Comment author: Michelle_Hutchinson 13 September 2018 03:56:06PM 14 points [-]

There do seem to be some strong arguments in favour of having a cause prioritisation journal. I think there are some reasons against too though, which you don't mention:

  • For work people are happy to do in sufficient detail and depth to publish, there are significant downsides to publishing in a new and unknown journal. It will get much less readership and engagement, as well as generally less prestige. That means if this journal is pulling in pieces which could have been published elsewhere, it will be decreasing the engagement the ideas get from other academics who might have had lots of useful comments, and will be decreasing the extent to which people in general know about and take the ideas seriously.

  • For early stage work, getting an article to the point of being publishable in a journal is a large amount of work. Simply from how people understand journal publishing to work, there's a much higher bar for publishing than there is on a blog. So the benefits of having things looking more professional are actually quite expensive.

  • The actual work it is to set up and run a journal, and do so well enough to make sure that cause prioritisation as a field gains rather than loses credibility from it.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 14 September 2018 11:17:40AM *  1 point [-]

For work people are happy to do in sufficient detail and depth to publish, there are significant downsides to publishing in a new and unknown journal. It will get much less readership and engagement, as well as generally less prestige. That means if this journal is pulling in pieces which could have been published elsewhere, it will be decreasing the engagement the ideas get from other academics who might have had lots of useful comments, and will be decreasing the extent to which people in general know about and take the ideas seriously.

Yes. On the other hand, there has been relatively little publication on cause priorities anyway. I think most of the content here would be counterfactually unpublished.

For early stage work, getting an article to the point of being publishable in a journal is a large amount of work. Simply from how people understand journal publishing to work, there's a much higher bar for publishing than there is on a blog. So the benefits of having things looking more professional are actually quite expensive.

Well some of this (though not all) adds value in terms of making the article more robust or more communicable. Also, a uniform format maybe helps keep people from being biased by the article's appearance (probably a very small effect, however).

Comment author: Lila 14 September 2018 01:50:58AM 0 points [-]

Academics will not find a new journal run by non-academics credible, much less prestigious. No one would be able to put this journal on an academic CV. So there's really no benefit to "publishing" relative to posting publicly and letting people vote and comment.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 14 September 2018 09:41:18AM *  0 points [-]

I didn't say it would be run by non-academics.

No one would be able to put this journal on an academic CV.

That will depend on who runs it!

So there's really no benefit to "publishing" relative to posting publicly and letting people vote and comment.

Well there are many ways to run a review process besides public votes and comments. You can always have a more closed/formal/blind process even if you don't publish it.

Comment author: Khorton 13 September 2018 04:13:47AM 2 points [-]

From your post, it seems like the advantages of a new cause prioritization journal are:

-Peer review

-Articles all posted in one place

-Increased incentive for academics to write thoughtfully about cause prioritization, because publishing on the topic would become more beneficial to academics' careers

-It might make cause prioritization more credible or mainstream

My main questions are:

-Are there any major benefits to creating a journal that I've missed?

-What does it take to create a credible journal? How costly would it be to the community? Are we even capable of it?

-Are there any in-between options that provide the best of both worlds? For example, could we add a peer review function to the forum (maybe posts that have been peer reviewed get a star)? Could we set up a blog that acts as a central reference point for all the work on cause prioritization and incentivizes writers to move the field forward?

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 13 September 2018 08:06:57AM *  2 points [-]

Blind review is only possible with a specialized system/website. The EA forum doesn't support math typesetting like LaTeX, and the arguments would be mixed up with all kinds of other posts. I think the best alternative to a true journal would be a community blog that hosted articles with a review system.

But not all peer review is the same, you want to have some review from people who know the relevant subjects well. E.g., a paper that relates to economic policy should be seen by economists. But if we have unpublished works on a website, I imagine it's going to be hard to get subject matter experts outside of EA to participate in the review process.

