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John_Maxwell_IV comments on Thoughts on the "Meta Trap" - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: rohinmshah  (EA Profile) 21 December 2016 07:51:39AM 2 points [-]

Note that it is possible for the credit to sum to more than 100%.

Yes, I agree that this is possible (this is why I said it could be "a reasonable conclusion by each organization"). My point is that because of this phenomenon, you can have the pathological case where from a global perspective, the impact does not justify the costs, even though the impact does justify the costs from the perspective of every organization.

I discuss point 6 here

Yeah, I agree that potential economies of scale are much greater than diminishing marginal returns, and I should have mentioned that. Mea culpa.

Issues with how to assess impact, metrics etc. are discussed in-depth in the organisation's impact evaluations.

My impression is that organizations acknowledge that there are issues, but the issues remain. I'll write up an example with GWWC soon.

Just to clarify, you'd like to see funding to meta-charities increase, so don't think these worries are actually sufficient to warrant a move back to first order charities?

That's correct.

PS. One other small thing – it's odd to class GiveWell as not meta, but 80k as meta. I often think of 80k as the GiveWell of career choice. Just as GiveWell does research into which charities are most effective and publicises it, we do research into which career strategies are most effective and publicise it.

I agree that 80k's research product is not meta the way I've defined it. However, 80k does a lot of publicity and outreach that GiveWell for the most part does not do. For example: the career workshops, the 80K newsletter, the recent 80K book, the TedX talks, the online ads, the flashy website that has popups for the mailing list. To my knowledge, of that list GiveWell only has online ads.

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 23 December 2016 12:10:25PM 0 points [-]

I agree that 80k's research product is not meta the way I've defined it. However, 80k does a lot of publicity and outreach that GiveWell for the most part does not do. For example: the career workshops, the 80K newsletter, the recent 80K book, the TedX talks, the online ads, the flashy website that has popups for the mailing list. To my knowledge, of that list GiveWell only has online ads.

Maybe instead of talking about "meta traps" we should talk about "promotion traps" or something?

Comment author: rohinmshah  (EA Profile) 23 December 2016 07:02:36PM 0 points [-]

Yeah, that does seem to capture the idea better.