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The Cost of Rejection

I was one of the people who edited interview notes and sent other feedback to Triplebyte candidates; I certify that everything John said here is correct, even re: the parts of the process he wasn't directly involved in, and I endorse his takeaways. This comment is more a response to John than it is a response to the OP, but hopefully/maybe people might still find it useful.

Feedback emails were about 25% of my job. As a team, we sent maybe 50 feedback emails on an average day (not totally sure here, numbers fluctuated a lot and also it was two years ago).

One of the things that made it possible to give good feedback at scale was that Triplebyte had a well-oiled, standardized process. Every candidate took much the same interview, which meant that we could largely build our emails out of pre-existing blocks — e.g., telling a candidate that we were impressed with their code quality but they could have been faster, or mentioning specific knowledge areas where they could improve and linking to relevant resources. I doubt the same could be done at most EA orgs? Maybe if they're hiring programmers.

The process of editing interviewers' raw feedback became pretty quick and easy after a while (edit out the swearing  and anything mean, change some keywords, bam), although sometimes one of us would slip up and that wasn't great, lol.  So yeah I agree that this is a job that could pretty easily be offloaded to a decent communicator who was familiar with the interview process. We did write some of our own content if we felt it was needed (e.g. writing nice things if we knew the candidate was struggling personally), and we used our judgment to tone down the harshness (e.g. if someone needed improvement in every single area we tested, we would focus on just a few areas rather than sending a super long email telling them they were bad at everything). 

There was also huge variation in quality between the notes of different interviewers; some would write long, detailed, encouraging messages to the candidates, while others would write like one sentence. So if EA orgs choose to go down this road, they need to make sure to give the feedback-giver enough to work with.

Another thing is that we were explicitly assessing only candidates' technical abilities, and not whether we wanted them to join our team. That meant that all rejections were of the form "you need to brush up on X skills", and we never had to reference a candidate's personality or energy levels or whatever. That probably helps a ton re: protection from lawsuits. (I had never thought of that before, huh.)

Introducing EA Resources by LEAN

This looks great, I'm so glad that the EA Hub is getting revamped! My main question has to do with this:

Our project is intended to serve a complementary and supportive role to both Effective Altruism Forum and LessWrong 2.0, and will hopefully contribute to the multiplication of impact generated by already existing and newly formed EA groups.

EA Hub is obviously branded specifically for EA groups, but given that you mentioned LessWrong, I was wondering if you're planning to include resources for organizers of LessWrong/rationality groups as well? I know that there are branding issues, but there's a lot of overlap in the problems the groups are trying to solve, their activities, and their membership, and plenty of groups even double as EA and rationality groups (e.g. in cities where the community is small), so I really think it makes sense to have all the resources in one place.

This is important to me because I've been involved in efforts to centralize resources for rationality groups and coordinate among group organizers, but there have been some confusions regarding whether or not to include EA groups, since some of them are reasonably worried about the PR implications of associating with LessWrong/rationality. Unfortunately this makes coordination and centralization quite difficult. I guess I'm just wondering how you're thinking about that issue.

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I also second OllieBase's concern that despite (or maybe because of?) multiple attempts to centralize these types of resources, they remain spread out among many sites (EA Hub, CEA's website, the LessWrong community page, various semi-private Google Docs, etc). I see several possible solutions to this - the pages could all link to one another as 'additional resources' (definitely not ideal, but easiest), one group could explicitly be given the mandate for this work by the others, or each site could narrow its scope to fill a particular niche. None of these solutions seem great. It might be a good idea for LEAN, CEA, and LessWrong to get together and discuss this?

Earning to Save (Give 1%, Save 10%)
I want to pushback on the idea that the average individual making more than the local median household, and living in one of the richest societies on the planet, cannot afford to be generous.

I don't think that's a good or charitable reading of what Ray's saying. I think the core idea is that EAs have often prioritized giving 10% and living frugally *too* heavily, to the point where it interferes with their long-term potential. This seems like a case where the law of equal and opposite advice is coming into play - while it's true that most people in wealthy countries could easily afford to donate more, enthusiastic new EAs (probably especially younger ones) are more likely to try to be more generous than they can actually afford, so it's probably good to tell them to tone it down.

For example, I've heard from some of the early Australian EAs that when EA was just starting out they all lived illegally in a hallway and ate out of the garbage. That was probably not good for their productivity or their physical or mental health. Similarly, when I first started doing direct work I was hesitant to even spend money on food, which made me worse off in a lot of ways. Living with a constant scarcity mindset is stressful, which leaves people with less brain space to think critically, be good at their job, and figure out what needs to be done.

Bottom line, obviously Ray's advice does not apply equally to everyone, but if you're living in an expensive city and making $10k (like I was last year), it seems quite bad to also feel pressured to donate 10% (which I did).