Posts

On what kinds of Twitter accounts would you be most interested in seeing research? 2021-07-17T12:27:03.792Z
Building my Scout Mindset: #1 2021-07-16T18:55:03.032Z
Building my Scout Mindset: Introduction 2021-07-16T18:15:56.642Z
Miranda_Zhang's Shortform 2021-07-08T14:55:40.336Z
[Feedback Request] Hypertext Fiction Piece on Existential Hope 2021-05-30T15:44:40.506Z
'Are We Doomed?' Memos 2021-05-19T13:51:09.697Z

Comments

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on On what kinds of Twitter accounts would you be most interested in seeing research? · 2021-08-05T11:27:19.006Z · EA · GW

Hmm that makes sense. Thank you!

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Miranda_Zhang's Shortform · 2021-07-26T21:01:24.766Z · EA · GW

Thanks! I'll take a break from thinking about the theory - ironically, I am fairly confident I don't want to go into academia.

Again, appreciate your thoughts on this. Hope I'll hear from you again if I post another Shortform about my thesis!

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Miranda_Zhang's Shortform · 2021-07-26T18:46:07.060Z · EA · GW

Hmm! Yes, that's interesting - and aligns with the fact that many different policy influencers weighed in, ranging from former to current policymakers. Thank you very much for this!

I think something I'm worried about is how I can conceptualize [inside experts] vs. [outside experts] ... It seems like a potentially arbitrary divide and/or a very complex undertaking given the lack of transparency into the policy process (i.e. who actually wields influence and access to Biden and Katherine Tai, on this specific issue?).

It also complicates the investigation by adding in the element of access as a factor, rather than purely thinking about narrative strategies - and I very much want to focus on narratives. On one hand, I think that could be interesting - e.g. looking at narrative strategies across levels of access. On the other, I'm uncertain that looking at narrative strategies would add much compared to just analyzing the stances of actors within the sphere of influence.

What do you think of this alternate RQ: "How did pro/anti-waiver coalitions use evidence in their narratives?"

Moves away from the focus on experts but still gets to the scientific/epistemic component.

(I'm also wondering whether I am being overly concerned with theoretically justifying things!)

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Miranda_Zhang's Shortform · 2021-07-25T20:54:51.705Z · EA · GW

*edit 3: After reading more on Epistemic Communities, I think I'm back where I started.
*edit 4: I am questioning, now, whether I need a framework of how experts influence policymaking at all ... Maybe I should conceptualize my actors more broadly but narrow the topic to, say, the use of evidence in narratives?

I really appreciate your response, Ian! I think it makes sense that the more convoluted status of the first debate would make it a more valuable question to investigate.

My hesitation was not worded accessibly or clearly - it was too grounded in the specific frameworks I'm struggling to apply - so let me reword: it doesn't seem accurate to claim that there was one expert consensus (i.e. primarily pro-/anti-waiver).  Given that, I am not sure a) how to break down the category of 'expert' - although you provide one suggestion, which is helpful - and b) how strongly I can justify focusing on experts, given that there isn't a clear divide between "what experts think" and "what non-experts think."

Non-TL;DR:

My main concern with investigating the debate around the TRIPS waiver is that there doesn't seem to be a clear expert consensus. I'm not even sure there's a clear EA-aligned consensus, although the few EAs I saw speak on this (e.g. Rob Wiblin) seemed to favor donating over waiving IP (which seems like a common argument from Europe). Given that, I question

