Posts

What is life like at the median global income? 2021-06-30T14:09:12.286Z
Forum update: New features (June 2021) 2021-06-17T05:01:31.723Z
AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA 2021-03-12T22:54:13.481Z
Forum update: New features (December 2020) 2020-12-04T06:45:30.607Z
The two-minute EA Forum feedback survey 2020-09-18T11:27:08.241Z
Forum update: New features (August 2020) 2020-08-28T16:26:34.914Z
EA Forum update: New editor! (And more) 2020-07-31T11:06:40.587Z
The one-minute EA Forum feedback survey 2020-07-30T09:37:20.448Z
EA Forum feature suggestion thread 2020-06-16T16:58:58.569Z
EA Forum Downtime Monday April 13th 9:30pm PDT 2020-04-13T16:16:49.467Z
How we think about the Forum 2019-10-15T16:24:04.447Z
Who runs the Forum? 2019-10-14T15:35:21.353Z
JP's Shortform 2019-08-13T01:40:24.406Z
Donor Lottery 2018 is live 2018-12-06T00:29:37.812Z

Comments

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2021-08-01T08:53:28.957Z · EA · GW

That’s a bug, thanks for reporting.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Database dumps of the EA Forum · 2021-07-29T10:19:24.290Z · EA · GW

You don't need to use the allPosts page to get a list of all the posts. You can just ask the GraphQL API for the ids of all of them.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Narration: We are in triage every second of every day · 2021-07-24T09:49:56.845Z · EA · GW

You picked a good one here.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Anki deck for "Some key numbers that (almost) every EA should know" · 2021-07-18T07:44:54.301Z · EA · GW

How many chicken years are affected per dollar spent on broiler and cage-free campaigns.

I estimate how many chickens will be affected by corporate cage-free and broiler welfare commitments won by all charities, in all countries, during all the years between 2005 and the end of 2018. According to my estimate, for every dollar spent, 9 to 120 years of chicken life will be affected.

My impression is that cage free campaigns have been very successful and there's much less low-hanging fruit, such that I don't think it's reasonable to extrapolate those results to an ongoing basis.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on You Should Write a Forum Bio · 2021-07-06T18:37:47.541Z · EA · GW

This is now a thing

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on You are allowed to edit Wikipedia · 2021-07-06T12:15:45.518Z · EA · GW

I turned this into a non-question post for you. (Aaron didn't know I could do that, because it's not a normal admin option.)

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on What is life like at the median global income? · 2021-06-30T14:39:14.173Z · EA · GW

Thanks! That's very much the sort of thing that's helpful.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on EA needs consultancies · 2021-06-30T14:31:46.829Z · EA · GW

Those are some pretty compelling numbers, but I'd be a lot more optimistic if they were engaged enough to show up in the comments here. (Maybe — I could imagine they're engaged with EA ideas in other ways, but now we're into territory where I'd feel like I'd need to do more vetting.)

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Anki deck for "Some key numbers that (almost) every EA should know" · 2021-06-30T08:39:16.075Z · EA · GW

Thanks Pablo and Joseph!

If you're a person who wants to learn this material, but doesn't have an Anki habit, I'd recommend taking this as an opportunity to try things, and give it a go. Turn remembering things into a deliberate choice.

You can get started here.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on On the limits of idealized values · 2021-06-27T07:51:44.721Z · EA · GW

This was really good.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on What are some key numbers that (almost) every EA should know? · 2021-06-18T13:05:06.842Z · EA · GW

I will absolutely study that deck.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2021-06-14T16:50:13.376Z · EA · GW

Sounds legit.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Which non-EA-funded organisations did well on Covid? · 2021-06-12T08:31:04.361Z · EA · GW

And VaccinateCA was very impressive.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Humanities Research Ideas for Longtermists · 2021-06-10T12:32:45.140Z · EA · GW

Any mistakes are the fault of Linch Zhang

:D   Good line. I hope you snuck this in and Linch didn’t notice.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on My current impressions on career choice for longtermists · 2021-06-04T20:12:52.550Z · EA · GW

Thanks for writing this! I like the aptitudes framing.

With respect to software engineering, I would add that EA orgs hiring web developers have historically had a hard time getting the same level of engineering talent as can be found at EA-adjacent AI orgs.* I have a thesis that as the EA community scales, the demand for web developers building custom tools and collaboration platforms will grow as a percentage of direct work roles. With the existing difficulty in hiring and with most EAs not viewing web development as a direct work path, I expect the shortage to continue.

Also as practical career advice, I'd recommend many people who already know how to code somewhat to try get a software engineering job at ~any tech company / startup. That company will spend months training you and the problems you'll be solving will be much more useful for learning than the toy problems offered by a bootcamp.

