All of Rowan_Stanley's Comments + Replies

The most successful EA podcast of all time: Sam Harris and Will MacAskill (2020)

That fits with what we're seeing at Effective Altruism New Zealand. The Sam Harris/Will MacAskill podcast is still a common referral source for new donors, and for people requesting copies of Doing Good Better via our book giveaway. So +1 piece of supporting anecdata

An inner debate on risk aversion and systemic change

Yeah, I can see how that would be helpful-- I'm thinking of having a go at it as a decision-making tool myself. 

The approach kind of reminds me of internal family systems therapy, actually: trying to reconcile different parts of yourself by imagining them as different people. The main difference being that there's  no trauma in this kind of scenario (hopefully, anyway!), and a lot less psychotherapy jargon :)

An inner debate on risk aversion and systemic change

I don't have any answers for you, I'm afraid- but I wanted to say that I really like the way you wrote this up. Framing your inner conflict as a debate between Andy and Drew made it very clear and engaging to read. 

Thanks for the encouragement! The framing's for my own benefit, too. I've found it helps me navigate big decisions to write out the best case I can think of for both sides, and then reread sometime later to see which best convinces me.
A framework for discussing EA with people outside the community

...the next step should probably be establishing this person's moral beliefs/what they want to see in the world (i.e. if they will find meaning in contributing to the problem of global health, animals, long termism etc). What does the person value now, and how is this understanding tied to their sense of identity? 


This actually reminds me of a technique that's used in political campaigning.

Back in my pre-EA days, my husband and I were involved with a local political party. People making campaign calls etc. were trained to find something the pers... (read more)

1Aaron Boddy2y
Ahh that's really interesting to know! But yeah, I definitely would feel a bit manipulative if I didn't feel like I knew the person properly - I want to present to them ideas that I think they'd really engage with and would interest them, rather than giving them the impression I'm trying to force a viewpoint on them
What are some ways to practice self-care in a job hunt?

One thing that might be helpful is to set aside specific times to work on job hunting, and to only check job boards, work on applications etc. during those hours. The rest of the time, try to forget about it altogether.

Most tasks are much less overwhelming when you know you only have to work on them for a set amount of time. (Rather than constantly feeling like you should be doing something).

What are you grateful for?

Echoing some of the other answers here, I’m grateful for the EA community itself. I find it very comforting to know that although the world’s problems are too big to be solved alone— and although all my efforts may well come to nothing— there are others out there trying to do as much good as they can.

Specific people I’m particularly grateful for are:

  • My husband, who has been so supportive of my involvement in EA, and has largely gotten onboard himself, though it wouldn’t necessarily have been his thing otherwise
  • Catherine (cafelow), who is in many ways the l
... (read more)
What music do you find most inspires you to use your resources (effectively) to help others?

Also worth mentioning here, especially with the holidays coming up- Raymond Arnold's 'Secular Solstice' album. I particularly like 'Brighter than Today' and 'Five Billion Years'

What music do you find most inspires you to use your resources (effectively) to help others?

This is awesome, thank you! Another song on the X risk / end of the world theme is Tom Lehrer's 'We'll All Go Together When We Go', though that's more comedy than inspirational.

What music do you find most inspires you to use your resources (effectively) to help others?

Ooh, good question! I have a playlist I sometimes listen to when doing EA work, to keep me going/inspired.

Most of the songs aren't specifically EA related, though, just vaguely... humanist-y? (What my husband calls 'atheist worship music').

Picking out a few of the more thematically appropriate ones:

... (read more)
Progress Open Thread: November 2020

I finished my degree! (BA in economics and philosophy). It ended up being quite a challenging final semester, mostly because of COVID and things going on in my personal life, so it's great to have it done.

I also won an award from my college for my performance (highest GPA), which was pretty cool.

2Aaron Gertler2y
EA Updates for November

Just wanted to say I appreciate the inclusion of good news. EA's focus on big difficult problems can get a bit depressing/discouraging (at least for me), so it's nice to have a reminder that good things are happening too.

EARadio - more EA podcasts!