Comment author: RandomEA 12 September 2018 10:59:35PM *  2 points [-]
Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 13 September 2018 01:45:46AM *  2 points [-]

(relevant blogs, to be precise)

Some of those objections would not apply a journal like this. Namely, the journal itself would be about questions which matter and have a high impact, and cause prioritization is no longer so ignored that you can make great progress by writing casually. Also, by Brian's own admission, some of his reasons are "more reflective of my emotional whims".

In any case, Brian's only trying to answer the question of whether a given author should submit to a journal. Whether or not a community should have a journal is a subtly different story.

Comment author: MichaelPlant 12 September 2018 08:33:47AM *  5 points [-]

I don't find your objections here persuasive.

Yeah, this isn't good policy. It should be pretty clear that this is how groupthink happens, and you're establishing it as a principle. I get that you feel alienated because, what, 60% of people have a different point of view?

If you want to talk about how best to X, but you run into people who aren't interested in X, it seems fine to talk to other pro-Xers. It seems fine that FHI gathers people who are sincerely interested about the future of humanity. Is that a filter bubble that ought to be broken up? Do you see them hiring people who strongly disagree with the premise of their institution? Should CEA hire people who effective altruism, broadly construed, is just a terrible idea?

You're also creating the problem you're trying to solve in a different way. Whereas most "near-term EAs" enjoy the broad EA community perfectly well, you're reinforcing an assumption that they can't get along, that they should expect EA to "alienate" them, as they hear about your server

To be frank, I think this problem already exists. I've literally had someone laugh in my face because they thought my person-affecting sympathies were just idiotic, and someone else say "oh, you're the Michael Plant with the weird views" which I thought was, well, myopic coming from an EA. Civil discourse, take a bow.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 12 September 2018 10:38:59AM *  3 points [-]

It seems fine that FHI gathers people who are sincerely interested about the future of humanity. Is that a filter bubble that ought to be broken up?

If so, then every academic center would be a filter bubble. But filter bubbles are about communities, not work departments. There are relevant differences between these two concepts that affect how they should work. Researchers have to have their own work departments to be productive. It's more like having different channels within an EA server. Just making enough space for people to do their thing together.

Do you see them hiring people who strongly disagree with the premise of their institution? Should CEA hire people who effective altruism, broadly construed, is just a terrible idea?

These institutions don't have premises, they have teloses, and if someone will be the best contributor to the telos then sure they should be hired, even though it's very unlikely that you will find a critic who will be willing and able to do that. But Near Term EA has a premise, that the best cause is something that helps in the near term.

To be frank, I think this problem already exists. I've literally had someone laugh in my face because they thought my person-affecting sympathies were just idiotic, and someone else say "oh, you're the Michael Plant with the weird views" which I thought was, well, myopic coming from an EA. Civil discourse, take a bow.

That sounds like stuff that wouldn't fly under the moderation here or the Facebook group. The first comment at least. Second one maybe gets a warning and downvotes.

Comment author: adamaero  (EA Profile) 12 September 2018 12:55:09AM -1 points [-]

They were examples to how I saw how your post as "harsher than necessary". You've diluted these mere examples into a frivolous debate. If you believe you were not harsh at all, then believe what you want to believe.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 12 September 2018 04:13:46AM *  -2 points [-]

As I stated already, "harsh" is a question of tone, and you clearly weren't talking about my tone. So I have no clue what your position is or what you were trying to accomplish by providing your examples. There's nothing I can do in the absence of clarification.

Comment author: adamaero  (EA Profile) 11 September 2018 08:51:51PM *  0 points [-]

@kbog: Most of your responses with respect to my reply do not make sense. Example, EA Chicago posts their events on the Facebook page. I don't live in Chicago...(simple as that)

The physics stack exchange doesn't try to exclude engineers

~ completely missed the point. Additionally, the analogy is fine. There is seldom such a thing as an absolute analogy. With that, it doesn't follow that somehow the analogy is wrong related to these elusively implicit misconceptions by EAs about EAs.

So to sum up, you're reading in way too far to what I wrote originally. I was answering your question related to why your first reply was "harsher than necessary".

