EricHerboso comments on EA Hotel with free accommodation and board for two years - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: EricHerboso  (EA Profile) 21 June 2018 04:06:23AM 5 points [-]

Not all EAs are on board with AI risk, but it would be rude for this EA hotel to commit to funding general AI research on the side. Whether all EAs are on board with effective animal advocacy isn't the key point when deciding whether the hotel's provided meals are vegan.

An EA who doesn't care about veganism will be mildly put off if the hotel doesn't serve meat. But an EA who believes that veganism is important would be very strongly put off if the hotel served meat. The relative difference in how disturbed the latter person would be is presumably at least 5 times as strong as the minor inconvenience that the former person would feel. This means that even if only 20% of EAs are vegan, the expected value from keeping meals vegan would beat out the convenience factor of including meat for nonvegans.

Comment author: markus_over 21 June 2018 08:24:18AM 9 points [-]

Plus there's reason to believe that of the non-vegans/vegetarians, a substantial subset probably still agrees to some extent that it's generally a good idea, and simply doesn't commit to the diet due to lack of motivation, or practicality in their situation, and thus would still welcome or at least be open to vegan food being provided in the hotel. So I guess even if 80% of EAs consider themselves to be omnivores, we can't assume that the whole 80% would personally perceive this policy of the hotel as negative.

Comment author: FlorianH 23 June 2018 06:37:46PM 4 points [-]

Indeed, I think I'm not the only one to whom the nudge towards eating more fully vegan would seem a highly welcome side-effect of a stay in the hotel.

Comment author: Gregory_Lewis 21 June 2018 08:59:28AM *  3 points [-]

I'm getting tired of the 'veganism is only a minor inconvenience' point being made:

  • V*ganism shows very high 'recidivism' rates in the general population. Most people who try to stop eating meat/animal products usually end up returning to eat these things before long.
  • The general public health literature on behaviour/lifestyle change seldom says these things are easy/straightforward to effect.
  • When this point is made by EAAs, there is almost always lots of EAs who they say, 'No, actually, I found going v*gan really hard', or, 'I tried it but I struggled so much I felt I had to switch back'.
  • (The selection effect that could explain why 'ongoing v*gans' found the change only a minor convenience is left as an exercise to the reader).

I don't know many times we need to rehearse this such that people stop saying 'V*ganism is a minor inconvenience'. But I do know it has happened enough times that other people in previous discussions have also wondered how many times this needs to be rehearsed such that people stop saying this.

Of course, even if it is a major inconvenience (FWIW, I'm a vegetarian, and I'd find the relatively small 'step further' to be exclusively vegan a major inconvenience), this could still be outweighed by other factors across the scales (there's discussion to be had 'relative aversion', some second-order stuff about appropriate cooperative norms, etc. etc.). Yet discussions of the cost-benefit proceed better if the costs are not wrongly dismissed.

Comment author: MatejVrzala 21 June 2018 10:11:22AM *  9 points [-]

I would say, in many cases, we could consider veganism to be a major inconvenience.

For example

  • when the whole family is eating meat and one has to live with them.
  • when one cannot really choose in school or work because of cafeteria offer
  • when one doesn't have a belief animal suffering should be avoided
  • when one has low tendency to stand up against colleagues/friends/family/society pressure
  • when one doesn't know how to cook (or doesn't have time) and there are not good enough vegan services in place of living

But when you change the context to Hotel for effective altruists where one can just eat what is given, is supported to eat what's given by everyone around we could call it only a "minor inconvenience". And in a case, the food will be really good it could be called "great opportunity" for non-vegan EA to experience vegan living without even trying.

Comment author: MichaelStJules 22 June 2018 02:57:15AM *  2 points [-]

V*ganism shows very high 'recidivism' rates in the general population. Most people who try to stop eating meat/animal products usually end up returning to eat these things before long.

FWIW, based on Faunalytics surveys, the recidivism rate seems to be about 50% for vegans motivated by animal protection specifically: