Crossposted to the EA Forum

Hello, everyone

In February, my girlfriend and I started Rational Animations, a YouTube channel with the long-term mission of producing high-quality animated videos about rationality and Effective Altruism. The aim is to spread these ideas to a broader audience, organize fundraisers, and animate rationality and EA ideas in general. 

I've been reading and interacting with the EA and rationality community for a few years. I have other accounts on the EA Forum and LW focused on a niche topic. Still, I decided to start fresh with this account for talking about more diversified topics and crossposting relevant videos from the channel, either accompanied by the scripts of the videos or by an article more suitable for Less Wrong or the EA Forum. I will probably also post articles that won't make it to the YT channel and experiment with different topics to see what is more appreciated.

My name here is "Writer" because I write the scripts for the channel. The videos you see uploaded right now are all narrated by me, but this will change soon. I also take decisions on the channel's direction, advertise it, interact with subscribers, etc. In short, I do everything that isn't animation and graphics, and I'll outsource narration to someone else. 

You can consider the first three videos as trials, in which I was testing the waters. Both the animator and I are still improving, but the following videos will be increasingly representative of our future uploads. 

In April, we received a grant from the Effective Altruism Infrastructure Fund. We are using it for the animator's equipment, salary for the next six months, paying our new narrator, and potentially pursue paid advertisement strategies. I already experimented with YT ads, but they were disappointing. I have more creative ideas that don't rely on ads or third-party advertisers. For the longer term, the animator and I would really like to make a career with this project.

Suggest stuff!

One thing I would be fond of doing is to bring articles from LW to the YouTube channel. So don't be afraid to message me if there is something that you consider particularly important or interesting that you would like to see animated. I will probably answer with a considerable delay because I'll have plenty of videos already scheduled. But I'll definitely consider your idea and get back to you if I decide to implement it. 

It would also be cool to see some of the best "historic" posts adapted for YT and animated, or even recent posts that I really like. In the future, I might reach out to the author of a post to ask if I can bring it to YT.

Eternal Septembers: something to be avoided

What I won't do is aggressively advertise LessWrong and the EA Forum. If the channel succeeds, I will organize fundraisers for EA charities. If I adapt an article for YT, I will link it in the description or just credit the author. If I use quotes from an author on LW or the EA Forum, I will probably credit them on-screen. But I will never say: "Come on LW! Plenty of cool people there!" especially if the channel becomes big. Otherwise, "plenty of cool people" becomes Reddit pretty fast.

If the channel becomes big, I will also refrain from posting direct links to LW and the EA Forum. Remind me if I ever forget. And let me know if these rules are not conservative enough.

Next video

The next video will be out on June 1st at 15:00 EST. I will post an accompanying article just on LW because it is about a rationality topic. The video after that will be about an EA topic, good both for LW and the EA Forum.

One of the many covers we'll be using. Another version is in the EA Forum article.


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4 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 2:26 PM

I don't watch videos but I just wanna say I love that cover art! Such a lot of meaning packed into one image!!

Err... the comments here and on the EA Forum seem neutral to positive. So why am I being downvoted so much? Is it the post or the channel? If it is the channel, I swear that better stuff is coming D: Maybe I should have just done a post after that stuff. Too bad I guess. I didn't expect this reception.

Speaking for myself, I don't mind the post, and the videos are perfectly balanced that I neither like nor dislike them. I guess I am not the target audience. I would not upvote this, but I wish you success.

Perhaps if many people feel this way, they express support by comments but not votes. And then a few people who dislike it, they downvote it, so the result is negative.

I think you’re onto something. A scout mindset alternative way to frame this issue was done by Spencer Greenberg at the end of this episode, which might help.

tl;dr Encourage the good parts of creative ideas and be supportive, instead of only shooting down creative ideas. Yet encourage the person to have a scout mindset, so they learn more effectively.

Some of it might be expectations. In my experience people are often not comfortable showing projects that are not sufficiently done yet, perhaps because the system is set up for signaling your 🎒backpack. Hence, people expect posts to be about finished or already succesful projects. Yet, it is tremendously useful for creative people to get thoughtful feedback, even if they havn’t made a name for themselves yet. I haven’t thought through all the implications for this but intuitively I think I want to encourage that, although I might be self-serving since I too do creative work. Still, showing the process of creative work for others to get inspired by might increase self-efficacy in the community, which seems rather important! I say thanks for showing the virtue of courage and inspiring me! As long as we also try to regularly calibrate, it’s probably good.

Maybe Less Wrong should differentiate between downvote and ”Show me less of this”, like e.g. YouTube.

Best wishes for your project! 🙂