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

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Comment author: Jan_Kulveit 07 April 2018 11:35:09PM 1 point [-]

Actually I would love to have some RCT on the effects of retreats on EA groups :)

We don't have that, so we have to go by models, guesstimates, anecdotal personal experience, and expert opinion.

As the topic seems broad, I'll just state some points where our models possibly differ and we can try to find out where the crux is

I. - networks are extremely important and you do not assign them appropriate weight (as a network science student I may be biased in opposite direction) - in contrast to reading online material or attending a single talk by an external expert, the social network links provide people feedback, encourangement, early-stage developement of ideas, support, clarification of misunderstandings - in CZEA we want the more engaged members to actually work together on EA projects, rather than just donating together or learning from external sources. this creates a need for higher level of cooperation - practical benefit of strong links for cooperation is the people can model each other better, which makes everything more effective - people are social, emotional animals, mostly motivated not just to ideas, but also by other people

II. "events organized for an effective knowledge-building in the given domain" - I believe the the format taken is actually quite good for an effective knowledge-building and skills building in the domain of effective altruism - diagree with the implied opposition between "hard-working" and "fun". for many people working just on the edge of their capabilities is actually enjoyable

Comment author: Richenda  (EA Profile) 13 April 2018 01:26:47AM *  2 points [-]

We don't have that, so we have to go by models, guesstimates, anecdotal personal experience, and expert opinion.

There is some relevant social research on it: https://rtcharity.org/2017-lean-impact-assessment-qualitative-findings/

RCTs, in my view would be unsuited to measuring anything actually useful about groups, however tempting the idea is. There are so many variables muddying the water for such assessment that you would end up just fabricating without realising.