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Quick note to say that I appreciate short, readable updates like this, and I'm excited to hear about the progress of your org!

I haven't yet read all of this (short on time) but I wanted to flag that what I have read seems deeply thoughtful,  I'm disappointed that this post hasn't had more engagement, and I for one am grateful you took the time and effort to write it.

I have mixed feelings because I understand what the post is getting at but think this is a good example of a person writing their thoughts without considering how others will perceive them. E.g. there is no need to say 'quality of person' to get the point across, but doing so might make more sense if the author's mental process is simply 'writing down, as accurately as possible, what I believe' and there's no flagging of how a message might be received.

This problem seems common to me in the rationality community. Not meaning to dig at Thomas in particular, only to point it out, since I think it could reduce the diversity of the EA community along important lines.

If you state an opinion, it's thought that opinion should be scrupulously challenged.

If you state a feeling you had, especially a difficult or conflicted one, it's thought that it should be welcomed and certainly not challenged.

Individually, these attitudes make sense, but together I would expect that they will make Forum posts much more focused on emotional reactions than careful and unemotional pieces.

To clarify, I want both and think emotional reactions can be very important. But at least once, I've seen a detailed but unemotional post buried under a less well thought through post describing someone's emotional reaction to a similar issue. Perhaps we should be welcoming of posts that try hard to do careful and rational analysis, even if they seem/are misguided or unsuccessful.

(Intersubjective evaluation - the combination of multiple people's subjective evaluations - could plausibly be better than one person's subjective evaluation, especially if of themselves, assuming 'errors' are somewhat uncorrelated.)

Linking to Spencer Greenberg's excellent short talk on intrinsic values: 

Spencer claims, among other things, that

  • it's a cognitive fact that you value multiple different things
  • if you pretend otherwise, e.g. because you feel it's stigmatised to act based on any consideration but impartial impact, you will fool yourself with 'irrational doublethink' of the type described in this post.

Thanks for sharing, and congrats! I especially enjoyed reading through the timeline. (I generally like & find it helpful to read concrete, relevant info, especially in posts more abstract than this one.)

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts in such detail here :)

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