I quit trying to have direct impact and took a zero-impact tech job instead.
I expected to have a hard time with this transition, but I found a really good fit position and I'm having a lot of fun.
I'm not sure yet where to donate extra money. Probably MIRI/LTFF/OpenPhil/RethinkPriorities.
I also find myself considering using money to try fixing things in Israel. Or maybe to run away first and take care things and people that are close to me. I admit, focusing on taking care of myself for a month was (is) nice, and I do feel like I can make a difference with E2G.
I have thoughts on how to deal with this. My priors are this won't work if I communicate it through text (but I have no idea why). Still, seems like the friendly thing would be to write it down
My recommendation on how to read this:
I want an easy/polite/non-offensive way to say "sorry, this reply is way too long, so I'm not going to read it, so I prefer that you know explicitly that I won't reply rather than feeling like I'm maybe ignoring you and maybe will get to it, and also this doesn't mean that you're wrong, or that a long-reply is the wrong choice, it mainly means I'm trying to prioritize my own life tasks and will be dropping some balls and this is one thing that I think would be healthy for me to drop, and I wish this didn't have negative social implications for our relationship or for your feeling about yourself, because I was also raised in a culture where a reply like this would be rude and make me feel bad about myself, and I really wish it wasn't like that [and I have no idea what to do about it, so I thought I'd raise the meta-problem explicitly in a forum-quick-take. [I wonder if anyone will notice me or if this, too, will be too long]]"
“Thank you for the comment. There’s a lot here. Could you highlight what you think the main takeaway is? I don’t have time to dig into this at present, so any condensing would be appreciated. Thanks again for the time and effort.” ??
To push back a bit, I feel like unless a reply is reeeeeeeeeeeeeally long I think its good practise to make the effort to read it and respond. Part of putting a post up I think implicitly means we should make the effort to engage with people who engage with us (within reason of course)To answer the question though, I think a short reply which thanks someone for the comment and perhaps mentions one of their points without comprehensively responding is also completely finr!
AMA about Israel here:https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/zJCKn4TSXcCXzc6fi/i-m-a-former-israeli-officer-ama
1. The amount I work out is not constrained by willpower anymore, it is constrained by how much my body can handle and how much free time I have2. The best workout game I found is "thrill of the fight", I have some tips before you try it. Also, not everyone will like it3. Trying a game for ~10 minutes isn't enough to "get it". Most games in VR aren't polished enough, don't have a good tutorial, it will take more time to decide if you like them4. I wish someone would have told me this sooner5. Still unclear: Can I build muscles using VR? So far seems promising, but I'm less certain about this part6. I only have it for 2 weeks, so maybe you'll think I'm going to grow out of it, but I don't think so myself. It's literally playing gamesAMA
Upvoting Is an Act of Community Building
It probably helps people feel welcome to the community.
I've been mostly a lurker around international EA activities for about 5 years, feeling that all the orgs have some wow factor that I could never touch. I think this mostly changed because (A) I met some people in EAG (they were actually real people, which really surprised my brain), and (B) I got brave and posted something, and it got 70+ upvotes pretty quickly.
I know, this is stupid, I'm supposed to pretend not to care about upvotes, whatever. Looking back, I think this might have been pivotal for past-Yonatan's sense of being accepted into a community, of having someone in the important EA community care at all for.. I don't know, my attempts at helping? about me? And it lead me to, well, behave differently.
Looking at myself now, I am posting and commenting a lot, I have two more drafts almost ready to go (one for CEA! They asked me for something! Unimaginable if you'd ask me 6 months ago. I tried acting cool and said I'd be happy to help, if you're curious. Hey Ben if you're reading this! Ok I'm off topic).
Anyway if you're reading my shortform, you now know my "dark s... (read more)
Epistemic status: I've been to 2 EAGs, both were pretty life changing, and I think my preparation was a big factor in this.
Take ~5 minutes to try to imagine positive (maybe impossible) outcomes. Consider brainstorming with someone.
For example "org X hires me" or "I find a co-founder" or "I get funded" (these sound ambitious to me, but pick whatever's ambitious to you).
Bad visions in my opinion: "meet people", "make friends", "talk to interesting people". Be more specific, for example, if you'd meet your new best friend at EAG, what exactly would you do together? What exactly would you talk about? Better would be "Looking for someone to co-work in VR 3 times a week", if that's what friendship means to you.
Is anyone having trouble with the vision section? Let me know, I'll try to help
"how can I help people" + "how can people help me".
"I want to hire senior backend developers" is specific.
"I want to meet people" is pretty bad.
This is where your vision goes.
If you write your wish here, someone might make it come true! (aka Playa Provides)
Mark based on how you ... (read more)
Instead, I recommend: "My prior is [something], here's why".
I'm even more against "the burden of proof for [some policy] is on X" - I mean, what does "burden of proof" even mean in the context of policy? but hold that thought.
An example that I'm against:
"The burden of proof for vaccines helping should be on people who want to vaccinate, because it's unusual to put something in your body"
I'm against it because
We just set up a tiny production system that helps coordinate busses for refugees from Ukraine using Whatsapp, with a UI in Google Sheets.
We built it on Tuesday, and already on Wednesday it was used to coordinate several busses.
A leading career option for me is joining them, and among other things rebuilding their tech (which is originally from 1991).
Thoughts? (consider forwarding this question to people involved in meta-science, that would help me!)
