Topic Contributions


Learning to ask action-relevant questions

Yes, I also believe this! And I think the two pieces of advice aren't necessarily contradictory - I could imagine stages in which curiosity is what you need, and stages where you'd want more focus. I guess I wrote this within the context of already being in touch with my curiosity and needing to rein it in a bit.

Also, I hope it's sufficiently clear that I'm not trying to claim that action-relevance is *all* you should think about as a fledgling researcher? (If not, I'm happy to make an edit to the post)

If I have the time, I'd like to write several research skills posts for a more nuanced picture, but it seemed good to focus on one concept at a time, so necessarily it might look a bit one-sided.

EA community building grant: Lessons learned from working part-time on EA Denmark

Thanks for this helpful post! I'm currently running EA Berlin on a part-time grant and was wondering about your thoughts on work groups, since we do a bunch of project-based work that might fit with that. Was "sparking workgroups" something of a side-effect or did you actively encourage that? Do members run them independently, or do you support them, and how?

It’s Supposed To Feel Like This: 8 emotional challenges of altruism

Thank you so much for this! You are right that putting labels on these things and realising it's pretty normal to feel like this is already surprisingly helpful. I still haven't really figured out how similar advice could be used to support other altruists, especially when it's people in your own group whom you don't know too well. Is there anything more than to say "oh, and this is a thing, come talk to me if you want"?

Worldview uncertainty

Hi, thanks for your comment :) Seems like I should have made that clearer! Since what I'm doing is applying Will's approach, the approach is not itself new. I haven't seen it discussed with regards to the worldview-split problem, but since I ended up condensing different "worldviews" into a decision between two theories, it turned out to be basically the same (which is not without problem, for that matter). I still found it valuable to try out this process in practice, and since I am expecting many people to not have read Will's thesis, I hoped this would provide them with an example of such a process. One person told me they found it valuable to use this way of thinking for themselves, and someone else said they were more inclined to read the actual thesis now, so I think there is some value in this article, and the issue might be more about the way I'm framing it. If you have an idea for a framing you would have found more useful, I'd be happy to know. Do you think just adding a sentence or two at the start of the article might do?

Open Thread #39

Hey! I've written a post about prioritising between different worldviews (as Open Phil calls them), using expected-value/expected choice-worthiness calculation. It would be nice if you could 1) give me feedback 2) like this post if you think I should be able to post this on the forum.

Thanks everyone :)

Thank you - this sounds like it will be very valuable for our local reading/discussion group! In previous discussions, we were struggling a bit with the term "suffering", since we couldn't find a clear definition for it (we read Thoomas Metzinger's paper, but didn't find it very useful). Do you have any recommendations for that, too?

Heuristics from Running Harvard and Oxford EA Groups

We have never attempted something like this, mostly because we thought it would be at least a bit weird for both parties involved.

If that's helpful: EA Berlin has been using 1:1s for a while now, so there doesn't seem to be a cultural context that would make a difference. That said, I usually distinguish between 1:1s with people interested joining the group, and with existing group members. We've done the former and are only starting to do the latter (partly because it seemed like a really good idea after talking to James). Introducing that wasn't weird at all, when messaging people saying "we're trying this new thing that might be good for a bunch of different reasons", they seemed quite happy about it, perhaps only a bit confused about what was supposed to happen during the 1:1.

I'd also emphasise the active element of reaching out to people that seem particularly interested instead of just having 1:1s with anyone who approaches you. I like Tobias's suggestion to approach people based on answers they write in a feedback form, but I'm not sure how much effort it'd take to implement that.