Comment author: RandomEA 14 May 2018 04:56:20AM 6 points [-]

One is that some of the charities you mention are offshoots/sister charities of each other - GWWC and 80k, Charity Science Health and Fortify Health. This suggests to me it might be easier to found a second charity than a first one. OPP and GiveWell also fit this mold.

It's also worth noting that Animal Charity Evaluators started as an 80,000 Hours project and that the Good Food Institute was the brainchild of the Mercy for Animals leadership team.

Comment author: number42 14 May 2018 04:43:44PM 6 points [-]

Animal Charity Evaluators started as an 80,000 Hours project

More precisely, it was started by a student who came to volunteer in Oxford one summer, had the idea and then created it over that summer and afterwards as his brainchild, fundraising to start it as a staffed-up charity, etc. CEA hosted a number of students who came to do volunteer work over summers and other free periods. So while it was labelled an 80,000 Hours project, it's appropriate to use it as an example of someone with little relevant experience starting a charity.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 25 April 2018 08:02:55PM *  7 points [-]

I didn't notice the community survey until I saw your comment. I had to retake the survey (answering "no my answers are not accurate") to get to it.

I think there will be selection bias when the survey is optional and difficult to access like this.

Comment author: number42 26 April 2018 06:06:07PM 1 point [-]

Yeah, I'd make it more visible, and flag it more earlier - it's a good idea which could use more responses.

Comment author: RandomEA 25 April 2018 08:19:31PM 12 points [-]

I was planning to give some feedback on the 2017 survey instrument after the last post in that series, which I had assumed would finish before the 2018 survey was released. Since my assumption was wrong (sorry!), I'll just post my feedback here to be considered for the 2019 survey:

  1. One major aspect of EA is the regularly produced online content on this forum and elsewhere. It might be useful to ask about the average number of hours a week people spend reading EA content as that could help people evaluate the value of producing online content.

  2. You could also ask people whether they've attended an EA Global conference. The responses could be used as a proxy to distinguish more involved and less involved EAs, which could be used in analyzing other issues like cause area preferences.

  3. For the question about career path, you could add advocacy as a fourth option. (80,000 Hours treats it as one of the four broad options.)

  4. For the same reasons that race was included in the 2017 survey, it could be useful to ask about parental education (as a proxy for socioeconomic background).

  5. You could ask people how many of their acquaintances they have seriously attempted to persuade to join EA and how many of those did join. This could provide useful data on the effectiveness of personal outreach.

  6. Another question that may be worth asking: "Have you ever seriously considered leaving EA?" For those that answer yes, you could ask them for their reasons.

  7. I think it could be useful to have data on the percent of EAs who are living organ donors and the percent of EAs who intend to become living organ donors. The major downside is that it may cause people to think that being a living organ donor is part of EA.

  8. Borrowing from Peter Singer, I propose asking: "Has effective altruism given you a greater sense of meaning and purpose in your life?"

  9. You could also ask about systemic change: "How much do you think the EA community currently focuses on systemic change (on a scale of 1 to 10)?" and "How much do you think the EA community should focus on systemic change (on a scale of 1 to 10)?" You could include a box for people to explain their answers.

  10. Lastly, you could ask questions about values. A) "Do you believe that preventing the suffering of a person living in your own country is more important than preventing an equal amount of suffering of a person living in a different country? Assume that there is no instrumental value to preventing the suffering of either and that in both cases the suffering is being prevented by means other than preventing existence or causing death." B) "Do you believe that preventing the suffering of a human is more important than preventing an equal amount of suffering of a non-human animal? Assume that there is no instrumental value to preventing the suffering of either and that in both cases the suffering is being prevented by means other than preventing existence or causing death." C) "Do you believe that preventing the suffering of a person living in the present is more important than preventing an equal amount of suffering of a person living several centuries from now? Assume that there is no instrumental value to preventing the suffering of either and that in both cases the suffering is being prevented by means other than preventing existence or causing death." D) "Do you believe that it is bad if a person who would live a happy life is not brought into existence?"

Comment author: number42 26 April 2018 06:04:09PM 0 points [-]

For the same reasons that race was included in the 2017 survey, it could be useful to ask about parental education (as a proxy for socioeconomic background).

Clever idea, seconded.

Comment author: Henry_Stanley 25 April 2018 08:33:17PM 11 points [-]

Probably too late to change it, but for the question "how did you hear about this survey?", the EA Forum isn't mentioned :P

Comment author: number42 26 April 2018 06:02:14PM 3 points [-]

Oh, no one reads this. We're all bots.

