Comment author: Pablo_Stafforini 07 December 2016 01:47:26PM 11 points [-]

Cool. I'm in with $2k.

Comment author: EricHerboso  (EA Profile) 07 December 2016 07:11:06PM *  5 points [-]

I'd like to contribute $1k. Would you like to coordinate together so we can meet the $5k threshold?

Edit: After further consideration, I decided to instead donate $500 to the donor lottery while increasing my direct donations elsewhere.

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: EricHerboso  (EA Profile) 16 November 2016 09:28:05PM 0 points [-]

Please include a question about race. At the Effective Animal Advocacy Symposium this past weekend at Princeton, the 2015 EA Survey was specifically called out for neglecting to ask a question about the race of the respondents.

Comment author: EricHerboso  (EA Profile) 16 November 2016 12:15:06AM 2 points [-]

There're lots of great stuff you guys are doing, but I'd like to comment on one thing in particular: your t-shirts. They look awesome.

I know some EAs think they are low value, but, as an introvert, having a great EA t-shirt helps to initiate conversations with acquaintances when they ask about it. Plus, I imagine it would help build camaraderie between members of any local EA group.

Very cool. (c:

Comment author: EricHerboso  (EA Profile) 12 November 2016 10:22:00PM *  1 point [-]

At the Effective Animal Advocacy Symposium, Garrett Broad pointed out in his talk that the 2015 Survey of Effective Altruists did not ask about race, which is worrying given how overwhelmingly white the movement is. To my knowledge this makes at least two public critiques of the movement on this specific topic.

He points out that the best way to deal with race issues is not to ignore the issue, but to bring it front and center. Could we please be sure to include a question about race on the 2016 version of this survey?

EDIT: Here's an image. I'll upload a video of his talk once ACE puts the videos of the conference online.

EDIT: The video is here. It's titled "Advocacy for Education" and Garret Broad's section of the talk begins at 33:20.

Comment author: EricHerboso  (EA Profile) 11 November 2016 05:38:32AM *  14 points [-]

A few of us have experience working in politics and could conceivably accomplish some good by being an influencer in Trump's White House. Others of us have the ability to pitch Thiel on stuff. Since Thiel has sway in the Trump transition, this means we could conceivably get an EA or two into positions of influence in the Trump administration.

I'm not sure that it would be a good idea to actually do this, but I'm mentioning it because it doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility to actually do it, and it could plausibly be highly effective. Here are some of the questions we'd need to answer:

  1. If we had an EA inside the Trump administration, would it do more good than if they stayed in their current position instead? This depends partly on what they're currently doing and partly on how likely we estimate they could actually make a difference in policy. My intuition is that if we expect Trump's policies to be very bad, then even a small influence could translate into a large amount of good.
  2. Who would be best suited for this, if we decided we wanted to try it? I'm not sure of what would count as experienced enough to do something like this. There are a few people at Effective Altruism Policy Analytics, and I believe there are a couple of people that have experience with lobbying in DC.
  3. Who would make the pitch to Thiel?
  4. What would the pitch consist of? We'd need to know exactly what parts of EA Thiel cares most about, and then we'd need to stress those aspects.
  5. How likely would Thiel be swayed by such a pitch? If he endorsed Trump because he wanted influence in the administration, then I believe Thiel would be fully on board with this idea. But if he endorsed Trump because he actually believes Trump's positions are good, then I can see where he would hate this idea.
  6. Would Thiel be able to get the EA in a position high enough to actually influence policy? How high up would the position have to be in order for it to be influential? How influential are mid-level staffers?

I don't know the answer to these questions. I don't know if this is even a workable idea. I certainly would hate to convince an EA to drop their current work for this if it doesn't turn out to be an influential position. But it seems possible that this could be a high-value opportunity, so I'm bringing it to everyone here.

Comment author: EricHerboso  (EA Profile) 17 April 2016 02:38:55PM 1 point [-]

For anyone working on pages for EA organizations, keep in mind that (1) you probably shouldn't be an employee of that organization and (2) considerable attention should be included in a criticism section. The ACE page was removed in part because the article was "too positive", and people like me were prohibited from adding substantive critical content to it because of my affiliation with the organization (per their conflict of interest policy).

I would not recommend relisting ACE in particular without a criticism section that cites criticism from several different sources. See the AfD page for ACE and compare to the AfD for 80k Hours for more details. (Note that the 80k Hours article survived deletion by being much less positive.)

