Comment author: anonymous 03 August 2018 06:41:57PM *  30 points [-]

I was interviewed by Peter Buckley and Tyler Alterman when I applied for the Pareto fellowship. It was one of the strangest, most uncomfortable experiences I've had over several years of being involved in EA. I'm posting this from notes I took right after the call, so I am confident that I remember this accurately.

The first question asked about what I would do if Peter Singer presented me with a great argument for doing an effective thing that's socially unacceptable. The argument was left as an unspecified black box.

Next, for about 25 minutes, they taught me the technique of "belief reporting". (See some information here and here). They made me try it out live on the call, for example by making me do "sentence completion". This made me feel extremely uncomfortable. It seemed like unscientific, crackpot psychology. It was the sort of thing you'd expect from a New Age group or Scientology.

In the second part of the interview (30 minutes?), I was asked to verbalise what my system one believes will happen in the future of humanity. They asked me to just speak freely without thinking, even if it sounds incoherent. Again it felt extremely cultish. I expected this to last max 5 minutes and to form the basis for a subsequent discussion. But they let me ramble on for what felt like an eternity, and there were zero follow up questions. The interview ended immediately.

The experience left me feeling humiliated and manipulated.

Comment author: gray 06 August 2018 07:04:35PM 20 points [-]

I had an interview with them under the same circumstances and also had the belief reporting trial. (I forget if I had the Peter Singer question.) I can confirm that it was supremely disconcerting.

At the very least, it's insensitive - they were asking for a huge amount of vulnerability and trust in a situation where we both knew I was trying to impress them in a professional context. I sort of understand why that exercise might have seemed like a good idea, but I really hope nobody does this in interviews anymore.

Comment author: Buck 26 October 2017 04:24:49PM 22 points [-]

I think that your link to Georgia Ray's piece should make it clearer that her conclusion is

Studies don’t show that diversity has an overall clear effect, positive or negative, on the performance of teams or groups of people. (1) (2) The same may also be true on an organizational level. (3)

Your link implies that Georgia's post is overall positive on the effect of diversity on the performance of teams or groups, which I think is incorrect.

Comment author: gray 26 October 2017 07:41:00PM 16 points [-]

Georgia here - The direct context, "Research also shows that diverse teams are more creative, more innovative, better at problem-solving, and better at decision-making," is true based on what I found.

What I found also seemed pretty clear that diversity doesn't, overall, have a positive or negative effect on performance. Discussing that seems important if you're trying to argue that it'll yield better results, unless you have reason to think that EA is an exception.

(E.g., it seems possible that business teams aren't a good comparison for local groups or nonprofits, or that most teams in an EA context do more research/creative/problem-solving type work than business teams, so the implication "diversity is likely to help your EA team" would be possibly valid - but whatever premise that's based on would need to be justified.)

That said, obviously there are reasons to want diversity other than its effect on team performance, and I generally quite liked this article.