Comment author: Richenda  (EA Profile) 04 January 2018 07:04:47PM *  4 points [-]

I mostly agree. However there are definitely some strategic, management-level things that have to be decided when it comes to the Hub. There are an infinite number of fantastic ideas from EAs regarding what things they might want to see, and it's not a straightforward matter to judge how best to go forward. Particularly when it also means making sure we complement the platform that CEA is developing. Some factors include major choices about things like which codebase we continue with, creating a structure that allows highly skilled EAs in tech to contribute to some degree when they want to, and also making sure we don't waste resources making a start with something unless we're confident we'll be able to maintain it appropriately in the long run. Those are just some of the matters involved, and in this regard available bandwidth, both of myself and our tech labour has been a limiting factor for sure.

However we've been making a lot of fast gains since we hired our new tech officer, Larissa, in November. We also have the guidance of seasoned EAs working in tech, and I'm very optimistic about 2018!

Comment author: number42 04 January 2018 07:25:31PM 1 point [-]

Wouldn't even as small a donation as a few hundred dollars translate into more bandwidth?

Comment author: Tom_Ash  (EA Profile) 13 June 2016 07:32:29PM *  1 point [-]

I'm interested as to different people's views on whether they can beat the wisdom of the EA crowds on this.* Those who think they can't might theoretically want to give to a portfolio of charities based on a particular crowd's pick. We've been talking about collaborating with Michael Page to make something like this happen, though my purely personal estimate is that it won't happen any time soon, and I'm not sure how many people would donate to certain sorts of portfolios - that'd also be interesting to hear!

Comment author: number42 17 June 2016 07:19:12PM 0 points [-]

I might give to a portfolio in a particular cause area like meta. I'd only be giving a small portion of my pledge to that though, perhaps about £100 a month - would that even be worth it for the admin hassle for you?

Comment author: Squark  (EA Profile) 13 January 2016 09:20:27AM *  1 point [-]

In the preferences page there is a box for "EA Profile Link." How does it work? That is, how do other users get from my username to the profile? I linked my LessWrong profile but it doesn't seem to have any effect...

Comment author: number42 13 January 2016 07:30:19PM 1 point [-]

As the help text below it says, that's specifically for EA Profiles (which are the profiles at that link). It'll only accept a link to one of those; if you don't already have one, you should create one!

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 12 January 2016 09:00:01PM 1 point [-]

This sounds like a good project, but I'm curious why start an independent venture and not simply approach 80000 hours and suggest to them this area as a subproject of their work? Is there any specific importance to building a separate brand/organization?

Comment author: number42 13 January 2016 04:45:18PM 10 points [-]

To explain why I downvoted, I don't like this general kind of response (i.e. "shouldn't this be part of large organisation X?"):

  • It discourages people from actually doing things, for several reasons.
  • Dealing with a large organisation before starting the work takes time and is offputting, and many ideas will peter out or run into the ground if people are pressured to always do this.
  • It's quite a negative response to give to someone trying to start something.
  • It can involve unhealthy deference to or hero worship of large organisations.
  • There are rarely strong reasons for a large organization to take over the projects that people suggest they do, and cross-linking often allows all the same benefits.
  • It encourages a 'turf' mentality.
  • Having many people experiment with many approaches is valuable, and lets us see which work.
Comment author: Richard_Batty 13 January 2016 01:27:43PM *  2 points [-]

Thanks for asking this as it's made me think more carefully about it.

Partly it's separate just because of how we got started. It's a project that Michael and I thought up because we needed it ourselves, and so we just got going with it. Given that we don't work for 80,000 Hours, it wasn't part of it.

But the more important question is 'Should it become part of 80,000 Hours in the future?' We talked to Ben Todd from 80,000 Hours and asked him what he thought of the potential for overlap. He thought it wasn't an issue as 80,000 Hours doesn't have time to go in depth into technology for good. I think if we became a subproject of 80,000 Hours, it would harm them because they'd have to spend management time on it and they should focus instead on their core priorities. It's costly to build our own brand, but I think it's better than disrupting an existing organization with an experimental project outside their own priorities. We can also find other ways of cooperating short of merging. I imagine 80,000 Hours will want to use our research if it becomes good enough, and we will want to talk to advisees of theirs who are interested in tech for good. We'll also be looking for ways to collaborate with other EA orgs like .impact and the London Good Code meetup.

There are also advantages to being independent of an existing project. We can target our brand more precisely at technologists and prioritize building relationships with people and orgs in the tech community. There's also value in thinking and researching independently of existing EA orgs because we might be able to come up with different ideas and ways of doing things.

I think there's a good chance that we'll look less and less like 80,000 Hours as we go on. I used to work for them, which means I'm prone to copy their way of doing things. As we go on, we might find that it's better to have a strategy less like 80,000 Hours than it is now.

Do you think it would be better if we were part of 80,000 Hours? What would that look like?

Comment author: number42 13 January 2016 04:37:34PM 3 points [-]

No, all your thoughts seems very sensible. The benefits of different organisations sticking to their own distinct, clear focuses are often overlooked, to their cost.

Comment author: number42 12 January 2016 07:49:13PM 1 point [-]

What are the ways that we can spread EA to others? Is there a list, and are there some outreach methods that are particularly good?

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