All of sky's Comments + Replies

A contact person for the EA community

Sky here, with an update from CEA’s Community Health team: 

I was previously listed in this post as an additional contact person. I’m taking extended leave and will be unavailable after July 30 as a contact person. We’ve edited this post to remove my info but we want you to know who to chat with going forward:

  • Julia Wise is available as described above. She’s currently on partial parental leave and working a few hours per week. Starting August 9, she will return full-time to CEA.

Other resources:

  • For group organizers, Catherine Low is an excellent first p
... (read more)
CEA update: Q1 2021

Thanks for asking. I’m not able to say more at this point about that specific creator. 
I think you’re asking a good, implied question I share though: which comms channels would be most promising, for creating or sharing additional EA content?
I’m interested in analysis of those sorts of questions, and see them as part of the strategic comms role we’re hoping to hire for this year.
(I work at CEA).

Why I prefer "Effective Altruism" to "Global Priorities"

I have some data that may be relevant to folks with interest in this topic*:
I work for CEA, and this quarter I did a small brand test with Rethink’s help. We asked a sample of US college students if they had heard of “effective altruism.” Some respondents were also asked to give a brief definition of EA and a Likert scale rating of how negative/positive their first impression was of “effective altruism.”

Students who had never heard of “effective altruism” before the survey still had positive associations with it. Comments suggested that they thought it sou... (read more)

This is great, I’ll put a note in the main post highlighting this when I get home.
Some quick notes on "effective altruism"

Thanks for sharing that info, Max. It was an interesting first pass at some of these questions. 

AMA: Tom Chivers, science writer, science editor at UnHerd

What are your thoughts on solutions journalism? Does it have much traction among science writers you know? Do you personally use it or promote it as a framework for writing?

Do you think this is a good/bad idea?:
I have the hunch that EA and solutions journalism could be a good match. E.g. EAs in journalism could join the solutions journalism network and seek solutions journalism angles to their editors.  EA projects that think they would be well-served by public media coverage could seek to build relationships with strong solutions journalists and make... (read more)

What Makes Outreach to Progressives Hard

I haven't read this whole thread, so forgive me if I'm re-stating someone else's point. 
I think there's another explanation: they have a hypothesis about you/EAs/us that we are not disproving. 

My experience has been that people in any numerical or social minority group (e.g. Black Americans, people with disabilities, someone who is the "only" person from a given group at their workplace, etc), are used to being met with disappointing responses if they try to share their experiences with people who don't have them  (e.g. members of the numeri... (read more)

Why EA groups should not use “Effective Altruism” in their name.

To be clear, this also means I don't think everyone should look at PISE and think "we should definitely change our name too!" I think we don't have enough information from this one example to make a claim that strong. 

I thought this was a thoughtfully-shared example and am glad Koen wrote it up so people could share their thinking.

Why EA groups should not use “Effective Altruism” in their name.

Though I like thinking about words with a skeptical lens, I am not convinced this is a large concern. The name of a new thing will produce both predictable and random reactions from humans. 

 My expectation is that rational, intelligent, self-critical, scientifically literate humans are humans, which comes with a certain degree of randomness to their behaviors. There will be variations in what they feel like doing on a given day, and a low-stakes decision like "Do I want to go to this presentation by a group I haven't heard of?" is not much eviden... (read more)

To be clear, this also means I don't think everyone should look at PISE and think "we should definitely change our name too!" I think we don't have enough information from this one example to make a claim that strong. I thought this was a thoughtfully-shared example and am glad Koen wrote it up so people could share their thinking.
Introducing LEEP: Lead Exposure Elimination Project

Congrats on the launch! This may be a stretch, but if you'd find it helpful to connect with any of these folks: or the Data Science for Social Good team at U of Chicago to see if they have additional contacts, let me know and I can connect you.

Hi Sky, thank you for directing us to this and offerening to connect! We'll take a closer look a what they're working on and let you know if/when a connection would be helpful.
How have you become more (or less) engaged with EA in the last year?

Joey, could you say more what you mean by "concepts...that connect to impact"? I'm interested in examples you're thinking of. And whether you're looking for advances on those examples or new/different concepts?

