing so. 

Also - I'd imagine that people reading my words think I'm more likely to take accusations at face value because I "care about rape and survivors", that I'm a bit of a fanatic/activist. I'd like to point out that I'm advocating for investigations of accusations and also advocating for CEA to not do things that could be construed as defamatory to allegations that are not yet investigated or proven in a court of law. 

(4) So - see my point 1. Why is it that when you are defensive/reactive, it's upvoted, and if I am, then it's used as reasoning to discredit me? Why are huge presumptions/logical leaps made about what I say, those are used to slander/defame me/discredit me? For example, you presumed that the high power person was Vassar. Why is it that every time I point out my education or experience, I'm downvoted to oblivion and then others reading my posts can't see that anymore? 

Why is that I'm downvoted, called names, etc, if I also defend myself? I'd also like to point out that I'm a single individual, and you and the liaisons at CEA are part of a movement that has well-funded orgs backing you - that is why I call this treatment of me bullying. You're (CEA and EA as a movement) more powerful than I am - and you have much greater power to deescalate - or even just ignore me. 

lastly, i would like to point out that you and most in this thread are focusing on clearing EA’s reputation, which includes disavowing that rape brought to your attention is related to EA, and interpreting people calling out or calling in EA on rape as something personal to you/your movement. I think that approach is damaging EA's reputation further. Being preemptive in fighting rape would be the best way to salvage your reputation and stop the “piling on” - even if you don't care about rape - show you care about rape/abuse instead of leaning into defensiveness and reactivity. The way it comes across right now (to an admittedly very biased outsider) is that you see yourselves as victims, rather than victims you failed to protect. Changing the focus to them might help.

As an outsider that lives in an area with a high proportion of EA people and where EA is well known - people here generally thought you had a problem with rape even before the Time article. 

Im not sure if I missed a link or a quote somewhere in the comments, but are you able to say what the defamatory statements were?

She mentions above that its Catherine Low's comment here that she considers defamatory: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/mhzAogryEKbaF9YCr/ea-30-14-rapes-and-my-not-so-good-experience-with-ea  As far as I can tell, the claim is that Catherine Low was lying about when she first contacted the community health team, and that this was reputationally damaging because it was an attempt to make her look like a crazy liar, when (allegedly) Catherine Low knew that she had contacted them long before "about 7 months ago". 

I think people should take a step back and take a bird's-eye view of the situation:

  • The author persistently conflates multiple communities: "tech, EA (Effective Altruists), rationalists, cybersecurity/hackers, crypto/blockchain, Burning Man camps, secret parties, and coliving houses".  In the Bay Area, "tech" is literally a double-digit percentage of the population.
  • The first archived snapshot of the website of the author's consultancy ("working with survivors, communities, institutions, and workplaces to prevent and heal from sexual harassment and sexual assault") was recorded in August 2022.
  • According to the CEA Community Health team: "The author emailed the Community Health team about 7 months ago, when she shared some information about interpersonal harm; someone else previously forwarded us some anonymous information that she may have compiled. Before about 7 months ago, we hadn’t been in contact with her."
    • This would have been late July 2022.
  • From the same comment by the CEA Community Health team: "We have emailed the author to tell her we will not be contracting her services."
    • Implied: the author attempted to sell her professional services to CEA.
  • The author, in the linked piece: "To be clear, I’m not advocating bans of the accused or accusers - I am advocating for communities to do more, for thorough investigations by trained/experienced professionals, and for accountability if an accusation is found credible. Untrained mediators and community representatives/liaisons who are only brought on for their popularity and/or nepotistic ties to the community, without thought to expertise, experience, or qualifications, such as the one in the story linked above (though there are others), often end up causing the survivors greater trauma." (Emphasis mine.)
  • The author: "In February 2023, I calculated that I personally knew of/dealt with thirty different incidents in which there was a non-trivial chance the Centre for Effective Altruism or another organization(s) within the EA ecosystem could potentially be legally liable in a civil suit for sexual assault, or defamation/libel/slander for their role/action (note: I haven’t added the stories I’ve received post-February to this tally, nor do I know if counting incidents an accurate measure (eg, accused versus accusers) also I’ve gotten several stories since that time; nor is this legal advice and to get a more accurate assessment, I’d want to present the info to a legal team specializing in these matters). Each could cost hundreds of thousands and years to defend, even if they aren’t found liable. Of course, without discovery, investigation, and without consulting legal counsel, this is a guess/speculative, and I can’t say whether they’d be liable or rise to the level of a civil suit - not with certainty without formal legal advice and full investigations."  (Emphasis in original.)
  • The author: "In response to my speculation, the community health team denied they knew of my work prior to August 2022, and that it was not connected to EA. Three white community health team members have strongly insinuated that I’ve lied and treated me – an Asian-American – in much the gaslighting, silencing way that survivors reporting rape fear being treated. Many of the women who have publicly spoken up about sexual misconduct in EA are of Asian descent. As I stated in the previous paragraph, I haven’t yet consulted with lawyers, but I personally believe this is defamatory. Additionally, the Centre and Effective Ventures Foundation are in headquartered in a jurisdiction that is much more harsh on defamation than the one I’m in."  (Emphasis in original.)
  • The author: "Unlike most of these mediators and liaisons, I have training/formal education, mentorship, and years of specific experience. If/When I choose to consult with lawyers about the events described in the paragraph above, there might be a settlement if my speculations of liability are correct (or just to silence me on the sexual misconduct and rapes I do know of). If (again, speculative) that doesn’t happen and we continue into a discovery process, I’m curious as to what could be uncovered." (Emphasis in original.)

