I'm one of the Singapore group organizers, with a BA in Sociology. Currently building career capital while doing EA projects on the side. I have a background in social movement theory and structural functionalism.

Current Projects:

  • Running the Local Career Advice Network
  • Effective Environmentalism community building


vaidehi_agarwalla's Shortform

What are the low-hanging fruit or outliers of EA community building?

(where community building is defined as growing the number of engaged EAs who are likely to take medium-to-large sized actions in accordance to the EA values and/or framework. it could include group activities, events, infrastructure building, resource)

  • the EA community talks a lot about low-hanging fruits and the outlier interventions that are 100x or 1000x better than the next best intervention
  • it seems plausible that either of these exist for community building


Low hanging fruits

  • from working in the community building space for the last 2+ years, i have found what i believe are many low-hanging fruit (which are decently impactful) but no extreme outliers that are orders of magnitude more impactful than the next best thing
  • I think low hanging fruits are relatively neglected areas of community building
  • The biggest one that I observed is careers advice outside of 80K's general scope is very neglected, and within those there are mostly similar effectiveness interventions (or at least not 100-1000x apart). 
  • What other low-hanging fruit do you think there are?


Extreme Outliers

  • i would guess that any outlier interventions could fall into 1 of two categories (which obviously don't pose undue risk to the community):
    1. Intervention that is moderately to very good at achieving X (where X can be either recruitment, education, engagement or retention, see more), but also have the property of scaling very quickly (e.g. a web service, written resource or a skill that could be taught to many group organisers )  
    2. Intervention is very good at recruiting a few extremely engaged, aligned & talented people (the hits based model, where you have 99% failure and 1% success), or getting them engaged (I imagine there's fewer education or retention interventions)
  • Do you know of clearly obvious outlier interventions ?
Propose and vote on potential tags

UPDATE: I've proposed the change to the tag.

Proposal: Change the EA Global tag to EA Conferences.

Since many of the tagged posts are relevant to EA Student Summit, EAGx's etc. and the description itself is conference posts. 

Propose and vote on potential tags

I think Discussion Norms makes sense!

Discussion Norms: Posts about suggested or encouraged norms within the EA community on how to interact with other EAs, which may often relate to being supportive, welcoming and considerate. 

It's still not great, if you had any  feedback I'd be keen to hear it!

New Career Guidance Organization: Probably Good

I agree that the statement needs rewording and agree with your re-write for factual correctness. However, I think the case for this is really strong, and many of the reasons for this aren't captured in the original document/what you've said above: 

  • The lack of careers advice content is a very big and important gap in the existing resources - based on my own research amongst group organisers & interviews with members of the EA community, it's very rare to find 1) good career advice in general, and  2) apples to apples/consistent comparisons of different jobs, causes etc.
    • It's really hard for individuals to do this research, making it less likely for individuals to do this themselves. It seems really valuable to give people at least a starting point to make it easier to do more research & be more knowledgeable (I think detailed practical knowledge is especially important, and is what is missing currently, where existing content is not targeted at people seriously considering these paths)
    • Although its feasible to get guidance from other sources as you mention, it requires a  lot of (collective) community resources, and could be harder for the person to parse through the information. I don't think this is a very efficient
  • Even thought some topics have a lot of content, I think "translating" non-EA to EA content is very valuable. It can be difficult for people to know how to parse outside resources, or where to begin, or have the time to do this. This is especially important for getting people to consider areas outside their current expertise. 
    • For example, it's hard to know, despite the vast literature on climate change, what could be some of the effective things to do within that cause area, or how to compare climate change with scientific progress if you don't have a background knowledge of one or the other. 
  • In general, having a well-organized and easy to navigate set of resources that follow a consistent research apporach or style (like 80K's articles) will save a lot of collective time and be a valuable resource for movement builders. 
New Career Guidance Organization: Probably Good

Yay thanks! Looking forward to engaging on the topics :)

New Career Guidance Organization: Probably Good

Really excited that you are doing this! 

Meta-level comment: Many of the shared google docs were not commentable - would it make sense to make the comment-friendly? I personally would find it easier to leave feedback that way. 

Why we should grow One for the World chapters alongside EA student groups

Thanks for the information Jack! To clarify my points a little:

OFTW chapters are certainly vulnerable to changes in leadership, but this point would seem to apply just as strongly to EA groups on campuses, I think? So I'm not sure that we should expect leadership turnover to have any more or less of a negative effect on OFTW-EA relations that it does on EA-student relations.

Agreed that EA student groups (and most student groups) are vulnerable to this. I think my prior here is that EA groups would be more likely to to collaborate/work with the OFTW group because there are more obvious reasons to (the benefits Sabrina mentioned in the most)

However it's very possible (and maybe even fairly likely) that and smaller EA groups perhaps shrinks or stops existing due to leadership handover reasons, while the OFTW group doesn't. I don't think this would be a very bad outcome, as I mentioned above I think 

In fairness, we don't teach people those memes, or ever reference them in any of our materials or training (at least not in any of the materials or training that I have reviewed/contributed to). OFTW never mentions ETG and in general we don't really make claims about what EA cares about or focusses on. 

I think I was unclear earlier, and I should have added more nuance. I don't think this is a direct risk, or that OFTW materials imply this, but rather that these are the associations people will make to EA if that's the only perspective they see or know that most about. I think this is probably more true if OFTW chapters become very prevalent across US universities, much more so than EA chapters. 

Propose and vote on potential tags

I think the overlap would be a if say, in the field of survey methodology, someone discovers a new way to measure bias in surveys - this would be a meta-science improvement but also scientific progress in the field of survey methodology

Propose and vote on potential tags

I agree that tags seem better than sequences. 

I think rather than specific tags, it may be better to just have them regular tags. This would solve the issue about which organisations get org tags. I think it's okay for people to tag their own early stage projects or orgs even if they aren't very big (I'm biased here as I have some projects which I would like to be able to link people to). 

I don't think there's a lot of risk - having a tag doesn't mean your project is endorsed by EA or anything, it's just a organisational tool.  

Maybe some forum users can just make tags for orgs they want there to be tags for, and then orgs can make tags for themselves if they want, and we can see what results.

I think this is probably the best strategy!


Also congrats on starting at Rethink :) 

Propose and vote on potential tags

Update: I've created the tag "Discussion Norms"

Community Norms/Discussion Norms

Very Bad Description: Posts that discuss norms on how EAs to interact with each other. 

Posts this tag could apply to: 

Issues with existing tags: 

  • Cooperation & Coordination - this seems more high-level or strategic like donor coordination. But I'm quite uncertain - it could be include disucsion norms. I think there's probably value for a separate tag though, because this is the kind of thing group organisers would find useful and could be quickly shared with people.
  • Community - applies but is too broad, so doesn't help identify these posts
  • Movement Strategy - also too broad
  • Diversity & Inclusion - too narrow - not all community norms are about D&I
  • EA Messaging - too narrow - sometimes relevant when disucssing how you might talk to non-EAs in an EA setting (e.g. a newcomer at an event)
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