Posts

Khorton's Shortform 2019-08-17T12:02:26.342Z · score: 8 (2 votes)
Why do EA events attract more men than women? Focus group data 2019-05-18T13:29:24.187Z · score: 72 (37 votes)
What skills would you like 1-5 EAs to develop? 2019-03-01T11:01:11.654Z · score: 36 (23 votes)
Are men more likely to attend EA London events? Attendance data, 2016-2018. 2018-08-09T15:51:29.187Z · score: 36 (34 votes)
Effective Volunteering 2018-01-24T16:09:11.731Z · score: 15 (12 votes)

Comments

Comment by khorton on Khorton's Shortform · 2020-01-21T01:08:13.936Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I've always thought there's a lower bar for commenting than a top-level post, but maybe both should be reasonably high (you should be able to provide some evidence for your claim in a comment, and have some actual engagement with relevant literature in a post, for example)

Comment by khorton on Khorton's Shortform · 2020-01-21T00:20:35.992Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Who should pay the cost of Googling studies on the EA Forum?

  1. Many EA Forum posts have minimal engagement with relevant academic literature

  2. If you see a Forum post that doesn't engage with literature you think is relevant, you could make a claim without looking up a citation based on your memory, but there's a reasonable chance you'll be wrong.

  3. Many people say they'd rather see an imperfect post or comment than not have it at all.

  4. But people tend to remember an original claim, even if it's later debunked.

  5. Maybe the best option is to phrase my comment as a question: "Have you looked at the literature on X?"

Comment by khorton on Love seems like a high priority · 2020-01-20T08:46:10.722Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Totally reasonable, thanks for pointing it out. Given that Dolan was repeating in his article the Sociology 101 claim that married women have shorter lives, I'd expect him to also reference those studies. (I have seen some controversy about this online, with some people now saying married and single women have similar lifespans with only divorcees having shorter lives, but I'm not yet convinced.)

Comment by khorton on Love seems like a high priority · 2020-01-19T13:06:39.354Z · score: -3 (7 votes) · EA · GW

I've seen it a few places. This article seems like a good place to start if you want to start looking at literature on it - it discusses both happiness and lifespan. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/may/25/women-happier-without-children-or-a-spouse-happiness-expert

Comment by khorton on Physical Exercise for EAs – Why and How · 2020-01-19T10:50:38.889Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Question: Imagine I go to the gym for whole-body strength training workout Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. One week I'm busy on Monday and Tuesday. Is it useful to go Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday? Or is leaving that rest day really important?

Comment by khorton on Dataset of Trillion Dollar figures · 2020-01-19T10:47:38.829Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I think the term GDP by definition means in one year.

Like if someone asked me what my salary is, and I said "I have £10k in the bank!", I wouldn't be answering the question. I should say "My salary is £30k per year" or whatever it is. If someone asked about my wealth or net worth, then the amount I have saved would be relevant.

Comment by khorton on Love seems like a high priority · 2020-01-19T04:46:44.879Z · score: 0 (6 votes) · EA · GW

On the other hand, women who marry men die earlier than women who stay single, so marriage doesn't necessarily improve life for everyone

Comment by khorton on What should EAs interested in climate change do? · 2020-01-18T17:10:55.857Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

By "working with local partners", do they mean "give money to Asian lobbying groups that are already successful"?

Comment by khorton on The 'sprinting between oases' strategy · 2020-01-17T23:00:21.350Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · EA · GW

I would have been much more interested in this post if it had included explicit links to EA. That could be including EA-relevant examples. It also could be explicitly referencing existing EA 'literature' or a positioning this strategy as a solution to a known problem in the EA.

I don't think the level of abstraction was necessarily the problem; the problem was that it didn't seem especially relevant to EA.

Comment by khorton on Keeping Absolutes in Mind · 2020-01-17T08:51:54.515Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Revisiting this post a year later has also made me reconsider evaluating myself compared to my past self.

I think it makes sense to compare yourself to your past self, just as it makes sense at times to compare yourself to other EAs or to everyone in your city, but probably doing just one of these things will make you a bit mad. It's probably best to look at your life from different lenses from time to time - some days thinking of how much more good you're doing now than you used to, other days thinking of how much exceptional role models in your career have done, and other days thinking about the absolute number of people you've helped. They can help to motivate you or improve your actions.

