11938 karmaJoined Aug 2014Boston, MA, USAjuliawise.net


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.


2023 project on reforms in EA


Topic contributions

I admire your drive to help others!
I do think early in my life I underweighted shopping around because I was so focused on frugality (and it's easy to be discouraged when job searches take a long time). Best wishes as you explore the options.

I appreciate you helping others learn from your experiences, and I'm sorry they were difficult ones. Thank you for flagging the risks here.

I don't think this is correct; most of the US doesn't have any age limit on informal jobs like babysitting and yard work. It's typically legal for children of any age to work for their parents' business. My ten-year-old is sometimes keen to earn money by washing windows or raking leaves for our neighbors, and I don't see anything wrong with this as long as she can opt out when she wishes.

Hi, some thoughts from the community health team.

First, I’m sorry you’ve had this bad experience — we don’t want EA groups to be like this! I do notice that sub-areas within the same community can develop pretty different cultures, and I’m sorry you’ve ended up in an area where the culture is so discouraging.

There are options for professional networking in EA outside your local group if you decide you still want to, for example:

  • EA Anywhere online group
  • EA Global and EAGx conferences, especially meetups for specific fields
  • There may be an online group for your career area

You’ve likely already considered this, but if you leave your field to avoid needing to interact with these people, there’s a question of whether other fields are significantly better. Basically any field will include some people who do shady things — sites like Ask A Manager are full of people behaving badly in professional contexts. But interacting with a shady person in the same professional field is different from needing to work closely with them, and it’s much more possible to choose to work for a team or an organization you generally feel good about. 

You mentioned you don’t feel that comfortable talking to the community health team — in case it’s helpful, you can ask us questions about how we work, or raise things anonymously via this form. (Please leave a burner email or something if you’d like us to get back to you!) You may want to talk to someone else at CEA, even if you don’t want to talk to our team — for example someone on the groups team if you have concerns about a group organizer.

The ability to schedule when you want (as opposed to a therapist who only has a slot at 2:30 on Thursdays) is another benefit, especially compared to in-person therapy you need to travel to. I have a pet peeve about studies that don't count the cost to beneficiaries of taking time off work, or whatever else they'd be doing with their time, to travel to and from an appointment during the workday.

There are no whistleblower systems in place at any major EA orgs as far as I know

I’ve heard this claim repeatedly, but it’s not true that EA orgs have no whistleblower systems. 

I looked into this as part of this project on reforms at EA organizations: Resource on whistleblowing and other ways of escalating concerns

  • Many organizations in EA have whistleblower policies, some of which are public in their bylaws (for example, GiveWell and ACE publish their whistleblower policies among other policies). EV US and EV UK have whistleblower policies that apply to all the projects under their umbrella (CEA, 80,000 Hours, etc.) This is just a normal thing for nonprofits; the IRS asks whether you have one even though they don't strictly require it, and you can look up on a nonprofit’s 990 whether they have such a policy. 
  • Additionally, UK law, state law in many US states, and lots of other countries provide some legal protections for whistleblowers. Legal protection varies by state in the US, but is relatively strong in California.
  • Neither government protections nor organizational policies cover all the scenarios where someone might reasonably want protection from negative effects of bringing a problem to light. But that seems to be the case in all industries, including in the nonprofit field in general, not something unusual about EA.
  • I’m not aware of any EA organizations that provide financial rewards for whistleblowers, which seem like they’d be very tricky to administer without creating incentives you don't want. The main example of financial rewards that I’m aware of is that the US government provides large financial rewards to whistleblowers whose evidence leads to the conviction of some fraud cases.

Thank you for writing this up! 
It's helpful that you flag that the large majority of studies are done in the US. I would find it helpful in discussing interventions if the location is flagged more - for example, the cash transfers intervention is in rural Kenya. My impression is that these interventions don't generalize well across different settings.

Love this topic!

>Do these interventions lead to a permanent reduction in family size, or a temporary one?

Note that even if total number of children ends up the same, there are benefits to spacing children by at least 18 months in terms of health (mother has more chance to recover between pregnancies, mother and baby are better nourished, better care for older siblings). Families may also be able to better afford to educate children who are more widely spaced.

This isn't relevant to all the impacts, you list, though — still worth thinking about those separately!

Does "before/after" mean the kids came before the Nobel, or the Nobel came before the kids? (probably what you want is the work that earned the Nobel, which is harder to time.)

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