Comment author: kieuk 17 May 2018 05:00:12PM 0 points [-]

I'm not really talking about showing how friendly you are

It looks like we were talking at cross purposes. I was picking up on the admittedly months-old conversation about "signalling collaborativeness" and [anti-]"combaticism", which is a separate conversation to the one on value signals. (Value signals are probably a means of signalling collaborativeness though.)

you should probably signal however friendly you are actually feeling

I think politeness serves a useful function (within moderation, of course). 'Forcing' people to behave more friendly than they feel saves time and energy.

I think EA has a problem with undervaluing social skills such as basic friendliness. If a community such as EA wants to keep people coming back and contributing their insights, the personal benefits of taking part need to outweigh the personal costs.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 17 May 2018 05:44:29PM 0 points [-]

I think EA has a problem with undervaluing social skills such as basic friendliness. If a community such as EA wants to keep people coming back and contributing their insights, the personal benefits of taking part need to outweigh the personal costs.

Not if people aren't attracted to such friendliness. Lots of successful social movements and communities are less friendly than EA.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 16 May 2018 04:02:18PM *  1 point [-]

So I skimmed this and it looks like you are basically just applying MacAskill's method. Did I miss something?

Btw, whether to assign ordinal or cardinal scores to things isn't really something that you should do in the context of normative uncertainty. It should come from the moral theory itself, and not be altered by considerations of uncertainty. If the moral theory has properties that allow us to model it with a cardinal ranking, then we do that, and if it doesn't then we use an ordinal ranking. One moral theory may have ordinal rankings and another may have cardinal ones. By the way, as far as MEC is concerned, an ordinal moral ranking is just a special case of cardinal moral rankings where the differences between consecutively ranked options are uniform.

Comment author: kieuk 14 May 2018 04:01:15PM 1 point [-]

But I can control whether I am priming people to get accustomed to over-interpreting.

That sounds potentially important. Could you give an example of a failure mode?

Because my approach is not merely about how to behave as a listener. It's about speaking without throwing in unnecessary disclaimers.

Consider how my question "Could you give an example...?" reads if I didn't precede it with the following signal of collaborativeness: "That sounds potentially important." At least to me (YMMV), I would be like 15% less likely to feel defensive in the case where I precede it with such a signal, instead of leaping into the question -- which I would be likely (on a System 1y day) to read as "Oh yeah? Give me ONE example." Same applies to the phrase "At least to me (YMMV)": I'm chucking in a signal that I'm willing to listen to your point of view.

Those are examples of disclaimers. I argue these kinds of signals are helpful for promoting a productive atomsphere; do they fall into the category you're calling "unnecessary disclaimers"? Or is it only something more overt that you'd find counterproductive?

I take the point that different people have different needs with regards to this concern. I hope we can both steer clear of typical-minding everyone else. I think I might be particularly oversensitive to anything resembling conflict, and you are over on the other side of the bell curve in that respect.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 15 May 2018 05:46:37PM *  0 points [-]

That sounds potentially important. Could you give an example of a failure mode?

The failure mode where people over-interpret things that other people say, and then come up with wrong interpretations.

I argue these kinds of signals are helpful for promoting a productive atomsphere; do they fall into the category you're calling "unnecessary disclaimers"?

Well you should probably signal however friendly you are actually feeling, but I'm not really talking about showing how friendly you are, I'm talking about going out of your way to say "of course I don't mean X" and so on.

https://www.overcomingbias.com/2018/05/skip-value-signals.html

Comment author: adamaero  (EA Profile) 02 May 2018 07:14:08PM *  2 points [-]

Minor Critique

On page 140 of the handbook, "Does foreign aid really work?" Moyo's Dead Aid is mentioned. Although, she is strictly speaking about gov't aid: "But this books is not concerned with emergency and charity based aid." (End of page 7, Dead Aid.)

(1) humanitarian or emergency ~ mobilized and dispensed in response to catastrophes and calamities

(2) charity-based ~ disbursed by NGOs to institutions or people

(3) systematic: "aid payments made directly to governments either though government-to-government transfers [bilateral aid] or transferred via institutions such as the World Bank (known as multilateral aid)."