Comment by khorton on Is learning about EA concepts in detail useful to the typical EA? · 2020-01-17T00:11:51.259Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Then again, it might be better to use leisure time for genuine leisure (reading your favourite novel, playing with a kitten) and use your learning time for the most useful thing you can learn.

I do worry that people "learn about EA" because it's "learning" that lets them feel good about themselves and that others will praise them for, but it's easier than learning something they actually need to make the world a better place. If I made an objective list of what I need to learn to help people, EA Global videos and Forum posts wouldn't be in the top 10, but here I am...

Comment by khorton on Is learning about EA concepts in detail useful to the typical EA? · 2020-01-16T22:51:35.756Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I think the important questions are "what type of information?" and "what would they be doing otherwise?"

If you're interested in development economics and the choice is between reading everything posted on the Forum and taking a micromasters course in data and development*, I'd suggest the latter. But if it's a choice between scrolling Facebook and learning about EA, learning about EA is probably more useful.

*https://micromasters.mit.edu/dedp/

Comment by khorton on The Labour leadership election: a high leverage, time-limited opportunity for impact (*1 week left to register for a vote*) · 2020-01-16T00:00:55.874Z · score: 19 (8 votes) · EA · GW

No, I don't think it seemed anti-Labour. I just think anyone who's not super committed to consequentialism is going to be uncomfortable with this:

"While it's true that these vulnerabilities might eventually be closed, it might still be good to exploit them while they're open."

A lot of people who are involved in EA just don't ever want to "exploit vulnerabilities" in well-meaning groups of people (which you suggested might be a good idea depending on the consequences)

Comment by khorton on The Labour leadership election: a high leverage, time-limited opportunity for impact (*1 week left to register for a vote*) · 2020-01-15T08:35:34.554Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I didn't downvote it, but it does come across as quite uncooperative/antagonistic toward other groups who are trying to do some good in this world, and I'm generally against that on the Forum.

Comment by khorton on Khorton's Shortform · 2020-01-15T08:31:00.270Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Yep, makes sense to me! It's difficult for me to identify with a particular denomination of Christianity because I grew up at a non-denominational church and since then I've attended 3 different denominations. So I definitely get the struggle to identify yourself when none of the usual labels quite fit! But I don't have to be a complete mystery - at least I can still say I'm "Christian" or "Protestant"

Comment by khorton on Khorton's Shortform · 2020-01-15T00:38:01.798Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah that's probably true - I guess it goes both ways.

Comment by khorton on Khorton's Shortform · 2020-01-14T22:45:45.560Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

There are some pretty good reasons to keep your identity small. http://www.paulgraham.com/identity.html

But I see people using that as an excuse to not identify as... anything. As in, they avoid affiliating themselves with any social movements, sports teams, schools, nation-states, professions, etc.

It can be annoying and confusing when you ask someone "are you an EA?" or "are you a Christian?" or "are you British?" and they won't give you a straight answer. It's partly annoying because I'm very rationally trying to make some shortcut assumptions about them (if they're an EA, they've probably heard of malaria) and they're preventing me from doing that.

But I also sometimes get the sense that they're trying to protect themselves by not affiliating with a movement, and I find that a bit annoying. I feel like they're a free rider.

What are they trying to protect themselves from? Effectively they're protecting their reputation. This could be from an existing negative legacy of the group. eg If they don't identify as British (even though they're a British citizen) maybe they can dodge questions about the ongoing negative effects of the British empire. They could also be hedging against future negative reputation eg If I call myself an EA but then someone attempts a military coup in the name of EA, I would look bad. By avoiding declaring yourself a group member, you can sometimes avoid your reputation sinking when your chosen group makes bad choices.

Unfortunately, that means that those of us with our reputations on the line are the ones who have the most skin in the game to keep people from doing stupid unilateralist things that make everyone in the community look bad.

I would prefer it if people would take that big scary step of saying they're an EA or Christian or Brit or whatever, and then put in the work to improve your community's reputation. Obviously open to hearing reasons why people shouldn't identify as members of groups, though.

Comment by khorton on Khorton's Shortform · 2020-01-14T20:26:54.165Z · score: 9 (8 votes) · EA · GW

I'm 60% sure that LessWrong people use the term "Moloch" in almost exactly the same way as social justice people use the term "kyriarchy" (or "capitalist cis-hetero patriarchy").

