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Comment by manuel_allgaier on CEA update: Q4 2020 · 2021-01-15T19:06:52.198Z · EA · GW

Thanks a lot for taking the time to write up and share your strategy as well as these quartlery updates! 

Comment by manuel_allgaier on CEA update: Q4 2020 · 2021-01-15T18:52:58.577Z · EA · GW

It seems like your group support in Q4 was mostly focussed on students - is that just a coincidence or will student groups be your main priority for 2021 (compared to city groups, national groups, cause area groups & career groups)?

(Only reply if you have time to elaborate, no worries if not!)
 

Comment by manuel_allgaier on CEA update: Q4 2020 · 2021-01-15T18:47:46.218Z · EA · GW

make several excellent hires [...] major focus next year [2021]. 

Great to see you expanding, especially on the groups team! 

How do you plan to hire people - public vacancies or private offers?

 I'm personally in favor of public vacancies as you reach more people and might find better applicants, and also because it makes the whole process more transparent and fair. I feel like EA employers currently often offer jobs privately to people in their network, which makes it seem like knowing the right people is more important than having the best skills. Consequently, people interested in EA might feel like they need to focus more on networking and being visible instead of actual work (also if that's not actually the case). 

On the other hand, public hiring processes cost time which may not be worth it, and there might be other downsides I'm not yet aware of. Curious about your thoughts on this (if you find it worth your time to elaborate, no worries if you have more important things to do!)

PS: Just to be clear, I don't mean to criticize any previous hires - glad that Huw, Sara & Aadil joined your team!

Comment by manuel_allgaier on CHOICE - Creating a memorable acronym for EA principles · 2021-01-12T11:29:02.767Z · EA · GW

Thanks for getting back to me and for being open to updating your opinion! :)

If you no longer endorse some of your original thoughts here (replacing CEA's guiding principles), I would consider editing the article and putting a note on top or at the respective parts, else people who only read the article (and not all comments here) miss the update and still think you propose to change CEA's guiding principles.  

Comment by manuel_allgaier on CHOICE - Creating a memorable acronym for EA principles · 2021-01-09T16:06:20.816Z · EA · GW

I see the motivation, but to me, the CEA Guiding Principles seem very carefully chosen and better than the suggestions here (though they are not bad either). I would be worried that CHOICE or another acronym would crowd out the Guiding Principles simply because it is easier to remember, while being worse content-wise (in my opinion).

(if relevant I can elaborate on why the Guiding Principles seem better to me)

Comment by manuel_allgaier on CHOICE - Creating a memorable acronym for EA principles · 2021-01-09T16:05:47.835Z · EA · GW

I see the motivation, but to me, the CEA Guiding Principles seem very carefully chosen and better than the suggestions here (though they are not bad either)*. I would be worried that CHOICE or another acronym would crowd out the Guiding Principles simply because it is easier to remember, while being worse content-wise (in my opinion).

*if relevant I can elaborate on that.

Comment by manuel_allgaier on Introducing High Impact Athletes · 2020-12-15T09:58:14.661Z · EA · GW

Praise, recommendations for advisers & feedback

This seems very promising, I like the web design and you seem to already have a good number of pro athletes on board. Great work!

1) Advisers
Have you been in touch with Luke Freeman from Giving What We Can? Maybe he has some more pro athletes in his GWWC network, and as he's working full-time on this he might have good advice for setting up a pledge network. Other good sources of advice could be Founders Pledge, One for the World and Effective Giving (focussed on wealthy people). 

2) You listed animal welfare charities under "environmental impact" - I see why, but lots of people might also intrinsically care about saving animals - would it make sense to have an extra "animal welfare" section?

3) In the sign-up form the pledge options range from 1% to 10%. People are biased to choose something in the middle, so you might inspire larger donations if you also include 15%, 20%, 30% and maybe a "haven't yet decided" field (then you could offer to have a call and help them decide). 

All the best for your work!

Comment by manuel_allgaier on List of EA-related organisations · 2020-12-07T11:15:34.729Z · EA · GW

Good idea! Would recommend to coordinate with the EA Hub as they already have such an overview (though not a wiki afaik) to avoid creating duplicates. 