Oh, awesome! Thanks for [re]posting.

I'm basically the kind of person you describe: hadn't heard of the project, have been wanting to get through EAG lectures but haven't made the time,  like to listen to podcasts while exercising doing housework etc.

This will be a great addition to my feed :)


Progress Open Thread: October // Student Summit 2020

Well done! Progress still counts as progress, even if it takes a while to get there. 

What is your favourite readings for weddings/ funerals/ important community events?

I've been collecting funeral readings for a while... these aren't all strictly EA related, but do fit the science-y/humanist bent which seems to be common to EA culture:

'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night' by Dylan Thomas- a fairly common/traditional funeral reading that fits in nicely with EA ideas about fighting back against death and metaphorical darkness.

'If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking' by Emily Dickinson- doesn't quite fit the EA focus on having a large impact, but does line up well with the broader idea o... (read more)

What is your favourite readings for weddings/ funerals/ important community events?

There's been some discussion of the EA-esque themes in George Eliot's 'Middlemarch' on the Forum (here and here). Various quotes from the novel seem as if they could work as readings. I'll highlight just a few...

For a graduation, there's this passage about pursuing knowledge/learning/education, not for its own sake, but to help us do good:

It would be a great mistake to suppose that Dorothea would have cared about any share in ... learning as mere accomplishment; for though opinion ... had pronounced her clever, that epithet wo
... (read more)
I Want To Do Good - an EA puppet mini-musical!

Really enjoyed this, thank you. I especially liked the undertone of 'uncertainty isn't a reason not to try, it's a reason to find out more'. Good life advice in general, I think.

AI Governance Career Paths for Europeans

Thanks for digging into non-American career options-- there's not a lot geared to people outside the States.

Not being in Europe, this isn't strictly relevant to me either, but still cool to see!

Thanks for sharing!

Maintaining a list of resources seems like a good way to help people get some of the benefits of mentoring, even if/when there aren't mentors available.

I was already familiar with most of the things on the list, but there are a few that are new to me and seem interesting/potentially valuable.

How can I apply person-affecting views to Effective Altruism?

The Effective Altruism for Christians website and Facebook group might be a useful place to start, if you haven't come across those before.

I don't think they have developed problem profiles etc., but the people there may have a similar outlook to you and be able to point you to resources that are more relevant from a Christian and/or person-affecting perspective.

If Veganism Is Not a Choice: The Moral Psychology of Possibilities in Animal Ethics

Interesting! I've also experienced this, though the effect seems to be stronger for some animal products than others.

Are there moral issues with donating through a platform (such as a donor-advised fund) that does not share name and contact info with charities?

Good question.

My intuition is that it depends on how large the donations are.

I do some [volunteer] work with EA NZ, forwarding donations from New Zealanders to EA charities. Some of those charities have asked us to share the contact info of particularly large donors with them. (We check with the donors before doing so).

I'm not entirely sure what the charities' rationale for wanting the info is, but I get the impression that it's a combination of the factors your friend raised. They have specifically mentioned wanting to thank major donors. B... (read more)

A review of two free online MIT Global Poverty courses

Thanks for the recommendation. I'm taking a development economics course/paper at my university at the moment and have been a bit disappointed in the quality of the teaching. I might check these out as a supplement/extension at some point.

How can I hire an EA research assistant?

Good point about reaching out to people involved in animal-specific groups.

I know of EAs who work at Faunalytics and Animal Ethics, so they may be good places to try too.

Animal Ethics explicitly offers to help people with animal-welfare related research / put them in touch with researchers in the field, so they may be receptive to questions.

How can I hire an EA research assistant?

Posting here on the forums seems like a good start— you may get some interest just by asking the question.

As for other places to look, you could try posting on the EA Work Club or the Effective Altruism Job Postings Facebook group. Those seem to be dominated by listings for bigger/flashier roles, but I suspect many people would like to work on smaller projects.

Depending on what level of experience/qualification you're looking for, you could also try getting in touch with local EA groups that run out of universities. There may be students who ar... (read more)