EA Could Use Better Internal Communications Infrastructure

EA is lacking in many areas of enterprise infrastructure. Internal communication feels like a pressing one.

(This was a quick post, written in around 30 min. It was originally posted on Facebook, where it generated some good discussion.)

Link to Facebook post
Link to EA Forum post

I really wish EA had better internal communications.

If I wanted to make a blog post / message / recording accessible to a "large subset of effective altruist professionals", I'm not sure how I'd do that.

I don't think we now have:

  1. One accepted chat system
  2. An internal blogging system
  3. Any internal email lists (for a very wide net of EA professionals)

It's nice to encourage people to communicate publicly, but there's a lot of communication that's really not meant for that.

Generally, the existing options are:

  1. Post to your internal org slack/emails (note: many EA orgs are tiny)
  2. Share with people in your office
  3. Post to one of a few domain-specific and idiosyncratic Slacks/Discords
  4. Post publicly, for everyone to see

I think the SBF situation might have shown some substantial vulnerability here. It was a crisis where public statements were taken as serious legal statements. This meant that EA leadership essentially didn’t have a real method of communicating with most EAs.

I feel like much of EA is a lot like one big org that tries really hard not to be one big org. This gives us some advantages of being decentralized, but we are missing a lot of the advantages of centralization. If "Professional EAs" were looked at as one large org, I'd expect that we'd look fairly amateur, compared to other sizeable organizations.

I think things like Internal Communications are one of the key things we're missing now.

A very simple way to make progress on internal communications is to separate the issue into a few clusters, and then attack each one separately.

  1. Access/Onboarding/Offboarding
    Make official lists that cover "professional/trusted members". You could start with simple criteria like "works at an org funded by an EA funder" or "went to 2+ EAGs".
  2. Negotiation and Moderation
    "EA Professionals" might basically be an "enterprise", and need "enterprise tools". These often are expensive and require negotiation.
  3. A Responsible Individual
    My preference would be that we find someone who did a good job at this sort of thing in other sizeable companies and try to get them to do it here.

I bet with $200k/year for the talent, plus maybe $200k-$1k/year, we could have a decent setup, assuming we could find good enough talent. That said, this would definitely be work to establish, so I wouldn't expect anything soon.