8 karmaJoined Feb 2021


I think this is a great list and it also aligns with how I want the EA community to be, but also how I perceive the majority of it to already be (with the few exceptions that get outsized attention).

It's probably just because of the original format, but after renaming #8 from "altruism" to "impartial altruism", this generates an unfortunate overlap with #11 (impartiality) that might be avoidable (though I'm unsure how).

Regarding #19 (veganism), I feel it's weird that you just crossed out this point from the original list instead of sharing your own thoughts, so I'd recommend changing it and arguing why you think veganism should or shouldn't be an EA value.

Yes, fully agreed. It's a common cognitive bias to consider only the biases and motives of the others and not your own. I didn't want to call out the Heterodox Academy in particular, the same could be said about practically any group or movement. It just emphasizes my point that it's hard to guarantee inclusion of diverse thoughts through questionaires.

Aditya, thank you for your perspective! I think you have raised some excellent points, especially that movements are by definition exclusive as they would just be the "mainstream" otherwise, and that EA values align with a WEIRD background. I also agree that many people think of diversity as a box to tick and they don't actually want to engage with a set of truly diverse people. And honestly, I think everyone (including myself) should meditate on their motivations for increasing diversity (e.g. wanting more women in EA to extend one's dating pool might be a natural instinct but it's the worst possible driver for a gender diversity initiative).

On the other hand, over 50% of WEIRD people are women (academic participation and success of women now outnumbers men), probably 10% are LGBTQ, a significant number are People of Color and an also significant number vote for conservative parties. If these people don't show up in the EA community, I think it's valid to ask ourselves "Why?". Do we drive them away with sexist and racist behavior? If they are not privileged enough to show up, should we think of raising  their privileges as an important cause area? If they don't share our values, can we be confident that we have the right values or should we open ourselves up to their perspective and reevaluate our values afterwards? It doesn't mean we have to accept diluting our values, but it would be irrational not to consider the possibility.

I like your idea of surveying people to determine the main differences in values between EA-aligned people and the rest of societies. My only concern, which I've voiced in other comments under this post, is that such a survey might already be biased. Which means, we'd already need a somewhat diverse (both intellectual and demographic) panel to get started.

I'm not aware of any details about the Heterodox Academy or their methods, but according to Wikipedia, they were founded under the premise that conservative viewpoints are underrepresented in scientific discourse. That is be a valid concern, but it also means that they might have an inherent bias in their methodology because they also want to represent the underrepresented, not establish "objectivity" in itself.

The example you've given with having rich and poor people have a say in tax policy is a great example that we need diverse representation and I agree with it (which is also why I disagree with leftist slogans like "eat the rich"). However, I think it's fair to say that if a member of a more privileged group voices their worries about having to much focus on the interests of the underprivileged groups, it sounds more like someone afraid to lose their privilege disguising it by a call for balance (either intentional or subconsciously).

Of course you can ask people about their views and then use that to establish the intellectual diversity you want, and that can be a helpful tool. The problem, however, is that whoever creates the questionaire is likely biased towards their own beliefs and they might not even know what to ask to surface a specific subject that is mostly relevant for people of a certain demographic background. They may do this on purpose or subconsciously, even in good faith.