Posts

How can we improve online EA social events? 2020-10-21T01:35:50.242Z · score: 21 (13 votes)
Suggestions for Online EA Discussion Norms 2020-09-24T01:42:34.784Z · score: 58 (28 votes)
A Step-by-Step Guide to Running Independent Projects 2020-07-15T11:49:49.625Z · score: 46 (22 votes)
Annotated List of EA Career Advice Resources 2020-07-13T06:12:48.348Z · score: 38 (17 votes)
Annotated List of Project Ideas & Volunteering Resources 2020-07-06T03:29:39.312Z · score: 51 (20 votes)
2019 Ethnic Diversity Community Survey 2020-05-12T04:49:36.746Z · score: 46 (36 votes)
Case Study: Volunteer Research and Management at ALLFED 2020-04-25T07:12:36.961Z · score: 25 (9 votes)
What career advice gaps are you trying to fill? 2020-04-20T02:57:23.390Z · score: 24 (12 votes)
What (other) posts are you planning on writing? 2020-04-04T06:18:46.618Z · score: 11 (4 votes)
Effective Environmentalism Community Updates 2020-03-29T20:41:00.601Z · score: 25 (12 votes)
Group Organiser Survey on Career Advice Bottlenecks 2020-02-17T18:53:16.821Z · score: 18 (9 votes)
vaidehi_agarwalla's Shortform 2019-12-06T21:03:43.762Z · score: 1 (1 votes)
Ethnic Diversity Experience Survey 2019-11-12T11:48:47.849Z · score: 12 (12 votes)
Call for beta-testers for the EA Pen Pals Project! 2019-07-26T19:02:03.422Z · score: 32 (16 votes)
What posts you are planning on writing? 2019-07-24T05:12:23.069Z · score: 60 (25 votes)
A Guide to Early Stage EA Group-Building at Liberal Arts Colleges 2019-07-02T12:53:23.752Z · score: 33 (15 votes)

Comments

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on Things I Learned at the EA Student Summit · 2020-10-28T13:00:28.945Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Anecdotally, a lot of student EAs felt like they don’t really know what to do, and they’re not fully satisfied with the career options that are out there. People who aren’t interested in the “hot” EA topics (e.g., AI safety, longtermism) seemed especially unsure about what to do, or even if they “could” pursue a career within EA. 

 

We (the Local Career Advice Network) noticed this phenomenon when research career advice bottlenecks in EA community, and have termed it "Personal Uncertainty" (see here)

I think definitely applies to non-student EAs as well (also anecdotally!) and could be caused by a lot of different factors including different cause area interests, a lack of freedom of movement to the US/UK and lack of flexible career capital. 

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on EARadio - more EA podcasts! · 2020-10-26T22:30:59.113Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for sharing, I wasn't aware of this! Looks really great :)

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on Annotated List of Project Ideas & Volunteering Resources · 2020-10-21T01:30:59.054Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Michael - glad you found it useful! And thanks for point out the broken link, I've fixed it! :)

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on Local priorities research: what is it, who should consider doing it, and why · 2020-09-07T00:05:06.591Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · EA · GW

For those interested local priorities research, a number of local group organisers are doing it as part of the Local Career Advice Network. We have written a preliminary guide (currently focused on cause prioritisation and field/careers research) and have written up case studies on how other groups have conducted this research. 

If anyone has thoughts on this kind of research and would like to give feedback on the guide, I'd be keen to get more feedback. 

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on What (other) posts are you planning on writing? · 2020-08-20T09:15:00.724Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I'd be interested in basically all of the Giving Now vs Later but especially:

  • Reverse-engineering the philanthropic discount rate from observed market rates +++
  • If giving later > now, what does that imply for talent vs. funding constraints? +
  • Is movement-building an expenditure or an investment? +
  • Prioritization research might need to happen now, not later ++
Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on What (other) posts are you planning on writing? · 2020-08-20T09:11:15.219Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Update: I ended up writing & publishing this post. 

