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Amber Dawn

4204 karmaJoined Sep 2019

Bio

I'm a freelance writer and editor for the EA community. I can help you edit drafts and write up your unwritten ideas. If you'd like to work with me, book a short calendly meeting or email me at ambace@gmail.com. Website with more info: https://amber-dawn-ace.com/

Comments
209

Topic contributions
70

Thanks for the shout-out! I just want to add that I also offer writing coaching, for those who want to learn how to make their own writing clearer and more effective. 

TLDR: freelance writer and editor interested in (mostly) part-time and contract work. I’m particularly interested in finding more clients for writing coaching (see below). 

Skills & background: I’m a freelance writer and editor: here’s my website and here’s my personal blog. You can also read many of my posts (both personal and collaborative) here on the Forum.

I’ve worked with several EAs and EA-adjacent people, writing or editing blogs, website content, internal organizational documents, podcast transcripts, fiction and more. I’ve also designed an educational module on IFS therapy concepts and worked as a facilitator for the EA Forum. 

Previously, I’ve worked as an ESL and secondary school teacher, and I spent some time pursuing an academic career in Classics (specialising in Greek and Roman philosophy), which also involved working as an instructor and teaching assistant. I think I’m good at teaching and related skills, such as explaining things simply, empathetically listening and responding to people’s problems, thinking of creative solutions, and making plans. I’m actively interested in finding more teaching-adjacent work.

Location/remote: London – most of my work is remote but I’m willing to meet face-to-face in London. I’m not interested in relocating. My working hours are roughly 9.30ish-5.30ish UK time, but I'm happy to work a little later than that sometimes to accommodate people in Pacific Time!

Availability & type of work: I’m mainly interested in contract or part-time work, but would also consider full-time roles if they are an especially good fit. 

I’m interested in offering: 

Writing coaching: I’ve only had a few one-off clients so far for this but I think it went well. Generally, I think I might be a great fit for this because it’s at the intersection of my two skillsets, writing and teaching.

Editing, proofreading, and review: I’m happy to proofread things, offer light or intensive editing, and give feedback on your drafts. In general, I’ll engage with the content of what I’m editing and tell you if something doesn’t make sense or doesn’t land right.

Content writing help: you describe your ideas, and I’ll write them up into a finished draft. 

Debugging, problem-solving, sympathetic listening, and accountability.

I’m starting a series on ideas that have changed people’s lives: the first post is on the Alexander technique. If you’re interested in funding one of these posts, let me know (this will help me to prioritize the project more). 

Here’s a list of questions that I’d be interested to research.


I’m open to work that doesn’t come under any of these headings but that I might be a good fit for: feel free to reach out and ask.  

Resume/CV/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amber-ace-4b8a261b1/

Email/contact: Feel free to email me at ambace@gmail.com, DM me on the Forum, or book a short meeting if you’re interested in hiring me or would like to learn more.
 

I don't agree that EA requires current venal systems to exist. For example, in a state communist society, or an anarchist society, or a libertarian society, you can still imagine people trying to work out how to do the most good with their resources. Of course current EAs work within current systems, but that just seems necessary to get anything done. 

I think it's "poor intellectual etiquette" to require people to comment along with votes: if I posting, I'm interested in whether readers find it valuable or not, even if they understandably don't want to prioritize explaining why they think I'm right or wrong. 

The evidence collected here doesn’t convince me that Alice and Chloe were lying, or necessarily that Ben Pace did a bad job investigating this. I regret contributing another long and involved comment to this discourse, but I feel like “actually assessing the claims” has been underrepresented compared to people going to the meta level, people discussing the post’s rhetoric, and people simply asserting that this evidence is conclusive proof that Alice and Chloe lied.

My process of thinking through this has made me wish more receipts from Alice and Chloe were included in Ben’s post, or even just that more of the accusations had come in their own words, because then it would be clear exactly what they were claiming. (I think their claims being filtered through first Ben and then Kat/Emerson causes some confusion, as others have noted).

