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

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Comment author: RyanCarey 18 April 2017 02:01:16AM *  3 points [-]

In general, if you're considering takign some arguably seedy action that carries collective risks, and you see that everyone else has been avoiding the action, you should guess that you've underestimated the magnitude of these risks. It's called the Unilateralist's Curse.

In this case, the reputational risks that you've incurred seem to make this a pretty unhelpful post.

The standard way to ward off the unilateralist's curse is to consult others who bear the risk but who hold different views and assumptions in order to help you to make a less biased assessment.

For this post and in general, people should consult others before writing potentially risky posts.

Comment author: MichaelPlant 18 April 2017 09:02:52PM 0 points [-]

I not sure I understand your point but I think you're being a bit harsh. I would have thought floating this on the EA forum as a potential suggestion (rather than a fait accompli) is exactly consulting others to see if it's a good idea. If the EA forum weren't (as far as I can tell) just filled with EAs, I'd agree.

Also, I think it's unhelpful in turn to tell other people they're effectively stupid for floating ideas as that 1. discourages people from sharing their views, which restricts debate only to the bold and 2. makes people feel unwelcome.

Comment author: AndyMorgan 21 April 2017 02:14:26AM 1 point [-]

If the EA forum weren't (as far as I can tell) just filled with EAs, I'd agree.

I don't think we should necessarily be worried that, say, some journalist is reading this forum (which is what I take your comment to mean), so much that we should be worried that posts like this could potentially turn off people that are currently EAs or are considering becoming more involved in EA. Speaking personally, the suggestions floated in this post seemed a little dishonest to me.

Comment author: RyanCarey 19 April 2017 02:45:52AM 0 points [-]

You could argue that this particular post was net helpful (though I would disagree). The point I'm making, though, is that in general, people should consult others before posting things that can cause reputational damage on the public internet and that our social convention for such will need to be strong enough to counteract the unilateralist's curse.