* This is not so much to cast aspersions on myself and my colleagues, as to agree with the post that the level of engineering talent in AI labs is very high.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Help me find the crux between EA/XR and Progress Studies · 2021-06-02T20:34:54.812Z · EA · GW

Thanks for writing this post! I'm a fan of your work and am excited for this discussion.

Here's how I think about costs vs benefits:

I think XR reduction is at least 1000x as bad as a GCR that was guaranteed not to turn into an x-risk. The future is very long, and humanity seems able to achieve a very good one, but looks currently very vulnerable to me.

I think I can have a tractable impact on reducing that vulnerability. It doesn't seem to me that my impact on human progress would equal my chance of saving it. Obviously that needs some fleshing out — what is my impact on x-risk, what is my impact on progress, how likely am I to have those impacts, etc. But that's the structure of how I think about it.

After initially worrying about pascal's mugging, I've come to believe that x-risk is in fact substantially more likely than 1 in several million, and whatever objections I might have to pascal's mugging don't really apply.

How I think about tech progress:

From an x-risk perspective, I'm pretty ambivalent about tech progress. I've heard arguments that it's good, and that it's bad, but mostly I think it's not a very predictably-large effect on the margin.

But while I care a lot about x-risk reduction, I have different world-views that I put substantial credence in as well. And basically all of those other world-views care a whole lot about human progress. So while I don't view human progress as the cause of my life the way I do x-risk reduction, I'm strongly in favor of more of it.

Finally, as you can imagine from my last answer, I definitely have a lot of conversations where I try to convey my optimism about technology's ability to make lives better. And I think that's pretty common — your blog is well-read in my circles.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on richard_ngo's Shortform · 2021-05-20T19:32:59.322Z · EA · GW

See also: Effective Altruism is an Ideology not (just) a Question.

Not endorsed by me, personally. I wouldn't call someone "not EA-aligned" if they disagreed about all of the worldview claims you made, but really care about understanding if someone is genuinely trying to answer the Question.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on EA Survey 2020: Demographics · 2021-05-20T14:26:20.631Z · EA · GW

Sorry about the delay. I've fixed the issue and have reset the date of posting to now.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on EA Survey 2020: How People Get Involved in EA · 2021-05-20T14:22:06.081Z · EA · GW

I fixed a bug that was causing this post to get underweighted by the frontpage algorithm, and have reset the date of posting to now, to correct for the period where it wouldn't have showed up on the frontpage.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on The EA Forum Editing Festival has begun! · 2021-05-18T11:29:03.004Z · EA · GW

Voting on edits is recently in the pipeline.  In the mean time you can comment on the tag, which gives the author public recognition.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Ben Garfinkel's Shortform · 2021-04-30T16:49:07.619Z · EA · GW

At least in software, there's a problem I see where young engineers are often overly bought-in to hype trains, but older engineers (on average) stick with technologies they know too much.

I would imagine something similar in academia, where hot new theories are over-valued by the young, but older academics have the problem you describe.

Comment by jpaddison on [deleted post] 2021-04-30T16:46:15.350Z

I think of a difference between posts-that-are-motivating, and posts-about-motivation. I'd be sad if there wasn't a place to go for posts-that-are-motivating, that was mostly that thing.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on What posts do you want someone to write? · 2021-04-23T09:16:41.715Z · EA · GW

This post probably qualifies, but I didn't love it. I'd pay out if you wrote a good one. But see note about my bar being high, I definitely don't want to make promises.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on "Insider giving" - An unfortunate donation strategy used by corporate insiders to avoid losses · 2021-04-14T14:41:49.194Z · EA · GW

I think sometimes they can write into the donation various stipulations around how fast they sell it. If you were looking to avoid scrutiny, you might take advantage of that.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Our plans for hosting an EA wiki on the Forum · 2021-04-14T08:33:11.914Z · EA · GW

Correct.

Comment by jpaddison on [deleted post] 2021-04-10T15:08:31.607Z

I'd be happy to keep this tag and the others, so that someone interested in the topic as a whole can subscribe to any new posts tagged Sentience & Consciousness.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on The EA Forum Editing Festival has begun! · 2021-04-09T16:21:44.909Z · EA · GW
  1. Sorry about the issues. On S-Risks, it is a wiki-only tag, though probably we should change that.
  2. I really like the idea of tagging everything that's been officially produced by an organization with the organization's tag. So you might go to the Rethink Priorities tag, sort by top, and see a "best of" list.
  3. [Edit reply] Not to my knowledge, sorry.
Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Would an EA have directed their career on fixing the subprime mortgage crisis of '07-'08 before it happened? · 2021-04-07T10:11:20.595Z · EA · GW

Note: that tag is currently a wiki-only tag/wiki page, but could be turned into a proper tag if desired.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki entries · 2021-03-31T08:14:44.262Z · EA · GW

Reasonable because the generality, though I think the cryptography ship has long, long since sailed.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki entries · 2021-03-31T07:16:12.704Z · EA · GW

Seems good. Maybe we should crosspost one of the recent articles on Sam Bankman-Freid. 

