Ivy_Mazzola

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New 80k problem profile - Climate change

Wow this looks to be an excellent piece (have only skimme but will read fully soon)! As well as being a great raw source of information, the page will help make discussing climate change with people new to the effective altruism philosophy much easier. You've really helped the whole community (and the other priority areas) with this one!

EA and the current funding situation

Thank you for this well-thought-out response. I appreciate the effort it took you and Michelle to respond to me. I am leaning much more that I was wrong about all this then. And if LA's application was initially part-time, that was one foundational wrong piece. I still wish that I could have received more details about my own application (the email specified that no feedback could be provided), but I will encourage more people I know to apply for CB work. 

I have added a qualifier to my original comment that I am probably wrong. As this particular forum piece and the comments are likely to be revisited for some time (maybe years?), I will probably eventually redact my comment fully to not confuse and deter future readers about how supported CB work would be. Will leave it up for epistemic reasons for at least a week longer.

Thanks again!

Ivy_Mazzola's Shortform

[[URGENT]] Seeking people to lead phone-banking coworking for Carrick Flynn's campaign today, tomorrow, or Tuesday in gather.town! There is an EA coworking room in gather town already.

This is a strong counterfactual opportunity! This event can be promoted on a lot of EA fb pages as a casual and fun event (after all, it won't even be affiliated with "EA", but just some people who are into this getting together to do it), hopefully leading to many more phone banker hours in the next couple days.

Would you or anyone else be willing to lead this? Please share! Hosts will be trained in phone-banking and how to train your participants in phone-banking. 

DM me and/or CarolineJ if you are keen to help and we will add you to the slack with all phone banking instructions. It is easy! (I will be traveling a lot so DMing both of us is a good bet)

You can read more about Carrick's campaign from an EA perspective here:
The best $5,800 I’ve ever donated (to pandemic prevention)
and
Why Helping the Flynn Campaign is especially useful right now

Read about the EA Gathertown space here:
EA coworking/lounge space on gather.town
 

EA and the current funding situation

Thanks for saying that. I understand that grantmaking is complex and that some CB plans simply won't be right to encourage. But I still don't really feel this changes my expectation around community building being funded for full-time. Some questions that would go a long way to correct this impression if answered:

(FWIW I feel weird posting this publicly, [EDIT: and I don't necessarily think you/EAIF should be expected to respond here] but I think it is important to ask these questions)

[EDIT: Also reading all this is probably not a productive activity for people who don't work in CB or grantmaking]

  1. Can you share how many of those organisers of non-american areas (Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic, Philippines) were mainly funded for FTE after doing PTE first? I know at least that in the Phillipines, some organizers were funded for part-time work first. I also remember reading one post by a part-time organizer (I think in the Phillipines) reflecting on that dilemma. S/he was lucky to get their full-time job to reduce to part-time, but wondering whether they should just quit their part-time job and work the remaining hours as EA Phillipine hours for free because there was so much to be done. This was very shocking to me. So, I'm glad to hear these areas have full-time organizer(s), but I wonder if that would have happened if a volunteer organizer came to you and said, "I want to make this my career, but I need to do it full-time and here are reasons I think it is impactful and relatively easy to prove out."
  2. Those full-time community builders you mentioned are still not in American cities. Can you by chance estimate how many applications you have gotten for full-time community building in American cities? (excluding the 4 priority cities that are now funded by CEA's Community Building Grants program, not EAIF?) Assumption being that you denied all of them, but definitely interested to hear if you approved any, but the applicant didn't take the role after all!
  3. (Not really a question) Would really appreciate if you guys would eventually publish the types of regional community organizing and programming you are excited to fund? You can still encourage submitting innovative ideas you may not have even thought of yet, but if you list established activities you like, the assumption can be that a lot of default community organizing activities don't make the cut (fair and I agree with this). I think clarifying this would have a big impact by helping people to create more impactful CB plans and making CB seem more skill-based and less vague and therefore a more desirable career path. The approval would still be contingent on the area and the applicant's strength, but this would go so far. And if is just an applicant's plans that aren't quite right, you can advise them to revise and resubmit very easily.

Other grantees are encouraged to work full-time on their ideas if they have good ideas. And while I appreciate your response I still don't get this vibe around CB. I think this is bad because I think that 1 FTE is usually worth much more than 2x0.5 FTEs. It is hard to do good work working part-time, and it is especially hard when you know that the people who are supposed to be better at evaluating good work than you don't believe in you or your work enough to encourage you to do it full-time.

