All of Ivy_Mazzola's Comments + Replies

Climate change - Problem profile

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 foru... (read more)

This was a really inspiring reply to read Ivy.
Ivy_Mazzola's Shortform

[[URGENT]] Seeking people to lead phone-banking coworking for Carrick Flynn's campaign today, tomorrow, or Tuesday in! 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! ... (read more)

I'll be able to do phonebanking on Tuesday from 10am to 1pm PT on Tuesday - join then! And I'm happy to help coordinate outside of this!
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 p... (read more)

Hi, EAIF chair here. I agree with Michelle's comment above, but wanted to reply as well to hopefully help shed more light on our thinking and priorities.

As a preamble, I think all of your requests for information are super reasonable, and that in an ideal world we'd provide such information proactively. The main reason we're not doing so are capacity constraints.

I also agree it would be helpful if we shared more about community building activities we'd especially like to see, such as Buck did here and as some AMA questions may have touched uppn. Again this... (read more)

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... (read more)

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 assu... (read more)

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... (read more)

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... (read more)

Bad Omens in Current Community Building

Thank you for writing this. I worry a lot about university groups being led by inexperienced people who have only heard of EA recently, especially given the huge focus on university groups (so, so much more focus than on regional groups or professional groups)! EA seems to be really banking on universities**, so much so that we are kinda screwed if it is done poorly, and turning people off. Some thoughts and theories:

1. Experience of organizers:

I bet the mentorship and training in the new University Group Accelerator Program will help, but also I am n... (read more)

Hi Ivy,

Just wanted to hop in re: the University Group Accelerator program. You are definitely hitting on some key points that we have been strategizing around for UGAP. I just want to clarify a few things:

  • * We see 25 hours as the minimum amount of time engaging with EA ideas before someone should help start a group. Often times we think it should be more but there have been cases of really great organizers springing up after just an intro fellowship. We have additional screening for UGAP groups beyond just meeting the pre-requisites that dive a bit more in
... (read more)
The focus on student groups is also inherently redflaggy for some people, as it can be viewed as looking for people who have less scepticism and experience.
8Chris Leong2mo
There are multiple reasons for the focus on student outreach: * Students are early on in their careers. You are much more likely to be able to affect their trajectory because a) they are often still deciding (and may even seek out your advice!) b) they lack sunk cost c) they have access to low-cost opportunities like internships to try out various paths. * Students have large amounts of free time and the enthusiasm/energy of youth. If an aspect of EA sounds interesting to them, they are more likely to read about it. They have more time to volunteer and more time to invest in skilling up. * Top schools provide an opportunity to connect with people at a certain level of talent. These people are much harder to access later in their careers, both because they are busier, but also because they are distributed at many different companies instead of all concentrated on a few campuses. Beyond this, attending events is so much easier as a student and schools have, for instance, O-Days where societies can recruit members. * Besides these theoretical reasons, I expect CEA is basing this on experience and looking at the highest performers in EA and how they became involved in EA. See, for example, this post [] which notes: Obviously, that's cherry-picked, but it's still illustrative of how impactful uni group organising can be.
8N N2mo
A small thing, but citing a particular person seems less culty to me than saying "some well-respected figures think X because Y". Having a community orthodoxy seems like worse optics than valuing the opinions of specific named people.

| Separation from friends and loved ones: Happens accidentally due to value changes.

I hope by this you mean something like "People in general tend to feel a bit more distant from friends when they realise they have different values and EA values are no exception." But if you've actually noticed much more substantial separation tending to happen, I personally think this is something we should push back against, even if it does happen accidentally. Not just for optics' sake ("Mentioning other people and commitments in your life other than EA might go a long ... (read more)

Have you ever made a valuable connection with someone via the Forum?

I'm so glad you guys are prioritizing this! Note that the comment ahead is focused on DMs. But I acknowledge incentiving DMs isn't the only (or even best) way to encourage useful connections. Here goes:

Yes, I DMed an author of a post, he responded favorably, and we met at an approaching EAG to talk further. This was useful and we agreed to remain in each other's networks, eg hear about successes to implement in our similar work, or be on hand for advice as needed.

Special context: He had posted a piece on a topic I had experience on. I agreed with his premi... (read more)

Very helpful - thanks a lot Ivy!
EA and the current funding situation

[EDIT 2: Based on the responses I received, I am probably wrong here. I will probably delete my portion eventually to not deter future readers from applying for grants. Leaving it up for a while longer for epistemic reasons. FYI that reading this thread might be a poor use of time.]

