I think there are several good points to what you’ve written here (for transparency: I upvoted the comment), but I’ll share some counterpoints as well.
When I imagine what would happen if we launched a “transparent voting” feature and people couldn’t opt out of it, I foresee many people telling me that this feature would make them very worried about ever downvoting any material from people with a high-status/”authoritative” viewpoint on something. I already hear frequently, from a surprisingly wide range of people, that writing critical comments on the Forum is intimidating when the target of criticism is well-versed in the subject or generally a well-respected thinker.
I’m not certain that transparent voting would actually be more informative in the end (if many fewer people bother to vote at all, and fewer voters vote their true beliefs in controversial cases, that’s a lot of lost info).
Tags are under active development and should be available on the Forum soon (though no specific date has been set).
Maybe a better question for late May or early June, when classes are over.
Thanks for writing this up! Having data and observations for small fundraisers is really nice for people who are considering running similar events in the future. Every fundraiser will be different in some of the specifics, but the more posts like this exist, the better people will be able to predict how much they’ll be able to raise (and thus, whether it’s worth the effort to put something together).
Yes, I do plan to do this at some point—in fact, I’ve added it as something to do this week thanks to your comment, thanks for the push.
That’s an interesting idea. I’ll pass it along to CEA’s tech team, though I’d guess it wouldn’t be something that would happen soon (no guaranteed demand, unlikely to increase people’s use of the platform, some risk that people accidentally expose sensitive information).
I’m a fan of Claire’s suggestion. Not likely to do it myself, because my reasons for donating are pretty quirky and difficult to explain, but I’ve liked all the posts of this kind that I’ve seen from others on the Forum.
When suggestions of this type come up, especially for causes that don’t have existing EA research behind them, my recommended follow-up is to look for people who study this as normal academics (here, “this” would be “ways that grades and grading policy influence student outcomes”). Then, write to professors who do this work and ask if they plan on taking advantage of the opportunity (here, the natural experiment caused by new grading policies).
There’s a good chance that the people you write to will have had this idea already (academics who study a subject are frequently on the lookout for opportunities of this kind, and the drastic changes wrought by COVID-19 should be increasing the frequency with which people think about related studies they could run). And if they haven’t, you have the chance to inspire them!
Writing to random professors could be intimidating, but in my experience, even when I’ve written emails like this as a private citizen without a .edu email address, I frequently get some kind of response; people who’ve made research their life’s work are often happy to hear from members of the public who care about the same odd things they do.
Could you say a bit more about the kinds of resources that would be helpful? I’m not clear on whether you’re thinking of switching careers or whether you’re looking for ideas about how to solve problems and gain skills outside of work.
I will note that lack of sleep can, as you surmised, make a big difference in how you feel about many elements of your life (work included). If you’re going to bed at a reasonable time but can’t easily fall asleep, some of the comments on this post might be helpful, and I also liked this post (wearing glasses that “block blue light,” as the author suggests, has been a real boost for me).
Thanks for clarifying. This topic has generally been contentious, so I want to be careful to keep the discussion based on substantive discussion of Torres’ ideas or specific wording.
ælijah: If you’re going to accuse other users of having read something superficially, please explain your views in more detail. What do you think the paper’s key message is, and what sections/excerpts make you believe this?
I’ll note that Khorton didn’t suggest that “it doesn’t matter if everyone dies” was what the post’s author actually meant to convey—instead, she expressed concern that it could be read in that way, and asked the author to clarify.
Also, speaking as a Forum moderator: the tone of your comment wasn’t really in keeping with the Forum’s rules. We discourage even mildly abrasive language if it doesn’t contain enough detail for people to be able to respond to your points.
Did you mean to post this using the Markdown editor? Currently, the formatting looks a bit odd from a reader’s perspective.
Thanks for posting this! I’ve come to believe that a lot of common beliefs about the EA job market are based on anecdotes and impressions rather than data on available positions or the population of job-seekers. I’m excited to see AAC taking on this work for animal advocacy roles.
Thanks! I fixed the form a few hours ago.
What writing currently exists like this?
Future Perfect and a few one-off articles, mostly. Tom Chivers is a journalist with strong EA leanings who routinely writes from that perspective.
Where’s best to publish this?
I wasn’t thinking that these stories would have to be published by a large media outlet; I just want them to exist somewhere so that I can share them with people who are new to the movement.
Getting published on a wider platform could be great for certain orgs (e.g. Wave is just a business, I imagine they wouldn’t mind the attention), but bad for others (CSET generally keeps its work fairly private). I’d hope that anyone writing one of these hypothetical stories would check the org’s publicity preferences before submitting a story anywhere!
A detailed study of hyper-competent ops people.
What makes these people so competent? What tools and processes do they use to manage information and set priorities? What does the flow of their workday look like; mostly flitting around between tasks, or mostly focused blocks of time? (And so on.)
It’s excellent that you reached out to AMF about this! I think people do that sort of thing slightly less often than they should; people who run effective charities tend to know a lot about their subjects, and they’re often happy to answer questions.
For what it’s worth, this is a totally reasonable topic for a Forum post! Figuring out how to communicate ideas about effective giving is a core part of the EA project, and that’s what this post seems to be trying to do.
Have you started the fundraiser yet? If so, how has it been going?
Thanks for summarizing this! I really like seeing people write up literature from EA-adjacent academic work that didn’t happen within the community; it’s cool to see how EA ideas get picked up and interpreted/criticized by others (see here for more examples).
I’d be very excited about this! I really appreciate it when people take research effort they already put in, then making it accessible to others (a la Effective Thesis or my own thesis).
Do you feel comfortable giving some general impression of what the economists’ views were (e.g. “one favorable, two mixed, one unfavorable”)? If not, that’s understandable!
I would expect EA to have a weaker insistence on citable knowledge than people in other academic fields; do you think the insistence is actually stronger? (Or are most people in academic fields wrong, and EA isn’t an exception?)
This was an excellent meta-review! Thanks for sharing it.
I agree that these little slips of language are important; they can easily compound into very stubborn memes. (I don’t know whether the first person to propose a paperclip AI regrets it, but picking a different example seems like it could have had a meaningful impact on the field’s progress.)