berekuk's Comments

Kocherga's leaflet

Whoa, for some reason I thought that LTF fund is not relevant to us, but looks like I was wrong. Thank you!

For context: in the last few months I applied for two CEA grants.

  1. Community Building grants (in December, outside of a funding round, so they warned me that the bar will be higher); they decided not to fund and asked to reapply. In the current Feb 2019 round there's a $150,000 budget cap, and since there'd be a risk of Kocherga competing against EA Russia team (which is separate from Kocherga), I decided not to reapply this time.
  2. I also applied to the EA Meta Fund, since it seemed like a closest match for what we're doing. They responded that they're not interested for now and that I should apply to the Community Building grant instead.

We could work more on improving our reputation on LW and EA forum (I have a few long posts in mind, e.g. our community building strategy which we've developed recently and which we're very hopeful about), but that's a costly strategy and there's a lot of uncertainty on whether that would be useful (for us or for the international community).

Rationalist Community Hub in Moscow: 3 Years Retrospective

Thanks! I wonder if there'd be legal issues because Kocherga is not a non-profit (non-profits in Russia can be politically complicated, as I've heard). But it's defnitely worth trying.

Rationalist Community Hub in Moscow: 3 Years Retrospective

One more thing: unlike the other stuff, I feel like developing EA movement in Russia is more talent-constrained: it could be much more active if we had one enthusiastic person with managerial skills and ~10 hours/week on their hands. I'm not sure we have such a person in our community - maybe we do, maybe we don't.
(Sometimes I consider taking on this role myself, but right now that's impossible, since I'm juggling 3 or 4 different roles already.)

OTOH, I'm also not sure how much better things would be if we had more funding and could hire such people directly. I might significantly underestimate this course of action because I don't have much experience yet with extending organizational capacity through hiring.

Rationalist Community Hub in Moscow: 3 Years Retrospective

We've tried to start a local EA movement early on and had a few meetups in 2016. Introductory talks got stale quite quickly, so we put together a core EA team, with Trello board and everything.

It wasn't very clear what we were supposed to do, though:

  • We wanted to translate EA Handbook (and translated some parts of it), but there were some arguments against this (similar to this post which was released later).
  • Those of us who believed that AI Safety is the one true cause mostly wanted to study math/CS, discuss utilitarianism issues and eventually relocate to work for MIRI or something.
  • Some others argued that you shouldn't be a hardcore rationalist to do the meaningful job and also maybe we should focus on local causes or at least not to discourage this.
  • Earning to give (which I feel had more emphasis in EA 3 years ago than it has now) isn't very appealing in Russia, since the average income here is much lower than in the US

So, we had ~5-6 people on the team and were doing fine for a while, but eventually it all fizzled out due to the lack of time, shared vision and organizational capacity.

We tested several approaches to reboot it a few times since then. Haven't succeeded yet, but we'll try again.


Currently, EA movement in Russia is mostly promoted by Alexey Ivanov from Saint-Petersburg. He takes care of online resources and organizes introductory EA talks and AI Safety meetups. He's doing a great work.

Another guy is working on a cool project to promote EA/rationality among the talented students, but that project is still in its early stages and I feel like it's not my story to tell.

Rationalist Community Hub in Moscow: 3 Years Retrospective

Thank you!

I've applied to CFAR's workshop in Prague myself (and asked for financial aid, of course); they haven't contacted me yet.

I'll explain about EA in reply to this comment.

Rationalist Community Hub in Moscow: 3 Years Retrospective

Thanks! I'm planning to write a separate post with more details on our community, activities and accumulated experiences; there's much more stuff I'd like to share which didn't fit in this one. It might take a few weeks, though, since my English writing is quite sluggish.

Rationalist Community Hub in Moscow: 3 Years Retrospective

Yes, it'd be interesting to compare our experiences.

If you want to chat in a lower-latency channel, I'm @berekuk on Lesswrongers Slack (my preferred medium for chatting) or if you dislike Slack for some reason.

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