11

Accomplishments Open Thread - March 2016

Members of the EA movement do so much great work, but much of it occurs in private or local contexts not known to others around the globe. Yet publicizing our good deeds is really valuable for optimizing global flourishing. Thus sharing about what you did is a very EA thing to do. So please share any EA-themed accomplishments you have not yet shared on previous Accomplishment open threads, whether recent achievements or ones from long ago! This thread is a completely safe space, with no social norms of "don't be a braggart" applying - just share and be safe in your sharing. Share as many or as few good deeds as you wish.

 


Please both share about your own good deeds and respond to what other people share with your authentic responses, ranging from upvoting to comments :-) Doing so will help motivate each other to greater accomplishments going forward and build capacity for the EA movement. 

 


Now, sharing about our accomplishments may seek awkward at first, since it goes against social norms, but we in Effective Altruism know the benefit of trying out unorthodox approaches for good reasons. Sharing about our goods deeds results in many benefits for the world:


1) Inspiring others to emulate some aspects of those good deeds through social proof and network effects.


2) Support each other doing good deeds through providing social connections, positive rewards, and warm feelings, which are vital forencouraging further pro-social activities.


3) Amplifying the signal about things you want others to know about, such as EA projects you are involved in, EA articles you published, etc.

 

 

P.S. This is an experiment, and is very open to optimization - besides sharing about your good deeds, please suggest ways to improve any aspects of it. For the history of previous Accomplishment Open Threads, click here and also this .impact FB discussion.

Comments (26)

Comment author: scottweathers 06 March 2016 11:18:42PM 17 points [-]

Again, I love this, Gleb!

1) I wrote a response piece in openDemocracy defending EA that got 218 shares on Facebook. I also reached out to Lisa, who wrote the original article, and we had a good chat - definitely friendly and I think the debate helped both of us advance our goals/interests.

2) I finally published an article on the EA forum covering the "meat eater problem" that I've been trying to publish for ages. This represents a ton of hard work and thinking that I've done over the last several months. I intend to follow it up with another blog post on many of the questions that I still don't have answers to.

3) The Reach Every Mother and Child Act, the bill I'm working on, just reached 100 co-sponsors! This is a major achievement - many of the co-sponsors were added on after I met with representatives' staffers.

4) I was accepted into global health masters programs at Harvard and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine! I haven't decided which program to do yet, but that's probably what I'll be doing next year :)

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 06 March 2016 11:51:33PM 6 points [-]

Congratulations on the acceptances! Good luck wherever you choose to go.

Exciting to hear about the REACH act, I've been following your efforts there through your posts for The Life You Can Save, so keep those up :-)

Great articles! I think the Open Democracy piece really started a good conversation. The meat eater problem is indeed an important issue, and I will look forward to reading your subsequent post.

Keep doing what you're doing, Scott!

Comment author: Michelle_Hutchinson 07 March 2016 10:51:21AM 3 points [-]

Congratulations Scott! What a great month. Keep us up to date with where you decide to study.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 06 March 2016 10:36:22PM 15 points [-]

So here's what I did recently:

1) As leader of Intentional Insights, I have been collaborating with The Life You Can Save and the Local Effective Altruism Network to spread Giving Games to a secular audience. GGs are workshop-style events promoting EA-style effective giving. Intentional Insights has the connections with secular groups and ways of adapting GGs to their needs, while TLYCS provides both funding and facilitators, and LEAN provides facilitators. We have had some good concrete outcomes of that project. I wrote and published an article for a prominent secular organization, United Coalition of Reason, on Giving Games, and their Board of Directors has approved a UCOR-adapted packet and put it up on their resources page. TLYCS and LEAN facilitators are now going to reach out to the hundreds of COR-affiliated secular groups in the US and Canada to start hosting GGs for them.

2) I published an introductory article on effective giving targeted at EAs to help them optimize their giving strategies. It was cross-posted on TLYCS, InIn, and the EA Forum.

3) I published a thought piece on the EA Forum providing some ideas on the value of different participants within EA.

4) I published an article encouraging people to donate their Valentine's Day gifts to effective charities in the 16th largest newspaper in the US, whose Sunday edition (the only one that published op-eds) reaching over 424K and having 5 million monthly visitors.

Overall a good month, I think.

Comment author: Brendon_Wong 20 March 2016 07:45:45AM 2 points [-]

Thanks for creating this accomplishments open thread Gleb, I think it's a great idea for this forum and the EA community at large!

I read your intro article on effective giving just now; it's a great start! What do you think about investing planned donations and taking advantage of compound interest, even if just for several years, to increase total giving power?

