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Dunja comments on Near-Term Effective Altruism Discord - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Dunja 10 September 2018 11:55:17AM 0 points [-]

No worries! Thanks for that, and yes, I agree pretty much with everything you say here. As for the discussion on far-future funding, it did start in the comments on my post, but it led nowhere near practical changes, in terms of transparency of proposed criteria used for the assessment of funded projects. I'll try to write a separate, more general post on that.

My only point was that due to the high presence of "far-future bias" on this forum (I might be wrong, but much of downvoting-without-commenting seems to be at least a tendency towards biased outlooks) it's nice to have some chats on more near-future related topics and strategies for promoting those goals. I see a chat channel more as a complementary venue to this forum than as an alternative.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 12:20:31PM *  0 points [-]

It's extremely hard to identify bias without proper measurement/quantification, because you need to separate it from actual differences in the strength of people's arguments, as well as legitimate expression of a majority point of view, and your own bias. In any case, you are not going to get downvoted for talking about how to reduce poverty. I'm not sure what you're really worried about. At some point you have to accept that no discussion space is perfect, that attempts to replace good ones usually turn out to be worse, and that your time is better spent focusing on the issues. But when I look through your comment history, you seem to not be talking about near-future related topics and strategies, you're just talking about meta stuff, Open Phil, the EA forums, critiques of the EA community, critiques of AI safety, the same old hot topics. Try things out before judging.

Comment author: Dunja 10 September 2018 01:14:24PM *  0 points [-]

First, I disagree with your imperatives concerning what one should do before engaging in criticism. That's a non-sequitur: we are able to reflect on multiple meta-issues without engaging in any of the object-related ones and at the same time we can have a genuine interest in reading the object-related issues. I am genuinely interested in reading about near-future improvement topics, while being genuinely interested in voicing opinion on all kinds of meta issues, especially those that are closely related to my own research topics.

Second, the fact that measuring bias is difficult doesn't mean bias doesn't exist.

Third, to use your phrase, I am not sure what you are really worried about: having different types of venues for discussion doesn't seem harmful especially if they concern different focus groups.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 08:05:03PM *  0 points [-]

That's a non-sequitur: we are able to reflect on multiple meta-issues without engaging in any of the object-related ones and at the same time we can have a genuine interest in reading the object-related issues

Mhm, it's POSSIBLE to talk about it, bias MAY exist, etc, etc. There's still a difference between speculation and argument.

having different types of venues for discussion doesn't seem harmful especially if they concern different focus groups.

different venues are fine, they must simply be split among legitimate lines (like light chat vs serious chat, or different specific causes; as I stated already, those are legitimate ways to split venues). Splitting things along illegitimate lines is harmful for reasons that I stated earlier in this thread.

Comment author: Dunja 10 September 2018 08:31:04PM 0 points [-]

Mhm, it's POSSIBLE to talk about it, bias MAY exist, etc, etc. There's still a difference between speculation and argument.

Could you please explain what you are talking about here since I don't see how this is related to what you quote me saying above? Of course, there is a difference between a speculation and argument, and arguments may still include a claim that's expressed in a modal way. So I don't really understand how is this challenging what I have said :-/

different venues are fine, they must simply be split among legitimate lines (like light chat vs serious chat, or different specific causes; as I stated already, those are legitimate ways to split venues). Splitting things along illegitimate lines is harmful for reasons that I stated earlier in this thread.

having a discussion focusing on certain projects rather than others (in view of my suggestion directly to the OP) allows for such a legitimate focus, why not?

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 08:37:37PM *  0 points [-]

Could you please explain what you are talking about here since I don't see how this is related to what you quote me saying above?

The part where I say "it's POSSIBLE to talk about it" relates to your claim "we are able to reflect on multiple meta-issues without engaging in any of the object-related ones and at the same time we can have a genuine interest in reading the object-related issues", and the part where I say "bias MAY exist" relates to your claim "the fact that measuring bias is difficult doesn't mean bias doesn't exist."

having a discussion focusing on certain projects rather than others (in view of my suggestion directly to the OP) allows for such a legitimate focus, why not?

Your suggestion to the OP to only host conversation about "[projects that] improve the near future" is the same distinction of near-term vs long-term, and therefore is still the wrong way to carve up the issues, for the same reasons I gave earlier.

