5672Joined Sep 2014


I'm a researcher at London School of Economics and Political Science, working in the intersection of moral psychology and philosophy.


Topic Contributions

Though the other factors could still partially explain why the level (as opposed to the trend) isn't better, and arguably the level is what we're ultimately interested in.

They're pretty different kinds of things - an abstract concept vs an organisation - so I don't think it will cause confusion.

Dunbar's number has received scholarly criticism.

A widespread and popular belief posits that humans possess a cognitive capacity that is limited to keeping track of and maintaining stable relationships with approximately 150 people. This influential number, ‘Dunbar's number’, originates from an extrapolation of a regression line describing the relationship between relative neocortex size and group size in primates. Here, we test if there is statistical support for this idea. Our analyses on complementary datasets using different methods yield wildly different numbers. Bayesian and generalized least-squares phylogenetic methods generate approximations of average group sizes between 69–109 and 16–42, respectively. However, enormous 95% confidence intervals (4–520 and 2–336, respectively) imply that specifying any one number is futile. A cognitive limit on human group size cannot be derived in this manner.

"Icky" feels like pretty strong language.

I rather think it's sound advice, and have often given it myself. Besides it being, in my judgement, good from an impact point of view, I also guess that it has direct personal benefits for the advisee to figure out how people at hubs are thinking. It seems quite commonsensical advice to me, and I would guess that people in other movements give analogous advice.

That's a good point, that I agree with.

Separately, I think the criticisms in this thread are exaggerated. I don't think the post only captures "what a very, very small group of people in a very, very small community in Berkeley think".

Thanks, I thought this was a thoughtful post. I largely agree with the empirical analysis - that EA relies a lot on personal connections. Normatively, I'm a bit more positive to the current approach, though. For instance,  I think it can make it easier to make fast, low-cost decisions. It can also help you find good projects. 

Thank you, I think that's the right decision. I think bans for this type of behaviour could improve the forum.

I wouldn't characterise it as dismissing out of hand.

I disagree with that. Downvotes are often valuable information, and requiring people to explain all downvotes would introduce too high a bar for downvoting.

Your previous comment gives a different impression of your beliefs, fwiw.

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