Therefore, since EA is about charity-based aid, and Moyo is strictly discussing gov't aid, I do not think it is relevant to mention Dead Aid.


Aside, total US gov't foreign aid is 4150G*.7%

= almost 30 billion.

Where 373.25 billion by foundations & individuals (in the US), and

of that 265 billion by individuals alone!

http://www.pbs.org/development/2016/06/14/giving-usa-2016-released-today

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 14 May 2018 01:06:14PM *  0 points [-]

I haven't read the book, but a lot of government aid goes to very similar programs as private aid, however. It's not clear to me that none of the conclusions remain true.

Charity is such a touchy moralistic subject in the US, and foreign aid such a juicy political target, that I wouldn't be surprised if the author walled off the topic in such a manner for editorial rather than rational reasons.

Comment author: RandomEA 03 May 2018 06:30:24AM *  9 points [-]

The shift from Doing Good Better to this handbook reinforces my sense that there are two types of EA:

Type 1:

  1. Causes: global health, farm animal welfare

  2. Moral patienthood is hard to seriously dispute

  3. Evidence is more direct (RCTs, corporate pledges)

  4. Charity evaluators exist (because evidence is more direct)

  5. Earning to give is a way to contribute

  6. Direct work can be done by people with general competence

  7. Economic reasoning is more important (partly due to donations being more important)

  8. More emotionally appealing (partly due to being more able to feel your impact)

  9. Some public knowledge about the problem

  10. More private funding and a larger preexisting community

Type 2:

  1. Causes: AI alignment, biosecurity

  2. Moral patienthood can be plausibly disputed (if you're relying on the benefits to the long term future; however, these causes are arguably important even without considering the long term future)

  3. Evidence is more speculative (making prediction more important)

  4. Charity evaluation is more difficult (because impact is harder to measure)

  5. Direct work is the way to contribute

  6. Direct work seems to benefit greatly from specific skills/graduate education

  7. Game theory reasoning is more important (of course, game theory is technically part of economics)

  8. Less emotionally appealing (partly due to being less able to feel your impact)

  9. Little public knowledge about the problem

  10. Less private funding and a smaller preexisting community

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 14 May 2018 01:04:17PM 0 points [-]

What on Earth do you mean by "disputing moral patienthood"? If there are no moral patients then there is basically no reason for altruism whatsoever.

Comment author: kieuk 13 May 2018 04:35:30PM 1 point [-]

You only have control over your own actions: you can't control whether your interlocutor over-interprets you or not.

Your "right approach", which is about how to behave as a listener, is compatible with Michael_PJ's, which is about how to behave as a speaker: I don't see why we can't do both.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 14 May 2018 01:00:38PM *  0 points [-]

You only have control over your own actions: you can't control whether your interlocutor over-interprets you or not

But I can control whether I am priming people to get accustomed to over-interpreting.

I don't see why we can't do both.

Because my approach is not merely about how to behave as a listener. It's about speaking without throwing in unnecessary disclaimers.

Comment author: ozymandias 25 April 2018 07:36:14PM 11 points [-]

The EA community climate survey linked in the EA survey has some methodological problems. When academics study sexual harassment and assault, it's generally agreed upon that one should describe specific acts (e.g. "has anyone ever made you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex against your will using force or a threat of force?") rather than vague terms like harassment or assault. People typically disagree on what harassment and assault mean, and many people choose not to conceptualize their experiences as harassment or assault. (This is particularly true for men, since many people believe that men by definition can't be victims of sexual harassment or assault.) Similarly, few people will admit to perpetrating harassment or assault, but more people will admit to (for example) touching someone on the breasts, buttocks, or genitals against their will.

I'd also suggest using a content warning before asking people about potentially traumatic experiences.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 25 April 2018 08:02:55PM *  7 points [-]

I didn't notice the community survey until I saw your comment. I had to retake the survey (answering "no my answers are not accurate") to get to it.

I think there will be selection bias when the survey is optional and difficult to access like this.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 24 April 2018 12:23:45AM *  1 point [-]

I just noticed the article you linked. In the future it's probably best to put all the arguments here on this forum, where you can add more details and EA-specific information.

