stardust

stardust's Comments

No Really, Why Aren't Rationalists Winning?

What does winning look like to you? Lots of rationalists have pretty successful careers as programmers, which depending on what they are going for, could be considered winning. Is it that they aren't "winning" by your definition, or theirs?

Can you describe the thing you think rationalists are failing at, tabooing "winning"?

The Bizarre Behavior of Berkeley Rationalists

If you don't want to have the conversations yourself and don't know who to talk to about it, consider reaching out to one of the members of the REACH Panel

We can all be high status

I'd like to point out that high status does not automatically equate with happiness/high life satisfaction. Status comes with responsibility, including dealing with people nitpicking all of your public decisions and statements, and even some private aspects of your life.

If anyone is trying to get status in order to feel safe and comfortable, they are confused about how status works.

I'll note that I got significantly higher status after deciding to ignore what all the "high-status" people were telling me to do and instead did an ambitious project that most of them told me was doomed to fail. And maybe it is doomed to failure and I just don't see it yet. But I think that if you're trying to become high status by checking all the boxes that the current high status people tell you to, it's not likely to work.

That said, I don't think everyone should go rogue and start projects that high status folks think are doomed (0 or negative expected value). I also don't think doing so has made me especially high status, just slightly above average rather than a fair bit below.

Rationalist Community Hub in Moscow: 3 Years Retrospective

Whoops, I requested access to the slack then forgot about this. Haven't actually gone on the slack yet.

Berkeley REACH Supporters Update: September 2018

Just now saw the edit.

The regular meetups REACH hosts get ~50 people to attend at least four EA meetups a year when they wouldn't have attended any.

This seems plausibly already the case? There were no EA meetups in Berkeley before I started REACH.
Most of the EA meetups draw 8-25 people and it's not always the same people (there's a core set of 4 or so who are usually there).

As a result of the things they learned at those meetups, at least ten people change where they're donating to or what they're prioritizing in the next year.

This I'm not sure about, happy to hear any anecdotes if this is the case for anyone!

At least five people join the community via REACH events/staying there/interacting with people staying there, and at least one of them is doing useful work in an EA priority area.

I would say at least 5 people have become significantly more involved in the community than they would've in the counterfactual. Some of them are at least applying for jobs in EA priority areas.

Berkeley REACH Supporters Update: September 2018

I am not very good at making up numbers in this way and have stopped trying. I am not a superforecaster :) So I'm not going to make any actual predictions, but I'll give some categories where I see potential for impact.

First, let me give an overview of what has been achieved so far based on the metrics I have access to:

  • number of visits (909 logged visits between 4/26 and 8/30, with about 300 unique visitors -- this is a lossy collection strategy, not everyone who comes in actually signs in, I'd guess at most 80% of visits get logged, but again, I'm bad at estimates. Thanks to Alison Eliot for transcribing the written sign in sheet!)
  • number of events (~3-6 per week since April, the events have all been on the google calendar at https://www.berkeleyreach.org/calendar, so I could figure out the exact numbers if it was important but I don't feel urgency around it right now. Looks like about 90 that have been posted on FB.)

Here's a sample of testimonials from the REACH survey in July, in response to the question "If applicable, describe a time that REACH really made a difference for you."

Every time I go to REACH I meet new people and find ways to help out. I love REACH and I'm excited to help make it a successful community center.
It really made the idea of hosting (co hosting to be accurate) a meetup feel less intimidating.
Default place to meet up, has made it way easier to make friends and get connected to the community, perfect space to run AR games, lots of randomly running into people and becoming friends
I learned what actually Focusing is, there.
The EAG pre party was great and I'm glad I can direct people to REACH for meetups
Moving to the Bay it is good to know there is a "default couch" available if I need crash space on a particular day
Kind of every time I visit. I am meeting so many more of our community, I am actively contributing. I can feel a difference in me after every single visit.
1) I have made at least one friend that I don't think I would have met otherwise.
2) Before arriving in Berkeley I worried about finding cool people to socialize with of of work. REACH solved this problem for me, I just have to go there.

----------

Some possible things I could see trying to measure in the future:

  • Number of people hearing about and getting a job based on an interaction at REACH (I don't know if this has happened yet or not)
  • Plan changes in the 80k sense (people deciding to move toward more effective jobs, do earning to give, etc)
  • Number of EA projects that began as a result of conversations at/facilitated by REACH
  • Cross-pollination of related projects (e.g. someone at one X-risk org meeting someone at another X-risk org that they wouldn't have otherwise met/spent time with exchanging useful information that helps with coordination across projects -- I believe this one has happened a few times already)
  • Other forms of collaboration (e.g. when Malcolm was visiting, I let him know about a Complice room feature request that would be helpful for REACH, and he worked on it with me in the room giving input on design decisions -- we could've had this collaboration over fb messenger, or could've met up somewhere else, but having a default place to do it made it much more likely to actually happen, and lead to quick feedback loops)
  • Number of fulfilling romantic relationships fostered (this is of arguable value, and measuring the fulfilling part seems hard)
  • REACH Panel dispute resolutions? (this could end up being net negative if it ends up just stirring up drama, but I think there are some important conflicts in the community that need to be addressed and currently are not)
  • Mental health outcomes? (I'm not confident that REACH can do anything concrete for mental health in the community, but people have self-reported that the structured coworking days have been good for their productivity/motivation which had been flagging due to depression/anxiety)
Rationalist Community Hub in Moscow: 3 Years Retrospective

I haven't had a chance to read through this in detail yet, but I'm surprised I hadn't heard of this before! I'd be interested in chatting and comparing notes. I'll post a more detailed comment in a few days (I'm way overscheduled for the next few days).

Last Chance to Fund the Berkeley REACH

Jan, I'm curious after seeing REACH again this month if you still have the same impression as before.

Last Chance to Fund the Berkeley REACH
I disapprove the epistemics surrounding REACH. E.g. the "Reflections on Berkeley REACH" post does not represent reasonable criticism of REACH the author was aware of, and in contrast includes a call to discourage public negative comments

I actually had more of a response to your email in the original draft, and was advised to cut it for the final version by multiple people as being too personal/specific for a public post.

I admit that I am not perfectly rational, and have never tried to be. Harsh public criticism of me and my project hurts me, and I prefer avoiding pain whenever possible. Critical feedback that is not framed in an overly aggressive way is definitely welcome, and if I get super harsh feedback I will recover, but I will be sad about it. I assume this is how most people feel, but given the level of harsh criticism on LessWrong plus typical mind fallacy, it seemed worth spelling out here.

Last Chance to Fund the Berkeley REACH

Further update: the lease has been signed! REACH is on for at least 14 more months!!! (The lease starts Aug 1 and goes til Aug 31 for some reason.)

Still figuring out how to fund management of the space, and still appreciate further contributions.

Load More