  1. the validity of investigating 'expert narratives' because 'experts' didn't really agree there
    1. However, I don't know if it would be in/valid (per the theories I want to draw from, e.g. Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) or Epistemic Communities), so that would be one of my next steps.
      1. This particular description worries me: "Advocacy coalitions are all those defined by political actors who share certain ideas and who coordinate among themselves in a functional way to suggest specific issues to the government and influence in the decision-making process."
      2. This would be subverted by your suggestion, though, as I note in point 3!
  2. the validity of investigating expert narratives specifically instead of the general public—if experts didn't coalesce around a specific stance, what's my justification for investigating them specifically instead of getting a sense of the public generally? ACF explicitly notes that "common belief systems bind members of a coalition together." Given that the pro-/anti-waiver coalitions  are defined by common beliefs held by both experts and non-experts (e.g.  pro-free-market), how can I justify exclusively focusing on experts?
    1. This is probably not a valid concern, now that I think about it. After all, my thesis hinges upon the idea that experts help inform policymakers + policymaking, so it makes sense to focus on their narratives rather than looking at the public as a whole...
    2. However, it seems like focusing exclusively on two expert groups is valid at least within the Epistemic Community framework, so perhaps this would work if it turns out that certain kinds of experts advocated for the same stance.
  3. whom I should focus on—without being able to lump all experts together, how should I break them down?
    1. Perhaps I could subdivide experts into coalitions - e.g. experts for the waiver and experts against the waiver? (This is akin to the fault lines you mention)
      1. I still feel kind of iffy about investigating experts specifically here, instead of the general public, particularly because I could use the same coalitional divide (pro-/anti-waiver)
    2. Or should I focus on EA-aligned experts specifically?
      1. But I don't know how to justify this... It doesn't seem like the smartest research practice
Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Miranda_Zhang's Shortform · 2021-07-25T16:54:03.230Z · EA · GW

I'm (still!!!) thinking about my BA thesis research question and I think my main uncertainty/decision point is what specific policy debate to investigate. I've narrowed it down to two so far - hopefully I don't expand - and really welcome thoughts.

Context: I am examining the relationship between narratives deployed by experts on Twitter and the Biden Administration's policymaking process re: COVID-19 vaccine diplomacy. Specifically,  I want to examine a debate on an issue wherein EA-aligned experts have generally coalesced around one stance.

Motivating questions/insights:

  1. COVID-19 policymakers solicited help from experts
    1. However, the U.S. public's trust in experts has varied. It may have peaked last year and now be declining
  2. Vaccine diplomacy (along with all health policy) is not solely an issue of 'following the science'
    1. This is not to say that data or rationality is not important. In fact, I would be extremely interested in investigating whether the combination  of scientific evidence + thematic framing is more effective than either alone.
      1. However, that would be an experimental study which is not something I am interested in.
    2. This suggests I might want to investigate the presence of scientific vs thematic elements in expert narratives. Not sure though... It's not what I'm immediately drawn to
  3. Evidence/science alone is insufficient. Experts need to be able to tell stories/persuade/make a moral or emotional appeal. (Extrapolated from the claim that narratives can be influential in policymaking)
    1. At the very least, experts should make clear that no decision is value-neutral and the specific values they are prioritizing in their recommendation
    2. Now that I think about it, the fact that I'm 'not sure' about this re: COVID-19 might mean this would make for a good RQ? Or maybe I'm just not thinking of the relevant literature right now.

The two debates below, including general thoughts

  1. The COVID-19 TRIPS Waiver (waiving IP)
    1. What most excites me about this: The Biden Admin did a strong 'about-face' on this and the discourse around this was very rich (involved many actors with strong opinions, and entwines with debates around vaccine sharing etc.).
    2. Main hesitation: I don't know how to think about experts as an actor here. Should they be considered a coalition, per the Advocacy Coalition Framework? Or should I look at a specific set of aligned expert organizations/individuals? Or should I look at all experts on Twitter?
      1. But ACF emphasizes long-term policymaking and shared beliefs - and it seems like there was no singular expert consensus on whether the TRIPS waiver would be a net good. Now that I think about it, this might be due to a lack of transparency over what is being [morally] prioritized...
      2. But why focus on aligned orgs/individuals? How can I justify that? How generalizable is that even?
      3. But if I include all experts, including experts who might have other avenues to policy influence (e.g. big think tanks or former officials), then why not also examine non-expert narratives?
        1. Specifically, the rationale behind examine Twitter is that it provides a highly-accessible advocacy platform to people who do not otherwise have much visibility/leverage
        2. Also, looking at a wide range of Tweets helps get a sense of the general narrative
  2. Delaying child vaccinations (viz. the WHO's recommendation)
    1. What most excites me about this: There is an explicit non-epistemic debate here (prioritizing children domestically vs the global poor), and that is what I care the most about. There still remains a scientific/epistemic component, too: "Are children safe without vaccines?"
      1. Additionally, there is an added controversial non-epistemic element of anti-maskers
    2. Main hesitation: But the Biden administration hasn't really 'made a policy' on this. So what policy process would I be examining?
      1. This also straddles the line between domestic and international, in that the debate is primarily about picking between the two (in contrast to the first debate), which could be tricky

*edited for clarity - was in a rush when I posted!

