19 karmaJoined Jun 2022


Posting from an alt account...

Definitely feel like hubris and elitism damage new ideas being explored within the EA space. Speaking from my experience with a new idea that I founded a non-profit to promote, I have found the EA community generally unhelpful, with a few notable exceptions.

I was encouraged when I heard 80k and other sources discuss the value of exploration in conjunction with exploitation. This would mean if there isn't evidence to support a new idea or intervention, but there is a plausible mechanism of impact, search costs are usually warranted. However, when discussing my idea, typically there was an exultation of "red-teaming" with very little discussion of development of the idea or empirical validation. I know that strongly evaluating the possibe limitations and downsides of new ideas is indispensable, but the degree to which this is valorized over idea development is absurd with respect to new ideas.

My experience interacting briefly with people with some power and influence in EA was rather disappointing as well. Always had the impression that organizations thought the existing thought leaders knew essentially all of the areas in which fruitful interventions might be found or ideas had merit. As far as EA using its resources to aid projects, the central consideration has seemed to be the connections one has made. A defense of this allocation can be made in that people with good ideas will eventually become known within EA, but the process is slow and selects for those with networking skills and patience.

When applying for grants with EAIF, a declination was not met with any explanation. The reasoning was that they did not have time. The notion that EAIF lacks the resources to hire sufficient staff that one could explain deficiencies in a grant proposal is absurd. It seems to me that either they they don't hold people trying to contribute to EA in new ways in high regard, or that an explanation would potentially render them in some way accountable.

My local EA group is nice, but the focus seems to be valorizing EAs heroes rather than support ideas of the members. They often are unwilling to dedicate any thought or time to new members' ideas. I would think that such groups could be working together to explore and develop high EV potential ways to better the world. Instead, my experience has been that of a fan club of thought leaders.

I cannot help but feel concerned that there are many people with awesome ideas that could produce high EV that lack my stubornity and/or confidence in my idea. I am a very strong believer in the core of EA: using reason to ascertain how to do the greatest good and doggedly pursuing it. I would think it would be immensely high EV to cultivate new ideas, evaluate the means and costs of empirical testing, and helping EAs, in fact implement tests.

EA purports to value new ideas, but it appears in action often unhelpful and even smothering with regard to their development.