Posts

Books on social movements? 2022-09-17T06:27:19.961Z
Psychological Obstacles to Doing Good (Better) 2022-08-23T19:31:40.965Z
"Holy Shit, X-risk" talk 2022-08-15T05:04:48.221Z
Challenges for EA Student Group Organizers 2022-07-26T05:06:27.991Z
EA Opportunities: A new and improved collection of internships, contests, events, and more. 2022-07-22T04:09:50.923Z
A Database of EA Organizations & Initiatives 2022-07-22T03:52:39.797Z
Midwest EA's Next Steps Retreat Post-Mortem 2022-07-15T18:41:01.389Z
What are some measurable proxies for EA community health? 2022-07-14T06:26:07.598Z
Emphasizing emotional altruism in effective altruism 2022-07-05T19:47:17.118Z
What are some research resources that you have found particularly helpful? 2021-10-06T16:00:44.498Z

Comments

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Books on social movements? · 2022-09-19T22:12:51.341Z · EA · GW

Thanks for such a long annotated list! I think I'm going to start with How Change Happens: Why Some Social Movements Succeed While Others Don't and then move into this list. Overloaded at the moment but I'll be in touch if a chat seems valuable!  

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Books on social movements? · 2022-09-19T22:09:02.907Z · EA · GW

I'll look into these – Thanks!

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on The Nietzschean Challenge to Effective Altruism · 2022-09-12T01:01:24.902Z · EA · GW

Thank you for such a thoughtful response! This helps clear up some confusion and gives me more to think about. The perks of accessible discourse with an academic philosopher ;) 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on The Nietzschean Challenge to Effective Altruism · 2022-09-11T18:42:53.360Z · EA · GW

Wow, I found this post really thought provoking. 

Two thought experiments that made me realize I care more about grand aesthetics than I gave credit to:

  1. If two beings were equally happy, but one is wireheaded and one is living at a pinnacle of cultural excellence, which do I value more? 
    1. I'm pulled towards the latter, and I don't find a "well that's just your aesthetic preferences bro" rebuttal convincing grounds to entirely dismiss this preference.
  2. Would I want my children to live a life of intense happiness afforded by extreme comfort  or a slightly less happy life afforded by a pursuit of deep, lasting meaning? 
    1. I think the latter; I'm willing to trade some utility for grandeur. 

I could still reconcile these views with total utilitarianism if I say that grandeur and excellence are important elements of total utility (or at least the total utility I care about). But I'm weary of this move since (1) you could always just redefine total utility to dismiss any critique of total utility and (2) it would make my definition of total utility different than many other people's definition of total utility, which seems OK with experience-machine-style / extreme comfort utility.

Also, a point on word choice: I'm weary of "cultural excellence" as the thing to be caring about under this critique. I'm worried "culture" invites critiques of specific-culture elitism (e.g., western elitism) and is too transient across the grand time-scales  we might care about. I'm more drawn to "civilization excellence" or "enduring meaning" as phrases that capture something about the world I intrinsically care about beyond just total utility. 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on An entire category of risks is undervalued by EA [Summary of previous forum post] · 2022-09-05T18:28:22.748Z · EA · GW

I think this is a great post and I’m glad you took the time to summarize your longer post!

In my experience, the longtermist/ x-risk community has an implicit attitude of “we can do it better.” “We’re the only ones really thinking about this and we’ll forge our own institutions and interventions.” I respect this attitude a great deal, but I think it causes us to underestimate how powerful the political and economic currents around us are (and how reliant we are on their stability).

It just doesn’t seem that unlikely to me that we come up with some hard-won biosecurity policy or AI governance intervention, and then geopolitical turmoil negates all the intervention’s impact. Technical interventions are a bit more robust, but I’d claim a solid subset of those also require a type of coordination and trust that systemic cascading risks threaten.

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on The EA Behavioral Science Newsletter #6 (September 2022) · 2022-09-03T17:32:02.959Z · EA · GW

Exciting to hear that there's a new Rational Altruism Lab starting at UCLA!

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on EA is about maximization, and maximization is perilous · 2022-09-03T16:53:09.434Z · EA · GW

I think I still stand behind the sentiment in (3), I'm just not sure how to best express it. 

I agree that 100% (naively) maximizing for something can quickly become counter-productive in practice. It is really hard to know what actions one should take if one is fully maximizing for X, so even if one wants to maximize X it makes sense to take into account things like optics, burnout, Systemic cascading effects,  epistemic uncertainty, and whatever else gives you pause before maximizing.