Comment author: Dunja 10 September 2018 08:51:01PM 0 points [-]

right, we are able to - doesn't mean we cannot form arguments. since when did arguments exist only if we can be absolutely certain about something?

as for my suggestion, unfortunately, and as i've said above, there is a bubble in the EA community concerning the far-future prioritization, which may be overshadowing and repulsive towards some who are interested in other topics. in the ideal context of rational discussion, your points would hold completely. but we are talking here about a very specific context where a number of biases are already entrenched and people tend to be put off by that. your approach alone in this discussion with me is super off-putting and my best guess is that you are behaving like this because you are hiding behind your anonymous identity. i wonder if we talked in person, if you'd be so rude (for examples, see my previous replies to you). i doubt.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 09:09:03PM *  1 point [-]

doesn't mean we cannot form arguments.

But they'll be unsubstantiated.

since when did arguments exist only if we can be absolutely certain about something?

You don't have to be certain, just substantiated.

there is a bubble in the EA community concerning the far-future prioritization which may be overshadowing and repulsive towards some who are interested in other topics

It may be, or it may not be. Even if so, it's not healthy to split groups every time people dislike the majority point of view. "It's a bubble and people are biased and I find it repulsive" is practically indistinguishable from "I disagree with them and I can't convince them".

we are talking here about a very specific context where a number of biases are already entrenched and people tend to be put off by that

Again, this is unsupported. What biases? What's the evidence? Who is put off? Etc.

my best guess is that you are behaving like this because you are hiding behind your anonymous identity

my IRL identity is linked via the little icon by my username. I don't know what's rude here. I'm saying that you need to engage with on a topic before commenting on the viability of engaging on it. Yet this basic point is being met with appeals to logical fallacies, blank denial of the validity of my argument, insistence upon the mere possibility and plausible deniability of your position. These tactics are irritating and lead to nowhere, so all I can do is restate my points in a slightly different manner and hope that you pick up the general idea. You're perceiving that as "rude" because it's terse, but I have no idea what else I can say.

Comment author: Dunja 10 September 2018 09:37:40PM *  0 points [-]

OK, you aren't anonymous, so that's even more surprising. I gave you earlier examples of your rude responses, but doesn't matter, I'm fine going on.

My impression of bias is based by my experience on this forum and observations in view of posts critical of far-future causes. I don't have any systematic study on this topic, so I can't provide you with evidence. It is just my impression, based on my personal experience. But unfortunately, no empirical study on this topic, concerning this forum, exists, so the best we currently have are personal experiences. My experience is based on observations of the presence of larger-than-average downvoting without commenting when criticism on these issues is voiced. Of course, I may be biased and this may be my blind spot.

You started questioning my comments on this topic by stating that I haven't engaged in any near-future discussions so far. And I am replying that i don't need to have done so in order to have an argument concerning the type of venue that would profit from discussions on this topic. I don't even see how I could change my mind on this topic (the good practice when disagreeing) because I don't see why one would engage in a discussion in order to have an opinion on the discussion. Hope that's clear by now :)

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 10:16:54PM *  1 point [-]

My experience is based on observations of the presence of larger-than-average downvoting without commenting when criticism on these issues is voiced.

I'm not referring to that, I'm questioning whether talking about near-term stuff needs to be anywhere else. This whole thing is not about "where can we argue about cause prioritization and the flaws in Open Phil," it is about "where can we argue about bed nets vs cash distribution". Those are two different things, and just because a forum is bad for one doesn't imply that it's bad for the other. You have been conflating these things in this entire conversation.

And I am replying that i don't need to have done so in order to have an argument concerning the type of venue that would profit from discussions on this topic. I don't even see how I could change my mind on this topic (the good practice when disagreeing) because I don't see why one would engage in a discussion in order to have an opinion on the discussion

The basic premise here, that you should have experience with conversations before opining about the viability of having such a conversation, is not easy to communicate with someone who defers to pure skepticism about it. I leave that to the reader to see why it's a problem that you're inserting yourself as an authority while lacking demonstrable evidence and expertise.

Comment author: Dunja 10 September 2018 01:38:29PM *  -1 points [-]

I have to single out this one quote from you, because I have no idea where you are getting all this fuel from:

But when I look through your comment history, you seem to not be talking about near-future related topics and strategies, you're just talking about meta stuff, Open Phil, the EA forums, critiques of the EA community, critiques of AI safety, the same old hot topics. Try things out before judging.

