Posts

FAQ: UK Civil Service Job Applications 2021-03-27T18:34:52.426Z
Khorton's Shortform 2019-08-17T12:02:26.342Z
Why do EA events attract more men than women? Focus group data 2019-05-18T13:29:24.187Z
What skills would you like 1-5 EAs to develop? 2019-03-01T11:01:11.654Z
Are men more likely to attend EA London events? Attendance data, 2016-2018. 2018-08-09T15:51:29.187Z
Effective Volunteering 2018-01-24T16:09:11.731Z

Comments

Comment by Khorton on Why & How to Make Progress on Diversity & Inclusion in EA · 2021-07-27T10:07:16.162Z · EA · GW

Thanks for taking the time to post this result four years later!

Comment by Khorton on Testing Newport's "Digital Minimalism" at CEEALAR · 2021-07-25T08:39:09.314Z · EA · GW

Hey, I'm actually most interested in what kind of data you're planning to collect from the control group - what are your plans there?

Comment by Khorton on What would you do if you had half a million dollars? · 2021-07-21T10:09:50.300Z · EA · GW

I think perhaps we agree then - if after significant research, you realize you can't beat an EA Fund, that seems like a reasonable fallback, but that should not be plan A.

Re: increasing grantmakers, I meant increasing the number of grantmakers who have spent significant time thinking about where to donate significant capital - obviously having hundreds of people donating $1k each would have more diversity but in practice I think most $1k donors defer their decision-making to someone else, like an EA Fund or GiveWell.

Comment by Khorton on What would you do if you had half a million dollars? · 2021-07-21T10:05:42.358Z · EA · GW

I've been impressed recently with the work of the Simon Institute for Long-Term Governance, which might match the brief for new, experimental long-termist organizations. https://www.simoninstitute.ch/

Comment by Khorton on What would you do if you had half a million dollars? · 2021-07-20T14:20:44.258Z · EA · GW

I disagree. One of the original rationales for the lottery if I recall correctly was to increase the diversity* of funding sources and increase the number of grantmakers. I think if the LTFF is particularly funding constrained, there's a good chance the Open Philanthropy Project or a similar organisation will donate to them. I value increased diversity and number of grantmakers enough that I think it's worth trying to beat LTFF's grantmaking even if you might fail.

*By diversity, I don't mean gender or ethnicity, I just mean having more than one grantmaker doing the same thing, ideally with different knowledge, experience and connections.

Comment by Khorton on Should EA have a career-focused “Do the most good" pledge? · 2021-07-20T14:15:45.008Z · EA · GW

I do like the idea of creating a community and a bit of an accountability mechanism around career impact. I do have a critique of your suggestion: there's a big difference between a "donate 10%" pledge and a "maximize the impact of my career" pledge.

You have more than one goal, and that's fine [1]. Truly maximizing the impact of your career is more like donating 90% of your income than 10% - it would mean giving up all the other goals you have in order to focus on one thing. I don't see many examples of that even in EA and I wouldn't encourage it.

In this situation, the fact that we probably wouldn't want to encourage literally maximizing impact from careers would unfortunately make a pledge even more difficult to operationalize!

[1] https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/zu28unKfTHoxRWpGn/you-have-more-than-one-goal-and-that-s-fine

Comment by Khorton on Should EA have a career-focused “Do the most good" pledge? · 2021-07-20T14:10:38.918Z · EA · GW

I'm not going to downvote it as that would give you negative karma and hide this comment!

Comment by Khorton on What would you do if you had half a million dollars? · 2021-07-19T22:24:36.744Z · EA · GW

I could imagine that happening in some situations where after a lot of careful thought you decide to defer to another grantmaker, but if you know in advance that you'd like to give your money to a grantmaker, shouldn't you just do that?

Comment by Khorton on Khorton's Shortform · 2021-07-19T08:01:42.184Z · EA · GW

I'm becoming concerned that the title "EA-aligned organisation" is doing more harm than good. Obviously it's pointing at something real and you can expect your colleagues to be familiar with certain concepts, but there's no barrier to calling yourself an EA-aligned organisation, and in my view some are low or even negative impact. The fact that people can say "I do ops at an EA org" and be warmly greeted as high status even if they could do much more good outside EA rubs me the wrong way. If people talked about working at a "high-impact organisation" instead, that would push community incentives in a good way I think.

Comment by Khorton on Undergraduate Making Life-Altering Choices While Sober, Please Advise · 2021-07-11T00:21:08.054Z · EA · GW

This is exactly what I first thought of too - I really think this could be useful!

Comment by Khorton on Open Thread: July 2021 · 2021-07-11T00:15:31.971Z · EA · GW

Welcome Madhav, it's great to have you on the Forum!

