23

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

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (38)

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: Simon_Jenkins 21 December 2017 04:15:17PM 2 points [-]

1) The winner of the last lottery, Tim, wrote several paragraphs explaining his choice of where to send the winnings. Is this required/expected of future winners? I can understand that a winner selecting a non-EA cause might end up having to convince CEA of their decision, but if I win and just want to give the money to a bona fide EA cause, do I have to say anything about my thought process?

2) Are there advocacy-related reasons for donating directly to charities instead of joining such a lottery? For example, if I'm trying to increase my impact by convincing others to join EA, and someone asks where I donate, there seems to be a cost associated with describing a complicated lottery scheme that may end up with my money going to a cause that I think is ineffective or possibly even bad. It seems likely that people would be confused by the scheme and put off, or even think that I was being swindled.

2b) Relatedly, while I personally trust that the complexities of the scheme arise from a desire to optimise it for fairness and other considerations, I worry that the explanations may be off-putting to some. I appreciate that they are in beta, so I will try to be constructive: I would like to see something like an interactive page with colourful buttons and neat graphics that explains how the scheme works. The boxes (A,B,C,G) are a great start, but I think that for example the equations would be best kept behind an expanding box, or even on another page. The headers as they are are good (though might be better framed as questions like "how will the winner be chosen?"). My take-home point here is that having all of the information on one page is intimidating. These are suggestions largely based on my personal experience of looking through the page.

Comment author: Carl_Shulman 21 December 2017 10:18:22PM 1 point [-]

I can understand that a winner selecting a non-EA cause might end up having to convince CEA of their decision,

See Sam's comment below:

"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."

Are there advocacy-related reasons for donating directly to charities instead of joining such a lottery?

One data point: last year Jacob Steinhardt put a majority of his donations into the lottery for expected direct impact, and then allocated the remainder himself for practice donating and signaling value.

Comment author: RyanCarey 21 December 2017 04:29:27PM 1 point [-]

2) Are there advocacy-related reasons for donating directly to charities instead of joining such a lottery? For example, if I'm trying to increase my impact by convincing others to join EA, and someone asks where I donate, there seems to be a cost associated with describing a complicated lottery scheme that may end up with my money going to a cause that I think is ineffective or possibly even bad

Yes, but on the other hand, the audacity of the scheme will surely get some attention, and those who are attracted by it will probably be intelligent, analytical types.