This is the type of considerate maximization I was gesturing at when I said directionally more maximizing might be a good thing for some people (to the extent they genuinely endorse doing the most good), but I recognize that 'maximizing' can be understood differently here.

Caveat 1: I think there are lots of things it doesn't make sense to 100% maximize for, and you shouldn't tell yourself you are 100% maximizing for them. "Maximizing for exploration" might be such a thing. And even if you were 100% maximizing for exploration, it's not like you wouldn't take into account the cost of random actions, venturing into domains you have no context in, and the cost of spending a lot of time thinking about how to best maximize.

Caveat 2: it must be possible to maximize within one of multiple goals. I care a great deal about doing the most good I can, but I also care about feeling alive in this world.  I'm lying to myself if I say that something like climbing is only instrumental towards more impact. When I'm working, I'll maximize for impact (taking into account the uncertainty around how to maximize). When I'm not, I won't.

[meta note: I have little experience in decision theory, formal consequentialist theory, or whatever else is relevant here, so might be overlooking concepts]. 

Maybe the linked post makes it mean something other than what I understand - but most people aren't going to read it.

Fair. Nate Soares talks about desperation as a 'dubious virtue' in this post, a quality that can "easily turn into a vice if used incorrectly or excessively." He argues though that you should give yourself permission to go all out for something, at least in theory. And then look around, and see if anything you care about – anything you're fighting for – is "worthy of a little desperation."

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on EA is about maximization, and maximization is perilous · 2022-09-02T19:01:42.349Z · EA · GW

I'm really glad you wrote this post. Hearing critiques from prominent EAs promotes a valuable community norm of self-reflection and not just accepting EA as is, in my opinion. 

A few thoughts:

  1. It's important to emphasize how much maximization can be normalized in EA subpockets. You touch on this in your post: "And I’m nervous about what I perceive as dynamics in some circles where people seem to “show off” how little moderation they accept - how self-sacrificing, “weird,” extreme, etc. they’re willing to be in the pursuit of EA goals"). I agree, and I think this is relevant to growing EA Hubs and cause-area silos. If you move to an EA hub that predominantly maximizes along one belief (e.g.,  AI safety in Berkeley), very natural human tendencies will draw you to also maximize along that belief. Maximizing will win you social approval and dissenting is hard, especially if you're still young and impressionable (like meee). If you agree with this post's reasoning, I think you should take active steps to correct for a social bias toward hard-core maximizing (see 2).
  2. If you're going to maximize along some belief, you should seriously engage with the best arguments for why you're wrong. Scout mindset baby. Forming true beliefs about a complicated world is hard and motivated reasoning is easy. 
  3. Maximizing some things is still pretty cool. I think some readers (of the post and my comment) could come away with a mistaken impression that more moderation in all aspects of EA is always a good thing. I think it's more nuanced than that: Most people who have done great things in the past have maximized much harder than their peers. I agree one should be cautious of maximizing things we are"conceptually confused about, can’t reliably define or measure, and have massive disagreements about even within EA." But maximizing some things that are good across a variety of plausibly true beliefs can be pretty awesome for making progress on your goals (e.g., maximizing early-career success and learning). And even if the extreme of maximization is bad, more maximization might be directionally good, depending on how much you're currently maximizing. We also live in a world that may end within the next 100 years, so you have permission to be desperate.
Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on What are some measurable proxies for EA community health? · 2022-09-01T15:08:32.459Z · EA · GW

Just saw this  forum question from 2019 that I'll flag here: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/aEnvEmvNrhPhkTE38/what-metrics-may-be-useful-to-measure-the-health-of-the-ea 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Psychological Obstacles to Doing Good (Better) · 2022-08-23T21:35:13.519Z · EA · GW

Just reached out to Peter about this. Had him on my radar but thanks for the nudge :) 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on EAs underestimate uncertainty in cause prioritisation · 2022-08-23T17:41:22.721Z · EA · GW

The more time I've put into giving career advice and trying to work out my own career planning, the more I'm drawn to Holden's aptitude advice. In addition to feeling more actionable, identifying aptitudes you could excel at (and then testing those ) is more robust to this cause area uncertainty. 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on "Holy Shit, X-risk" talk · 2022-08-18T22:34:47.599Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the thoughtful comment! I like the list where people can fill in personal details, and agree that humor can be a welcome (and useful) addition here. 

