Comment author: georgie_mallett 18 November 2016 05:21:33PM 1 point [-]

Ah sorry Bernadette I misunderstood your first question!

I think 'pin down an explanation' was probably too strong on my part, because I definitely don't think it'd be conclusive and I do hope that we have some more qualitative research into this.

We do have professionals working on the survey this year (is that what you meant by professional involvement?) and I've sent your comment to them. They're far better placed to analyze this than me!

Comment author: Bernadette_Young 20 November 2016 01:08:16PM 0 points [-]

Thanks Georgie - I see where we were misunderstanding each other! That's great - research like this is quite hard to get right, and I think it's an excellent plan to have people with experience and knowledge about the design and execution as well as analysis involved. (My background is medical research as well as clinical medicine, and a depressing amount of research - including randomised clinical trials - is never able to answer the important question because of fundamental design choices. Unfortunately knowing this fact isn't enough to avoid the pitfalls. It's great that EA is interested in data, but it's vital we generate and analyse good data well.)

Comment author: georgie_mallett 16 November 2016 07:35:19PM 0 points [-]

Me too! We're in the process of creating the survey now and will be distributing it in January. This is one thing we're going to address, and if you have suggestions about specific questions, we'd be interested in hearing them.

Comment author: Bernadette_Young 17 November 2016 10:00:56AM 1 point [-]

Unless you have a specific hypothesis that you are testing, I think the survey is the wrong methodology to answer this question. If you actually want to explore the reasons why (and expect there will not be a single answer) then you need qualitative research.

If you do pursue questions on this topic in a survey format, it is likely you will get misleading answers unless you have the resources to very rigorously test and refine your question methodology. Since you will essentially be asking people if they are not doing something they have said is good to do, there will be all sorts of biases as play, and it will be very difficult to write questions that function the way you expect them to. To the best of my knowledge question testing didn't happen at all with the first survey, I don't know if any happened with the second.

I appreciate the survey uses a vast amount of people's resources, and is done for good reasons. I hate sounding like a doom-monger, but there are pitfalls here and significant limitations on surveys as a research method. I think the EA community risks falling into a trap on this topic, thinking dubious data is better than none, when actually false data can literally costs lives. As previously, I would strongly suggest getting professional involvement.

Comment author: Bernadette_Young 16 November 2016 04:42:16PM *  0 points [-]

The median EA donation ($330) was pretty low. There could be various reasons for this, but we can only really pin down an explanation when .impact conduct the next EA Survey. I

According to the reports, the first survey of 2014 (ie reported in 2015) found a median donation of $450 in 2013, with 766 people reporting their donations.

The next survey of 2015 (ie reported 2106) found a mediant donation of $330 in 2014, with 1341 people reporting their donations.

Repeating the survey has gathered more data and actually produced a lower estimate. I'm interested how the third survey will help understand this better?

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 28 October 2016 02:50:44AM 1 point [-]

Interesting to see how many downvotes this got. Disappointing that people choose to downvote instead of engaging with the substance of my comments. I would have hoped for better from a rationally-oriented community.

Oh well, I guess it is what it is. I'm taking a break from all this based on my therapist's recommendation. Good luck!

Comment author: Bernadette_Young 28 October 2016 09:04:51AM 18 points [-]

I didn't down vote it, but I suspect others who did were - like me - frustrated by the accusation of not engaging with you on the substantive points that are summarised in Jeff's post. This post followed a discussion with literally hundreds of comments and dozens of people in this community discussing them with you.

I could explain why I think the term astroturfing does apply to your actions, even though they were not exactly the same as Holden's activities, but the pattern of discussion I've experienced and witnessed with you gives me very low credence that the discussion will lead to any change in our relative positions.

I hope the break is good for your health and wish you well.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 25 October 2016 02:44:29AM -3 points [-]

Note – I will make separate responses as my original comment was too long for the system to handle. This is part one of my comments.