Comment by Khorton on COVID: How did we do? How can we know? · 2021-07-08T21:39:38.954Z · EA · GW

I'm pretty late to this! Something I notice in this post, which is mentioned in one of the comments, is that it focuses on money and competence as the main barriers to tackling Covid. I would say that the way institutions are set up to make decisions and implement them is a much bigger factor.

The fast timeline described would only be possible in a world where our institutions were set up completely differently. For example, when thinking about how things should have gone, it's easy to say person X and person Y should have talked to each other without realising that they probably didn't have each other's phone numbers, and might not have known each other existed!

We can and should look at how our institutions could have been set up differently to handle Covid better, but that requires some thought too. Institutions that are optimised for one thing are by default not optimised for other things - if we redesigned our institutions to prepare for the next Covid, that might not help us very much in dealing with a super-volcano, or everyday life.

The reason I point this out is because I think this kind of naive analysis is actually very useful - I think it does achieve the goal of showing us where we could have done better - and at its most useful, it highlights weaknesses in systems that can be improved. But I'm concerned that if this kind of analysis were shared without recognizing its limitations it could come across badly.

Comment by Khorton on You are allowed to edit Wikipedia · 2021-07-07T19:54:53.901Z · EA · GW

For the record I don't think this comment deserved negative karma

Comment by Khorton on Linch's Shortform · 2021-07-07T12:23:38.285Z · EA · GW

It's actually a bit of numbers 1-3; I'm imagining decreased engagement generally, especially sharing ideas transparently.

Comment by Khorton on Linch's Shortform · 2021-07-06T17:18:01.162Z · EA · GW

One additional risk: if done poorly, harsh criticism of someone else's blog post from several years ago could be pretty unpleasant and make the EA community seem less friendly.

I'm actually super excited about this idea though - let's set some courtesy norms around contacting the author privately before red-teaming their paper and then get going!

Comment by Khorton on What is life like at the median global income? · 2021-06-30T14:27:38.165Z · EA · GW

Dollar Street is great for visualizing this!

Here's a family in Jordan with a monthly income of $249: https://www.gapminder.org/dollar-street?active=5fd03b43f2d9500e4358f313

And a family in the Philippines who earn $238 per month: https://www.gapminder.org/dollar-street?min=169&max=285&active=5fd043b2f2d9500e435926ea

Comment by Khorton on Intactivism as a potential Effective Altruist cause area? · 2021-06-27T16:01:05.415Z · EA · GW

Thanks for sharing a write up of a potential new cause area - I'd love to see more of these and I think yours is really clear.

These two statements on the surface seem contradictory, given I haven't heard of significant activist work on this in Canada, Australia, etc:

"It has been practiced in the United States since the late 1800s, and will only continue if nothing is done about it."

"In the Anglosphere countries besides the United States, circumcision was once widespread, but has since declined precipitously."

Comment by Khorton on FAQ: UK Civil Service Job Applications · 2021-06-22T17:02:20.708Z · EA · GW

I think you must be at least partially mistaken - I interviewed someone myself just last week so we certainly have not outsourced all recruitment. I'm sorry I can't help more but I'm really not familiar with what you're describing.

Comment by Khorton on FAQ: UK Civil Service Job Applications · 2021-06-18T09:49:09.001Z · EA · GW

I'm sorry, I haven't heard of any change to AI-based screening and don't know what you're talking about. Can you share a link that explains what you're talking about?

Comment by Khorton on Where I can practice judging opportunities to lend or donate or invest, for $25 per decision? · 2021-06-12T14:52:08.868Z · EA · GW

Unfortunately I can't think of a service that would help with what you're looking for! A potential alternative way to improve your skills could be to identify promising options, post them on the Forum, and see what feedback you get?

Comment by Khorton on A bunch of reasons why you might have low energy (or other vague health problems) and what to do about it · 2021-06-09T17:16:44.604Z · EA · GW

Yes, I've also gotten really sick from stress in the past! Both times, my doctors asked if I was under a lot of stress, and both times I said no, even though in retrospect it seems obvious that I was.

Comment by Khorton on A bunch of reasons why you might have low energy (or other vague health problems) and what to do about it · 2021-06-09T00:35:13.465Z · EA · GW

I think it's great you shared your experiences - thanks for posting! Fyi the Science vs Probiotics podcast episode suggested that gut health is very important but probiotic supplements probably aren't a good way to improve your gut health, so I might downgrade that suggestion (and maybe focus on eating more fiber instead?) https://gimletmedia.com/shows/science-vs/v4hblnk

Comment by Khorton on Buck's Shortform · 2021-06-07T12:27:47.854Z · EA · GW

I wonder if there are better ways to encourage and reward talented writers to look for outside ideas - although I agree book reviews are attractive in their simplicity!

