Julia_Wise

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

Comments

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

What is the closest thing you know to EA that isn't EA?

A couple of historical predecessors:

The scientific charity movement starting in the 1870s: https://www.jefftk.com/p/scientific-charity-movement

And John Wesley advocating earning to give in the 1700s: https://www.jefftk.com/p/history-of-earning-to-give-iii-john-wesley

AMA: Working at the Centre for Effective Altruism

For me it might be two sides of the same coin (particular to my role on the community health team).

The positive is getting to serve a community I really believe in, and supporting people who feel very much on the same team as me as far as big life goals.

The negative is that there's less separation between work life and community life than there would be in a lot of jobs. I'm not a normal community member in the way I was before I worked here - there are more things I have to try to be neutral on, etc. Facebook is mostly a work space for me.

AMA: Working at the Centre for Effective Altruism

I have a similar impression to Amy - when I came on almost 6 years ago and for several years after, things were much looser. There was not a particularly consistent strategy, hiring was sometimes very informal, and we were running a lot of projects without always having adequate staffing to do a good job.

Now things are more settled, more formalized (e.g. annual performance reviews, standard hiring process, clearer communication about who is responsible for what). We're less likely to take on big new projects, and we're focused on better performance on our existing projects.

RyanCarey's Shortform

My favorite example of Slate Star Codex translating into Republican is the passage on climate change starting with "In the 1950s": https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/10/16/five-case-studies-on-politicization/

Small and Vulnerable

I really appreciate both this piece and your drive to leave this world better than you found it!

This made me think about two of my favorite older pieces about EA, which are both about the tie between one's own losses and a drive to do something positive:

Derek Thompson on donating after the death of his mother: "Malaria is not merely the greatest killer of children in the world, but also it is the greatest killer of pregnant women. The disease plunders motherhood from both sides of the equation. The loss of a mother must be quantifiable by some measure of creative accounting, but in my experience it is immeasurable. This much I knew: There is the thing that I want, I cannot have it, but I can give it to somebody else."

Zoe Savitsky on donating in the aftermath of her cancer: "my current restrictions are stark. These twin recognitions – first, that in spite of my health struggles, I remain one of the most privileged people on the planet, and second, that my physical isolation has made me crave engagement with the world – led me to Giving What We Can."

Being Vocal About What Works

You probably wouldn’t consider yourself an EA if it didn’t improve your life.

I don't think EAs should keep doing things that make them miserable (as with the noisy housing example someone gives below), but I don't think personal benefit is or should be the main reason to do EA. I'm not a fan of the obligation/excitement dichotomy because I feel some of both, but the word that fits best to me is "determination."

I get benefits from being part of EA, like friendships with smart and caring people. But there are other smart and caring people I could have met in other communities, and I'd probably be personally a bit happier if I made some other community my main focus, one with less emphasis on animal suffering and existential risk.

To paraphrase a Greg Lewis piece, it would be surprising if the community that's best for improving the world is also best for my personal satisfaction. I've chosen to make this community my main focus because I think it lets me make progress on problems in the world, and it also feels sustainable for me to do so (even though not the most enjoyable thing I could focus on). And part of what makes it sustainable is also having family/parenting as the other major focus in my life, so that EA is not the only thing going on for me.

Julia_Wise's Shortform

Write roundup posts!

The posts I've made that I think yielded the most value for the amount of work I put in were essentially lists of other people's work.

EA Syllabi and teaching materials

Giving now vs. later: a summary

There are other formats that may make sense, like tags for material on this forum, or wikis. But the general principle is that you can do something really useful by making it easy for people to find existing material on a topic.

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