I want to talk about some parts of the post and why I’m not convinced. To avoid cherry-picking, I chose the first claim, about whether Alice was asked to travel with illegal drugs (highlighted by Kat as “if you read just one illustrative story, read this one”), and then I used a random number generator to pick two pages in the appendix (following the lead of other commenters).

I worry that the following will seem maximally negative. But I don’t mean I am strongly convinced of the more negative interpretations I suggest; just that a lot of the screenshots are consistent with Alice and Chloe’s claims being true. This should be read in the spirit of red-teaming or spot-checking, rather than me offering a figured-out narrative.

Was Alice asked to bring drugs across borders illegally?

Ben wrote: ‘Before she went on vacation, Kat requested that Alice bring a variety of illegal drugs across the border for her (some recreational, some for productivity). Alice argued that this would be dangerous for her personally, but Emerson and Kat reportedly argued that it is not dangerous at all and was “absolutely risk-free”. Privately, Drew said that Kat would “love her forever” if she did this. I bring this up as an example of the sorts of requests that Kat/Emerson/Drew felt comfortable making during Alice’s time there.’

As evidence against this, Kat offers screenshots showing Drew asking Alice to pick up some medicine. When Alice reports that a prescription is needed and says she is too sick to ask around extensively, Drew says not to worry, and hopes she gets better soon.

Does this prove that Alice wasn’t asked to bring drugs across borders illegally?
No: just because on this occasion Drew didn’t push the issue, doesn’t mean she wasn’t asked to do illegal things on other, different occasions.

Note that the exchange is with Drew, who was dating Alice for some of the time, and who as far as I know no-one has made any negative allegations about. This exchange doesn’t have any bearing on whether similar exchanges with Kat or Emerson involved more pressure on Alice. The texts also don’t show whether it would have been legal for her to travel with the medicine to where Nonlinear were based, even if she could purchase it without a prescription where she was.

I realise that it’s actually nigh-on impossible for Nonlinear to prove they never asked Alice to do anything illegal! They’d have to show their entire message history, and even then, Alice could claim that the conversation happened in person. So maybe this is the best evidence they could have included. But just because it’s the best evidence we could hope for, doesn’t mean we should accept it as knock-down, irrefutable evidence that Alice lied; that requires believing that this is the incident Alice was referring to in her conversations with Ben, which is not clear to me.

Spot checks: p 52

From the appendix:
‘Alice says “look at this screenshot - it’s proof that Kat is trying to silence me by withholding my pay!” But Alice strategically cropped this screenshot.’

This is the screenshot that was included in Ben’s original post, when Alice says she is figuring out ‘survival stuff’ and Kat appears to make her silence about her experience a condition of offering her help. In the appendix, Kat shows more context; she shows that she proactively reached out to Alice, suggested some free accommodation (like the EA hotel) and a mental health resource. She comments:
“This, by the way, is a perfect example of how Alice spreads falsehoods. They’re mostly lying by omission. She’ll say something that is true (the cropped screenshot), but not show the rest. And the rest will totally flip the sign of the whole accusation.”

I disagree that the rest flips the sign of the accusation. I think these messages are consistent with Kat’s story: that Alice was mentally unwell and spreading (false) bad stories, and Kat genuinely wanted to help her while preventing her from spreading lies. I also think they’re consistent with Alice’s story; that Kat had found out that Alice was telling (true) stories about bad experiences she’d had at Nonlinear, and Kat was trying to persuade her to stop. If you want to persuade someone to stop telling negative stories about you —whether true or false —being helpful and friendly is a good way to do it! Ime it’s much harder to say negative things about someone who is being explicitly very generous to you. 

I guess something that confuses me here about Kat's story is, if Alice was telling lies because of mental illness or a lack of contact with reality, then I’m not sure why Kat expected a commitment from her to mean anything anyway.

