Posts

EA Survey: Sexual Harassment Questions - Feedback Requested 2018-03-14T15:07:05.694Z · score: 1 (26 votes)
Sexual Violence Risk Reduction - Let's Do Tracking! 2017-11-18T04:03:12.688Z · score: 1 (15 votes)
An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential 2017-11-11T20:32:21.835Z · score: 10 (43 votes)

Comments

Comment by kathy_forth on EA Survey: Sexual Harassment Questions - Feedback Requested · 2018-03-14T18:33:55.624Z · score: -7 (15 votes) · EA · GW

Whether you effective altruists decide to track and solve this issue or discover the consequences of ignoring it is up to you. Choose wisely.

Comment by kathy_forth on The almighty Hive will · 2018-01-29T00:42:10.155Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · EA · GW

The main reason I'm not looking for a full-time EA job right now is because I don't have enough runway and financial security. I estimate that it will take around 2 years to accomplish the amount of financial security and runway I need. If you accomplish building a safety net, this might result in a surge of people going into EA jobs. I'm not sure how many people are building up runway right now, or how many hours of EA work you can grab by liberating them from that, but it could be a lot!

Comment by kathy_forth on The almighty Hive will · 2018-01-29T00:27:15.144Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · EA · GW

For this group to make an effective social safety net for EAs having a bad time, more is needed than just money. When a real problem actually does arise, people tend to spam that person with uninformed suggestions which won't work. They're trying to help, but due to the "what you see is all there is" bias and others, they can't see that they are uninformed and spamming. The result is that the problem doesn't seem real to anyone.

So, the person who has a problem, who may not have any time or emotional energy or even intellectual capacity left over, must explain why dozens of spitball suggestions won't work.

How spitballing can totally sabotage people in need of help:

Imagine that to obtain help, you have to patiently and rigorously evaluate dozens of ill-conceived suggestions, support your points, meet standards of evidence, seem to have a positive attitude about each suggestion, and try not to be too frustrated with the process and your life.

The task of convincing people your problem is real while a bunch of friends are accidentally spamming you with clever but uninformed suggestions might be the persuasive challenge of a lifetime. If any of the ill-conceived options still seem potentially workable to your friends, you will not be helped. To succeed at this challenge, you have to make sure that every spitball you receive from friends is thoroughly addressed to their satisfaction.

A person with a real problem will be doing this challenge when they're stressed out, time poor and emotionally drained. They are at their worst.

A person at their worst shouldn't need to take on the largest persuasive challenge of their lives at that time. To assume that they can do this is about as helpful as "Let them eat cake.".

There's an additional risk that people will sour on helping you if they see that lots of solution ideas are being rejected. This is despite the fact that the same friends will tell you "most ideas will fail" in other circumstances. They know that ideas are often useless, but instead of realizing that the specific set of ideas in question are uninformed or not helpful, some people will jump to the conclusion that the problem is your attitude.

Just the act of evaluating a bunch of uninformed spitball suggestions can get you rejected!

Making a distinction between a problem that is too hard for the person to solve, and a person who has a bad attitude about solving their problem is a challenge. It's hard for both sides to communicate well enough to figure this out. Often a huge amount of information has to be exchanged.

The default assumption seems to be that a person with a problem should talk to a bunch of friends about it to see if anyone has ideas. If you count up the number of hours it actually takes to discuss dozens of suggestions in detail multiplied by dozens of people, it's not pretty. For many people who are already burdened by a serious problem, that sort of time investment just is not viable. In some cases the entire problem is insufficient time, so it can be unfair to demand for them to do this.

In the event that potential helpers are not convinced the problem is real, or aren't convinced to take the actions that would actually work, the person in need of help could easily waste 100 hours or more with nothing to show for it. This will cause them to pass up other opportunities and possibly make their situation far worse due to things like opportunity costs and burnout.

Solution: well-informed advocates.

For this reason, people who are experiencing a problem need an advocate. The advocate can take on the burden of evaluating solution ideas and advocating in favor of a particular solution.

Given that it often requires a huge amount of information to predict which solution ideas will work and which solution ideas will fail, it is probably the case that an advocate needs to be well-informed about the type of problem involved, or at least knows what it is like to go through some sort of difficult time due to past experience.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-15T01:23:47.063Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

What I was envisioning was a whole section within the survey where multiple questions about sexual violence are asked. For whatever reason, I described this using the word "separate". That's not actually what I was trying to suggest. I agree that if the questions are separated, there will probably be some bias.

If we use a definition that is vague, a lot of people will ignore the survey results. They'll assume that a lot of what was reported is stuff they wouldn't agree is a sexual assault. Therefore, specific definitions are needed. Ideally, I would like to see a set of specific definitions that a lot of people agree are sexual assault, and that cover a broad range of types.

