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On Socioeconomic Diversity:

I want to describe how the discourse on sexual misconduct may be reducing the specific type of socioeconomic diversity I am personally familiar with. 

I’m a white female American who worked as an HVAC technician with co-workers mostly from racial minorities before going to college. Most of the sexual misconduct incidents discussed in the Time article have likely differed from standard workplace discussions in my former career only in that the higher status person expressed romantic/sexual attraction, making their statement much more vulnerable than the trash-talk I’m familiar with. In the places most of my workplace experience comes from, people of all genders and statuses make sexual jokes about coworkers of all genders and statuses not only in their field, but while on the clock. I had tremendous fun participating in these conversations. It didn’t feel sexist to me because I gave as good as I got. My experience generalizes well; Even when Donald Trump made a joke about sexual assault that many upper-class Americans believed disqualified him, immediately before the election he won, Republican women were no more likely to think he should drop out of the race than Republican voters in general. Donald Trump has been able to maintain much of his popularity despite denying the legitimacy of a legitimate election in part because he identified the gatekeeping elements of upper-class American norms as classist. I am strongly against Trump, but believe we should note that many female Americans from poorer backgrounds enjoy these conversations, and many more oppose the kind of punishments popular in upper class American communities. This means strongly disliking these conversations is not an intrinsic virtue, but a decision EA culture has made that is about more than simple morality. 

When I post about EA on social media, many of my co-workers from my blue-collar days think it sounds really cool. If any of them decided to engage further and made clumsy comments while getting used to EA culture, I would want them to be treated with empathy. Much of the conversation around the Time article (especially the response to Owen Cotton-Barratt’s mistake) has given me the impression that they would not be. We are a left-leaning movement. We need to include more conservative political perspectives to improve our data and get politicians to take our views on the worst catastrophes the world faces seriously. I feel my experience with much more poverty than the average EA has contributed unique insights that have improved our philosophical perspectives. The probability of an American raised in the poorest 20% (where my personal pre-college career experience comes from) reaching the richest 20% by age 26 is roughly a 3rd that of an American raised in the richest 20%. This likely means we miss out on some important professional talent by being intolerant towards lower class American norms. I am not advocating a switch to lower class American gender norms, just seeing the humanity more in the many people who have chosen them and therefore the people that accidentally violate upper-class American ones  in good faith.

phenomenal post. 

Thanks a lot! Yep, a question I always ask myself in EA's diversity discussions is "Which kind of diversity are we talking about?"

A LessWrong post on the topic you might like if you didn't read it yet is Kaj Sotala's "You can never be universally inclusive".

As someone from a poor family, I find the implicature of this piece, that I cannot control myself from harassing and bullying people, ridiculously offensive to the point of absurdity. The fact it hasn't got more pushback is the perfect example of "Tell me you live in a bubble without telling me you live in a bubble." I did have a good chuckle at the idea of Owen trying this anywhere near my very blue-collar father though so thanks for that. 

Yes, poor people are not a monolith! Some people from our background (especially the people who chose to stick around EA long enough to be on the forum) will prefer current EA norms and feel grateful for them. I don't mean to dismiss your experiences at all. There are many different socioeconomic cultures that are underrepresented in EA, so I don't know what direction we should shift our norms in overall. Maybe there is that much diversity even within the US. I was speaking about my personal experience as someone from this background and the experiences of all the people I know well enough to know their perspectives from this background. I'm sorry I gave  the impression I was trying to speak for you. I also wasn't accusing us at all of having lack of control,  just having the right to prefer different norms if we want to. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective! I do wish you had done so more politely though.

I'm curious: Do you feel like your wider lower class culture was very different from mine, or is it more that your family held different views that were a minority? Also, where were you raised and what role did religion play? My experience comes from Sacramento, California and religion was rarely discussed. I hope you don't mind me asking these questions; There are so few of us around that EA needs all the data on us it can get!

If anyone's curious about GoodEAGoneBad's reply, we continue the conversation in a comment I made sharing this shortform on this post:

Proposing a change to how Karma is accrued:

I recently reached over 1,000 Karma, meaning my upvotes now give 2 Karma and my strong upvotes give 6 Karma.  I'm most proud of my contributions to the forum about economics, but almost all of my increased ability to influence discourse now is from participating in the discussions on sexual misconduct. An upvote from me on Global Health & Development (my primary cause area) now counts twice as much as an upvote from 12 out of 19 of the authors of posts with 200-300 Karma with the Global Health & Development tag. They are generally experts in their field working at major EA organizations, whereas I am an electrical engineering undergraduate.

I think these kinds of people should have far more ability to influence the discussion via the power of their upvotes than me. They will notice things about the merits of the cases people are making that I won't until I'm a lot smarter and wiser and farther along in my career. I don't think the ability to say something popular about culture wars translates well into having insights about the object level content. It is very easy to get Karma by participating in community discussions, so a lot of people are now probably in my position after the increased activity in that area around the scandals. I really want the people with more expertise in their field to be the ones influencing how visible posts and comments about their field are. 

I propose that Karma earned from comments on posts with the community tag accrues at a slower rate.

Edit: I just noticed a post by moderators that does a better job of explaining why karma is so easy to accumulate in community posts:

Thanks for calling this out Sonia. A number of folks have suggested this and we're thinking about it actively on the Forum team.

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