An anonymous account for a few long-time EAs to share concerns about community issues in a less filtered way, because we think others may also have similar views.

Some takes might be spicier than average - but we encourage pushback and disagreements.


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Thanks for this in-depth response, it makes me feel more confident in the processes for the period of time when you were at 80K. 

However, since you have left the team, it would be helpful to know which of these practices your successor will keep in place and how much they will change - for example, since you mentioned you were on the high end for giving feedback on calls, for example. 

My understanding of many meta EA orgs is that individuals have a fair amount of autonomy. This definitely has its upsides, but it also means that practices can change (substantially) between managers. 

In your earlier post, you write:

Nonlinear has not been invited or permitted to run sessions or give talks relating to their work, or host a recruiting table at EAG and EAGx conferences this year.


Kat ran a session on a personal topic at EAG Bay Area 2023 in February. EDIT: Kat, Emerson and Drew also had a community office hour slot at that conference.

Community office hours are an event that organizers invite you to sign up for (not all EAG attendees can sign up). While not as prominent as a recruiting table or talk, they still signal status to the attendees.

Given that public comments were made as early as November, it seems that there was sufficient time to ensure they were disunited from the event in February. Additionally, even if you don't table at EAG, you can still actively recruit via 1-1 meetings.

I think the lack of acknowledgement or explanation of how this choice happened - and whether CHT sees this as a mistake - worries me, especially now that the anonymity constraints have been lifted.

I agree. The governance and decision-making of the EV boards is an important matter that shouldn’t be dismissed because of Will and Nick’s other contributions.


Advisors often only have a few pages of context and a single call (sometimes there are follow-ups) to talk about career options. In my experience, this can be pretty insufficient to understand someone's needs. 

I would be worried that they might push people towards something that may not make sense, and two things could happen: 
1) the person may feel more pressure to pursue something that's not a good fit for them 
2) if they disagree with the advice given, the may not raise it. For example, they may not feel comfortable raising the issue because of concerns around anonymity and potential career harm, since your advisors are often making valuable connections and sharing potential candidate names with orgs that are hiring. 

I know that 80K don't want people to take their advice so seriously, and numerous posts have been written on this topic. However, I think these efforts won't necessarily negate 1) and 2) because many 80K advisees may not be as familiar with all of 80K's content or Forum discourse, and the prospect of valuable connections remains nonetheless. 

I personally had a positive experience during a career call, but have heard of a handful of negative experiences second- and third-hand.

What processes do you have in place to monitor potentially harmful advice advisees may be given on calls, and counteracting nonreporting due to anonymity concerns? 

Ideally, could you share a representative example of how cases like this and what procedure your team followed? 

(Additional context in a reply to this comment) 

As an addendum, it's also non-trivial to find out the exact appointment & departure dates of all the EVF UK & US board of trustees over the history of the organization. The Way Back Machine is somewhat spotty, and financial records for EVF UK are hard to find. 

It would be good to have a history of the leadership & trustees of both entities somewhere publicly available.  

Thanks so much for all your hard work since before EA existed, Nick. The qualities you brought and inspired in others as a foundational and highly capable figure in EA are evident in the love that so many people this comment section have for you. 

Can you help me understand why you stepped down from the EV boards in August 2023 because of too many recusals starting in November 2022? Did the amount you could participate in the boards meaningfully change recently? You said this was a good time for you to step down, but from the post, it doesn’t sound like there have been significant changes in your ability to contribute to the board since November 2022. 

It’s very difficult for me to understand why, in the aftermath of a crisis, someone with wide-ranging recusals stemming from the crisis that were preventing them from contributing enough would take 9+ months to step down. 

You did this for both the EV boards, which further compounds the issue. 

Additionally, the point of EA is to do the most good. This has been the most critical time period in EA’s history. The EA community meaningfully contributed to an $8,000,000,000 fraud. In the 10 months since then, we have endured painful scandal after scandal, some exposing important governance and leadership failures. Importantly, governance and leadership failures were a factor in the catastrophic FTX fraud, such as the CEA/EV trustees - Will MacAskill, Toby Ord, and likely Nick Beckstead for the time period in question (based on the Wayback Machine)[1] -  and other EA leaders effectively ignoring concerns about the business ethics and risk management of SBF while promoting and helping him. 

With all this and more context than I could possibly get into here, it’s even more difficult for me to understand why you stayed on either, let alone both, of the EV boards for 9+ months after FTX exploded. 

I’m sure one consideration was the challenge of finding new and trustworthy board members for small boards. But if this was the bottleneck, why wasn’t it prioritized and dealt with much earlier? It really shouldn’t take close to a year to replace members with wide-ranging recusals in crisis time. This should have been one of the first problems to solve. 

This is all the more true considering the central role of EV in the EA ecosystem. EA has had serious leadership vacuums in this critical period that have significantly impacted our community and, much more importantly, our attempt to make the world a better place. 

It was noteworthy to me that an EV US board member, Rebecca Kagan, resigned her position in April of this year due to disagreements with the EV boards’ strategy and approach. I hope we hear from her in the future. 

I didn’t want to potentially change the mood on a leaving post that ideally should have been just filled with appreciation for a person with many outstanding qualities, but it’s really very difficult for me to understand how these sorts of consequential and inexplicable actions - much of this also applies to Will MacAskill of course - are accepted without comment in some of the most important organizations of the EA movement. 

It makes me worry that not enough lessons have been learned from FTX. 

If what I have said is wrong in any way - very possible! - I would love to hear how.

All that said, I wish you best of luck for the future Nick. 

  1. ^

     There is a small chance I am unable to rule out that Hilary Greaves had replaced Nick Beckstead as a trustee at the time the CEA UK trustees considered allegations against SBF but took no action. Confirmation either way is welcome.

One problem with scandals is that there’s no real solution or steps taken in response to them. When stuff happens, there is a lot of discussion, but little changes structurally or institutionally. 

I think the community was not meant to scale. OP and EVF (affiliated organization) promoted EA growth in the past so they could get more people working on their priority problems but never set in place mechanisms to govern a larger community. 

Essentially, I think to some extent these organizations see the EA community as an means to an end, and don't want to take responsibility for the messiness that comes with building a community.  

I would like to see the EA community set up in ways to govern itself rather than depend on a few actors (OP/EVF ecosystem) whose incentives don't always line up with what is best for the community.  

FWIW I think it would likely be hard for most people (especially those without a strong internet presence or who don't write regularly) to have a rich comments section on other platforms, but I could be underestimating the difficulty of getting blog readers.

The point is that it seemed like the post was banned from the front page because of strong language, and this doesn't see to have been a rule that has been enforced in the past. 

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