Posts

The Happy Culture: A Theoretical, Meta-Analytic, and Empirical Review of the Relationship Between Culture and Wealth and Subjective Well-Being 2019-07-16T09:25:20.228Z · score: 3 (2 votes)
Announcing plans for a German Effective Altruism Network focused on Community Building 2019-07-03T13:05:55.986Z · score: 29 (18 votes)
Online Fundraising, Self-Image, and the Long-TermImpact of Ask Avoidance 2019-06-26T08:01:56.150Z · score: 4 (3 votes)
Getting the Rich and Powerful to Give 2019-04-29T09:14:18.361Z · score: 17 (10 votes)

Comments

Comment by alexherwix on The Happy Culture: A Theoretical, Meta-Analytic, and Empirical Review of the Relationship Between Culture and Wealth and Subjective Well-Being · 2019-07-17T11:28:01.442Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

They do not really address any specific interventions but provide some insights into factors influencing SWB and income. They also highlight that coming up with interventions might be a challenge given the complexity of the topic. Thus, this paper is more of a conversation starter and may provide some good inspiration for further inquiries.

Personally, I am not an expert in the field and wouldn't be able to make any informed suggestions beyond basic brainstorming. Hoped that other people deeper into the topic than me would be able to make good use of the paper.

Comment by alexherwix on Announcing plans for a German Effective Altruism Network focused on Community Building · 2019-07-05T07:42:10.927Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Dear Jonas,

thank you for your comment and inputs :) I am responding from my personal perspective and may not represent the full team.

  1. That's a great point! We would love to have a more diverse team and if you have interested people in mind, please direct them to the survey or our current email address: info@eakoeln.de. We are actively looking for new members and generally don't plan to have any limit on members if they fulfill some EA and CB related criteria. Thus, hopefully we will be more diverse soon :)

  2. As you mention there has been some coordination with the big players (CEA, EAF, LEAN) but it could obviously always be more and is generally limited by the time that we get from them. We also tried to coordinate with some community builders in Germany but have to say that we are rooted in a mostly regional phenomenon of cooperating local groups that has been slowly spreading from NRW. At the moment, we are trying to onboard and integrate the (interested) rest of Germany.

  3. The list is just a short list of some concrete things that we can measure. We are very much engaged with the question of how to track and improve quality in community building and over time this will hopefully become one of our key value propositions – that we are able to assess and advise what is likely to work in a given context. This is why we have added a special role for quality management.

I hope this answers the most relevant parts of your question. I am happy to elaborate in more detail if necessary :)

Comment by alexherwix on Announcing plans for a German Effective Altruism Network focused on Community Building · 2019-07-05T07:24:20.751Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Dear Tobias,

thank you for your insightful remarks, I hope that you find some of the things that we talked about already reflected in the plan :) We try to listen and incorporate feedback, especially, when there is experience to back it up! Again, I am answering from own perspective and may not represent the full team.

Regarding your concerns for services, we are very aware of this and now that I think about it, it may have been useful to add our one-year roadmap to illustrate how we want to start our initiative. Rest assured we are very much following along the lines that you outline at the moment. We are organizing an Unconference style retreat, a community building retreat, additional advanced workshops and we are also considering to organize a EAGx in Germany again next year (this is still more dependent on what other players are doing, though). So, next to setting up the basic infrastructure most of our efforts are focused on delivering key events with high expected value.

Regarding your concerns for outreach, at the moment we seem to be following a very inward looking approach, trying to improve community building within EA in Germany ("the product"). Based on improving this "product" we hope to organically scale by word of mouth. However, there is also the possibility of investigating other outreach opportunities as time goes on.

I personally, have a slightly different perception regarding introductory workshops as we have had great experience with those. Things like basic rationality training combined with an EA touch or career workshops for beginners seem to be in high demand and are generally perceived as useful or interesting. I do agree, though, that only a small fraction of those people who attend make the jump across the chasm to become deeply involved EAs. That's an interesting phenomenon to study and I am not entirely sure what to make of it yet. There are many (competing) perspectives one can take regarding the "desirability" of this situation and how to move forward from here. I can't answer comprehensively in this comment, but it is delightful topic for a set of good conversations or even a series of blog posts ;)

I hope I could answer some of your concerns. If something needs further exploration, I am happy to try again :)

Comment by alexherwix on Announcing plans for a German Effective Altruism Network focused on Community Building · 2019-07-04T10:50:35.217Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Dear Michelle, thank you for the kind words. I am answering from my own perspective and may not represent the full team.