To make sure the questions are relevant to the goals, I think there should be questions about things like whether the sexual harassment resulted in psychological harm, suicidal behavior, or intentions to leave the workplace or movement. I'd also like to see questions about whether sexual assaults are happening at work, EA events, etc. Depending on how well anonymized the survey is, we may or may not get answers to these sorts of questions.

Without knowing the limit to the number of questions we can add, there's no point in discussing what should be asked. We would just waste time optimizing for the wrong trade off between detail and brevity. Also, it would be good to get some perspectives from people who do research in related areas. I'm going to hold off on investing time into planning until I have had a collaboration with the survey team.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-14T23:54:09.317Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Some people have blue eyes and other people have brown eyes. A lot of mind-related traits vary from intelligence to personality to capacity to pay attention. Not everybody even has two chromosomes (see XXY).

If not everyone experiences sexual trauma, let's not jump to the conclusion that it's due to culture. There are a multitude of possible reasons. For just one example: they might have different genes.

I definitely have the capacity to experience trauma, and I'm pretty sure that's genetic, so it's not fair to me for people to expect me not to experience it. In fact, I think it would be more traumatic for me to experience my natural instinct for trauma and then be told I shouldn't experience trauma. Telling me I should have experienced less trauma would hurt me too.

If someone doesn't experience trauma, don't assume it's genes, either. It might not be genes or culture. To assume it must be one of these is a false dichotomy. There could be dozens of different possible reasons why that might happen, and we just don't know.

Point: just because some people didn't experience trauma when they could have does not mean we should expect for everyone else to stop experiencing trauma. First of all, we don't even know why some people don't experience it. This is totally unfair to the victim because victims do not actually know how to stop experiencing trauma.

Second of all, expecting people to reduce their experience of trauma puts the responsibility onto the victim. Sex offenders might be confused by this sort of thinking. They might tell themselves "the victim shouldn't feel trauma" and then feel good about going off to commit a whole bunch of sex offences, blaming the victims for all the negative consequences. This is how sex offenders think. They create justifications to commit crimes. These are called cognitive distortions.

By arguing in favor of an attitude that can be used as a justification to commit sex offences, you are making us all less safe.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-14T08:58:37.183Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · EA · GW

No, I do not paint a picture of criminal men and female survivors. Direct quotes:

"Sexual violence harms the health of both men [3] [4] and women." "Additional risk factors - rape myths that apply to male rape:" "While looking for the number of female rapists, I found a meta-analysis on female sex offenders."

This isn't even in the article at all:

"along with high rates of trauma at 90%+ for female survivors."

I haven't even read the rest of your comment because your claims are blatantly, verifiably false.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-14T08:32:51.761Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I know about the replication crisis, I've read "Statistics Done Wrong" and I've read some Ioannidis. Perhaps I was too subtle, my way of addressing these concerns was to load up on as many review articles and meta-analyses as I could find, in all the areas where there was enough research for me to do so. In other areas, I looked for as many studies as I could find and included them all.

This is not perfect either. Ioannidis has warned about some specific vulnerabilities in meta-analyses and review articles. There isn't something perfect for me to do. I could have chosen to do nothing because the research is flawed. I decided that the subject is too important to ignore and I made the best of it.

A social sciences research disclaimer has been added. I thought that research quality issues were common knowledge in this social network. Maybe it is. Maybe that's mind projection fallacy. Now they have note about research quality.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-14T06:11:37.425Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah. There are a lot of different people using a lot of different definitions of sex offender. There are definitions like the undetected rapist study I linked which sticks to such obvious and stereotypical behaviors that it leaves out at least half of the ways one can do obvious bad things (Example: why didn't they ask about spiking drinks?). Then there are people who advocate asking for explicit consent for everything every time, starting with kissing. In practice, most of the people in my experience use things like context and body language to communicate about kissing rather than verbal consent. I have no idea how to resolve this mess of definitions. I guess people need to tell each other what consent philosophy they want to use in addition to stuff like sexual orientation. Maybe we need a norm of advertising our consent philosophy in prominent places the same way we do with gender, marital status and orientation.

Then, there's the fact that most guys are not hit on by other guys, and have not seen what the range of behavior looks like. A lot of them are surprised that it's very common for me to be asked things like whether I want to make out, whether I want to go home with him. I am coy rather than fast (referring to the distinctions Dawkins makes), so I can't really understand this but it doesn't bother me. I tend to assume those men are seeking fast women rather than relationships. Otherwise, I have no judgment. However, if some guy comes up and tells me to smile, my radar beeps and I want to recoil. Why? Because every guy who has ever said that to me has harassed the heck out of me afterward. I've been conditioned to hate it.

Plus, there's this weird variety in pickup lit which includes everything from perfectly healthy self-confidence tips to explicit instructions to commit sex offences.

