Interesting post with a good angle, thank you for taking the time to write about this!
I've also been playing around with the idea of using art or some kind of interactive medium to convey EA concepts. I completely agree that it's important that ideas are not "pushed" as EA, but rather the work allows room for the viewer to discover the benefits of these ideas for themselves.
One idea I've had that I haven't seen explored elsewhere is a video/board game about welfare and existential risk. For example, the player(s) might step into the shoes of a world leader, drafting policies to limit risks while maximizing global happiness. They would be gradually introduced to various concepts regarding existential risk, while having interesting and challenging game systems to play against.
One of the benefits with this approach is that it doesn't have to be EA branded at all, yet can introduce difficult concepts with ease and nudge people to study or discuss these topics on their own. It would also be niche enough that market validation is important, but the costs for that could greatly be reduced through building a prototype and running a crowdfunding campaign.
In fact, I had some free time last weekend and built a functional prototype with realistic data. It's obviously at a very early stage, but could be expanded in a variety of directions. In my opinion the interactivity can bring an immersive extra dimension to a work, and can help users realize new ways to think about the causality of something.
This was a great read, and just the kind of post I have been waiting for! I think that almost all of the principles should be helpful to keep in mind for anyone engaging in this kind of public discourse. In my opinion it is very important to increase the quality of communication and thus quality of knowledge across EA folks, both current and future, both internally and towards the general public; these kinds of posts would seem to help out there.
Of course, I might slightly overvalue this kind of discussion, since I don't know about the demographics of the EA community, and might be somewhat similar to the earlier self you mentioned in the post, frustrated at not being able to learn and get up to speed about the topics I care about. I don't know whether there is a demand for these kinds of information in the next generation, although it might be interesting and somewhat relevant to find out. I wonder if anyone has an idea about that?
Either way, thank you very much for taking the time to make these thoughts public, I—as well as many others, it seems—really appreciate it!
Yes, of course, but I haven't seen spambots in comments so far, and thus would guess that they wouldn't become a problem on top level either.
Upon revisiting this post and the comments it has garnered, I found myself wondering about another thing I'd like to ask from you:
How would one go about getting involved with the work of CEA or, say, 80,000 Hours? What kinds of skill sets would be essential for having a high impact while doing such meta work? Do you consider the potential impact for doing meta work to be higher than when earning to give?
Also, thanks for the detailed responses so far! I can see why it's not reasonable to place writing on topics like these on high priority, but it doesn't exactly give a sense of transparency either. Not that I would know how important or effective giving a sense of transparency would be, though.
I was wondering about why there is a 5 karma requirement to publishing an article. Was there problems before that was put into place?
It would also be handy to be able to get a weekly digest of top voted posts or something similar in my email.
Why are issues like these costly to communicate outside of CEA, and why don't they seem like the best use of time? I'm not sure about what amount of interest is there for something like that, but I would imagine that this could sharply reduce the amount of investigating people outside of these organizations need to do, allowing them to use their time better as well.
Do you know whether there have there been any serious efforts to gauge the usefulness and cost of better communication?
Another new member here; while I'm familiar with how Reddit works, I find this whole forum a bit confusing. Thus, in an effort to make it a tad less confusing for myself and to perhaps point out some things that might result in potentially interested participants abandoning the site and the movement, I have some questions to ask:
1) Is this the right place to ask about things related to the whole EA movement, and what they are doing? Not just questions regarding individual research topics or concerns, but rather to provoke discussion and meaningful debate on how to improve the way of thinking and the means available to us for making a difference? Is there a collection on such discussion somewhere?
2) What kinds of things should be made into an article, rather than a comment on the open thread?
3) Why was a fork of LessWrong chosen over a traditional message board with well-defined categories that can help one focus on discussing the things they find relevant? With new articles posted only every few days, this might not be a problem, but surely it makes finding coherent posts on one topic a nightmare? I haven't explored the search function in detail yet, but assume that it's not helpful unless you know exactly what you are looking for.
4) Are there any other places for discussing effective altruism? What kind of proportions of unique users do the different EA-related websites have?
Apart from these, I have a huge amount of questions related to all sorts of aspects of the movement, and quite frankly find the current content available somewhat lacking beyond the very basics. Sure, the movement covers a large amount of people with possibly wildly varying opinions on all sorts of things, but I think that within those potential disagreements there might be a possibly untapped opportunity to learn more about both the situation of the world and ourselves.
While GiveWell in my opinion provides excellent reasoning behind the many things they do and thorough, detailed and well argumented thoughts on how they plan to approach things, I was not able to find much similar content or discussion elsewhere. If someone can point me to the right direction, that would be very much appreciated!
Best regards to all of you, and thank you for the time.