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Sorted by Click to highlight new quick takes since: Today at 2:14 AM

Has anyone doing EA Outreach looked at Neil Halloran?

He makes online documentaries that are high quality and well researched. 

His nuclear war video seems relevant to x-risk.

His global warming video get into epistemics and theory of science.

The viewership is ~1M to >10M.

His Patreon suggests  financial support might be as low as 6 figures.

His climate change video is good!

He also has another one from 2 weeks ago, basically saying he probably exaggerated the risks and neither nuclear war nor climate change pose an extinction risk.


I’m somewhat concerned about my activities on the forum.

The deepest reason is that I’m worried that I’m not as virtuous as I may seem to myself when communicating.

I am also worried about message quality. Someone sent me this message, I am grateful and I trust them. 

The message was about lengthy messages, but it seems reasonable there could be an implicit concern about other issues.

I am looking for feedback:

  •  I welcome direct written feedback from anyone reading my comments
  • Also, I have setup a "comment" voting system for you to send feedback anonymously, just upvote the comment that best describes your opinion

My own hot take:

I think your comments are on average decent. I don't think you need to change them dramatically  in any direction. I think the EA Forum is a fairly decent training ground for thinking in certain useful ways about EA. Skimming some of your old comments, I think you've improved noticeably already. I think you will naturally improve more as you receive more engagement, and also as you think more about EA issues. 

I'm personally pretty bullish about EA Forum and other public online communication, and am confused why other people don't do it more, especially people in training who want to do professional EA work. My naive, independent, impression is that public online comms is good for skill-building for research. E.g., an econ PhD  who wants a research job at Open Phil or GiveWell and currently spend 50 hours/week on their direct PhD work would be better off spending 45h/week on their PhD and 5h/week writing research blog posts and engaging on the Forum*. I think the actual cost-benefits ratio is stronger, as I expect the marginal hour of engagement on the Forum to be less psychologically costly for most people than most academic research work.** So the costs are lower and the marginal gains are higher.

Yet very few people do this, despite people often saying they want research jobs in EA. Other EA researchers also seem to recommend public communications less than I do. So my model is confused.  

I do think rewriting comments may be helpful in some cases. Especially longer comments. I wish I'm better at this myself, but as I frequently told my interns, a guiding principle is "do as I say, not as I do." But I think you will naturally improve over time even without doing that. 

*entirely from a skill-building perspective, and assuming that a) employers never read the forum and b) that the direct impact of forum posts are useless, both of which I think is false. If you include those factors, they should probably add to rather than decrease the value of forum publications.

**though I guess many academics use Twitter instead for their public communication?

To get honest feedback, consider allowing people to send you feedback anonymously. You can e.g. use a Google Form or Admonymous.

With that said, I personally didn't notice any issues with the length of your comments.

They could be shorter. That said, using bullet points and quoted extracts the way you do definitely helps keep them readable (and skimmable). The ones I've seen are relevant, on topic and useful.

VOTING OPTION: Upvote this if your opinion is "Positive": 

"Little change is needed to your comments"

VOTING OPTION: Upvote if your opinion is "Neutral"

"Not great, maybe issues would be fixed by shortening comments or improvements in writing/thought would be good"

VOTING OPTION: Upvote if your opinion is "Negative".

"By my standards, your comments consistently don’t add to the conversation and probably makes me think less of you"

QUESTION: What friendly, easy going and engaging material would you give to a high schooler as an "intro to programming"?



I just became speaker for a talk tomorrow on "Data Science and AI" (a friend pulled out and they needed me).

This is for high schoolers.

Basically, as one of the talking points I want to give, I want to tell people that programming and understanding how to code and build things, is going to be really valuable. (Especially since AI and data science is sort of vague and the "high end stuff" hard to access or even irrelevant.)

So as part of this, I want to give them some concrete material or task to do to give them a sense of programming or spark their interest. What should this material or task be? Again, this is high schoolers and it should be friendly.

Thanks, commented! (I can't directly edit the list)

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