Comment by manuel_allgaier on List of EA-related organisations · 2020-12-07T11:14:15.675Z · EA · GW

I haven't used GitHub before - how intuitive is it for people without IT background? 
Else, maybe www.notion.so could be an option? I've often seen this used for wikis. 

Comment by manuel_allgaier on Introducing Probably Good: A New Career Guidance Organization · 2020-11-11T16:17:43.751Z · EA · GW

FWIW: 75 upvotes (as of now) for Michael's post seem strong evidence that at least a significant fraction of forum readers find the name "weird" or "off-putting" at first glance. In most cases, that might be enough for people not to look into it more (e.g. if it's one of hundreds of posts on their Facebook timeline). 

Even if the other half of people find the name great, I think I'd rather go for a less controversial name which no-one finds weird (even if fewer people find it great). 

Finding a good name is difficult - all the best and let us know if we can help! You could e.g. solicit ideas here on in a Facebook group and run polls in the "EA polls" group to get better quantitative feedback. 

Comment by manuel_allgaier on Introducing Probably Good: A New Career Guidance Organization · 2020-11-11T16:10:29.136Z · EA · GW

The case for limiting scope to certain cause areas, fields and/or locations

> What cause areas and career paths do we want to focus on? Do we want to start with specific fields and slowly grow, or do we want to provide shallow introductions more broadly and slowly deepen our content? (from your open questions)

I have supported some 30 people with their career planning, and in my experience, good career advice is both really valuable and quite difficult to give. High impact career paths are complex, difficult to evaluate and change often. If you try to cover all cause areas globally, you might not be able to give good advice, so I would argue for narrowing down the scope now already. 

For instance, 80,000 Hours has narrowed its scope to its "priority cause areas" (longtermist causes) and effectively also to jobs in the UK & the US, partly as some of the best opportunities might be in those countries and partly because they know these countries best. Also, they partner with experts in the various cause areas to ensure accurate content. 

Possible ways to narrow scope: 
- location: focus on general career coaching for people in Israel who are not yet set on a certain cause area
- cause area (such as Animal Advocacy Careers)
- field (e.g. careers in politics & policy such as HIPE)

I'd also consider what fields you know well personally. 

If you receive good feedback on that and have the capacity, you could still expand to more cause areas and locations, but it seems easier to grow this way around rather than start broadly and then narrow down. 


Generally, I do think that good career advice is one of the main bottlenecks of the EA community (and probably also altruistic people in general), and I'm excited to see what might come from this! 

Comment by manuel_allgaier on Sign up for the Forum's email digest · 2020-10-05T16:03:31.832Z · EA · GW

Thanks for trying this!

These are additional functions I'd find useful, but I'm not sure if it's worth the overhead for you:

  • choose tags: e.g. subscribe to all (upvoted) posts with certain tags
  • choose frequency: weekly, biweekly or monthly

Also, some blogs and forums seem to offer RSS feed, which I haven't used myself yet but just based on its popularity, seems useful for others.

Comment by manuel_allgaier on EA Group Organizer Career Paths Outside of EA · 2020-08-27T17:27:33.084Z · EA · GW

Thanks! Here are some further potential career paths for community builders , written by David Nash (EA London) in 2019 (got his permission to share this here).

@Ben_West if you find this useful you could link it in your article above to increase visibility.

Comment by manuel_allgaier on EA Group Organizer Career Paths Outside of EA · 2020-08-26T12:54:25.161Z · EA · GW
can't think of that many EA groups with >50 regulars

Agree that most EA groups are small, but those lead by full-time organizers such as London or (to a lesser extent) Berlin can reach those dimensions, see e.g. the EA London group directory. Berlin has 200-300 members who have been to an event at least once, an active Slack workspace and multiple meetup groups and projects running in parallel (mostly private, only some are public).

