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Lila comments on Why & How to Make Progress on Diversity & Inclusion in EA - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Lila 26 October 2017 10:36:40PM 4 points [-]

I think there's a bit of an empathy gap in this community. When people are angry for what seems to be no reason, a good first step is to ask whether you've done something that made them feel unsafe/humiliated/demeaned/etc, even if that wasn't your intention. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see how unsolicited exploration of "other hypotheses" (cough cough) for racial and gender disparities could be very distressing for the people who are being discussed as if they're not there.

Comment author: casebash 27 October 2017 01:14:01AM *  5 points [-]

I actually think we should discuss other hypotheses.

Firstly, "other hypotheses" includes all kinds of inoffensive explanations like the primary cause of a difference being:

  • Broader society has instilled certain social norms in people, as opposed to it being anything specific about this group
  • Founder effects - A guy gets a few of his mates to start the group, they rope in their mates, ect.
  • That the message happens to resonate among groups of people that are currently disproportionately one gender (ie. programmers)

But going further than this, I don't think we should limit discussion of different intrinsic preferences either, especially if someone makes an argument that is dependent on this being false.

Comment author: xccf 27 October 2017 04:34:00AM 7 points [-]

I think I've noticed a pattern where basically any hypothesis that's not the discrimination hypothesis gradually leaves the Overton window.

Comment author: Lila 27 October 2017 01:19:51PM 0 points [-]

Where do we draw the line? Is intrinsic abilities an acceptable topic of casual discussion? Do you think it would be humiliating for people who are being discussed as having less intrinsic ability?

Comment author: casebash 27 October 2017 02:13:23PM *  3 points [-]

I think it depends on the particular space. The rationality community should aim to have everything open to discussion because that is its purpose. The EA community should minimise these discussions in that they are rarely necessarily and quite often a distraction. In most groups I've been in, social norms can prevent the need for formal rules though.

Comment author: xccf 26 October 2017 11:37:44PM *  2 points [-]

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see how unsolicited exploration of "other hypotheses" (cough cough) for racial and gender disparities could be very distressing for the people who are being discussed as if they're not there.

Oh, I totally agree, and I don't think we should discuss them. [I edited my comment in an attempt to clarify this.]

Comment author: Lila 26 October 2017 11:41:28PM 1 point [-]

But you don't want discrimination hypotheses to be discussed either? I guess that could be an acceptable compromise, to not debate the causes of disparities but at the same time focus on improving diversity in recruitment.

Comment author: xccf 27 October 2017 12:00:20AM 4 points [-]

Yeah. I'm also in favor of trying to grab low-hanging fruit from addressing discrimination, as long as we don't get overzealous. But in terms of trying to make our demographics completely representative... there are already a lot of groups trying and failing to do that, sometimes in a way that crashes & burns spectacularly, so I would rather hang back and wait for a model that seems workable/reliable before aiming that high.