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on vaidehi_agarwalla's Shortform · 2020-08-07T08:30:32.189Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah I think you're right. I didn't need to actually reference Piaget (it just prompted the thought). To be clear, I wasn't trying to imply that Piaget/Kohlberg's theories were correct or sound, but rather applying the model to another issue. I didn't make that very clear.  I don't think my argument really requirs the empirical implications of the model (especially because I wasn't trying to imply moral judgement that one moral circle is necessary better/worse). However I didn't flag this. [meta note: I also posted it pretty quickly, didn't think it through it much since it's a short form]

I broadly agree with all your points. 

I think my general point of x,10x,100x makes more sense if you're looking along one axes (eg. A class of beings like future humans) rather than all the ways you can expand your moral circle - which I also think might be better to think of as a sphere or more complex shape to account for different dimensions/axes. 

I was thinking about the more concrete cases where you go from cats and dogs -> pigs and cows or people in my home country -> people in other countries. 

Re the other reasons you gave:

  • Sometimes belief x1 itself gives a person epistemic reason to believe x2

I think this is kind of what I was trying to say, where there can be some important incremental movement here. (Of course if x2 is very different from x1 then maybe not).

  • Sometimes believing x1 increases your self-identity as a person who believes weird things, making you more likely to believe weird things

This is an interesting point I haven't thought much about. 

  • Sometimes believing x2 increases your affiliation with a group associated with x1 (e.g. EA) making you more likely to believe x3 which is also associated with that group

I think this is probably the strongest non-step-wise reason. 

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on vaidehi_agarwalla's Shortform · 2020-08-05T09:06:40.115Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Is anyone aware of/planning on doing any research related to the expected spike in interest for pandemic research due to COVID? 

It would be interesting to see how much new interest is generated, and for which types of roles (e.g. doctors vs researchers). This could be useful to a) identify potential skilled biosecurity recruits b) find out what motivated them about COVID-19 c) figure out how neglected this will be in 5-10 years 

I'd imagine doing a survey after the pandemic starts to die down might be more valuable than right now (maybe after the second wave) so that we're tracking the longer-term impact rather than the immediate reactions. 

An MVP version could be just looking at application rates across a variety of relevant fields.  

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on vaidehi_agarwalla's Shortform · 2020-07-25T15:09:02.584Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Some thoughts on stage-wise development of moral circle

Status: Very rough, I mainly want to know if there's already some research/thinking on this.

  • Jean Piaget, a early childhood psychologist from the 1960s, suggested a stage sequential model of childhood developemnt. He suggesting that we progress through different levels of development, and each stage is necessary to develop to the next.
  • Perhaps we can make a similar argument for moral circle expansion. In other words: you cannot run when you don't know how to walk. If you ask someone to believe X, then X+1, then X+2, this makes some sense. if you jump from X to 10X to 10000X (they may even perceive 10000X as Y, an entirely different thing which makes no sense), it becomes a little more difficult for them to adjust over a short period of time.
  • Anecdotally seems true from a number of EAs I've spoken to who've updated to longtermism over time.
  • For most people, changing one's beliefs and moral circles takes time. So we need to create a movement which can accomodate this. Peter Singer sums it up quite well: "there are people who come into the animal movement because of their concern for cats and dogs who later move on to understand that the number of farm animals suffering is vastly greater than the number of cats and dogs suffering and that typically the farm animals suffer more than the cats and dogs, and so they’ve added to the strength of the broader, and as I see more important, animal welfare organizations or animal rights organizations that are working for farm animals. So I think it’s possible that something similar can happen in the EA movement."
  • Risk to the movement is that we lose people who could have become EAs because we turn them off the movement by making it too "weird"

Further research on this topic that could verify my hypothesis:

  • Studying changes in moral attitudes regarding other issues such as slavery, racism, LGBT rights etc. over time, and how long it took individuals/communities to change their attitudes (and behaviors)
Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on EA Cameroon - COVID-19 Awareness and Prevention in the Santa Division of Cameroon Project Proposal · 2020-07-20T01:46:20.483Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Meta-level: It might help to add a section on the top explaining the above so the relationship is clear.

