Comment author: casebash 11 January 2018 08:41:36AM 1 point [-]

I'd also add: Get a group of people together. Easiest way is to create a Facebook Group and promote it. Getting a new cause into EA is a huge amount of work and so you don't want to try to do it single handed.

Comment author: casebash 03 January 2018 11:46:56PM *  5 points [-]

I also feel that EA hub is outdated. Firstly, I'm not a fan of the green design - I suspect that a more modern design would add credibility to the whole enterprise. Secondly, the interface isn't particularly well designed. I think it might be better if there was just one point for the people in each city and clicking there showed you all the names. Lastly, it seems like it would be nice if you could get notifications when a new person is found near you and if people to opt-in to receive messages from other EAs. If done well, we might make it significantly easier for new EA groups to get off the ground.

I also think that the difficulty in finding actions to take is very concerning. EA needs more do-ers than thinkers, but right now, we have a negative selection against do-ers because there are plenty of interesting ideas to think about, but much less clear actions to take.


Viewing Effective Altruism as a System

Meta-EA is most often characterised in terms of discrete units such as dollars and individuals. How many people can we recruit, how much will they donate, how many people can we train to be AI researchers? This approach carries a lot of value, particularly when we wish to craft metrics... Read More
Comment author: RyanCarey 19 December 2017 08:14:04PM *  9 points [-]

That is an excellent update. The strategic directions broadly make sense to me for all of the teams, and I, like many people, am really happy with the ways CEA has improved over the last year.

One item of feedback on the post: the description of mistakes is a bit long, boring, and over-the-top. Many of these things are not actually very important issues.

One suggestion re the EA Forum revamp: the site is looking pretty great these days. My main gripes --- things like the front being slightly small for my preferences --- could be easily fixed with some restyling. Some of their features, like including sequences of archived material, could also be ideal for the EA Forum use case. IDK whether the codebase is good but recall that the EA Forum was originally created by restyling LessWrong1, so the notion of stealing that code comes from a healthy tradition! Also, This last part is probably a bit too crazy (and too much work), but one can imagine a case where you post content (and accept comments) from both sites at once.

That aside, it's really appreciated that you guys have taken the forum over this year. And in general, it's great to see all of this progress, so here's to 2018!

Comment author: casebash 20 December 2017 08:02:31AM 0 points [-]

Would love to see LW2.0 become the new code base, but it still undergoing rapid changes at the moment and isn't completely stable.

Comment author: casebash 01 December 2017 11:26:21PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for writing up this post! I'd also like to encourage you to write up some tips for managing EA accounts yourself when you get the time.

Comment author: e102 13 November 2017 04:25:36AM *  7 points [-]

As I understand it, there are two arguments in this article:

  • Sexual violence is bad for individuals.
  • Reducing sexual violence substantially is unlikely to be too difficult/costly.
  • Conclusion: We should generally look to evaluating/fund/spend time on solutions to sexual violence.


  • Sexual violence reduces EA's impact
  • Preventing sexual violence in EA is unlikely to be too difficult/costly
  • Conclusion: We should spend more effort on reducing sexual violence in EA because it will increase our effectiveness.

Sexual Violence in the world

On funding/spending time on sexual violence reduction programs generally. We all agree that sexual violence is bad. The question is whether there are cost-effective ways to tackle it. Your statistics indicate that rape has a 1 in 208 chance of leading to death. Let's adjust that figure for the suffering rape causes even when non-fatal and say that 100 rapes are as bad as 1 death. We can currently save a life or equivalent for $1700 deworming givewell analysis. Assuming you agree with my rape to death badness ratio, that would imply that a rape prevention program would have to prevent 100 rapes for $1700, or one rape per 17$, with a high degree of certainty to be competitive with our current best option. While I don't think that is impossible, I also don't think there's any strong evidence in the article that this is the case.

As for the more meta level claim that the EA community should devote more resources/time to research in the area. I agree that while there is a lot of attention given to the issue, very little evaluation of program effectiveness is currently being done. I agree that this means there is likely a great deal of low hanging fruit for EA in terms of redirecting funding to more effective interventions. I'm just not sure that sexual violence is a better investment of our time or attention than other problems such as ethnic violence/warfare, drugs, crime, environmental damage, mental health, AI etc..

