Weekly Hangout, 3 Dec 2013

Meeting took place 9p to 12:04a UTC.

Attendees and Introductions

Updates on Skillshare

Located at http://www.skillshare.im

People: Patrick Brinich-Langlois and Ozzie Gooen.

Discussed what to name the app.  The FB group voted for SkillShare (5 people) over ShareIt (3) and Commons (1).  Resolved to keep the name "Skillshare" but will revisit the issue next week.

Discussed whether we should integrate functionality from the EA Profiles app also in development.  The aim would be to make it similar to the old 80K profiles, just not on 80K.  This way we would have EA profiles for all EAs, not just for 80K-ers, because there was too much focus on young people and too much focus on careers there.  Also, we would have more flexibility and independence, as we wouldn’t have to work with 80K, who have other priorities.

We discussed features to add to the application.  Ciaran suggested again the need to have a feature to request offers.  Peter suggested that based on his recent career search, he encountered a network of EAs who have specific advice on careers, but many people don’t know about them.  SkillShare could help to highlight that, and other advice.

Howard suggested that SkillShare provide more suggestions about what kind of offers people could place rather than be completely open-ended.

Ozzie suggested shifting the idea from "this is the place to share things" to "this is the knowledge of the community on what people are willing to talk to you about", though Pete was concerned that this might narrow the focus of the group too much.  Ozzie suggested it might be good to focus on being good at one thing and then branch out later.

Howard suggested it could be good to have a form based on Mike P. Sinn (Quantimodo)’s Google Form/spreadsheet of people interested in EA and their talents, etc. where you enter information about what your knowledgeable about and how interested you are about various subjects.  Howard can look over this spreadsheet and see how it’s used.

Updates on Job Board

Located at http://www.jobboard.im

People: Peter Hurford, Rolandas Bubelis, Robert Krzyzanowski

No progress.  Development has been delayed over the past two weeks, mostly because of American Thanksgiving and school work.

Organizational / Meetup Map

No online location yet.

People: Ciaran Phillips

Ciaran looking through Ruby tutorials, has put together a little bit of front-end for map, but it’s still very simple.  Hasn’t started on Rails yet.  There will be a meeting with Ozzie and Ciaran after this meeting to discuss future directions.

The idea of combining the map with Skillshare was discussed.

EA Research Topics Board

Located at https://trello.com/b/shY5TwCm/effective-altruist-research-topics

People: Ozzie Gooen and Brian Tomasik

Setbacks of the board were discussed.  It appears a lot easier to pose a question than answer a question, there aren’t enough EA people actively writing right now, there’s too much need for specialized knowledge to answer questions, and people feel unconfortable tackling these research topics.

To improve the board, we need to encourage people to vote up on topics, need to make the process for collaboration clearer, and emphasize that there is no need to settle the issue for good.  We should encourage people to outline or write about approaches to solving problems.

Discussed that it could be really cool to synthesize the collective information of EA.  Peter suggested that we could collect all the blog posts from all EA blogs and group them by topic with summaries.

Ruairi suggested argument mapping.  Ozzie mentioned that we could either use current software or making our own software for argument mapping.  Current software wouldn’t require people to know code and would be faster.  Ozzie noted that Eliezer Yudkowsky had previously considered making new software and Ozzie has asked him for a proposal.

The A Factor

Located at https://sites.google.com/site/theafactorinternational/

People: Howard Daniels

The Idea is very much in its inception/infancy.  Howard has always been interested in creating an org since Sep 2012 and he thought about it before he learned about EA.  Howard wants to create a large org with a structure of different people interested in different causes (poverty, animals, hunger).

Howard saw the A Factor as a network of projects and a network for EAs.  He wasn’t  entirely sure if this work is EA or if Howard feels like he is an EA himself.  He has been told before that his work is not compatible with EA.  Howard has a lot of respect for EA and wants to resolve the tension/incompatibility between A Factor and EA.

Peter and Ozzie asked if the A Factor could be integrated into the EA Projects Group.

