impala comments on My Cause Selection: Michael Dickens - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: impala 20 September 2015 03:36:31AM 8 points [-]

This sounds worryingly close to claiming credit for all "etg donors", all EAs' careers and all EA organisations that have had some contact with EA organizations. Of course people like Jonas Vollmer are going to say nice things about 80,000 Hours when asked, and it would be impolitic for any organisation to challenge this, so I'll say it: I don't think all of GBS Switzerland's activities can be classed as counterfactually dependent on 80,000 Hours getting funding. Likewise the volunteers who founded Effective Animal Activism (the predecessor of ACE) or CSER or Effective Fundraising (the predecessor of Charity Science) might have done so at some point anyway, for all I know, and it's hard to buy their saying otherwise as unbiased.

This isn't to single out 80,000 Hours as the only organisation with these murky counterfactuals, it's only jumping off your comment. I've likewise heard people say that people were running fundraisers before Charity Science started recruiting people to do so and that people were giving (or, if students, planning to) before signing up to Giving What We Can's list, and that neither organisation can claim credit for everything these people then go on to do.

Comment author: Ben_Todd 20 September 2015 06:23:24AM 3 points [-]

I agree the counterfactuals are murky, so I'd never say it was 100% due to us. Nevertheless, I think we played a significant role.

We also certainly don't claim credit for all etg donors, only those who say they were influenced by us and made a significant plan change (something like 25-50% of the total).