A lot of guys I know don't have any idea what's normal. Some of them are terrified of trying at all or have given up. It's very sad.

I'm not fully aware of the male experience of this bizarre minefield of information. I might see only the tip of the ice berg. I can tell that it is a very confusing thing.

I really want to do something about this. I would benefit if all the men in my social network had a solid understanding of healthy boundaries. I think they would feel a lot less lost if they had that, too.

What are your thoughts on what needs to happen?

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-14T02:34:20.176Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · EA · GW

I don't think we can have an accurate idea of how much sexual assault is happening in EA without a separate high-quality survey. This is because there are so many definitions of sexual violence which contradict one another, that to ensure an accurate picture of what's going on, we'd have to wrangle with definitions for a long time - and we'd end up asking a set of questions, not just one question.

I'd love to see a yearly undetected sex offender survey given to both men and women regarding how much sexual violence they committed against EAs in the last year, and a yearly sexual violence survey given to both men and women to ask how much sexual violence they received from EAs in the last year. If they added this to the yearly survey that would be awesome!

Then we'd have a way to track progress, and that's important. The survey would have to be designed very carefully from the beginning though.

The reason I want to write a separate article about the number of sex offenders in EA is because it appears quite controversial. If we can get closer to having a consensus on sexual violence related matters, I think this will make us more effective at reducing it. The purpose of the article is not to create a more accurate number. I'm not even sure that's possible. The purpose of the article is to address the controversy, explore the complexities, and encourage people to compensate for the various biases that may be interfering.

Edit: I've set up a collaboration with the yearly EA survey team!

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-14T01:08:05.003Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

On punishment and stigma: I think it would be better for everyone if we found a cure for sexual violence and persuaded all the offenders to use it. That said, I have no idea what the rest of the world will choose to do. I suggested two options which can scale globally, sting operations and researching a cure. I cannot leave out an option if it might succeed because that would be a failure of honesty, and because I think using either option is much better than letting them run amok.

I did note that finding a cure for sex offenders is probably more cost effective because most of the cost will be paid by the sex offenders themselves when they pay for their prescription and because I think it will scale better. Also, a cure can prevent offences from happening in the first place if people use it early on. Justice can only happen after harm has been done. A prevention method would get at more of the problem for this reason, and therefore has a chance to be more effective.

I think a cure is both more fair to the taxpayers who didn't cause this problem and shouldn't have to pay to fix it, and more fair toward offenders and non-offending paraphilia sufferers who did not choose to have their paraphilias - especially if they would choose to be cured if a cure were available.

I definitely relate to the desire for justice. I suspect that it reduces psychological trauma if justice is swift - like in that study about self defence which shows people experienced less trauma if they fought back, even if they didn't win. I have occasionally had an opportunity to tell off an offender immediately after an offence, and that does seem to reduce the harm to me.

I don't know if justice improves the survivor's health days or weeks or years after the fact, but I suspect justice does help if it's swift enough.

I think the desire for justice is healthy, though it can easily become twisted and go wayward. There are countless examples of a desire for justice going horribly wrong throughout history like the Salem witch hunts and the Spanish Inquisition. I try to avoid the sort of careless thinking which seems to be behind this sort of twisted behavior.

If people choose to use the justice approach, I don't really know where people should draw the line, honestly, and this is because the whole mess is so complicated. Here are a few things I am sure of, in case sharing my perspective may be useful in some way:

  1. If we have a credible reason to believe an offender has reformed and the risk they pose is average, there is no reason to insist that they accept a criminal label like "rapist". There is no reason to pursue somebody who is of average risk when there are high risk people running amok. If they did the hard work to change, and to provide credible evidence that they are actually low risk, I would give them the basic acceptance they are seeking. (For instance: I would treat them like a human being when I see them around, though I'd be unlikely to invite them to my next sleep over.) That said, it is super hard for people to believe someone has reformed. I'm not sure if there is any type of evidence that is of high enough quality that it can be used for this purpose. Each individual person will make their own decisions about whether to trust someone who claims to have reformed, and some people will have much higher standards of evidence than others. At best, acceptance after reformation would be imperfect and it might be highly controversial.

  2. If someone has not reformed, and we have every reason to believe they pose a risk, then we aught to take precautions, whether or not they were punished. This is sad, but punishment doesn't actually cure sex offenders. Please check their recidivism rate. I know some people want to believe in "paying a debt to society" or "doing your time" but this is different from lowering risk. If someone raped someone, and they did nothing to reform, I don't want them around me, and I think this is perfectly reasonable. Other people may have done some stuff to the rapist, and other people may have beliefs about repaying debts, but if other people did not cure the rapist, the rapist still poses a risk. I will protect myself, period.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-14T00:12:16.260Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

On "minor" sex offences vs. rape: even if the 900 acts per frottage figure is wrong, I suspect that acts like groping and frotteurism are far more common than rape. Because frottage offences are so much easier to commit, I believe that frottage offences are likely to be several times as common as rape. I would even go so far as to bet that we can agree on this point.