Comment by Khorton on Buck's Shortform · 2021-06-06T21:56:05.040Z · EA · GW

For example: https://jamesclear.com/book-summaries https://fourminutebooks.com/book-summaries/ https://www.samuelthomasdavies.com/book-summaries/

Comment by Khorton on Buck's Shortform · 2021-06-06T21:53:58.883Z · EA · GW

You can already pay for book reviews - what would make these different?

Comment by Khorton on Why should we be effective in our altruism? · 2021-05-31T21:02:04.418Z · EA · GW

It's easy for me to decide where to give based on what's best for me. It's better for me to give based on what's best for the people receiving my gift.

Comment by Khorton on Linch's Shortform · 2021-05-24T22:24:41.928Z · EA · GW

This seems like a good topic for a call with a coach/coworker because there are a lot of ways to approach it. One easy-to-implement option comes from 80k's podcast with Tom Kalil: "the calendar is your friend."

In Tom's case, it was Obama's calendar! I have a more low-key version I use. When I want to prioritize research or writing, I will schedule a time with my manager or director to get feedback on a draft of the report I'm writing. It's a good incentive to make some meaningful progress - hard to get feedback if you haven't written anything! - and makes it a tiny bit easier to decline or postpone meetings, but it is still somewhat flexible, which I find really useful.

Comment by Khorton on My attempt to think about AI timelines · 2021-05-18T22:18:51.814Z · EA · GW

This was a fascinating read.

"The outside view forecasts I chose: I included almost exclusively “community” forecasts in my outside view."

Why did you choose to almost exclusively refer to EAs for your "outside view"? Is that a typical use of the term outside view?

Comment by Khorton on Best places to donate? · 2021-05-07T08:40:27.903Z · EA · GW

Abraham, does it still take processing time for your staff (or for that matter credit card processing fees) when people set up monthly recurring donations by direct debit?

Comment by Khorton on If you had a large amount of money (at least $1M) to spend on philanthropy, how would you spend it? · 2021-05-03T08:32:10.450Z · EA · GW

I'd donate to 3 organisations I expect to influence government decision making positively:

(1) Happier Lives Institute. When governments try to decide what projects to prioritize, they normally consider financial/health benefits. Being able to compare the wider benefits to people's wellbeing would be a powerful new tool.

(2) Centre for Women's Justice. I don't know of any country that competently prosecutes domestic violence and sex crimes. The Centre for Women's Justice is strategically prosecuting specific government decisions in order to set new precedents for women seeking justice.

(3) The Simon Institute for Longterm Governance. This is a very new charity without many results yet. However, their website, working papers and trustees give them credibility and their plan for how to have an impact is sound. I would like to see them funded for 2-5 years, without needing to think about fundraising.

Comment by Khorton on Khorton's Shortform · 2021-05-02T15:55:53.506Z · EA · GW

I'm considering donating to the Centre for Women's Justice. With a budget of about £300k last year, they have undertaken strategic litigation against the government , Crown prosecutors etc for mismanagement of sexual assault cases. The cases seem well-chosen to raise the issue on the political agenda. I think more rapists being successfully prosecuted would have a very positive impact so I'm excited to see this work. I'm planning to email them soon. https://www.centreforwomensjustice.org.uk/strategic-plan

Comment by Khorton on Thoughts on being overqualified for EA positions · 2021-05-01T23:08:37.810Z · EA · GW

I'm not sure about tech! I was thinking the more business/management career track.

I definitely agree that regularly switching jobs is a good thing - this isn't an argument against switching jobs, just against taking a much more junior role

Comment by Khorton on Thoughts on being overqualified for EA positions · 2021-05-01T21:57:21.602Z · EA · GW

One reason I don't see here: if you take a big decrease in level of responsibility, it can be hard to reverse.

For example, imagine you manage a team of 10 people and a budget of $10 million at a private corporation. You're on track to eventually take on a C-suite position, which will either allow you to earn to give significantly or bring really great skills to an EA charity at that point.

If you leave the team you're managing and take two years to write Forum posts on behalf of an EA charity, you may lose the opportunity to become a CEO. Maybe that's fine - maybe you know ever cared about that because of the social status you could get from it - but maybe EA needs people with experience as successful CEOs and bringing in private sector rising stars for entry level positions is a bad idea.

Comment by Khorton on The Importance of Truth-Oriented Discussions in EA · 2021-04-29T13:11:13.569Z · EA · GW

So in the archetypal Schelling example, everyone would prefer to be at a table with both races, but strongly prefer to NOT be the only one of their race at their table, which led to complete racial segregation which no one was especially keen on...

Comment by Khorton on CEA update: Q1 2021 · 2021-04-22T12:56:31.968Z · EA · GW

"We have ... improved our cybersecurity, and streamlined a number of HR systems."

