Neel Nanda


Asking for advice

Huh, I deeply love Calendly and use it for basically everything in my social life. So I've found this thread super interesting to see so many different perspectives on it, and how to minimise annoyance to those people. Thanks for starting the thread! (And this is making me paranoid about how many of my friends I piss off by using Calendly...)

Thinking a bit about why  I love Calendly so much, a big draw for me is that scheduling takes quite a lot of mental energy from me. Especially suggesting specific times, or saying I can't make specific times someone else suggested. I think it often feels like I'm being difficult or inconvenient, which I find super aversive, especially if both of us are fairly busy. And Calendly cuts all of that out, which makes me much more willing to organise things!

Make a Public Commitment to Writing EA Forum Posts

Awesome! I'm looking forwards to the posts :) And I've made a note to check in on 20th Dec

Make a Public Commitment to Writing EA Forum Posts

Commitment: I commit to writing a post-mortem about 'a series of EA Cambridge events I organised, where members prepare & give talks on EA topics as a commitment device for learning more about EA' by 7pm Sunday 20th Dec

Make a Public Commitment to Writing EA Forum Posts

Commitment: I commit to posting a post-mortem on some rationality workshops I organised for EA Cambridge by 7pm on December 6th

Desperation Hamster Wheels

This is a great post, thanks for writing it! And I'm glad you've made a bunch of progress on this failure mode

Denise_Melchin's Shortform

Fairly strongly agreed - I think it's much easier to express disagreement than agreement on the margin, and that on the margin people find it too intimidating to post to the EA Forum and it would be better to be perceived as friendlier. (I have a somewhat adjacent blog post about going out of your way to be a nicer person)

I strongly feel this way for specific positive feedback, since I think that's often more neglected and can be as useful as negative feedback (at least, useful to the person making the post). I feel less strongly for "I really enjoyed this post"-esque comments, though I think more of those on the margin would be good.

An alternate approach would be to PM people the positive feedback - I think this adds a comparable amount to the person, but removes the "changing people's perceptions of how scary posting on the EA Forum is" part

Some thoughts on EA outreach to high schoolers

I'd expect a more significant risk to be that the outreach just wouldn't work. I expect that for EA outreach to be effective, you need to significantly filter for a bunch of things, like altruism, truth-seeking, reliance on evidence and reason, meta-cognition, etc. I'd expect a school like Eton to filter pretty hard for expected future influence on the world, but not for probability of being interested in EA?

Though I guess it somewhat filters for intelligence, which correlates a bit with those things

Some thoughts on EA outreach to high schoolers

I disagree that the counterfactual is comparable. I agree that they will have SOME influences, but I think the magnitude of influence really matters. By default, people aren't exposed to strong, deliberate influence of the kind described in this post, for any set of ideas/values.

I guess you could argue that living in the West is a process of ambient influence towards Western values?

Some thoughts on EA outreach to high schoolers

I think outreach directed at high schoolers feels more ethically questionable to me than outreach directed at students. I roughly think that high-schoolers tend to be significantly more impressionable/vulnerable, especially when talking to people who they consider worthy of respect. Admittedly, this also seems true of college students, albeit to a lesser degree, so I think I'm drawing arbitrary lines in the sand. But it feels different to do it with a minor/somebody still in school.

With all that said, I went to ESPR, and had an incredibly positive experience, that I think has significantly increased my expected lifetime impact! (I first went at 17). But I know people who also had pretty negative experiences (much more with the rationality side than EA, which wasn't strongly emphasised)

Kick someone's butt today

I was thinking some more about how I approach butt-kicking, and generally helping debug others and helping them to be agenty, and wrote up a blog post on my thoughts

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