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William_MacAskill comments on Some Organisational Changes at the Centre for Effective Altruism - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: William_MacAskill 25 July 2016 05:35:52PM 4 points [-]

Thanks!

Fundraising: The current plans it that CEA will fundraise for all projects (with me as lead on that). We'll update all donors every two weeks with info across all CEA projects (most individual projects already do this to their own donors), and have an annual review.

Earmarking: Fungibility has been a headache since forever; and in the past 'restricting' to a particular project, even though we were very careful with the budget lines, wouldn't completely avoid fungibility concerns, because other donors are responsive to RFMF and would then become a little less likely to donate to a project that's received more money.

The idea that's currently in my head, but not (yet) a policy, is that we to a first approximation only accept unrestricted donations, but that every donor is asked to 'vote' by telling us how, ideally, they would want their donation to be used. This 'vote' isn't binding on CEA, but gives us useful information about what smart people with money on the line think CEA should be doing more of. I take the views of our donors very seriously - they tend to be the external people who are most highly engaged with CEA's work - and so it wouldn't at all just be for show. I'd welcome ideas about other ways of doing donations.

And to be clear, previously restricted money to a CEA project will still be used in the manner it was restricted for, under the new CEA structure, unless the donor tells us that they're happy to lift the restriction.

Comment author: RyanCarey 25 July 2016 05:59:15PM 3 points [-]

That's a cool idea. Obviously on that proposal, the donors should also be able to say 'i don't know' or indicate how confident they are.

Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 26 July 2016 03:36:09PM 2 points [-]

I'm skeptical in general that having people give their confidence levels leads to better aggregate predictions/outcomes, given that most people are terrible at confidence calibration. At the least, this would underweight the opinions of well-calibrated people while overweighting those of overconfident people.

Comment author: RyanCarey 26 July 2016 11:50:51PM 0 points [-]

I just meant they'd indicate how confident they are (1-9).

Comment author: Gregory_Lewis 26 July 2016 09:43:21PM 0 points [-]

I'd guess the best approach here should be basically copied from whatever the prevailing view is in the literature around consensus finding and aggregating opinions.

Comment author: Ben_Kuhn 29 July 2016 04:45:50AM 1 point [-]

Awesome--please put me on the list when those updates start happening :)

The idea that's currently in my head, but not (yet) a policy, is that we to a first approximation only accept unrestricted donations, but that every donor is asked to 'vote' by telling us how, ideally, they would want their donation to be used.

I really like this idea. Hopefully donors are happy with it (I know I personally would be).