I’m the current Content Specialist for CEA (the same position held by Max Dalton when he put together the second version of the EA Handbook).
We’re aware that the Handbook isn’t an ideal resource and have been thinking for a while about how we might want to update it. In the process, we’ve consulted a few stakeholders with expertise in different cause areas. So far, we haven’t officially released any edits, but we might do so in the future; we’re still uncertain about timelines and how we want to prioritize this project.
See saulius’s comment for an example!
LessWrong does have footnotes (at least on the test server I just checked), which use the same format. (Nearly every feature on the EA Forum is also available on LessWrong.)
I’m glad to hear about all of this tracking!
The paper probably won’t contain much useful information for you; I only meant to use it in support of the point that the aforementioned correlations are weak (the rest of the paper is a long, dry literature review).
I agree, and I’ll pass this feedback to the tech team (though Markdown having built-in footnote support was key for this feature’s existence).
That setting is left over from an April Fool’s Day joke on LessWrong where GPT-2 was trained to generate comments. As far as I know, there have never been any GPT-2 comments on the Forum. (If you see anything that looks to have been written by a nonhuman intelligence, please mark it as spam so I can see and remove it!)
Thanks for the word of warning—I’m not sure what anyone’s schedule is like, and it’s good to know who wouldn’t be a good target for an email. But I still think that sending an email to a few different people, and noting that you don’t expect a response if they’re too busy, is valuable in this scenario.
Seeing Life in a Day changed the way I see the world, and was a key step in preparing me to be interested in effective altruism when I first heard about it (roughly a year later).
The film shows hundreds of snippets of ordinary life around the world, creating an overwhelming effect of “everyone is basically the same and matters equally” (at least for me). The notion of caring more about people from, say, my own city no longer made any sense to me after the film ended.
Creating a spreadsheet? You can have two columns (media title and a number) and ask people to increment the number by one if they found something helpful could be better than a survey—it’s faster to go through and easier to update.
Have you considered reaching out to someone like Andrew Critch, or other experts in the X-risk space, to ask?
There are quite a few people in your position (early-career people thinking of diving into X-risk/AI safety), but I don’t think there are so many that X-risk professionals are deluged with more questions than they can answer. If you have even a slight track record of demonstrated interest/understanding of these issues, I imagine you could get a phone call set up with one of the people you might eventually want to work for.
Rather than thinking about the choice in the sense of “outworking/outcompeting”, it seems better to consider comparative advantage; if you add a skillset that’s in short supply, competition won’t be so important. I don’t know whether management/recruiting is in shorter supply than coding/academic work, or which of those you’re more naturally inclined toward, but answering those questions should be a good start.
Thanks for posting this example of how you’re tracking Giving Games! The data from just one group is very thin, of course, but I’ll be curious to see aggregate changes.
I may have missed this in the post, but do you plan on trying to track giving behavior as well as beliefs about giving with your post-GG surveys? I wrote a literature review of interventions tested for their effect on charitable giving, and studies on that topic tend to find only weak correlation between intentions/statements about giving and actual behavior.
Thanks for posting your methodology ahead of time! I’m glad to see this “open science” practice on the Forum (knowing someone’s research plans ahead of time lets you see whether they might be changing their methodology to bolster apparent results, so this post serves as an extra dose of integrity for the research).
The productivity-hacking movement is large and prolific, but they don’t perform all that many systematic experiments. I look forward to seeing your results.
Answer: No. We’ve noticed that many Forum users assume that this is the case, but we categorize each post based on its topic, rather than any measure of perceived “quality”.
Question: Is putting a post in Frontpage meant to signify that it is higher-quality than posts in the Community section?
Thanks for this writeup! The actual spoken statements from attendees were especially interesting to me.
I really like the recent trend of “local area” writeups, including both this post and Evan Gaensbauer’s post on Vancouver. If I keep seeing them, I may write a meta-post to contain them all (and replace the links when updates happen).
