I'm a contact person for the effective altruism community: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/hYh6jKBsKXH8mWwtc/a-contact-person-for-the-ea-community

Please feel free to contact me at julia.wise@centreforeffectivealtruism.org.

I work at CEA as a community liaison, trying to make the EA community stronger and more welcoming. I also serve on the board of GiveWell.

Besides effective altruism, I'm interested in folk dance and trying to keep up with my three children.

Wiki Contributions


Open Thread: Winter 2021

You're not alone in finding these topics mind-boggling and distressing!

If you'd like to talk to people and there's not an EA group near you, you could join the EA Anywhere group: https://eahub.org/group/effective-altruism-anywhere-2/

There's also the EA Peer Support group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ea.peer.support

Why Charities Usually Don't Differ Astronomically in Expected Cost-Effectiveness

This was useful pushback on the details of a claim that is technically true, and was frequently cited at one point, but that isn't as representative of reality as it sounds.

Beware surprising and suspicious convergence

I think of this post often - the pattern comes up in so many areas.

It's OK to feed stray cats

To be clear, this was an indoor foster cat, formerly a stray.

You have more than one goal, and that's fine

Stuff I'd change if I were rewriting this now:

  • not include the reference to "youngish" EAs wanting to govern everything by cost-effectiveness. I think it's more a result of being new to the idea than young.
  • make clearer that I do think significant resources should go toward improving the world. Without context, I don't think that's clear from this post.

This post is pushing against a kind of extremism, but it might push in the wrong direction for some people who aren't devoting many resources to altruism. It's not that I think people in general should be donating more to their friend's fundraiser or their community arts organization - I'd rather see them putting more resources towards things that are more important and cost-effective. But I would like people to examine whether they're doing things for more self-regarding personal reasons, or for optimizer-y improve-the-world reasons. And enjoy the resources they put toward themselves and their friends, but also take seriously the project of improving the world and put significant resources toward that. Rather than being confused about which project you're pursuing, which I think is suboptimal both for your own enjoyment and for improving the world.

A contact person for the EA community

I’m adding info about some mistakes I’ve made so people can be aware of my track record. While I’ll do my best to keep confidential anything you want to talk to me about privately, I can’t guarantee that I’ll never make a mistake. So far, I know of two situations where I’ve failed to maintain confidentiality.

I tally that in the 6 years I’ve been in this role, I’ve handled about 135 situations where confidentiality was implied or requested by members of the community (not counting more standard situations like internal work emails). Here are the two mistakes I know I’ve made around confidentiality:

  • Someone sent me a draft of a critique of my colleague’s book, which I agreed to keep confidential. In deciding what to do with the email chain the following week, I forgot that they had asked for confidentiality in the first message, and sent it to my colleague. You can read more detail here.
  • Someone confidentially told me about a problem in the community they had heard about. We agreed that I would look into the problem and talk to one of the people involved. In investigating the concern, I talked to some other people involved in a way that I thought was probably ok with the person who initially talked to me, but I didn’t check. They actually weren’t ok with it. I should have checked with the person to clarify whether they were ok with me investigating in a way that revealed some of the information they shared with me. It’s possible that my talking to people involved made it harder for the victim to do their own evidence-gathering about what happened.

It's very important to me that EA is a place where people trust each other, and I really regret both these mistakes.

If you know of other mistakes I’ve made that I should learn from, you can contact me at julia.wise@centreforeffectivealtruism.org, my manager, Nicole Ross, at nicole.ross@centreforeffectivealtruism.org, and/or CEA’s executive director, Max Dalton at max@centreforeffectivealtruism.org. You can also contact CEA anonymously via our contact form (which goes to our operations staff, but they can route to other staff if you request that.)

APPLY NOW | EA Global: London (29-31 Oct) | EAGxPrague (3-5 Dec)

It's a good question. For some people who have already considered their plans pretty carefully and who don't expect much benefit from meeting others in the community, it might not be worthwhile. Or just people for whom the travel / time costs would be unusually high (personally, I'm in that category this year).

I expect it to be most valuable for people who are considering some kind of change of plan in how they might have impact. Hearing about projects in the community and getting input from other people on your plans could be really valuable, allowing you to have much more impact than by donating the monetary cost of attending the conference.

I realize people who had an unusually good experience are more likely to write posts about a conference, but here are some posts giving a sense of the kinds of value some other people have gotten: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/TzmPTBYFHPYbvFbjd/reflections-on-ea-global-london-2019-mrinank-sharma https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/mMEzk55R33vvHPgyd/reflections-on-ea-global-from-a-first-time-attendee https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/PCQ4i5EK7vZ8pR2tF/why-you-should-consider-going-to-ea-global

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