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on A Step-by-Step Guide to Running Independent Projects · 2020-07-16T07:16:30.469Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Glad you found it useful :)

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on vaidehi_agarwalla's Shortform · 2020-07-15T07:17:29.448Z · score: 12 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Collection of Constraints in EA

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on Systemic change, global poverty eradication, and a career plan rethink: am I right? · 2020-07-15T02:18:01.044Z · score: 22 (9 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for this write-up, it's nice to have an opportunity to discuss Hickel's book. I haven't yet finished the book (I've yet to read the recommendations section) but here are a few thoughts I had so far:

1) The number of people around the world in absolute poverty is increasing, not decreasing

Overall, what I learnt from this section (my charitable takeaway) is:

  • 1a) and 1b) are a reminder that organisations like the World Bank and IMF have strong incentives to make themselves look good by changing the goalposts. We should be consistent about dates & metrics when discussing longitudinal changes in poverty
  • 1c) is a reminder that the IPL is not the bar for a decent quality of life, and that we should be more demanding of poverty eradication efforts.
  • We should probably look at poverty rates over time by region, or at the very least exclude China. OurWorldInData's history of poverty charts on this it contains data on multiple poverty lines. Here is my summary of the extreme poverty line ($1.90 per day):
    • Subsaharan Africa (1 billion in 2015): A drop in relative poverty from ~60% to ~40% from 1990s to 2015. An increase in absolute extreme poverty from ~280 to ~412 million people.
    • South Asia (1.7 billion in 2013): Absolute improvements in extreme poverty from 513 to 274 million people from 1981 to 2013, and relative improvements of 55% to 16%.
    • East Asia & Pacific (2 billion in 2015): An extreme drop in relative poverty from ~80% to ~2%, and a drop in absolute poverty from 1.1 billion to 47 million people.
    • Latin America & the Caribbean (620 million in 2015): An drop in relative poverty from ~13% to ~4%, and 49 to 24 million people.
    • Proxy for South East Asia - Philippines and Indonesia (101 million in 2015, 263 million in 2017): A drop in relative poverty in Indonesia from ~70% to ~6%, and 115 to 15 million people. A drop in relative poverty in the Philippines from ~28% to ~8%, and 15 to 8 million people.

With the exception of Subsaharan Africa, all other regions have seen decreases in absolute poverty, and all regions have seen drops in relative poverty. Even if you look at higher poverty lines that are there in the chart, there is a similar (but less extreme) positive growth trajectory.

And this is my major issue with his choice to use absolute poverty rather than relative poverty, which he justifies using because this was the original goalpost, and the way he presents the situation, which I think is a bit misleading. I don't think this is a very strong reason to use that numbers, I think that consider. The decrease in extreme poverty in Asia (specifically South Asia, if we are to exclude China) has been a real improvement, even if many are still living in poverty.

There is this chart which shows the world decrease in extreme poverty split up by regions and a projection of stagnation in extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa if those economies stagnate.

What are the implications of this?

  • It makes me wary of Hickel's overall argument, and makes me concerned his narrative doesn't fully make sense (although individual parts of his arguments may be true). I don't think that the second part of his argument is actually invalidated by the above if we just change the argument to be more accurate:
    • Hickel's claim: Neocolonialisms has prevented the absolute decrease in extreme poverty for countries that experienced it.
    • (in my opinion) The more defensible claim: Neocolonialism has slowed down the rate of relative decrease in extreme poverty for countries that experienced it.
  • Thus, in both cases neocolonialism is the cause for a counterfactual where the world is much better, my claim is less extreme than Hickel's. I haven't spent too much time on the claims he makes in the neocolonialism section yet, although I also was shocked by the number of coups, and agree with your comment that he may have overlooked the negative aspects of some of the regimes.

I'd be curious to know what you find out from your research!

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on MichaelA's Shortform · 2020-07-14T01:19:47.229Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I have a list here that has some overlap but also some new things: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KyVgBuq_X95Hn6LrgCVj2DTiNHQXrPUJse-tlo8-CEM/edit#

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on Annotated List of EA Career Advice Resources · 2020-07-13T08:33:22.774Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Added this, thanks Jonas!

