Comment author: RyanCarey 13 October 2018 03:49:54PM 4 points [-]

Is it fair to summarize the thesis as: there is heaps of super-valuable talent out there but the main reason we can't cash it is that it can't be absorbed into existing managerial structures?

If so, then shouldn't we be advocating aggressively for absorbing the talent through greater funding of and more infrastructure for new EA orgs and EA contractor roles?

Comment author: Raemon 13 October 2018 07:01:10PM 1 point [-]

It's worth noting in the previous 80k post that many orgs consider hiring skilled managers to be a top priority. So I don't think it's that this isn't happening, just... well, it takes time.

Comment author: adamaero  (EA Profile) 30 August 2018 10:21:42PM *  1 point [-]

The point is to have something done at a regular weekly EA meeting that is specific to EA. Something concrete. Something constant. I got the impression talking with other students that weekly club meetings primarily entail discussing ideas.

  • animal advocacy

There are other groups that do this on campus. It's definitely related to EA, but combined with the fact that it's a soft-sell, volunteering at a local animal shelter or food pantry--in my opinion--seems like a better use of time. Not eating meat or not eating animal products is a significant lifestyle change. It's not completely futile, but a scant chance in my eyes. Anyway, my campus isn't all that big and the city is very small. Doing this sort of direct work every week just doesn’t fit the bill.

  • political lobbying

I have a hard time seeing this as EA specific. Additionally, political focused clubs are on campus. Sure, writing a letter to a rep is good, but...

  • research

To what end? I'm attend an engineering university. I don't consider my personal research into electromagnetics EA centered.

  • writing an "Effective Thesis"

This seems to be for philosophy and political science type degrees. In the states, undergrads don't write a thesis.

  • making yourself more employable for after you graduate

Then you're saying there should not be an EA club on my campus. Mechanical and electrical engineering majors have clubs such as IEEE specifically for this. Again, the point of the post is to find something that is objectively done at an EA meeting. This way, in the future, if I friend says: “Nothing was practically accomplished at the meeting. Ideas were discussed.” I can say, "That was a social-type meeting. At work-type meeting we complete things on, we do freelance jobs online and then donate to stringently evaluated charities or at least volunteer locally.

  • hosting a fundraiser

For my local chapter of Engineers Without Borders we do this. We make out poorly compared to the time put in. Although, this is the best example of an event that’s EA focused. It makes EA unique. It's concrete.

I believe, since so many GWWC members are software developers and engineers, there could easily be meetups to get out there and tackle online contracts. Even for non-CS professions, such as an electrical engineer, it would be beneficial. Plus it adds to higher employability. Having experience doing contract work in Python, for my degree in electrical engineering, would be a whole lot better than attending a workshop on generic interview skills.

So to sum up, yes, I'm talking about weekly direct work--specific to EA. Discussing EA is left to the sidelines (put in when needed). Completing contracts would be EA specific. Hosting a fundraiser would be too. These are concrete things.

Comment author: Raemon 07 September 2018 10:37:04PM 2 points [-]

Re: Research

This is actually what I currently think EA groups should focus on, not because the research itself is likely to be directly important, but because I think generally, one of the most important things an EA community should do is help it's members learn how to think critically through an EA lens.

Research isn't the only way to go about this, but I think trying to answer real questions, while taking into account impact, practicality, neglectedness, etc to help you orient on the right questions, is a good practice.

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 04 August 2018 11:38:59PM 1 point [-]

Would it help if I included a summary of my posts at the top of them?

Often I write for a specific audience, which is more limited and exclusive. I don't think there is anything necessarily wrong with taking this approach to discourse in EA. Top-level posts on the EA Forum are made specific to a single cause, written in an academic style for a niche audience. I've mentally generalized this to how I write about anything on the internet.

It turns out not writing in a more inclusive way is harming the impact of my messages more than I thought. I'll make more effort to change this. Thanks for the feedback.

Comment author: Raemon 05 August 2018 08:41:16PM *  14 points [-]

FYI, I a) struggle to read most of your posts (and seem like I'm supposed to be in the target audience)

b) the technique I myself use is "write the post the way I'd naturally write it (i.e. long and meandering), and then write a tldr of the post summarizing it with a few bullet points... and then realize that the tldr was all I actually needed to say in the first place.

Comment author: Elizabeth 24 June 2017 05:23:01PM 0 points [-]

I think costly signaling is the wrong phrase here. Costly signaling is about gain for the signaler. This seems better modeled as people trying to indirectly purchase the good "rich people donate lots to charity.". Similar to people who are unwilling to donate to the government (so they don't think the government is better at spending money than they are) but do advocate for higher taxes (meaning they think the government is better at spending money than other people are). They're trying to purchase the good "higher taxes for everyone".

Comment author: Raemon 24 June 2017 05:33:00PM 4 points [-]

Maybe, but the thing I'm trying to get at here is "a bunch of people saying that rich people should donate to X" is a less credible signal than "a bunch of people saying X thing is important enough that they are willing to donate to it themselves."


Earning to Give as Costly Signalling

There's a background belief that informs a lot of my Effective Altruism thinking, that might be a good time to challenge: I think most of the value of most earning-to-give is primarily a sort of costly signaling to attract the attention of the extremely rich (who completely dwarf the funding capabilities... Read More
Comment author: Raemon 18 June 2017 05:29:48PM 2 points [-]

I responded here

Givewell's made it their mission to find the best nonprofits working in exactly the near-term, urgent but high-impact space.

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 17 June 2017 04:50:33AM 1 point [-]
Comment author: Raemon 18 June 2017 05:29:23PM 0 points [-]

I was about to excitedly list my own contribution here, and then actually clicked yours and... ah. I see. :P

(It is a great idea but not quite in the spirit of the thing I was about to share. lol)

Comment author: Zeke_Sherman 28 March 2017 02:47:01AM 1 point [-]

This is odd. Personally my reaction is that I want to get to a project before other people do. Does bad research really make it harder to find good research? This doesn't seem like a likely phenomenon to me.

Comment author: Raemon 29 March 2017 11:09:06PM 1 point [-]

How could bad research not make it harder to find good research? When you're looking for the research, you have to look through additional things before you find the good research, and good research is fairly costly to ascertain in the first place.

Comment author: Raemon 25 March 2017 10:32:07PM *  8 points [-]

Thanks for doing this!

My sense is what people are missing is a set of social incentives to get started. Looking at any one of these, they feel overwhelming, they feel like they require skills that I don't have. It feels like if I start working on it, then EITHER I'm blocking someone whose better qualified from working on it OR someone who's better qualified will do it anyway and my efforts will be futile.

Or, in the case of research, my bad quality research will make it harder for people to find good quality research.

Or, in the case of something like "start one of the charities Givewell wants people to start", it feels like... just, a LOT of work.

And... this is all true. Kind of. But it's also true that the way people get good at things is by doing them. And I think it's sort of necessary for people to throw themselves into projects they aren't prepared for, as long as they can get tight feedback looks that enable them to improve.

I have half-formed opinions about what's needed to resolve that, that can be summarized as "better triaged mentorship." I'll try to write up more detailed thoughts soon.

Comment author: Raemon 19 March 2017 08:54:08PM 2 points [-]

Glad to see the plans laid out.

I think it'd have made more sense to do the "EA Funds" experiment in Quarter 4, where it ties in more with people's annual giving habits.

I do think it may be valuable to try even if the donations are not counterfactual (for purposes of being able to coordinate donations better)

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