Comment author: Denise_Melchin 13 April 2018 05:07:28PM 4 points [-]

I've been saying to people that I wish there was a post series about all the practical implications of different philosophical positions (I often have the unflattering impression philosophy EAs like to argue about them just because it's their favourite nerd topic - and not because of the practical relevance).

So special thanks to you for starting it! ;-)

Comment author: MichaelPlant 12 April 2018 10:16:26AM 13 points [-]

However, we can also err by thinking about a too narrow reference class

Just to pick up on this, a worry I've had for a while - which I'm don't think I'm going to do a very job explaining here - is that the reference class people use is "current EAs" not "current and future EAs". To explain, when I started to get involved in EA back in 2015, 80k's advice, in caricature, was that EAs should become software developers or management consultants and earn to give, whereas research roles, such as becoming a philosopher or historian, are low priority. Now the advice has, again in caricature, swung the other way: management consultancy looks very unpromising, and people are being recommended to do research. There's even occassion discussion (see MacAskill's 80k podcast) that, on the margin, philosophers might be useful. If you'd taken 80k's advice seriously and gone in consultancy, it seems you would have done the wrong thing. (Objection, imagining Wiblin's voice: but what about personal fit? We talked about that. Reply: if personal fit does all the work - i.e. "just do the thing that has greatest personal fit" - then there's no point making more substantive recommendations)

I'm concerned that people will funnel themselves into jobs that are high-priority now, in which they have a small comparative advice to other EAs, rather than jobs in which they will later have a much bigger comparative advantage to other EAs. At the present time, the conversation is about EA needing more operations roles. Suppose two EAs, C and D, are thinking about what to do. C realises he's 50% better than D at ops and 75% better at research, so C goes into Ops because that's higher priority. D goes into research. Time passes the movement grows. E now joins. E is better than C at Ops. The problem is that C has taken an ops role and it's much harder for C to transition to research. C only has a comparative advantage at ops in the first time period, thereafter he doesn't. Overall, it looks like C should just have gone into research, not ops.

In short, our comparative advantage is not fixed, but will change over time simply based on who else shows up. Hence we should think about comparative advantage over our lifetimes rather than the shorter term. This likely changes things.

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 12 April 2018 06:58:00PM 5 points [-]

I completely agree. I considered making the point in the post itself, but I didn't because I'm not sure about the practical implications myself!

19

Comparative advantage in the talent market

The concept of comparative advantage is well known within the Effective Altruism community. For donations, it is reasonably well known and implemented, think of donor lotteries or donation trading across countries to take better advantage of tax exemptions. In this post I’m outlining how the idea of comparative advantage can... Read More
Comment author: HoldenKarnofsky 26 March 2018 06:18:40PM 1 point [-]

Yes, I mean statutory holidays like Thanksgiving.

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 27 March 2018 05:25:39PM 1 point [-]

It is still unclear to me whether the statutory holidays are supposed to be included in the 25 days paid days off or in addition to.

9

Meta: notes on EA Forum moderation

The EA Forum moderators (currently Larissa Hesketh-Rowe, Denise Melchin, and Julia Wise) wanted to share some updates and clarifications on EA Forum moderation. Unfortunately the Forum FAQ isn't editable right now (looking forward to having a shiny new EA Forum, with editable sidebar, before too long!) so we’re just adding... Read More
Comment author: SiebeRozendal 02 January 2018 03:59:10PM *  1 point [-]

This is an interesting project! I am wondering how valuable you have found it, and whether there are any plans for further development. I can imagine that it would be valuable to

  • Increase complexity to increase robustness of the model, but then find some balance between robustness and user-friendliness, perhaps by allowing users to view the model on different 'levels' of complexity.
  • Use some form of crowd-sourcing to get much more reliable estimates, ideally weighted by expertise or forecasting ability.
  • Incorporate some insights from the moral uncertainty literature, so that low probability of something being very bad (e.g. wild animal suffering, or insect suffering) are given appropriate weight.

However, I have no idea how feasible this is, and imagine it would require many and valuable resources (lots of time, money, and capable researchers). Do you already have thoughts on this?

P.S. The link is missing for part IV

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 09 February 2018 12:55:44AM 0 points [-]

Thank you for your comment. I agree our model is only a very basic version and it would be interesting to see it developed further. (Though there are currently no further plans for development that I know of.)

This model was created in about 14 wks of FTEs. I expect a project like you're proposing to take much longer.

13

Causal Networks Model I: Introduction & User Guide

This is the user guide for the Causal Networks Model, created by CEA summer research fellows Alex Barry and Denise Melchin. Owen Cotton-Barratt provided the original idea, which was further developed by Max Dalton. Both, along with Stefan Schubert, provided comments and feedback throughout the process.  This is the beginning... Read More
Comment author: Kathy_Forth 11 November 2017 11:10:16PM 1 point [-]

"Multiple types of sex offenders exist. We may not have a complete list of different types yet."

This is a direct quote from the article, from a section covering a few different types of sex offenders. Section name: "Why we should not assume that effective altruism repels sex offenders"

I can't cover every single sub-topic in entirety in every single spot where a sub-topic is mentioned. The article would repeat itself a ridiculous amount.

I also cannot remove all mentions of all sub-topics that have not yet been fully covered. That would ruin all the natural connections inherent in the information. The article would seem to leave out a huge number of obviously important things.

This is why I support the implementation of a social norm where one doesn't argue with an author until after they've finished the article.

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 11 November 2017 11:21:00PM 3 points [-]

I agree that is a sensible norm. I'm sorry I implied you personally think that, I'll edit my comment accordingly.

However, since many people will stop reading before the article ends I think it's important to not get people get away with the impression this is what you think.

Comment author: Kathy_Forth 11 November 2017 11:02:41PM *  -1 points [-]

This post is long because:

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about sexual violence. To have accurate ideas about the effective altruism potential of sexual violence reduction as a cause, one needs to be informed about a bunch of things at once. Given the complexity of the issue and the number of common misconceptions, a long length was the only way to do this topic justice.

This is a foundation article. Now that it exists, a series of short articles can be written based on the information and context contained in it to help raise awareness.

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 11 November 2017 11:17:41PM 4 points [-]

I don't disagree with the full content being laid out. I'm glad you wrote such an in depth article.

Although I think it would be better if you created an index of contents and having split it up into a few posts would help as well.

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 11 November 2017 10:47:51PM 4 points [-]

By the way, I think the below sentence is slightly wrong?

The ratio of male rapists to women outside the movement is around 1:8 (3:25), based on a 50/50 gender ratio.

Shouldn't that be 3:50 (in a group of 50 men and 50 women, you expect 6% of 50 = 3 male rapists)?

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