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on vaidehi_agarwalla's Shortform · 2020-07-11T01:05:49.778Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

This quote from Kelsey Piper:

Maybe pretty early on, it just became obvious that there wasn’t a lot of value in preaching to people on a topic that they weren’t necessarily there for, and that I had a lot of thoughts on the conversations people were already having.
Then I think one thing you can do to share any reasoning system, but it works particularly well for effective altruism is just to apply it consistently, in a principled way, to problems that people care about. Then, they’ll see whether your tools look like useful tools. If they do, then they’ll be interested in learning more about that.
...
My ideal effective altruist movement had insightful nuanced, productive, takes on lots and lots of other things so that people could be like, "Oh, I see how effective altruists have tools for answering questions. I want the people who have tools for answering questions to teach me about those tools. I want to know what they think the most important questions are. I want to sort of learn about their approach."
Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on The 80,000 Hours podcast should host debates · 2020-07-11T01:03:56.834Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I would love to see events or podcasts for good-faith debates on important topics (even those that fall outside of the top EA causes) from any EA-aligned people or organisations.

I think it could help us engage productively with audiences we don't usually engage with, and is a great demonstrating our values/methods to a broader audience and engaging with people we don't usually engage with.

As an example, EA Philadelphia hosted an animal welfare debate on Abolitionism vs Welfarism a few months ago (which you can view here), which went really well and was one of our highest attended events.

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on vaidehi_agarwalla's Shortform · 2020-07-10T12:53:50.455Z · score: 13 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Mini Collection - Non-typical EA Movement Building

Basically, these are ways of spreading EA ideas, philosophies or furthering concrete EA goals in ways that are different from the typical community building models that local groups use.


Suggestions welcome!

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on Five Ways To Prioritize Better · 2020-06-28T04:29:01.839Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for posting this, I found the concrete examples really helpful. I've been trying to communicate similar concepts but haven't done a very good job of it - now I can just send them this post instead of trying to explain them myself!

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on Geographic diversity in EA · 2020-06-18T16:41:51.927Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Agreed with much of Brian's comment, and I've also PMed you to discuss more. (If others are interested, please reach out!)

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on Geographic diversity in EA · 2020-06-16T02:58:23.055Z · score: 23 (13 votes) · EA · GW

Agreed with a lot of the points you've made here. I really liked the point about different geographic regions where there may be extremely high poverty. Some of the poorest Indian states have population sizes and poverty levels comparable or worse than that of some of the poorest African countries. Of course, there are many EA organisations in India, but there may be similar regions in other countries where EA is less active.

One of the potential challenges of doing projects in different countries is a lack of EA resources and networks in those regions, so initial costs may be high. Also, entering policy roles could be challenging if you're the only one promoting an EA-type mindset, and it could lead to burnout or frustration if you're unable to make change

One concrete idea to try to reduce some of these uncertainties could be to research opportunities in a country, which could both help you determine the best opportunities in your country, but also help others in a similar spot.

  • Doing high-level cause prioritisation on how your country may have a comparative advantage making traction on a particular cause area. Some thoughts on an MVP for cause area research.
  • Conducting expert interviews on those promising cause areas to understand the ways you could contribute to this cause area. These could include people working in industry, policy, or NGOs. Questions you could ask experts.
  • Reading up existing research on your country, if any exists. Organisations like JPAL and CGD have done research on the Global Health & Development/IIDM side for a number of countries.

The biggest challenge with this type of reserach is evaluating the impact such roles have, but this is broadly true for many EA roles.

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on 2019 Ethnic Diversity Community Survey · 2020-05-12T14:27:28.874Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Hi David, thanks for the detailed information - I will make an edit to the text to clarify this point and adjust the wording accordingly so it's not misleading, upon looking over that phrasing I don't think I'd use that phrasing even if the percentages were the same.

Regarding your second point, I agree it's plausible the those who care more about the topic are likely to respond, I mention this in my limitations section and also mention my uncertainties about how much this skews the data.

This survey was not meant to be comprehensive or fully representative of the population in question (I don't think I make this claim anywhere in the survey, if I do please let me know where) but instead provide some qualitative data to improve the quality of diversity and inclusion discussions and hopefully. As I mention at the beginning, the initial goal was to share this with CEA to give community input on diversity issues, but I'll edit the text in the write-up to be more consistent with this.

