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Toby_Ord comments on Celebrating All Who Are in Effective Altruism - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Toby_Ord 21 January 2016 11:45:26AM 15 points [-]

The terms 'softcore EAs' and 'hardcore EAs' are simply terrible. I strongly urge people to use other words to talk about these groups.

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 21 January 2016 12:14:24PM 2 points [-]

I totally agree, came here to make the same comment.

Comment author: Tom_Ash  (EA Profile) 21 January 2016 02:54:14PM 0 points [-]

Yep, I came to ask whether people could brainstorm alternatives. Any ideas? Ideally these wouldn't contain value judgements - the terms that people first encounter are bad places for value judgements anyway. "Dedicated" vs. "highly dedicated" is a very nice idea, but sounds a little too artificial and 'PC' to catch on.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 21 January 2016 11:43:23PM 0 points [-]

Perhaps EA leader vs just EA, without an adjective? That way, there is an especially positive associated with a higher commitment, and somewhat positive with just being an EA participant.

Comment author: Tom_Ash  (EA Profile) 22 January 2016 03:35:22AM 2 points [-]

Oh, I find 'leader' much more off-putting and elitist! EA already puts a lot of people off with status hierarchies, fanboyism and hero worship. 'Part-time' and 'full-time' are the most popular suggestions from the other thread, and are better.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 22 January 2016 04:54:07AM 0 points [-]

Ok, I see your point, full-time and part-time is good. We might want to do a FB poll in the EA FB group once we get a number of options.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 21 January 2016 07:10:14PM *  5 points [-]

Yeah, they're not my favorite either, but I couldn't think of anything better, and they were already coming into broad use because of Ozy's really good post about them. I'd love to hear some different ideas!

At the same time, there are many who actually embrace the term softcore, as it gives them the language to embrace an identity as an EA, which they were previously reluctant to do. I have both heard this in personal conversations with many EAs who responded to my article, but also some who have publicly posted about this, so I feel comfortable sharing this link to one response.

More broadly, we need to think about how to address this problem of EA being perceived as too lofty to embrace unless there is a more humble identity. As I talked about above, articles about EAs consistently celebrate deeply committed EAs, such as Julia

This is great for getting word about the movement out there, but what kind of an image does that create for people? It creates what I heard many describe as a "general unspoken feeling of 'you're not doing enough unless you meet our high expectations'" which is one reason many folks don't get involved in the movement. Again, I heard this in many personal exchanges, which inspired me to write about this topic, but also some people chose to share this publicly, such as Taryn in her Facebook comments here or Kaj here.

This is why I think there is a high need for a distinction between EA identities. This should not be a binary distinction, but one that describes two poles of EA involvement regarding contribution of time and resources. There should be freedom and flexibility to move between those poles based on life circumstances, and without judging or shaming of those who choose to move. This will result in optimizing the numbers of value-aligned people contributing to the EA movement, as well as good PR for the movement, which I think is what we want to achieve.

Comment author: Linch 21 January 2016 12:32:50PM 1 point [-]

Yes, I agree. I mentioned this privately before. I meant to bring it up with Gleb when I was reviewing this document, but I don't think I did in the end, so this is partially my fault. "Dedicated" vs. "highly dedicated" is one possibility that was brought up by Will, not painting the distinction with labels at all is another (which is my recommendation).