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Robert_Wiblin comments on Two Easy Ways to Help Each Other - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Robert_Wiblin 13 April 2017 10:36:50PM 3 points [-]

I agree it's possible to do these things without being misleading (e.g. give awards to those who deserve them, and put forward good speakers).

I suspect society adapts to ensure 'no free positive signals' (something like a social equivalent of conservation of energy). Imagine that you did put forward a lousy speaker (not that you were advocating doing this). If it's easy to put on events like this in such a way that nobody involved suffers a reputation hit (e.g. nobody attends and the organisation putting on the event couldn't care less that you put forward a bad speaker), then I bet the line 'gave a talk at a law school' won't actually be that useful on a CV. Or it will quickly become devalued by people who read CVs as they cotton on to what's going on.

While at any point in time there are some misleading signals you can grab that haven't yet been devalued, it's probably more efficient (and more enduring) to gain real skills and translate them into credible signals.

But your post is most charitably read as saying 'giving good speakers opportunities to perform', and 'reward people who have done virtuous things'.

Comment author: MichaelPlant 13 April 2017 11:20:47PM 2 points [-]

I'm optimistic about this and think it's potentially a good idea.

EA is potentially unusual (unique?) in having a network of smart people distributed across good universities with the goodwill to help each other. I think EA is sufficiently new and lacking lots of professionals - compared to say, law - that there's probably low hanging fruit to research and talk about. I mean, Oxford has the Prioritisation Project and that's largely undergrads. I don't mean that to demean them; quite the opposite, I think they're doing valuable work and it indicates how much there is to be done which can also be done credibly.

FWIW, I think 'awards from EA clubs' will look strange to non-EA employers who won't understand it, and not obviously meaningful/credible to EA employers. But I'm prepared to be proved wrong and would like to see the idea fleshed out more.

I also think having EAs do research and gives talk to each other is valuable even if it doesn't go on anyone's CV.