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Alex_Barry comments on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Alex_Barry 12 November 2017 01:22:05AM *  13 points [-]

Thanks for writing this, I had not seen any public posts on this topic before, and the loss of productivity considerations etc. are novel arguments to me.

I have no object level comments, but a few meta level ones:

  1. As Denise mentioned, this post is very long, and I think would probably benefit from being split into multiple shorter posts.

    In particular the two strands of 'preventing sexual violence within EA' and 'preventing sexual violence in the rest of the world' seem suitably different in both arguments for their importance and calls to action that clearly splitting them into two posts might add clarity. (Although they clearly share some backbone in the discussion of the effects and severity of sexual violence).

  2. I found the post structure not especially clear, and on multiple occasions was somewhat confused about what exactly was being discussed (an example of which is the "Observations about sexual violence in the EA network" section). I also found the formatting a bit confusing and this made reading somewhat more challenging.

    I find writing lengthy posts like this very challenging, and I am not trying to claim any objective problems, just that I often found it difficult to keep track. (Note, since I read the post a table of contents has been added, which should help).

  3. Whilst you were very careful to try and discuss the uncertainty when numbers were first introduced, I think you occasionally later used them in more 'soundbite' form without sufficient qualifiers (or at least less than I would feel comfortable with). (Examples are the 'Inside EA: A 1:6 ratio means 7 rapes per 6 women on average.' section and the "rough estimate of 103 - 607 male rapists in EA" quote, when these depend strongly on assumptions about the relationships of demographics and criminality etc.).

    This may just be a matter of taste, as as I said you do already go to lengths to discuss the uncertainty, and I seem to to favour much more discussion/labeling of uncertainty than average.

I think 2&3 might somewhat explain why you seem to have felt that other commenters had not read the post.

Comment author: Kathy_Forth 12 November 2017 02:38:38AM *  0 points [-]

This post is long because there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about sexual violence. To have accurate ideas about the effective altruism potential of sexual violence reduction as a cause, one needs to be informed about a bunch of things at once. Given the complexity of the issue and the number of common misconceptions, a long length was the only way to do this topic justice.

This is a foundation article. Now that it exists, a series of short articles can be written based on the information and context contained in it to help raise awareness.

(As explained to Denise.)

So, yes, it's a long and complicated post, and there are certain downsides to that, which you have described pretty clearly. I'm sorry about the post formatting. It didn't paste over very well from Google Docs. I'm currently working on editing the HTML version to fix all the formatting issues, so at least that should be improved soon. :)

Comment author: Alex_Barry 12 November 2017 12:57:03PM 7 points [-]

I am not sure I understand your reasoning for having this as one long post instead of (say) a series of three posts, still covering all the content. This would still allow people to be linked back to it as a foundational resource (either by linking to the most relevant post for them, or just to the start of the series, telling them to read them all).

Glad to hear about the formatting :)

Comment author: Kathy_Forth 12 November 2017 11:45:17PM *  -1 points [-]

The reason is because the topic is simply too complicated, there is too much ignorance, and there are too many myths. If I published anything shorter it would seem to be full of holes to the reader.

I hope to have the time to write a series of shorter articles in the future. Even if I don't do this, I bet other people will. People have already begun expressing interest in this.

The ball is rolling. The short articles will come.

Comment author: Alex_Barry 13 November 2017 04:55:20AM 3 points [-]

This still does not obviously ring true to me as an advantage over one long article vs a series covering the same content. Still, it is written up now, and I think you will have your hands full replying to the other comments, so I am happy to let it be :)