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

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Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 24 September 2015 06:06:14PM 0 points [-]

It feels like we're getting off track here. You originally claimed that 80K played a large role in creating REG and ACE (the implication presumably being that I should donate to 80K). Now we're talking about the strength of evidence on how 80K has changed people's career paths.

Although its evidence is weaker than I'd like, I'm still fairly confident that 80K has a positive impact, and I'm glad it exists. I just don't see that it's the best place to donate. Are you trying to convince me that 80K's activities are valuable, or that I should donate to it? If it's the former, I already believe that. If the latter, you need to:

  1. show why 80K has a higher impact than anything else
  2. do more to make the strength of evidence supporting 80K more robust
  3. demonstrate that 80K can effectively use marginal funds

Now that's a pretty high bar, but I'm donating a lot of money and I want to make sure I direct it well.

Comment author: Ben_Todd 06 October 2015 07:13:25AM 2 points [-]

Nitpick: robust evidence doesn't seem necessary - weak evidence of high upside potential should also count.

Comment author: Ben_Todd 06 October 2015 07:10:01AM *  2 points [-]

Hi Michael,

In the original document you say next to 80k "unclear whether it has a positive effect". So I was starting there.

REG and ACE are relevant because they're examples of the value of the plan changes we cause. If you think 80k is changing plans such that more high impact organisations are created, then it's likely 80k is also effective. (Though may of course still not be worth funding due to a lack of RFMF, but that's not what you said initially).

The closest we've got recently to publicly arguing the case for 80k is here: https://80000hours.org/2015/08/plans-for-the-coming-year-may-2015/

Of course there's a lot more to talk about. I'm always happy to answer more questions or share details about how marginal funds would be used via email.