EA Trello Group

Located at https://trello.com/eaprojects1

Trello boards can be put here to keep them all in one place.

CEA Redesign

Located online at home.centreforeffectivealtruism.org

People: Pablo Stafforini, Ciaran Phillips, Peter Hurford

Narrowed Wordpress themes narrowed down to four and have Facebook voting underway.

Ideas for Other Projects

Discussed a map app.  Michael decided on working on the EA group map (from a list of the current options), will work with Ciaran.  Discussed map; it may be best to begin simple with just a listing of existing EA groups.  Discussed that perhaps we could use an API to access the members of 80k and Giving What We Can from an EA directory.

Discussed further having a homepage for EA to solve problem of what link to give people to introduce EA as the 18 minute TED talk is too long.  Agreed to work on this after CEA Redesign is done.

Discussed having a Trello Board for Life Hacks and Productivity.  This work was easy to make, so Ozzie will just make it soon.

Discussed having an EA Survey app.  This would aggregate opinions of EAs on questions (e.g., "how does a human life compare with a cat life?").

Disucssed having a donation tracker.  This seems striaghtforward and straightforwardly valuable.  It used to be on 80K but was taken off.  The deal was always to make it somewhere else.  Concerns of receipt validation and privacy were mentioned, though anonymous donations could destroy the viral nature of giving.  Jason noted that having a "requirement for giving" seems culty, though Ozzie mentioned that this was never intended to be a requirement.

Discussed the need for a website for the EA Projects Group itself to combine / synthesize information and provide updates, as currently everything is spread over 2+ trellos, FB, google docs, meetup notes on Workflowy, etc.  Peter wanted something publicly facing for the movement that he could link people to.  Others agreed that we needed a name and branding first.

Discussed potentially working on Felicifia, which is a depreciated utilitarian forum on http://www.felicifia.org currently being run by Peter Hurford, Brian Tomasik, James Evans, and Ryan Carey.

Overall Plans for Group

Peter suggested one idea of generating ideas for apps is to ask "what do other subcultures / groups / communities have?"  The idea is to see what is popular in other cultures and adapt their apps.  Ozzie suggested a book called "Building successful online communities", HackerSpaces, and Ning.

We discussed the need to discuss cost-benefit analysis of making apps, comparing how difficult it would be to make the app with how much value we expect the app to have.

We worked on brainstorming group names in a Workflowy document.  We decided we weren’t yet happy enough with the names to bring them to a vote and wanted to spend more time discussing pros and cons of names.  We thought we could soon make a list of the top five.  One person questioned whether it was a priority to name ourselves.

We discussed the need for a vision and mission statement to present some sort of idea of who we are to the public.  Some people felt like not everyone in the group knew what was going on.  We discussed that we still liked the Taskforce model of groups and that we would be  group of EAE volunteers coordinating projects and finding useful things to do that were focused on the EA community.  Ozzie agreed to craft a mission statement and send it to the group for feedback.

We also discussed how much we wanted to be involved with CEA.  Ozzie had a conversation with Neil Bowerman where he discussed that CEA wants to create a community site with apps under the centreforeffectivealtruism.org or effectivealtruism.org subdomain.  The idea was to hire a programmer to make an EA community site sometime in February.  This is a really small issue at the moment, but could grow, as there is a lot of politics inherent in deciding who gets to "control" the EA community and this can get really shadowy really quickly.

Most people in the EA group wanted to be independent of CEA.  Peter valued independence but also thought that if CEA was the only way to make community-related things happen, it is better than nothing.  Ciaran liked having everything under the same subdomain, but didn’t like having everything under the CEA brand.  Ozzie agreed to discuss this more with other people in CEA, like Nick Beckstead.

We discussed whether we wanted to combine apps, like have an EA profiles with a Skillshare and EA Tracker as a part of it.  Peter was in favor of this, but Ozzie thought that a lot of apps didn’t make sense to combine.

We discussed improving our weekly meetings as Peter wanted to have more introductions of us and our group in the beginning, but there is a challenge as people drift in at lots of different times.