Comment author: Richenda  (EA Profile) 16 April 2018 05:40:47AM 0 points [-]

Also, communities in Brno and Bratislava have become more active after their members attended the retreat. This is fantastic!

I think I know what my next birthday party is:

Play cooperative board games about saving the world (e.g. Mansions of Madness) An AI Safety themed LARP

Comment author: Jan_Kulveit 07 April 2018 11:35:09PM 1 point [-]

Actually I would love to have some RCT on the effects of retreats on EA groups :)

We don't have that, so we have to go by models, guesstimates, anecdotal personal experience, and expert opinion.

As the topic seems broad, I'll just state some points where our models possibly differ and we can try to find out where the crux is

I. - networks are extremely important and you do not assign them appropriate weight (as a network science student I may be biased in opposite direction) - in contrast to reading online material or attending a single talk by an external expert, the social network links provide people feedback, encourangement, early-stage developement of ideas, support, clarification of misunderstandings - in CZEA we want the more engaged members to actually work together on EA projects, rather than just donating together or learning from external sources. this creates a need for higher level of cooperation - practical benefit of strong links for cooperation is the people can model each other better, which makes everything more effective - people are social, emotional animals, mostly motivated not just to ideas, but also by other people

II. "events organized for an effective knowledge-building in the given domain" - I believe the the format taken is actually quite good for an effective knowledge-building and skills building in the domain of effective altruism - diagree with the implied opposition between "hard-working" and "fun". for many people working just on the edge of their capabilities is actually enjoyable

Comment author: Richenda  (EA Profile) 13 April 2018 01:26:47AM *  2 points [-]

We don't have that, so we have to go by models, guesstimates, anecdotal personal experience, and expert opinion.

There is some relevant social research on it:

RCTs, in my view would be unsuited to measuring anything actually useful about groups, however tempting the idea is. There are so many variables muddying the water for such assessment that you would end up just fabricating without realising.

Comment author: Dunja 06 April 2018 11:44:53AM *  2 points [-]

Thanks for this, great info and presentation and a very well planned event! That said, I'm in general rather skeptical of the impact such events have on anything but the fun of the participants :) I don't have any empirical data to back this claim (so I might as well be completely wrong), but I have an impression that while such events help like-minded people to get to know each other, in terms of an actual, long-term impact on the goals of EA they don't do much. And here is why: those who're enthusiastic about EA and/or willing to contribute in a certain way will do so anyway. For them online information, or a single talk may even be enough. And the other way around: those who aren't much into it will rarely become so via such an event.

I am aware that this may be quite an unpopular view, but I think it would be great to have some empirical evidence to show if it's really wrong.

My guess is that events organized for an effective knowledge-building in the given domain (including concrete skills required for a very concrete tasks in the given community, some of which were a part of your event) would be those that would make more of a difference. Say, an EA community realizes they lack the knowledge of gathering empirical data or the knowledge of spreading their ideas and attracting new members. In that case, one could invite experts on these issues to provide concrete intensive crash-courses, equipping the given community so that it can afterwards put these skills to action. This means a hard-working event, without much extra-entertainment activities, but with a high knowledge gain. I think networking and getting to know others is nice, but not as essential as the know-how and the willingness to apply it (which may then spontaneously result in a well networked community).

(Edit: I once again checked the primary goal of your event and indeed, if you want to provide a space for people to get to know one another, this kind of retreat certainly makes a lot of sense. So maybe my worries were misplaced given this goal, since I rather had in mind the goal of expanding the EA community and attracting new members).

Comment author: Richenda  (EA Profile) 13 April 2018 01:23:07AM 2 points [-]

Hi Dunja,

Actually there is empirical research on this! LEAN interviewed EA group organisers as part of the 2017 LEAN Impact Assessment, and actually face to face, in person experiences such as retreats and EAG frequently came up as the most significant, landmark influence for a fair few successful organisers in actually kick starting them into getting something going, and also giving them the confidence, reassurance and optimism to see it as a worthwhile investment of their time.

I was slightly surprised by how much of a big factor this was for people, but the evidence seems pretty strongly supportive at this stage.

Comment author: Richenda  (EA Profile) 09 April 2018 08:22:52PM 2 points [-]
Comment author: Jamie_Harris 20 March 2018 08:43:25PM 1 point [-]

Is there a community / FB group for people with backgrounds or research interests in History within EA? There have been quite a few times when this has come up and it might be good to share ideas and collaborate.