We are basically already running as an MVP for ~3 month now while putting this plan together. It's just a core team of people, coordinating and organizing events and working on a common infrastructure. We document quite a lot of what we do internally but it is not (yet) really accessible to people on the outside that's why we aim to publish more blog posts like this in the future. We have a great team and despite limited resources I am constantly amazed by what we can pull together :)

We are also executing towards additional layers of functionality as we speak. For example, we have launched a survey to test some of our core assumptions and will conduct a series of open workshops focused on developing GEAN further (first one is this weekend). In terms of organizational structure we are trying to stay lean but will have to take the plunge of incorporating as this is one of the very reasons that we are embarking on this project at all – just based on our own (limited) activities we already have the need for a proper legal set up.

I hope this answers at least a substantial part of your question :)

Comment by alexherwix on Announcing plans for a German Effective Altruism Network focused on Community Building · 2019-07-04T07:08:27.287Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Dear Aaron, thanks for taking the time to comment. I will answer your points quickly from my personal perspective, however, we will also collect all feedback to discuss it in the team as well which we may then collectively discuss in a future post or comment.

  1. We are modeling after many different resources that we have access to (e.g., CEA thinking, posts on the EA forum, some personal conversations, personal experience and last but not least academic literature). For the sake of conveying „what we want to do“ and „why we want to do it“ rather than „why we want to do it the way we want to do“, we decided to not make this an academic paper but a more informal business plan. But if there is general interest in the whys we can write up a more academic exposition soon. We also really want to get in the habit of writing up our reasoning early and often... thus, thanks for providing some initiative ;)
  • Regarding IT infrastructure. We are not yet set on a specific tool or set of tools but are currently investigating different alternatives. Rest assured, we are very diligent at this task and really take a lot of care to find (or even develop) solutions that satisfy our (and the communities) requirements. For example, we are working on separate posts to justify and outline some of the values that guide our decisions here. However, while we have a great team with IT experience, we are somewhat bound by our financial situation and priorities. We may need to start with of the shelf components but migrate as we gain stability and resources.
  1. This is a great point! Yes, we are ambitious and there is much to do! We are generally working on this on a volunteer basis at the moment which works out well to organize workshops and smaller events. However, setting up and running the legal and organizational infrastructure for an organization such as the one we outline in the business plan is better handled by one or two people working on this in at least part-time (better full-time) capacity. Thus, we would likely invest in funding appropriate people to be able to execute at an accelerated but sustainable pace. I hope this answer is precise enough, if not, I am happy to elaborate in more detail.

  2. Based on my personal experience, I believe that there is a strong demand for coordination which is evident in the diverse team that we have already assembled. These are all people who value the exchange with other local groups and are motivated by working together in something larger than their local groups. Regarding movement growth, I believe that having „fun but valuable things to do“ besides reading, discussions and skill building will attract more people to community building activities, which in turn will make the reading, discussing and skill building more attractive. To grow sustainably there needs to be a self-supporting ecology of opportunities that fits to the local resource distribution.

  • Regarding outreach, I believe that I have covered the gist of it in my previous paragraph. Content-wise we are working on formats that are highly self-supporting, scalable and transferable to different regional contexts. While this is not an outreach activity per se, it‘s about setting up the infrastructure to be able to scale once momentum is there. I would hope to mainly use word of mouth to scale organically over time.

I think one of the main points that differentiates EA from other movements like F4F is that we want to have a better sense of what we are doing rather than just winging it. That‘s what we are working on and I thank you for helping us reflect more on this :)

Comment by alexherwix on Requesting community input on the upcoming EA Projects Platform · 2019-01-31T19:29:43.778Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Hey Brendon,

sorry, I missed your answer... still getting used to the new forum.

I think open development/management is orthogonal to how many people work on the project and I don't think that there is an inherent risk of a project being slow or abandoned just because it is open. I guess you are referring to working with other stakeholders and, yeah, that can drag you down sometimes, especially, if these organization are themselves not very open. All the more reason to try to be better and be the change you want to see in the world ;)

Cheers, Alex

Comment by alexherwix on EA Meta Fund AMA: 20th Dec 2018 · 2018-12-20T09:42:21.159Z · score: 25 (12 votes) · EA · GW

Hey,

as a person working on meta-projects I would be interested if there are any plans to broaden the amount of projects that you are considering for funding?