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Linch's Shortform · 2021-07-25T16:25:22.560Z · EA · GW

I love Hamilton!  I wrote my IB Extended Essay on it!

I also really love and relate to Non-Stop but in the obsessive, perfectionist way. I like + appreciate your view on it, which seems quite different in that it is more focused on how Hamilton's brain works rather than on how hard he works.

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Building my Scout Mindset: #1 · 2021-07-22T09:56:45.140Z · EA · GW

Oh, I didn't know that! Appreciate the clarification of how the Forum works.

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Humanities Research Ideas for Longtermists · 2021-07-21T18:32:49.831Z · EA · GW

Update: This article seems to be pretty relevant to the above question.

Unfortunately, I'm starting to think my interest is even more qualitative than the above. So I'm not sure how much I'll be contributing to that research question.

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on On what kinds of Twitter accounts would you be most interested in seeing research? · 2021-07-18T17:59:15.597Z · EA · GW

Yes, I think Lizka might have mentioned him too. Good suggestion, thank you!

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Building my Scout Mindset: #1 · 2021-07-17T13:40:32.166Z · EA · GW

Glad it was interesting! I did hope that others might be motivated to take up a scout habit if they read this, so I'm happy to hear that you might be one step closer to that. : )

Also, thank you for commenting because I am now realising I didn't include the article that this post is on...

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Building my Scout Mindset: #1 · 2021-07-16T18:57:58.287Z · EA · GW

I think this might be appearing on the front page despite me unchecking the 'Frontpage' box - which seems like a recurring issue for me.

I am sorry if this is on the front page; I don't think it should be and I intended for this to live on my personal blog...

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on What are some key numbers that (almost) every EA should know? · 2021-07-16T17:38:46.267Z · EA · GW

Made a save all based on the Anki deck, thank you! Probably janky/includes errors but had to start somewhere.

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Miranda_Zhang's Shortform · 2021-07-16T00:34:16.781Z · EA · GW

Thank you, so helpful!

To clarify - "little evidence" implies that you think observations of current conditions aligning with model predictions, e.g. "Previous studies that attempted to do this found that the model’s worst-case scenarios accurately reflected real-world developments," are weak?

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Miranda_Zhang's Shortform · 2021-07-15T15:10:57.468Z · EA · GW

At work so have no mental space to read this carefully right now, but wonder if anyone has thoughts - specifically about whether there's any EA-relevant content: MIT Predicted in 1972 That Society Will Collapse This Century. New Research Shows We’re on Schedule. (vice.com)

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on US bill limiting patient philanthropy? · 2021-07-14T17:18:59.439Z · EA · GW

Great recent example of my above points: Whose Dollars Are These Anyway? Foundations Rethink Their Model (nextcity.org)

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on World federalism and EA · 2021-07-14T12:54:11.602Z · EA · GW

Interesting, thank you for this! I haven't read much on global governance, which is likely why I struggle to think of ideal structures for such institutions despite my strong belief in its necessity.

Two questions:

  • To you, what suggests that it's  "recently been gaining traction?"
  • More generally, I know some EA folk are connected with the Democracy Policy Network ... Does that kind of network seem orthogonal to global governing work? Or would a push for global governance be more likely to be separate from domestic policymaking networks?
Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Lessons from Strangers Drowning by Larissa MacFarquhar · 2021-07-10T19:17:36.079Z · EA · GW

I have only read brief excerpts of this book & it is still on my To-Read, so I found this helpful!

Of course, I can't speak to the accuracy of these lessons (having not read the source text) but nonetheless, I appreciate your post and insights.

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Humanities Research Ideas for Longtermists · 2021-07-10T17:55:17.246Z · EA · GW

Quick note: I'm considering switching thesis topics to "Did the actions of people with large Twitter followings who tweeted about pandemic interventions affect real (CDC, WHO, and US gov) decisions in measurable ways? Some case studies here could be Nate Silver (e.g. vaccine side-effects), Matt Yglesias (mid-pandemic, vaccine prioritization), and Zeynep Tufekci (early on, masks)."

Not at all firm on this but just wanted to make a note here, as I would love to talk about how to make my Public Policy thesis EA-aligned! 

seriously, send help.