I didn't find any information on whether frottage causes psychological trauma. My own observations tell me that frottage offences do cause psychological trauma, but it's usually less intense.

So, if we were to compare the average rapist with the average groper, we might find that psychological trauma caused by the groper adds up. This might compare with the amount of trauma caused by a rapist. It might even exceed that amount. Maybe it does not even come close. I have no good way to tell since I did not find any studies on the amount of trauma caused by frottage offences.

Another important thing to note is that each time someone experiences psychological trauma, their sensitivity to future trauma increases. (I suspect I learned this from "The Body Remembers" but I'm not sure.)

So, it might be that if someone is groped ten times, by the tenth time, the experience is as bad as a rape. Maybe it would take a hundred times to get to that point. Maybe three. If I had to shoot from the hip, I'd give it a Fermi estimate between 10-100 times, but I really am not sure. Maybe sensitivity would never increase so much that one frottage offence would be as traumatic as a rape.

Also, and this is really important: the amount of trauma caused by a frottage offence varies greatly depending on context.

For a comparison: I was targeted by an acquaintance in a coat closet at a night club, by a co-worker on a job, and by a popular person at a party. I never had to see the guy from the night club again, so I just avoided the night club and felt fine. The co-worker caused me more problems. I became concerned about things happening to me in workplaces. That was context.

The popular person was far worse than either of those. I was sleep deprived due to jet lag, which a friend and I estimated amplified the trauma by about 3x. Also, this person is higher status than I am and tried smearing me. That situation was several times as traumatic as any of my previous experiences. I still have nightmares about this person sometimes.

Say you have a high status frottage offender, who is very prolific, who targets people who have just flown in and have jet lag, and who likes smearing his victims afterward. I think that a particularly destructive frottage offender of this description could easily do as much damage as a rapist.

Given my level of uncertainty about the psychological effects of frottage, and given the likelihood that frottage is far more common than rape, I am concerned about it. Therefore it was included. Perhaps I need to do a better job of explaining to everyone why I am so concerned about frottage offenders.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-13T23:09:55.982Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I know about the replication crisis, I've read "Statistics Done Wrong" and I've read some Ioannidis. Perhaps I was too subtle, my way of addressing these concerns was to load up on as many review articles and meta-analyses as I could find, in all the areas where there was enough research for me to do so. In other areas, I looked for as many studies as I could find and included them all.

This is not perfect either. Ioannidis has warned about some specific vulnerabilities in meta-analyses and review articles. There isn't something perfect for me to do. I could have chosen to do nothing because the research is flawed. I decided that the subject is too important to ignore and I made the best of it.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-13T23:03:42.776Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I plan to write a new post about estimating the number of sexually violent people in EA. I have a large number of specific concerns about biasing our estimate. For instance, a lot of people commented or messaged me saying that the estimate was too high, but they didn't incorporate any of the information which would actually increase the estimate. They only included information that would decrease the estimate. There are a lot of other ways we could go wrong with adjusting this estimate. That's part of why my estimate is so simple. If I adjust it at all, I could easily be introducing biases.

I will invite the whole EA community to provide specific references that are related. I don't know that this would decrease the chance of bias. It might increase the chance of bias. However, with such a post, one will at least see how complicated it is, think about whether one's perspective is biased, and hopefully start compensating for whatever biases are present.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-13T22:52:39.668Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

The per year incidence is a totally different type of number from the numbers I used. The numbers I used cover a much longer time span. Comparing 276,000 annual cases to the number 36,53,846 is comparing apples to oranges.

It is not clear that your intent was to disagree with me. If you are throwing in an additional reference, I can't incorporate that because the other research I referred to wasn't using annual figures.

I suppose it's interesting as something to check against. For an outrageously crude way to do that, you can multiply 276,000 by 80, the number of years in the average female lifespan (for one country) and compare a hacked together lifetime rate to my hacked together 36,53,846.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-13T07:37:57.766Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · EA · GW

An outrageously crude estimate of life saving potential:

7,600,000,000 (world population)

3,800,000,000 (females, approximately half, because the suicide figure I have is for females)

760,000,000 (females raped, based on figures from just one country because I don't have all ~200 figures)

36,53,846 (suicide deaths related to rape, phrased in past tense because the research isn't about the future)

6,211,538,200 (cost of saving 36,53,846 people through deworming)

Point: If 6.2 billion dollars is enough to find a cure for rapists, and rapists pay for their own prescriptions so that nobody has to use charity money for their treatment, then funding research for a cure for rapists would have as much life-saving potential as deworming. Of course, I have no idea how much research funding is needed to cure rapists and it would take a lot of time to investigate that. This is why my global scope section says more research is needed. So basically all you have to do to see why I'm curious about this is to think about it on the right level of scale.

