MichaelDickens comments on The 2015 Survey of Effective Altruists: Results and Analysis - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 30 July 2016 01:42:45AM 6 points [-]

I noticed a contrast between the framing of a couple different parts of the survey results:

[T]he median donation was $333. Certainly good, [...]

It’s clear that EA has a significant problem with gender diversity

I think it would be more reasonable to say that the median donation is a "significant problem", and the gender ratio is suboptimal but I'm not terribly concerned about it. I believe we as a movement should generally be less concerned about how many of us are men and more concerned about how much people are donating.

Certainly many people have good reason for only donating a little, but on average, I'm sure we can donate more than $333, and we should encourage ourselves to do better.

Comment author: casebash 30 July 2016 02:40:27PM 4 points [-]

I suspect that the gender ratio is largely because most EAs are currently science or comp sci. One problem with raw gender ratio as a metric is the more successful we are among male dominated demographics, the worse this number will look. Trying to be more welcoming is worthwhile, but if we really want to increase the number of women then EA needs to make inroads in female dominated demographics. I believe that this deserves much more attention. I also have some concerns that the gender ratio might be indicative of EA getting locked into particular demographics, which could greatly limit the potential of the movement as a whole.

Following on, one better metric would be the gender ratio among EA recruits of a particular demographic. If 60℅ of comp sci people were male, but 70% of comp sci EAs were male, then that would be more indicative of an issue then if both figures were 80%.

Actually, the most concerning post of the survey is how few deontologists we have. Deontologists are the majority of the population, so we need to get some deontologists in order to obtain mass appeal.

Comment author: Joey 30 July 2016 05:51:59PM 2 points [-]

I agree. $333 seems pretty lame, I wonder what the median donation is of an average person in the same income/age spread and how far off of our numbers it really is. It's a fairly important question to ask. If the main good EA does is helping people pick better charities rather than increasing total donation amount that might suggest a change in outreach strategy.

Comment author: redmoonsoaring 31 July 2016 05:26:15PM 1 point [-]

I agree with the caveat that the $333 figure is much less worrisome if it's due to a high number of student or people working for nonprofits.