Your idea seems to be figuring out a way of assessing individuals' propensity for violence, and then seeing what changes that. But that's not how war happens. It happens at the level of societies and nations as a result of more complicated dynamics.

Individuals don't have a clear, easy-to-study propensity for violence. It's a complicated thing that depends on the environment. In behavioral economics, we can study consumer choice and come up with descriptive decision theories because everything is about money, which is interchangeable and easy to measure and used for everything. The equivalent of this would be a study of individuals' propensity to go to college or something like that. We can study such things, but not in the same way and not with the same kind of results.

And only a small proportion of a population will ever become militants. This makes it very hard to study in a statistically rigorous way. If 1% of people will become a militant, then a survey of 1,000 people reaches only ten future militants on average. This creates numerous statistical problems.

In a very general sense, sure you could say X causes people to engage in violence, let's reduce X, and then violence is reduced in expectation. But that just sounds like normal research that probably already exists.

Finally, it seems to me that interventions which target the people who actually are violent are likely to be more effective. If 1% of people become militants then generic interventions will have to be 50-100x cheaper.

Comment author: Jeffhe  (EA Profile) 23 April 2018 04:42:54PM *  0 points [-]

the reason why 5 minor toothaches spread among 5 people is equivalent to 5 minor toothache had by one person is DIFFERENT from the reason for why 5 minor headaches had by one person is equivalent to 1 major toothache had by one person.

No, both equivalencies are justified by the fact that they involve the same amount of base units of pain.

So you're saying that just as 5 MiTs/5 people is equivalent to 5 MiTs/1 person because both sides involve the same amount of base units of pain, 5 MiTs/1 person is equivalent to 1 MaT/1 person because both sides involve the same amount of base units of pain (and not because both sides give rise to what-it's-likes that are experientially just as bad).

My question to you then is this: On what basis are you able to say that 1 MaT/1 person involves 5 base units of pain?

But Reason S doesn't give a crap about how bad the pains on the two sides of the equation FEEL

Sure it does. The presence of pain is equivalent to feeling bad. Feeling bad is precisely what is at stake here, and all that I care about.

Reason S cares about the amount of base units of pain there are because pain feels bad, but in my opinion, that doesn't sufficiently show that it cares about pain-qua-how-it-feels. It doesn't sufficiently show that it cares about pain-qua-how-it-feels because 5 base units of pain all experienced by one person feels a whole heck of a lot worse than anything felt when 5 base units of pain are spread among 5 people, yet Reason S completely ignores this difference. If Reason S truly cared about pain-qua-how-it-feels, it cannot ignore this difference.

I understand where you're coming from though. You hold that Reason S cares about the quantity of base units of pain precisely because pain feels bad, and that this fact alone sufficiently shows that Reason S is in harmony with the fact that we take pain to matter because of how it feels (i.e. that Reason S cares about pain-qua-how-it-feels).

However, given what I just said, I think this fact alone is too weak to show that Reason S is in harmony with the fact that we take pain to matter because of how it feels. So I believe my objection stands.

Have we hit bedrock?

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 23 April 2018 10:44:02PM *  0 points [-]

On what basis are you able to say that 1 MaT/1 person involves 5 base units of pain?

Because you told me that it's the same amount of pain as five minor toothaches and you also told me that each minor toothache is 1 base unit of pain.

5 base units of pain all experienced by one person feels a whole heck of a lot worse than anything felt when 5 base units of pain are spread among 5 people, yet Reason S completely ignores this difference. If Reason S truly cared about pain-qua-how-it-feels, it cannot ignore this difference.

If you mean that it feels worse to any given person involved, yes it ignores the difference, but that's clearly the point, so I don't know what you're doing here other than merely restating it and saying "I don't agree."

On the other hand, you do not care how many people are in pain, and you do not care how much pain someone experiences so long as there is someone else who is in more pain, so if anyone's got to figure out whether or not they "care" enough it's you.

Have we hit bedrock?

You've pretty much been repeating yourself for the past several weeks, so, sure.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 20 April 2018 07:24:54PM 1 point [-]

Okay I'm interested.

You might want to look into Paul Collier's book The Bottom Billion where he talks about military interventions to stabilize the developing world.

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