The rest of your comment contains so many egregious straw men of what I actually wrote that I have decided not to address it. There might be some valid concerns in there, but I don't have the time to tease them apart from the straw men.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-13T07:17:12.304Z · score: -10 (16 votes) · EA · GW
What is true is already so.
Owning up to it doesn't make it worse.
Not being open about it doesn't make it go away.
And because it's true, it is what is there to be interacted with.
Anything untrue isn't there to be lived.
People can stand what is true,
for they are already enduring it.

—Eugene Gendlin
Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-13T02:47:21.179Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

There are many statements people make to other people that are similarly discouraging / humiliating / upsetting. Verbal abuse is certainly bad for people, but people's reaction to sexual abuse is very different. Making statements like the one you described does not cause the sort of sudden, deep, intense, devastating psychological trauma you see with rape. You're comparing an apple to an orange here.

Additionally, hearing one's dad say a rapist stole your innocence is bad, but it's not going to account for most of the upset. Not nearly. It seems that you are vastly underestimating the intensity of psychological trauma that comes with rape.

Attributing a sexual trauma to a verbal statement is like blaming a snowflake for an ice berg. The ice berg was not caused by the snowflake. The snowflake is too small.

It seems like you'd really like to understand trauma better. There are good authors on this topic. Instead of chatting with me, it would be far higher value for you to read this book:

https://www.amazon.com/Body-Keeps-Score-Healing-Trauma/dp/0143127748/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1510541134&sr=8-2&keywords=the+body+remembers

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-13T01:05:05.853Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Part of the reason I combined various types of sexual violence together is that there wasn't enough research on all the different types for me to explore as broadly as I would have liked. Unfortunately, that's an element that I cannot change even though I want to write more deeply on different types of sexual violence. I just did my best with the information that was available.

I have begun to wonder what proportion of sexism against women is coming from sexually violent men. Sexism is a risk factor for sexual violence. Hostility toward women is common among sex offenders. Some people who are excited by being sexually aggressive are also excited by being verbally aggressive.

I would not be the least bit surprised if getting rid of sexual violence also gets rid of a huge root cause of sexism.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-13T00:57:50.373Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I scoured Google Scholar for sexual violence reduction methods. I already included what I found in the article. It appears to me that workplaces don't have anything better. I'm pretty sure managers just decide who to believe when someone is being accused, and just make a decision about which side to take. Some might investigate, but investigations would usually produce no evidence because this is sexual violence and it doesn't leave much. Most issues just lead to a game of he-said-she-said that can't be resolved.

I don't see any reason to believe anyone has any better methods than what I found. This is not just because I didn't find anything better while scouring Google Scholar, it's because of what I'm seeing out there in the world. When I have reported sexual violence, there was no tried and true method to rely on. When I look at my Facebook feed, I see articles about celebrity survivors publicly accusing people, suggesting that they don't have an evidence based method.

If you have an angle, great, please let me know if you find a well-researched method.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-13T00:29:47.820Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Good point about false precision. I hadn't thought of that. The article has been updated!

You wrote: "A more tractable approach to reducing the trauma from sexual violence might be to change perceptions of sexuality. Many people believe that it's important for women to be sexually "pure", which is one reason that female victims experience trauma."

You didn't cite anything for this. I am concerned that some people may become confused and think they can convince women to tolerate atrocity. There are people out there who will twist anything into a justification to rape. Your paragraph there is the sort of information they might twist into rationalizations and cognitive distortions.

I've read a lot of research on psychological trauma. I'm convinced that most people have an instinctive reaction to sexual violence which involves psychological trauma being triggered automatically. From where I'm sitting, it looks like you just haven't done very much reading on this topic.

For one thing, if sexual trauma is social programming, why do men respond in the same manner? Shouldn't they have a different reaction? If a woman rapes a man, he will be psychologically traumatized. I've heard of men who were baffled by their own sexual trauma. Men are harmed, too, and in a similar way to what women experience.

Children don't even have social programming about sex yet. A lot of children have never even heard of sex. Yet, if a child is raped, that's psychologically devastating. The effects can last their whole lives. Explain that.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-13T00:12:32.440Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I'm glad to hear you would find that easy, Zeke. I made dozens of estimations in this article, and decided that instead of upgrading every single one of them to the maximum level of quality, I should focus on higher value things like raising awareness and persuading people to test methods of sexual violence reduction and doing in-depth evaluations of the two scalable sexual violence reduction methods. Unfortunately, I don't have time to upgrade all these estimations to the maximum level myself.