A few examples: - Introduction of new cause areas (e.g. mental health, WAS) - Debates about key issues (e.g. INT framework issues, flaws of the movement) - More concrete issues vs philosophical ones (e.g. how important is outreach, what % of EAs should earn to give) I think the bar I generally compare EA to is, do I learn more from reading the EA forum per minute than from reading a good nonfiction book? Some years this has definitely been true but it has been less true in recent years.
EricHerboso's Shortform

Quick meta comment: Thanks for explaining your downvote; I think that's helpful practice in general

sky's Shortform

Quick thoughts on turning percentages back into people

Occasionally, I experiment with different ways to grok probabilities and statistics for myself, starting from the basics. It also involves paying attention to my emotions, and imagining how different explanations would work for different students. (I'm often a mentor/workshop presenter for college students). If your brain is like mine or you like seeing how other people's brains work, this may be of interest.

One trick that has worked well for me is turning %s back into people

Example: I think m... (read more)

sky's Shortform

Webinar tomorrow: exploring solutions journalism [for EA writers]:

If EA journalists and writers are planning to cover EA topics, I think a solutions journalism angle will usually be the most natural fit.

The Solutions Journalism Network "train[s] and connect[s] journalists to cover what’s missing in today’s news: how people are responding to problems."

The Solutions Journalism Network is having a webinar tomorrow:

Solutions journalism

"Can be character-driven, but focuses ... (read more)

EAGxVirtual Unconference (Saturday, June 20th 2020)

Definitely, I think for many people, the donations example works. And I like the firefighter example too, especially if someone has had first responder experience or has been in an emergency.

I'm curious what happens if one starts with a toy problem that arises from or feels directly applicable to a true conundrum in the listener's own daily life, to illustrate that prioritization between pressing problems is something we are always doing, because we are finite beings who often have pressing problems! I think when I started learning about EA via ... (read more)

4Danny Lipsitz2y
I like your idea that the applicability of EA concepts in daily life decision-making can be used to show EA as a powerful tool. I haven't specifically done that yet but have considered it. I had expected to get pushback when I first started teaching about prioritizing causes and was careful about how I introduced it. However, students don't really push back on it, and when we work through examples, they do understand why an EA might prioritize, for example, schistosomiasis charities over cancer ones. That said, based on post-lesson surveys, that doesn't always translate to a shift in thinking after the lesson (though for some students it has.) I'm still working on bridging the gap between mastery of a theoretical concept and actual application in real life.
Sky and Danny, I'd be very interested to talk to either/both of you and share ideas about this. I've done quite a bit of EA outreach in my own school, having been teaching for the best part of a decade (some is discussed in my post history), as well as some outside. Please send a PM if you're interested and we can set something up.
EAGxVirtual Unconference (Saturday, June 20th 2020)

I'm excited about this! I actually came here to see if someone had already covered this or if I should ☺️. I'd love to see a teacher walk through this.

Here's an idea I'd been curious to try out talking or teaching about EA, but haven't yet. I'd be curious if you've tried it or want to (very happy to see someone else take the idea off my hands). I think we often skim over a key idea too fast -- that we each have finite resources and so does humanity. That's what makes prioritization and willingness to name the trade offs we're going to make such an importan

... (read more)
8Catherine Low2y
In case you haven't seen it, here is a guide to talking about EA [], which includes a list of approaches various community members like to use, discussions of pitfalls to avoid, and FAQs. It is very open for additions and changes.
3Danny Lipsitz2y
Thanks! I'm 100% with you on the idea that real-world examples can help people to understand the importance of EA. Peter Singer does it well, and I start off my presentation for high school/college students by giving them a hypothetical amount of money and working through a decision about where to donate. Sometimes I use an example of a firefighter in a burning building. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that the firefighter will be able to save everyone so some tough decisions have to be made in order to save the most people in a finite amount of time. I think the more people working on good ways to promote EA ideas, the better; I'd love to hear about whatever you work on.
Call notes with Johns Hopkins CHS

I also found this helpful -- appreciate it

Racial Demographics at Longtermist Organizations

Thanks for adding that resource, Anon.

Racial Demographics at Longtermist Organizations

Thanks for doing this analysis! My project plans for 2020 (at CEA) include more efforts to analyze and address the impacts of diversity efforts in EA.

I'd be interested in being in touch with the author if they're open to it, and with others who have ideas, questions, relevant analysis, plans, concerns, etc.