I also appreciate the point that imagining a good future might be hard, given the current state of the world. The appeal to an AI-enabled better future could land with some EA audiences, but I think that would feel like an outlandish claim to many. I guess I (and maybe others?) have a bit more faith that we could build a better future even without AGI. Appealing to the trajectory of human progress would be a supporting argument here that some might be sympathetic to. 

 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on EA Opportunities: A new and improved collection of internships, contests, events, and more. · 2022-08-05T15:43:55.529Z · EA · GW

thanks for the flag! we’re working on fixing this now

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on How EA is perceived is crucial to its future trajectory · 2022-07-26T05:14:37.324Z · EA · GW

I intuitively agree with this post, but there's a crux here that would make me disagree: short AGI timelines and X-risk causes that are robust to EA brand collapse.

If AGI timelines are short, maybe it makes sense for the EA movement to just sprint right now (e.g., make lots of bets with money), even if that risks bad PR. This seems especially true if work on a cause like AI safety can stay productive regardless of whether or not the EA brand is intact.

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on EA Opportunities: A new and improved collection of internships, contests, events, and more. · 2022-07-25T17:36:34.231Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the tip. I will start sourcing more regularly from here.

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on A Database of EA Organizations & Initiatives · 2022-07-22T22:21:18.119Z · EA · GW

Yes, feel free to translate!

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on EA Opportunities: A new and improved collection of internships, contests, events, and more. · 2022-07-22T06:21:56.289Z · EA · GW

Agree, I should make this more explicit. Made edits to reflect this change in this post and on the website.

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on The Emotional Case For Longtermism · 2022-07-16T06:29:38.051Z · EA · GW

Only discovering this now, but it resonates. Looks like we have a shared interest in emotional altruism:

https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/9r9bArbkozxzRZpnK/emphasizing-emotional-altruism-in-effective-altruism

(on mobile, excuse the lack of hyperlink)

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Impossible EA emotions · 2022-07-16T06:22:00.418Z · EA · GW

Just discovering this now, but it really resonates. “A leap of faith” — I like that.

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on What are some measurable proxies for EA community health? · 2022-07-15T05:47:46.738Z · EA · GW

Ooo I hadn’t thought of this. Good idea!

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on What are some measurable proxies for EA community health? · 2022-07-14T17:45:38.105Z · EA · GW

Nice, I agree chrun rate seems like a good indicator of community health, but I see two problems: 

1) It seems hard to measure. Most people journey through EA will be online and difficult to track, and even collecting data on initiatives like EA virtual programs seems unreliable. (I think I remember them having a low follow-up response rate). 

2) Churn rate relies on people entering the community in the first place. (I understand churn rate to measure the number of people who bounce from EA after a relatively short time period (e.g. 30 days). However, I can envision worlds where community health degrades so seriously that there stops being any people joining the community in the first place who could then be detected by a churn rate indicator. 

An alternative measure could be a more long term churn rate– rate of people who are already somewhat engaged with community who leave the community.

There are problems with every proxy, so just because this one has problems doesn't mean it might not be one of the best ones. Appreciate you suggesting it!

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Is there an EA Discord Group? · 2022-07-14T05:33:24.626Z · EA · GW

There are lots of online groups out there, which you can find here

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on College students interested in US policy: Consider remote government internships via VSFS · 2022-07-08T15:28:51.942Z · EA · GW

Some example positions:

  • Competitor National Intelligence Strategies Intern with Office of the Director of National Intelligence
    • "Interns will explore how foreign nations will evolve their intelligence capabilities to compete with the United States Intelligence Community (IC) and how the IC could adjust its strategy in response."
  • Tracking emerging technology worldwide Intern with the Department of State
    • "Help track emerging technology market developments and innovation ecosystems globally."
  •  Cybersecurity and IT Training Modernization & Rapid Response for Emerging Tech with the Department of State
    • "The School of Applied Information Technology for diplomats and foreign affairs professionals is modernizing operations and instructional delivery methods to more rapidly address cybersecurity and emerging technology training needs across a diverse, global workforce."
Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on College students interested in US policy: Consider remote government internships via VSFS · 2022-07-08T15:20:20.209Z · EA · GW

Highly recommend these opportunities! If you're at all interested in policy, I would encourage you to take 15 minutes to look through the projects

Unpaid: The internship is unpaid, which may require some participants to continue working other jobs during the internship

Depending on the position, I can imagine some applicants would be eligible for funding (eg. funding so you can drop another job to work on this). Here’s a list of EA funding opportunities that could get someone started.

