In response to Open Thread #36
Comment author: DonyChristie 15 March 2017 11:00:20PM 2 points [-]

I've noticed a sizeable minority of posts in this forum have a font that is difficult for me to read. It's the second most-used font after the font in the OP. Does anyone know what it is?

I would recommend not using that font, personally.

Comment author: LKor 09 March 2017 07:03:05PM 4 points [-]

+1 this. Hate FB. EA is the only reason I semi-regularly think about returning.

Comment author: DonyChristie 15 March 2017 10:56:56PM *  0 points [-]

That's useful to know. What other online presence besides this forum would you recommend people use?

Comment author: DonyChristie 24 February 2017 08:04:23PM -1 points [-]

Here's my submission. :)

Comment author: RomeoStevens 08 February 2017 09:55:32PM 7 points [-]

a general unwillingness to explore new topics.

this feels really obvious from where I'm sitting but is met with incredulity by most EAs I speak with. Applause lights for new ideas paired with a total lack of engagement when anyone talks about new ideas seems more dangerous than I think we're giving credit.

Comment author: DonyChristie 21 February 2017 11:38:57PM 0 points [-]

I have been observing the same thing. What could we do to spark new ideas? Perhaps a recurring thread dedicated to it on this forum or Facebook, or perhaps a new Facebook group? A Giving Game for unexplored topics? How can we encourage creativity?

Comment author: DonyChristie 10 February 2017 03:59:51PM 1 point [-]

I was also one of the volunteers who experienced a personal motivation failure; my apologies Linch!

I can confirm, having seen and provided some of the data, that it is not nearly enough to provide any meaningful conclusions whatsoever beyond the success/failure of the experiment itself. Still, it is great this experiment was done and written up despite the problems encountered!

Comment author: DonyChristie 24 December 2016 02:05:38PM *  4 points [-]

I think your arguments could be very impactful if substantiated further. You claim that AMF, for example, is net-negative ("Organizations such as AMF consistently hurt all three sectors, and reverse any good that their interventions do"). At present, your arguments are largely qualitative. Could you quantitatively demonstrate how AMF is net-negative?

Comment author: Lukas_Gloor 10 November 2016 11:16:30PM *  14 points [-]

I definitely became less interested in politics ever since identifying as an EA or utilitarian. But then Switzerland passed some ridiculous xenophobic propositions, and Brexit happened, and now Trump. And every time I had this worry in the back of my mind that we're doing something wrong.

Carl mentioned "Misallocating a huge mass of idealists' human capital to donation for easily measurable things and away from more effective things elsewhere, sabotages more effective do-gooding for a net worsening of the world" here. This point doesn't just apply to money, but also very much to attention and activism. And the bias may not just be towards things that are easily measurable, but there may also be a bias away from "current" or "urgent" events. These events shape public discourse, which could have important flow through effects. What's the effect if altruistic and driven people disproportionally stop caring about current events and the discussions that surround them?

Perhaps it's negligible, but it's certainly worth thinking about more. And I was glad to see how much attention the recent votes got within EA.

Comment author: DonyChristie 19 November 2016 08:23:15PM 2 points [-]

I was under the impression that a bias against urgent events is an inculcated response that takes active strength to develop, a resistance to the much stronger human bias to act on urgent but not-as-important things. It seems to me that most altruistic and driven people still disproportionally care about current events and the discussions that surround them, over the Important Things.

Comment author: DonyChristie 02 November 2016 01:29:04PM 0 points [-]

Can you change it back to 10%? If you can't, that sounds like a problem with the pledge system, not you. I think of Beeminder, with its adjustability that takes a week to set in. Perhaps a person could change the hard pledge that they have set themselves to, from a year out, like Beeminder taking a week for changes to set in.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 27 October 2016 12:03:47AM *  1 point [-]

Creating a set of EA guiding principles

Remember what EA is about. Doing Good Better, and that's it. No strict principles, no Bill of Rights, just honest math.

Comment author: DonyChristie 27 October 2016 04:19:05AM *  3 points [-]

I would think there are several smaller principles that go along with Doing Good Better, that would be helpful to have specified. For instance, if someone was claiming to Do Good Better, but wasn't actually Doing Good Better, in a way that is empirically obvious (e.g. murder, kidnapping, lying, scandal, increasing existential/suffering risks, movement-damage, etc.)

It also seems like we're aiming more for guidelines, not set-in-stone bylaws.

(EDIT: Not sure what kbog's response was, but I just realized my comment may seem like I was anchoring on Bad Things to make Gleb look bad; that wasn't my intent. In addition to being a bit silly, I was just listing things from most severe to less severe, and stopped, partly because I am not sure exactly what principles would make good guidelines)

Comment author: DonyChristie 26 October 2016 08:07:19AM *  1 point [-]

I like the desideratum. :)

There does seem to be a lot of potential good in improving governments, just by the sheer math of it. However, I am generally worried when I see EAs engaging in politics. It seems a good majority of us are left-leaning, and I wonder if that may bias people towards suboptimal policy positions. If we undertake reform of governance, it is important that we should strive to critically question our beliefs lest we fall prey to unexamined political assumptions that we adopted because our filter bubble of friends had them. Examples 2 and even moreso 3 struck me as things with political charge.

One way to combat this is striving for intellectual and sociocultural diversity - this would help with the robustness value. We shouldn't just talk to Western educated left-leaning white secular elites who agree with us. This probably applies to all of EA as well, but particularly it seems like something to beware of when it involves anything political, especially anything international in scope.

I am uncertain how much stock I should put in my intuitions here. My priors are that people of all stripes seem to easily get funny in the head about these subjects, and therefore caution is warranted. On the other hand, we're talking about a lot of resources on the line, and the fact that we (as far as I'm aware) don't seem to have good knowledge about the area, suggests this is a neglected topic worthy of further research.

Here are some numbers on government spending. It's big.

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