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Miranda_Zhang's Shortform · 2021-07-08T20:39:48.272Z · EA · GW

Good flag, thanks!

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Miranda_Zhang's Shortform · 2021-07-08T14:55:40.533Z · EA · GW

Would it be useful to compile EA-relevant press?

Inspired by me seeing this Vice article on wet-bulb conditions (a seemingly unlikely route for climate change to become an existential risk): Scientists Studying Temperature at Which Humans Spontaneously Die With Increasing Urgency 

If so, what/how? I don't think full-time monitoring makes sense (first rule of comms: do everything with a full comms strategy in mind!) but I wonder if a list or Airtable would still be useful for organizations to pull from or something...

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Messaging ideas for media coverage against animal agriculture? · 2021-07-05T20:30:41.735Z · EA · GW

Hmm. Agree that the first question is highly subjective, to the point where I'd recommend tailoring it more to the audience you're looking to reach most, but I'm giving it a shot anyway!

  1. "In the United Kingdom, agriculture is 10% of our greenhouse gas emissions—of which animal agriculture makes up over 80%. Just like we need to move towards clean energy and transport, we need to radically rethink our food system. There is no Planet B: we are in a climate crisis and we need systemic change everywhere, starting with a truly sustainable, plant-based food system."
    1. Brief comments on my choices
      1. Punchy stats are great for press.
      2. 'Planet B' is perhaps too trite, but conveys the same sentiment as the first sentence more quickly
      3. I feel like the Amazon might be a bit too out-of-mind right now, but I could be wrong. Depending on how soon this will go out, we could also focus on recent events e.g. the pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico or the many heatwaves this year (although attributing these to climate change might be stretching it)
    2. I drafted this based on the original draft - I didn't scope out Animal Rebellion's social media/press releases to get a better sense of your voice, but if I'm really off-base here, let me know and I'd be willing to do that!
  2. I imagine that you'd want a UK-based spokesperson? I'm afraid I don't have any valuable connects here but I'll let you know if I think of someone!
Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Help Rethink Priorities Use Data for Animals, Longtermism, and EA · 2021-07-05T20:06:06.322Z · EA · GW

As someone very keen on messaging considerations, this is so exciting, especially the potential for Rethink to fill out that consultancy gap!

Alas, if I were graduating sooner ... In the mean time, will be following closely. 

edit: Oh, and to support the suggested model of a consultancy, one need only look at Data for Progress for an example of a polling arm that has become quite influential (within progressive/leftist circles) for issue messaging

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on EA syllabi and teaching materials · 2021-07-02T19:30:22.987Z · EA · GW

I took this class, Are we Doomed? Confronting the End of the World which I thought was fairly EA-aligned (in terms of addressing existential risk, and including a link to 80k): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YSs8_COvHQBiE2msm37C2Nt6Sc29GcJJq3fpl2Tii0I/edit?usp=sharing 

*edit Oh, and Philosophy and Philanthropy explicitly read EA texts: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NnhmKR-hXcyHkVPWFQ7roeVzTlSMIYnh0mWD3obSV-k/edit?usp=sharing 

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on [Future Perfect] How to be a good ancestor · 2021-07-02T19:25:38.686Z · EA · GW

Agreed - and the explicit recognition + response of common critiques, as well as the inclusion of several expert perspectives ... swoon

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on COVID: How did we do? How can we know? · 2021-06-30T15:58:02.568Z · EA · GW

Going to take an actual look at this later (my thesis is probably on COVID-19 x IIDM so I'm excited!) but wanted to let you know that I really appreciate the humorous flair in your post!

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Can my self-worth compare to my instrumental value? · 2021-06-29T21:46:52.651Z · EA · GW

Thank you for responding to my comment and sharing your (more recent) experience! I agree that I don't need to 'solve' it intellectually - I've never felt like my philosophy holds me back from feeling fulfilled and I think the issue of low self-confidence is at least partly separate. I'm very glad to hear that you are in a better place now. :)

The role model concept is definitely something I've heard before and while it doesn't really make self-care easy, I agree that it is useful - e.g. when I feel guilty about not working overtime, I remind myself that I would prefer + want to create a society that doesn't incessantly overwork. Why would anyone want to join a community that doesn't encourage individual flourishing? 