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Emphasizing emotional altruism in effective altruism · 2022-07-07T16:21:17.192Z · EA · GW

Thank you for the thoughtful comment Geoffrey. I agree it's a fine balance between being wary – but not dismissive – of emotions.

I spent the latter half of my psychology undergraduate harping against emotions – talking about how our evolution has left us with unreliable guides for who to care about and how much to care. (Basically regurgitating Against Empathy). 

Yet here I am writing a whole post on emphasizing emotions. With enough nuance on which emotions we're talking about and in what settings, however, I think both views are compatible. (I appreciate your comment to that effect).

I also think your Venn diagram comment is apt. I agree it's a narrow overlap, but it's one I'd like to see a few more people with the right aptitudes lean into. 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Emphasizing emotional altruism in effective altruism · 2022-07-06T22:40:45.029Z · EA · GW

Thanks!

  1. I agree that emotions and their determinants are generally viewed as too static. Within reason, you can actively import certain emotions and change the way you relate to the ones that bubble up. ~Meditation~ :) 
  2. Agree, again. I hope I didn't make too strong of a dichotomy. Paul Slovic, a psychology researcher I'm fond of, has published on the importance of the 'affect heuristic.' We use our instinctive emotions to make lots of our decisions, and we're fooling ourselves if we claim all our decisions come from pure reason. I think the influence of emotions, either in the moment or at a more trait level, is generally greater than people think. 
Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Emphasizing emotional altruism in effective altruism · 2022-07-06T22:32:30.802Z · EA · GW

This seems right and is something EAs who resonate a lot with emotional pitches should be cautious of. A recommendation would be to first do cause prio at a rational, pragmatic level. Then, when digging into the problem you deem most important, try to find parts you can emotionally latch onto to keep you motivated. 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Emphasizing emotional altruism in effective altruism · 2022-07-06T22:29:24.699Z · EA · GW

I like it! One of my hopes in writing this post was sourcing posts people have related to this theme so I appreciate you sharing this. 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Emphasizing emotional altruism in effective altruism · 2022-07-06T13:16:24.103Z · EA · GW

Thanks for sharing! I hadn’t come across this but I like the framing.

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Community Builders Spend Too Much Time Community Building · 2022-06-29T08:59:16.585Z · EA · GW

I broadly agree with your thesis and would love to see more university groups prioritize the types of activities you mention. I think EA university community building needs to hear this critique right now.

But I'm worried people could over-update on this, so I want to introduce three caveats:

1. You need a core group: Placing more emphasis on collectively skilling one another up only seems possible for groups that already have 3+ people seriously committed to doing the most good, which can't be said for many new EA groups. New groups might benefit from overmarketing to build up a core group.


2. You need to maintain some mass outreach component: Ideally, every student at your uni knows that an EA group exists and roughly what it does. I think there are low-cost ways to do this, like mass email and dept. emails with mail-o-meter that funnel towards an intro event or fellowship (or fellowship alternative). Nevertheless, I'd be worried that a group that focuses too much on self-skill will miss finding many of the "instant EAs" that could be a great fit for the group. 


3. It's hard to onboard new members into a group that's skilling up: Imagine your friend tells you about this cool new student group that's all about impact. You're super excited – you've been looking for something like this – and then you attend a co-working session on FTX megaproject sketching. Or a reading group on a GPI report. You would have zero context and I wouldn't blame you if you walked away unsure what the group does and didn't come back. If you invite lots of people who are missing context to your event, you also risk seriously degrading the quality of your event. If you don't have events for them, you're potentially missing out on a lot of talent and introducing exclusivity concerns.  I want organizers to think more about these competing concerns. The easiest potential solution I see to the lack of onboarding is lots of 1-on-1 conversations with people who show interest (which I think every organizer should hear a few more times anyways). 

I'm also still genuinely uncertain that the multiplier effect isn't just that good. I lead a student group, and I've people who I think will do cool work have told me they wouldn't have gotten into EA if it weren't for me. I'm not sure if skilling up multiplies my impact in the same way. However, the post effectiveness is a conjunction of multipliers makes me think that it can be easy to underestimate the importance of improving your judgment and working on the right problems (and sub-problems) – which you do by skilling up,  building models, and good faith debates with friends. Not marketing. 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Community Builders Spend Too Much Time Community Building · 2022-06-29T08:16:36.503Z · EA · GW

I'd also love to see such a catalog

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Mastermind Groups: A new Peer Support Format to help EAs aim higher · 2022-06-28T14:14:27.747Z · EA · GW

Thanks for sharing! I'm thinking of starting something like this at my local university group next semester. I assume the virtual format mementioned

ntiond here generalizes well to in-person events here, but drop a comment if there are any considerations that you think are extra important in an in-person context.

