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Khorton comments on Announcing the 2017 donor lottery - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Khorton 17 December 2017 12:21:29PM 1 point [-]

What happens if a non-EA wins?

Comment author: RyanCarey 17 December 2017 02:32:48PM *  4 points [-]

Ideally, non-EAs can enter and win. As Carl said, on a first cut analysis, what you're doing doesn't depend on what other people do. You're simply buying a 1/m chance of donating m times your contribution, and if other EAs or non-EAs want to do the same, then all power to them.

In practice, CEA technically gets to make the final donation decision. But I can't see them violating a donor's choice.

Comment author: SamDeere 17 December 2017 11:42:10PM 5 points [-]

In practice, CEA technically gets to make the final donation decision. But I can't see them violating a donor's choice.

To emphasise this, as CEA is running this lottery for the benefit of the community, it's important for the community to have confidence that CEA will follow their recommendations (otherwise people might be reticent to participate). So, to be clear, while CEA makes the final call on the grant, unless there's a good reason not to (see the 'Caveats and Limitations' section on the EA.org Lotteries page) we'll do our best to follow a donor's recommendation, even if it's to a recipient that wouldn't normally be thought of as a strictly EA.


What happens if a non-EA wins?

It's worth pointing out that one's motivation to enter the lottery should be to win the lottery, not to put money into a pot that you in fact hope will be won and allocated by someone else better-qualified to do the research than you are. If there are people entering the lottery who you think will make better decisions than you (even in the event that you won), then you should either donate on their behalf (i.e. agree with them in advance that they can research and make the recommendation if you win), or wait for the lottery draw, and then follow their recommendation if they win.

(not implying that this necessarily is your motivation, just that "I'll donate hoping for someone else to win" is a meme that I've noticed comes up a lot when talking about the lottery and I wanted to address it)

Comment author: Carl_Shulman 17 December 2017 06:44:59PM 2 points [-]

Right, non-EAs entering the lottery get to improve their expected donation quality but don't change the expected payouts for anyone else (and we generally don't have reason to worry about correlating donation sizes via the lottery with them, unless you would otherwise want to switch your donation depending on slight changes in the amount of non-EA donations in whatever area).