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I like thinking and talking about rationality, epistemology, social epistemology, moral philosophy, and wild-animal welfare. I have a high-risk scout mindset, so I tend to produce interesting-but-probably-mistaken thoughts. At least I hope so.


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Wiki Contributions


Is it crunch time yet? If so, who can help?

Yes, I think it's crunch time.

But I'd be very hesitant of advocating in general for people to sacrifice more stuff to work hard on the most urgent problems. People vastly overestimate the stability of their motivation and mental life. If you plan your life with the assumption that you'll always be as motivated as you are right now, you'll probably achieve less than if you take some precautions.

I'd say plan for at least 20 years of productivity. This means you want to build relationships with people who support you, invest in finding good down-time activities to keep you refreshed, and don't burn yourself out. Be ambitious! Test your limits until you crash, but make sure you can recover and learn from it rather than taking permanent damage.

On average do I think EAs would do better with more self-sacrifice or less? It varies, and it's important enough that I think advice should be more granular than just "do more".

Introducing Training for Good (TFG)

What's the case for thinking that grantmaking skills is a bottleneck?

The Cost of Rejection

There are a bunch of illegible factors involved in hiring the right person, though. If the reason for rejection is something like "we think you'd be a bad culture fit," then it seems legally risky to be honest.

Emrik's Shortform

Forum suggestion: Option to publish your post as "anonymous" or blank, that then reverts to reveal your real forum name in a week.

This would be an opt-in feature that lets new and old authors gain less biased feedback on their posts, and lets readers read the posts with less of a bias from how they feel about the author.

At the moment, information cascades amplify the number of votes established authors get based on their reputation. This has both good (readers are more likely to read good posts) and bad (readers are less likely to read unusual perspectives, and good newbie authors have a harder time getting rewarded for their work) consequences. The anonymous posting feature would redistribute the benefits of cascades more evenly.

I don't think the net benefit is obvious in this case, but it could be worth exploring and testing.

Should I have my full name as my username?
Answer by EmrikOct 02, 2021-1

What about just keeping it full until you end up in a position where it might start being a problem if you're doxed? Also, if you choose to use "JackM" and you apply to EA jobs, you could always just point out that that's your name on the forum.

What's something that every EA community builder should have thought about?

You explained what you meant, anticipated my objection, and provided a follow-up. I largely agree. Thank you!

What's something that every EA community builder should have thought about?

"EA is an aggressive set of memes. Best handled by people firmly grounded in some other community or field or worldview."

What do you mean?

Independent impressions

On the social-epistemological point: Yes, it varies by context.

One thing I'd add is that I think it's hard to keep inside/outside (or independent and all-things-considered) beliefs separate for a long time. And your independent beliefs are almost certainly going to be influenced by peer evidence, and vice versa.

I think this means that if you are the kind of person whose main value to the community is sharing your opinions (rather than, say, being a fund manager), you should try to cultivate a habit of mostly attending to gears-level evidence and to some extent ignore testimonial evidence. This will make your own beliefs less personally usefwl for making decisions, but will make the opinions you share more valuable to the community.

Independent impressions

Agree on all points, but inside/outside is catchier! Might ride the inside-jargon group-belonging-signalling train into norm fixation.

Independent impressions

 I like the words inside beliefs and outside beliefs, almost-but-not-quite analogous to inside- and outside-view reasoning. The actual distinction we want to capture is "which beliefs should we report in light of social-epistemological considerations" and "which beliefs should we use to make decisions to change the world".

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