Some of you will be tempted to just downvote this comment because I wrote it. I want you to think about whether that’s the best thing to do for the sake of transparency. If this post gets significant downvotes and is invisible, I’ll be happy to post it as a separate EA Forum post. If that’s what you want, please go ahead and downvote.

I’m very proud of and happy with the work that Intentional Insights does to promote rational thinking, wise decision-making, and effective giving to a broad audience. To be clear, we focus on spreading rational thinking in all areas of life, not only charitable giving, with the goal of raising the sanity waterline and ameliorating x-risk. We place articles in major venues, appear on radio and television, and spread our content through a wide variety of other channels. It is not an exaggeration to say we have reached millions of people through our work. Now, we don’t have a large resource base. We have a miniscule budget of just over 40K, mostly provided by my wife and I. It’s thanks to our broad network of volunteers of over 50 people that we can make this difference. A few of these volunteers also provide some contract work, and I’m really happy they can do so. Thanks to all the folks who helped make this happen!

Let’s go on to the content of the post. I appreciate the constructive part of the criticism of the authors of this post, and think some of points are quite correct.

1) I do think we made some mistakes with our social media, especially on Facebook, and we are working to address that.

2) We have instituted a Conflict of Interest policy to provide clear guidance to anyone in an official position with InIn to disclose their affiliations when making public statements about the organization.

3) Unfortunately, the person I asked to update our social media impact after Jacy Reese thoughtfully pointed out the “shares” vs. “likes” issue forgot to update the EA Impact document, although she did update the others. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, and it’s now fixed.

4) While I was careful to avoid explicitly soliciting upvotes, my actions were intended to bring information about opportunities to upvote to supporters of Intentional Insights. I should have been clear about that, and I noted that later in the FB post.

5) I am at heart a trusting person. I trusted the figures from TLYCS, and why shouldn’t I? They are the experts on their figures. I’m glad that this situation led to a revision of the figures, as I want to know the actual impact that we are making, and not have a false and inflated belief about our impact.

In part two, I will describe what aspects of the post I disagreed with.

P. S. Based on past experience, I learned that back and forth online about this will not be productive, so I did not plan to engage with, and if someone wants to learn more about my perspective, they are welcome to contact me privately by my email.

Comment author: Bernadette_Young 25 October 2016 03:13:50PM 17 points [-]

I have down-voted this comment because I think as a community we should strongly disapprove of this sort of threat

"If this post gets significant downvotes and is invisible, I’ll be happy to post it as a separate EA Forum post. If that’s what you want, please go ahead and downvote."

The criticisms have been raised in an exceptionally transparent manner: Jeff made a public post on Facebook, and Gleb was tagged in to participate. Within that thread the plans to make this document were explained and even linked to: anybody (Gleb included) could read and contribute to that document while it was under construction.

This statement - that all criticism in the form of down-voting is likely to be driven by personal animosity or an attempt to hide negative feedback - is both baseless and appears to be an attempt to ward off all criticism. While I feel that Gleb is currently in a very difficult position, this framing of the conversation makes engagement impossible, hence downvoting.

Comment author: Bernadette_Young 24 October 2016 12:55:48PM 15 points [-]

Thank you - this represents a very conscientious follow-up to serious concerns and a very complicated discussion. I appreciate the presentation of considered evidence and the opportunity given for a) members of the community pool their concerns and b) InIn to give their response.

Comment author: Lila 18 August 2016 03:56:58AM -1 points [-]

"But I think supporting the continuation of humanity and the socialization of the next generation can be considered a pretty basic part of human life."

Maybe it's a good thing at the margins, but we have more than enough people breeding at this point. There's nothing particularly noble about it, anymore than it's noble for an EA to become a sanitation worker. Sure, society would fall apart without sanitation workers, but still...

You're entitled to do what you want with your life, but there's no reason to be smug about it.

