Vilhelm Skoglund

156Joined Feb 2022



Thank you for a good post. I think this is a relevant question, and I agree with Stefan that it would be good with more data on this. Fwiw, in Sweden, my 50% confidence interval of the share of highly-engaged longtermists under 25 doing movement-building is  20-35%.  However, I don't think I am as concerned as you seem to be with that number. A couple of thoughts:

  • I think the answer to how young longtermist who should be doing community building is very dependent on the counterfactual - what they would be doing otherwise. And my experience as a community builder in Sweden trying to help young longtermsist is that there aren't that many better opportunities out there right now. (Note that this might be very different in other contexts.)
    • I would be super keen on seeing more opportunities for young longtermists to engage in EA!
  • Going off that, I think community building can be a very good place to get a better understanding of all the different career options and start exploring some, before doing object-level work to assess fit/contribute in another domain. And I think I would be more concerned with young EAs and longtermists focusing in on one path very early on, if they don't have a very particular/obvious personal fit or preference. I know of at least a couple of people who after doing community building have come to update their plans in a way I deem positive and unlikely to have happened otherwise.
  • On a related but more speculative note I think community building can be a good place to build a better sense of cause agnosticism and connections to people in different cause areas, which I think is beneficial for the EA and longtermist movement over the long run.
  • Data suggest people leave their community building roles rather quickly, indicating that people do pivot when finding a better fit (see more:
  • Pure speculation on my part but I think community building can be an especially pleasant way to get heavily involved and build social connections to other EAs and longtermists early on, thus making it more likely to keep people engaged over the long run.

Note that I might be biased as I am a community builder myself and think community building is one of the most impactful things many could do, not only young people. Somewhat relevant to this question, this is actually something I have been concerned about when giving advice to students. Obviously, I try to be objective, but it is hard to shy away from the fact that it will always be top of mind for me and just something I am much more knowledgeable about, making it more likely that I will bring it up. 

Really appreciate the pushback! Would be keen to hear more about your thoughts and I'll set up a meeting.

Thank you!

For context, CEA used to pay $70,000 annually to community builders in San Francisco, with lower salaries in areas with lower costs of living.

I think this was from the last grant period (2021-2022) and that it was slightly less before that.  

Now CEA have updated their payment policy, with salaries baselined to $90,000 in San Francisco, with a cost of living adjustment for other locations, ...

This is starting this grant period (from 2022).

Thank you very much for this input Peter. I would love to chatt and will reach out in a private message.

I think all have the option, but that it might be hard. So providing support to do this might be relevant.

As said I think this is an intersting idea, but I can see practical / legal issues with having a organization in one country having workers in multiple different countries. But regional orgs in places like the US and UK might be good. Also, even though one might not be able to be technically hired, having a joint back office for many things just seems good.

Thank you for the input!

I really like the mentoring idea. My intuition is that many would be up for this, if it was easier. 

Hiring mid-career CBs also seems like a good idea, both because they are likely to stick around longer and have more life experience / career capital and might be able to give more relevant guidance, contacts etc. Though I think it is good to have young people in many contexts.

Support with boring tasks would be beneficial and I do think it could be done "centralized", like Markus Amalthea Magnuson is doing with 

Thanks for the comment!

I agree the area is probably the most important factor for potential impact of a group. Thus, it seems especially important that you have capable CBs in those areas. (Though I am not sure it is most important to have really good people in e.g. The Bay as there already is a community in the Bay and it seems easier to do comunity building there. And also less low hanging fruit.)

It seems imoprtant with quick knowledge transfer, but I don't think it replaces the need of having people in the role longer. I don't think it will help us getting to the next level. Also, I do not think peer support is enough. And rather than "doubling down" on something we are already doing good I think additional resources should be aimed and other forms of support. 

I don't really understand you comment:

  • Community builder roles might not be perceived to be as prestigious as other roles as they might not get as many applications as other roles. 

It seems to me more that community builder roles don't enough applications, because they are not percieved as prestigous?

I agree the national/city/university context might lead to local citizens being more interested/qualified!

Wow - thank you for the many great comments! Will shoot you a PM. Quick thoughts:

I agree - I think we should target passaionate people and I think this should be something that CEA and CB-orgs consider when recruiting people. To some extent though, I think it is important to also proactively make people more passionate about it! 

Career capital problem
If I'd hear that one of my friends is going to be a community builder for 10 years, I would worry what they'd work at after that.

I'd expect that EA is one of the orgs that would pay the most in the world to community builders (EA really thinks it's important + EA has money). So if even EA doesn't pay "well" (however the person defines it), this is discouraging.

I don't agree with it being a problem that someone would be a community builder long term. But I  think it could be becuase I have a different definition of community builder. I think it is a broad term that could include things like the Global Priorities Project, CEA and ambitious local groups with multiple employees.  

I very much agree that community building can be a good excerise in founding a startup! Thank you for the case. 

I do think the people I talked to were honest with thinking their new job being more important. I also think many (thought not all) were correct. I also want to stress some people did not mention this.  

I agreee weekly 1-on-1s would be good, but that they should be optional.

Many people did mention peer support as one of the best parts of the job. I am sorry if this post gave another impression!

Haha - I love it "EA Community Building for EA Community Building". There is obvious metameta issued here but I do think it would be valueable. And to some extent this is what CEA is doing. 

Thank again! Please hit me up if you would like to talk more about this!

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