I might program my browser to replace "Moloch" with "kyriarchy". Might make Christian Twitter confusing though.

Comment by khorton on Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking · 2020-01-13T19:58:45.988Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I'm not sure why this comment was downvoted; @weeatquince was asked for information and provided it.

Comment by khorton on I'm Cullen O'Keefe, a Policy Researcher at OpenAI, AMA · 2020-01-11T23:34:18.942Z · score: 11 (8 votes) · EA · GW

What do you actually do at work?

Comment by khorton on What should EAs interested in climate change do? · 2020-01-11T11:05:55.413Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

There might be something in soil, perhaps from a research or policy angle? https://www.gatesnotes.com/Energy/We-should-discuss-soil-as-much-as-coal

Comment by khorton on Effective Altruism Funds Project Updates · 2020-01-10T19:22:39.310Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for answer! Another option in this vein would be to pay a Secretariat to handle correspondence with grant applicants, collecting grantmakers' views, giving feedback, writing up the recommendations based on jot notes from the grantmakers, etc. I'm not sure how much time a competent admin person could save Fund grantmakers, but it might be worth trying.

Comment by khorton on Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking · 2020-01-10T01:04:29.697Z · score: 10 (11 votes) · EA · GW

Slight downvote for being unnecessarily rude. (You can say the same thing in a nicer way and it would probably make you more persuasive as well.)

Comment by khorton on Notes on hiring a copyeditor for CEA · 2020-01-09T22:43:20.794Z · score: 9 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Great post Aaron! I appreciate the detail you included

Comment by khorton on Helping the poorest without managing birth control creates vicious circle · 2020-01-09T17:30:47.956Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · EA · GW

As you've said, I wouldn't say "the best way to reduce population growth is providing malaria nets". But I would say "I don't think malaria nets will cause a major increase in population in the long term".

Comment by khorton on Has pledging 10% made meeting other financial goals substantially more difficult? · 2020-01-09T16:13:17.164Z · score: 10 (6 votes) · EA · GW

I gave 10% from my high school job and I give 10% now, but I took a break when I first started working because I needed all my earnings just to pay my bills!

I moved in with my partner and got a better job about two years after university, which made me much more financially stable. At that point I started donating 10% again, which was about £175 per month, and I've carried on ever since.

I feel grateful to be pretty financially comfortable, so donating 10% doesn't feel like a hardship - it feels like just another financial commitment, like paying my rent or student loan*. Although I could have used that money for something else, I doubt my life would really be much different if I weren't donating - I'd probably just be renting a bigger apartment.

*Note: I donated while paying off my student loan. Donating is something I really value and kind of enjoy, and my student loan's interest rate was only 6%, so I felt able to make this choice. If you're a bit on the fence about donating and you have a large or expensive student loan, many people would advise you to pay it off before you start donating 10%.

Comment by khorton on What are the most worthwhile forms of volunteer work? · 2020-01-08T12:53:36.821Z · score: 3 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I know a few Effective Altruists who volunteer for different things, whether that's editing Wikipedia pages, organising events for their local EA group, or answering phones for the Samaritans. I think there are lots of volunteering roles that do good. Whether or not they're 'effective' depends on what else you would otherwise be doing with that time.

Comment by khorton on What are the most worthwhile forms of volunteer work? · 2020-01-08T12:51:46.648Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I wrote a post on this a couple of years ago you might find interesting. Basically, my fellow volunteering enthusiasts and I decided it's useful to consider what you're looking to get out of volunteering (are you looking to do as much good as possible? or do you want to unwind and meet new people while doing a bit of good?). Then we suggested you come up with as many different possibilities as you can and rate then based on your priorities.

https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/ScLHyCY6JCr5FtuiY/effective-volunteering

Comment by khorton on Tentative Thoughts on Speech Policing · 2020-01-07T01:55:44.150Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

This article is quite outdated, but it gives a lot of interesting information. I especially enjoyed the paragraphs about his friendship with a profoundly disabled woman, his regular donations to a disability charity, and his decisions in caring for his mother with Alzheimer's (all in the context of him essentially not believing that many people with disabilities have worthwhile lives and/or should be considered "persons".) Ignore the title. https://www.michaelspecter.com/1999/09/the-dangerous-philosopher/

Comment by khorton on Career Advice? · 2020-01-07T01:18:27.094Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I'm glad you felt comfortable posting. You can also use your shortform instead of an open thread for casual conversations. Access it by clicking on your username at the top right of the screen.