 

I don't doubt that the author cares about preventing sexual assault, and mitigating the harms that come from it.  They do also seem to care about something that requires dropping dark hints of potential legal remedies they might pursue, with scary-sounding numbers and mentions of venue-shopping attached to them.

Hello Robert. I suggest you might read other comments I've left. I had provided information for years to EA, and I could not continue doing so without pay. I've mentioned in the comments that I have no desire to work with CEA after the events I speak of. Specifically, I felt that CEA was using information obtained through me in ways that were putting me at risk of liability. I added the piece about defamation laws in the UK versus US because CEA using information they obtained through me puts them at even greater risk than it does me, and I'd like to them to stop doing that - I hope you would as well, if you care about the movement. I asked to work with them so I could share information in ways that (1) reduced the legal risk to me personally, and (2) helped survivors/increased reporting. CEA declined, and wrote a piece I believe is defamatory.  hope CEA does chose to work with experienced investigators for the investigation they are conducting, and lawyers instead of handling it in house. This is also why I'd like to warn of the risks taken. 

Additionally, earlier in the piece - I say "tech, EA (Effective Altruists), rationalists, cybersecurity/hackers, crypto/blockchain, Burning Man camps, secret parties, and coliving houses". Later in the piece and in this forum, I've clarified the number of cases I feel - without a full legal investigation, which could change this - how many cases put CEA/other org at legal risk. You are correct that I'm not the person to do this, but I hope CEA/another org chooses to work with the appropriate professionals to find out how / what the risks I speak of are

I've added the caveats because I do have a legal degree (and I 100% know this will be downvoted, because every time I've brought that up, it gets downvoted). For legal reasons, I add disclaimers. I can understand how that comes across as wishy-washy to a lay person, and when I was writing my piece, I knew it was likely someone would write  a post such as yours. However, at the end of the day, I felt I'd rather protect myself legally and that it was important for me to speak my experiences and the knowledge I've gathered. I can't emphasis this strongly enough to the orgs within the movement: please, please protect yourselves. 

I'd also prefer NOT to do the legal thing and hope that warnings of those options might spur action and communication, but whenever I do have contact with the movement and/or people from the orgs, my motives are called into question in unfavorable ways, rather than curiosity about why I might say some of the things I say. You ask people to form their own opinions, and then launch into a lengthy, persuasive piece about your opinions, and throw out accusations  and discredit rather than asking questions. 

It’s - to me - especially sad that no one has expressed interest in finding out about the “30 cases”, nor expressed sadness that so many assaults happened. 

Further, I understand the way I speak/write is quite different from that of most EAs, but perhaps some outside perspectives and voices can help you. I'd like fo your movement to stop doing things that might not be legal, and I had hoped that point would come across, but judging from your post and the upvotes, that doesn't work. I understand that I'm saying isn't pleasant and is quite difficult to hear, and so, it's likely that your movement reacts with defensiveness and tries to discredit me. And I understand that the language I use, even when I try to frame it gently, isn't the way EAs speak. I am, however, trained in formal logic and rhetoric, so I don't speak illogically - though I find it too time consuming and unnatural to reframe my writing in EA friendly ways.  

Small correct - I did not speak to CEA in July 2022 - I spoke to them in August 2022. And yes, I didn't do this full time until recently and so my website also dates to that time - you can also find out my name and look me up on LinkedIn if you'd like more information about me/my background. And - I do have private communications that show longer work around this issue.

It would be good if the Community Health team respond to the last section of this post. I suspect there is a more sympathetic explanation than that they were deliberately lying but it would be nice to be sure. (To be clear, I think it is even less likely the author of this post is lying.) 

I thought this was the comment they were complaining about, rather than a response to the complaint in this post? Is that wrong? 

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