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Peter_Hurford comments on Should there be an EA crowdfunding platform? - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 02 May 2018 05:30:10PM 4 points [-]

I don’t think of having a (very) limited pool of funders who judge your project as such a negative thing. As it’s been pointed out before, evaluating projects is very time intensive.

I like the reduction of high time costs and specialization of trade, but a small pool of funders means that if (a) they don't have time for you, your project dies and (b) if they don't share your theory of change, your project dies.

On (a), it does seem like staff time bottlenecks have prevented a lot of funding from going to a lot of good projects (see EA Funds).

On (b), I admit that there's a fine line between "this person is wrong and their project just shouldn't happen" to "this person has a good idea but it just isn't recognized by the few funders". It does seem to me, however, that the current funding system does have some groupthink around certain policies (e.g., "hits based giving") that may not universally select every good project and reject every bad project. It would be nice for there to be somewhat more worldview diversification in what can get funded and I'm seeing a lot of gaps here.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 02 May 2018 05:34:51PM 4 points [-]

Maybe my view of the landscape is naive, but it appears to me that a lot of spaces these days have effectively just one or two funders that can actually fund a project (e.g., Elie for poverty interventions, Lewis + ACE for nonhuman animal interventions, Nick for AI interventions, and Nick + CEA for community projects and I imagine these two groups confer significantly). I don't think we need dozens of funders, but I think the optimal number would be closer to three or four people that think somewhat differently and confer only loosely, rather than one or two people.

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 02 May 2018 10:58:34PM 1 point [-]

We do not disagree much then! The difference seems to come down to what the funding situation actually is and not how it should be.

I see a lot more than a couple of funders per cause area - why are you not counting all the EtGers? Most projects don’t need access to large funders.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 03 May 2018 04:02:28AM *  0 points [-]

Glad to hear we agree! :)

why are you not counting all the EtGers?

I'm a bit out of the loop, but my assumption is that there are far fewer EtGers these days and that they're not easy to find. I'm unsold that a crowdfunding platform is a good solution, but I do think that identifying funders for your project is not an easy task, and there might be opportunity around improving the diversity and accessibility of this ETG pool.