Comment by khorton on Tentative Thoughts on Speech Policing · 2020-01-06T22:21:59.490Z · score: 17 (10 votes) · EA · GW

I think we'd both agree that speech-policing is helpful in some contexts, but unhelpful if it extends across an entire society.

I think statements like this lack nuance: "Speech-policing contributes to broadly turning more of our environments into political ones. This worsens our quality of life."

I agree that speech-policing turns political situations into Political situations. It makes their political nature explicit. However, to some extent all human interactions are political, and there are many environments where explicit speech policing (or in these cases, censorship) can improve quality of life.

Example 1: I'm a member of a feminist career Facebook group with explicit rules that people are not allowed to state women are unequal with men. If they do, their post will be deleted, and they may eventually be banned. The Facebook group's goal is to encourage women to pursue high-powered careers and it occasionally attracts trolls who start bad-faith discussions. The rule supports us to pursue our goal of giving each other career advice, and stops us from being distracted by repetitive arguments. We enjoy the group and it feels more relaxing than other feminist social media because the censorship is enforced quietly and consistently.

Example 2: I used to teach primary school. I didn't teach children under age 10 about sex, or let them teach each other about sex. This allowed their parents to teach them about sex on their own schedule.

Although I think broader society should allow conversations about whether men or women are better suited to particular careers, and conversations about sex, in these narrow situations censorship was really useful.

Comment by khorton on Opportunity to work in Downing Street and influence UK policy · 2020-01-06T18:03:54.943Z · score: 9 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I don't think cold emailing is usually a good idea. I've sent you a private message with some more thoughts.

Comment by khorton on More info on EA Global admissions · 2020-01-05T14:11:34.044Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I agree with Denise that I prefer smaller conferences, but what I really want to attend is a small specialist conference (for example, an EAGx for the top 150 policy experts in EA). Your suggestion here that a large EAG could lead to smaller EAGx conferences has gotten my attention.

Comment by khorton on Let’s Fund: annual review / fundraising / hiring / AMA · 2020-01-02T22:10:55.644Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Hauke. I spoke to an economist friend who explained you're using the formula for a business, while I'm thinking of the one for government. In government, we'd consider the money you crowdfunded a cost to society as well. (I'd argue mine is more appropriate for a fundraising charity, but at least I understand the difference now!)

Comment by khorton on Let’s Fund: annual review / fundraising / hiring / AMA · 2020-01-02T20:05:00.860Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks very much Hauke, really interesting! I'll keep an eye out for any bugs in future work ;)

Comment by khorton on Let’s Fund: annual review / fundraising / hiring / AMA · 2020-01-02T17:45:08.095Z · score: 12 (4 votes) · EA · GW

How confident in your analysis and conclusion do you have to be in order to publish a recommendation? For example, do you believe "better wrong than vague"? Do you try to caveat to show your degree of confidence? How easy would it be to find a demonstrably incorrect statement or paragraph in your work?

Comment by khorton on Let’s Fund: annual review / fundraising / hiring / AMA · 2020-01-02T17:29:34.298Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · EA · GW

You talk about 'Net Present Value' here, but not in a way I'm familiar with. Normally if I see NPV calculations for moving money from one person to another, I get an NPV of zero. I only add net benefits to society that go beyond simple redistribution. Can you explain what you've done here?

Comment by khorton on Policy and International Relations - What Are They? (Primer for EAs, Part 2) · 2020-01-02T15:40:01.411Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · EA · GW

"Public policy and policy analysis is in some ways the odd-one-out in this list. The academic discipline of policy analysis focuses on quantitative (econometric) analysis of the impact of policies."

This hasn't been my experience. Academically, I've drawn from a much wider variety of methods. At work, we use ex ante cost benefit analysis more than econometrics. (Not to say I don't see a lot of econometrics, just that I've experienced a lot more diversity in this field than you've described!)