I don't think this survey is the most valuable piece of research to be done on this topic, but I asked questions that are not asked on the EA survey, which to my knowledge have not been asked in an EA survey before. So I believe that it is still valuable to get some data, both on experiences of non-white respondents but also general attitudes and beliefs on this topic, rather than relying purely on anecdotal evidence while having diversity discussions.

Finally, I hope this survey might help further efforts in this space be a little more structured or productive, which is why I suggested "Possible Themes To Explore".

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on What career advice gaps are you trying to fill? · 2020-04-27T13:38:40.994Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for sharing, it's great to see the full scope of AAC's work. I'm especially excited to see what the workshop looks like and how it goes.

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on What career advice gaps are you trying to fill? · 2020-04-16T13:23:41.992Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Other projects I've worked on (research upcoming) that address some other gaps not mentioned in this post:

  • Research on the career change process amongst a range of EAs (trying to improve our understanding of the role of motivation, social connections and the current perception of EA community and resources)
  • Research on the best career activities and bottlenecks amongst group organisers and members (to help evaluate the most promising gaps within local groups)
Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on What career advice gaps are you trying to fill? · 2020-04-16T13:10:37.666Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

The Effective Environmentalism subcommunity is working to address the following gap:

Online articles - alternative introductions to EA

  • A small working group of EAs is creating introductory resources to Effective Environmentalism for non-EAs, to help bridge the gap between EA and the climate change movement.
Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on What career advice gaps are you trying to fill? · 2020-04-16T13:08:43.846Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

The Local Career Advice Network is a group of local organisers working on meta-level career advice research and projects in the EA community.

We are addressing a gap in a lack of support and knowledge for local group organisers who want to help their members pursue high impact career paths. This gap wasn't explicitly identified by 80K, but we think it's important because of the gaps identified in advising and our thinking that group organisers are the best positioned to fill those gaps.

Group organisers are often advising people who fall outside of 80K's target audience including those outside the US/UK, interested in different cause areas, and who are older.

We are directly addressing the following gap identified by 80,000 Hours:

Career advice specific to non-US and non-UK countries & job board

  • We are developing a guide with a group of local organisers from around the world to conduct research to identify the most promising causes within their countries, find promising local jobs and organisations.
  • One possible outcome from this research could be the creation of a jobs board, but we are not certain of this outcome at this stage.
  • We are also more cause-incusive, in large part because different countries have different promising cause areas.

We also help EAs working on similar projects to be connected to others working on such projects, or to existing resources on topics. Please contact me if you have any questions at vaidehiagarwalla [at] gmail dot com.

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on Connecting with Online EA Events · 2020-04-16T12:48:07.138Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for flagging this Michelle, I've updated the Icebreaker event for this week it will the Europe event on Wednesday evenings has been changed from 8pm GMT (London) to 6pm GMT to account for people in Europe in slightly later timezones like the Middle East.

If anyone has future errors to report, please email vaidehiagarwalla@gmail.com.

I'll get this information added in the relevant places.

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on [Open Thread] What virtual events are you hosting that you'd like to open to the EA Forum-reading public? · 2020-04-08T04:27:28.217Z · score: 9 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Weekly EA Icebreaker Socials (speed friending sessions)

This is an opportunity for EAs from different countries to connect with each other. These involve you getting paired up with different people to play games, answer interesting questions, or just get to know each other. You'll get to meet several new people each week.

Last weekend's international icebreaker event had great reviews.

We will host 3 sessions per week for different timezones:

EUROPE/AFRICA (every Thurs 8-9:30pm GMT): https://www.facebook.com/events/163517728167150/

AUSTRALASIA/ASIA (every Wed 7-8:30pm SGT): https://www.facebook.com/events/571492756800073/

AMERICAS (every Fri 8-9:30 pm EDT): https://www.facebook.com/events/2973423259381560/

*All events are open to everyone regardless of timezone

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on What (other) posts are you planning on writing? · 2020-04-05T04:18:12.720Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Local Career Advice Bottlenecks

Status: First draft, series of 3 posts.

