Reading this discussion a month or two ago prompted me to, a couple of times, consider whether there were very wealthy people I know and could talk to about EA (not really) or people I'm connected with in some way (quite certainly). One of those people, some weeks later, let's say something like a 3rd or 4th degree connection (but with a publicly known penchant for meritocracy and preference for intelligent discourse on all things) made a plan to give away a huge sum of wealth (arguably too big for GiveWell's existing processes). Because of this discussion I prioritized attempting some modest action, drafted an email with former, related colleagues and friends, and sent it yesterday. The goal was just to nudge her in the right direction. I got a reply back about 10 hours later - I'm too excited to read it right now but wanted to share the seeming success, at least in one step towards making a better impact. Insofar as there is any impact, which is surely highly uncertain still, it's in part due to this thread. http://youtu.be/Wcz_kDCBTBk
How can I live up to that?! I give up!
Fully embracing the awkward: how can I be more like you?
If we simplify our language it might help. I think I read that second grade reading level is ideal for business communication. It's what the New York Times is at, too, right? And this forum is some post-grad level stuff, sometimes!
Y'all are way smart. And that's who we should have figuring out complicated problems, for sure. But, like, even the words "Effective Altruism" just have so many syllables it blows my mind!
When experts say the fate of the world lies in the hands of their field...it's not an indication they're wrong. It's just not really strong evidence they're right either. In any field, we can reasonably expect researchers to believe their field has great significance. From the outside, they sort of all sound the same. When I read this quip, that's what is think of.
Unfortunately, with nuclear weapons, it was virtually impossible to convince officials of their feasibility right up until the months leading to Hiroshima, and then, really only with demos, not expert opinions. It's a really tough sell. And if it's not being explained and argued extremely well, and even then, I'll be unlikely to be moved by just about anything, because it sounds very similar to all the times people have tried to convince me something they're really into has all the answers.
I don't think it's even that fine a line. Don't exclude people actively. If you want to talk to your rich friends about EA first, that makes sense, but there should be virtually no reason to keep someone out.
*helping your friend to join
Hi Evan, I'd like to do this in Philadelphia. I've just started working with the local GWWC out of Penn and will be focused on non-academic community outreach and partnerships (someone else doing academic). I just looked read this post and thought "hey, that's what I want to do."
Wondering if you got any traction elsewhere and if so who I can talk to about what others are doing. As a relatively new person to the EA community, any ideas or contacts would help!