Comment by khorton on [Link] Moloch Hasn’t Won (Zvi) · 2019-12-29T15:11:54.032Z · score: 7 (6 votes) · EA · GW

It would be helpful if you could explain the relevance of the article to EA.

Comment by khorton on Khorton's Shortform · 2019-12-29T05:56:35.624Z · score: 12 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Question to look into later: How has the EA community affected the charities it has donated to over the past decade?

Comment by khorton on When To Find More Information: A Short Explanation · 2019-12-28T20:19:32.481Z · score: 12 (9 votes) · EA · GW

This was a really great Forum post! You expressed yourself really clearly, and I understood why you didn't provide further information and what I should do next. Thanks so much!

Comment by khorton on Helping the poorest without managing birth control creates vicious circle · 2019-12-27T16:09:41.587Z · score: 12 (7 votes) · EA · GW

The global fertility rate has halved in the last 50 years, so I don't think this is as much of a problem as you suggest. Our World in Data attributes the decrease in fertility rates to increasing women's empowerment and decreasing child mortality. https://ourworldindata.org/fertility-rate

Comment by khorton on Update on CATF's plans for 2020 · 2019-12-24T15:33:51.343Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for the post - I've never really looked into the Clean Air Task Force and this helped me understand them a lot better.

Comment by khorton on Effective Altruism Funds Project Updates · 2019-12-20T23:05:13.845Z · score: 30 (11 votes) · EA · GW

Have you considered / do you plan to consider paying EA Funds grantmakers, so that they'd potentially have more time to consider where to direct grants and give feedback to unsuccessful applicants?

Comment by khorton on What content do people recommend looking at when trying to find jobs? · 2019-12-19T20:03:44.167Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I'd add: Try to make your achievements concrete. Saying "I saved my employer money" is less impressive than "I negotiated to decrease the costs of raw materials by 15%" or "I took a team of three people from producing one annual publication to 5 by automating many of our processes."

Comment by khorton on EA Meta Fund November 2019 Payout Report · 2019-12-15T03:47:56.238Z · score: 17 (12 votes) · EA · GW

I agree that I'd like to see even more cooperation within EA. However, I'd like to push back against this comment a little bit, because there are a couple of details here that I think could actually be negative if taken literally.

"The EA Hotel seems to be one of the most discussed projects born out of the EA community in the last months"

Being discussed a lot, or even receiving a lot of positive online comments, is not a good reason to receive funding. I think it's really important to keep a high bar for charity evaluation and not play favourites just because the charity was started by 'one of our own' or has attracted a lot of attention on the EA Forum. If groups are more likely to get funding after getting a lot of online engagement, it could encourage them to write clickbaity articles rather than do more important work.

"I think I’ve read most of the related discussions on the forum and haven‘t seen a case made why the project isn‘t as promising as it might sound after reading the EA Hotel funding pledges. I understand that your time is limited, but for the sake of cooperation within EA I’m saddened that there seems to have been no communication between you guys at all."

I have seen a lot of people within the EA community be quite generous with their time critiquing the EA Hotel, including long email exchanges which are summarised in the link above. I place a very high value on grantmakers' time. If they don't think an applicant is likely to improve to the point where they might plausibly receive a grant, I don't think grantmakers should spend time giving feedback.

I know that sounds really mean, but I can't stand the idea of people spending hours writing feedback for a charity they know they're not going to fund, when there's so much other work they could be doing.

Comment by khorton on We're Rethink Priorities. AMA. · 2019-12-14T00:58:19.298Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I'm glad to hear you've taken steps to be an inclusive organisation. Follow up question: Do you plan to do any more with on diversity and inclusion going forward?

Comment by khorton on Managing risk in the EA policy space · 2019-12-13T18:59:12.654Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Can't answer for Sam, but I think it's really hard to know if something's a workable policy idea unless you're close to the people trying to implement it. If you're not familiar with the policy area, the best you can do is say "Yep, that's definitely terrible" or "maybe that's an okay idea but it's probably still terrible".

Comment by khorton on We're Rethink Priorities. AMA. · 2019-12-12T18:42:32.749Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

What successes are you most proud of as a team?

Comment by khorton on We're Rethink Priorities. AMA. · 2019-12-12T18:41:43.653Z · score: 16 (9 votes) · EA · GW

What would you be working on if you didn't work for Rethink Priorities?