Sexual Violence within EA

On reducing sexual violence in the EA community. I think there are a few major issues with your analysis:

  • You assume that EA's are about as likely to experience sexual violence as the population norm. I'm not sure this is justified, but others have already commented on this so I won't repeat it here.
  • An extreme focus on sexual violence prevention within EA (sting operations, consent training, profiling etc..) may repel potential members if it creates a perception that sexual violence is a significant problem in the community or that EA is dominated by the far-left.
  • Your policy recommendations contain a number of suggestions that seem likely to be ineffective, legally dangerous and morally dubious.
    • 3: Sting operations. They expose anyone participating in them to massive liability. By running one, you are at the very least knowingly putting another person in a situation where you suspect sexually assaulted is likely. You are likely recording someone without their consent, a crime in some jurisdictions, or not doing so and hence having no evidence even if the sting is successful. You're also creating significant reputational damage for the employee/person in question at the point at which you have an operation involving a significant number of other employees and superiors conspire against them around the shared belief that they are a sex offender. At the very least this opens you up for civil liability for libel/defamation/harassment at work. It may well constitute criminal harassment depending on the jurisdiction. On top of the legal risks, these kind of operations in an NGO could have a severely negative reputational effect.
    • 5&7 : robust sex offender detection strategy\minimising bad attitudes. We can take into account behavioural risk factors such as whether the person believes rape myths. We can then tweak a probability further using personality research. *Male patriarchal values [66] Men's acceptance of traditional sex roles * This is profiling and, while possibly effective, is morally dubious. If being introverted increases risk of sexual assault, does that mean we should avoid hiring introverts or letting them into EA? What if devout Muslims/Christians/Xs have an increases rate of sexual assault? What about race? What about political opinions, gender, age, sex, IQ, nationality, etc.. A general moral principle I stand by is that we should treat people as individuals and judge them by their own actions rather than by those of others who share traits with them. Discrimination based on group level risks violates this principle and hence is morally unacceptable to me in all except the most extreme situations. Admittedly, whether you feel the same way depends on your moral intuitions, which may well differ from mine.
Comment author: casebash 18 November 2017 11:19:37PM 1 point [-]

"Let's adjust that figure for the suffering rape causes even when non-fatal and say that 100 rapes are as bad as 1 death." - that seems like an unrealistically low figure given that rape can lead to trauma that takes years to get over or derail someone's life.

Comment author: casebash 17 November 2017 07:12:44AM 3 points [-]

I'm not sure how useful this data is given that there are major distribution effects. ie. If I distribute the survey through Less Wrong, I'll find a lot of people who first heard of the movement through Less Wrong, ect.

Comment author: kastrel  (EA Profile) 14 November 2017 10:47:53AM 3 points [-]

Thanks! I really didn't want it to be boring and dry, and I'm not on here a lot so I though having a face to put to the blog would help.

How thorough you need to be absolutely depends on what you're working on - obviously if you're writing a literature review for publication you need to do a bit more due diligence than if you're just looking for the next thing to read. I would recommend Semantic Scholar as a more finely-tuned alternative to Google Scholar while still having a lot of free content.

Comment author: casebash 15 November 2017 03:24:41AM 0 points [-]

"I would recommend Semantic Scholar as a more finely-tuned alternative to Google Scholar while still having a lot of free content" - any specific ways in which it works better?

Comment author: casebash 01 November 2017 03:45:15AM *  7 points [-]

I've heard quite a few people say that they were wary about this kind of public outreach because they thought it might politicise the issue and do more harm than good. I'm not saying that this is my position, but what are your thoughts on stopping this from happening?

Further, it isn't clear from the above what kind of political action you intend to push for.

Comment author: xccf 29 October 2017 12:00:44AM 0 points [-]

Do you know of any spaces that don't have the problem one way or the other?

Comment author: casebash 29 October 2017 03:37:27AM *  2 points [-]

I would say that EA/Less Wrong are better in that any controversial claim you make is likely to be torn to shreds.

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