Aaron Gertler

I moderate the Forum, and I'm happy to review your posts before they're published! See here for instructions:


I'm a full-time content writer at CEA. I started Yale's student EA group, and I've also volunteered for CFAR and MIRI. I spend a few hours a month advising a small, un-Googleable private foundation that makes EA-adjacent donations.

Before joining CEA, I was a tutor, a freelance writer, a tech support agent, and a music journalist. I blog, and keep a public list of my donations, at aarongertler.net.

Aaron Gertler's Comments

evelynciara's Shortform

Maybe a better question for late May or early June, when classes are over.

Fundraiser Report: Using Facebook to raise 5288€

Thanks for writing this up! Having data and observations for small fundraisers is really nice for people who are considering running similar events in the future. Every fundraiser will be different in some of the specifics, but the more posts like this exist, the better people will be able to predict how much they'll be able to raise (and thus, whether it's worth the effort to put something together).

What posts you are planning on writing?
  1. Wonderful!
  2. Yes, I do plan to do this at some point -- in fact, I've added it as something to do this week thanks to your comment, thanks for the push.
  3. That's an interesting idea. I'll pass it along to CEA's tech team, though I'd guess it wouldn't be something that would happen soon (no guaranteed demand, unlikely to increase people's use of the platform, some risk that people accidentally expose sensitive information).
  4. I'm a fan of Claire's suggestion. Not likely to do it myself, because my reasons for donating are pretty quirky and difficult to explain, but I've liked all the posts of this kind that I've seen from others on the Forum.
evelynciara's Shortform

When suggestions of this type come up, especially for causes that don't have existing EA research behind them, my recommended follow-up is to look for people who study this as normal academics (here, "this" would be "ways that grades and grading policy influence student outcomes"). Then, write to professors who do this work and ask if they plan on taking advantage of the opportunity (here, the natural experiment caused by new grading policies).

There's a good chance that the people you write to will have had this idea already (academics who study a subject are frequently on the lookout for opportunities of this kind, and the drastic changes wrought by COVID-19 should be increasing the frequency with which people think about related studies they could run). And if they haven't, you have the chance to inspire them!

Writing to random professors could be intimidating, but in my experience, even when I've written emails like this as a private citizen without a .edu email address, I frequently get some kind of response; people who've made research their life's work are often happy to hear from members of the public who care about the same odd things they do.

How do you optimise career choice based entirely on personal fit?

Could you say a bit more about the kinds of resources that would be helpful? I'm not clear on whether you're thinking of switching careers or whether you're looking for ideas about how to solve problems and gain skills outside of work.

I will note that lack of sleep can, as you surmised, make a big difference in how you feel about many elements of your life (work included). If you're going to bed at a reasonable time but can't easily fall asleep, some of the comments on this post might be helpful, and I also liked this post (wearing glasses that "block blue light," as the author suggests, has been a real boost for me).

Is Existential Risk a Useless Category? Could the Concept Be Dangerous?

Thanks for clarifying. This topic has generally been contentious, so I want to be careful to keep the discussion based on substantive discussion of Torres' ideas or specific wording.

Is Existential Risk a Useless Category? Could the Concept Be Dangerous?

ælijah: If you're going to accuse other users of having read something superficially, please explain your views in more detail. What do you think the paper's key message is, and what sections/excerpts make you believe this? 

I'll note that Khorton didn't suggest that "it doesn't matter if everyone dies" was what the post's author actually meant to convey - instead, she expressed concern that it could be read in that way, and asked the author to clarify. 


Also, speaking as a Forum moderator: the tone of your comment wasn't really in keeping with the Forum's rules. We discourage even mildly abrasive language if it doesn't contain enough detail for people to be able to respond to your points.

NunoSempere's Shortform

Did you mean to post this using the Markdown editor? Currently, the formatting looks a bit odd from a reader's perspective.

Effective Animal Advocacy Nonprofit Roles Spot-Check

Thanks for posting this! I've come to believe that a lot of common beliefs about the EA job market are based on anecdotes and impressions rather than data on available positions or the population of job-seekers. I'm excited to see AAC taking on this work for animal advocacy roles.

Official EA Forum Feedback Survey

Thanks! I fixed the form a few hours ago.

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