DavidMoss comments on Oxford Prioritisation Project Review - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: DavidMoss 13 October 2017 01:17:08AM 6 points [-]

Instead, participants strongly preferred to continue researching the area they already knew and cared most about, even as other participants were doing the same thing with a different area.

This is one of the things I fear is most likely to fundamentally undermine EA in the long term: people prefer to discuss and associate with people who share their assumptions, concrete concerns and detailed cause-specific knowledge and EA functionally splits into 3+ movement areas who never speak with each other and don't understand each other's arguments, and cause neutrality essentially stops being a thing. Notably, I think this has already happened to a significant extent.

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 17 October 2017 07:23:22AM 1 point [-]

Could public debates be helpful for this?

Comment author: DavidMoss 17 October 2017 06:29:31PM *  1 point [-]

Debates sound useful, although it would be great to think of something functionally similar, but without the oppositional/competitive aspect of the debate. I think a lot of EA's would benefit from debates, but for some it would probably increase their cause partisanship and easy dismissal of other causes.

Some other things which could be useful:

  • Involving EAs in structured giving games with a deliberative democratic component where they had to evaluate different causes. This could be structured something like Tom's project here- though it would have to avoid the relativism/disinclination to think about or challenge other people's causes noted in (7.2).
  • Red teaming causes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_team)
  • Involving non-supporters of a particular cause in evaluating and selecting interventions within that cause. At the moment the people evaluating (interventions within) causes tend to be supporters of those causes. This naturally encourages wild one-sided over-optimism about your preferred cause and a lack of interest beyond that cause.