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 20 March 2016 05:06:10PM 1 point [-]

Thanks so much for your supportive words about the accomplishments thread, Brendon!

I think there's a trade-off between giving now and giving later. If you give now, then the social benefits will be a form of compound interest. For instance, if you give to AMF now, rather than later, they will save lives sooner, and you will have created more benefits in the world. So it would be a matter of calculating the trade-offs and comparing the compounded interest in dollars vs. in social good. Hard balance to make, and I'd be excited for someone to calculate this!

Comment author: Brendon_Wong 20 March 2016 09:12:41PM 0 points [-]

Also technical comment, I'm new to the forum and I didn't get emailed with your comment reply or see any kind of notification, is that normal? Is there a way to get notified?

Comment author: RyanCarey 21 March 2016 08:58:49AM 0 points [-]

The "messages" envelope in the top right lights up when you get a new reply.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 20 March 2016 11:01:14PM 0 points [-]

No way to get notified as far as I know.

Comment author: Brendon_Wong 20 March 2016 09:07:57PM *  0 points [-]

Thanks for the input! Yeah I'd also be interested in the difference in impact between the two approaches, and I might post more on it in the next few days or weeks so hopefully that provokes some deep thinking on the matter.

Responding to your point on compounding societal interest, if I give $1,000 now then 1 life could be saved now, But if I wait, invest, and give $2,000 7 years later, 2 lives could be saved. How does saving 1 life 7 years earlier lead to compounding benefits? Sure that 1 person now gets to live, but if I waited to donate, than 2 people who otherwise might not have been saved would have been saved right? More net good by waiting, as long as people remain to be saved (and unless utopia is imminent I think there will still be life saving opportunities for effective charities at least in the next few years if not for the foreseeable future). I think I need help seeing the social good compounding effect.

Also an argument could be made that EA charities will become even more effective in the future, another argument to delay donating.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 20 March 2016 11:00:49PM 0 points [-]

Brendon, I suggest you make a post on this topic calculating all of the social good done by donating now vs. later. For instance, one life saved now creates goodwill about the nonprofit and its benefits, from both other potential donors and stakeholders, and signals to them the benefit of what this nonprofit is doing. Likewise, what if everyone followed this strategy - then the nonprofit wouldn't exist, and you wouldn't have anything to give to 7 years later. So consider all the pros and cons, and make a post on this.

Comment author: yboris 07 March 2016 02:11:11AM 11 points [-]

Thank you Gleb for encouraging of sharing; I find it inspiring to read what others have done. It particularly helps as I'm no longer interacting with other effective altruists in person.

I don't have much to report other than my continued adherence to my 10% Giving What We Can pledge and my first step (of starting learning) last week towards becoming a programmer (to earn better income in the future and thus give more to cost-effective charities).

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 07 March 2016 07:08:45PM 0 points [-]

Great job keeping up the 10% pledge, and much luck in learning programming :-)

I think it's especially hard to continue being a member of the EA movement when one does not have a community dedicated to EA around you, so kudos for keeping up your efforts, and glad that the online forum here and on FB provides a virtual community for you.

Comment author: cafelow  (EA Profile) 07 March 2016 09:11:13AM 9 points [-]

I have had a busy EA month, and I feel really good about it.

I ran three giving games in one week - with three very different audiences - which was pretty epic. They went from awesome, to pretty good, to really awesome. The really awesome was with a group of altruistic 15-17 year olds at my school, they didn't find the ideas particularly controversial, but they said they found it fascinating, and later several of them told me that they talked to their family and friends all about it, and asked me to teach a short course on EA.... so that is hopefully happening starting in May.

I also started helping a couple of other people who are going to be running their first giving game in the next wee while.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 07 March 2016 07:06:19PM 1 point [-]

Wow, 3 GGs in a week, terrific! That is a lot of work :-) And great job mentoring other GG organizers.

Comment author: Gina_Stuessy  (EA Profile) 09 March 2016 01:53:12AM *  8 points [-]
  1. I co-founded the Effective Altruism Madison local group back in Oct 2014. We've had monthly meetups averaging 8 attendees per event (some regulars, some new people). Including my boyfriend and I, 6? of us at least have taken the Giving What We Can Pledge. I also encouraged my friend to coordinate an EA group at the local university here, and his group is off to a great start! (We also have a third EA group in the Madison area, at a large health tech company, that I can't take any credit for.)

  2. I founded and led a farmed animal committee for a local AR org almost 2 years, educating thousands of people about the cruelties of factory farming and giving them information about veg options. The org worked on a wide range of animal issues, but since farmed animal advocacy is considered most cost/time-effective, I worked to really strengthen and focus on that area.

