Alex_Barry comments on Review of CZEA "Intense EA Weekend" retreat - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Alex_Barry 07 April 2018 02:18:35PM 3 points [-]

Thanks for writing this up,

For your impact review this seems likely to have some impact on the program of future years EA: Cambridge retreats. (In particular it seems likely we will include a version of the 'Explaining Concepts' activity, which we would not have done otherwise, as well as being an additional point in favour of CFAR stuff, and another call to think carefully about the space/mood we create).

I am also interested in the breakdown of how you spend the 200h planning time since i would estimate the EA: Cam retreat (which had around 45 attendees, and typically had 2 talks on at the same time) took me <100h (probably <2 weeks FTE). Part of this is likely efficiency gains since I worked on it alone, and I expect a large factor to be I put much much less effort into the program (<10 hours seems very likely).

Comment author: Jan_Kulveit 07 April 2018 11:53:29PM *  2 points [-]

Thanks for the feedback.

Judging from this and some private feedback I think it would actually make sense to create some kind of database of activities, containing not only descriptions, but info like how intellectually/emotionally/knowledge demanding it is, what materials you need, what are prerequisites, the best practices... and ideally also a data about the presentations and feedbacks.

My rough estimate of time costs is 20h general team meetups, 10h syncing between the team and CZEA board, 70h individual time spent planning and preparations, 50h activity developement, 50h survey design, playing with data, writing this, etc. It guess in your case you are not counting the time cost of the people giving the talks preparing them?

Comment author: Alex_Barry 08 April 2018 01:48:42PM *  0 points [-]

Some reservations I would have about the usefulness of a database vs lots of write-ups 'in context' like these is that I think how well activities work can depend heavily on the wider structure and atmosphere of the retreat, as well as the events that have come before. I would probably be happier with a classification of 2 or 3 different types of retreat, and the activities that seem to work best in each. (However we should not let perfect be the enemy of good here, and there is probably a number of things that work well across different retreat styles).

Your time costs seem largely similar to mine then (on the things we both did), I had not anticipated the large amount of time you spent on survey design etc. I don't think my time cost would change much if I included the talk prep, since I would be surprise if it totaled >10 hours.