Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 11 July 2017 04:06:02AM 1 point [-]

What's the range for amounts of money that are most appropriate for you to manage?

Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 04 July 2017 10:58:04PM *  9 points [-]

EDIT: It's been over a week, and it seems particularly important that CEA answer this.


I see some significant disadvantages to this, to the point that it should be reconsidered.

EffectiveAltruism.org is designed around making EA welcoming and appealing to newcomers. The EA Forum is quite the opposite... it is in depth, can involve controversial ideas and discussions, and can sometimes have a less welcoming tone in the content and comments.

They're really polar opposites in terms of EA, and by bringing the two together in the same domain and with the same front-end you're closely associating them. This violates Marketing 101, bringing two things together that are positioned so differently.

By sharing the same domain, they two will be closely associated in search, and by changing the front-end the association will be much stronger.

Is the intention for the forum to have more newcomers on it? I fear it will become like the Effective Altruism Facebook page in depth of content and usefulness.

Or alternatively if the forum content doesn't change, it will turn off newcomers and detract from the utility of the main EffectiveAltruism.org site.

I'd like to further understand the plan for bringing these quite different things together, and how you might mitigate the dilution of the forum.


Small side note: Forum.effectivealtruism.org has some SEO disadvantages (v. EffectiveAltruism.org/forum), and the way you implement this transition from a technical standpoint will also affect SEO significantly, so I urge you to consult with somebody about proper ways to do so.

Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 04 July 2017 03:08:55PM 0 points [-]

To me the biggest thing missing from this is recognition of different incentive structures. The markets are very, very different because in this analysis:

  • 99%+ of investors are selecting for-profits based on their financial return, and 99%+ of for-profits are optimizing for their financial return

  • <1% of donors are selecting non-profits based on their statistical impact, and <1% of non-profits are optimizing for statistical impact

As part of the <1% of donors, you're examining a sector that largely is not trying to optimize for your goals, which creates significant differences relevant to nearly all aspects of this discussion.

Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 13 June 2017 07:16:07AM 2 points [-]

Can you address the unanswered question in the announcement thread regarding EA Ventures?

Additionally, is the money already raised for this? That was the major shortcoming with the previous iteration.

Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 13 June 2017 07:14:52AM 1 point [-]

Have you already raised the funds for this? EA Ventures failed a while back primarily because there was not the money, and those in charge of it found that they had a much more difficult time raising funds than they expected.

Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 08 March 2017 04:54:58PM 4 points [-]

"We want to get input from people who have different viewpoints from our staff and can provide us with an outside view."

This group feels quite far from assembled to provide an 'outside' view. Is there a reason that these provide a different perspective? Perhaps you need some less-insider-type people on this if it is to accomplish the goals you foresee?

Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 16 December 2016 01:17:27AM 2 points [-]

I strongly support this, especially with regard to the approach described by: "As another example, if you took an objective criterion like "top 10 biggest foundations 1975-2000" and looked at all the biggest hits over those 25 years and divided it by all the money over those 25 years, would the cost-effectiveness justify all that spending?"

I think the more general, detailed approach first described is most likely to not have sufficiently meaningful data.

Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 15 December 2016 01:01:11AM *  3 points [-]

I haven't previously engaged with your writing on this topic; I appreciate your calling attention to the promise of this as a cause area, and your persistent, rational engagement with the topic.

First of all, I was thrilled to see an acknowledgment of the inconsistency of the VSL with the underfunding of global charities. I myself have considered writing a paper specifically on this topic and the implications with regard to CEA/CBA.

Second, looking at the paper, it seems that the conclusions in the final table are without discounting future lives saved. If you were to apply discounting, how are your CEA conclusions affected? Would be interested in seeing the sensitivity analysis there.

Third, which component of the 1% risk would you find most questionable / possibly affecting the overall CEA conclusion? I generally buy that number, and that this is a promising cause area, but I'd like to investigate it a bit more myself, and your writing thus far implies that your response would be trustworthy on this.

With regard to your main question in this post: "How to communicate the cost-effectiveness to EAs and the general public. The charity we are starting would not only do the direct work to get prepared, but it would also hopefully motivate additional funding."

You are doing the right things to communicate to EAs. You are taking a statistical, skeptical, researched approach. The next steps would just be to make a stable, promising organization in this space with a solid plan for people to engage with and then move beyond just the forum and work on directly engaging with the meta charities and EA donors yourself.

I doubt that communicating with the general public should be a goal of yours. Instead, you most likely intend to communicate with those who are outside the EA community but are interested in food security, ag issues, and global risks. Many of them will already be predisposed to agree with your conclusion and many of its components, though they often will not be as quantitatively adept and engaged. Case-studies can be quite appealing to this audience; referring to regional and global food shortages of the past and the inadequacy of current preparation can be compelling.

In general it's easier to provide feedback on established messaging, such as a website, fundraising prospectus, or mission statement, which I'd be happy to do. Will also be happy to discuss future plans and steps for moving forward if helpful; I do believe I could help with regard to organizing, founding, and messaging.

Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 09 December 2016 12:36:11AM 2 points [-]

Can you provide further background on why you've decided to make each summit so tightly themed? I imagine most of us will only be able to choose to go to one, and I at least would like to be at a summit that touched on all these questions, rather than just one.

Comment author: Joey 08 December 2016 07:02:51PM 6 points [-]

Given all the interest in this (fairly unrelated to top post) topic I wonder if it makes sense to do a different post/survey on what would be the ideal posting frequency for EA orgs on the EA forum. I know CS would be very responsive to information on this and I suspect all the other EA orgs would be as well.

It also seems a bit hard to deal with criticism that falls along somewhat contradicting lines of a) you're not being transparent enough, I want more things like the monthly update and b) you're too spammy, I want to see less things like the monthly update. (I do know there is a difference between number of posts and given information, but limiting number of posts does make it harder).

Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 08 December 2016 09:40:34PM 2 points [-]

Well more transparency and EA Forum posts don't have to be correlated. For example, I have read much of the updates posted on Charity Science web properties, and I think that's a fine place for many of them to continue to live.

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