Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 21 September 2017 02:46:09PM 4 points [-]

I only skimmed this, but I think the majority of EAs don't actually look into the how and why of GiveWell's recommendations. And even less go into the processes and publications that lead to the numbers that GiveWell eventually uses. An indirect result is that GiveWell doesn't get as much feedback as it could likely benefit from, and too many EAs can't speak to M&E professionals in international development at a meaningful level.

What's explained here, and alluded to here, as well as the criticisms, is important basic info for many EAs who are unfamiliar with it. The various methodologies for costing and discounting (both included here and others), in particular, are definitely worth investigating further for those who haven't.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 12 September 2017 03:02:56AM 2 points [-]

This is covered in detail in the methodology section. We try not to talk about statistical significance much, we try to belabor that these are EAs "in our sample" and not necessarily EAs overall, and we try to meticulously benchmark how representative our sample is to the best of our abilities.

I agree some skepticism is warranted, but not sure if the skepticism should be so significant as to be "quite misleading"... I think you'd have to back up your claim on that. Could be a good conversation to take to the methodology section.

Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 12 September 2017 02:59:16PM 0 points [-]

I haven't looked there yet, so I'm flagging that my comment was not considering the full context.

(I think that the end links didn't come up on mobile for me, but it could also have been an oversight on my part that there was supporting documentation, specifically labelled methodology.)

Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 11 September 2017 03:03:53PM -1 points [-]

I think it's quite misleading to present p-values and claim that results are or aren't 'statistically significant', without also presenting the disclaimer that this is very far from a random sample, and therefore these statistical results should be interpreted with significant skepticism.

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 *  10 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. 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 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: has some SEO disadvantages (v., 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 3 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.

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