Your grants demonstrate that you seem to only fund very much established players and focus on "very safe" bets – probably due to time limitations. Have you considered pitching opportunities for project proposals, putting out requests for proposals regarding specific challenges, or topping up EA Grants so that more proposal have the chance of being considered and funded?

My concerns is that right now it is still pretty difficult to get funding if you are not an established player and I don't really see any path for new players to emerge other than by personal connections which is strongly dependent on serendipity or physical location. Something like EA Grants is by far not a perfect solution (e.g., it's too open which leads to unclear criteria and there is no feedback at all which disallows iterative improvements and learning) but at least more projects are even considered for funding.

Comment by alexherwix on Requesting community input on the upcoming EA Projects Platform · 2018-12-17T12:49:48.395Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Hey Brendon,

I think there is definitely a need for something like a group platform if well managed and executed. What I am missing from your proposal are concrete details of how you want to run this project and what your strategy is. Who is paying for it? Who is running it? Are you open source? How will it look like? As others here I would caution against simply launching stuff without having clear answers to the big questions.

If you are willing to work openly with the community, why don't you set up a shared repo with the prototype, set up some open governance structure, and invite people interested in the project to contribute in sprint meetings, etc. I guess the EA hub and LW 2.0 teams would be pretty interested to coordinate. In the end, it may even make sense to fold your ideas into those projects as you pivoted from a specific focus to a more general one, which seems to be more in the domain of these already established players. If you have actual code to contribute that would probably help speed things up quite a bit :)

Comment by alexherwix on EA Forum 2.0 Initial Announcement · 2018-07-22T14:41:17.547Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for your comment Sam!

Regarding the funding project, this was just meant to be one example of a possible project which could profit from integration. So I wasn't really trying to argue the merits of the projects in any detailed manner. However, to somewhat counterbalance your argument, the way I see it, it seems to make sense to try to aggregate resources around existing funding opportunities to help people try to understand the space better. From my own experience it takes some time to wrap your head around who is offering what, in what format, etc. So there seems to be room for improved coordination which may or may not involve new artifacts/software/platform to be developed. Moreover, having people be interested in this kind of topic seems to be a win for the community to me, I don't think we are at the point where returns are diminishing drastically (i.e., one CEA grant evaluator is not gonna fix everything). If you want to talk in more depth about the topic I would love for you to join the slack channel or contact me by mail: alex{at}herwix.com.

Regarding the meta point, this really was the gist of my post. I appreciate the positive attitude you seem to have towards a somewhat "open" model as I think that this would be an important step for the community from a technological point of view. As you say there are lots of cool things that could be done, once we have sorted out some of the basic infrastructure questions. CEA being open to integrating pull requests in this direction would be an awesome first step :)

Comment by alexherwix on EA Forum 2.0 Initial Announcement · 2018-07-20T10:22:37.076Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Thank you Marek and the whole CEA team for taking on this project! I love your initiative and what you outline seems like a very valuable and necessary step for the EA community. If things work out as you imagine, EA could be one of the first science-driven communities with a strong "community-reviewed" journal type offering (in this vein it may make sense to introduce different types of "publications" – idea, project report, scientific publication, etc. – with different standards for review and moderation). Very inspiring!

A question that comes to my mind would be your plans and stance on making user profiles/data accessible to external partners and integrations. For example, I am investing some time into thinking about the funding pipeline in EA right now, in particular with a focus on small scale projects which seem to be falling through the cracks right now. Having a funding platform integrate with the community system and trust measures of the EA forum could be a game changer for this (for people interest in this topic get in touch on the rethink slack #ti-funding or https://gitlab.com/effective-altruism/funding-pipeline – it's not much put down right now, but there are already some people interested in this space). Given that the Less Wrong 2.0 codebase is open source it should be possible to develop secure means of integration between different platforms if the provider of the forum enables it. Did you consider these kind of long-term use cases in your planning so far? Do you have a vision for how collaboration with "non-CEA" affiliated projects could look in the future?

Comment by alexherwix on EA Forum 2.0 Initial Announcement · 2018-07-20T10:06:53.972Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thank you for your very interesting and thoughtful comment!