Comment by jpaddison on [deleted post] 2021-03-30T14:29:24.163Z

Made worse by the fact that at Pablo's request, I deduplicated the Longtermism (Philosophy) tag, with the Longtermism wiki-entry.

Comment by jpaddison on [deleted post] 2021-03-30T14:19:22.004Z

It's not obvious to me that this tag is being sufficiently understood by the Forum's distributed tagging mind as being separate from the Longtermism (Philosophy) tag.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Open and Welcome Thread: March 2021 · 2021-03-30T13:09:21.226Z · EA · GW

It didn't have a card image, and so couldn't be displayed in the list on the sequences page. Sorry about that — the sequences creation tech is used by sufficiently few users that we / LW haven't prioritized making it a good user experience. Thanks for making it!

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on [Coronavirus] Is it a good idea to meet people indoors if everyone's rapid antigen test came back negative? · 2021-03-26T11:24:51.791Z · EA · GW

PCR tests themselves aren't that sensitive, as mentioned by atlas. I've seen estimates (1, 2) of ~20% false negative. Counterbalancing that is that I assume people who have so little virus in their nose + throat to avoid a PCR test are at lower risk of spreading. But I would (very subjectively) record my microcovids as .3 x raw numbers.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki entries · 2021-03-26T11:01:37.155Z · EA · GW

I like it. Maybe "Working at EA vs Non-EA Orgs?"

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki entries · 2021-03-26T11:00:40.744Z · EA · GW

I'm pro. I'd call it Task Y, though I wouldn't be surprised if there was a reason not to.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA · 2021-03-25T19:04:34.130Z · EA · GW

On the last point: our hosting provider Netlify had an outage affecting a subset of their customers that happened to include us. We were down for about 2 hours, which is the longest outage I can remember in the last 3 years.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki entries · 2021-03-25T10:36:10.026Z · EA · GW

I'm in favor.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki entries · 2021-03-25T10:35:47.037Z · EA · GW

My guess is that a better tag would be "History of Economic Growth". Because I can't picture a case where someone wants to find things about the industrial revolution but not all of economic growth. (Unless they're doing a specific research project, but that sounds pretty niche.)

But even still, I'd tentatively lean towards economic growth being enough. But I think that depends on how fine-grained our tagging system should be, which I don't have a strong opinion on.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on On future people, looking back at 21st century longtermism · 2021-03-25T08:08:32.032Z · EA · GW

I love this, thanks for writing it. And I’ve generally been enjoying  your posts, thanks for writing them. Only tangentially  related to the core of the post, but:

[...] the numbers are so alien and overwhelming that one suspects that any quantitative (and indeed, qualitative) ethical reasoning that takes them as inputs will end up distorted, or totalizing, or inhuman.

This does seem like an important crux for longtermism and I’d be interested in more attempts to explore it.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on I scraped all public "Effective Altruists" Goodreads reading lists · 2021-03-24T17:30:18.040Z · EA · GW

My quick reaction is that they're more ideas-focused. People interested in EA are selected for being interested in ideas.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA · 2021-03-17T12:19:05.571Z · EA · GW

The Forum is Mongo, Node, React app written in Typescript. We[1] started off on Meteor, which informs a lot of the design patterns, but have recently finished the process of removing it, which has greatly sped up build times. The project was initially build on top of the Vulcan framework, which was a relatively immature framework attempting to provide an even more full-service bootstrapping experience than Meteor. We got off of it several years ago, but it still informs our pattern which you might call UI-inclusive schemas.

Other technologies:

  • We use GraphQL as our API layer, which you can explore here.
  • Apollo manages the client state
  • We're hosted on AWS Elastic Beanstalk
  • Material UI provides the styling framework. (This is the framework, not the material design philosophy, which we differ quite a lot from.)
  • Our Editor is a customized CKEditor 5 editor

I'd highlight two pain points that I feel:

  • Our testing story is pretty poor. So much of what we do is hard to separate from the state of the app that it's hard to make good, non-trivial unit tests. I think this is funged against by good type checking with TypeScript, but my inner Gary Bernhardt is disappointed.  
  • Deploying to AWS takes way too long. I believe this will be fixed soon.