Comment by manuel_allgaier on EA Group Organizer Career Paths Outside of EA · 2020-08-26T12:44:03.434Z · EA · GW

Potential downside of community building (CB): Slower professional development if working alone --> I'd recommend CB teams, training and/or mentorship

I feel like I learned a lot in my past 1.5 years as full-time community builder , but one major downside was working mostly alone without a "co-founder", proper training or an "incubator" (as start-ups often have), and while I did have some advice & support from CEA and fellow professional CBs, I could have learned a lot faster if I had a co-founder, more training or more mentorship. I also initially underestimated the complexity of CB strategy (there are infinite possible projects and no-one really knows what works best for your specific group..) and the importance of mentorship. Now that I'm more aware of that, however, I found it not too difficult to get high-quality feedback from senior EA CBs.

For people starting out in Community Building, I'd recommend ideally having 2-3 committed people running a group rather than just one, or else maybe "interning" at an established group beforehand to learn faster and getting good mentorship right from the start.

Comment by manuel_allgaier on EA Group Organizer Career Paths Outside of EA · 2020-08-26T12:40:19.890Z · EA · GW

(Full-time) Community Building as a way to build (charity) entrepreneurship career capital

I've been working full-time on EA Berlin & Germany since 1.5 years thanks to a CEA CB Grant, and I feel like the work is quite similar to (charity) entrepreneurship, with tasks like:

  • Developing vision & strategy
  • Building products, events & services (e.g. career advice or conferences)
  • Communication / Marketing / "Sales" (all my meetups and career advice are free of cost, so I don't "sell" anything, but I still need to write engaging newsletters, websites etc. to convince people new to EA that it's worth their time)
  • Operations: "Customer" Relationship Management, Event management, etc.
  • Budgeting, measuring impact, communicating value to donors, possibly legal stuff etc.

In terms of career capital, I do think that credentials like "grew community to 200 engaged members", "inspired x people to donate x%" or "helped x people to get higher impact jobs, be more productive, happy etc." are worth something outside of EA as well, albeit CB does scale less well than tech start-ups who can easily get thousands or millions of users. I don't have any data on that, though, so if anyone here has data or a better estimate, please let me know!

Comment by manuel_allgaier on Why not give 90%? · 2020-03-25T10:23:19.029Z · EA · GW

Only trammel told me why

Maybe others downvoted for the same reason (off-topic), saw that trammel already commented and then just upvoted Trammell's comment (5 upvoted) instead of writing the same thing themselves?

Comment by manuel_allgaier on Responsible Biorisk Reduction Workshop, Oxford May 2020 · 2020-02-08T09:03:43.123Z · EA · GW

Is there already an online platform for EAs in biosecurity (besides the Facebook group)?

Other subgroups (EA Community Builders, EAs working in policy, EAs in Operations etc.) have active discussions in Slack workspaces, which seem great value. If you don't have that yet, I'd consider starting one and thinking carefully about criteria before inviting people (see "start with who" medium blog post)

If this does exist, I as EA Community Builder would appreciate hearing about it, so I can direct relevant group members there. Please comment or email me (manuel.allgaier@ea-berlin.org). Thanks!

Comment by manuel_allgaier on Responsible Biorisk Reduction Workshop, Oxford May 2020 · 2020-02-08T08:58:18.751Z · EA · GW

side-note: Appreciate how accessible you made this

I appreciate the "solidarity ticket" system & the public (but not too prominent) announcement here in the forum. I have the impression retreats like this one are often shared within closed networks only and/or have high entrance barriers (fees etc.), and to me, this seems like a better way to actually reach the most relevant people, even if they're not in the right networks already. There might be more considerations that I'm not aware of, though.

Comment by manuel_allgaier on Responsible Biorisk Reduction Workshop, Oxford May 2020 · 2020-02-08T08:53:18.406Z · EA · GW

This seems potentially high value, thanks a lot for the initiative!

Do you a specific target audience in mind? E.g. people with biology or policy background, people already working in biosecurity or just (EA-aligned) people generally interested in the field? I'll forward it to some EAs working in biosecurity now, happy to share it further if you wish.

All the best for your workshop!

Comment by manuel_allgaier on Call for beta-testers for the EA Pen Pals Project! · 2020-01-29T12:12:56.996Z · EA · GW

Nice initiative!