How long do you think it would take you to upgrade every single estimate to the maximum quality level? (I'll just let you count the number of estimations in the article since they're right there.) Would you be up for meeting my quality standards if I laid them out as a set of criteria?

Please provide your estimate as the number of hours you will require to upgrade every single estimate in the article to the absolute maximum level of quality.

Also, would you be able to do this for free? I'm in the middle of a career change.

(I normally wouldn't ask but you said you would find it easy and asking can't hurt!)

Thanks.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-13T00:04:41.509Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I am already aware of a pretty large number of correlations between sexual violence and a lot of different things. I'm telling you that there are a bunch of other things on that list I provided which would significantly alter the result of the estimate.

I'm definitely not going to alter the estimate to incorporate just race. I am definitely not going to alter the estimate to incorporate the entire list.

I think the most worthwhile way of getting a better estimate is to do a study, so I will not put further time into this discussion.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-12T23:56:39.633Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks weeatquince. Given problems like the replication crisis and publication bias, I am focusing on meta-analyses and review articles as my main source of information wherever possible. If I didn't see any, I sought out multiple studies on the same topic and included them all.

So far, the results of these studies has been really poor when it comes to sexual violence reduction programs. Therefore, I'm feeling sceptical.

Until the research on a particular method has at least replicated, I cannot include it in the article. I'm sorry.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-12T23:47:49.274Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Does this contain detailed enough information on the different kinds of perps that you can actually use it to target the worst type? That's the part I'm concerned will be missing.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-12T23:45:17.523Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · EA · GW

The reason is because the topic is simply too complicated, there is too much ignorance, and there are too many myths. If I published anything shorter it would seem to be full of holes to the reader.

I hope to have the time to write a series of shorter articles in the future. Even if I don't do this, I bet other people will. People have already begun expressing interest in this.

The ball is rolling. The short articles will come.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-12T02:38:38.272Z · score: 1 (7 votes) · EA · GW

This post is long because there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about sexual violence. To have accurate ideas about the effective altruism potential of sexual violence reduction as a cause, one needs to be informed about a bunch of things at once. Given the complexity of the issue and the number of common misconceptions, a long length was the only way to do this topic justice.

This is a foundation article. Now that it exists, a series of short articles can be written based on the information and context contained in it to help raise awareness.

(As explained to Denise.)

So, yes, it's a long and complicated post, and there are certain downsides to that, which you have described pretty clearly. I'm sorry about the post formatting. It didn't paste over very well from Google Docs. I'm currently working on editing the HTML version to fix all the formatting issues, so at least that should be improved soon. :)

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-12T02:32:35.107Z · score: 1 (7 votes) · EA · GW

The way in which gender is relevant while race is not is that sexual attractions are limited by gender preferences in most humans.

Given that most sexually violent people attack one gender but not the other, and given that our gender ratio is very seriously skewed, gender is a critical component of this sexual violence risk estimate.

Given that you believe a race adjustment should go with gender adjustment, I don't see why you are not also advocating for all of the following:

  • age
  • marital status
  • literacy
  • education
  • employment status
  • occupation
  • geographical location
  • place of birth
  • previous residence
  • language
  • religion
  • nationality
  • ethnicity
  • citizenship
Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-12T02:16:55.720Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Actually, to avoid bias when adjusting a prior, we really need to include as many adjustments as possible all at once.

Otherwise, unscrupulous people can just come along and say "Let's adjust these three things!", which all make the risk look smaller, thereby misleading people into thinking that the risk is negligible.

Or an ordinary biased human being could come along and accidentally ask for ten things to be adjusted which all just so happen to make the risk look super exaggerated.

We'll have a lot of vulnerability to various biases if we adjust stuff without careful consideration.

Also, if we think it is always better to chuck in arbitrary adjustments, then this creates an incentive for people to come along with a pet political belief and try to have everyone include it everywhere all the time, just for the sake of promoting their pet belief constantly.

One arbitrarily selected adjustment is not better.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-12T01:07:08.653Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I am using estimates to make other estimates. I clearly labelled each estimate as an estimate.

It would be nice to have high-quality data, such as from doing our own studies. First, someone needs to do an estimate to show why the research questions are interesting enough to invest in studies.

I am doing the sorts of estimates that show why certain research questions are interesting. These estimates might inspire someone to fund a study.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-12T00:54:25.142Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · EA · GW

It's not clear that spending hundreds of hours updating this estimate to include dozens of factors is worthwhile. We could instead do our own undetected rapist study on the EA population with that kind of time. Do you have a few hundred hours for this, and the research background needed? Do you want to fund a researcher to do it?

