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comment by RavenclawPrefect · 2021-03-19T06:12:33.942Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Opening with a strong claim,  making your readers scroll through a lot of introductory text, and ending abruptly with "but I don't feel like justifying my point in any way, so come up with your own arguments" is not a very good look on this forum. 

Insightful criticism of the capital allocation dynamics in EA is a valuable and worthwhile thing that I expect most EA Forum readers would like to see! But this is not that, and the extent to which it appears to be that for several minutes of the reader's attention comes across as rather rude. My gut reaction to this kind of rhetorical strategy is "if even the author doesn't want to put forth the effort to make this into a coherent argument, why should I?"

[I have read the entirety of The Inner Ring, but not the vast series of apparent prerequisite posts to this one. I would be very surprised if reading them caused me to disagree with the points in this comment, though.]

Replies from: Milan_Griffes
comment by Milan_Griffes · 2021-03-19T16:44:49.336Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

"Opening with a strong claim,  making your readers scroll through a lot of introductory text, and ending abruptly with "but I don't feel like justifying my point in any way, so come up with your own arguments" is not a very good look on this forum. "

I wasn't intending the text included in the post to be introductory...


"[I have read the entirety of The Inner Ring, but not the vast series of apparent prerequisite posts to this one. I would be very surprised if reading them caused me to disagree with the points in this comment, though.]"

If you don't want to read the existing work that undergirds this post, why should I expect further writing to change your mind about the topic?

Replies from: CharlotteSiegmann
comment by Charlotte (CharlotteSiegmann) · 2021-03-20T16:11:54.390Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I have read all except one post you linked to. I don't understand how your post related to the two posts about children and would appreciate a comment. I agree with your argument that "EA jobs provide scarce non-monetary goods" and that it is hard to get hired by EA organisations. However, it is unclear to me that any of these posts provide a damaging critique to EA. I would be surprised if anyone managed to create a movement without any of these dynamics. However, I would also be excited to see working tackling these putative problems such as the non-monetary value of different jobs.

comment by toonalfrink · 2021-03-19T14:53:48.032Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

(lots of downvotes, so where are all the comments?)

I want to reward you for bringing up the topic of power dynamics in EA. Those exist, like in any community, but especially in EA there seems to be a strong current of denying the fact that EA's are constrained by their selfish incentives like everyone else. It requires heroism to go against that current.

But by just insinuating and not delivering any concrete evidence or constructive suggestions for change, you haven't really done your homework. I advise you to withdraw this post, cut out half the narrative crap, add some evidence and a model, make a recommendation, then repost it.

Replies from: aarongertler, Milan_Griffes
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-03-19T17:43:25.731Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I advise you to withdraw this post, cut out half the narrative crap, add some evidence and a model, make a recommendation, then repost it.

Moderator here! 

This looks like it was intended to be tough love, but it's also a mild-to-moderate case of "unnecessary rudeness [? · GW]". 

Let's try to stay polite in our comments, especially when the issue at stake is "I think your post is unclear" rather than "I think this post will hurt people" or "I think this thing you want people to donate to is a scam".

Replies from: toonalfrink
comment by toonalfrink · 2021-03-20T10:43:31.929Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Would removing the “crap” have been sufficient to make it polite? I like to be direct.

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-03-20T18:22:23.677Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yes, that would have been sufficient. The "withdraw this post" part seems a bit harsh (and redundant, since editing a post entails "withdrawing" the old version), but not to the point where I'd say anything about it as a mod.

I appreciate your engaging with my comment — it's hard to do mod stuff without coming across as overbearing, but I really value your contributions to the Forum. It's just a struggle to find balance between our more direct commenters and the people who find the Forum's culture intimidating.

comment by Milan_Griffes · 2021-03-19T16:39:10.870Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Where are all the comments, indeed...


"I advise you to withdraw this post, cut out half the narrative crap, add some evidence and a model, make a recommendation, then repost it."

I think this is basically fair, though from my perspective the narrative crap is doing important work.

I have limited capacity these days so I'm writing this argument as a serial, posting it as I can find the time. 

In the meanwhile, this sequence from a few years ago (a) makes a similar argument following the form you suggest.

comment by technicalities · 2021-03-19T17:15:46.218Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

It might be better to collate and condense your series into one post, once it's finished (or starting now). These individual posts really aren't convincing, and probably hurt your case if anything. Part of that is the Forum's conventions about content being standalone. But the rest is clarity and evidence: your chosen style is too esoteric.

I don't think it's our unwillingness to hear you out. Some of the most well-regarded posts on here are equally fundamental critiques of EA trends, but written persuasively / directly:

https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/bsE5t6qhGC65fEpzN/growth-and-the-case-against-randomista-development [EA · GW]

https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/jmbP9rwXncfa32seH/after-one-year-of-applying-for-ea-jobs-it-is-really-really [EA · GW]

https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/DxfpGi9hwvwLCf5iQ/objections-to-value-alignment-between-effective-altruists [EA · GW]

https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/jSPGFxLmzJTYSZTK3/reality-is-often-underpowered [EA · GW]

Replies from: Milan_Griffes
comment by Milan_Griffes · 2021-03-19T17:38:53.001Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

What about my style stands out as esoteric?

(From my perspective, I'm trying to be as clear & straightforward as possible in the main body of each post. I am also using poetic quotes at the top of some of the posts.)

Replies from: technicalities
comment by technicalities · 2021-03-19T17:51:33.228Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

In this one, it's that there is no main body, just a gesture off-screen. Only a small minority of readers will be familiar enough with the funding apparatus to complete your "exercise to the reader..." Maybe you're writing for that small minority, but it's fair for the rest to get annoyed.

In past ones (from memory), it's again this sense of pushing work onto the reader. Sense of "go work it out".

Replies from: Milan_Griffes
comment by Milan_Griffes · 2021-03-19T18:04:21.476Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yes, I want people to think about this for themselves. (I don't think that's esoteric.)

Replies from: anonymous_ea
comment by anonymous_ea · 2021-03-19T19:09:45.330Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I don't have any advice to offer, but as a datapoint for you: I applaud your goal and am even sympathetic to many of your points, but even I found this post actively annoying (unlike your previous ones in this series). It feels like you're writing a series of posts for your own benefit without actually engaging with your audience or interlocutors.  I think this is fine for a personal blog, but does not fit on this forum. 

Replies from: Milan_Griffes
comment by Milan_Griffes · 2021-03-19T19:12:14.078Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thank you for this feedback. 

From my perspective, I'm writing both for my own sake and for others.

Replies from: jackmalde
comment by jackmalde · 2021-03-20T09:50:52.763Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Even if your intentions are good surely it should be clear at this point that your approach is proving completely ineffective?