I don’t think we disagree here, but I can see how that section was ambiguous. I think many people would think of “expanding abortion rights” as part of “the expanding circle” (people having more freedom and fewer restrictions, as long as you take it for granted that fetuses don’t “count”). Of course, there are multiple ways to argue that fetuses might “count” (as ensoulled entities, as potential future people, as living creatures, etc.), so one could also look at expanded abortion rights as a case of “the narrowing circle”.
As you outlined, those on the side of the “narrowing circle” have a better case if you consider the literal meaning of “expanding circle” (more beings are in the moral domain, full stop), as well as the parallels between abortion rights and, say, animal rights.
But I think there’s a difference in that certain rights which feel “fundamental” are in play on either side (I think there are important differences between “the right to eat meat” and “the right not to bring human life into the world for which you will be held responsible”). In the less literal sense of “expanding circle”, which turns into something more like “the moral arc of the universe bends towards justice”, there are perspectives from which expanded abortion rights bend the universe either toward or away from justice.
Anyway, to clarify, I don’t think it’s obvious whether abortion rights expand or narrow the circle in the way that I normally hear “expanding circle” used, though they do narrow it by the literal “who gets considered” definition.
More crudely: Some people think of early-term fetuses as being morally akin to a plant or an amoeba, and if Peter Singer is among them (I don’t know whether he is), I’m not sure that plants/amoebas entering the moral domain would qualify as “expanding the circle” from his point of view.
The only time he uses the expression in his essay “The Drowning Child and the Expanding Circle”:
At the end of the nineteenth century WH Lecky wrote of human concern as an expanding circle which begins with the individual, then embraces the family and ‘soon the circle… includes first a class, then a nation, then a coalition of nations, then all humanity, and finally, its influence is felt in the dealings of man [sic] with the animal world’.
I’m not sure whether abortion, or at least early-term abortion, qualifies as “the dealings of man with the animal world” in the same way as factory farming.
That said, I haven’t read Singer’s full book on the expanding circle concept, so there are probably nuances and details in his complete definition that I’m not aware of.
These answers aren’t necessarily correct, or complete, but they represent time and energy and experience being put into attempting to figure out community, which is definitely valuable. I hope to hear more of your thoughts in the future—the more people contributing to our collective pool of knowledge, the better!
Every question you asked in this post has been discussed… somewhere. Tracking down all the conversation is difficult, and there are few true “experts” on this material, but existing EA communities have been slowly shaped by it into their current forms (though of course, there are always new people and new groups and old lessons that must be learned anew).
Many of Eliezer Yudkowsky’s posts in his sequence “The Craft and the Community” apply just as well to EA as to rationality. He’s also written a lot of essays about argumentation and persuasion which have seeped into the EA community through osmosis. Compared to other communities I’ve known, EA has much less “chasing arguments that should be dropped” and much more “making and discussing models when that would be helpful”. We aren’t perfect, but I’m not sure whether remaining issues come from any deficit of theory.
There have been many discussions of EA and parenthood. Some of those that are findable on the Forum include this (on the question of whether to become a parent) and this (on building parent-inclusive communities).
Nearly every large EA event includes specific written standards for appropriate behavior, influenced by years of experience, discussion, and research on best practices drawn from other communities.
One more example of a social norm that EA has adopted, see “Ask, Guess, and Tell Culture” (a series of discussions dealing with, among other things, how people can communicate desires/opinions across oft-invisible cultural divides).
I don’t know that a very broad discussion of “community” will be very helpful, but suggestions for specific improvements and solutions to specific problems often lead to concrete progress and mass adoption of new ideas. Are there any specific issues you think are especially important to address?
Also, in discussions like this, it helps to have a fair amount of experience living, working, or at least regularly interacting with one or more EA communities (physically or online). Are there any local EA communities you’ve spent time in, Nathan?
There are Facebook groups for EA houses in specific cities, though I’m not aware of any that cover wider areas. Is there a specific place you’d want to know about?