The Local Career Advice Network ran a group organisers' survey to evaluate overall career advice bottlenecks in the community. There will likely be 3 write-ups on the following topics:

  • the main bottlenecks group organisers' observe their members' facing
  • the main bottlenecks group organisers face when trying to give high quality careers advice
  • evaluation of career advice events and activities run by groups

Key uncertainties/questions

  • Nothing as of now. I'll add to this comment as thoughts arise.
Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on What (other) posts are you planning on writing? · 2020-04-05T04:12:37.509Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Running self-directed projects

Status: early stage

I've run a number of projects over the last few months and thought it might be useful to share my experiences and successes/failures and lessons learnt. I may also be presenting the insights from these projects at some point.

Key uncertainties/questions

  • How valuable would people find this?
Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on What (other) posts are you planning on writing? · 2020-04-05T02:48:52.335Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Career Change Interviews

Status: First Draft

This is a writeup on qualitative research I and Benjamin Skubi did in summer 2019 on 20 EAs at various stages of a career change process. It'll cover:

  • stages of our interviewee's EA journeys (an alternative perspective to the funnel model which will focus on an indivdual's journey)
  • what inspires a career change, what the change process looks like, commonly mentioned bottlenecks and useful resources
  • recommendations/useful tips for career changers and group organisers

Key uncertainties/questions

  • I'm not sure whether to keep the recommendations in the same writeup in a separate section or create a new post with the recommendations.

You can see the updates from my previous posts here

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on What posts you are planning on writing? · 2020-03-24T11:35:16.434Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for checking Aaron! I've been meaning to update this thread.

1a) I came very close to publishing this in November, but realised it needed a lot more work to be readable and ended up splitting the post into 3 to make it more readable. I've been prioritising other projects, aim to publish by April 2020. 1b) I have a bunch of interesting papers collected but haven't made progress yet. Will likely start after 1a)

  1. I wrote and never published this because:
  • I think it was too generalized and overly simplistic
  • I think some of the things I wrote were likely wrong/inaccurate
  • I felt the most effective way to help developing EA presence was assisting existing projects and direct work.
  • Why writing the post was still valuable:
    • Helped me clarify my own theories of movement building
    • Ended up witing a few other posts to explain some of my assumptions
    • I've shared it with others trying to answer these questions

3a) This became a much more ambitious and comprehensive volunteer project, but it also means that progress has been slow and incremental. I plan on writing a post about how the project failed and lessons learnt (but I'm experimenting with some new ways to make progress on this and want to see the results first).

b) This post is written, but i didn't see the value of posting another call for climate change on the forum since, as with 2), I updated towards doing direct work to make progress on this space. (I'd be curious to hear if you think there's still value in posting such a post)

We now have an Effective Environmentalism directory and have started weekly calls on different EE related topics on facebook. Would be curious to hear your thoughts on this.

  1. I created an (almost) comprehensive Effective Environmentalism Resources page. Some of us are now working on a more user-friendly introductory resource for non-EAs.
Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on vaidehi_agarwalla's Shortform · 2020-03-22T23:59:18.055Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

How valuable is building a high-quality (for-profit) event app for future EA conferences?

There are 6 eag(x) conferences a year. this number will probably increase over time and more conferences will come up as EA grows- I'd expect somewhere between 80-200 EA-related conferences and related events in the next 10 years. This includes cause-area specific conferences, like Catalyst and other large events.

A typical 2.5 day conference with on average ~300 attendees spending 30 hours = 9,000 man-hours would be a range of 720,000-1,800,000 man hours over 10 years. Of this time, I'd expect 90% to be taken up doing meetings, attending events, eating etc. Of the remaining 10%, so 7,200-18,000 saving 1% of this time is in the range of 7,200- 18,000 hours or roughly seems pretty useful!

For reference, 1 year of work (a 40 hours work-week for 50 weeks) = 2000 hours.

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on What are the key ongoing debates in EA? · 2020-03-09T23:30:52.799Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Getting people from non-STEM backgrounds, specifically non-econ social sciences and humanities.

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on What are the key ongoing debates in EA? · 2020-03-09T09:56:29.615Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Expanding on those points: Should EA be small and elite (i.e. to influence important/powerful actors) or broad and welcoming? How many people should earn to give and how effective is this on the margin? (Maybe not a huge debate but a lot of uncertainty) How much/should we grow EA in non-Western countries? (I think there's a fair deal of ignorance on this topic overall)

Related to D&I: How important is academic diversity in EA? And what blindspots does the EA movement have as a result?

