Comment author: Maxdalton 13 April 2017 04:15:40PM *  21 points [-]

[My views, not my employer's]

I appreciate the spirit in which this was written, and I think we should all be looking out for more ways to help each other, especially in ways that directly improve skills - e.g. through the advice and mentorship you generously offer.

However, some of this feels a little deceptive to me. If people see 'speaking at a top law school' as impressive, that's probably because they think that I was invited because I'm a great speaker/have expertise that lots of people in the law school value. If in fact I was invited just because I was involved in effective altruism, and I only gave a 10 minute talk, I might be giving someone a misleading impression of my talents. Similarly, people might think that receiving the award you describe would require a higher bar of achievement than the one you suggest.

I'm probably overreacting here - this is the sort of thing that people do on CVs all of the time, and so perhaps people automatically downgrade such claims on CVs. However, I think that it's valuable for our internal culture, and for the community's reputation, to hold ourselves to high standards, and I think this article would have been better if it had noted these issues. I'm not sure whether the benefits outweigh the costs.

Comment author: Julia_Wise  (EA Profile) 13 April 2017 05:30:01PM 6 points [-]

Agreed. And if I'm organizing speakers for an EA event I'd like to know whether a person's past speaking arrangements reflect any kind of merit.

Comment author: davidc 03 April 2017 09:06:07PM *  3 points [-]

For what it's worth, I think maybe this would be improved by some more information about the standards for application acceptance. (Apologies if that already exists somewhere that I haven't been able to find.)

[Edited to remove the word "transparency", which might have different connotations than I intended.]

Comment author: Julia_Wise  (EA Profile) 03 April 2017 11:27:18PM 2 points [-]

For Boston, the main thing that I expect to make the difference between otherwise similar applications is whether the person is at a turning point in their studies or career, or has knowledge or experience that would likely be helpful to others who are at a turning point.

Comment author: Sanjay 11 March 2017 12:27:23PM 3 points [-]

Will this be publicly available on the internet? eg on

Comment author: Julia_Wise  (EA Profile) 11 March 2017 10:40:06PM 4 points [-]

Yes! Working on it.

Comment author: AdamHoffman 06 March 2017 02:12:20AM 2 points [-]

Thanks for posting! I'm in the CA Bay Area and just wrote a similar letter along with a group here to Barbara Lee (on committee).

Comment author: Julia_Wise  (EA Profile) 09 March 2017 02:40:31PM 0 points [-]


Comment author: SoerenMind  (EA Profile) 09 March 2017 11:16:36AM 3 points [-]

Congrats on making this, it seems like a modest but still powerful way forward.

Have you thought about making it possible for community members to officially endorsement these principles?

Comment author: Julia_Wise  (EA Profile) 09 March 2017 02:36:57PM *  3 points [-]

We did think about it, but didn't come up with anything that seemed particularly good. (Happy to hear ideas.)

I'm thinking of other parallel documents: for example, when the Universal Declaration on Human Rights came out, there was a list of official signatories (nations). Then there were organizations that promoted the declaration on their own (without participation of the UN). Then there were individuals who supported it by telling their friends they approved of it, writing letters to the editor in support of it, etc.

The main way I would love to see individuals endorsing the principles is to refer to them when disagreements arise and it's unclear how people should behave or make decisions. That's where the rubber meets the road, much more than whose name is on what list.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 08 March 2017 07:07:23AM *  3 points [-]

I like this, but I think collaborative spirit should be augmented by remembering the value of unity and solidarity, which is rather different than mere collaboration and cooperation. Curious why it didn't get included.

Comment author: Julia_Wise  (EA Profile) 09 March 2017 02:23:45PM 9 points [-]

We recognize that there are major areas of disagreement between people who are committed to the core ideas of EA, and we don't want emphasis on "unity" to sound like "you have to agree with the majority on specific topics, or you should leave."

Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 08 March 2017 04:54:58PM 5 points [-]

"We want to get input from people who have different viewpoints from our staff and can provide us with an outside view."

This group feels quite far from assembled to provide an 'outside' view. Is there a reason that these provide a different perspective? Perhaps you need some less-insider-type people on this if it is to accomplish the goals you foresee?

Comment author: Julia_Wise  (EA Profile) 09 March 2017 02:18:15PM *  2 points [-]

Yes, we certainly could have gone farther in the direction of people with less connection to CEA.

We asked these people partly because they've provided helpful pushback in the past. For example, Alexander provided some of the most thorough and helpful criticisms of Will's proposal for a community-wide panel.

Comment author: AlasdairGives 08 March 2017 09:06:19PM *  3 points [-]

One thing I am disappointed about is that this has just been announced - there was no public process or call for comment on the advisory council, its role or what criteria should have been used to choose its members - to the extent that happened all of that was in private as far as I can tell. So all of the power in this situation was held by the CEA and people close to you in informal networks. To get wider views you have chosen a team of 4- 3of whom are or have previously been employed by CEA.

To the extent this is about opening CEA to wider views I can't see how it does that. Perhaps to mitigate my meandering can the members of the council give one example of something the CEA has done in the last 12 months they are willing to publicly disagree with?

Comment author: Julia_Wise  (EA Profile) 09 March 2017 02:11:50PM *  3 points [-]

One way to think about this is as a complement to a nonprofit board. My understanding is that in the US, nonprofits usually have a largish board which advise partly on how the nonprofit's actions might affect the wider community. As with most UK organizations, the CEA board is small, so we wanted to add in a few more voices. In neither case is the board typically suggested or drawn up by the public. Of course, anyone who wants to give us input on decisions we make is welcome to do so at

I'd like clarify that of the 3 people who are outside voices on the board, only one (Peter) did a summer internship for a CEA project years ago.

Comment author: Julia_Wise  (EA Profile) 08 March 2017 09:56:51PM *  10 points [-]

I spoke with one of the event organizers before the event. It's not a hoax.

Edit: It's also not new. This kind of thing has been happening to Singer periodically since the 1980s. I think it's easy for us to see it as more of an aberration than it is.

Comment author: Larks 07 March 2017 02:16:36AM *  0 points [-]

Julia Wise: I work as Community Liaison at CEA, trying to help the effective altruism community thrive. Because I work at CEA, my role is of course not to give an outside view but to present issues that CEA wants input on, and to incorporate the panel’s feedback into CEA decision-making.

Claire Zabel: Claire is a research analyst at Open Philanthropy Project and serves on the board of Animal Charity Evaluators. She is a moderator of the Effective Altruism Facebook group.

Julia is also an EA facebook group moderator?

Comment author: Julia_Wise  (EA Profile) 07 March 2017 02:41:12AM 1 point [-]

True, and a couple of other hats. I was focusing on my role at CEA since I'm not in a role of bringing outside view.

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