omernevo

One of the people running EA Israel.

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Introducing Probably Good: A New Career Guidance Organization

Just writing a quick comment here that I've changed the title of this post to be less confusing.

The previous title: "A New Career Guidance Organization: Probably Good" does sound like this is an evaluation. Didn't want to it seem like this comment didn't make sense to people who haven't seen the previous post title.

Introducing Probably Good: A New Career Guidance Organization

That sounds great! Thank you for sharing this.

If that's ok, I might get in touch soon with some questions about this...

Introducing Probably Good: A New Career Guidance Organization

Yes, that makes perfect sense. I think we definitely need to have a system that (1) let's people know if they're not going to get coaching even though they asked and (2) doesn't take up a lot of our time.

Introducing Probably Good: A New Career Guidance Organization

Thank you for the input!

I think some of the questions you raised are (at least partially) answered in our documents. Specifically, where we detail the impacts that we hope to achieve - those are impacts that we think we would potentially have a comparative advantage over 80,000 hours. Areas where we think we would be similar to 80,000 hours wouldn’t be areas where we’d expect to have significant counterfactual impact.

Regarding the abstractness and general nature of the documents, that’s completely fair. I expect things will be a lot clearer when we have a website up and some content, rather than documents explaining the principles by which we are creating the content. 

As we’ve written in a few places, we’re taking this one step at a time and trying to get as much feedback as possible at every stage. I hope it won’t be very long before we’re able to start publishing some of our materials, which will be a good example of our actual work and will convey the specifics of our focus.

Introducing Probably Good: A New Career Guidance Organization

My initial intuition (stressing even more that this is based on no evidence but my best guess) is that the name "Probably Better" would be more confusing to people than "Probably Good". I'm expecting a lot of people asking "better than what?"

It also loses the meaning of good as in moral good (which I like, but not everyone here did).

Introducing Probably Good: A New Career Guidance Organization

Thank you for writing what you'd find most valuable! This lines up well with my thoughts...

Regarding being overwhelmed by requests for advice: 
Yes! That's definitely a failure mode. We've discussed how much we can give direct advice (very little in the near future, potentially more later but that's quite a bit of work to get there) and how to choose candidates (where we have a lot of thoughts but, as with other things, we expect to decide on a criteria and then have to fix it once we see where it fails).

I'm cautiously optimistic that we just don't have enough time to fall into this failure mode and so we'll stop ourselves before this becomes an issue :-)

Introducing Probably Good: A New Career Guidance Organization

Thank you!
This viewpoint it really helpful. It seems relatively easy to look at a specific article and figure out who it might be useful for, but creating a generic way to organize articles that would work for most people is quite a bit harder.

And I agree that concreteness is definitely something we should be explicitly thinking about when creating content and organizing it.

And I agree regarding both downsides \ risks. They're definitely something to think about. The first might mean that this is something that might come later if we don't find a relatively simple way of doing this.

The second can probably be mitigated to a large extent if some effort but requires more thinking in any case. We've discussed this in related contexts (making sure we don't counterfactually cause readers not to engage with other existing quality content), but not in this context.

Introducing Probably Good: A New Career Guidance Organization

This is something we discussed at length and are still thinking about.

As you write in the end, the usual “I’ll experiment and see” is true, but we have some more specific thoughts as well:

  • I think there’s a meaningful difference between someone who uses “shoddy” methodology to someone who’s thoughtfully trying to figure out the best course of action and has either not got there yet or still didn’t overcome some bad priors or biases. While I’m sure there are some edge cases, I think most cases aren’t on the edge.
  • I think most of our decisions are easier in practice than in theory. The content we’ll write will be (to the best of our ability) good content that will showcase how we (and the EA community) believe these issues should be considered. 1:1s or workshops will prioritize people we believe could benefit and could have a meaningful impact, and since we expect us to not live up to demand any time soon, I doubt we’ll have to consider cases that seem detrimental to the community. Finally, our writing, while aiming to be accessible and welcoming to people with a wide variety of views, will describe similar thought processes and discuss similar scopes to the broader EA community (albeit not 80K). As a result, I think it will be comparable to other gateways to the community that exist today.
  • The above point makes the practical considerations of the near future simpler. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have a lot to think, talk through and figure out regarding what we mean by ‘Agnostic EA’. That’s something that we haven’t stopped discussing since the idea for this came up and I don’t think we’ll stop any time soon.
Introducing Probably Good: A New Career Guidance Organization

This is the risk we were most worried about regarding the name. It does set a relatively light tone. We decided to go with it anyway for two reasons:

The first is that the people we talked to said that it sounds interesting and interested them more than the responses we got for more regular, descriptive names.

The second is that our general tone in writing is more serious. Serious enough that we’re working hard to make sure that it isn’t boring for some people who don’t like reading huge walls of dense text. We figure it’s best to err on the other side in this case.

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