Thank you again for your kind words and your offer! I think I'm good for now but will keep in mind. In the mean time, I hope to see you around the forum!

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on US bill limiting patient philanthropy? · 2021-06-26T13:39:28.081Z · EA · GW

While I'm not 100% in agreement with Rob Reich's arguments (author of Just Giving, which argues that US philanthropy threatens democracy), I am interested by his recommended reforms and think an effective EA response would propose some sort of alternative reform. I am certain that US laws around philanthropy could be improved.

By the way, Julia Galef did an episode of Rationally Speaking with him! (As you may be able to tell from this Twitter thread, they didn't really see eye-to-eye.)

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on US bill limiting patient philanthropy? · 2021-06-26T13:33:44.871Z · EA · GW

Short list of how philanthropic/non-profit organizations have responded:

I think the last one, which is from the poverty NGO Global Citizen, is particularly interesting. It goes from asking, "with just under a decade until 2030, it’s important we ask the right questions: are we doing enough to address extreme poverty globally?" to "[American] charities need our help. " Pointing out the US-centric view they have in supporting this bill might be a good start in crafting an EA response.

Also, I tried to find the status of the bill but couldn't either. However, I did find the full text.

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on US bill limiting patient philanthropy? · 2021-06-26T13:22:23.081Z · EA · GW

I'd be interested in thinking about how an EA response could be crafted but I want to point out that there are several key points to be aware of in communicating about this. You did a great job outlining points of tension between supporters of this bill and the patient philanthropy mindset above, but I want to add a few more - particularly given I know a lot of folk who would agree with these points, and so I hope I can frame them more neutrally:

  • I am certain that part of this momentum is driven by a belief that 'many billionaires/philanthropists come by their money through doing harm, and this harm must be offset somehow (which is not happening because they gain tax benefits through their philanthropic activity)'
    • Note: this ties into justice/fairness rather than a simple concern of "what is best," welfare-wise. I am skeptical that using the traditional EA framework for charity will be effective messaging against this point
  • I am somewhat certain that part of this momentum comes from skepticism around the effectiveness/impact of existing well-known philanthropists, e.g. Bill Gates & the Gates Foundation
  • I am certain that part of this momentum comes from increasing concern around the institutional effects of increasing wealth inequality and philanthropic giving, namely its potential threat to democracy and its proclivity for top-down aid/noblesse oblige which exacerbates the concentration of power + wealth in the already-wealthy
    • More broadly, this ties into arguments against capitalism and colonialism
    • Note: so essentially, there is both a short-term and long-term argument for philanthropy doing harm
  • I am very certain that the increasing wealth inequality in the US is a key motivator and until the moral circle becomes more global, this must be a point to address. People do not take kindly to the fact that philanthropists are, essentially, taking away what is owed them - tax dollars that could go towards providing government services

Note that the claims I make above are framed in a way that a supporter of this bill might view them, and do not necessarily reflect my personal opinions.

Again, I would love to see a thoughtful and persuasive way of responding to this but I want us to be very cautious in doing so. I think many of these concerns are driven by short-term thinking, which is worth  pointing out, but as someone in the U.S. I am also aware of the pain points and potential backlash.

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Can my self-worth compare to my instrumental value? · 2021-06-26T01:01:15.026Z · EA · GW

Thank you for this. It's something I've struggled with a lot, too - I wish I had more to add right now but tonight's a really hard night for me, and delving too deeply into my psychological issues tends to trigger more negativity.

I will say, however, that I've been slowly going through the Replacing Guilt blog post series (from Nate Soares) and it has been helpful in dealing with some of these issues, e.g. "feeling like a bad person for not doing enough [of what makes me instrumentally valuable]."

I also do think that the instrumental value argument for self-care is pretty compelling to me; I don't think I actually need to view myself as inherently worthy. I think this stems from a controversial belief that I'm not sure people inherently 'deserve' to live (although this is not a coherent belief because I waver between saying that nobody deserves to die and that some people use up more resources than they give back, which means they don't 'deserve' their resources), so I'm being internally consistent when applying it to myself. Regardless, the instrumental argument is difficult enough for me to put into practice!

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on [Feedback Request] Hypertext Fiction Piece on Existential Hope · 2021-06-22T20:41:12.261Z · EA · GW

Oh, thank you! Not an urgent request so I'm not too bothered w/ not receiving feedback right now. 

