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Dale comments on Should Giving What We Can change its Pledge? - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Dale 22 October 2014 11:54:45PM 5 points [-]

It's worth noting that GWWC already includes many MIRI donors. Certainly much of the CEA management thinks that Xrisk/animals/other speculative causes is more important than global poverty, and MIRI is even listed (in a very hard to see spot) on the GWWC front page (scroll down to the 'donated' pie chart, then hit the down arrow to scroll through the recipient charities). GWWC has accepted Xrisk charities as fulfilling the pledge at least since 2011, and perhaps longer.

However, I agree with you that this would damage GWWC's brand equity. It is already a hard enough sell at the moment. Once upon a time, GWWC was concerned about being publicly associated with 80k, let alone XRisk.

Comment author: Toby_Ord 23 October 2014 11:54:28AM 7 points [-]

I don't think it is accurate to say that it includes 'many' MIRI donors. At least not compared to its total of 644 members. Note that MIRI was listed as the 42nd out of 43 listed charities in order of how much members have donated to them, which seems about as marginal as it could be. In addition, the list of charities that our members have donated to is not supposed to be any kind of endorsement of them by Giving What We Can. We allow members to donate their pledged amounts anywhere so long as it is a sincere interpretation of the pledge.

Comment author: Michelle_Hutchinson 23 October 2014 03:25:32PM 5 points [-]

GWWC is definitely concerned to remain focused on poverty, and maintain its credibility as a community focused on donating to the causes which we believe help others the most, using evidence to find which causes those are. But so far we haven't had trouble with people associating it with specific charities a minority of members give to. With regard to 80k, the main change was actually that they became way less controversial. ;)

Comment author: Vincent_deB 23 October 2014 12:58:26AM *  4 points [-]

Certainly much of the CEA management thinks that Xrisk/animals/other speculative causes is more important than global poverty

That feels a bit odd given that they're recruiting people who care about poverty to GWWC :(

Comment author: Joey 23 October 2014 01:36:58AM 2 points [-]

It is a pretty common belief among x-risk/meta focused people that poverty is a good introduction to EA and people will later switch to x-risk/meta causes.

Comment author: Dale 25 October 2014 04:10:02PM 2 points [-]

Yes - I think it is disingenuous not to acknowledge this.

Comment author: Michelle_Hutchinson 25 October 2014 06:36:34PM 0 points [-]

I think people who believe this do typically acknowledge it: from my understanding they generally think that effectiveness can be tough to get one's head around, that x-risk and meta interventions can seem weird, and that the most intelligible way to present the concept is to give concrete examples of the kinds of interventions people are already familiar with. This reasoning seems pretty plausible to me. This is similar to the fact that GWWC often starts by giving the example of different ways to treat HIV in order to illustrate cost-effectiveness: it's not that we don't think cost-effectiveness should be applied across different diseases, and indeed across different ways of alleviating poverty. Rather it's that showing the difference in effectiveness between treating Karposi's Sarcoma and condom distribution is a particularly clear way to show the importance of cost-effectiveness when it comes to helping people.

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 24 October 2014 01:00:04PM *  0 points [-]

It is a pretty common belief

I'm aware this is the impression you formed while living in Oxford. However, would you mind qualifying this statement a bit more? I'm curious. I mean, you don't need to name names, but do you only mean some closer to the core of the Centre for Effective Altruism, or do you just mean everyone concerned about more speculative causes?

Of course, this is a request, not a demand. Feel free to not answer my question at all, as i would understand if you don't want to.

Comment author: Michelle_Hutchinson 23 October 2014 03:19:15PM 1 point [-]

I'm not convinced that statement is true, although most definitely think what the most effective cause is a really difficult question.