I agree with Kevin's comment about creating a post where you explain your experience, and what you want to help with, in more detail. Lots of charity staffers read this website, and many other readers might know of charities they'd want to share your post with.
People who've done this in the past include Simon Panrucker and JSWinchell.
I think Josh was claiming that 75% was "too low", as in the total % of unpaid hours being more like 90% or something.
When I applied to a bunch of jobs, I was paid for ~30 of the ~80 hours I spent (not counting a long CEA work trial — if you include that, it's more like 80 out of 130 hours). If you average Josh and I, maybe you get back to an average of 75%?
This isn't part of your calculation, but I wonder what fraction of unique applicants to EA jobs have any connection to the EA community beyond applying for one job?
In my experience trying to h... (read more)
We have a GraphQL interface that people can use to scrape Forum data.
We block web crawlers from the All Posts page so that they don't click "load more" a thousand times and slow down the site. But you can use your own crawlers on the page if you're willing to click "Load More" a lot.
Let me know if you have more questions, and I'll make sure they get answered (that is, I'll ask the tech team).
I recommend making this comment into a full post, so that more people will see it and have a chance to share feedback!
I'll be a third person here: the narrations are nice, but are starting to clutter the front page.
I'd recommend having one big post where you list all the narrations you've done, with links to the appropriate posts or comments. That post can have the "audio" tag so people find it when they look for audio, and it's a handy way for you to link to the full set of recordings at once if you want people to know about the resource.
Yes, a tag is removed when its score drops to zero. As long as multiple people haven't all used the job listings tag, it can be removed by the author's downvote. And in a pinch, any admin's strong vote will suffice to drop something below zero even if it has 2-3 votes.
The direct democracy tag is meant for investments in creating specific kinds of change through the democratic process. But people are using it for other things now anyway -- probably it's good to have a "ballot initiatives" tag and rename this tag to "democracy" or something else. Good catch!
Thanks for the discussion! I realize that I was mostly explaining my own instincts rather than engaging with Hursthouse, but that's because I find her claims difficult to understand in the context of how to actually live one's life.
Hello, Willa! I've activated the Markdown Editor for you — not sure why it wasn't working. (I'm the lead moderator/admin here.)
There's a lot of stuff on the Forum. Perhaps the best way to start out is to browse the top posts of all time and read whatever looks interesting. I don't love all the posts on that list, but they're a reasonable sample of the topics that get a lot of interest here.
The natural book recommendation would be Toby Ord's The Precipice if you haven't read it yet; I've liked the bits I've read, and reviews from outside of EA have been solid.
Welcome! And well done to donate 50% — I only know a few people with ordinary jobs who've done this, and they're all among my favorite individuals. You're doing incredible good.
I feel that the Effective Altruism movement overvalues animal well-being vs human well-being.
The EA movement doesn't really have its own values, aside from a few baseline principles — it's a collection of individuals who agree on the principles but differ on many other things. If you were to ask something like "how valuable is saving a chicken from a year of constant suffering?", pe... (read more)
Your instinct that there isn't a "go-to" place for all data is correct. Not sure about GDPR barriers, but it seems likely that a lot of things became unavailable (or were never available) because the people running those projects just got caught up in other things.
Fortunately, we have mechanisms for funding useful projects that no existing person maintains yet. If you're really interested in sorting through everything and making it available, that might be a good candidate for the EA Infrastructure Fund. And if you're busy with other things, you can even p... (read more)
The best answer here, the one that actually lets us try to live our lives by reasonable ethical principles, seems to me like "morality isn't conflict-free and humans aren't perfectly consistent". The whole point of EA is that standard "ethical" systems often fail to provide useful advice on how to live a good life. No one can be perfectly virtuous or benevolent; all we can do is act well given our circumstances and the options in front of us.
How does this interface with the question of objective morality? You can either say "morality is objective and peopl... (read more)
Do you know of any studies showing that people in low-income countries regard their own education as a major source of intrinsic value, apart from its effects on other life outcomes?
