In response to comment by Inst on Open Thread #36
Comment author: [deleted] 20 May 2017 07:37:46AM *  0 points [-]

Effective and efficient have a quite different nuance. See, e.g.. In short, effectiveness implies the desirability of the goal that is aimed or achieved, while something that is harmful or bad can be efficient. The term 'efficient' is value-neutral in a way 'effective' is not. For example, there are efficient ways to slaughter animals, but that is not what people who are opposed to the killing of animals (especially for food, etc.) call 'effective'.

In response to comment by [deleted] on Open Thread #36
Comment author: Inst 20 May 2017 10:58:22AM 0 points [-]

Effective altruism, by its terminology, arouses what I see as unnecessary contention. By calling EA effective altruism, by implication, it implies that altruism outside the EA framework is not effective. By calling it efficient, it accepts that most altruism is effective, but privileges EA as efficient. In contrast, by claiming efficiency, it intrinsically appeals to some of the best-heeled philanthropists in the business field.

In response to Open Thread #36
Comment author: Inst 19 May 2017 09:44:48PM 0 points [-]

Also, a more general question. Why brand it effective altruism instead of efficient altruism? Remember the old story about the starfish drying up on a beach, and a man throwing them back into the ocean? A passerby comments: "You can't get them all before they're gone, you won't make a difference". The altruist throws yet another one back into the ocean, and retorts "I did for that starfish". The altruism seen there is probably not efficient; with a standard wage he could have made a greater difference for 6-sensed humans instead of 2-sensed starfish, but it is definitely effective.

I always have to catch myself when I want to say efficient altruism instead of effective altruism, because old-fashioned "buying food for starving neighbors" is definitely effective, but it's not as efficient as donating to third-worlders.

In response to Open Thread #36
Comment author: Inst 19 May 2017 09:10:29PM 0 points [-]

This isn't very effective altruism related, but I do shop on Amazon smile, and occasionally give via GiveWell. On a lark, I made a pledge to make a personal (and self-indulgent) donation to some wargaming webcomic, but as part of the deal, I'm getting access to advertisement space at below market rates. For me, as a part of principles / stupidity, I'm not willing to revoke my pledge to donate, but at the same time, I want to make the most of my mistake.

What should I advertise to minimize the net cost of my foolishness? I already contacted the Centre for Effective Altruism for permission to advertise for them, but I wouldn't advertise them without permission. The wargaming comic is Erfworld, which was featured in Time about a decade back, and has a generally-intelligent userbase. What selection would be most altruistic and efficient, beyond simply going back on my pledge and donating to GiveDirectly instead?