Hurray! Well done

Comment by Khorton on Silk production: global scale and animal welfare issues · 2021-04-20T14:06:00.410Z · EA · GW

Apologies if I missed it, but are you just assuming that silkworms are morally relevant and capable of suffering? Because if they're not and you succeeded in banning silk, you would cause a lot of human suffering for no reason (eg by increasing the price of bicycles and making certain medical treatments illegal).

Comment by Khorton on What are your questions for World Malaria Day with Rob Mather (AMF), Maddy Marasciulo (Malaria Consortium), and Alekos Simoni (Target Malaria)? · 2021-04-20T08:46:40.897Z · EA · GW

Could insecticide-treated bednets lead to the eradication of malaria, or do you think other technologies will be needed to actually end malaria?

Comment by Khorton on Khorton's Shortform · 2021-04-18T13:55:30.886Z · EA · GW

I regularly see people write arguments like "One day, we'll colonize the galaxy - this shows why working on the far future is so exciting!"

I know the intuition this is trying to trigger is bigger = more impact = exciting opportunity.

The intuition it actually triggers for me is expansion and colonization = trying to build an empire = I should be suspicious of these people and their plans.

Comment by Khorton on Concerns with ACE's Recent Behavior · 2021-04-18T10:40:01.815Z · EA · GW

"I think ACE's speakers probably did feel unsafe speaking at the conference, and I should have instead said there was no actual safety risk. "

Perhaps you mean there was no physical safety risk (or you don't believe in psychological safety as a concept)?

Comment by Khorton on Concerns with ACE's Recent Behavior · 2021-04-18T10:31:11.617Z · EA · GW

No one is enthusiastic about sexual harassment, and actively campaigning against racism has nothing in common with sexual harassment.

Comment by Khorton on Launching a new resource: 'Effective Altruism: An Introduction' · 2021-04-17T23:53:47.251Z · EA · GW

Hi Rob, I agree with your and Ryan's point that the poverty/animals/future split is something that evolved because of EA's history, and I can imagine a world with different categories of cause areas.

But something that I keep seeing missed is this:

"A good introduction to EA would, at the very least, include a wide range of steel-manned positions about how to do the most good that are held by sincere, thoughtful, individuals aspiring to do the most good."

I'm really troubled by any "Introduction to EA" that suggests EA is about long-termism. A brief intro saying "by the way, some people have different views to the following 20 hours of content!" is not sufficient. This should be relabelled as an intro to EA long-termism if it remains in its current form.

Comment by Khorton on Launching a new resource: 'Effective Altruism: An Introduction' · 2021-04-17T08:34:43.824Z · EA · GW

In 2019, 22% of community members thought global poverty should be THE top priority; closer to 62% of people thought it should be one of several near-top priorities. https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/8hExrLibTEgyzaDxW/ea-survey-2019-series-cause-prioritization

Comment by Khorton on Launching a new resource: 'Effective Altruism: An Introduction' · 2021-04-17T08:27:05.914Z · EA · GW

Which "experts" are you asking us to defer to? The people I find most convincing re: philosophy of giving are people like Will MacAskill or Ajeya Cotra, who are both spoken in favour of worldview diversification and moral uncertainty.

Comment by Khorton on Share your views on the scope of improving institutional decision-making as a cause area · 2021-04-16T08:47:43.600Z · EA · GW

I thought this survey was really well put together and I'm excited about the future of the working group!

Comment by Khorton on HaukeHillebrandt's Shortform · 2021-04-06T14:01:42.683Z · EA · GW

Hong Kong linkup is a organisation for Brits to help their HK peers settle in. If you'd like a way to get to know the community of new HK immigrants, it's probably a good option. I've signed up already. https://www.hklinkup.uk/

Comment by Khorton on Announcing "Naming What We Can"! · 2021-04-01T22:44:48.696Z · EA · GW

Can you please rename the EA Forum? Thank you

Comment by Khorton on FAQ: UK Civil Service Job Applications · 2021-04-01T11:00:23.252Z · EA · GW

Hi rharris, if you have more experience in eg admin than in policy, it might make sense to apply for an administrative role to get some initial experience with the Civil Service. You'd be eligible to apply for other internally-advertised roles after you've passed your probation (normally six months) and you'll be a more competitive applicant because of your Civil Service experience.

Comment by Khorton on FAQ: UK Civil Service Job Applications · 2021-04-01T10:53:57.218Z · EA · GW

I'm glad to hear it. Good luck with your application!

Comment by Khorton on Introducing the Simon Institute for Longterm Governance (SI) · 2021-03-30T08:47:40.134Z · EA · GW

It would be great if you could update this when you've posted some of your writing, to help potential donors decide whether to donate

Comment by Khorton on How to PhD · 2021-03-28T21:06:57.479Z · EA · GW

I love how this is laid out and I'd love to see articles like this for other areas, if appropriate!