[1] "We" here being inclusive of the LW team, with whom we keep up to date.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA · 2021-03-16T19:14:41.352Z · EA · GW

I agree with Sam that most of the difference between working at a typical tech company and CEA  is the size. Even most startup employees probably work at startups 10-100x the size of CEA. Unlike Sam I have worked in the tech industry, but I when I was hired at Kairos, I was employee #6, which I think is unusually early. Relative to Kairos, I think my experience at CEA has differed in the following ways: 

  • I bring more of myself to work. CEA really wants to know what I really think the best thing to do is, and I get to be really open about what I think that is, and all the reasoning I have. I can speak my native EA-language here (nobody blinks an eye when I talk about expect value).
  • I'm more in charge of my own projects here. Kairos gave me a lot of autonomy, but CEA gives me even more.
  • The converse of that is that Kairos had more mentorship from people more experienced than me. I think Sam and I have gotten pretty good at this, but Kairos had one incredibly impressive software engineer in particular who I learned a lot from.

It depends on which tech company, but I know a lot of people working for companies that they think are fine, but not so great that their jobs are doing much good directly. This is definitely the best perk of the job, which now that I'm writing it sounds trite, but is my honest feeling.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA · 2021-03-16T18:04:40.955Z · EA · GW

For content, we have been making adjustments, but you’ll want to talk to Aaron about anything more. For the tech design, the site suits its current purpose. It’s fast, so it ranks well on SEO, and it points to a good collection of resources for people who want to learn more, so I think it’s not a current priority for us to invest a lot of time in making big changes; other projects (e.g. changes to the Forum) are a higher priority.

That said, we do have plans to rework it eventually. We do want to pick some low hanging fruit in broad outreach, and a site that people will visit anyway with the question, “what’s this about” seems low hanging to me.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA · 2021-03-16T16:40:18.596Z · EA · GW
  1. I don’t think I can give most of my thoughts about the future of EA discussion without a post-length treatment. That said, when I look out at the rest the world, and I look at the EA Forum and other EA discussion spaces, I’m really happy with how we compare. The future will be determined by the delicate balance between keeping our epistemics much better than the surrounding world, while also not growing stagnant and insular.
  2. I definitely want the Forum to expand its reach beyond the post-comment-vote system we’re currently using. I view Question posts as a step in this direction. Stack overflow seems very meaningfully different from Reddit, despite them both being text-based. That said, I’m somewhat conservative in how much I think we should be trying to reinvent online discussion. LW is definitely trying to do this, and we do use their experiments (cf our interesting tag-relevance system), but I think there’s more potential for already-proven features that we haven’t added yet, like reactions perhaps.
Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA · 2021-03-16T15:58:04.532Z · EA · GW

First: definitely, yes we’ve considered contracting with a designer. But before I say more about what situations it works for, first a word about specialization. There’s currently one developer working on the EA Forum (not counting LW) and one developer for all of GWWC and EA Funds. With such a small team, everyone’s very generalist. Just like there’s no one specialized in DevOps, there’s no one specialized in design either. Hiring for such a role without capacity to build support for their work would be a mistake. See these surveys (epistemic status: quick google search) for some evidence that few places have a 1:2 designer:engineer ratio. So you end up with developers doing design. Both Sam and I have spent a lot of time on skilling up our design, learning tools like Figma, and stealing from people who are better than us.

All of the above about specialization doesn’t really address the point about contractors, hence why we’re more open to that. Also note that this is JP writing his personal opinion, but hiring strategy is set by Ben West and CEA broadly.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA · 2021-03-16T14:11:18.824Z · EA · GW

The Forum is definitely not designed like facebook. It tries to respect your attention, and doesn’t have little red badges constantly popping up. It’s geared towards long-form content instead of hits of novelty. I can see who comments on the Forum, and have occasionally noticed people who I thought could probably take more breaks. However I think more common are people who drift away from the Forum because it’s probably less engaging than ideal. I do think the Forum is much better for you than the obvious alternatives, and don’t want to force people to use more conscious effort to stay on the Forum.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA · 2021-03-16T12:37:06.065Z · EA · GW

It is open source! Here’s the repository. We stay up to date with LessWrong, and submit our changes upstream, so I’d encourage any prospective contributors to submit PRs to the LW repository.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Linch's Shortform · 2021-03-09T01:34:57.906Z · EA · GW

What editor are you using? The default rich text editor? (EA Forum Docs)

What's the issue?

Comment by jpaddison on [deleted post] 2021-03-06T00:39:46.910Z

Fixed. In case you notice a wiki-only tag that should be a regular tag, just send us a message and we can fix it.