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-12T00:30:47.995Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · EA · GW

"There are a lot of options that have a chance to succeed. The impact could be many times greater than the effort it takes to use the options explored herein. Testing is needed to determine the effectiveness of the options. Given the human rights concerns and the potential for a large productivity impact, testing options could turn out to be very worthwhile." - from my conclusion section.

This is my honest conclusion, which I made as accurate as possible. We do not know how effective all the methods are, but it looks like it's worth testing them to find out.

Having this information is a valid kind of progress.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-12T00:26:16.599Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · EA · GW

"Note 3: We cannot assume that EA rapists target only other EAs. Sometimes, they might target people outside the social network. We cannot assume that EAs are targeted only by EA rapists. Sometimes they might be targeted by people outside the social network. Depending on how much of an EA’s social life consists of contact with other EAs and also depending on how sociable they are, their individual risk will vary. There is not enough lifestyle information available on EAs for me to include numbers on this into the estimate."

I am beginning to wonder if you read carefully because it looks like you missed multiple things that were already addressed.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-12T00:22:00.140Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · EA · GW

While some people are so uninvolved that they would not take the EA survey, others are so very busy that they might not take the EA survey either, even though they should be counted.

Unless research is done to determine what percentage of EA takes the EA survey, we cannot assume that it is accurate.

For that reason, I am using the total number of EAs from the survey as the low estimate. For the high estimate, I am using the EA Facebook group.

The exact number of EAs is unknown but probably lies between these two figures. So, as an estimate, there are probably between 2,352-13,861 people in the effective altruism movement, like I mentioned.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-12T00:18:10.880Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · EA · GW

The study on the left will say race A commits more crimes while the study on the right will say it's race B. Do people of a particular race commit more crimes, or are they just more likely to be convicted due to prejudice? As I said, incorporating all these other factors would be very complicated.

"It could easily require an article of the same length as this one, just to create an estimate which takes all known relevant factors into account. To ensure enough time for the other parts of this article, a simple rough estimate has been created based on information about the overall population. Please remember that this is an estimate."

I feel like you didn't read the quoted part there.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-11T23:46:05.319Z · score: 0 (10 votes) · EA · GW

There are a lot of ways in which sexual violence has an impact on effective altruism, so reducing sexual violence will help us reach our effective altruism goals in various different ways. Because it will help us do more effective altruism, and the cost-benefit ratio looks good, I believe that gives it a lot of potential to be an effective altruism cause. It seems like you may not have read the entire impact section. Here is a table of contents for the impact section:

Impact

Estimating the number of sexually violent people.

  • Why we should not assume that effective altruism repels sex offenders:

  • About 6% of men are rapists and an unknown percentage of women.

  • A rough estimate of rapists in EA:

Sexual violence reduction as a life saver:

  • Sexual violence reduction as suffering reduction:

Sexual violence reduction for diversity and disadvantage reduction:

  • Comparing sexual violence rates by gender:

  • Greatly multiplied risk to women due to the gender ratio in EA:

  • Gay and bisexual people have around twice the sexual violence risk:

  • List of specific disadvantages that EA women, bisexuals and homosexuals face:

Potential of sexual violence reduction to prevent productivity loss:

  • The low estimate:

  • The high estimate:

Sexual violence reduction as part of movement building:

  • The male sex offenders studied are shockingly prolific:

  • Sex offenders increase turnover in workplaces:

Sexual violence reduction for lawsuit prevention:

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-11T23:25:41.157Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Edit: There is a table of contents now.

By the time the suggestion to create a table of contents came along, it was too late to do so. I agree. If I get some time today or tomorrow I will do that.

I couldn't split this into multiple posts. There are multiple context reasons for doing it this way. I'm sorry that this is inconvenient. I accept that fewer people will read the entire article. That won't stop me from making progress. Like I said, this article is a foundation. This is step 1. :)

I will probably write multiple shorter articles later.

The great thing about having all the context in one place is that when I write multiple shorter articles, I can refer to the big article a bunch of times! :D

That will help me keep the short articles short!

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-11T23:23:52.205Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Good point, Denise! Would you please direct me to the part of the article I should edit?

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-11T23:20:42.927Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Great suggestion! "Are most acts of sexual violence committed by a select particularly egregious few or by the presumably more common 'casual rapist'? Answering this question is relevant for picking the strategies to focus on. This is because it seems plausible that different types of people who commit rape require different strategies to stop them."

I suspect political pressure has effectively prevented in-depth research on this specific topic from being done. There is a lot of political pressure to stigmatise rape as much as possible, no matter what kind it is, or how often it occurs, or any other factors. Without this pressure, there is a realistic concern that a significant minority of people would twist the information into a new rape myth.

