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kbog comments on Building Cooperative Epistemology (Response to "EA has a Lying Problem", among other things) - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 12 January 2017 06:49:35AM *  9 points [-]

I like your thoughts and agree with reframing it as epistemic virtue generally instead of just lying. But I think EAs are always too quick to think about behavior in terms of incentives and rational action. Especially when talking about each other. Since almost no one around here is rationally selfish, some people are rationally altruistic, and most people are probably some combination of altruism, selfishness and irrationality. But here people are thinking that it's some really hard problem where rational people are likely be dishonest and so we need to make it rational for people to be honest and so on.

We should remember all the ways that people can be primed or nudged to be honest or dishonest. This might be a hard aspect of an organization to evaluate from the outside but I would guess that it's at least as internally important as the desire to maximize growth metrics.

For one thing, culture is important. Who is leading? What is their leadership style? I'm not in the middle of all this meta stuff, but it's weird (coming from the Army) that I see so much talk about organizations but I don't think I've ever seen someone even mention the word "leadership."

Also, who is working at EA organizations? How many insiders and how many outsiders? I would suggest that ensuring that a minority of an organization is composed of identifiable outsiders or skeptical people would compel people to be more transparent just by making them feel like they are being watched. I know that some people have debated various reasons to have outsiders work for EA orgs - well here's another thing to consider.

I don't have much else to contribute, but all you LessWrong people who have been reading behavioral econ literature since day one should be jumping all over this.

Comment author: Richard_Batty 17 January 2017 04:01:09PM 0 points [-]

What sort of discussion of leadership would you like to see? How was this done in the Army?

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 17 January 2017 05:12:54PM *  1 point [-]

Military has a culture of leadership, which is related to people taking pride in their organization, as I described in a different comment. There are training classes and performance evaluations emphasizing leadership, but I don't think those make a large difference.