Agree on EAs currently under-utilizing mediums that communicate ideas creatively, especially in a way that does not explicitly brand them as EA. I typically enjoy Clearer Thinking's exercises a lot and think non-rationalists and non-EAs would too!

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Humanities Research Ideas for Longtermists · 2021-06-18T01:24:48.252Z · EA · GW

Great list - even though the EA community certainly doesn't exclude or disvalue the humanities, I think it can be perceived as such. As someone with deep pulls to narrative + cultural change practitioners, I particularly like that you've included literature/media here - narrative change is a nascent field but an oft-touted accomplishment is the legalization of gay marriage: Cultural change in acceptance of LGBT people: lessons from social marketing

If narrative can influence policy then this kind of work does seem important for building out institutions capable of governing for the long-term.

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Please Test/Share my New Vegan Video Game · 2021-06-01T00:43:38.291Z · EA · GW

Okay just finished it! Took ~1.5 hours for 1 full playthrough and 1 'skip-to-end' playthrough.

Again, want to emphasize that the person I played this with was in charge of making the choices and maybe not super representative of average population lol

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Please Test/Share my New Vegan Video Game · 2021-05-31T23:16:14.741Z · EA · GW

Hmm, build -54 doesn't work. I downloaded one version today which closes immediately upon opening while -52, which I downloaded yesterday, does open.

I'll start playing the older version first!

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Please Test/Share my New Vegan Video Game · 2021-05-30T15:25:19.231Z · EA · GW

oh this looks ADORABLE. love the animal crossing feel - will definitely check out and probably ask others to take a look too :)

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Being Vocal About What Works · 2021-05-11T20:39:06.025Z · EA · GW

I like this framing a lot - not seeing EA (or any kind of moral imperative) as a sacrifice but something that can be additive/fulfilling is crucial, I think.

However, I want to add a cautionary note against only focusing on the positives of spreading/joining the EA community. I don't think you intended to suggest that at all, but in my experience EA can exacerbate perfectionist tendencies in a way that is deleterious to mental health, and being aware of that might be important in ensuring that spreading EA leads to fulfillment. I think this can be mitigated by emphasizing the social aspect and encouraging people to view EA as a community instead of purely a framework/standard. Fortunately your point lends itself well to this, since spreading word of EA to one's friends is inherently social!

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Be Specific About Your Career · 2021-02-25T15:52:05.505Z · EA · GW

As somebody currently struggling to plan out my career path - 100%. Networking calls have been immensely helpful not for clarifying my cause priorities but rather, for gaining an understanding of the concrete skills + responsibilities that a role might involve.

Also, once you narrow down the specifics, uncertainty becomes much more manageable: if the role involves a lot of event planning, do you like event planning? If you don't know, then maybe you should identify a way to briefly trial that! Practical experience and reflection upon past experiences specifically  framed through a professional lens (which networking has also been helpful for) seem a little neglected amongst early career planners given their utility.

Finally, I love the note to link potential paths to impact. This is a good way of reconciling abstract cause prioritization with personal fit: do you see yourself burning out? How can you work towards the issue area given your unique position, even if that work doesn't seem to be a popular recommendation? I think EAs who are newer but very enthusiastic are prone to overly discount experimenting outside of the most well-known career paths.

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on Possible gaps in the EA community · 2021-01-28T02:50:16.926Z · EA · GW

Definitely agree with this, as someone currently at UChicago! The Center for Radical Innovation for Social Change (RISC) recently put out a call for animal welfare proposals and Steve Levitt has connections to Schmidt Futures (an EA-adjacent philanthropic initiative), so that could be a promising place to start.

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on My Career Decision-Making Process · 2021-01-28T02:28:42.813Z · EA · GW

Thank you for this - very well-organized, clear, & relatable as someone struggling to figure out their first foray into the professional world.

Definitely agree that having more posts like this would be helpful considering the selectivity + relatively low supply of formal EA mentorship programs.

Comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) on EA Birthday Posts: An Alternative to Fundraisers · 2020-11-11T00:36:14.462Z · EA · GW

Haven't thought about this enough to leave a helpful note but funnily enough, my birthday is this week & I will definitely be imitating you! What a great idea; I really need to start using social media more as a platform for EA.