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


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.

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.

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!

Comment by Khorton on Is laziness immoral? · 2021-03-28T14:33:47.275Z · EA · GW

I think gift giving and receiving are very positive and worth doing! It's good to make an effort to show you've been paying attention to what the people in your life enjoy and that you want to make them happy.

Comment by Khorton on FAQ: UK Civil Service Job Applications · 2021-03-28T12:29:58.624Z · EA · GW

Hey 22tom, this depends a lot on which cause area you're most interested in. For example, if you want to work on climate change, several departments could be good options (BEIS, DfT, DEFRA). If you're interested in emerging technologies, DCMS could be a strong contender. Is there a particular cause you're most interested in?

Comment by Khorton on Is laziness immoral? · 2021-03-28T10:39:31.678Z · EA · GW

Hi Jacob, this kind of stress is very relatable for a lot of us. Many of us handle it by thinking about our time and finances once a year, deciding how much is for effective charity and how much is for us, and then sticking with that for the rest of the year.

For example, I donate 10% of the money I make to charity, and I use weekends and evenings to relax. Some people have a different standard - for example, donating everything above what they need for a basic life and only taking one day a week fully for themselves. Ultimately it's up to you, but setting some limits for yourself can hopefully make these decisions less stressful for you!

One further thought: you're very young. It would be great if you could get a part time job and donate £1000 this year - you could make a huge difference for someone! - but it's probably better to spend this year setting yourself up for a good career later on. Doing well on your A-levels and getting into a good university or trade program, so that you can earn a good salary when you're in your 30s and 40s, will probably allow you to help others more overall than working part-time now.

I also thought you might be interested in this blog series which a lot of us have found useful, called Replacing Guilt:

Comment by Khorton on FAQ: UK Civil Service Job Applications · 2021-03-28T10:23:30.872Z · EA · GW

I've never seen a position that requires a Master's. A Master's in public policy is definitely a positive but relevent experience can be even more valuable.

The Civil Service will not take into account where you got your Master's, so getting a very prestigious qualification won't help you as much as it might at other organisations.

If you join the Civil Service and think a Master's could help you do your job better, the Civil Service might subsidize your degree.

Comment by Khorton on [deleted post] 2021-03-28T01:12:19.061Z

It took me a minute to understand what "using people" meant here - at first I thought it meant "manipulating people"!

Comment by Khorton on What drew me to EA: Reflections on EA as relief, growth, and community · 2021-03-28T00:51:18.679Z · EA · GW


Comment by Khorton on FAQ: UK Civil Service Job Applications · 2021-03-27T23:20:54.169Z · EA · GW

A recent job advertisement said: "Previous experience in government is not essential, but you will need to have good political awareness and the ability to communicate effectively to a wide range of audiences and the ability to solve problems using structured problem-solving techniques."

I think that attitude is typical for policy roles. The better you understand government, including for example experience working with senior politicians or drafting legislation, the stronger a candidate you would likely be. Civil Service experience is certainly not essential, though!

Edit: I realize I didn't answer another part of your question. Experience in the relevant subject is encouraged but usually not essential - it depends on the role. Often an advertisement might say something like, "Able to credibly engage with stakeholders."

Comment by Khorton on Open and Welcome Thread: March 2021 · 2021-03-26T20:56:49.198Z · EA · GW

Hey! Just a quick comment that I totally support you paying down your student loan debt before donating, or at least before donating much (some people donate 1% when they're short on cash to get in the habit). I really think that one of the best things you can do early on is get yourself into a good financial situation.

You can also learn lots and share what you learn with your friends - hopefully this website can be useful for that!

Comment by Khorton on [Job Ad] Help us make this Forum better · 2021-03-26T14:54:04.413Z · EA · GW


Comment by Khorton on How much does performance differ between people? · 2021-03-26T09:19:37.810Z · EA · GW

I think the language of a person who "achieves orders of magnitude more" suggests that their output (research, book, etc) is orders of magnitude better, instead of just being more popular. Sometimes more popular is better, but often in EA that's not what we're focused on.

