Rebecca

Data analyst at a consulting firm, previously ran an EA university group.

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A hypothesis for why some people mistake EA for a cult

We had that as well with EA USyd, but they were all security guards etc working on the campus, or some exchange students.

EA and the current funding situation

Hi Anthony. I would say that in the responses I’ve read where they use words like ‘honestly’, my reading of the tone was that they were going for a “tough love” approach. Using the word ‘honestly’ (when not said to manipulate people) often indicates the person is aware that what they’re saying may been seen as too harsh, but that they think what they’re saying is of enough value to others that it still merits saying (and sometimes may only have that value if said bluntly).

In contrast, my interpretation of the tone in your comments, using the word ‘disrespect’ a lot, asking for an apology etc, was that it was solely about providing value to yourself. For most people I know, the concept of feeling ‘disrespected’ by others, and going around demanding apologies for it, would never occur to them. Having that mindset is something I associate with arrogance, aggression and self-righteousness. I think in general people in this forum are wary of engaging further with people who appear to lack some level of humility.

Perhaps in certain circles it is expected that you ought to defend yourself in that way, in order to show that that what someone has said about you really is incorrect? But in the absence of social pressure in that direction, doing so suggests personality traits that some might be wary of.

Bad Omens in Current Community Building

Almost of the elements that make EA seem culty seem to me to hail from the rationality side of the movement: Pascalian reasoning, in-group  jargon, hero worship, or rather epistemic deferral to heroes and to holy texts, and eschatology

 

The hero worship is I think especially concerning and is a striking way that implicit/"revealed" norms contradict explicit epistemic norms for some EAs

EA and the current funding situation

Yeah I think it's a very different calculation if your flight is up to 24 hours long. Also you can only take an exit row seat if you have the (physical) capacity to help in an emergency (e.g. can't be flying solo with kids or elderly relatives, you have to be able  to throw 20kg at a time,  can't have certain other impairments, have to be able to understand the language of the relevant country and so on), so I don't know how scalable a suggestion that is.

Increasing Demandingness in EA

I interpreted the arrows to be causal and not just temporal. So effective giving is more often going to cause people to work in a priority path than it will cause people to not work in a priority path where they otherwise would.

Questions for Howie on mental health for the 80k podcast

I would be curious if he has observed in interactions a higher rate of people with ADHD in EA circles than otherwise, and if so, whether this observation should be action-affecting for movement building (what he thinks the reasons for it might be). Obviously highly speculative.

You should write about your job

Hi Evelyn, I would be very keen to hear about this! Especially  your general thoughts on data science, as I'm not based in the US, though may apply for a US masters in future.