For instance, a sufficiently twisted person might decide that the "real" rapists are the ones targeting 10 people or more, and then incorrectly conclude that "just" one rape doesn't make you a rapist, therefore rationalizing committing an atrocity. :(

I think it's great to use information-based leverage from research to prevent mayhem. Since you asked, I will check this if I can manage to fit it in somewhere. I'm just letting you know that the reason I didn't already invest the time into looking into this is because I suspect political pressures would prevent that sort of study from being done in the first place.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-11T23:10:16.204Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

"Multiple types of sex offenders exist. We may not have a complete list of different types yet."

This is a direct quote from the article, from a section covering a few different types of sex offenders. Section name: "Why we should not assume that effective altruism repels sex offenders"

I can't cover every single sub-topic in entirety in every single spot where a sub-topic is mentioned. The article would repeat itself a ridiculous amount.

I also cannot remove all mentions of all sub-topics that have not yet been fully covered. That would ruin all the natural connections inherent in the information. The article would seem to leave out a huge number of obviously important things.

This is why I support the implementation of a social norm where one doesn't argue with an author until after they've finished the article.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-11T23:02:41.476Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · EA · GW

This post is long because:

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about sexual violence. To have accurate ideas about the effective altruism potential of sexual violence reduction as a cause, one needs to be informed about a bunch of things at once. Given the complexity of the issue and the number of common misconceptions, a long length was the only way to do this topic justice.

This is a foundation article. Now that it exists, a series of short articles can be written based on the information and context contained in it to help raise awareness.

Comment by kathy_forth on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential · 2017-11-11T22:57:17.727Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Oops! Thanks! I updated the article.

Comment by kathy_forth on Talent gaps from the perspective of a talent limited organization. · 2017-11-11T07:18:20.636Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Great points! I'm going against the trend where community-building organizations focus on number of people rather than attracting people who might do high quality work. I'm intentionally growing Evidence and Reasoning Enthusiasts slowly and selecting for people who have demonstrated the ability to make an important update publicly, who have improved their rationality by reading books, etc. I am so glad to see this connection being made by someone other than me! I feel inspired! Thanks!

Comment by Kathy_Forth on [deleted post] 2017-11-11T07:07:41.828Z

I suspect a lot of this is due to people trying to save time on reading. There are too many articles to keep up, so we (myself included) choose the articles that seem most likely to have the information I need most, and some of this priority order is author based. An additional method for people who are doing this for efficiency reasons:

We could do an experiment to find out what percentage of high status people's karma points are due to their status or getting a larger amount of attention overall than other posters. Then, us efficiency oriented people can mentally adjust the karma scores accordingly.

Comment by kathy_forth on Personal thoughts on careers in AI policy and strategy · 2017-10-14T23:27:28.937Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · EA · GW

We need disentanglement research examples. I tried using Google to search intelligence.org and www.fhi.ox.ac.uk for the term "disentanglement" and received zero results for both. What I need to determine whether I should pursue this path is three examples of good disentanglement research. Before reading the study or book for the examples, I will need a very quick gist - a sentence or three that summarizes what each example is about. An oversimplification is okay as long as this is mentioned and we're given a link to a paper or something so we can understand it correctly if we choose to look into it further. Additionally, I need to be shown a list of open questions.

If I am the only person who asked for this, then your article has not been very effective at getting new people to try out disentanglement research. The obstacle of not even knowing what, specifically, disentanglement research looks like would very effectively prevent a new person from getting into it. I think it would be a really good idea to write a follow-up article that contains the three examples of disentanglement research, the quick gists of what's contained in each example, and the list of open questions. That information has a chance to get someone new involved.

Comment by kathy_forth on Personal thoughts on careers in AI policy and strategy · 2017-10-14T23:20:52.314Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I run an independent rationality group on Facebook, Evidence and Reasoning Enthusiasts. This is targeted toward people with at least some knowledge of rationality or science and halfway decent social skills. As such, I can help "build up this community and its capacity" and would like to know what specifically to do.

Comment by kathy_forth on Personal thoughts on careers in AI policy and strategy · 2017-10-14T23:04:21.554Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

For five years, my favorite subject to read about was talent. Unlike developmental psychologists, I did not spend most of my learning time on learning disabilities. I also did a lot of intuition calibration which helps me detect various neurological differences in people. Thus, I have a rare area of knowledge and an unusual skill which may be useful for assisting with figuring out what types of people have a particular kind of potential, what they're like, what's correlated with their talent(s), what they might need, and how to find and identify them. If any fellow EAs can put this to use, feel free to message me.

Comment by kathy_forth on Personal thoughts on careers in AI policy and strategy · 2017-10-14T22:57:37.953Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I run a group for creatives on Facebook called Altruistic Ideas. In it, I have worked to foster a creative culture. I've also written about the differences between the EA and rationality cultures vs. the culture creatives need. If this might be useful for anyone's EA goals, please feel free to message me.