I ask because I think most people in the developed world value education primarily because it will help them "succeed in life" (or "get a good job", "move up in the world", etc.). If you gave people in the U.S. a choice between e.g. the experience of being in school for 3 extra years, or an extra $5,000/year in salary, I'd expect almost everyone to choose a higher salary. And I... (read more)
Fair comment; I've edited the title and the introduction.
Yes, I recommend both of those things for... well, almost all communication, and this isn't an exception.
Thanks for posting this!
I don't think I saw this mentioned, but do you think you might end up using these skills in a role with a more explicit connection to EA, if an opportunity comes along? I'm no chemist, but I can imagine this kind of expertise being useful for vaccine production (maybe?)
Not that I think this is essential — it sounds like you're living your dream, and that's an extremely good reason to have a job, EA considerations aside. Just curious if that's something you've thought about.
Thanks, have created this. (The "Donation writeup" tag is singular, so I felt like this one should also be, but LMK if you think it should be plural.)
Which of the four items on Hursthouse's list do you think are impossible to reject without embracing relativism? And why do you think those ideas are necessarily linked together?
I may be confused, but I don't see why "ethical naturalism" has to be tied to virtue ethics. It seems wholly consistent to me for people to believe in objective morality, and to believe that this morality is impartial benevolence. It also seems reasonable to believe that if everyone really tried to practice impartial benevolence, we'd end up with a healthy and thriving societ... (read more)
Were these increases typically driven by public demand, or driven by top-down government policy? If the latter, Pritchett's point could still stand.
I'd be extremely interested in this, and it's the highest-karma comment on this thread at the moment!
(Not a philosopher, this is deliberately quick and snappy)
One response is to just deny the naturalist account (why is it required that every "good wolf" or "good person" try to do all four of those things?).
Another is to deny the claim that impersonal benevolence has to contradict being "social animals" or "nurturing young". The average impersonally benevolent person who supports AMF is helping to nurture hundreds of young people, and probably making life "socially better" for entire villages (it seems good for village life when fewer children are sick or ... (read more)
Keep in mind that some people choose not to apply our default filter (which removes "personal blog" posts from the front page). The only way to completely hide a post from the front page for everyone is to make it a Shortform post or leave it "unlisted" (only available via link).
However, anyone who chooses not to use the filter is by definition interested in personal-blog-type posts, so I think you're fine!
As technicalities noted, it's easy to see the merits of these arguments in general, but harder to see who should actually do things, and what they should do.
To summarize the below:
On (1): Have you encouraged any of these people to apply for existing sources of funding within EA? Did any of them do so successfully?
On (3): The most prominent EA-run "major achievement prize" is the Future of Life Award, which has been won by people well outside of EA. That's one way to avoid bad press — and perhaps some extremely impactful people would become more interested in EA as a result of winning a prize? (Though I expect you'd want to target mid-career people, rather than people who have already done their life's work in the style of the FLA.)
Props for writing the post you were thinking about!
Overwhelmingly, the things you think of as "EA cause areas" translate to "areas where people have used common EA principles to evaluate opportunities". And the things you think of as "not in major EA cause areas" are overwhelmingly "areas where people have not tried very hard to evaluate opportunities".
Many of the "haven't tried hard" areas are justifiably ignored, because there are major factors implying there probably aren't great opportunities (very few people are affected, very little harm is done, or ... (read more)
There are terms like "operations", "management", and "logistics" that might stand in for "optimizing processes" (depending on what processes you are talking about).
It might also be helpful to talk about an example of some useful project you or someone else has done right away, so that people don't get the wrong idea. (To give a really trivial toy example, "I recently cut down on the time I spend surfing the web by taking all the blogs I follow and putting them on RSS — I like noticing options like that, where I can improve the way I do something.")
I'd caution against equating "lack of support from Open Philanthropy and GiveWell" with "lack of interest from people in the EA movement". There are a tiny number of people who contribute to how those organizations give out funding, and a lot of donors who might be open to a strong argument from a charity with a good track record in a different promising area.