I just want to extend your thinking a little bit further into possible solutions. The blockchain space in particular has provided some interesting new ideas in terms of trust and how to organize communities around it. For example, Stellars Consensus Protocol works with "Quorum Slices" that are determined by people you trust to give you a "personal" view on the overall state. Similar you could nominate a "Member Slice" where some member votes are excluded/weighted down or weighted up in the calculation of your post weights. This would allow you to tailor what you see to your needs as your thinking evolves. So if a tyranny ensues you have the possibility of "navigating around". And depending on how you implement it, people could subscribe to your view of the forum and thus, propagate this new algorithm for weighting posts. Hope this is not too complicated... (for those interested in more details, here is a link to a graphic novel explaining the Stellar CSP: https://www.stellar.org/stories/adventures-in-galactic-consensus-chapter-1)

my main point was just to agree with you that having a very hierarchical voting system may profit from some "countermeasures" that can be used in times of misuse or tyranny.

Comment by alexherwix on EA Forum 2.0 Initial Announcement · 2018-07-20T09:39:17.191Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I really want to highlight the small point that you made in the end:

Digital institution design is a very high leverage problem for civilization as a whole, and should probably receive EA attention on those grounds.

I am personally very interested in this topic and there is a lot of depth to it. It would be awesome if this topic could gain more traction in the EA community as it seems to be one of the most important challenges for the near-to-medium term future. It may receive some conceptual attention in terms of AI alignment and more practical considerations in terms of AI development coordination but it is actually a much broader challenge than that with implications for all areas of (digital) live. If I find the time, I will try to put a comprehensive post on this together. Whoever is also interested in this topic please get in touch with me! (PM or alex{at}herwix.com)

Comment by alexherwix on New research on effective climate charities · 2018-07-12T10:28:11.240Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thank you for your reply :)

I will have a deeper look at it when I find the time! So the main take away from my previous comment could be that it may be useful to highlight the "surprises" in the executive summary for people who don't have the time to engage in depth and maybe provide a stronger summary of your process for reaching your recommendation (e.g., have comparative metrics like we have for poverty/health related interventions). Or maybe that's good content for a summarizing blog post?

Anyhow, thanks again for your effort to update the EA community on this topic :)

Comment by alexherwix on New research on effective climate charities · 2018-07-11T14:47:56.987Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Dear Halstead,

thank you for the effort updated information on effective climate charities is a great and valuable thing to me and probably many other EAs.

However, I had a look at the website and the report but I couldn't really find the discussion of why you do not recommend Cool Earth (searched for the name Cool Earth and only found one unrelated mention). As a past donor to that charity it would be awesome to have a direct link to that information.

Additionally, without having read the report in detail, I think it would be a great addition if you wouldn't exclusively focus on the selected recommendations but position them in context to the other options. That way I could more easily understand if I agree with your selection.

Anyhow, thank you for posting this and investing the time and effort to make this information accessible to a broader audience!

Cheers, Alex

Comment by alexherwix on Ideas for Improving Funding for Individual EAs, EA Projects, and New EA Organizations · 2018-07-10T11:21:26.125Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I generally agree but I think there may be value in coordinating different parties and part-solutions under "one roof". If you are sill in contact with the people interested in this topic, maybe direct them here to get some knowledge exchange and coordination going? Or provide more detailed information about organizations/people interested in the topic so that they can be reached out to :)

Comment by alexherwix on Ideas for Improving Funding for Individual EAs, EA Projects, and New EA Organizations · 2018-07-10T10:50:03.568Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Hey Brendon,

I love your enthusiasm and creativity as well as a great job for putting it into words and out there! :) Writing a post like this and gaining feedback from the community seems to me to be a great first step for actually making progress on an important topic like this.

I have thought about ideas like this myself quite a lot as well and as someone experiencing funding constraints/difficulties myself I see it is a worthwhile cause to pursue (I might be biased, though ;) ).

I was also in the tech-talk and I would love to be kept in the loop on this as well as contribute where it makes sense. Maybe it makes sense to use on of the slack channels for more in-depth discussions or let's set up a special interest group call around the topic! It may also make sense to start something like a git project and use the wiki features to integrate all the valuable ideas and feedback that start pouring in this thread. Short-term it might make sense to create a project plan and look for funding to make this happen in a sustainable way. I imagine Open Phil or EA Grants may actually be interested in something like this.

I have experience in web development as well as scientific approaches to solution development (e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_science_(methodology)). Moreover, I am working on the topic of knowledge management/integration in the context of communities which would likely be an important part of actually making this work.