A contact person for the EA community

post by Julia_Wise · 2018-01-12T17:04:14.404Z · score: 58 (59 votes) · EA · GW · Legacy · 2 comments

Contents

  Why have a point person?
  What happens with this information?
  My background
  Sky’s background
  Confidentiality
    Exceptions:
  Options besides talking to us
None
2 comments

I work at the Centre for Effective Altruism as the Community Liaison, which includes being a point person for the EA community. I’m a person you can come to with concerns about problems you’ve noticed or experienced in the EA community.

As of January 2019, Sky Mayhew has also joined the Community Health team. She serves as a contact person for media/journalist inquiries [EA · GW].

The best way to contact us is julia.wise@centreforeffectivealtruism.org or sky@centreforeffectivealtruism.org. You can also contact Julia anonymously or schedule a call on her office hours.

Why have a point person?

People who encounter a problem in the community often don’t feel up to handling it on their own. It can be helpful to have help from someone with experience in this area and time to dedicate to the role.

Having a central point for collecting information allows patterns to be recognized. For example, imagine that three different people experience a problem from the same person. If there’s no one to collect this data, each case appears to be a one-off incident. But if someone knows about all three incidents, the nature of the problem is much clearer.

You can contact me, Sky, or both of us if you'd like to discuss a problem.

What happens with this information?

Some examples of steps I’ve taken, with help from other CEA staff and volunteers:

My background

I’m a licensed independent clinical social worker. In the United States this requires a two-year master’s degree focusing on helping individuals and communities improve their own well-being, plus two years of supervised work experience. My focus during my master’s program was on mental health.

My experience includes:

Sky’s background

Sky previously worked in higher education and as a nationally certified American Sign Language and English interpreter. She has training in interpersonal and intercultural conflict resolution and communication. This led her to roles as an advisor and contact person in her field, supporting students, colleagues, and community members in sensitive situations. To maintain her teaching skills and national interpreter certification, she also completes continuing education requirements where she focuses on topics like mentoring skills, trauma-informed services, supporting positive identity development (cultural, racial/ethnic, gender, etc), and professional ethics.

Sky’s community health experience includes:

Social work is focused not on blame or punishment, but on reaching better outcomes by reducing risk of future harm and by connecting people with resources and support. Sky sees her work as an interpreter and educator in the same way. This approach is very much the one we use in our work in the effective altruism community.

Confidentiality

If you contact one of us about a problem you’ve experienced or a concern you have, we will keep it as confidential as you wish. Here are some possibilities:

The time and stress involved in a public discussion of one’s personal experience mean that often people do not want to publicly discuss problems they have experienced. We understand this, and we don’t pressure anyone to share information any more widely than they want to.

Exceptions:

If we thought someone were in physical danger, we would act to reduce that danger. That might include breaking confidentiality. For example, if you tell us you're planning to physically hurt someone, we would warn them.

Because of the rules for social workers where I (Julia) live, the only time I have a legal obligation to contact the authorities is if you bring me a concern specifically in my role as a social worker (“Julia, I’m telling you this because you’re a social worker”) AND if the concern is about

Because of the laws where Sky lives, she is required to contact authorities if she receives a report of:

Options besides talking to us

I know people often don’t feel comfortable discussing a problem they’ve experienced with someone they don’t know well. Some communities (London, Bay Area) have local point people as well, and group organizers are another possible resource. If you have a problem and would rather not talk to me or Sky, I suggest asking if your local group has a particular contact person for community problems.

If you’re a local organizer and are interested in setting up a point person in your local group, feel free to contact me for more information about this. julia.wise@centreforeffectivealtruism.org

2 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Shri_Samson · 2018-01-20T09:08:34.868Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thank you, Julia, for making the EA movement feel like an actual community by and for human beings.

comment by Jonas Vollmer · 2018-03-10T16:08:46.904Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Have you considered using a service that allows for anonymous conversations between you and the other person? This would enable you to respond to and discuss anonymous submissions. (I'm not sure this is needed – just an input.)