The effective altruism (EA) movement dedicates minimal resources to studying the lessons, let alone attempting to replicate, the greatest poverty alleviation in living memory.
If someone is interested ... (read more)
There's also some Facebook discussion of the Forum post.
This is a nice reference!
When you publish a post like this (explaining a major subtopic, as "specification problems" are for the topic of "forecasting"), I recommend looking at the EA Wiki article for the topic in case you see a chance to update it.
This could mean adding your post to the bibliography, updating the article text to reference the existence of specification problems, etc.
Terms that seem to have some of the good properties of "EA-aligned" without running into the "assuming your own virtue" problem:
I have exactly the opposite intuition (which is why I've been using the term "EA-aligned organization" throughout my writing for CEA and probably making it more popular in the process).
"EA-aligned organization" isn't supposed to mean "high-impact organization". It's supposed to mean "organization which has some connection to the EA community through its staff, or being connected to EA funding networks, etc."
This is a useful concept because it's legible in a way impact often isn't. It's easy to tell whether an org has a grant from EA Funds/Open Phil, and wh... (read more)
I deliberately chose not to use this as one of my chosen excerpts, though I don't think it reveals a weakness in anything Pritchett believes — I read him as a skeptic about these "rights" who nevertheless acknowledges that other people would rather talk about rights than economic return in discussions of education. But whether he believes in the concept or not, your objection to the concept seems correct to me.
My hope is that people who see EA-relevant press will post it here (even in Shortform!).
I also track a lot of blogs for the EA Newsletter and scan Twitter for any mention of effective altruism, which means I catch a lot of the most directly relevant media. But EA's domain is the entire world, so no one person will catch everything important. That's what the Forum is for :-)
I'm not sure whether you're picturing a project specific to stories about EA or one that covers many other topics. In the case of the former, me and others at CEA know about nearly... (read more)
There are lots of places you can read about this. Two of my favorite "starter" posts are:
Career profiles (or maybe something like "job posts"?)
Basically, writeups of specific jobs people have, and how to get those jobs. Seems like a useful subset of the "Career Choice" tag to cover posts like "How I got an entry-level role in Congress", and all the posts that people will (hopefully) write in response to this.
I want people to write posts about their jobs, and how they got those jobs. I think this will help a lot of people, both with object-level information about getting particular jobs, and by making a meta-level statement that it's not impossible or unrealistic to get a job in EA.
Suggestion: If you're not sure anyone would want to read your job post, reply to this comment and say what your job is, then see how people respond.
Also, consider that we'll have a nice tag for these posts and that, if lots of people write them, the tag will become a resource that could help hundreds of EA-aligned job-seekers.
I work as a senior policy analyst in the New Zealand government, specifically in the area of genetic modification policy. I can talk about how I got the job, and why I think I excel at it, despite not having a background in science, as well as what the work is like day-to-day.
For the past five years I have been doing contract work for a bunch of individuals and organizations, often overlapping with the EA movement's interests. For a list of things I've done, you can see here or here. I can say more about how I got started and what it's like to do this kind of work if there is interest.
I'm currently interning at the Stanford Data Science for Social Good summer fellowship! My team works on using computer vision and Google Street View data to identify physical features of buildings and urban environments that might correlate with community well-being in U.S. cities.
I think the fellowship is good for students who are interested in getting into academic research and data science, so I'm happy to talk more about it if anyone's interested.
I'm a generalist researcher at Rethink Priorities. I'm on the longtermism team and that's what I try to spend most of my time doing, but some of my projects touch on global health and some of projects are relevant to animal welfare as well (I think doing work across cause areas is fairly common at RP, though this will likely decrease with time as the org gets larger and individual researchers become more specialized). I'm happy to talk about my job, but unclear how valuable this is, given that a) "generalist researcher" is probably one of the most wel... (read more)
I enjoyed learning about the Henry Spira award. It is given by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health to "honor animal activists in the animal welfare, protection, or rights movements who work to achieve progress through dialogue and collaboration."
