Karla Still

Community builder/coordinator at EA Finland and Helsinki. Environmental and food economics student.


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Bad Omens in Current Community Building

As a community builder, I've lately thought about how much you can or should push and support other volunteers and new participants to engage more with EA. That could be offering 1-1 calls, sending private and group messages about specific opportunities and asking for help in organizing events among else. For context, this is mostly a reflection on what I think we (the other organizers and I) should maybe do in EA Finland.

Arguments for more pushing: 
I obviously believe what we're doing as a community is important and want more people to engage more in EA. My group is competing for the participants' time with other student groups and free-time activities. If we put effort into it, I think we could ask for more of the community members' time, by creating more pleasant activities and clear projects and actively encouraging people to join conferences, programmes and more. I can come up with many less impact-driven student or hobby groups that are successful at that. If you together create motivation and momentum and get people to prioritize EA activities I'm pretty sure they will find the needed time. I might sometimes err to the side of being "too respectful" of people's time when people might be happy to help out and want to be reminded of an upcoming event or need to be encouraged to pursue something difficult.

Against pushing people:
I want people to feel they can engage with EA ideas on their own terms without feeling they are more or less valued based on their commitment. Some people are also genuinely busy and too kind to say no to volunteering even when they should. I think the post also had many great examples of failed attempts to engage people.

I'm eager to get results, and HEA is a relatively easy metric, but it should not come at the expense of the participants' well-being or rule over their interests. When you're in the mode of growing your group, you might forget to treat people as individuals and adapt to the circumstances of the discussion.

Bad Omens in Current Community Building

Thank you for writing this post! I recently had a discussion with some EA intro fellowship participants who experienced that EA is very demanding with expectations on changing your career etc and that it gives a very cultish or religious impression. Some said they are interested in EA and implementing some tools and mindsets in their life but that's it. I think we should embrace that too