Comment author: SiebeRozendal 02 March 2018 03:53:54PM *  2 points [-]

Could you be a little more specific about the levels/traits you name? I'm interpreting them roughly as follows:

  • Values: "how close are they to the moral truth or our current understanding of it" (replace moral truth with whatever you want values to approximate).
  • Epistemology: how well do people respond to new and relevant information?
  • Causes: how effective are the causes in comparison to other causes?
  • Strategies: how well are strategies chosen withing those causes?
  • Systems: how well are the actors embedded in a supportive and complementary system?
  • Actions: how well are the strategies executed?

I think a rough categorisation of these 6 traits would be Prioritisation (Values, Epistemology, Causes) & Execution (Strategies, Systems, Actions), and I suppose you'd expect a stronger correlation within these two branches than between?

Comment author: remmelt  (EA Profile) 02 March 2018 06:18:36PM *  0 points [-]

Yeah, I more or less agree with your interpretations.

The number (as well as scope) of decision levels are arbitrary because they can be split. For example:

  • Values: meta-ethics, normative ethics
  • Epistemology: defining knowledge, approaches to acquiring it (Bayes, Occam's razor...), applications (scientific method, crucial considerations...)
  • Causes: the domains can be made as narrow or wide as seems useful for prioritising
  • Strategies: career path, business plan, theory of change...
  • Systems: organisational structure, workflow, to-do list...
  • Actions: execute intention ("talk with Jane"), actuate ("twitch vocal chords")

(Also, there are weird interdependencies here. E.g. if you change the cause area you work on, the career skills acquired before might not be as effective there. Therefore, the multiplier changes. I'm assuming that they tend to be fungible enough for the model still to be useful.)

Your two categories of Prioritisation and Execution seem fitting. Perhaps some people lean more towards wanting to see concrete results, and others more towards wanting to know what results they want to get?

Does anyone disagree with the hypothesis that individuals – especially newcomers – in the international EA community tend to lean one way or the other in terms of attention spent and the rigour with which they make decisions?

Comment author: SiebeRozendal 02 March 2018 03:56:43PM *  1 point [-]

I think it would be better to include this in the OP.

Comment author: remmelt  (EA Profile) 02 March 2018 05:19:34PM 0 points [-]

Will do!

Comment author: remmelt  (EA Profile) 02 March 2018 03:29:17PM *  0 points [-]

To clarify: by implying that, for example, a social entrepreneur should learn about population ethics from a Oxford professor to increase impact (and the professor can learn more about organisational processes and personal effectiveness), I don't mean to say that they should both become generalists.

Rather, I mean to convey that the EA network enables people here to divide labour at particular decision levels and then pass on tasks and learned information to each other through collaborations, reciprocal favours and payments.

In a similar vein, I think it makes sense for CEA's Community Team to specialise in engaging existing community members on high-level EA concepts at weekend events and for Local Effective Altruism Network to help local groups get active and provide them with ICT support.

However, I can think of 6 past instances where it seems that either CEA or LEAN could have potentially avoided making a mistake by incorporating the thinking of the other party at decision levels where it was stronger.

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 23 February 2018 08:07:29AM *  6 points [-]

The org's I can remember off the top of my head are: EA Sweden (that's me), EA Geneva, EA London, EA China, EA Netherlands (used to have full-time staff, but don't anymore) and EA Australia.

I'm excluding CEA, EAF and Rethink Charity here.

Comment author: remmelt  (EA Profile) 23 February 2018 12:02:16PM 4 points [-]

On EA Netherlands: a major reason why we chose to switch part-time is because we had to look for other income sources (i.e. two of us were working full-time and didn't manage to raise enough funding to cover our basic living costs).

Comment author: remmelt  (EA Profile) 18 November 2017 09:30:04AM 3 points [-]

Just want to say I value that this topic is now openly discussed and considered. A few 'bad apples' (or to put it in more nuanced terms, people who're trying to get their sexual desires/needs met without considering the needs and feelings of the other person enough) in our community can kill off the open, supportive and trusting atmosphere I often experience myself.

An intuition I wanted to bring up: if we'd slam down too hard on the topic of rape, this might create a taboo the other way where it's hard to discuss a possible incident with someone who instigated it because of the shame and social punishment associated with that.

I don't have much experience here but here's a thought: many milder forms of harassment in the EA could plausibly arise from males having poor social awareness and encountering difficulty and frustration trying to date one of a few girls they come into contact with (this seems the most common case to me but there are others as you mentioned).

Setting out 'bright line' rules would still help them gauge when they're going to far. However, this is only one tool, and a rather crude one at that (since it reacts to incidents on the extreme end of the spectrum as they happen, rather than prevention on the lower end).