  3. I'm the lead coordinator of Madison WI's veg fest, which more than doubled in size and drew over 4,000 attendees last year. (This event is also pro-veg advocacy and supporting those who are already veg.)

  4. Since 2011, I've donated over $45k to hopefully increasingly effective charities -- I believe my selections have gotten better each year.

(5. Way back in 2009 I helped my boyfriend, Ben West, figure out what he had to do to graduate college, which allowed him to earn lots of money at his job, which allowed him to save up and start a company, from which he hopes to donate a LOT to effective charities https://80000hours.org/2015/12/interview-with-ben-who-expects-to-donate-eight-figures-for-charity-through-tech-entrepreneurship/ We continue to encourage each other to do the most we can.)

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 09 March 2016 05:24:27PM 0 points [-]

You've really done a lot, great to hear about your accomplishments! Sounds like with your help, Madison is becoming an important venue for EA-related activities. Keep up your good work!

Comment author: Mikey 08 March 2016 07:27:56PM 8 points [-]

I'm quite new to EA after being inspired by Will MacAskill's and Peter Singer's recent books. I took the GWWC 'try giving' pledge in January for a 3 month period, with the aim to take the full pledge after that.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 08 March 2016 11:28:16PM 0 points [-]

Congrats on the "try giving" pledge! If you're new to the movement, you might not have seen the Quick EA Actions guide, it might be helpful: https://eahub.org/actions

Comment author: Jon_Behar 07 March 2016 09:53:26PM 8 points [-]

Scott, loved your opendemocracy article! Very well written!

Gleb did a good job summarizing progress on running Giving Games with secular audiences, which I'm really excited about.

Lots of other good news to report on the GG front. Cafelow's week running GG in New Zealand was indeed epic, here's hoping her EA course comes to fruition!

I also got two inquiries last week that could signal the next stage of growth for GG (though we're in preliminary stages of conversation in both cases, so no guarantee that either will come to fruition). So far, we've run GG with a few classes or student groups at a given school. It's great to reach some students that way, but we really want to be reaching entire student bodies. Now people are looking to do just that. One person reached out to me about a campus wide GG (co-sponsored by the school) and the second reached out about building GG into a mandatory curriculum for 2nd year students at another school. If all goes well, these GG would reach ~1800 and ~2500 students respectively!

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 08 March 2016 11:26:49PM 1 point [-]

Integrating GGs into the school curriculum sounds exciting, very nice development! Regarding Secular GGs, I was really enthused by that secular GG in the Atheist Seattle Church where members insisted on contributing their own money, what a nice sign of a really moving experience!

Comment author: weeatquince  (EA Profile) 09 March 2016 12:35:39AM 6 points [-]

I wrote a post asking for funding for the London EA community (See: effective-altruism.com/ea/t4/effectivealtruismlondonarequestforfunding/) A fair amount of work went into the details and the estimated returns and so on. Following on from this I successfully got commitments to donate from London EAs that reached the high end target of £35k and I am now turning down offers of additional funds. Just need to quit my job and get going running and building the London EA community :-)

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 12 March 2016 05:36:18PM 0 points [-]

Congrats!

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 09 March 2016 05:24:48PM 0 points [-]

Congrats on the funding success, great to hear about it!

Comment author: alfredoparra 17 March 2016 09:32:55PM 3 points [-]

I like the idea, Gleb. It's inspiring to read what others are achieving!

These are some of the things I've done over the past ~6 months:

1) I took the GWWC pledge, which I consider to be one of the most important decisions I've ever made. It's had a more profound impact on my life than I initially expected, so it's been a great experience.

2) I co-founded the EA-Munich group back in September 2015, and the group is growing fast. Apart from regular meetups, we organized an event in January in collaboration with the Stiftung für Effektiven Altruismus, which attracted over 100 people. Our guest was Lucius Caviola from Oxford, who held a talk on the psychology of EA. We are also founding our own association (a German Verein) to have a more solid legal basis and better credentials to be able approach organizations and companies in Munich to advocate EA. Finally, we are about to get an official EA-student group accredited at the Technical University of Munich, which will allow us to reach many students.

3) I went veg. (Yes, this is a big achievement for me :) )

4) I decided to volunteer at Intentional Insights, giving feedback and proofreading articles every now and then, mostly on EA-related topics.

In short, it's been a time of radical personal changes -- EA style :)

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 18 March 2016 02:22:15AM 1 point [-]

Sounds like some very positive radical change, congrats! Glad to hear that the GWWC pledge is working out so well for you, and very exciting to hear about the EA Munich group's progress. Cool to hear about you going veg, and thanks for contributing to Intentional Insights' work :-)