Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 12:08:35AM *  7 points [-]

Discord lets you separate servers into different channels for people to talk about different things. There is already an EA Discord, of course new and near term EAs are welcome there. I think it would be bad if we split things like this because the more the near term EAs isolate themselves, the more and more "alienated" people will feel elsewhere, so it will be a destructive feedback loop. You're creating the problem that you are trying to solve.

Also, it would reinforce the neglect of mid-term causes which have always gotten too little attention in EA.

I ask that far-future effective altruists and people whose priority cause area is AI risk or s-risks do not participate.

Yeah, this isn't good policy. It should be pretty clear that this is how groupthink happens, and you're establishing it as a principle. I get that you feel alienated because, what, 60% of people have a different point of view? (perish the thought!) And you want to help with the growth of the movement. But hopefully you can find a better way to do this than creating an actual echo chamber. It's clearly a poor choice as far as epistemology is concerned.

You're also creating the problem you're trying to solve in a different way. Whereas most "near-term EAs" enjoy the broad EA community perfectly well, you're reinforcing an assumption that they can't get along, that they should expect EA to "alienate" them, as they hear about your server. As soon as people are pointed towards a designated safe space, they're going to assume that everything on the outside is unfriendly to them, and that will bias their perceptions going forward.

You are likely to have a lighter version of the problem that Hatreon did with Patreon, Voat with Reddit, etc - whenever a group of people has a problem with the "mainstream" option and someone tries to create an alternative space, the first people who jump ship to the alternative will be the highly-motivated people on the extreme end of the spectrum, who are the most closed-minded and intolerant of the mainstream, and they are going to set the norms for the community henceforth. Don't get me wrong, it's good to expand EA with new community spaces and be more appealing to new people, it is always nice to see people put effort into new ideas for EA, but this is very flawed, I strongly recommend that you revise your plans.

Comment author: michaelchen 11 September 2018 02:47:02AM 1 point [-]

For what it's worth, I felt a bit alienated by the other Discord, not because I don't support far-future causes or that it was even discussing the far future, but because I didn't find the conversation interesting. I think this Discord might help me engage more with EAs, because I find the discourse more interesting, and I happen to like the way Thing of Thing discusses things. I think it's good to have a variety of groups with different cultures and conversation styles, to appeal to a broader base of people. That said, I do have some reservations about fragmenting EA along ideological lines.

Comment author: adamaero  (EA Profile) 10 September 2018 02:57:35AM 1 point [-]

Is the other Discord not publicly viewable? I've never heard of it.

Comment author: michaelchen 11 September 2018 02:36:40AM 1 point [-]
Comment author: michaelchen 26 August 2018 02:31:30AM *  1 point [-]

Sheon Han made something called Awesome Effective Altruism about a year ago, although I don't see it anymore. Is this related to that?

EDIT: looks like someone made a copy of it at

Comment author: Jamie_Harris 01 July 2018 09:14:02AM 0 points [-]

Minor question, but when I tried downloading something from my internet browser blocked it and didn't give me any obvious options for allowing the download. I'm not exactly techy and so this sort of thing scares me - how confident are you that I can download things off the site without giving my laptop viruses etc?

If people use other sites to access free books I'd also be keen to know!

Comment author: michaelchen 02 July 2018 11:53:00AM 2 points [-]

As long as you use a good adblocker (such as uBlock Origin) to get rid of any sketchy ads, I'm fairly confident that the site is pretty safe. If you're unsure if the file you downloaded is safe, you can upload it to If you're using Chrome and that's what's blocking the download, apparently you can go to your downloads list and click "Recover malicious file."

Comment author: Henry_Stanley 16 June 2018 10:54:07PM 0 points [-]

That's strange; what are you using to view the page?

Comment author: michaelchen 17 June 2018 06:30:15AM *  0 points [-]

Sorry, should have said that I was using Microsoft Edge. It works fine on Firefox and Chrome. On Internet Explorer it's just a blank white page, but that's because the entire domain ( is just a blank white page on IE.

Comment author: michaelchen 16 June 2018 01:14:53PM *  0 points [-]

I'm getting "Error: Unexpected call to method or property access." for the first two code snippets.

Comment author: michaelchen 21 March 2018 11:29:20PM 1 point [-]

Are there new terms for EA and x-risk in Chinese besides 有效利他主义 and 生存危机, by the way?

Comment author: michaelchen 23 July 2017 02:08:01AM 1 point [-]

Are further results out yet? (e.g., where Tim Telleen-Lawton donated, or whether Michael Nielsen got the $60K)

Comment author: MichaelPlant 15 May 2017 09:25:03PM 1 point [-]

Yeah, that seems plausible, but I'd like GW to set it out and argue for it, rather than for me/us to have to try and guess to work it out. I've searched and

And still can't find it.

Comment author: michaelchen 16 May 2017 12:24:51AM *  2 points [-]


  • "According to the median GiveWell staff member, averting the death of a child under 5 averts about 8 DALYs (“Bed Nets”, B57)"
  • "each 5-or-over death prevented gets a weight of 4 “young life equivalent” units (“Bed Nets”, B62)"
  • "averting 1 DALY is equivalent to increasing ln(consumption) by one unit for three years (“Bed Nets”, B72)"

I think this "young life equivalent" is the same as what GiveWell calls in other places the "life equivalent."

Comment author: Robert_Wiblin 12 April 2017 05:35:16AM *  4 points [-]

Hi Ben, thanks for retracting the comment.

The broader concern I share is the risk of data moving from experts to semi-experts to non-experts, with a loss of understanding at each stage. This is basically a ubiquitous problem, and EA is no exception. From looking into this back in 2013 I understand well where these numbers come from, the parts of the analysis that make me most nervous, and what they can and can't show. But I think it's fair to say that there has existed a risk of derivative works being produced by people dabbling in the topic on a tough schedule, and i) losing the full citation, or ii) accidentally presenting the numbers in a misleading way.

A classic case of this playing out at the moment is the confusion around GiveWell’s estimated 'cost per life saved' for AMF, vs the new 'cost per life saved equivalent'. GiveWell has tried, but research communication is hard. I feel sorry for people who engage in EA advocacy part time as it's very easy for them to get a detail wrong, or have their facts out of date (snap quiz, how probable is each of these in light of the latest research: deworming impacts i) weight, ii) school attendance, iii) incomes later in life?). This stuff should be corrected, but with love, as folks are usually doing their best, and not everyone can be expected to fully understand or keep up with research in effective altruism.

One valuable thing about this debate has been that it reminds us that people working on communicating ideas need to speak with the experts who are aware of the details and stress about getting things as accurate as they can be in practice. Ideally one individual should become the point-person who truly understands any complex data source (and gets replaced when staff move on).

Comment author: michaelchen 15 April 2017 08:08:16PM 0 points [-]

What are the answers to the snap quiz btw?

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