The criteria for the award are based on Peter Singer's summary of the methods Spira used in his own advocacy. Many of them seem like strong guiding principles for EA work in general:
Understands public opinion, and what people outside of the animal rights/welfare movement are thinking.Selects a course of actio
We feature a set of selected videos on the EA.org website (accessible from the top navbar), along with an "intro playlist" on our YouTube that the site links to. We're well aware that people like videos!
(We did just hire some new developers, so it's likely that the way EA.org displays videos will be much better than "just a list of videos on the site" in the medium-term future. )
I wouldn't fault the community for "typical mind fallacy" -- people regularly tell us they want to make videos because they recognize the lack of good video content, and we ty... (read more)
Rather than Holden creating a video (which takes quite a bit of non-writing work + additional team members), it would probably make more sense for Rational Animations or A Happier World to produce something. Those are both YouTube channels with new EA Funds grants, and Rational Animations produced the video you linked. They currently ask many people in the community to review their EA-based scripts before they film.
(That said, this may overlap a bit with the Rational Animations video, and I think it would be a worthy post for a bigger creator like Ku... (read more)
Thanks for the note. The group is open for anyone to join, so poll responses won't be anonymous, but I've removed the images from this Forum post to keep everything on Facebook.
I think it would be great if a project in this space took off, and lots of new people were turned on to effective giving who want a nicer-looking site. I think Momentum might be on the way to doing that, though I don't know what user numbers + donation targets look like these days.
Have you tried tracking your giving through Momentum? I don't know whether they allow "standard" donations or if all donations are managed by "giving rules". If the latter, maybe the true killer app is just adding standard one-time + timed recurring donations to that platform.
One... (read more)
Thanks for sharing a summary! It doesn't seem like it applies to AMF's work, but it does describe other malaria control efforts. My impression is that the scientists who work on these things all day often pay more attention to risks and safety than other people realize, but I hope that the initial tests being run on this technology include appropriate follow-up to understand any unintended consequences.
I've seen you link to the Mao video multiple times. Whenever you're linking to a long resource in a way that isn't self-explanatory, it really helps to share a summary of what you mean.
Mao Zedong made (to be charitable) many errors, so that summary is much less informative than "cause local net manufacturers to go out of business".
But since you've already seen the video, you could probably write a brief summary in much less time than it will take, say, five interested readers to watch enough of the video to see what you mean. And you'll be able to use that summary in other threads where you want to raise the same question, so it pays dividends.
On the question about AMF's impact on local manufacturers, here's Rob Mather, head of AMF, on exactly those concerns. The response (copied below) is ten years old, so the information may be out of date.
It sounds like a difficult trade-off, and I'd be happy to see data on manufacturing conditions or other economic conditions in areas where AMF has worked, or on longer-term malaria rates that might reflect the impact of nets becoming less available locally. But I'll note that I haven't really seen a "go out of business" argument that reflects these poi... (read more)
That's an interesting theory, but if there was an effect, I don't see it in the data we have on the growth of Giving What We Can. (The slope goes a bit higher around the 2016 election, but that happens every holiday season, because there's a lot more charitable giving then.)
Thanks for joining us!
That said, I also think maybe our culture will be better if we celebrate doing naively good things over doing things that are externally high status.
This is a reasonable theory. But I think there are lots of naively good things that are broadly accessible to people in a way that "janitor at MIRI" isn't, hence my critique.
(Not that this one Shortform post is doing anything wrong on its own — I just hear this kind of example used too often relative to examples like the ones I mentioned, including in this popular post, though the "sweep the floors at CE... (read more)
You can't change a question to a post directly; you'd need to copy this text over to a new post and then remove this question.
Because there's already discussion here, creating a new post doesn't seem worth the trouble. I'm happy leaving it as an accidental question, but if you want, you can remove the question and make a new post.
Did you mean for this to be a post instead of a question?
I assume not, so I'd recommend making this a post instead. (It's a good post, but the question format may confused people.)