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Because Alice told Bob that she still aims to do as much good as she can, I thought she might have answered this question differently:

Bob:  [ . . . ]  At the same time, it's a real possibility [that disengaging from the Forum and no longer meeting EAs at conferences would reduce your impact]. Do you have a specific reason to believe [that]'s wrong?

Alice: Nope, and I'm comfortable with that.

I imagined that someone in Alice's position might instead have said something like:

I think it's unclear how disengaging will affect my impact, but my guess right now is that the effect will be positive, not negative.  Being highly engaged with EA takes up finite resources like time, attention, and emotional energy that I could be using to explore other communities and ways of doing as much good as I can.  I'm still planning to seek out spaces where I can share ideas and coordinate with people who aim to make a positive difference in the world.  They just won't be EA spaces anymore, because I'm no longer confident that those are the specific spaces where I can do the most good.

I thought this point might be important because it suggests how high the bar is for a community that aspires to do good by attracting and retaining impact-motivated people:  Even if the community creates the right kinds of spaces and has the right aims, people like Alice are likely to disengage unless, in practice, staying involved seems to be the best possible use of their limited time and other resources.  

(I really appreciated this post. Thank you!)

I wrote a short post aiming to explain some reasons to uphold norms that are common in other communities, even when the instrumental value of those norms isn’t obvious.  

One of the goals of this post is to explain a subset of the reasons why I think some people believe Bostrom’s apology and some statements in the subsequent conversation have been inadequate or harmful.

As a two-sentence summary:

  • How we handle norms affects how others perceive our goals and beliefs.
  • Some norms are like ethical injunctions and protect us from making harmful mistakes.