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on EA and the current funding situation · 2022-05-11T05:41:11.097Z · EA · GW

Here’s a reminder I’ve found helpful for feeling risks of omission: there’s a world in which we fail.

There’s a world in which we tried to stop X-risk by unaligned AI or a catastrophic pandemic, but we didn’t. We didn’t act with enough urgency, and being really cautious about our spending slowed us down.

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Jose Valle: Virtual reality for promoting empathy · 2022-05-09T03:58:20.074Z · EA · GW

I'd love to see more virtual reality content in EA! 

VR will only become bigger in future years, and it seems uniquely posed to share ideas at a more visceral, emotional level that traditional EA communication can lack (e.g. first time I put on a VR headset and did the ISS simulation I had a mini overview effect that reaffirmed "wow, I really wanna protect this planet"

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Resources for better understanding aptitudes? · 2022-04-22T17:19:41.930Z · EA · GW

I can't think of any collections related to these aptitudes, but I agree they could be really valuable.

Coming up with group-learning guides for buildings these aptitudes could be a great, scaleable activity for student groups post-intro fellowships. 

Similarly,  projects ideas related to the aptitude could be really helpful. Some people have said that work trials (e.g. Rethink priorities') were very helpful for them to test to their fit, so these could be something to look into. 

Let me know if you look into this more– it's a project I'm considering this summer. 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on How To Raise Others’ Aspirations in 17 Easy Steps · 2022-03-30T05:06:27.324Z · EA · GW

Good ideas!

In a meeting a while back I floated a half-baked thought and you said something like "Is there something you could do [to develop that idea] in the next five minutes?" That's stuck with me since as an unusual – but very helpful – meeting moment :) 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on The BEAHR: Dust off your CVs for the Big EA Hiring Round! · 2022-03-24T20:03:13.333Z · EA · GW

I would love it if someone decided to quickly create and boldly market a new EA jobs board.

I want to flag the existence of the EA Internship Board for younger EAs. We hope to update this regularly as new positions role in! 

(If anyone is interested in helping source opportunities for young EAs in the coming months, please get in touch with me at MJusten@wisc.edu !) There would most likely be funding available. 

Related question: what proportion of these new opportunities do you think will be accessible to EA college students and recent graduates? 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on We're announcing a $100,000 blog prize · 2022-03-09T18:45:39.452Z · EA · GW

This is really exciting! Props to a beautiful, clear website and a launch that created a buzz. This initiative is the nudge I needed to get serious about starting that blog-thing I've talked to friends about.

What proportion of the content for such a blog/website should be EA-related? I'd love to write about EA ideas, but I'm also drawn to topics in philosophy of mind, mental health, and like... existing. Could you see a successful blog dip into a wide variety of topics, or would you be more excited about a blog where nearly every post has a clear connection to EA? 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Any EA Documenters/Cinematographers who want to make an EA documentary? · 2022-02-16T19:05:10.230Z · EA · GW

I unfortunately don't have any relevant experience, but I like this idea.

It could be interesting to have a short documentary about the community, especially what motivates us. With all our quirks, I think our intense desire to make the world a better place is pretty wholesome and loveable – or at least I feel that about my fellow EAs :) I'd like to see snapshots of how people turn that desire into action, and how the community as a whole fosters it. 

It could also be powerful to see people talk about what they find difficult about EA or longtermism and address some of the possible critiques people may have in a very personal way. (Interviews like those in Habiba's Twitter thread come to mind!)

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Writing about my job: Operations Manager · 2022-02-03T02:49:25.435Z · EA · GW

I remember asking you this question in a one-on-one hehe. I'm glad you took the time to write it out! This will be helpful for me to return to :) 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Get In The Van · 2022-01-24T17:02:03.751Z · EA · GW

Really enjoyed this post– thanks for writing it!

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Uses of EA Retreats, Case Study UK Uni Organisers’ Retreat Dec 2021 · 2022-01-17T02:15:01.901Z · EA · GW

Thanks for writing this up! It would be really cool to see some reproducible programming and advice for folks interested in organizing an organizers retreat. They seem very valuable. 

I'm aware of such a resource for group member retreats from Olivia Jimenez "Next Steps" retreat resource, but I don't know of any content that could help a group organizer plan an organizer retreat. 