Side note: I see you mention multiple times that community building is a good use of money, and I agree, but that hasn't been what I have been seeing EAIF, the primary funder for CB work, go by. It is possible you are not using the term community building in the way I think of i... (read more)

[I’m an EAIF grant manager, but I wasn’t involved in this particular grant.]

I’m sorry you’ve been having a frustrating time in your community building work. As you say, rejections sting even in the best of circumstances, particularly when it feels counter to the narrative being portrayed of there being funding available. Working hard to help others is difficult enough without feeling that others are refusing to support you in it.

It seems very difficult to me to accurately represent in advance what kinds of community building EAIF is and isn’t keen to fund,... (read more)

9Charles He2mo
(Disclaimer: I don’t know if my support or comment has value, no one likes me and I have poor hygiene.) People I know interacted with this person in real life in a professional context. From these interactions, what the commentor is saying seems accurate. In this particular instance, it seems like a valuable and talented leader could have been funded to do good, well aligned EA work that they were deeply passionate about.
2Chris Leong2mo
When did you apply? I wouldn't be surprised if you had a better chance of being funded now than in the past.
How do we create a culture of ambition without deteriorating the community’s mental health?

Something I want to start in EA Austin is a group failure spreadsheet as discussed on the forum here and in greater detail here. I think this is something that EA slack workspaces and other groups could really benefit from! I think community organizers could spearhead promoting this to their cohort!

P.S. I realize this comment is late. Just found this post while skimming the nonlinear library and felt I had something actionable to contribute.

Issues with centralised grantmaking

To be honest, the overall (including non-EA) grantmaking ecosystem is not so centralized that people can't get funding for possibly net-negative ideas elsewhere. Especially given they have already put work in, have a handful of connections, or will be working in a sort of "sexy" cause area like AI that even some rando UHNWI would take interest in. 

Given that, I don't think that keeping grantmaking very centralized yields enough of a reduction in risk that it is worth protecting centralized grantmaking on that metric. And frankly, sweeping such risky a... (read more)

tl;dr please write that post I'm very strongly in favor of this level of transparency. My co-founder Max has been doing some work along those lines in coordination with CEA's community health team. But if I understand correctly, they're not that up front about why they're reaching out. Being more "on the nose" about it, paired with a clear signal of support would be great because these people are usually well-meaning and can struggle parsing ambiguous signals. Of course, that's a question of qualified manpower - arguably our most limited resource - but we shouldn't let our limited capacity for immediate implementation stand in the way of inching ever closer to our ideal norms.
Issues with centralised grantmaking

As a community manager, I care a lot about maximizing the potential of any community member who is already deep enough on the EA engagement funnel to even be applying for a grant. In addition to the (very good) reasons in OP's post, I want to see the grantmaking ecosystem become less centralized because:

1. Founders, scalers, and new projects are a bottleneck for EA and it is surprisingly hard to prompt people to take such a route. It seems to be a personality thing, so we should look twice before dismissing people who want to try. 

2. Even if a project... (read more)

NFT Sale for GiveDirectly

Sorry you are getting downvoted. You might want to emphasize what you say in your link:

"I view this drop as an experiment. My opinion is that smaller donors may need more to feel appreciated. While giving has a positive benefit on a person’s psychology, it’s easy to feel disconnected when you don’t see the benefits of your donations."

I think this is good for information value and potentially as an actual intervention. I've spoken to people in the community I respect about doing something like this (actually, funding an EA artist to create materials relevan... (read more)

1Ian Sagstetter5mo
Hi Ivy, I appreciate you commenting. I don't have any issues with being downvoted. I could be wrong for going out and doing this. Also, I should've been more explicit in the post. I think your views on this are correct as well. When you look at Peter Singer's NFT drop, there was a lot of perceived value for the unique art piece posted. That alone raised ~8.5-9k. I think there's certainly a use case for members who are well off, especially when looking at the greater marketplace. More unique art drives more value... thus creating less use of the associated technologies that might have negative effects on the environment (I'm not an expert on this). -- Per the points you made: 1. I did my best to not explicitly mention EA in the article. I will go back and review. I know this isn't the most pressing topic, so I didn't want it to look like I was doing this on behalf of any org associated with EA. I wanted to share here for any feedback. I only know a few members who are active in the crypto space. 2. Totally agree. This was a passive activity and just something I wanted to do. I've reached out to a few people in the community about this, and while some found it interesting, it's not of great value atm. I'll continue to work on similar things in the Web3 space and see if/how they might translate over in the future. 3. The primary reason I picked GiveDirectly is because I've typically given to them. They also accept Ether. I thought of AMF, but when I went to their site, they only accept Bitcoin (I believe?) for cryptocurrencies. Again, since the was a passive activity, I just went with my gut and did what I thought was right in the moment. -- "I actually think this is less of a risk with actual art. It is more human, and art makes people's hearts soften." -- I would agree with regards to higher net worth donors. -- Looking back on it, I should've kept this out of EA associated channels. Again thanks for commenting and bringing some of this to light. I apprecia
Linch's Shortform

Just scanning shortform for kicks and see this. Good thoughts and I find myself cringeing at the term "existential risk" often because of what you say about extinction, and wishing people spoke about utopia.