Personally, I want to work on empowering fellow men to be more emotionally involved and understanding and to seek out and build healthy relationships (such as by hosting circling sessions and practicing non-violent communication together).

Noting that I've scanned through your post and haven't gone through your arguments extensively enough.

Comment author: EschersDemon 04 November 2017 07:41:54PM 3 points [-]

Thanks a lot guys. I'm starting to understand the value of all this information for other organizers (like myself).

Comment author: remmelt  (EA Profile) 06 November 2017 03:41:32PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for letting us know. I'm glad to hear that long write-ups like this one can give useful insights to other organisers.

Comment author: remmelt  (EA Profile) 20 October 2017 08:05:40PM *  1 point [-]

Love it. You've made an offer that's hard to refuse.

Comment author: remmelt  (EA Profile) 18 September 2017 03:38:47AM 1 point [-]

Update: this series is going to take months – not weeks – to finish.

After further reflection, I'm doing another major overhaul of my draft. I've also had to commit to doing more other work than in the last month than expected.

(In other words: planning fallacy.)

Comment author: jayquigley 11 August 2017 10:07:10PM 2 points [-]

If BCA were a major animal protection organization such as HSUS or PETA, I would mostly agree with you. But we are an all-volunteer force of around 4 dedicated members in one of the very most progressive cities in the U.S. What we should prioritize is not the building of awareness but rather the accumulation of inspiring legislative victories which will help mobilize the rest of those who are already aware of animal issues.

Rather than "run[ning] around and try[ing] to do something about every incidence of suffering [we] see", we are prioritizing attainable, potentially replicable, key legislative victories.

Incidentally, we've begun to think that if we run out of such potential initiatives, we should switch focus to educating local progressive political leaders about farmed animal issues.

Comment author: remmelt  (EA Profile) 12 August 2017 09:40:09AM 0 points [-]

Fair point. You seem to be opening up the way to show what's possible to larger organisations.

Having said that, can't you connect these two? Can't you one one end take practical steps to showing that real legal progress is possible while at the other end show the big picture that you're working towards and why?

Thinking big around a shared goal could the increase cohesion and ambition of the idealistic people you're connected with and work with on each new project from now on (this reminds me of Elon Musk's leadership approach, who unfortunately doesn't seem to care much about animal issues).

Comment author: jayquigley 09 August 2017 04:38:15AM *  4 points [-]

Speaking specifically for Fur Free Berkeley, and speculating on behalf of Fur Free West Hollywood, the reasons for focusing on banning fur were that it was:

  • attainable yet challenging

  • a meaningful step in an incremental progression toward further, more all-encompassing reforms

  • a farmed animal issue with which the general public has substantial sympathy

  • an industry wherein welfare misdeeds are egregious and relatively well-understood

  • an issue on which both welfare reformers and staunch abolitionists can agree (because it is a form of outright prohibition rather than welfare-oriented reform)

  • a form of animal farming that people can thoroughly sympathize with, encouraging further sympathies with other varieties of farmed animals, including the massive classes of individuals you mention

Specifically in the case of going for a second ban, there were additional advantages:

  • The legal language was already formulated

  • The WeHo law had already been successfully defended in federal court

As for the reasoning process for pursuing a given item, our unofficial criteria tend to be related to attainability (especially, in talking with legislators, do they feel excited enough about an idea to sponsor the item), defensibility (how worried would the bill's backer be about backlash), and momentum for the broader animal advocacy movement.

We do have further legislation ideas, some of which would make Berkeley the first to accomplish a particular feat. While we're not ready to announce anything yet, you can stay tuned on what we're up to by following us on Facebook:

Comment author: remmelt  (EA Profile) 11 August 2017 04:57:18PM 1 point [-]

Thanks for the explanation for your decision to focus on fur at this point.

a form of animal farming that people can thoroughly sympathize with, encouraging further sympathies with other varieties of farmed animals, including the massive classes of individuals you mention

I'm curious – if you see this particular ban as a stepping stone to larger behavioural change in the state of California – how are you using your success here as leverage to make citizens become aware of the suffering happening on a much larger scale in intensive factory farms?

I saw this article on extending your progress to other animals. But, to be fair, it isn't clear to me yet how you're prioritising these areas.

In the Netherlands, I have seen a tendency amongst animal welfare charities to run around and try to do something about every incidence of suffering they see. While I understand this and admire these efforts, I try to bring across to them that becoming really good at one or two areas would make them capable of helping more animals overall, even by virtue of specialisation.

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