astupple comments on Open Thread #38 - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: astupple 30 August 2017 09:43:37PM *  1 point [-]


I would love some feedback on what I'm calling an "EA Idea Sounding Board"

I'm thinking of a call-in show and/or a message board, where EA's suggest ideas to someone with experience in the EA landscape, perhaps an advisor at 80,000 Hours. It might go something like this:

An 80,000 Hours advisor takes calls from EA's who essentially pitch their ideas for anything EA related: an idea for a donation drive, for a new cause area, for a startup. The advisor hears out the idea and reframes and refines it to show both how it is promising and in what ways it seems to miss the mark. At the end, they work an assessment and plan. The overall assessment might fall into categories, like: -"Back to the Drawing Board" (Rethink/research these major limitations: _) -"Worth Pursuing" (You're onto something here, develop these parts: _) -"Ready for Prime Time" (Well researched/planned, concrete next steps: )

These calls could be recorded with the option to be edited and distributed as a podcast episode. I see lots of potential value: - Showcasing good ideas - Demonstrate rationality in progress - Highlight limitations of cognitive biases - Demonstrate the general principles/values of EA - Offer updates on latest EA topics - Enhance networking.

Not every call would be broadcast, only the very best ones. Part of the incentive for developing a good idea is to see if you can generate an interesting enough discussion to get published. However, maybe the best part is that even weak ideas might be very valuable to publish because they would demonstrate loose thinking and be good examples of constructive criticism.

Alternatively, this could be distributed on a message board or forum of some kind. Perhaps after the discussion with the 80,000 Hours advisor, the person pitching the idea would write up a summary of the dialog, highlighting the original idea, the general principles, the cognitive biases or weak elements, the strengths of the idea, and the final assessment. This summary could be posted for the community to review. To streamline this, a template could be created ahead of time which forms the basis of the idea discussion. After the discussion, the template is edited to reflect the content of the discussion and made ready for posting. Certain tags could be added, such as a request for someone to weigh in if they know of research in this area, or someone to fund the idea. The 80,000 Hours advisor could affix an overall rating of how promising they think this idea is and what needs to be done to make it more promising.