Not all "EA" things are good - just saying what everyone knows out loud (copied
over with some edits from a twitter thread
Maybe it's worth just saying the thing people probably know but isn't always
salient aloud, which is that orgs (and people) who describe themselves as "EA"
vary a lot in effectiveness, competence, and values, and using the branding
alone will probably lead you astray.
Especially for newer or less connected people, I think it's important to make
salient that there are a lot of takes (pos and neg) on the quality of thought
and output of different people and orgs, which from afar might blur into "they
have the EA stamp of approval"
Probably a lot of thoughtful people think whatever seems shiny in a "everyone
supports this" kind of way is bad in a bunch of ways (though possibly net
good!), and that granularity is valuable.
I think feel very free to ask around to get these takes and see what you find -
it's been a learning experience for me, for sure. Lots of this is "common
knowledge" to people who spend a lot of their time around professional EAs and
so it doesn't even occur to people to say + it's sensitive to talk about
publicly. But I think "some smart people in EA think this is totally
wrongheaded" is a good prior for basically anything going on in EA.
Maybe at some point we should move to more explicit and legible conversations
about each others' strengths and weaknesses, but I haven't thought through all
the costs there, and there are many. Curious for thoughts on whether this would
be good! (e.g. Oli Habryka talking about people with integrity here
Reflection on my time as a Visiting Fellow at Rethink Priorities this summer
I was a Visiting Fellow at Rethink Priorities this summer. They’re hiring right
now, and I have lots of thoughts on my time there, so I figured that I’d share
some. I had some misconceptions coming in, and I think I would have benefited
from a post like this, so I’m guessing other people might, too. Unfortunately, I
don’t have time to write anything in depth for now, so a shortform will have to
Fair warning: this shortform is quite personal and one-sided. In particular,
when I tried to think of downsides to highlight to make this post fair, few came
to mind, so the post is very upsides-heavy. (Linch’s recent post
has a lot more on possible negatives about working at RP.) Another disclaimer: I
changed in various ways during the summer, including in terms of my preferences
and priorities. I think this is good, but there’s also a good chance of some
bias (I’m happy with how working at RP went because working at RP transformed me
into the kind of person who’s happy with that sort of work, etc.). (See
additional disclaimer at the bottom.)
First, some vague background on me, in case it’s relevant:
* I finished my BA this May with a double major in mathematics and comparative
* I had done some undergraduate math research, had taught in a variety of
contexts, and had worked at Canada/USA Mathcamp, but did not have a lot of
proper non-Academia work experience.
* I was introduced to EA in 2019.
Working at RP was not what I had expected (it seems likely that my expectations
One example of this was how my supervisor (Linch
[https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/users/linch]) held me accountable.
Accountability existed in such a way that helped me focus on goals
(“milestones”) rather than making me feel guilty about falling behind. (Perhaps