 Can I ask your reasoning for putting this in shortform? I've seen pieces on the main forum with much less substance. I hope you write something else up about this. I think utopia framework could also be good for community mental health, while for many people still prompting them to the same career path and other engagement.

Thanks for your kind words! I don't have a strong opinion about this, but I think of shortforms as more quickly dashed off thoughts, while frontpage posts have (relatively) more polish or novelty or both. Another thing is that this shortform feels like a "grand vision" thing, and I feel like main blog posts that talk about grand visions/what the entire community should do demand more "justification" than either a) shortforms that talk about grand visions/what the entire community should do or b) main blog posts that are more tightly scoped. And I didn't provide enough of such justification. Another consideration that jumps to mind is something about things in the shortform being similar to my job but not quite my job, and me not wanting to mislead potential employees, collaborators, etc, about what working on longtermism at Rethink is like. (This is especially an issue because I don't post job outputs here that often, so a marginal post is more likely to be misleading). Not sure how much to weigh this consideration, but it did pop to mind.
Examples for impact of Working at EAorg instead of ETG

OP posted this question, worded slightly differently, on Facebook as well. I answered there, and they asked me to repost here.

[TLDR: I don't think that anyone can give you the examples relevant for you. You need to find and speak to the relevant people, outside of EA as well. It is very doable, but there are also workarounds if you can't decide right now. Action creates clarity.]

I think 80K is actually saying it is better for most people to do direct work (including but not limited to neglected roles at EA orgs) than ETG. So don't just consi... (read more)

I don't need examples "relevant to me". I just wanted to know what sort of impact people are making say in Open Phil CE or other EAs considering relevant factors such as replaceability in fields like GR, AI SSP, and management positions. Sorry that was not clear. This is a claim what 80khours makes. Do you have ONE example for this claim? It looks like "career advice" to me. What I am asking seems to be different. Evidence for claims "working at EA org is better than ETG (for most people)" based on NOW. That's all. I don't know what you mean with cruxes. I guess you mean things that are stopping you from going further. The QUESTION posted is what I wanted more info about. But sadly NO ONE seems to be able answer it. I reached out to several orgs and people regarding the question above. But most of them aren't able to provide me any useful info such as amount of dollars moved or replaceability. The only people that answered me are Peter Hurford and Jon Behar. I also wanted to get some info on the fully longtermism projects but I have 0 info. Maybe I check with Aaron Gertler on how to go about it or try arranging one on ones during the conference in London in a few months. Sounds good in case in case I manage an interview. Thanks. Thanks for outlining how to go about determining the value and comparing different options. I appreciate it. Interviews might be something I would need to go after. I shall see how I can do that. Emailing, pming and posting in ea forums does not seem to help or am missing something. It appears that people don't have these numbers and are not interested in them. I didn't get any useful answer from EAF, Open Phil, FHI, CEA and didn't get far with this EXACT SAME QUESTION on replaceability. Perfect. I hope EAG can help me out with IIs (informational interviews). Good luck to you. Have you tried reaching out to people, what was the response like. Who responded? What did you ask exactly? (Maybe in pm? I can share with you more details o
Making discussions in EA groups inclusive

When I first came across this post, it had 10 down-votes. People who are down-voting, can you please explain why? To just down-vote seems unproductive.

One reason I can think this may be happening is that people who are down-voting are reading OP to be saying "I am not welcome to open discussion and new ideas" so they see no point in attempting to discuss. I don't think that is an accurate view of the post however. And even if it were, it doesn't help the other forum-goers who would like to see the opposing points made which are supposedly sound enough that some portion of EAs had no problem putting the post pretty deep in the negative.

[I didn't downvote.] I fear the story is that this is something of a 'hot button' issue, and people in either 'camp' have sensitivities about publicly speaking out on one side or the other for fear of how others in the opposing 'camp' may react towards them. (The authors of this document are anonymous; previous conversations on this area in this forum have had detractors also use anon accounts or make remarks along the lines of, 'I strongly disagree with this, but I don't want to elaborate further'). Hence ... (read more)

Are you implying that every time someone downvotes a post they should provide an accompanying explanation of their decision? If not, what makes this post different from others?