(to something along the lines of: EA Careers Conference or EA Direct Work Conference)
Earlier this year, Scott Alexander made a thread titled Open EA Global that caused a big stir.
My summary of events is that people interpreted EA Global to represent different things and have different aims, leading to many to have different expectations as to who should attend EA Global. This ambiguity led to many people feeling hurt when they (or others they care about) were rejected from EAG.
The organizers of EAG seemingly had done a bad job explaining what EAG is and had incorrect/out of date/misleading information about EAG on various online platforms/communications.
To Eli Nathan’s credit (the CEA lead for EAG), he provided a lot of helpful context in the ensuing thread and updated lots of EAG related communications to be more clear.
The EAG website now states:
“EA Global is designed for people who have a solid understanding of the main concepts of effective altruism, and who are making decisions and taking significant actions based on them. EA Global conferences are not the only events for people interested in effective altruism!”
Still, several months after Scott’s thread, I still feel there has not been an adequate resolution to this.
In Eli’s response to Scott, he provided:
- "EAG is primarily a networking event."
- “I wanted to clarify: EAG exists to make the world a better place, rather than serve the EA community or make EAs happy”
- “The conference is called "EA Global" and is universally billed as the place where EAs meet one another, learn more about the movement, and have a good time together.” It’s possible we should rename the event, and I agree this confusion and reputation is problematic, but I would like to clarify that we don’t define the event like this anywhere (though perhaps we used to in previous years). It’s now explicitly described as an event with a high bar for highly engaged EAs (see here). "
Even though there is now much accurate information about EAG online, I still find it problematic.
As stated above, the primary description of who EAG is for is: “EA Global is designed for people who have a solid understanding of the main concepts of effective altruism, and who are making decisions and taking significant actions based on them.”
I think EAG is still not meant for the majority of people who fit this description.
Those who earn to give, those who donate significant sums of their annual income to charity, those who decided to become vegans, those who spend large amounts of time reading EA content/attending Ea meet ups etc. all meet this description yet are not ideal candidates for EAG.
If EAG is intended to be a conference for people doing direct work to network and to help motivate others (particularly, students/early career workers) to do direct work, then I think the conference should be clear about this.
I feel this way for two reasons:
- Despite the updated branding/communications, people are still going to feel excluded and hurt.
- Because there is already a conference titled EA Global, people are less likely to create new Effective Altruism conferences for other purposes like being the place where EAs meet one another, learn more about the movement, and have a good time together etc.