Anonymous EA Forum user

150 karmaJoined


I felt deserted by the very community I'd given so much to. Nobody reached out; nobody seemed to care. It was a profound isolation I had never anticipated.

I've felt that too. I didn't have the exact same scenario of losing funding; I lost a job. I hadn't yet built a support network, and without the income from that job I couldn't afford to live in big expensive city. Former colleagues who had previously been friendly never contacted me again; they never said "hey, I saw this job posting that I think you would be good for." People I had interacted with at EA social events didn't contact me. People who had reached out to me for one-on-ones at conferences no longer did so. I assume that they only reached out to me previously because I was associated with a prestigious institution, which made me feel used as a means to an end rather than as an end in myself.

It makes me think about "Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance." There were plenty of "parties" that I was able to access (conferences, Slack workspaces, chat groups), but I wasn't "asked to dance."

What I perceive as the lack of welcomingness has made me pretty sad at times.

Sending you virtual hugs.

I'd like to make a tentative/gentle suggestion: 80k should try to get some career advisors with more career experience. When I was scheduling a call with 80k I was presented with little profiles of who I could choose to have the call with, and all of the career counselors seemed to not have much professional experience. 

I understand EA is different than most parts of the working world, and I also understand that a person can give excellent advice while having only a few years of work experience. Nonetheless, I think there are probably suggestions, viewpoints, and knowledge that generally are only available to people that have had more experience.

Congrats on your marriage!

Thanks for explaining this context. I still think it is a little weird, but considering the framing that you are dogfooding your system makes it a bit more palatable. I also appreciate that your board of advisors approved and it seems like you have generally been cognizant of the conflict of interest.

It looks a little suspicious and I think the optics are bad that the girlfriend of Manifold's founder is getting $50,000 to give away. It might just be a situation in which power grants special privilidge, and being close to power also grants some special privilidge. I wouldn't object to this to much if she had an impressive track record or if she had some special merit that made me think she had earned the privilidge, but as far as I am aware she doesn't have a history of being a well-calibrated or successful grant giver. In fact, she is young and inexperienced, hasn't graduated from college, and as far as a few minutes of Google searches reveals, has never had a "real" job (although has had internships and has run a student organization at her college). In fact, her only qualification seems to be that she is dating Manifold's founder. Are you just choosing regrantors from people you know and like? Giving sinecures and special privilidge to friends seems... kind of corrupt.

I think this comment might be interpreted as harsh and mean, and that isn't my intention. I have actually met her in real life and she seems like a nice person. I'm really worried that posting this comment will make the founder and her upset, and I'm purposely excluding the names to make it ever-so-slightly less transparent, and ever-so-slightly harder for other people to Google around and figure out details. The main problem I perceive is simply that she is young and hasn't had much experience yet; the ability and status she is given here seems out of proportion to her level of skill/experience. I don't have any inside information to suspect that there is anything malicious going on here. It is also possible that she is a brilliant thinker with excellent judgement, and that I just haven't seen any evidence of it. But the situation just seems... is "corrupt" too strong of a word?

For practical sociological questions that many people want to get right, if there is a conventional answer, you should go with the conventional answer

I'm not confident that this is right. I'm thinking about conventional answers to common questions (although I suppose it depends on what you define as sociological) that tend to be not great. Ideas such as

  • If you want to find a romantic partner, convention wisdom says to make yourself as appealing to as wide an audience as possible; remove quirks and be bland; don't be weird. Whereas I think that it would be far better to filter out the people that wouldn't be a good match.
  • If you want to be happy, convention wisdom says that you should get a well-paid and respectable job. Whereas much of the of the literature (both psychological research and Buddhist psychology) suggest other methods, such as this paper, or Happiness: Lessons from a New Science.

I'm sure there are others, and I don't want to make the claim that conventional answers are never right (for example, for finding a romantic partner having good conversational skills and grooming yourself are convention wisdom that I agree with). But I would be wary of the claim that "if many people want to get right and there is a conventional answer, you should go with the conventional answer."

I'm not persuaded by most infohazard arguments, so I have a hard time understanding your perspective on why this would be risky/sensitive to discuss in public: could you please explain?

The brief answer is that it could cause harm to EA's efforts, to EA people in China, or to EA people working on China-related issues.

The Chinese government is very sensitive. It takes perceived slights quite seriously, and has lashed out in the past against national governments, corporations, and individuals for perceived slights. Any discussion of China that is connected to EA and is publicly available could easily get EA banned in China if it is perceived as against China at some point in the future. That would cause serious difficulties for some EA causes, as well as for some people connected to EA who are working on related issues.

Anything related to China publicly should be done with great caution, as it would be far too easy to get an organization or a movement declared illegal in China.

When one doesn't live in and think about autocratic governments, then it is easy to forget how flimsy of a justification the state needs for putting someone under house arrest, or for taking someone to a detention center.