All of Holocron's Comments + Replies

Is EA ignoring significant possibilities for impact?

Thanks Aaron, I'm happy to see this is an actively enforced community norm. I must admit that not knowing that it was a norm, in I did downvote comments in response, then subsequently propose a monitoring system (or even a system warning against this as it's being done). Will undo (or feel free to undo on my behalf) downvotes.

If you have feedback on making comments more great, please let me know!

4Aaron Gertler8mo
I'll leave your votes to you — we don't actively remove votes unless the circumstances are extreme (e.g. removing all votes from a sockpuppet account someone used to upvote their own content).
EA Forum feature suggestion thread

Consider protections to prevent "pattern downvoting," that is, a single forum user downvoting every one of another user's comments and articles, particularly in articles and comments that have received few views.

Usually it's not the case that every comment made by a single person contains zero value and is detrimental to online discourse. However, some people seem to have a tendency to want to do so. Rather than allowing one person to suppress the views of another's right after publication, it would be better for other users to vote to ensure the content i... (read more)

Is EA ignoring significant possibilities for impact?

I firmly believe that such "suppression," especially if done unilaterally by a single person, is exceptionally likely to be harmful. I strongly condemn such actions.

Furthermore, this is an ineffective strategy given that I can simply (and probably should) write up additional top-level posts that contain other informed views on EA.

Is EA ignoring significant possibilities for impact?

Hi Charles,

I am very sorry you feel that way. I hope that by starting off my comment with "My apologies for the extended delay in response! I appreciate the engagement" I'm not indicating I'm "toxic" and "borderline abusive."

It's very concerning to see continual inaction on these matters since I care about the future of this movement and the world, so when bringing up long unaddressed problems (which you seem to be implicitly recognizing as somewhat valid) I don't think it's unreasonable to take a more critical tone. I'm fairly confident I can find a lot o... (read more)

Is EA ignoring significant possibilities for impact?

My apologies for the extended delay in response! I appreciate the engagement.

I recommend this below, but I'll also say it here: If you have questions or uncertainties about something in EA (for example, how EA funders model the potential impact of donations), try asking questions!

Contrary to your assumption, I have a lot of information on EA, and I'm aware that the problems I'm pointing out aren't being implemented. There is likely a gap in understanding that is common in written communication.

This communication gap would be less of a problem if the broade... (read more)

There are many probabilities between 0 and 1.
-34Charles He8mo
Is EA ignoring significant possibilities for impact?

Disregarding academic evidence on a cause level (x-risk) is not the same as doing so on an intervention level.

There most certainly is a substantial gap in evaluations of programs, particularly novel ideas, which has gone unaddressed throughout the entire existence of the EA community. Those efforts are crippled by the dominant views that only a few careers and courses of action are appropriate (see how 80K thinks about careers, for example), so that very much reduces the interest in evaluating other programs.

Is EA ignoring significant possibilities for impact?

Along the lines of "EA lacks a system to suggest, discuss, and evaluate improvements to EA community strategy and recommendations issued to the community" this is exemplary of the lack of community-level coordination and knowledge management in EA. Efforts like the EA Wiki, which received no substantial support from the community whatsoever, have failed. The entire area has minimal interest and attention allocated to it. The EA Forum lacks some extremely obvious features—a registry of everyone in EA, for starters, edit: which was relegated to the volunteer-run and poorly resourced EA Hub for years.

Is EA ignoring significant possibilities for impact?
better to critic specific points rather than something broad like ‘all strategy of EA affiliated orgs’.

I'm mentioning broad concerns I have about the movement's strategy, primarily a potential underemphasis on acquiring resources and an overemphasis on established courses of impact. How exactly would I critic specific points? I mention potential examples of problems and associated optimizations, such as relying more on decision analysis than RCTs.

generally, if it seems like a large number of really smart people in EA appear to be missing somethi
... (read more)
Value of Working in Ads?

This reasoning makes sense to me. I think it's difficult to measure the net impact of the global advertising industry, but that might not be relevant. Thinking counterfactually, if we assume you are purely executing a plan that others at Google created with programming skills that Google could hire other engineers to replace, the marginal impact of doing software engineering for Google Ads is essentially zero. I would be more concerned about the impact of your work if you were making high level business strategy or product decisions that could affect ... (read more)

I don't think this is true. 1. Headcount for teams at tech companies, including Google, regularly takes 3-6 months to get filled, if not longer. So if Jeff doesn't take his job (or alternatively, if he chooses to leave now), the projects he works on gets delayed by 3-6 engineering months, as a first approximation. 3-6 months is significant in an industry where people regularly change jobs every 2-3 years. 2. There is a lot of variance in engineering productivity both in general and in Google specifically. Perhaps the prior should be that your productivity is average for your job, however. 3. Even if Jeff has no say in high-level strategy or product, there are a lot of small, subtle, design decisions that engineers make on a daily basis that makes the product more/less usable, easier-to-maintain, etc. Though again maybe you should have a neutral prior.
Sharing my experience on the EA forum

I am personally not a fan of the strong upvote and strong downvote system. I think problems with that system may be coming into play here. I'm not sure how the algorithm actually works, but it seems like a small number of voters can dramatically reduce the total vote count of a comment or post, and that scenario reflects that minority's opinion much more than it may reflect overall perceptions. Highly penalizing posts that are generally perceived as fine by many but perceived as problematic by a few is a serious concern to take into account.

I li... (read more)