remmelt comments on Testing an EA network-building strategy in the Netherlands - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: remmelt  (EA Profile) 11 August 2017 01:18:04PM *  0 points [-]

I had missed your comment, Vincent, so here's a late reply. :-)

I like your idea of distributing introductory books to EA through libraries (especially university colleges, where students seem more multidisciplinary and idealistic). Last May, we actually collaborated with a publisher to get a new translated book of Peter Singer out.

Here's the deal. From my perspective, it will probably take too much time and attention away from EAN to directly work on distributing the books. Our current strategy for representing EA publicly in the Netherlands is to do it in limited, low marginal cost ways – through our online channels and invitations from media or lecture platforms (this falls under strategy point 4: EA-related in the Netherlands).

I think we should aim to become extremely competent by specialising in these approaches, which also means not getting distracted by other outreach opportunities (unless focusing on one of those instead will contribute more to building a thriving EA community).

To explore this concept more deeply:

People tend to naturally specialise in economic markets. This seems more difficult in the EA community because in a transaction, a product (information, skills, and other forms of capital) is often not offered in return for currency units (a medium of exchange) but instead in the expectation of reciprocity (that the other party is 1. aligned enough with your consequentialist preferences and 2. capable of fulfilling these moral preferences sufficiently using what you give them). It's not even barter (the exchange of products as would be done in moral trade, i.e. where moral preferences diverge) but the formation of trust-based partnerships towards shared long-term goals.

My hope (and what we're testing) is that collaborating on building a fractal social network structure – with EAs clustering around different adaptable network targets with corresponding specialised expertise at each layer – would result in a more optimal division of labour.

So should a competent organiser in the Netherlands reach out to us wanting to build an 'EA Literature network', we'd be open to exploring this!