I specifically think:
From my limited experience, it really helps to get recommendations.
If you think I am useful to EA, or if you have something similar to say that I may share with grantmakers, please comment here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or DM, or something.
Thx ♥️ 🐈
I am talking about the situation where, for example, EA-1 will talk to EA-2 (for 30 minutes or so) with no goal other than "being able" to ask EA-2 for help in the future.
Nobody is acknowledging the cost here, to the entire community, of having lots of people going around doing this kind of networking and/or suggesting that others do it.
What I suggest instead: If you are an EA-1 and want help from an EA-2, directly ask the EA-2 for the specific help you need. If for some reason this kind of outreach didn't wor... (read more)
Because they don't know. "Why don't people apply?" - they ask. But this is basically a blind spot: If nobody gives them feedback, they won't know.
This is valuable information.
If enough people share this, it will save doing a user research project. Please be one of the people that shares, help understanding what's going on!
Meta: This feels like something emotional where if somebody would look at my plan from the outside, they'd have obvious and good feedback, but my own social circle is not worried or knowledgable about AGI, and so I hope someone will read this.
It would be my best personal fit, running one or multiple software projects that require product work such as understanding what the users actually want.
My bottle neck: Talking to actual users with pain points (researchers? meta orgs with software proble... (read more)
What's going on?
Should we stop writing these guides?
Do we need better guides?
Do we need some measure like "would this guide make Scott Alexander's work easier"?
Applicants to ACX grants were almost by definition not working on problems with well-established solutions (in EA or otherwise), eg nobody was applying for an ACX grant to distribute bednets. That made the grants more difficult to evaluate than many popular EA causes, and also made it hard to rely on previous work.
Someone asked me "you already know the EA community, no? how come do you still get value from EAG?"
Well - I live in Israel. Contacting people from the international EA community is really hard. I need to discover they exist, email them, hope they reply, and at best - set up a 30 minute call or so. This is such high friction.
At EAG, I can run my project plans by.. everyone. easily. I even had productive Uber rides.
That's the value of EAG for me.
Hiring managers are probably not reading through all profiles, they are probably running searches. If someone wants a backend dev, they're probably running a search for "developer", "software", "python", "backend", or whatever.
If you don't have the buzzwords that [your target employer is going to search for], add them!
If you want to do something that you have no experience in - that's ok! But if you don't write it ... (read more)
Especially given the critical mass of people who have high quality discussions around here.
What do you think?
Are there important missing features that would make you transition your social network activity here?
Remember the illusion of transparency. Whatever is bothering you might not be as obvious to others as it is to you.
You can still downvote, just remember it has emotional consequences
TL;DR Philosophy: Adding mandatory fields means [saving time in calls you have with applicants] at the expense of [reducing the amount of applicants]. Is this a tradeoff you are interested in?
TL;DR recommendation: Make all the fields optional except for (1) CV/linkedin, and (2) email. Then, in the first call, ask whatever's missing
A: Yep, you'll get more bad applicants if you do this
A: Then stop... (read more)
EA Forum under rated feature: Subscribing to posts, either by author, or by tag
I'm working on understanding and solving problems around EA orgs having trouble hiring strong engineers, and for this I'd like to do some "user research".
I believe I already made progress in this area for EA, but I don't want to elaborate too much in case some developer will read this and it will bias my user research.
Could someone help me contact such people / suggest ideas on how I could do it?
It will be a ~15 minutes conversation (I'm flexible if you prefer interacting in some other way)
Open Philanthropy emailed me - I passed some screening for a position I am totally unqualified for
April Fools? X_X
Loved it, set up the Hebrew crowed sourced translation project, we translated everything and printed it. I estimate over 1000 people bought a copy, not counting online readers, and the number is probably way higher, which I'm really proud of :)
One of the most influential things I've read. While reading it:
Not... (read more)
TL;DR: To avoid predictably-sad employees, advertise your company honestly, including the bad parts.
How to make new employees sad:
For me persona... (read more)
Handling bureaucracy not only takes time: For some of us, it's stressful and icky and aversive.
I'd happily spend an extra hour building software (fun!) instead of spending that hour on paperwork (which would deplete my willpower for the rest of the day).
-Written in appreciation to all the PAs out there
How is nobody stressed out about countries freezing the assets of an entire country, practically changing the records of the banks to something else? Are we confident this will only happen in situations that we think are good and moral?
[I'm not an economist]
I'm doing this Twitter Style >>
Lots of people dream about better social networks that promote higher quality discussions, even me! Some challenges, like "which logo to pick", are things that can be solved along the way. Others, like "why would anybody join a social network if almost nobody is there?" are (I claim) a core part of the plan and need to be addressed in advance.
"If you give the same answer 5 times, write a post"
There's a product (an Oura Ring) that I ordered to Prague and I really want to pick up at Oxford if I can, but it's unclear how to make the delivery
TL;DR: Get others to predict the grant maker's answer. But not with a prediction market.
Today an EA told me their funding request got rejected and they got no feedback about it. (Frustrating!)
They asked me to help them guess why they were rejected, and I offered some different ideas (one was "this specific fund doesn't know how to vet [some aspect of your idea]".
Wouldn't it be great if the original grant maker could review what I wrote, and respond with correct/incorrect, or maybe mark the part that was most correct if any?
This... (read more)
[Personal fit within software] is neglected in EA. Need to write about that sometime