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Jess_Whittlestone comments on Effective Altruism Grants project update - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Jess_Whittlestone 25 November 2017 11:02:23AM *  2 points [-]

This may be a bit late, but: I'd like to see a bit more explanation/justification of why the particular grants were chosen, and how you decided how much to fund - especially when some of the amounts are pretty big, and there's a lot of variation among the grants. e.g. £60,000 to revamp LessWrong sounds like a really large amount to me, and I'm struggling to imagine what that's being spent on.

Comment author: RyanCarey 25 November 2017 02:34:00PM *  2 points [-]

60k GBP doesn't sound like too much to me to revamp LessWrong at all.

  • probably years of time were spent on design/coding/content-curation for LW1, right?
  • LW has dozens of features that aren't available off the shelf
  • Starting the EA forum took a couple months of time. Remaking LessWrong will involve more content/moderator work, more design, and an order of magnitude more coding.

So it could easily take 1-2 person-years.

Comment author: Benito 25 November 2017 05:34:38PM *  3 points [-]

I agree with Jess, I'd love to hear more about the decision making. I think that the EA Grants programme has been the highest impact thing CEA has done in the past 2-3 years, and think it could be orders of magnitude more impactful if they can reliably expect to get funding for good projects. That would require that (a) it is done regularly and (b) people can know the reasons CEA uses to decide on what projects to fund.

Responding to why building online tools for intellectual progress takes multiple people's full time jobs: The original reddit codebase that LW 1.0 forked from was on the order of 4 years of 4 people's full time work, so say at least 10 person years of coding (we have had so far maybe 1 person year of full time coding work, and LW 2.0 has an entirely original codebase). While we're able to steal some of their insights (so we built a lot of the final product directly without having to fail and rebuild multiple times) LW 2.0 is building a lot of original features like an eigenkarma system, a sequences feature, and a bunch of other things that aren't currently in existence. We have still not yet built 50% of the features the site will have once we stop working on it.

Then also there's content curation and new epistemic and content norms to set up which takes time, and user interviews with writers in the community, and a ton of other things. The strategic overview points in the sorts of directions we'll likely build things.

Comment author: RyanCarey 26 November 2017 05:49:32AM 0 points [-]

I'd love to hear more about the decision making. I think that the EA Grants programme has been the highest impact thing CEA has done in the past 2-3 years, and think it could be orders of magnitude more impactful if they can reliably expect to get funding for good projects.

I agree with this. Although note that a lot of things would have to happen for EA grants to get more than 1 order of magnitude better. (They might have to make several improvements e.g. larger grants, more frequent grants, better recruitment of grantees, etc etc.)