Comment author: Denkenberger 23 May 2018 04:14:09PM 0 points [-]

This is very helpful. I would note that the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute does AI and is funding constrained. Of course it also does other X risk work, but I think it would be good to broaden your category to include this or have a separate category.

Comment author: Denkenberger 20 May 2018 07:59:23PM 0 points [-]

Interesting - so then interventions that do well on both long-term future and humans today like AI and alternate foods would do very well by your numbers.

Comment author: Emanuele_Ascani 13 May 2018 10:31:26AM 0 points [-]

Good point. Have you also saved/invested in order to grow the capital you devoted to donations? I plan to do just that, coupled with strategies to avoid value drift.

Comment author: Denkenberger 14 May 2018 01:30:58AM *  1 point [-]

Yes, I have invested using strategies like this, which have worked out very well. You can also get a tax deduction by donating to a donor advised fund, which can then only be used for charity. But use one like this so you can have investment freedom.

Comment author: BenMillwood  (EA Profile) 09 May 2018 07:46:08AM 0 points [-]

But this also means if you donate 50% and spend 50% of your free time effectively (like I try to do), you would be a 100% EA

If you gave 60% of your income would that make you a 110% EA? If so, I think that mostly just highlights that this metric should not be taken too seriously. (I was going to criticize it on more technical grounds, but I think to do so would be to give legitimacy to the idea that people should compare their own "numbers" with each other, which seems likely to be to be a bad idea)

Comment author: Denkenberger 12 May 2018 02:00:26AM 1 point [-]

Correct - to make this physically realistic (not able to exceed 100%), you would need to say that someone who donates 10% of money and does no volunteering is dedicating 5% of their total "potential effort." But it is more intuitive to say that GWWC is a "10%" EA.

Comment author: Denkenberger 10 May 2018 04:17:32PM *  1 point [-]

The main reason why I am glad I waited 12 years before donating in a big way is that I switched from being global poverty focused to animal welfare and then to long term future. So now I believe what I am donating to is many orders of magnitude more cost-effective than what I would have donated to 15 years ago.

Comment author: Dunja 03 May 2018 08:46:59PM *  0 points [-]

The problem with this kind of reasoning is that in the same way one could attempt to justify slavery: just because sweatshops/slavery provide living conditions better than none, it doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to abolish them. Hence, by boycotting sweatshops one gives an important message to corporations that use them. As a result, under sufficient pressure, companies will change their rules and take care to provide better working conditions. The goal here is long-term structural improvement of social/economic practices rather than short-term help.

Comment author: Denkenberger 05 May 2018 12:29:06PM *  0 points [-]

First let me clarify that I only support people voluntarily taking sweatshop jobs-I do not support anything involuntary. I think it is good to consider the long-term implications of present actions. But by taking a sweatshop job, not only can people afford life-saving interventions, but they can also afford things like elementary education, which has massive long-term benefits. Saying something is better does not imply that it is good. Starting with sweatshop jobs, the four Asian Tigers have made a dramatic rise, where according to purchasing power paritypercapita) South Korea and Taiwan are richer than Spain, and Singapore and Hong Kong are richer than the US!

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 02 May 2018 09:08:34PM *  3 points [-]

Edit: I heard a round of EA Grants applications had opened for this year, but that appears not to currently be the case according to the EA Grants website. I was mistaken. I did hear more EA Grants will be from community members, but not directly from anyone at the CEA, and I assume applications will open at some point, but there isn't anywhere the CEA has said when.

It should be noted the EA Grants and the EA Funds are different accounts with different issues. Last year the EA Grants were limited by staff time, but I don't recall anyone directly saying that was the case with the EA Funds. There is another round of EA Grants this year, so no data has come out about that. I expect the CEA is putting more staff time on it to solve the most obvious flaw with the EA Grants last year.

Each of the EA Funds have been performing separately. Last year when there were infrequent updates about the EA Funds it turned out the CEA was experiencing technical delays in implementing the EA Funds website. Since then, while it's charitably assumed (as I think is fair) each of the fund managers might be too busy with their day jobs at the Open Philanthropy Project to afford as much attention to fund management, neither the CEA nor Open Phil has confirmed such speculation. The Funds also vary in their performance. Lewis Bollard has continually made many smaller grants to several smaller projects from the Animal Welfare Fund, contrasted with Neck Beckstead who has made only one grant from each of the two funds he manages, the Far Future Fund and the EA Community Fund. I contacted the CEA and let me know they intend to release updates on the Far Future Fund and EA Community Fund (which I assume will include disclosures of grants they've been tabling the last few months) by July.

FWIW (and non-resiliently), I don't look around and see lots of promising but funding starved projects. More relevantly, I don't review recent history and find lots of cases of stuff rejected by major funders then supported by more peripheral funders which are doing really exciting things.

Per Michael, I'm not sure what this idea has over (say) posting a 'pitch' on this forum, doing a kickstarter, etc.

One problem is smaller organizations with smaller, less experienced teams is they don't know how well how to independently and effectively pitch or raise funds for their project, even when their good people with good ideas. Compounding this is a sense of dejection by nascent community projects once they've been rejected by the big funders to receive grants, especially otherwise qualified EA community members who don't know how to navigate the non-profit sector. This is feedback I've gotten from community members who know of projects which didn't get off the ground, and that they faltered quietly might be why they go unnoticed. That stated, I don't think there is a ton of promising but funding-starved projects around.