If it works well and reliably, you could ask CEA if they want to add to the "get involved" part of the EA website ( https://www.effectivealtruism.org/get-involved/ )

Comment by manuel_allgaier on Only a few people decide about funding for community builders world-wide · 2019-12-08T17:16:46.387Z · EA · GW

Thanks for taking the time to reply and update the title! :)

Yes, I saw your disclaimer and think it's helpful, people might indeed not read it or disregard it as the former title sounded rather certain.

Comment by manuel_allgaier on Only a few people decide about funding for community builders world-wide · 2019-12-06T12:42:36.381Z · EA · GW

Meta: Risk of false info spread through incorrect headline, and how we could avoid that

In a recent discussion on the EA philanthrophy landscape, one person expressed concerns about the "fact that only a single person decides on CB Grants", which is not true (as Harri explained in his comment). That person had the info from reading this forum post (don't know if she read the entire post or only the headline), but apparently she did not read Harri's comment and therefore assumed this to be true. In this case, I could correct her assumption and explain that it's actually not a single person making these decisions, but in other cases, this incorrect statement might spread further without being corrected.

This seems potentially very harmful to the community and I wonder how we could avoid these risks. One useful norm is certainly to double-check any statements before sharing them (which that person could have done), but another one might also be to approach such topics more carefully, e.g. contacting CEA before writing a post based on an incorrect assumption (though I can see how the CEA's org chart makes it seem this way) or framing posts differently (e.g. as question instead of statement). (Note that I'm still strongly in favor of discussing such topics on the EA forum and elsewhere)

Curious about your thoughts!

@Jan, please note that I do find your post important, particularly for bringing up the risks of having only one institution giving out CB grants, and I'm glad you wrote it! Please keep writing such posts! I just want to avoid risks for spreading false info.

Comment by manuel_allgaier on "EA residencies" as an outreach activity · 2019-11-17T10:53:59.805Z · EA · GW

Related idea: Make it a habit to reach out to local EA community when traveling?

Lots of EAs already travel quite a bit for work already (e.g. visiting conferences, retreats etc.) or in their vacation. I as EA Berlin group organizer am happy to organize a meetup with the EA Berlin community whenever someone interesting visits, but I often don't hear about them visiting if they're not already in my network or proactively reach out via the EA Berlin website or Facebook, which some do but some don't.

If every EA who's generally open to meet people makes it a habit to reach out to the local community when traveling (e.g. by looking them up on the map of the EA Hub (www.eahub.org)), then the local group organizers could organize a meetup or connect them to specific people for 1-1's, thereby giving them a low effort way to meet interesting people. This would also eliminate / mitigate risks of coming across as patronizing, arrogant or weird.

This could work even if there's no organized group in a city, as long as at least one of the local EAs filled out their profile on the EA Hub.

Comment by manuel_allgaier on "EA residencies" as an outreach activity · 2019-11-17T10:48:04.915Z · EA · GW

Great idea! EA Berlin (Germany) is happy to welcome traveling EAs and organize meetups and/or residencies.

I'm coordinating the EA Berlin chapter, we have a rather active EA community with ~30 regulars, ~200 people who joined at least one event and ~500 followers (both students and professionals), plus an active Rationality community. We have regular events (weekly meetups, monthly speaker events, socials and retreats) and some 10 people are also studying / working on AI-related subjects and interested in AI Safety.

However, one thing we're somewhat lacking is personal contact with EA orgs. Most of the most engaged EAs moved to the UK/US to work at an EA org, and while we have a few people in Berlin working at EA orgs remotely, we could definitely benefit from more (personal) contact with EA orgs, and they might find interesting people here as well. I'd be happy to welcome traveling EAs and (if they wish) organize meetups, connect them to others for 1-1's, give travel advice and organize a residency (arrange couchsurfing or give hostel/hotel recommendations).

I'm also interested in talking to people who live in places which they think would benefit from this type of thing.

Buck, not sure how relevant Berlin is as it's not the US, but if you want to chat nevertheless, feel free to email me! manuel.allgaier@ea-berlin.org


Comment by manuel_allgaier on An update on plans for EAGx 2020 · 2019-10-31T14:27:31.134Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the info! Adjusting the EAGx capacity seems like a good solution (at least for Europe), let's keep this in mind when choosing a venue.