Some more details (all events in the past 1-3 months):
-I realize that students can only do PTE and didn't lump University organizing in when forming this opinion. 
-one community organizer in DC did tell me that my few months of doing unpaid CB part-time was nowhere near enough to go straight into paid fulltime work, although I wasn't working at that time and was spending about 20 hours a week on CB and getting up to speed studying CB from EA and non-EA sources. I also had pre-covid CB experience.
-I shared my city plans at EAG and others in the field thought they were good. I do now think they could have been better, as I kept learning in the last month, but I also would have come to that conclusion while doing the work as well. 
-I know personally of at least one big US city (much bigger than Austin) which was denied for FTE and a month later approved for PTE, though I think their plans may have improved in the interim.

Bad Omens in Current Community Building

Thanks for responding! I'm actually super excited about UGAP and have already recommended the program to student organizers now that your applications are open (applications are open, people!). I do note that the 25 hour time commitment is for "at least one organizer", but I also think mentoring will go a long way to make those 25+/- hours count for more. That's great that you do interviews to determine quality and you clarify what quality content is.

Excited to see what comes of it :)

Bad Omens in Current Community Building

Tbh I've had success with this approach. Usually, someone will say "like who?" and then I get to rattle off some names with a clause-length bio without making their eyes glaze over, because they proactively requested the information. Other times they won't ask because they are more interested in the overall point than who thinks it anyway, and they probably already trsut me by that point. Sometimes I'd actually have to google anyway "well I know one was the head of this org and one was the author of this book, let me look those up" and then people are like "whatever whatever I believe you." It is the ideas that matter anyway

In general, I think it is good to talk casually, and this kind of wording is very natural for me with the benefit that I don't screw up my train of thought trying to remember names then anyway. If it isn't natural for you (and I guess for many EAs it won't be, now that you mention it) don't do it

Bad Omens in Current Community Building

I am aware of the reasons, and I still think it has been focused on to the neglect of other things. Perhaps I should have said extreme focus instead. Maybe that is budget consciousness (uni groups have in the past been run by free and cheap volunteers), but it doesn't seem that should have been a strict consideration for a couple of years now. I'm not saying student groups aren't good but that given bottlenecks and given CEA's limited bandwidth, I don't think it warrants the extreme focus and bullishness I see from many these days, to, I can only assume, the detriment of other programs and other experimentation. Almost all of those students will still be recommended to enter regular careers and gain career capital before they can be competitive for doing direct work, and it is unclear how many students from these groups are even going for direct work on longtermist areas. I think perspectives here might depend on AGI timelines.

Let me also clarify that I am talking about uni groups, as opposed to targeted skilling-up programs hosted at universities. I'm also guessing that that 2015 stanford group was a lot different than the uni groups today. 8 week intro fellowships didn't exist then

EA and the current funding situation

Thanks for your kind words. Most people have been surprised which has been affirming (much needed because rejections are the opposite). I got some in-person feedback suggesting EAIF saw risks to doing Austin CB too soon or with the wrong person (ouch). 

I'm sure lots of people submit actually-risky projects who simply can't see them as risky (or themselves as risky agents), so take my confusion with a grain of salt.  The fund managers are people I genuinely respect. I'm just concerned that it was beaurecrat's curse which is also modus operandi for non-uni CB all around. EA has some bottlenecks that early or mid-career professionals are better suited to fill than students. So I don't want non-uni groups to be unhelpfully neglected. 

EA and the current funding situation

Recently, but it's complicated: 
I applied mid-March to FTX Future Fund. They passed me on to EAIF, saying they felt EAIF was better equipped to evaluate the grant (Fair, but I had chosen FTX because I saw no full-time employment grants for community builders in EAIF's past grant reports).  To their credit, EAIF did reach out to my references and gave me an interview in early April (so they were probably on the fence). Then said no on April 15th. 

P.S. I'm confident I could have gotten funding for part-time work, but I think the most impactful and innovative stuff for information value comes in the "later" hours, like designing and presenting workshops and courses. I could be thinking about this wrong but part-time work for an entire city is comparatively (and urgently) full of meetups, 1:1s, information dissemination, email, light outreach, and ops. Still important but not what I thought made the role most worth creating. 

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