For example, there is a nascent EA Midwest collaboration arising between UChicago, UW–Madison, Northwestern, and U Michigan. I could see us running an organizer retreat in the future, and some resources on key considerations and programming would be useful.

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Review of CZEA "Intense EA Weekend" retreat · 2022-01-15T17:33:54.126Z · EA · GW

We will consider the goal “Analyzing the weekend impact and sharing our tips and insight” fulfilled if someone in EA community running a weekend retreat reads this and actually utilizes some of the info shared, so if you do, please let us know! It is really important for our internal prioritization.

 

I and some fellow university group (UW–Madison, U Chicago, Northwestern, Michigan) leaders in the USA's midwest are in process of organizing a career retreat next semester. We are using this post!

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on A collection of resources for Intro Fellowship organisers · 2022-01-03T20:29:01.766Z · EA · GW

Thanks for compiling all of these!

I’m curious if you have any strong opinions on a 4-week fellowship model that some groups use (e.g. Positive Impact Society Erasmus)

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Starting an EA chapter: Easier than you would think · 2021-12-29T18:05:46.389Z · EA · GW

Agreed. In my experience, running a group successfully takes a lot of time. You can get funding, improve productivity tools, and meet with many helpful folks, but at the end of the day, a group really scales in proportion to how much time you put into it. 

I agree with the overall thesis though. Starting a group is not as daunting as it may seem at first glance, and I personally find it quite rewarding! 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Many Undergrads Should Take Light Courseloads · 2021-11-02T22:30:13.176Z · EA · GW

Yesss this is very aligned with what I have come to recognize as I've gotten more engaged with EA.

Worth mentioning: this can be hard

Many EAs come from high-achieving/ academically ambitious backgrounds. Pre-EA, that often means orienting towards the best grades and generally acting in a way that fulfills this high-achieving self-perception (which can entail taking more goals). As one hopefully reflects on goals upon encountering, EA there's a conflict between this residual self-perception and trying to help save or improve the lives of as many people as you can. 

I still notice this conflict in my felt-aversion towards skipping classes because they're not the best use of my time and I can consume the info covered elsewhere faster. I'm also having a hard time putting less time into assignments and exams that I know I could get an A on even though just taking a slightly worse grade would free up valuable time. (+1 for Half-Assing it with Everything You've Got).

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Managing COVID restrictions for EA Global travel: My plans + request for other examples · 2021-10-16T19:22:16.499Z · EA · GW

The Randox coupon code "BritishAirways" is invalid for me.  If anyone finds another coupon code that does work, it would be helpful to share.

None of the ones on this page worked 

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on Notes on "Managing to Change the World" · 2021-10-14T06:02:10.667Z · EA · GW

Thanks, I found this really helpful! I think this could be helpful advice for other EA group leaders, even if the management in most groups takes place on a smaller scale and in a less organized manner than other EA orgs. I'll try to share it around a bit.

Comment by MichelJusten (MJusten) on If you could send an email to every student at your university (to maximize impact), what would you include in it? · 2021-09-19T15:57:41.065Z · EA · GW

EA UW Madison thinks of its emails as having four (sequential) goals: 

  1. Let people know this org exists
  2. Get interested people on the newsletter
  3. Get people to come to an intro event
  4. Get people to apply to the introductory fellowship

A copy of our mass email draft that we just sent out can be found here https://docs.google.com/document/d/14JQjbwWC5U8Eb82VTwozfyhrc0x_FV53n32vQuPNLas/edit?usp=sharing

Comment by MJusten on [deleted post] 2021-09-16T17:27:54.211Z

Feedback:  We gave out books we ordered through this form at a student org fair last week and it was a  success!

We were moderately exclusive in giving out books, but still gave out nearly all of the 50+ books we had. By moderately exclusive, I mean that we only gave out books to people who seemed genuinely interested in EA and joining EA UW-Madison. We also tried to match the books we gave out to what people were studying (e.g. Superintelligence to CS majors, Poor Economics to econ students), although this likely doesn't need to be forced since that's what the students themselves would choose.

Even just having the books on our table at the student org fair made us more interesting, per a friend and new members feedback. People who joined our Slack after the follow-up email also again expressed their gratitude for having received a book – I think this is a really good first impression for a club (they gave me meaningful free stuff!). 

We are now ordering more books for an upcoming Intro to EA presentation, an intro fellowship, and tabling on campus.