Akash

Longtermist movement-builder. How can we find and mentor talented people to reduce existential risk?

Interested in community-building, management, entrepreneurship, communication, and AI Alignment.

Formerly a PhD student in clinical psychology @ UPenn, college student at Harvard, and summer research fellow at the Happier Lives Institute.

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Three Reflections from 101 EA Global Conversations

Miranda, your FB profile & EA profile are great examples of #3 :) 

Community Builder Writing Contest: $20,000 in prizes for reflections

Thanks for mentioning this, Rohin! I agree that longer write-ups and retrospectives can be valuable. And if someone determines that it's valuable for them to spend 40 hours on a write-up, I'd encourage them to do so.

For this contest, I don't want the "norm" or "expectation" to be a 20+ hour write-up. I'm expecting many submissions that take the form "here's an idea that I was already thinking about, and now this contest nudged me to sit down and write it up" or "I sat down and spent a few hours reflecting on X, and here's what I learned."

This is partially motivated by finm's comment here:

I'm a bit worried that contests with large prizes can have distortionary effects. That is, they might pull EAs towards using their time in ways which are not altruistically/impartially best. This would happen when an EA switches her marginal time to some contest with a big prize, where she otherwise would have been doing something expected to be more impactful (e.g. because she's a better fit for it), but which doesn't stand to win her as much money or acclaim.

Most importantly, I think people entering this contest should ask themselves if spending marginal hours on their entries would be a good use of their time (relative to their counterfactual). My guess is that most entrants would benefit from reflecting for 1-10 hours, and a smaller subset would benefit from reflecting for 10-100 hours.

Community Builder Writing Contest: $20,000 in prizes for reflections

I'd prefer a Google Doc. (Judges might want to add in-text comments). But if this is a barrier for some reason, a forum post would suffice.

Community Builder Writing Contest: $20,000 in prizes for reflections

As of now, per the EAIF grant, this only applies to new posts (posted between March 11 and April 30). 

But I think one could make a case that people who posted before the contest could be compensated/recognized for their work. And I like that the Creative Writing Contest, for instance, allowed retroactive submissions.

If you have a retroactive submission, feel free to email me at akashwasil133@gmail.com. I can't promise anything right now, but if I get several of these, I could check in with EAIF about awards for previously-posted submissions.

Thanks for raising this, Khorton!

Community Builder Writing Contest: $20,000 in prizes for reflections

Yup! It's fine if you post the entry to a blog, as long it could also be posted or cross-posted on the forum! 

Community Builder Writing Contest: $20,000 in prizes for reflections

Update: The deadline has been changed to April 30. Several people pointed out that the deadline felt tight & it would limit their ability to participate.

To encourage early submissions, we are offering three "early-bird prizes" ($1000 each) to the three best submissions we receive by March 31

Special thanks to Vaidehi, Kaleem, and those of you who emailed me with feedback about the deadline.

Community Builder Writing Contest: $20,000 in prizes for reflections

UPDATE: Deadline has been changed to April 30. Added a few "early-bird prizes" for submissions received before March 31. Hoping that this will encourage early submissions while allowing people to participate later. Thank you for the feedback!

Original comment below:

Thanks for pointing this out, Vaidehi and Kaleem! Setting a deadline is tricky, and this is helpful feedback. Here are a few considerations that went into the March 31 deadline:

  • Spring break is in mid-March for many universities, and I wanted the deadline to be shortly after spring break.
  • I think there are benefits to having people reflect after conferences, and I also think there are benefits to having people reflect before conferences. EAGxOxford is March 26-27 and EAGxBoston is April 1-3. So I figured this deadline would be a useful "midpoint."
  • I think it would be great to start seeing some of these posts published before EAGxOxford and EAGx Boston.
  • My impression is that three weeks is enough time, though I might be poorly calibrated on this. I expect most submissions will take <10 hours to write over the course of 1-3 days.
  • I spoke with a few community builders about the deadline and they thought it seemed reasonable & they wouldn't feel rushed.

For now, I think it makes sense to keep the deadline, but I could see a world in which I extend it by a bit (especially if community builders reach out saying they need more time). If you're reading this and the deadline would prevent you from submitting, feel free to email me at akashwasil133@gmail.com.

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