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EA Survey 2020: Community Information

This was very insightful. Thanks to everyone that made the survey and this write-up possible. 

Do you have more information about how personal/family finance as a bottleneck for impact is to be understood? e.g.

  • Constrained runway --> Lower risk appetite and ability to switch careers/jobs/university course
  • Constrained savings / lowered ability to build up savings --> To make investments in (further) education
  • Constrained budget --> Need to set priorities not/less focused on impact

It would be great to see this in more detail in the next survey given the prevalence of the bottleneck.

Should EA have a career-focused “Do the most good" pledge?

Interesting idea. Having mixed feelings about it because of the reasons you mentioned in the post (it's hard to tell whether one actually fulfilled it or not and ones life circumstances can change so much). 

I think one I would actually take would be a "Review-my-career-under-EA-principles-once-a-year-pledge". That's more specific, actionable and reasonable (for many EAs I think). Just not using that name of course!

Those are just some quick thoughts though!

Why EA groups should not use “Effective Altruism” in their name.

Thank you for writing this up! (This is me going meta btw). 

I really enjoyed reading your post because:

  • You thought outside the box and made me think (Honestly, I hadn't thought about this topic much just about now!)
  • I really liked the structure. It was easy to follow and engaging
  • You explained the potential risks and how to minimize these
  • Explained practical steps to choose a name

I can totally see a lot of situations where the formula “Effective Altruism + [location/university]"  isn't the best choice. In the context of German local groups (I live in Germany) it seems like this formula has worked pretty well so far (also given the kinds of activities most groups here focus on), particularly surrounded by the work of, which has spread the idea of "effective giving/donations" in Germany and indirectly of effective altruism. 

As a last anecdotal point (my personal experience when first came across the name "Effective Altruism/Effektiver Altruismus": I though the name sounded very interesting (especially the effective part :P), made me very curious and thought I'd like to talk to these folks at least once.

EARadio - more EA podcasts!

+1 here. I wasn't aware of this at all. Thank you for posting this again! Same situation as Rowan's.  I'll finally get through some talks I've been putting off for a while :)

A new strategy for broadening the appeal of effective giving (

Really enjoyed how intuitive the website is! Particularly how the matching is super clear at the end. Very excited to see the results as well. Thank you for all your work.

Kick someone's butt today

Thank you Ramiro! Excellent point. I think it really depends on the person (how open they are and have been to criticism, if they have a growth-mindset, etc.). I think that overall, my friends have learned that I'm very open to get a little push as long as I'm in the right state of mind.

Regarding "discounting the feedback": This can be a risk indeed. It happens to me rarely though, because the type of friends kicking my butt are usually very honest giving feedback and I allow them to be honest. The protective kind of friends tend not to do much butt-kicking anyways.

Kick someone's butt today

Thank you Neel! These are great points. It is very helpful that you wrote some concrete questions people might ask others to get them to take action.

Regarding 1: I would say the butt-kicking I got was pretty similar to what you referred as "socratic butt-kicking". The person I talked to did ask several questions and poked around before they decided to be more direct. So one could start in more of a coach role before acting like a parent. I think what helped not to get defensive when they became direct was that they genuinely conveyed having my best interest at heart, which fostered trust between us very quickly.

Regarding 2: This has worked similarly for a specific independent project I started. I had all these fuzzy ideas of something I wanted to do and the person made a bunch of notes while I talked (in a very unstructured way), asked several questions and set accountability systems for me. This made the next steps to take as well as the specific motivation behind the project very clear.