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Edit: Sep 30, 2020. *We changed our name to EA Anywhere.

1. Background

Hello, I’m Sami and I currently live in Saudi Arabia. I’ve known about EA for about a year or so, but I never had anyone to discuss it with in person. All of my interactions with EA’s have been online.

During the pandemic, I have been lucky to be “adopted” by two EA groups. I joined their online meetings and participated in the book clubs, I finally had someplace where I can engage with EA’s face to face and even make friends with them. I would see familiar faces every week and feel like a part of a community.

Unfortunately, this is coming to an end. Since the restrictions are loosening, local groups will return to hosting in-person meetings and I, along with others in my situation, will lose our EA family.

2. Pitch

Given the lack of access to local groups that many EA’s face (e.g. Not living close to local groups, disabilities that make it hard to travel to events, responsibilities during meeting time) I think creating a virtual place for those EA’s would be a good idea, to take the role of a local group. The plan is to have regular online meetings to discuss a wide range of effective altruism related ideas, enjoy each other's company, and support each other with our goals to make a positive impact.

Potential benefits include:

1. Increasing the geographical diversity of the EA community.

2. Members will learn more about EA and related fields.

3. Personal connections that reduce value drift.

4. Increasing motivation to take action (e.g. work in EA-related projects, apply for EA jobs, donate, post on the forum, etc).

3. Plan

On the 1st of July, I will release a poll to decide the most popular meeting times and create a group that gets together at those times. If other time slots are also popular, we could split into multiple groups based on availability.

Our meetups are every other Sunday at 6 PM GMT.

If you are or know potential members please direct them here https://www.facebook.com/EA.Anywhere.Group/





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Kudos for taking on an initiative like this!

I think trying to have this be the ea virtual group will be difficult. If all EAs were in one city, there just couldn't be a single EA meetup in that city, it would be too large.

There is also a really tricky issue of who will attend. EAs aren't one unit. There are a bunch of pockets that have various relationships and opinions of each other. I think trying to aim for "absolutely everyone" will prove challenging, if that is the goal. For instance, experienced researchers don't typically enjoy spending a lot of time with very new people, as most of the questions are very basic.

I'd probably encourage you to think more about either specializing on some subtopic, or trying to identify a specific few key members that represent what you want the social group to grow towards.

I've found a lot of these social/reading groups are something like, "These 3 people really like talking to each other and are similar in a few key ways, and they can grow to others who share some of those similarities."

I've done something similar (.impact, a while back), and also hosted a few EA groups in the past; these ideas come from those experiences.

Good luck!

Hey Ozzie,

The name is perhaps sup-optimal in communicating the purpose of the group, but it was better than the alternatives we considered.

I made this because there wasn’t a space for EAs who don’t t have access to local groups, not for all EAs. And if it gets too large, we could have subgroups.

The attendees will not be homogeneous, but I don’t think we will experience problems re differences in opinions and/or knowledge by a much greater degree than a local group might.

Thank you for taking the time to write this, any other considerations welcome.

Sure thing. I'm less concerned with the name than the collection of possibly-too-varied people it brings in, for the sake of the project. I imagine you'll get a better sense though as you start it.

Thanks Sami, this is a great idea! I'm really glad this group is starting up to support our geographically widespread community.

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