All of Harri Besceli's Comments + Replies

Get funding for your student group to buy productivity software

Remnote is pretty similar to Roam and also has a free version

Apply to EA Funds now

Thanks, we've now updated the page. 

Apply to EA Funds now

Hi, sorry for not responding to this comment sooner. 

It's taking us longer than we expected to decide on our plans for reopening applications. For context, some of the options of the programme that we're considering:
1. Continue to accept applications for funding group organizers from any EA group
2. Only accept new applications from a subset of groups

We will give an update on this by June 1st latest (~2 weeks before the deadline for the next application deadline for EA Infrastructure Fund), and either let people know when they will be able to apply for... (read more)

Thanks for the update Harri. I'd suggest putting this info on the main CBG page so applicants have an up to date picture.
Brief update on EA Grants

Just letting people know that applications to EA Community Building Grants are still open (someone mentioned being unsure about this based on this update).

Which Community Building Projects Get Funded?

(I'm the project lead of EA Community Building Grants at CEA) At the moment we don't have a good understanding of the cause of the distribution of the applications across regions. If for example this is due to an inappropriate publicity strategy or strong network effects this could mean that we're unnecessarily missing out on promising opportunities, so I agree with you that this is important to understand.

Thank you Harri! As mentioned in the OP, I think a publicity strategy that promotes CBGs in more places and has longer (or rolling) application windows would help attract more applicants. To understand the geographical distribution of applications better, I suggest asking some of the better established groups in places that didn’t see many applications why they didn’t apply. And it might be worth reviewing early communications with attendees/applicants to the European Group Retreat to see if they encouraged CBG applications, as this could explain why there were so many applications from Europe relative to everywhere else (though I take Joan’s point about the retreat itself happening after CBG applications closed).
EA Community Building Grants - Recent Grants Made and Changes to the Application Process

Hi Siebe,

Thanks for the questions - I’ve given some quick thoughts, though for some of the questions I would need more time to give a detailed answer than I think I can provide at the moment.

We think that there is a large amount of variance in the impact of individual grants that we’ve made. What makes you believe this? What kind of criteria are used to evaluate and compare the impact of individual grants?

In evaluating the impact of a grant, one of the main things that determine our assessment is cases of group members where a) we expect th... (read more)

Thanks for the elaborate response! Allow me to ask some follow-up questions, the topic is close to my heart :) Am I right to take away from this that the EA CB Grants Programme is capacity-constrained? Because I believe this would be important for other funders. I'm afraid there is a dynamic where CB-efforts have trouble finding non-CEA funding because alternative funders believe CEA has got all the good opportunities covered. I believe we should in general be skeptical that a small set of funders leads to the efficient allocation of resources. The grants programme being capacity-constrained would be evidence towards there being impactful opportunities for other funders. How does the programme approach this coordination with other funders? Relatedly, does CEA prefer to be a large part (>50%) or a smaller part of a community's funding? Say a community-building effort raises ~1 FTE for 1 year among their own community, would this affect the likelihood of being funded by CEA?
EA Community Building Grants Applications Open

Following up on this - we've conducted initial parts of the programme evaluation, though haven't yet done this comprehensively, and we're not at the moment planning on publishing a public impact evaluation for EA Community Building Grants before the end of 2020. This is mainly because we've decided to prioritise other projects (fundraising, grant evaluation, developing programme strategy) above a public impact review. Also, we've found both doing the impact evaluation and communicating this externally to be larger projects than we previously thought. In retrospect, I think it was a mistake for me to expect that we'd be able to get this done by August.

Only a few people decide about funding for community builders world-wide

Some additional thoughts on this:

How should the decision making on local community building funding be distributed across people and organisations?

I think it's reasonable that at the current scale of granting for local community building (~1 FTE, ~$1 million/ year, ~30 grants / year) the majority of the decision making is housed within one organisation, and that the majority of the decision work is contributed by one person. This level of specialisation and centralisation seems reasonable to me because I think that:

  1. Making good decisions requires a bu
... (read more)
Only a few people decide about funding for community builders world-wide

Hi Jan,

Thanks for flagging your concerns here. The scope of EA Community Building Grants (CBG) doesn't encompass all funding decisions regarding community building, but is limited to providing funding for people to do part-time or full-time community building with a specific EA group (i.e. at a university, city and national level). We’ve made some grants outside this category, though they account for less than 10% of the total funding we’ve granted out. Within this category of location specific EA community building, the CBG programme li... (read more)

Great to hear that several people are involved with making the grant decisions. I also want to stress that my post is not at all intended as a critique of the CBG programme.
Conditional interests, asymmetries and EA priorities

Anecdatally, I've taken medication for insomnia before and ended up trying to stay awake for longer because I was enjoying the sensation of sleepiness. Unfortunately fighting to stay awake was kind of unpleasant, and negated the enjoyment.

>>> I suppose you can point out an analogous-seeming case with depressed people who lack the willpower to improve anything about their low mood.

This reminds me of the 'Penfield mood organ' in Philip K. Dick's 'Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep?'

>>> From the bed... (read more)