Thank you for writing this Megan. I don't even consider myself liberal or left but it is quite exhausting, as a community builder, to explain to friends, colleagues at work, and the fellowship members, that EA is a method of thinking and a goal of doing the most good and not shady billionaire schemes, self-promotion, and justifying lack of sensitiveness with rationality. So there is not much epistemic value to my comment but I just wanted to express that I am tired as well.
That would be even more effective. I imagine the cost of an event outside of a capital of a Southern European/Eastern European country < cost of an event in the capital of these countries < cost of an event in US, UK, Western Europe & Nordics in the capitals. And this is just taking Europe alone.
I think this is something worth calculating, but I think we should consider that there are several people, who, for various visa-related issues, don't make it to UK/US conferences or who feel less incentive to travel due to other reasons (for instance if you have a full-time job outside of EA it can be tricky to ask for a day off at times) so it can make it seem like conference-goer EAs are mostly from the UK and the US. I don't know how seriously has this option been considered before. While I know these two countries have bigger EA populations, I wonder if traveling to a cheaper country and having the same conference conditions is better than traveling within the same country and having fewer resources available. I don't know if in terms of distance traveled someone from Utah would care significantly whether the conference is in SF/DC or Mexico City, or whether someone from England/Wales cares whether the conference is in London or Porto/Riga/Rome/Prague. I live in London and I feel like there are several cheap flights to other European countries from here, and flights within Europe are generally affordable at times.
It seems like a good solution to consider would be to host a few/several EA global events/conferences/other events in countries with cheaper operating costs. There are several countries that are cheaper than US/UK and are still extremely safe and accessible for several people (if anything, some other countries have more liberal visa conditions that would cut down visa spending costs as well). Money spent per person could go long way in other countries and you wouldn't need to compromise funding people who could benefit from the conferences but can't afford them otherwise.
This is a valid consideration, however, one could argue that if we were to give victims the option to opt out of the specific consequence that might have been crucial in preventing future wrongdoings by the same person or other people, then perpetrators would think they can still carry on with their behavior. Especially if the victim decides to opt the perpetrator out of all serious consequences. It also could be the case that victims that are affected by what happened to them psychologically might not be able to make an informed judgment of consequences at that very moment, as we know everyone has their own time frame of processing the wrongdoing that was done to them.
I think it is largely due to the fact that a woman tried to share her personal experience and a lot of people with a very vague understanding of the sorts of pressures females face from men decided to comment in not the very kind way. Calling someone who is talking about her very unpleasant experience a 'bigot' and seeing only comments about polyamory in a situation where women are made feel uncomfortable is plane sad to be diplomatic.
Couldn't agree more. Expanding EA to a non-Western context comes with all kinds of considerations and changed messaging. I have found that in a middle-income country like mine people during the fellowship are pretty accepting of the idea that there are some more high-impact careers than being a doctor, but few participants pointed out that that is too general of a statement and depending on what kind of doctor you are you could make a higher or lower impact. For example, in Georgia we had only dozen or less of highly trained epidemiologists to they proved useful during the fight with COVID, even for future infectious pandemics this seems to be an area of medicine worth investing into.
Some chaotic thoughts on this.
I somewhat agree with you. I think the specific way in which some EAs interact with other people, especially at conferences, can be very off-putting. As a community organizer myself and someone who thinks that expanding the EA community is important, I think people really should work on their communication skills and manners if we want to expand as a community. From personal experience - I am a member of a minority myself, someone who joined EA about a year ago, I am also a community organizer. 70% of my interactions with EA people have been positive, but 30% were not-so-great.
I have brought some friends interested in EA conferences and some of them did not have the most positive experience. Some of the most common complaints included people seeming argumentative and wanting to argue and check every statement another person would make. Now, while it is important to examine the line of thought of people, it can also come off as socially unacceptable. There are some things that can be challenged - but also some things that are too personal to people's lived experiences. Being 'socially awkward' or introverted is not an excuse to hurt someone's feelings or to come off as rude. If you want more people to relate to your ideas, you probably should learn how to make them relatable to them and be more open to experiences or ideas that don't seem rational to you.
Telling someone you don't want to waste your time on them just like that is plain rude, no possible approach or personality trait can justify this behavior. It's really easy to say "Hey I am so sorry, I have a very tight schedule and don't have time for any more 1-on-1s, I hope you understand!". You can literally copy a polite sentence and respond to everyone with that if you are not interested...
Making others feel they are not important enough is literally a recipe for pushing people away from the EA movement. No one has a monopoly on the movement, even people who think they are 'very high-up', 'important', and 'in the mentoring position'. It's frankly very annoying that some people think they are much better than others, and other people with insecurities fuel that belief and make these people believe they are so-so important. This top-to-down approach often does not work. Most of the people who think they are so much more important than you are probably not.
I agree with you as often I have felt some weirdness from certain EAs. I think part of it comes from the fact that several of these EAs are born and raised in a context where they don't experience much oppression and have the privilege of thinking about several issues that affect some people only theoretically. I am not a cultural leftist at all, but I do think that insensitivity to some experiences is a problem in EA at times.
That being said, it's just one part of people in the EA who act the way you and I experienced. There are also some people who navigate social contexts better and talking with them has made my experience in the EA way more enjoyable.
Maybe some of the things that we could do as a community is have people who would train people on communications or have more workshops related to how to communicate with others in and out of the community more effectively. It is quite unbelievable that we need training on communications just to make someone from the US or Germany understand that someone who is a woman, queer, coming from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, or South Asia, will probably experience things differently and their Western explain-it-all attitude would not be the most effective.
It's a very interesting topic you are bringing up. Recognizing how many interpretations of the scripture there can be and that my thoughts on this are not very organized, I want to bring up two points:
- Re impartiality. As other people mentioned already, Samaritan was perceived as 'other', 'foreigner', or 'an enemy'. But also in other parts of the scripture, when Jesus is asked about his mother and brothers waiting for him, he replies that his brothers and mother are 'here' [referring to his extended group of disciples]. Similarly, his actions are not constrained by his family but often are directed towards more 'foreign'' and 'enemy/immoral' parts of society.
-Re geographic proximity, which I think is a bit more valuable point here: Jesus's disciples receive instructions to go around the world, often in comparatively remote regions of it in relation to Judea and borders of the Roman Empire, and to preach Christianity. Preaching Christianity is perceived as a good thing that leads to salvation as per Bible, and persuading others in Jesus's teaching is perceived as a good thing to do. So, by specifically going to remote parts of the world to 'do good', you can make an argument that the scripture shows care for geographically remote people.
I do agree it would be a bit of a stretch to include longterm and care for temporarily remote people.