I'm hopeful that EAs, like the author and commenters here, can thoughtfully identify or develop effective diversity efforts. I think we can take wise actions that avoid common pitfalls, so that EA is strong and flexible enough as a field to be a good "ho

... (read more)
Thanks Sky! I’ll be in touch over email.
What posts do you want someone to write?
Answer by skyMar 29, 20203

Posts on how people came to their values, how much individuals find themselves optimizing for certain values, and how EA analysis is/isn't relevant. Bonus for points for resources for talking about this with other people.

I'd like to have more "Intro to EA" convos that start with, "When I'm prioritizing values like [X, Y, Z], I've found EA really helpful. It'd be less relevant if I valued [ABC ] instead, and it seems less relevant in those times when I prioritize other things. What do you value? How/When do you want to prioritize that? How would you explore that?"

I think personal stories here would be illustrative.

A nice example of the second part, value dependence, is Ozy Brennan's [] series [] reviewing [] GiveWell [] charities [] .
sky's Shortform

Should reducing partisanship be a higher priority cause area (for me)?

I think political polarization in the US produces a whole heap of really bad societal/policy outcomes and makes otherwise good policy outcomes ~impossible. It has always seemed relatively important to me, because when things go wrong in the US, they often have global consequences. I haven't put that many of my actual resources here though because it's a draining cause to work on and didn't feel that tractable. I also suspected myself of motivated reasoning: I get deep joy ... (read more)

After one year of applying for EA jobs: It is really, really hard to get hired by an EA organisation

Hi Aidan, I'm really late to this thread, but found it interesting. If you don't mind coming back in time, could you clarify this:

"I think part of what might be driving the difference of opinion here is that the type of EAs that need a 45 minute chat are not the type of EAs that 80k meets."

I imagine this is true for a lot of EA org staff. It sounded from Howie's comment like it's probably less true for coaches at 80K, though, compared to other EA org staff.

Howie's comment:

"We try to make sure that we talk to t... (read more)

EA Survey 2019 Series: Community Demographics & Characteristics

I find myself navigating to this page a lot recently, thanks for publishing!

Quick UX request: could you update this post with links to subsequent posts in the series? I'm often hunting around trying to find various pieces of data, and would find that super helpful for user navigation, rather than searching on the title.

Glad to hear that it is a useful resource! I have updated the summary to include links to all the posts in the series so far (a pingbacks list will also appear at the bottom of the post if one opts into the experimental features on the Forum). The entire list of articles in the EA Survey 2019 Series (plus our other publications) can also be found on our website [].
The EA Hotel is now the Centre for Enabling EA Learning & Research (CEEALAR)

I think it's worth noting that the acronym for the Athena Center for EA Study is ACES! :)

Too good - how could you possibly turn this down!
What to know before talking with journalists about EA

FYI: I've updated this post to show that we now have an email address for requests for media help:

What to know before talking with journalists about EA

Thanks for adding this, Jonas. I just added a brief blurb that I think is related to this. (See the section about required skills, where I've added a note about being personable but willing to be "awkward"). These are the kinds of tips I'd usually discuss and rehearse with someone in an interview practice session. I notice this post is more about how to evaluate a media opportunity and self-assess readiness, rather than what to do during an actual interview. The latter is something I talk more about with people when we're rehearsin... (read more)

What posts you are planning on writing?

I would personally find this very useful!

What to know before talking with journalists about EA

Links are fixed, thanks for flagging! We have different versions of our domain name we can use for our email addresses but I agree that can look confusing, so they're updated too.

Four practices where EAs ought to course-correct

Thanks, Gordon; I've fixed the sharing permissions so that this document is public.

Four practices where EAs ought to course-correct

[Note: I’m a staff member at CEA]

I have been thinking a lot about this exact issue lately and agree. I think that as EA is becoming more well-known in some circles, it’s a good time to consider if — at a community level — EA might benefit from courting positive press coverage. I appreciate the concern about this. I also think that for those of us without media training (myself included), erring on the side of caution is wise, so being media-shy by default makes sense.

I think that whether or not the community as a whole or EA orgs should be more proactive a... (read more)

7G Gordon Worley III3y
This seems to be a private document. When I try to follow that link I get a page asking for me to log in to Google Drive with a Google account, which I don't have (I'm already logged into Google with two other Google accounts, so those don't seem to give me enough permission to access this document). Maybe this document is intended to be private right now, but if it's allowed to be accessed outside CEA it doesn't seem that you currently can.
The Media Training Bible [] is also good for this.
There are *a bajillion* jobs working on plant-based foods right now

I really like the broad range of skills presumably required for this list of jobs -- seems worth looking into further.