Can you please explain what you are suggesting here? How is this conflicting with my interest in near-future related topics? I have a hard time understanding why you are so confrontational. Your last sentence:

Try things out before judging.

is the highest peak of unfriendliness. What should I try exactly before judging?!

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 07:58:28PM *  0 points [-]

I don't know of any less confrontational/unfriendly way of wording those points. That comment is perfectly civil.

Can you please explain what you are suggesting here? How is this conflicting with my interest in near-future related topics?

It should be clear, no? It's hard to judge the viability of talking about X when you haven't talked about X.

What should I try exactly before judging?!

Look, it's right there in the original comment - "talking about near-future related topics and strategies". I don't know how else I can say this.

Comment author: Dunja 10 September 2018 08:21:59PM *  0 points [-]

Civil can still be unfriendly, but hey, if you aren't getting it, it's fine.

It should be clear, no? It's hard to judge the viability of talking about X when you haven't talked about X.

If it was clear, why would I ask? there's your lack of friendliness in action. And I still don't see the rationale in what you are saying: I can judge that certain topics may profit from being discussed in a certain context A even if I haven't personally engaged in discussing it in that context. The burden of proof is on you: if you want to make an argument, you have to provide more than just a claim. So far, you are just stating something which I currently can't make any sense of.

"talking about near-future related topics and strategies". I don't know how else I can say this.

Again: why would someone be able to assess the viability of the context in which a certain topic is discussed only if they have engaged in the discussion of that topic? As I said above, this is a non-sequitur, or at least you haven't provided any arguments to support this thesis. I can be in a position to suggest that scientists may profit from exchanging their ideas in a venue A even if I myself haven't exchanged any ideas in A.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 08:32:15PM 0 points [-]

And I still don't see the rationale in what you are saying: I can judge that certain topics may profit from being discussed in a certain context A even if I haven't personally engaged in discussing it in that context

Yes, you can, technically, in theory. I'm recommending that you personally engage before judging it with confidence.

The burden of proof is on you: if you want to make an argument, you have to provide more than just a claim.

This kind of burden-of-proof-shifting is not a good way to approach conversation. I've already made my argument.

So far, you are just stating something which I currently can't make any sense of.

What part of it doesn't make sense? I honestly don't see how it's not clear, so I don't know how to make it clearer.

Again: why would someone be able to assess the viability of the context in which a certain topic is discussed only if they have engaged in the discussion of that topic

They can, I'm just saying that it will be pretty unreliable.

Comment author: Dunja 10 September 2018 08:38:48PM *  0 points [-]

I'm recommending that you personally engage before judging it with confidence.

But why would I? I might be fond of reading about certain causes from those who are more knowledgeable about them than I am. My donation strategies may profit from reading such discussions. And yet I may engage there where my expertise lies. This is why i really can't make sense of your recommendation (which was originally an imperative, in fact).

This kind of burden-of-proof-shifting is not a good way to approach conversation. I've already made my argument.

I haven't seen any such argument :-/

What part of it doesn't make sense? I honestly don't see how it's not clear, so I don't know how to make it clearer.

See above.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 08:40:59PM *  0 points [-]

But why would I?

First, because you seem to be interested in 'talking about near-future related topics and strategies". And second, because it will provide you with firsthand experience on this topic which you are arguing about.

I haven't seen any such argument

In above comments, I write "It's hard to judge the viability of talking about X when you haven't talked about X", and "I'm not sure what you're really worried about. At some point you have to accept that no discussion space is perfect, that attempts to replace good ones usually turn out to be worse, and that your time is better spent focusing on the issues. But when I look through your comment history, you seem to not be talking about near-future related topics and strategies, you're just talking about meta stuff, Open Phil, the EA forums, critiques of the EA community, critiques of AI safety, the same old hot topics. Try things out before judging."

Comment author: Dunja 10 September 2018 08:46:41PM 0 points [-]

Like I mentioned above, I may be interested in reading focused discussions on this topic and chipping in when I feel I can add something of value. Reading alone brings a lot on forums/discussion channels.

Moreover, I may assess how newcomers with a special interest in these topics may contribute from such a venue. You reduction of a meta-topic to one's personal experience of it is a non-sequitur.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 09:15:39PM *  1 point [-]

You reduction of a meta-topic to one's personal experience of it is a non-sequitur

I didn't reduce it. I only claim that it requires personal experience as a significant part of the picture.