1787Joined Sep 2014



I have a (somewhat unfair) vibe of this as the famous people deposit their work into the forum and leave for higher pursuits

I do think there's a big difference in how much various high-status people engage on the forum. And I think that the people who do engage feel like they're more "part of" the community... or at least that small part of it that actually uses the forum! It also gives them more opportunity to say stupid things and get downvoted, very humanising!

(An example that comes to mind is Oliver Habryka, who comments a lot on posts, not just his own, so feels quite present.)

But I definitely don't think there should be a norm that you should engage on the forum. It seems pretty unlikely to be the best use of your time, and can be a big time sink. Maybe you've got some actually useful object level work to do! Then posting and leaving us probably the right choice. So I don't think that's a good solution, although I think it could be somewhat effective if people did it.


This is a great point. I also think there's a further effect, which is that older EAs were around when the current "heroes" were much-less -impressive university students or similar. Which I think leads to a much less idealising frame towards them.

But I can definitely see that if you yourself are young and you enter a movement with all these older, established, impressive people... hero-worshipping is much more tempting.

I think that's a good example of "why would people do this given what they knew?", I'm not sure it's an example of pedestalising etc. I'm being a bit fussy here because I do think I've seen the specific claim that there was lots of public promotion of Sam and I'm just not sure if it's true.

to put this guy on a pedestal; to elevate him as a moral paragon and someone to emulate; to tie EA's reputation so closely to his

I always find this claim a bit confusing: did we actually do those things? Are there some specific examples of doing this?

I can think of... the 80k interview and that's about it? I guess engaging with the FTX Foundation was somewhat positive but I don't think it was putting him on a pedestal. In fact when I look back I feel like a lot of the content linking Sam to EA came from people talking to Sam. I may well just not be remembering stuff though!

I don't deny that Sam was perceived in that way, but it's not clear to me that this was something that was done (even accidentally) by "EA leaders".


Differently but same idea: men's groups. Part of the problem with masculinity is that men don't actually talk about it. And it's often easiest to learn from people you feel similar to and respect.

EDIT: I see you suggested the same thing further down so I just agree with you :)

I think this is potentially very good and helpful advice if quite controversial. Alcohol is endemic in our society, but it seriously compromises your judgement! I say this as someone who has historically benefited a lot from alcohol as an aide to getting over social anxiety - it can be useful but it's a very double-edged sword.

That suggests another possible suggestion for community leaders: organise more dry events. Most meetups would probably be totally fine without alcohol, even social mixers (controversial!).

Yeah, I think this would be much better as a poll on a specific course of action. "Something needs to change... nothing in particular, but something" is an easy feeling to fall into.

I agree that this is super confusing. However, I do think that some claims about EA being too centralised have been about there being too few big orgs. I think that's just not true, and I think the confusion between these two points has probably made it difficult to discuss in the past.

All of which is to say: we should probably prefer to use more specific words than just "centralisation" unqualified.

Okay, but different groups and orgs can already have different norms today, right? Nobody is enforcing conformity. The worst that can happen is that CEA can ban you from EAG, so I guess yes it would be nice to have someone else running conferences so you could go to those?

I'm not playing dumb here, I genuinely find it confusing in what ways people feel they are being coerced by a central power in EA.

I don't agree with any of your criteria for "death". All of those sound totally survivable. "EA exits its recent high-growth phase" is very different from dying.

I would modify them to:

  1. Significant year-on-year decreases in funding
  2. Significant year-on-year decreases in self-identifying EAs

i.e. we transition to a negative growth regime and stay there.

And I think we could survive a lot of organizational collapse so I wouldn't even include that.

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