David Varga

63 karmaJoined Sep 2022


Greg is amazing. Hope you guys can sort this out!

@Lizka Apologies is this was raised and answered elsewhere, but I just noticed in relation to this article that your reading estimate says 12 minutes, but when I press listen to this article it says 19 minutes at normal speed? Is there a reason for the discrepancy? How is the reading time calculated?


Also, when I tried to look for who else from the Forum team to tag - I don't find any obvious page/link that lists the current team members. How can I find this in the future?

Excellent news! Looking forward to it and kudos to Irena and the team that worked so hard to make it happen. 

Great post. Really useful to know. Thank you for putting it together. May I ask, how many hours approximately did this piece of work take? 


Using Givewell research it's not exactly easy to come up with a snappy proverb. 

But I thought using a rhyming approach, you could build one. Preface a snappy rhyme with a factual sentence.

Example sentence:

People don't spend our transfers on booze or cigs. They spend it on food, assets and to improve their earnings. 

Add on 1, 2 or 3:

  1. Direct cash transfer is the right answer.
  2. Don't be weird and funny, just send them the money.
  3. Sending them money will make their life sunny. (not too happy with that one)

I think that EA Forum is already really great. It's searchable, sortable, has tags, has voting and is a place for many engaging discussions. I spend a lot of time on it (more than 95% of users according to last EA wrapped). I am grateful to the forum team for managing this place and making discussions accessible and transparent.

I think forum could be further improved and made great through design and functionality upgrades and high transparency about traffic, voting, comments, heavy personalisation, comment sorting, improved searchability, bias display, attitude scoring etc. 

I Imagine it as a very powerful dashboard  with frequency and distribution charts on most popular topics, topic ranking, author ranking (e.g. not only by karma but also by total words submitted, total comments submitted, when did the upvotes happen (e.g. timelines), debate heat ranking, other kinds of heat maps, granular data which way community is leaning on a given topic, topic voting information based on IP locations, heat maps based on IP locations, same things based on time, demographic information of votes (as suggested by Nathan Young) etc etc. How many people are online right now, and where are they, viewing figures over time, and more. Several poll topics from Nathan's pol.is polls post FTX could be co-opted, selected to give a getter picture of the community, provide a powerful tool for knowledge and for working together to make the community stronger, and more anti-fragile.  

I can imagine a tremendous and powerful tool that would make engagement and knowledge acquisition and dissemination faster and more effective. And it would make debating points a lot more transparent without having to have deep knowledge and background to know where the poster/commenter comes from and what’s their potential bias. It could never be perfect but it could be so much better. 

This is just a brainwave, but if there is substantial voting/engagement on this comment, I can elaborate further/write a detailed post/engage with the forum team to clarify or develop further. 

What an amazing write-up. Thanks for this. I am an experienced meditator of 13+ years (Insight mindfulness meditation). However even when I try to practice self-compassion meditation, it's not easy for the practice especially on my own. I once participated at The School of Life event with an experienced self-compassion facilitator, and I felt a tremendous impact after a short group practice. 

Okay. Understand. Thanks for recommending those sequences, I have the handbook. 

If you change your mind, I wouldn't mind attending as an observer. Also, I have another EA friend who is interested to join, so we could do one-on-one exercises with each other on zoom. 

In any case, great project and good luck with it. 

You don't state whether the condition is that the book must get distributed inside Russia, but I think your comment about the shipping costs outside of Russia means that you are interested in international reach as well. 

I think some of the things you might do:

1) do all the steps you already did for in-country distribution (maths Olympiad winners etc) in the countries of ex-Soviet Union with a large Russian speaking population (Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltics, Georgia, Kazakhstan, other stans). 

2) Approach Russian student societies (or Rationality/EA adjacent) of (whatever selection: Ivy league, Russel group, much broader to take advantage of the large print amount) of universities, particularly with maths/rationality background and offer them the books. Even small and less prominent universities have a substantial number of Russian students/ Russian speaking students - e.g. I know University Comenius Bratislava Maths Physics Faculty has Russian students. 

3) Approach Ukrainian refugee organisations in the EU to see if they have organisations that coordinate Ukrainian high-school students in the countries and see whether they would want to take these books. For a lot of these students this would be a lot easier to read in Russian rather than English and even if an Ukrainian copy exists (I don't know if it does), there are plenty of speakers who use Russian as their first language. 

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