Examples: I'm thinking primarily within Effective Animal Advocacy (Sentience Institute's study of the British antislavery movement; ACE discontinuing their social studies project; technology adoption being considered as a precedent for clean meat e.g. by Sentience Institute and Paul Shapiro) but this would also apply to other fields. The systematic approach described in the post above seems to correlate more closely with the approach Holden and others took at OPP than it does the studies done in the Effective Animal Advocacy sphere.

Comment author: Richenda  (EA Profile) 26 March 2018 05:32:25AM 0 points [-]

I haven't heard of anything, I'm afraid.

Comment author: Richenda  (EA Profile) 15 March 2018 10:14:30PM 5 points [-]

I've been thinking for awhile that there's a surprising lack of historical research in EA. I mean not that surprising given the dominance of STEM backgrounds, but rather in the sense that it's such an obviously useful tool to exploit.

Comment author: Richenda  (EA Profile) 15 March 2018 07:30:47PM 4 points [-]

Thanks for sharing this. I'm looking forward to the second part!

Reflections like this are amazingly valuable for the movement building community. I'm especially interested in how you factored in the local context in order to choose the best strategy for EA in the Czech Republic. I also totally agree that it's great to hear perspectives that come from outside of the Oxbridge/Silicone Valley bubble - and even the anglophile bubble.

A lot of people are grappling with the issue of how to appropriate EA in non-English communities. I'll be sharing this report with each of those that approach LEAN with these challenges.

Comment author: Joey 08 March 2018 06:52:35PM 13 points [-]

Personally I am not really a fan of job postings being put on this forum. Between all the different EA organizations it would be pretty easy for every second post to be a job ad, and I think that would weaken the forum content for most users. The "Effective Altruism Job Postings" group does a pretty good job at consolidating all jobs that are EA relevant in a central space without cluttering up a space like this.

Comment author: Richenda  (EA Profile) 09 March 2018 01:01:02AM 3 points [-]

Hopefully when CEA develops the EA Forum in the coming months there will be a designated section for job listings :)

Comment author: tobiaspulver 04 March 2018 02:18:40AM 5 points [-]

Based on the evident popularity of existing written content, and the widespread wish to see existing content consolidated, we are investing in a new web interface for organisers. This will involve editing existing community generated content, and assimilating it into a central, visually appealing interface. The new interface will be based on the EA Hub, which will itself be modernised and restructured. Where possible, we will facilitate editorial additions from the community, in order to make the tool a logical home for sharing resources.

As I'm sure you are aware, CEA is currently developing an EA Groups platform, which seems at least somewhat similar to what you're planning to do. I'd love to hear more on the differences between your idea of such a platform and CEA's plans, and if this is something you're coordinating with CEA?

Comment author: Richenda  (EA Profile) 04 March 2018 11:08:02PM *  5 points [-]

Hi Tobias. From what Sarah (developer of the CEA groups app) told me, the tool will provide a dashboard where organisers can use CRM functionality to track their members, categorise them, and communicate with them efficiently. The EA Hub does not plan to provide anything along these lines at all.

Since its launch in 2014, the EA Hub has offered: - Personal profiles for EAs - A donation registry - A map of EAs and of EA groups - Group profiles - The EA wiki - The EA Survey - Various guides and information

The planned change will be to rearrange content and services so that the user interface is significantly more accessible and appealing. The main addition is to create a high quality home for written guides and resources relating to EA groups. Primarily, this does not involve creating new content but rather gathering existing content from across the community, and synthesising these into a practical and convenient tool. Of course copyright and authorial permission will be carefully attended to. We may make some minimal functional changes such as removing the EA groups feature (which we would then replace with a more simple directory, since we know of many visitors who found a local group on the EA Hub via google, and thus became counterfactually connected). We are very happy to keep people informed in the coming months as development unfolds, thanks!


2017 LEAN Impact Assessment: Evaluation & Strategic Conclusions

  This is the third post in the LEAN Impact Assessment series.   Quantitative Findings Qualitative Findings Evaluation & Strategic Conclusions Methodology   In the previous Quantitative and Qualitative reports we aimed to describe our findings with minimal commentary in order to allow the data to ‘speak for itself’ and... Read More

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