I’m not sure that many people who push for moral obligations hold inconsistent views. These seem like two mainly distinct sets of people.
Most people I speak to either think people are morally obligated to do actions that might improve the world, whether that’s veganism, frugality etc or they take the more laid back approach.
I’d also say there are some differences between eating factory farmed meat and spending on ineffective charities, mainly that a world that still has factory farmed meat is hard to imagine as one of the best worlds compared to one where people still give money to ineffective charities.
I think they said they were shifting it to CEA. That probably makes sense to have one organisation deal with grants, support and tech rather than two separate ones.
I think I disagree with this piece because although I think it’s true that places are valuable for connecting, that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a place that people own. In London we can use pubs, cafes and parks, often for free with just a picnic blanket indicating the edge of this space that separates the conversations from the outside world.
Similar to Milan I agree with the main point of your comment and also think that the EA community conforms less than the majority of communities.
Maybe ironically, I also think that there is a relative lack of experience with communities in general among a lot of people interested in EA, which makes it harder for people to know what is expected, such as using group slang, strong identities, close connections and group ‘rituals’ which are very common in most communities.
It’s good to see people trying small low cost experiments like this although I suspect there are diminishing returns to how many people will be interested if you try a similar post again but that’s also why it’s good that you’ve given a framework for others to copy.
At EA London I haven’t given as many books out in the last 12 months as the previous 12 as I’ve usually only given them to people after a 1-1 meeting or significant interest from someone at an event where it seems more likely that they’ll actually read it and want to take away some advice rather than offering to give it to people who are more interested in the idea of a “free book”.
The EA forum is a forum with just two categories so it functions more like a news board, which means most conversation ends up happening in bespoke Facebook groups for various causes, careers and interest groups. Facebook has a similar problem of losing good posts and conversations, which might have been stickied in a traditional forum with multiple categories and sub-categories.
There may be advantages to having these discussions happen on Facebook as people might be more likely to check, although it does make it hard to find out where the conversations are happening.
I massively agree with most of this and when talking to people about careers I try to help them find a field that fascinates them and has the potential to be leveraged in the future. At the risk of over simplifying, EA organisations seem to be “experience-constrained” which can’t be solved by just getting smart graduates to work in EA jobs.
I think I disagree slightly that there needs to be a “task Y”, it may be the case that some people will have an interest in EA but wont be able to contribute. Just as there people who have an interest in evidence based medicine but don’t get an opportunity to contribute to medical journals or become doctors. The aim of EA isn’t to make use of all resources available, even if it may seem like a lost opportunity not to.
Also I think the EA community is a subset of the EA movement, and lots of people have positive impact whilst rarely or never engaging online/in person and it might be a mistake to focus on just the community part. This post though might lead to people being happier to focus on their own field and potentially reengaging when it makes sense to.
Online content is generally the amount of people that open or click on an email (but baring in mind that long term, getting more clicks relies on your community trusting you to have content they want to click on rather than clickbait).
Occasionally people also send replies saying they value newsletters and when I ask people in person what they value, that sometimes gets mentioned.
For Meetup, it seemed to have negative value in the way it is used by default.
I think people mainly join meetup because they are looking for new hobbies and/or friends rather than deciding they want to do good or have impact in their careers. This can be useful for increasing attendance but I think it’s using the wrong digital tool for the goals most groups have.
Potentially with a closed meetup group with questions that have to be answered before joining it could work well, similar to Facebook. Although Meetup still has the issue of their users being a subset of Facebook that don’t necessarily have a good overlap with the kind of people that EA can help the most.
I think your examples highlight a difference between barriers to entry rather than the amount of alienating conversations.
With twitter almost anyone can take part anonymously whereas to get into law school you probably have to take part in interviews/get references where you don’t alienate people.
I don’t think there is a systematic process for feedback for the EA funds at the moment. It’s mainly ad hoc with the fund managers gathering feedback themselves, people emailing them or forum posts like this one.
There may also be a way of telling by looking at how much people continue to give to each fund, although I don’t know how closely donors are monitoring the eventual impact.
I agree that individuals will find it hard when donating individually but the call to action is about using the EA fund or creating a separate one with these aims in mind.
Similar to how people might choose to invest in a low/medium/high risk fund for their own savings.
This is quite a tangential point to the post and might come across as trying to divert the conversation.
There’s a possibility that if this happens a lot, it lowers the chance that other people pay attention to the points when they are relevant.
I don’t know as much about them.
I think that it would make sense to have experts that know this landscape pretty well to work out where the potential gaps are.
The author has a tweet about what inspired the piece
The Long Time project
Seth Baum at GCR
Toby Ord and FHI
Thanks, I’ve updated the post.
It may be a good thing that people that are less inclined to write up a report will be less likely to join a donor lottery.
“Correct answer” is maybe not the best wording, it means the answer that Rethink Charity used to describe their results, and is also consistent with how they reported the results in previous years. I should have pointed this out at the beginning of the survey.
In terms of the political questions, that is also shifted by a large response from people supporting libertarian or other political views.
I’d be interested in seeing how evidence based medicine became the default in most places (amongst the general public as well as within medicine), and if there were previous attempts to popularise it that failed.
I feel like I might be missing something obvious, but under the “other influences on giving” section, are there really 514 researchers that filled out the survey?