Comment by manuel_allgaier on Who runs the Forum? · 2019-10-30T10:32:26.693Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the introductions, and for your work to coordinate knowledge sharing in the community!

I have one or two ideas on how to make the forum even better, are you interested in feedback? If you are, what would be the best way to submit feedback?

80,000 hours uses this feedback forum powered by Uservoice, which seems useful to not only receive suggestions but also prioritize them based on user votes. Would it make sense to use something similar for the EA Forum? Else, I can also just put my ideas in an email or not share them at all (in case you're too busy to look into it) - as you prefer!




Comment by manuel_allgaier on An update on plans for EAGx 2020 · 2019-10-29T09:59:43.041Z · EA · GW
soften the blow of rejection
more accessible than EAG

Maybe retreats organized by local groups could fulfill that purpose as well?

Here an example from Germany: Last August, we organized the "EA Unconference" retreat, which was relatively accessible and friendly. We chose the criteria such that anyone genuinely interested in EA could fulfill them [1] and found that all applicants fit the criteria - we didn't need to turn down anyone. We then spent three days on a farmhouse, discussing EA, supporting each other with cause prio, career planning and other relevant topics and also having some fun together and connecting on a personal level as well.

Appendix: More details for anyone considering organizing retreats:

The retreat was well-received, we had 50 participants from three countries and they rated it an 8.9/10 on average, on average 7x as valuable as what they would have done otherwise (median: 3x as valuable). Some also updated their career plans. It also did not take us that much time to organize it, as content was mainly participant-driven. We spent €3500 in total (€70 pp incl. food & accommodation), which was entirely covered by our sliding scale tickets (participants could choose ticket price themselves and paid €0-200), so we did not need any additional funding. We're planning to do one again this winter or next summer. If other community builders are interested, I could maybe write a more detailed evaluation as soon as I have time (let me know if you'd find that useful!).

[1] more info on the Unconference & criteria: http://bit.ly/ea_unconference_info

Comment by manuel_allgaier on An update on plans for EAGx 2020 · 2019-10-29T09:37:55.837Z · EA · GW

Interesting idea!

Re. an additional EAGx in the UK:

I'd expect the applicants who were not accepted to EAG London to be based not only in the UK but in entire Europe (unless you have data that suggests otherwise?), and as flights are cheap in Europe (<$100 return to most major cities), it seems that an EAGx in any major European city is sufficiently accessible. Or is there anything I overlooked?

If we assume that it doesn't matter much if an EAGx is hold in the UK or elsewhere in Europe, then the application-capacity-ratio of previous European EAGx conferences could be a good indication to see if there's more demand. Does anyone know how many people applied to previous European EAGx conferences, and how many were accepted?

This might not hold true for the US, though, as flights from the East Coast to the West Coast are more expensive.





Comment by manuel_allgaier on Only a few people decide about funding for community builders world-wide · 2019-10-27T17:55:53.751Z · EA · GW
CZEA was able to find some private funding even before CBG existed

Interesting! Up until now, my intuition was that private funding is only feasible after the group has been around for a few years, gathered sufficient evidence for their impact and some (former student) members earn enough and donate to it (at least this was the case for EA Norway, as far as I know).

Somewhat off-topic, but if you have time, I'd be curious to hear how CZEA managed to secure early private funding. How long had CZEA been active when it first received funding, what kind of donor and what do you think convinced them? (If you'd rather not share that publicly, feel free to email me at manuel.allgaier@ea-berlin.org and if you lack time to elaborate that's fine too!)

Comment by manuel_allgaier on Effective Altruism London Landscape in 2019 · 2019-06-24T10:14:43.940Z · EA · GW

Thanks! I found this (and the other EA London resources) quite useful for EA Berlin Community Building strategy. In particular your focus on "coordinating and supporting EA (sub-)groups" seems effective.

Berlin is not yet at a point where we have active sub-groups organizing events for almost every cause area and field, though, so in our situation, it seems to make sense to focus a bit on organizing events as well (in addition to 1-1's). I'll keep an eye out for proactive members who might be interested in organizing their own events or coordinating their own sub-groups, though, maybe we'll then make similar progress.