Ben Millwood

1910 karmaJoined Dec 2015


Sorted by New


I have a Google Sheet set up that daily records the number of unread emails in my inbox. Might be a cute shortform post.

Some criticism of the desire to be the donor of last resort, skepticism of the standard counterfactual validity concerns.

If everyone has no idea what other people are funding and instead just donates a scaled down version of their ideal community-wide allocation to everything, what you get is a wealth-weighted average of everyone's ideal portfolios. Sometimes this is an okay outcome. There's some interesting dynamics to write about here, but equally I'm not sure it leads to anything actionable.

A related but distinct point is that the disvalue of anonymous rumours is in part a product of how people react to them. Making unfounded accusations is only harmful to the extent that people believe them uncritically. There's always some tension there but we do IMO collectively have some responsibility to react to rumours responsibly, as well as posting them responsibly.

I have an intuition that the baseline average for institutional dysfunction is quite high, and I think I am significantly less bothered by negative news about orgs than many people because I already expect the average organisation (from my experience both inside and outside EA) to have a few internal secrets that seem "shockingly bad" to a naive outsider. This seems tricky to communicate / write about because my sense of what's bad enough to be worthy of action even relative to this baseline is not very explicit, but maybe something useful could be said.

as someone who was not a huge fan of how the forum used sans serif before, I have decided I am a font accelerationist and will praise anything that makes the sans-serif font worse, as bringing forward its inevitable downfall and glorious replacement.

Good work, folks!

While I agree it would have been significantly better to send this to the org ahead of time, I think on the margin I really wish we had more random spot-checks and discussions of org decisions, and still prefer seeing a post that puts an accidentally heavy burden on the org than not seeing one at all.

I'm a fan of serif fonts, so I'm a little sad about that change, and a little confused why posts and comments are in a different visual style. I'm definitely no expert on stuff like this, but I'm curious if there's a motivation for that difference.

edit: oh, and it's even different between section headings and post paragraphs, that seems weird to me too, but maybe it's more common than I realized

I feel like regarding the community posts change, this post is saying something like:

  • people like the change because it means they're not spending as much time on posts they don't endorse engaging with,
  • we could be worried that these posts would be neglected now, but actually the amount of time people are spending on these posts has not gone down

Seems like there's some tension between these points! Do you have a theory for what's happening here? Are the changes leading to people engaging in different ways that are better, even though they're not overall less? If so, how is that achieved by what seemed to me like a fairly uniform visibility reduction?

thinking about this more, I've started thinking:

  • emotions are useful for rationality
  • the forum should not have a norm against emotional expression

is two separate posts. I'll probably write it as two posts, but feel free to agree/disagree on this comment to signal that you do/don't want two posts. (One good reason to want two posts is if you only want to read one of them.)

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