I also believe you're talking about hiring individuals in this piece(?), but most of your examples are about successful teams, which have different qualities to successful individuals.

I thought your examples of Math Olympiad scores correlating with Nobel Prize wins was a useful exception to this trend, because those are about an individual and aren't just about popularity.

Comment by Khorton on How much does performance differ between people? · 2021-03-26T00:18:44.316Z · EA · GW

"the top 1% stay on the New York Times bestseller list more than 25 times longer than the median author in that group."

FWIW my intuition is not that this author is 25x more talented, but rather that the author and their marketing team are a little bit more talented in a winner-takes-most market.

I wanted to point this out because I regularly see numbers like this used to justify claims that individuals vary significantly in talent or productivity. It's important to keep the business model in mind if you're claiming talent based on sales!

(Research citations are also a winner-takes-most market; people end up citing the same paper even if it's not much better than the next best paper.)

Comment by Khorton on Please stand with the Asian diaspora · 2021-03-21T10:42:24.150Z · EA · GW

Thanks for this jsteinhardt, I agree with the above.

Comment by Khorton on Please stand with the Asian diaspora · 2021-03-20T20:58:03.529Z · EA · GW

Totally agree, that just wasn't my view of this situation.

Comment by Khorton on Please stand with the Asian diaspora · 2021-03-20T20:21:07.643Z · EA · GW

"bringing up alternative hypotheses and evidence to support them can't even be done on EAF without risking social disapproval"

That's not a charitable reading of my comment. Alternative hypotheses can be raised sympathetically; in this case I unfortunately didn't see that. I know there are different views on how people want posts to look on the Forum, but it's important for people to know why their posts get downvoted, so I wanted to make sure I was clear.

Comment by Khorton on Please stand with the Asian diaspora · 2021-03-20T14:29:13.392Z · EA · GW

Explanatory note: I gave this a mild downvote because thesis of the OP was "this has been a difficult week for Asian Americans" and I think an appropriate response would acknowledge that. I felt this response was unsympathetic.

Comment by Khorton on Relative Impact of the First 10 EA Forum Prize Winners · 2021-03-17T13:31:54.276Z · EA · GW

On Sanjay's Cool Earth post, I have seen it frequently referenced. Founders Pledge came out with some climate change recommendations shortly after and I think people have been largely donating to those now instead.

Comment by Khorton on How to make people appreciate asynchronous written communication more? · 2021-03-12T10:17:30.706Z · EA · GW

I agree with this, especially if you're trying to make a decision or solve a problem together. It's very difficult and time-consuming to negotiate solutions via text.

Comment by Khorton on Doing Good Badly? - Michael Plant's thesis, Chapters 5,6 on Cause Prioritization · 2021-03-05T10:33:12.949Z · EA · GW

I found this really interesting and never would have read the full thing (sorry Michael!), so thanks for posting this summary. It was a pleasure to read

Comment by Khorton on Resources On Mental Health And Finding A Therapist · 2021-03-01T17:18:38.939Z · EA · GW

Diagnosis and treatment (in this case, therapy) are definitely not the same thing! You don't need a diagnosis to go to therapy

Comment by Khorton on Alternatives to donor lotteries · 2021-02-16T15:30:49.575Z · EA · GW

Building on your suggestions here, I would be interested in donating to a global development-focused EA Fund staffed by allocators raised or currently living in the Global South. I definitely buy the idea that allocators with networks in the Global South could have access to some interesting opportunities that allocators in EA Hubs don't have.

Comment by Khorton on Would you buy from an altruistic shop? · 2021-02-08T19:41:16.823Z · EA · GW

I don't have strong feelings about the shop, but I don't think EAs are going to be your target audience. Most EAs aren't buying luxury brands like Gucci. So we're probably not very good people to ask.

Comment by Khorton on Open and Welcome Thread: February 2021 · 2021-02-07T00:36:25.649Z · EA · GW

Welcome to the EA Forum!