I don't think all of these have been always publicly discussed, but there is definitely a lack of consensus and differing views.

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on vaidehi_agarwalla's Shortform · 2020-02-29T15:35:14.076Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I brainstormed a list of questions that might help evaluate how promising climate change adaptation efforts would be.

Would anyone have any additions/feedback or answers to these questions?

https://docs.google.com/document/d/19VryYtikXQEEOeXtjgApWWKoof3dRfQNVjza7HbnuHU/edit?usp=sharing

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on EA Updates for February 2020 · 2020-02-28T20:34:51.409Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

It's great that you include updates from non-EA sources, it's great to see updates from outside the EA bubble.

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on vaidehi_agarwalla's Shortform · 2020-02-26T20:07:00.098Z · score: 8 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Meta-level thought:

When asking about resources, a good practice might be to mention resources you've already come across and why those sources weren't helpful (if you found any), so that people don't need to recommend the most common resources multiple times.

Also, once we have an EA-relevant search engine, it would be useful to refer people to that even before they ask a question in case that question has been asked or that resource already exists.

The primary goal of both suggestions would be to make questions more specific, in-depth and hopefully either expanding movement knowledge or identifying gaps in knowledge. The secondary goal would be to save time!

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on How much will local/university groups benefit from targeted EA content creation? · 2020-02-22T03:05:34.783Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for clarifying, I get what you're saying now!

TL:DR: while I'm in agreement that these things would be valuable, in the current state it wouldn't make sense to prioritise them when there's a lot of value to be found in increasing awareness of existing resources, even if they are imperfect and writing about resources where there currently are none for common events.

  1. I agree that there is a severe lack of resources, we actually link to the South Bay discussion lists (unfortunately since you made the resources there isn't anything new regarding discussions sheets). We are also slowly adding and developing them as I am running a series of guided discusisons for the Philly group.

Given where we were at with the resources up until recently, the most valuable and time efficient thing to do was to organise existing resources and then evaluate what the most pressing gaps in knowledge were. i.e. it was better to have some resources for all the basic group activities - be that running discussions, how to host events, moderating talks, venue, food and logistics, leadership structure etc. As you can see, a long list of topics! the goal was to consolidate movement-wide knowledge, and have resources well-organised and accessible.

I don't think your group was unique with regards to needing resources, although I think other groups may do more socials and other kinds of meetups that require less preparation.

  1. I agree that there isn't a curriculum, and that taking lessons from education science would be very useful and valuable. I think that we can definitely work to make EA principles and ideas more accessible by a large margin. Currently, there aren't enough people working on group building resources to do something like this, and I believe that just improving the knowledge of existing resources will provide the most value to group organisers. That being said, Catherine, who is in charge of the Resources team, does have an education background, and I think that has definitely influenced our work positively!
Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on How much will local/university groups benefit from targeted EA content creation? · 2020-02-20T14:20:20.764Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I don't think there was an exact question on this (unless I'm mistaken), but as a proxy I'd be curious to see a breakdown of this question for new vs. older groups and more vs. less experienced group organisers. It wouldn't be a perfect proxy, since older groups may still not know about resources but also not need them, but might be worth considering.

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on How much will local/university groups benefit from targeted EA content creation? · 2020-02-20T14:17:20.622Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I think people usually do ask what resources exist, they tend to use the Group Organisers Facebook or Slack to ask those questions. I think it makes sense so that only interested people see those questions, but that information is not easily available to organisers who aren't in those groups.

We are working on an FAQ series for EA Hub resources, which will include information on how to start a group, run events, find key content, contact people, graphics and more. The aim is that all basic questions about group resources can by a quick search and reduce community time asking/answering questions. (of course, people can always comment and ask more detailed questions!)

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on Illegible impact is still impact · 2020-02-18T14:12:08.747Z · score: 11 (5 votes) · EA · GW

This is a great post, thanks for writing it. I've thought about this topic a lot, specifically about the value helping others in the movement - I used the term "soft impact", because it improves coordination and community and interconnectedness. These actions often are illegible, but don't have to be.