Comment author: EricHerboso  (EA Profile) 21 October 2015 04:22:45PM 3 points [-]

In general, I like the idea of having something to wear that promotes discussion. It's especially useful for introverts like myself who have trouble bringing up EA in social contexts, but have no problem responding to questions about my shirt and using that as an introduction to EA.

The shirt given out at EA Global was good, as it just has the term "Effective Altruism" which tends to prompt questions. The shirt GiveWell sells is also excellent, as they are a very well named organization. But "Doing Good Effectively by Using Reason" seems clunky to me. I believe it is too long and it feels more pompous than something shorter like "GiveWell".

Contrary to what you've written, I actually think something like "Optimizing QALYs" might actually be good. It's short, easy to read, doesn't sound pompous, and will definitely prompt a question of what it means in a social situation. That is the kind of shirt that I'd actually wear and find useful.

Other shirts I'd find useful would be for various well-named organizations, like "Animal Charity Evaluators", "Giving What We Can", "Charity Science", etc. These don't even need slogans; they can use their name/logo alone, and I think I'd find the shirt useful.

Comment author: AlasdairGives 15 September 2015 10:43:28AM *  7 points [-]

This seems a bit confused and idealistic. You are a law student so presumably you understand the differences between international law and domestic law, the difference between the EU and ECHR and the limited meaning of 'legally obligated' in relation to international covenants. The concept of progressive realisation in relation to the ICESR etc etc. However, the way you have written this makes no attempt to explain these things and I worry it comes across as misleading or confusing.

The paragraph that is most interesting to me is:"EU countries regularly comply with court orders to fulfil their obligations under the ICESCR." Can you clarify which EU countries and give some example cases? Certainly, the ICESR is not legally justiciable in the UK. I don't really know anything about German/French law or other Civil law systems but I would be surprised if it was, and even more surprised if there was a plausible way for someone to have legal capacity to bring claims about extraterritorial effect!

My suspicion here is that you are barking up a noble but misconceived tree. My prior based on my experiences is that 'But its the (international) law' is not a very helpful political argument likely to get more aid to effective causes and that your idea for justiciable options is likely to be a mirage when you look into it more. Would be interested to be wrong on either point though!

Comment author: EricHerboso  (EA Profile) 15 September 2015 08:11:23PM 2 points [-]

Even if it is not legally enforceable, doesn't the 0.7% of GNP figure act as a sort of schelling point here? If so, it could be used in the same way we currently use the "give 10% of your income" meme, as just an anchoring number to show the ballpark we're interested in and not have it sound like we just made up a number from whole cloth.

Comment author: EricHerboso  (EA Profile) 15 September 2015 04:22:54PM 2 points [-]

For those interested, there is additional commentary on this issue on the main EA Facebook group and the EA Hangout group.

Comment author: Jay_Shooster 12 September 2015 07:30:30PM *  3 points [-]

Does abnormal self-sacrifice inspire social change?

The conventional wisdom is that many movements throughout history (christianity, buddhism, Indian independence) were inspired and fueled by the extraordinary sacrifice of leaders/early adopters (or at least myths about such extreme altruism). The conventional wisdom may be wrong, but maybe we need more abnormal sacrifice in our movement, not less. In fact, I think it's plausibly a good idea for us to donate our kidneys, precisely as a symbol of our commitment-- not necessarily in the hopes that others will follow suit-- but in the hopes that it inspires people to take altruism more seriously.

Comment author: EricHerboso  (EA Profile) 15 September 2015 04:05:26PM 0 points [-]

I don't believe that this conventional wisdom is wrong. Clearly both past movements and our EA movement have been fueled by such superhuman efforts.

But these movements would have died out if they only allowed superhuman actors. This is a bit of a strawman, but I'm trying to illustrate a point: I know most of us EAs are not superhuman. I know the less efficient of us are considered part of the movement and are not excised by the superhumans. But when I read through old facebook threads on EA, I again and again see a public norm established as needing to be superhuman.

I'm not saying we should abolish superhuman acts, nor that they should be more quiet about it; instead, I'm claiming that when the public face of EA only shows such people, it does EA a disservice. Yes, the superhumans should still do superhuman stuff and dominate the headlines about EA. But when people come to places like this forum or the main EA facebook group, they need to see that other effective altruists are just like them in as many respects as is possible, so that there is as little inferential distance between them-in-the-now and them-as-a-future-EA as we can manage. The more inferential distance, the less likely they are to join EA.

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