Comment by Khorton on Retention in EA - Part I: Survey Data · 2021-02-06T13:54:09.043Z · EA · GW

I did a couple of focus groups in London about why highly engaged members were involved and that also matches your findings.

Comment by Khorton on Asking for advice · 2021-01-30T12:42:29.679Z · EA · GW

Yes that looks better - similar to Outlook's inbuilt calendar invite system.

Comment by Khorton on Khorton's Shortform · 2021-01-26T11:15:15.198Z · EA · GW

After getting more info, I decided it wasn't so important and neglected as to be competitive with the Against Malaria Foundation. Thanks for following up!

Comment by Khorton on 80,000 Hours: Where's the best place to volunteer? · 2021-01-25T21:56:20.327Z · EA · GW

I wrote a post on this a couple years ago. One difference is that, where this post is focused exclusively on impact, I also talked about some people wanting to gain career capital from volunteering or wanting a volunteer opportunity that helps you feel good and recharge.

Comment by Khorton on My Career Decision-Making Process · 2021-01-25T21:52:52.847Z · EA · GW

Strong upvoted this as I feel almost exactly the same way! I've tried the new 80k Google doc but looked the old career guide and career decision making tool a lot better.

Comment by Khorton on Trying to help coral reefs survive climate change seems incredibly neglected. · 2021-01-20T22:17:12.499Z · EA · GW

Yes, I don't understand where the monetary value comes from?

Comment by Khorton on The Folly of "EAs Should" · 2021-01-11T22:39:17.025Z · EA · GW

To be clear, I wasn't aiming to criticize "don't become a doctor", but rather "don't continue to be a doctor."

Comment by Khorton on The Folly of "EAs Should" · 2021-01-11T22:38:12.467Z · EA · GW

Thanks this is very clear! Yes, I was thinking of outcome C - I've seen people decide not to get involved with the EA community because strangers repeatedly gave them advice they found offensive.

I think the world would be better if we didn't regularly offend respected professionals, even if it's been very helpful for 5 or 10 people - and I imagine those 5 or 10 people may have transitioned from medicine anyways when presented with the arguments without it being presented as quite such a definitive answer.

Comment by Khorton on The Folly of "EAs Should" · 2021-01-11T22:33:08.946Z · EA · GW

I'm particularly annoyed by this because I've seen this play out in person - I've invited respected professionals to EA events who were seriously disrespected by people with dubious and overconfident ideas.

Comment by Khorton on The Folly of "EAs Should" · 2021-01-11T22:31:44.421Z · EA · GW

I don't think donating to a theatre is done in order to "make the world a better place", I think it's done to be able to continue to have access to a community research you enjoy and build your reputation in your community. It's actually a really bad idea for EAs to become known as a community of free riders.

And ultimately, it should be that person's choice - if you don't know much about their life, why would you tell them what part of their budget they should replace in order to increase donations to top causes? It's better to donate 10% to effective charities and continue donating to local community organisations than to donate 10% to effective charities and spend the rest on fast food, in my view, but ultimately it's none of my business!

Comment by Khorton on The Folly of "EAs Should" · 2021-01-11T22:28:16.903Z · EA · GW

I think there are a lot of people who are already doctors who can use that to do a lot of good, and there are some naive EAs who suggest they should drop their 25 years of medical experience to become a technical AI safety researcher. No! Maybe they should become a public health policy expert; maybe they should keep being a great doctor.

I also think a lot of people value their local community theatre and want it to continue - they enjoy it, it's a hobby. If they and others donate, the theatre continues to exist, otherwise it doesn't. I wouldn't suggest they should become freeriders.

Comment by Khorton on The Folly of "EAs Should" · 2021-01-08T20:27:31.868Z · EA · GW

Yes, I think this point is both important and underrated - we need to stop saying "don't donate to your local theatre" or "don't be a doctor" because actually those are very alienating statements that turn out to be bad advice a lot of the time