I think it’s right that Ben’s claim that Alice was “in a position of strong need” was stretching it: she does say she’s safe, and ‘figuring out basic survival stuff’ *could* mean being very needy, but could also mean something less extreme than that.

Spot check: p. 104
from the appendix:
"Kat: It’s incredibly unwise to date your colleague/roommate/boss’s brother who has a different relationship orientation, but it’s up to you.  
Alice: Kat’s trying to force me to not be poly!"

Here Kat gives some evidence that she’s not anti-poly and would never try to interfere with someone’s dating life:

‘For example, around the time Alice alleges that Kat said she couldn’t be poly around her, Kat suggested that Alice might like dating two of her poly friends coming to visit who she knows are looking for a third to form a triad. Also, we’ve invited many poly people to travel with us. Including Alice, who was practicing polyamory the entire time she lived with us. We knew she was poly before she even arrived and were 100% fine with it. She started polyamorously sleeping with multiple of our friends within a week of joining us in Puerto Rico. So clearly we don’t mind having poly people live with us.’

To say ‘we can’t be anti-poly because we invited polyamorous Alice to travel with us’ is begging the question, since Alice claimed that Kat asked her to stop being poly and wasn't '100% fine with it'. 

The other parts aren’t strong evidence that Kat did not have the conversation Alice reported. Someone can have a bias or discomfort without that affecting them literally all the time. Lots of people in the EA and AI safety community are poly, so it would be difficult for Nonlinear to avoid asking poly people to travel with them.

I think it’s reasonable for Kat to discourage Alice from dating Drew —albeit arguably hypocritical, given that Kat and Emerson are a couple and also colleagues, so they clearly can’t think it’s inappropriate in all cases.

Again, there is probably no way that Kat could actually prove that she never told Alice she shouldn’t be poly! But again, just because this is the best evidence we could reasonably hope for, doesn’t mean it’s actually that strong.

General thoughts
This is all tricky, because my impression is that this was always very much about…vibes? (Which partly comes from the fact that I heard about it from Alice and Chloe, rather than Ben’s post). It’s understandable that lots of discussion has been about legible, concrete things: how much were they paid? Were they asked to bring illegal drugs across borders or not? But that legible stuff has always seemed less central than ‘there were just super toxic interpersonal dynamics at play’.  And that’s tricky either way: if Alice and Chloe are telling the truth, it’s tricky because it’s really hard to express ‘why was it so bad’ (I thought Chloe’s comment about her experience on the weekend day trip was really useful here). And if Kat and Emerson are telling the truth, it’s hard to argue against a vibe, or to argue that the vibe came from unreasonable interpretations or expectations on the part of Alice and Chloe. In general, it just seems really, really hard to think clearly about situations like this. My sympathies to everyone involved. 

There are also Facebook groups for people with specific marginalised identities, which might also have some of that sort of content: e.g. there is one for LGBTQ people, and one for women and non-binary people. There may also be groups related to other identities: there are a bunch of "EA+X" related groups on FB so I'd say search there

There is a Facebook group on EA + diversity and inclusion: https://www.facebook.com/groups/diversityEA

 I've sometimes been interested in making a group on EA+ 'economic left' thought (socialism, anarchism, anti-capitalism and such) - I'll let you know if I ever do!

Not sure if you know, but GiveDirectly did have a zakat fund last year https://fundraisers.givedirectly.org/campaigns/yemenzakat

I think @Daniel_Wyrzykowski is working on something in this area

I think it's a minority opinion in EA but I also think it would be worth it for EAs to produce lists of the cost-effective charities/interventions within causes that EAs don't prioritize overall, recognizing that some people may care about effectiveness but will be emotionally attached to certain cause areas, or (as you say) will be motivated more by selfish reasons or by a narrower altruistic concern for their loved ones. This might be an especially good idea for people who have expertize in that area.

When I posted about this, people pointed out that SoGive does a bit of this (for misc causes, maybe not for things like cancer specifically). 

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