Posts

A Concrete Model for Running an EA Group 2018-05-31T16:45:29.750Z · score: 13 (13 votes)
Wild-Animal Suffering Research’s Plans for 2018 and RFMF 2017-12-06T16:04:34.764Z · score: 9 (11 votes)
Wild-Animal Suffering Research 2017 Retrospective 2017-11-30T13:38:01.116Z · score: 11 (13 votes)

Comments

Comment by tobiaspulver on Announcing plans for a German Effective Altruism Network focused on Community Building · 2019-07-05T08:05:16.957Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

EAF deprioritised community building to focus more on its core priority: research on preventing s-risks from AI. Last year seemed to be a good time to hand over community building as CEA had recently increased its capacity in this area (with the community building grants, and additions to the groups team). EAF is still hosting a resource overview on the non-EAF-specific German EA landing page, though perhaps this can be transfered ot a GEAN website at some point.

You can read more about our EAF's plans for 2019 in this post.

Comment by tobiaspulver on Announcing plans for a German Effective Altruism Network focused on Community Building · 2019-07-04T17:03:30.091Z · score: 41 (14 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for the thorough write-up! I'm glad to see this initiative taking shape. As we've briefly discussed earlier this year, I believe there are some low-hanging fruits to pluck with respect to community management in Germany, especially after we at EAF have deprioritised community building and local group support.

From the list of planned activities you describe, I am most excited about facilitating retreats, providing some support for new groups, and aiming to become a tax-exempt association to facilitate financial management. In general, facilitating coordination and exchange among local groups has often seemed valuable to me in the past.

At the same time, I'd caution against providing too many services too soon. My skepticism is grounded mainly in my experience that local groups often don't use tools offered to them--like a CRM or a website-- reliably. This is in part because turnover is usually high and non-essential things often don't get handed over, and in part because motivation and available time tends to fluctuate strongly. (On a side note: This may be hard, but ideally such effects are also taken into account when surveying groups about their needs.) I've often seen groups drop things after an initial burst of motivation and interest. This can have negative effects if they would counterfactually have focused more on more key aspects of local group management.

For these reasons I'd recommend using an iterative approach, focusing initially on the provision of fairly basic infrastructure and a small number of key events. If this goes well and you have more capacitiy and notice more demand, you can expand your activities step-by-step.

With respect to the idea of an introductory workshop series, and perhaps also relevant to other planned activities: I've become less optimistic about proactive outreach efforts by local groups since I wrote down my toughts on running a local group a little over a year ago (link). In particular, I probably wouldn't endorse several of the recommendations I made in the 'Outreach' section anymore, as well as the idea of running an 'EA seminar' for new members. With respect to the seminar/workshop series, I've become less sure about the value of efforts trying to "teach" EA ideas to potentially interested people. People who are a good fit for a group in the long run are often those who also have sufficient motivation to read about and engage with relevant ideas on their own. I'm not highly confident in this, though, and people who have themselves run such seminars are be in a better position to evaluate their value.


Comment by tobiaspulver on 2017 LEAN Impact Assessment: Evaluation & Strategic Conclusions · 2018-03-04T02:18:40.743Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Based on the evident popularity of existing written content, and the widespread wish to see existing content consolidated, we are investing in a new web interface for organisers. This will involve editing existing community generated content, and assimilating it into a central, visually appealing interface. The new interface will be based on the EA Hub, which will itself be modernised and restructured. Where possible, we will facilitate editorial additions from the community, in order to make the tool a logical home for sharing resources.

As I'm sure you are aware, CEA is currently developing an EA Groups platform, which seems at least somewhat similar to what you're planning to do. I'd love to hear more on the differences between your idea of such a platform and CEA's plans, and if this is something you're coordinating with CEA?

Comment by tobiaspulver on Effective Altruism Foundation update: Plans for 2018 and room for more funding · 2017-12-20T16:11:03.573Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

The English version of our annual review is now online: https://ea-foundation.org/blog/review-2017/

If you have any thoughts on our plans, our annual review, or both: We'd love to hear what people think of EAF's work and if there are things you think we could improve, so please feel free to leave a comment here.

Comment by tobiaspulver on New releases: Global Priorities Institute research agenda and posts we’re hiring for · 2017-12-15T15:24:07.356Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · EA · GW

They also work for me, using Firefox.

But what I really wanted to say is that the reserach agenda looks great! I'm of course especially excited about the potential research projects mentioned in the section "The Value of the Future" :) Great to see that these questions are getting more attention!

I've shared the post with EA group leaders in the German-speaking community.

Comment by tobiaspulver on Talking About Effective Altruism At Parties · 2017-11-17T09:27:36.237Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

It's not just you. I very much share this sentiment, as do many other EAs that I know.

FWIW, this blog post by Nate Soares on the topic of altruistic motivations really resonated with me: http://mindingourway.com/altruistic-motivations/

Comment by tobiaspulver on My Cause Selection: Michael Dickens · 2015-09-21T01:57:47.461Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · EA · GW

I realized reading this that I haven't thought much about REG. It sounds like they do good things, but I'm a bit skeptical re: their ability to make good use of the marginal donation they get. I don't think a small budget, by itself, is strong evidence that they could make good use of more money. Can you talk more about what convinced you that they're a good giving opportunity on the margin? (I'm thinking out loud here, don't mean this paragraph to be a criticism.)

Thanks for bringing this up, Topher!

As Michael said, there are various things we would do if we had more funding.

1) REG’s ongoing operations need to be funded. Currently, we have around 6 months of reserves (at the current level of expenses), but ideally we would like to have 12 months. This would enable us to make use of more (sometimes unexpected) opportunities and to try things because we wouldn’t have to constantly be focused on our own funding situation.

2) We could potentially achieve (much) better results with REG by having additional people working on it. The best illustration of this is probably one person that we met (by going to poker stops) with a strong PR & marketing background who’s been working in the poker industry for 10 years now (there are not that many people with a level of expertise and network about the poker world like this person). This person woud like to work with us, but we had to decline her for the moment, even though we think that it would (clearly) be worth it to hire her. Another thing we would like to do is hiring someone to organise more charity tournaments and establish partnerships with industry leading organisations or strengthen existing ones, improve member communications and do social media. There are already several candidates who could do this, but we are hesitant to make this investment since we lack the appropriate funding.

3) Another way we would use additional funds is by working on various REG “extensions”. We are about to set up two REG expansions, but we won’t have enough resources to make the most out of even these two – and there are many more potentially really promising REG expansions that could be done. (The first of the two REG expansions that is likely going to be spread among the respective community in a few days is “DFS Charity”, a REG for Daily Fantasy Sports, an industry that is currently growing substantially and with a fair share of people with a similar (quantitative) mindset as poker players have. The preliminary website can be found at dfscharity.org – please don't share it widely yet.)

I hope this helped!