All of dan.pandori's Comments + Replies

Writing about my job: Web Developer

This almost perfectly matches my experience as a full-stack programmer at a FAANG. I especially appreciate the point that getting along well with your team-mates is a huge deal. It is a surprisingly consistent source of enjoyment in my job that I can joke and post memes to my team.

Utilitarianism Symbol Design Competition

Fair enough. I would personally find it less off-putting if you framed it in terms of collecting feedback instead of focusing on the downvotes. For example, suppose I saw a thread starting with:

'I'm curious on feedback to this post. Please take this survey[link]'

and then the survey itself has questions about the positions 1/2/3/4/5 mentioned, and a question on whether the respondent up/downvoted.

Then that seems like a fine thread. You're collecting genuine feedback, maybe it seems a little over the top, but it doesn't come across as speculation on why some... (read more)

2Aaron Gertler2moVery fair feedback! I'll try to make that framing more explicit, though I don't expect I'll use a survey — it adds an extra step, stops the author from getting notified when feedback happens (I have to share with them separately), and risks promoting a norm of "don't explain why you dislike things in public", which I think is very unhealthy for the Forum. (For example, a comment like Peter Hartree's, particularly the useful suggestion of hiring a professional for the same price, is one I'm very glad to have be public, for this author and for other authors who might try something similar.)
Utilitarianism Symbol Design Competition

I want to say that I didn't downvote the post (I think its a relatively neat idea, and has garnered at least one good submission).

On the other hand, I find speculation on 'why the downvotes?' to be unproductive.  Its reasonable to encourage people explain their opinions, but I've generally found that threads about downvotes are low quality with lots of guesses and trying to put words in other people's mouths. I don't think you're doing that here very much, but it isn't the kind of thread I'd like to see often if at all.

It also seems odd that there are so rarely threads in the other direction, asking people to explain why they liked a particular post :)

3Aaron Gertler2moI agree that threads like this shouldn't be common. But I'd like to make a case for this one. As the head of the Forum, I spend a lot of time thinking about what content I should be encouraging, promoting, etc. Over the last three years, I think I've developed a pretty good instinct for what kinds of posts people tend to like, which helps me do my job. That's why posts like this (where the reactions surprise me and I don't have even a "best guess" as to what provoked them) are so interesting! I see these rare scenarios as a chance to learn more about how Forum voters (our most engaged readers) think. And if someone ever asks me for feedback [] on a similar idea, I'd like to be able to advise them on how to present it so that readers will find it valuable.
Utilitarianism Symbol Design Competition

This is an excellent point. Making a new name for an existing concept is generally bad, but utilitarianism (and the associated 'for the greater good') has been absolutely savaged in public perception.

Utilitarianism Symbol Design Competition

I want to mention that I like the rounded version a lot, and the angular version is better than the current 'weird 5 stars' but not quite as neat. I think the fact that the angular version looks almost exactly like a capital sigma is what throws me off (sigma means a lot of stuff).

I definitely sympathize with the argument against having a symbol for an idea. Both the good and the bad of symbolization is that it leads to identification.

Writing about my job: Data Scientist

I also had a sticker shock here at the number. Thanks for including the Glassdoor links, I was very surprised that base pay in the US overall is higher than London (which is presumably the most expensive UK market).

2AppliedDivinityStudies2moI would guess US market (at least those reporting on Glassdoor) skews heavily SF/NYC, maybe Seattle.
Thoughts on being overqualified for EA positions

This really matches my experience. As a high skill worker (software engineer at a FAANG), I strongly view top down proposals without team buy-in as a leadership failure.

If your idea is good, you should be able to convince the team that it is good and ought to be implemented (contributing to the implementation yourself is going to win you big favor points). Going over the team's head to force the solution by forcing the HR team to accept the proposal in the example is going to burn bridges. Maybe it's necessary if the proposal is incredibly important, but mandating a solution on a team after pushback should generally be viewed as an organizational failure to mourn.

The State of the World — and Why Monkeys are Smarter than You

A lot of this is looking at global poverty, and I'd highly recommend 'Poor Economics' as an introduction to the lives of the global poor.

I'll mention that I found this post's title to be overly sensational (and likely wrong in context). I expect the majority of EA forum viewers would score above 7 on the quiz (where 4.3 would be the expectation for randomly guessing), and I honestly would be crushingly depressed if this were not the case.

For reference, I was 11/13 on the quiz (I thought global life expectancy was ~60 instead of ~70 and expected 1 of the three animals listed to have become more endangered).

3Dan_Keys5moI got 13/13. q11 (endangered species) was basically a guess. I thought that an extreme answer was more likely given how the quiz was set up to be counterintuitive/surprising. Also relevant: my sense is that we've done pretty well at protecting charismatic megafauna; the fact that I've heard about a particular species being at risk doesn't provide much information either way about whether things have gotten worse for it (me hearing about it is related to things being bad for it, and it's also related to successful efforts to protect it). On q6 (age distribution of population increase) I figured that most people are age 15-74 and that group would increase roughly proportionally with the overall increase, which gives them the majority of the increase. The increase among the elderly will be disproportionately large, but that's not enough for it to be the biggest in absolute terms since they're only like 10% of the population. On q7 (deaths from natural disaster) I wouldn't have been surprised if the drop in death rate was balanced out by the increase in population, but I had an inkling that it was faster. And the tenor of the quiz was that the surprisingly good answer was correct, so if population growth had balanced it out then probably it would've asked about deaths per capita rather than total deaths.
2Stefan_Schubert5moYes, I agree. I also think that the questions aren't representative but likely were chosen because people tend to answer them incorrectly.
2Peter Wildeford5moFWIW I also got 11/13 (wrong on 6 and 7)