Richard Möhn

software developer @ Spark Wave
268 karmaJoined Working (6-15 years)Kagoshima, Japan


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I think Yanni isn't writing about personal favourites. Assuming there is such a thing as objective truth, it makes sense to discuss cause prioritization as an objective question.

The outline structure makes this easy to skim. Thank you!

I like this. The actionable points are a bit buried in the prose, but you describe two ways of going astray that I hadn't thought about. Thank you!

One thing I would always mention is that false negatives are less costly in hiring than false positives. But I guess the article is written for an intermediate level of hiring skill, so that point is taken for granted.

It's long, but it looks like Rethink Priorities have put a lot of thought into this job posting:

Sounds good!

By the way, another thing one might try: Adding salt during the soaking and again during the cooking. Perhaps one teaspoon per kg of beans. In my experience, it also reduces cooking times. I haven't evaluated it rigorously, though.

Perhaps it's because of farts? I hope I don't get downvoted for bringing this up – it's serious and, I suspect, a major inconvenience for people who cook beans from scratch.

It could be that cooking beans for a long time (maybe combined with regular skimming or whatever other techniques we don't know about) makes them cause way less flatulence than soaking them in little water and cooking for a short time. People recommend soaking for reducing beans' gas-generation potential, but in my experience (yes, I've used a tally counter to count my farts under different soaking and cooking conditions and bean species, but obviously N=1) it takes a lot of soaking water to do that. I've found 7 l for 500 g of dry beans to work decently. After soaking I drain and then cook in a small amount of water.

And soaking with a lot of water has implications that might not work for Ugandans:

  • You need a much bigger soaking container than cooking container. (Or have to soak in multiple changes of water, which becomes tedious.)
  • You need more water.
  • If you want a lot of beans for dinner, draining the water becomes physically difficult for one person.

Speaking of dinner: If you eat three meals with beans per day, you'll have two or three containers going for soaking. It's likely easier to have one pot over the fire that just gets restarted soon after each meal. (Assuming that refrigeration is hard to come by in Uganda.)

Further practical issues:

  • If the beans are small, draining the soaking water requires a sieve or colander, which people might not have.
  • Beans start to ferment when soaked in hot weather (as mentioned in other comments, I think). The more they ferment, the stranger they taste and the longer they need to be cooked because of acid building up. (Try and cook some beans with vinegar added to the water.)
  • It's easy to forget to start soaking them in time.

Personally, I do soak and use a pressure cooker. But perhaps that's a luxury.

Thanks for writing this analysis! I agree with a most of it. One other argument I've heard for not providing feedback after job applications is that it carries legal risk. What the risk is specifically, I don't know – perhaps a candidate could sue you for discrimination if you inadvertently choose the wrong words? A way to mitigate this risk is the phrase ‘You didn't demonstrate… [mastery of Python, facility in calming down angry customers, whatever]’. It avoids making statements about the candidate in general and instead focuses on their behaviour during the application process, which you've observed. [1] It can be addition to your points about how to give feedback.


Another important skill for supervising translators:

  • Management of production processes. (In contrast to classic project management.)

And if the translators are semi-professionals drawn from the community:

  • Leadership/management

I've seen problems from a lack of these in one translation project.

Thanks! I appreciate your comment. (Not so sure about the magnanimity. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to get my revenge.) But Harold Godsoe gave me some good advice.)

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