Eli_Nathan

EA Global Project Manager @ Centre for Effective Altruism
801Joined Dec 2016

Bio

I work at the Centre for Effective Altruism as the project manager for EA Global. I previously worked as an Operations Assistant at Open Philanthropy, and before that was involved in various movement building projects at EA Oxford.

From London originally, currently living in New York City.

Comments
37

Topic Contributions
3

I'm not too familiar with EA Global 2016 but I'll note that we did ask attendees whether they felt the conference was too big at EA Global: SF 2022 and they generally thought the size of the event was fine. 

Since 2016, we introduced Swapcard (our networking app), which changes the dynamic somewhat and allows people to more easily find relevant people to meet (and hence make people feel less lost in the shuffle). We've also introduced more production staff and overall support since 2016, meaning we've gotten larger venues with spaces that are more suitable for bigger audiences.

Minor point, but I'll note that most volunteers come from out of town, and I expect only a minority of them own air purifiers anyway.

Minor, personal (non-CEA) take that isn’t really core to your post — I’m actually somewhat critical of the microCOVID project and don’t see it as a great example of EA in action. As I understand it, this involved people managing their personal risk exposure to a virus that at the time was considered to not be that dangerous to young and healthy people, rather than working on x-risk or another EA priority. While cool and interesting, it seems not that different to building an app for managing one’s exercise routine, for example.

Hi Josh — jumping in as the lead organizer for EA Global. While I think this could be interesting, as someone else commented I’m skeptical this would be worth it for an event lasting only three days, and would be more excited about people trialing this in office spaces or something else more permanent.

Additionally, taking a lot of these actions for a three day event would be quite logistically challenging (though not impossible). I’m not sure there’s a way to rent air filtration equipment and it would be non-trivial to buy it and then store it or give it away — and I doubt it would be worth convincing a venue to undergo construction work to install air filtration systems in the building. With a lot of household air purifiers (i.e., the ones you can get on Amazon), there are also trade-offs re noise pollution — with an event the size of EA Global, we’d need a lot of these, and altogether these could be quite loud. We very frequently get complaints that people can’t hear each other at our events, so this could make things even more problematic. This means that at the end of the day there are other marginal improvements to the conference I’m more excited about making.

Hi Jeffrey — you should have now received the Slack invite (issue on our end preventing you getting it immediately), but please DM me if you're still having issues!

Thanks for the flag — I've edited the wording now!

Thanks for the flag here — I've amended the language on the admissions FAQ accordingly (note that we're planning on revamping our website soon anyway). I'm not aware of any other messaging that implies replacement effects,  but LMK if you're aware of anything.

Hi Guy — thanks for the feedback. I'm not entirely sure what happened re your London application, as I wasn't on the team then. However we didn't really use the waitlist for SF and I don't expect us to use it for the foreseeable future. We've since updated a lot of our email templates, so I'm hoping the issue you mentioned is at least partially resolved.

Hi Scott — it’s hard to talk about these things publicly, but yes a big concern of opening up the conference is that attendees’ time won’t end up spent on the most valuable conversations they could be having. I also worry that a two-tiered app system would cause more tension and hurt feelings than it would prevent. A lot of conversations aren’t scheduled through the app but happen serendipitously throughout the event. (Of the things you mentioned, I’m not particularly worried about attendees disrupting talks.)

We’ve thought a fair bit about the “how costly is rejection” question, and think there’s a real but relatively small discouragement effect where rejected applicants are less likely to re-apply to our events (or engage with EA in general). In an internal report we wrote recently about this, we felt more concerned about whether rejection makes it less likely for people to apply in the first place (but we think we can reduce this with clearer comms about the admissions bar).

It is true that people can get rejected from EAGx’s, but the bar is lower — and often people get rejected from EAGx’s because some of these events are for specific regions (such as for EAs based in India). It’s correct that there is currently no open admission conference.

A) Yes we had different admissions standards a few years ago. I agree that’s confusing and I think we could have done better communication around the admissions standards. I think our FAQ page and admissions page are the most up-to-date resources.

B) I can't comment in too much depth on other people's admissions, but I'll note that Austin was accepted into SF and DC 22 after updating his application.

It’s currently the case that there’s a particular bar for which we’ll admit people, though it’s not an exact science and we make each judgement call on its own — but regardless, capacity limits will not be a reason people get rejected (at least for the next few EAGs). I'm not entirely sure what you mean here, but it's not the case that there's a separate bar for which we'll sometimes let people in depending on capacity. Apologies for any confusion caused here!
 

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