Comment author: Bernadette_Young 19 August 2016 01:40:41PM *  2 points [-]

The post doesn't claim that having children makes you "good" or "particularly noble", and there's no moral connotation inherent in something being "a pretty basic part of human life".

You're entitled to think what you like, but there's no reason to be nasty about it.

Comment author: rohinmshah  (EA Profile) 14 August 2016 07:58:26PM 13 points [-]

"... of course, we should strive to be more welcoming. Yet, if EA is already building a highly loyal community willing to promote EA, then perhaps this isn't one of the most pressing problems facing EA."

It seems to me that EA is great at getting people who are very much like existing EAs, which leads to the risk of ossification of "types of people in EA" (in other words, a lack of diversity). I think being more welcoming is important to avoid this. (If I remember correctly, you agreed with this point this last year, have you changed your mind on this? If so, how?)

Comment author: Bernadette_Young 15 August 2016 08:28:40AM *  6 points [-]

Agreed, and though this good evidence about people in EA having a positive experience, it has almost no chance of detecting the people who don't, since participation is conditional on 1.) The subjects choosing to invest significant time and money in attending EAG & 2.) The subjects' applications being approved to attend the conference by the organisers.

I'm not meaning to suggest that the application process was actively weeding out negative people, but pointing out there are a number of significant selective processes before people were asked this question. For that reason it's got limited power to detect anybody who doesn't have a positive experience of EA, and shouldn't be used as evidence of no problem.

It is good to hear about positive experiences though, so thanks for sharing it.

Comment author: NielBowerman 28 July 2016 10:14:38AM 1 point [-]

Am I correct in thinking that under the UK tax system the consideration you have outlined in your post does not apply (because we do not have a standard deduction if I understand correctly), and in fact the opposite becomes true once you hit the higher tax bracket for the reasons outlined by JohnMaxwellIV above? If you are not earning above the higher tax bracket then the two approaches would be equivalent?

Comment author: Bernadette_Young 28 July 2016 07:58:48PM 1 point [-]

Neil I believe that's true for the UK. For two reasons 1. No such thing as a standard deduction 2. Donations up to the higher tax threshold are not 'deductible' but the 20% tax paid on these pounds goes to the charity as an extra donation. 3. It's only above the 20% tax rate (higher tax bracket) that you get a refund (if you pay the 40% rate you get 20% back and 20% goes to the charity as above).

So this approach would be counter productive if you earn moderately above the higher tax threshold. The exception would be if you earn so far above the higher tax bracket that donating 50% every 5 years would leave you above the higher tax bracket threshold that year. (However in that case you should probably be donating more than 10% pa ;) )

Comment author: Joey 08 June 2016 06:08:09PM 3 points [-]

Hi Bernadette, great question! Thanks for bringing it to my attention that this isn't immediately clear. I'll try to make it more clear on the website.

The reason we have that section there is because oftentimes (based on our previous experience) these characteristics determine the complexity of the document that must be procured. In other words, the more possessions and benefactors a person has, the more paperwork needs to be done, and the more careful they must be about making sure it's done right.

We are therefore in the process of securing partnerships with companies that could provide a more comprehensive service so that those with complex estates can be sure they have everything they need.

I should also add that this element of our Effective Legacies service is still under construction, so we're recommending that people utilize the primary service for now. The one that can be found here:

I can't comment on the legality of, for example, a married person's will that was written when they were single, as I believe the laws vary based on location, but I can say it's a good idea to update the document after any major life event.

Hope this answers your question! Let me know if you have any others. :)

Comment author: Bernadette_Young 09 June 2016 09:12:03AM 3 points [-]

That seems reasonable. The advice we've had both specifically and generally from legal people is that a will which appears not to take into account your life circumstances is open to challenge. Certainly in the UK, charitable legacies have been successfully challenged for not taking children into account (even when that appears to have been deliberate).

I guess my observation is that almost all people would expect to be in that more complex position before they die, and I expect that will have a large effect on the potential for ROI of these wills.

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