EAs do this a lot anyways, but making the value of such action explicit or trying to track it could be really useful (and I think more of the following would only help!)

Examples:

  • connecting people to each other with the goal of them collaborating, one person getting advice, or just having shared interests.
  • providing detailed feedback on projects, posts etc.
  • sending people relevant resources
  • encouraging someone
  • maintaining connections with people whether that's in person, email, at conferences etc.

To track soft impact, you could send a message to people you know (maybe annually) and ask for feedback. Some people send out feedback forms so that it can be anonymous and people can give honest answers.

I currently have kept a list of introductions I have made and update it occasionally. I also track projects where I have given feedback. I will need to send out feedback forms at some point and see the actual impact, but even if only 1/5 introductions is very useful, I think this is worth the few minutes it takes to make an intro.

I'd be curious to know how much time people put aside to do these kind of things - especially for people who aren't very involved in meta stuff.

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on How much will local/university groups benefit from targeted EA content creation? · 2020-02-17T17:26:10.211Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Linch, we actually have a guide to using discussion sheets on the eahub now: https://resources.eahub.org/events/articles/discussion-tips/

I do think that currently there is low awareness of the Hub's contents, and we will be working to help improve knowledge of what exists so that group organisers can use the resources better.

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on How much will local/university groups benefit from targeted EA content creation? · 2020-02-17T17:13:29.804Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

(Catherine, feel free to correct this) I think as of now, we don't really need much new material, since we the resources we have up and things that will be done soon cover most of the commonly used/standard events (discussion syllabi, intro presentations etc.) and considerations (i.e. community health or managing group dynamics).

We definitely spend most of our time compiling material, but I wouldn't say that compiling is much less time intensive than creating new material from scratch. Compiling can take quite a while, because you still need to determine a good structure, need to incorporate conflicting advice, and often contextualise the advice.

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on [deleted post] 2020-02-16T16:15:36.333Z

1) Local Career Advice Network

2) Getting feedback on a predictable schedule, Meeting deadlines, maintaining momentum on a project,

3) It can be difficult and time consuming to know who, if any people, are available to give feedback on a given week.

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on What posts you are planning on writing? · 2020-02-11T08:49:40.229Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I'd be really excited to see 2A written up! Also 3 and 4 (in that order)

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on Call for beta-testers for the EA Pen Pals Project! · 2020-01-29T18:40:20.586Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Manuel, we are planning on doing that. We are currently in the process of applying for funding to fully automate the service and are in talks with the EA Hub to host it there.

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on AMA: Rob Mather, founder and CEO of the Against Malaria Foundation · 2020-01-28T14:29:56.477Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

To add on to the question of mid to long term effects, do you have a theory on what role bednets play in transitioning a country to malaria under control or even be malaria free? How long after a country reaches either of these two stages would bednets become less critical (if ever?)

How different is it to have malaria under control vs formally being malaria free? Is there a significantly higher risk of malaria becoming out of control in the former and the rates increasing again?

How does the role of bednets in getting countries to either stage factor into your effectiveness estimates on shortening those timelines?

Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on Is learning about EA concepts in detail useful to the typical EA? · 2020-01-16T20:19:27.889Z · score: 9 (7 votes) · EA · GW

Agreed with this. Some positive things that can come from this:

  • cross-pollination of ideas, especially across cause area and academic discipline
  • relatedly, preventing ideas from becoming too niche/insular - allowing ideas to be accessible from different view points within the community.
  • encouraging people to explore ideas they find off-putting in more depth, which might ultimately change their actions in the long-term. For example, many people come to longtermism after many years in the community.
  • reinforcing norms of critically engaging with ideas, learning, keeping an open mind and so on.
Comment by vaidehi_agarwalla on I'm Cullen O'Keefe, a Policy Researcher at OpenAI, AMA · 2020-01-11T23:53:22.860Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I phrased that poorly - I added the bit even if the principle is not applied perfectly to cover what you mentioned but I think the more accurate statement would be that one of SJ's big appeals is that it states to be inclusive.