On the flip side, I've heard some community members say they're overlooked by donors who are earning to give after they've been overlooked by, e.g,. the EA Grants, apparently based on the reasoning since as individual donors they don't have the bandwidth to evaluate projects, they defer to the apparently expert judgement of the CEA, and since the CEA didn't fund the project, individual would-be donors conclude a project isn't fit to receive funding from them either. This creates a ludicrous Catch-22 in which projects won't get funding from smaller donors until they have authentic evidence of the quality of their project in the form of donations from big donors, which if the projects got they wouldn't need to approach the smaller donors in the first place. This isn't tricky epistemology or the CEA even unwittingly creating perverse incentives. Given the EA Grants said they didn't have the bandwidth to evaluate a lot of potentially valuable projects, for other donors to base not donating to small projects based on them not receiving EA Grants is unsound. It's just lazy reasoning because smaller donors don't have the bandwidth to properly evaluate projects either.

Ultimately I think we shouldn't hold single funders like CEA and Open Phil primarily accountable for this state of affairs, and the community needs to independently organize to connect funding with promising projects better. I think this is a problem in a demand of a solution, but I think something like a guide on how to post pitches or successfully crowd-fund a project would work better than creating a brand new EA crowdfunding platform. Joey Savoie recently wrote a post about how to write posts on the EA Forum to get new causes in EA, as a long-time community members who himself has lots of experience writing similar pitches.

Unfortunately advocating for core funding groups to change their strategy has practical costs which apparently so high appeals like this on the EA Forum feel futile. Direct advocacy to change strategy is too simplistic, and long essays on the EA Forum which ground the epistemological differences of individual effective altruists which diverge from the CEA or Open Phil receive little to no feedback. I think from the inside these organizations focus narrowly on maximizing goal satisfaction they don't have the time to alter their approach in light of critical feedback from the community, and all the while they feel it's important to carry on with the very same approaches others in the community are unhappy with. So while I think in this instance a crowdfunding platform is not the right solution, advocating or changing to existing funds seems noncompetitive as well, and designing other parallel routes for funding is something I'd encourage effective altruists to do.

Comment author: Denkenberger 02 May 2018 10:44:25PM 1 point [-]

I haven't seen the launch of 2018 EA grants - could you link to it?

Comment author: Denise_Melchin 02 May 2018 10:24:25AM 1 point [-]

I don’t think of having a (very) limited pool of funders who judge your project as such a negative thing. As it’s been pointed out before, evaluating projects is very time intensive.

You’re also implicitly assuming that there’s little information in the rejection of funders. I think if you have been rejected by 3+ funders, where you hopefully got a good sense for why, you should seriously reconsider your project.

Otherwise you might fall prey to the unilateralist’s curse - most people think your project is not worth funding, possibly because it has some risk of causing harm (either directly or indirectly by stopping others from taking up a similar space) but you only need one person who is not dissuaded by that.

Comment author: Denkenberger 02 May 2018 10:38:02PM 1 point [-]

At least in academia, success rate on proposals might only be 10% or 20%. And there is varying alignment between funders and your goals. So you would need to get a lot of rejections to have confidence that is not a good idea. But I can see it could be fewer rejections for aligned EA donors.

Comment author: Dunja 26 April 2018 09:06:00PM *  6 points [-]

This is great, thanks a lot for sharing! One thing I'd add would be criticism voiced against (certain aspects) of EA as well as disagreements between different approaches to EA (e.g. short-term vs. long-term prioritization - an example being the idea that one should purchase cheap clothes made in sweatshops and save more to donate vs. the idea that such an action would have negative economic and social long-term consequences, etc.). As an academic syllabus, I think it's important to add critical views, which would nicely fit the content of the course in any case :)

Comment author: Denkenberger 02 May 2018 10:21:36PM 0 points [-]

Hmm... I think that providing sweatshop jobs has positive economic and social long-term consequences, because it brings people out of extreme poverty. I think the main drawback is the non-utilitarian criticism of sweatshops as "exploiting" people. Most people do not recognize that sweatshops are orders of magnitude safer than living in extreme poverty where something like 20% of your children die. But even if people were aware of that, they could still say that since sweatshops do not have the same safety standards is the developed country factories, it is somehow unfair to those workers - they are not getting justice.

Comment author: ThomasSittler 24 April 2018 01:46:14PM 7 points [-]

What is the latest data from gwwc about dropout rates from the pledge? An upper bound on dropout might be the number who cease to report their donations, while a lower bound would be the number who explicitly report failing to meet their pledge or ask to "untake" the pledge.

Comment author: Denkenberger 25 April 2018 12:48:48AM 1 point [-]

GWWC says 4.8% per year attrition. If we say the OP data is half life of 5 years and exponential decay, that is 13% attrition per year. That would mean an expected duration of being an EA of eight years. I think I remember reading somewhere that GWWC was only assuming three years of donations, so eight years sounds a lot better to me. Another thought is that the pledge has been compared with marriage, so we could look at the average duration of the marriage. When I looked into this, it appeared to be fairly bimodal, with many ending relatively quickly, but many ending till death do they part. GWWC argues that consistent exponential decay would be too pessimistic. If we believe the 13% per year attrition, that means we need to recruit 13% more people each year just to stay the same size.

View more: Next