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 11 September 2018 09:39:13PM *  -1 points [-]

EA Chicago posts their events on the Facebook page. I don't live in Chicago...(simple as that)

OK, but has nothing to do with whether or not we should have this discord server... why bring it up? In the context of your statements, can't you see how much it looks like someone is complaining that there are too many events that only appeal to EAs who support long-term causes, and too few events for EAs who support near-term causes?

~ completely missed the point. Additionally, the analogy is fine. There is seldom such a thing as an absolute analogy

It's not that the analogy was not absolute, it's that it was relevantly wrong for the topic of discussion. But given that your argument doesn't seem to be what I thought it was, that's fine, it could very well be relevant for your point.

I was answering your question related to why your first reply was "harsher than necessary".

I figured that "harsh" refers to tone. If I insult you, or try to make you feel bad, or inject vicious sarcasm, then I'm being harsh. You didn't talk about anything along those lines, but you did seem to be disputing my claims about the viability of the OP, so I took it to be a defense of having this new discord server. If you're not talking on either of those issues then I don't know what your point is.

Comment author: Flodorner 10 September 2018 08:59:08AM 5 points [-]

Are any ways of making content easier to filter (like for example tags) planned?

I am rather new to the community and there have been multiple occassions, where i randomly stumbled upon old articles, i haven't read, concerned with topics i was interested in and had previously made an effort to find articles about. This seems rather inefficient.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 11 September 2018 03:52:35AM 1 point [-]

Yes I second this - tag system please, if possible

Comment author: Benito 10 September 2018 10:33:54PM 3 points [-]

I don't have the time to join the debate, but I'm pretty sure Dunja's point isn't "I know that OpenPhil's strategy is bad" but "Why does everyone around here act as though it is knowable that their strategy is good, given their lack of transparency?" It seems like people act OpenPhil's strategy is good and aren't massively confused / explicitly clear that they don't have the info that is required to assess the strategy.

Dunja, is that accurate?

(Small note: I'd been meaning to try to read the two papers you linked me to above a couple months ago about continental drift and whatnot, but I couldn't get non-paywalled versions. If you have them, or could send them to me at gmail.com preceeded by 'benitopace', I'd appreciate that.)

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 10:42:28PM *  -1 points [-]

Yeah that's a worthy point, but people are not really making decisions on this basis. It's not like Givewell, which recommends where other people should give. Open Phil has always ultimately been Holden doing what he wants and not caring about what other people think. It's like those "where I donated this year" blogs from the Givewell staff. Yeah, people might well be giving too much credence to their views, but that's a rather secondary thing to worry about.

Comment author: Dunja 10 September 2018 10:16:31PM 1 point [-]

Part of being in an intellectual community is being able to accept that you will think that other people are very wrong about things. It's not a matter of opinion, but it is a matter of debate.

Sure! Which is why I've been exchanging arguments with you.

Oh, there have been numerous articles, in your field, claimed by you.

Now what on earth is that supposed to mean? What are you trying to say with this? You want references, is that it? I have no idea what this claim is supposed to stand for :-/

That's all well and good, but it should be clear why people will have reasons for doubts on the topic.

Sure, and so far you haven't given me a single good reason. The only thing you've done is reiterate the lack of transparency on the side of OpenPhil.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 10:26:03PM *  0 points [-]

Sure! Which is why I've been exchanging arguments with you.

And, therefore, you would be wise to treat Open Phil in the same manner, i.e. something to disagree with, not something to attack as not being Good Enough for EA.

Now what on earth is that supposed to mean? What are you trying to say with this? You want references, is that it? I have no idea what this claim is supposed to stand for :-/

It means that you haven't argued your point with the sufficient rigor and comprehensiveness that is required for you to convince every reasonable person. (no, stating "experts in my field agree with me" does not count here, even though it's a big part of it)

Sure, and so far you haven't given me a single good reason.

Other people have discussed and linked Open Phil's philosophy, I see no point in rehashing it.

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