Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 04 August 2018 11:21:25PM 3 points [-]

Of course. What I was trying to explain is when there is a time crunch, I've habituated myself to use more words. Obviously it's a habit worth changing. Thanks for the feedback :)

Comment author: ole_koksvik 09 August 2018 11:55:03PM 1 point [-]

Yes, the old adage: "I don't have time to write short texts."

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 09 August 2018 08:29:57AM 1 point [-]

Thanks, Ole!

  1. Yep, I would say there is definitely overlap. At the very least between the Ombudsman and the Future Commission. They would both serve as checks. I think (and am not sure whether the others in the project would agree with this), we do not need to think about all of these as a package. If I could wave a magic wand and implement a set of institutional changes, I would likely be in favour of a different package. Instead, we've recommended things that fit well together where we would be incredibly pleased if one or two would be implemented.

  2. One of the main things we're doing now is thinking about how to get to implementation of these recommendations. My view is that we need to keep building a coalition with other organisations (e.g. environment-focused think tanks). On top of this, we need to keep finding allies among the MPs.

  3. I think that's a great idea! We'll likely spend the next few months taking a step back and deciding on how we're gonna be pushing for our recommendations. One really simple communications tactic would likely be to do some polling.

Comment author: ole_koksvik 09 August 2018 11:50:32PM 0 points [-]

Thank you for your replies.

[Warning: musings ahead.]

Re your reply on 2, I found it interesting that overall you seem focused on working with *insiders8 --- people already quite involved and invested in the political system --- rather than aiming for uptake in the population at large, and then to use that as leverage on politicians (which is what I had been musing about when thinking about how to cause political change). I wonder whether there's data on the effectiveness on the two different approaches. Most likely it's too dependent on context and question.

Comment author: ole_koksvik 09 August 2018 01:00:23AM 3 points [-]

This was a really good, clear write-up; I found it very interesting. Thank you.

I have a couple of questions. If you want to reply by just telling me to read the full write-up: fair enough.

  1. There seems to be some potential overlap between A, B, and D. Could the Future Commission, or the Ombudsman, be used for oversight on other parliamentary committees, i.e. that part of their remit be to check that other committees discharged their responsibility to take future generations into account?

  2. Do you have thoughts on how you would go about pushing for a Future Commission?

  3. Do you think there'd be value to do some opinion polling on support for a Future Commission, and an Ombudsman?

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 03 August 2018 08:44:48PM *  12 points [-]

As an attendee to the 2018 EA Summit, I've been informed by the staff of Paradigm Academy that not even the whole organization, nor Leverage Research, initiated this idea. Geoff Anders nor the executive leadership of Leverage Research are the authors of this Summit. I don't know the hierarchy of Paradigm Academy or where Mindy McTeigue or Peter Buckley, the primary organizers of the Summit, fall in it. As far as I can tell, the EA Summit was independently initiated by these staff at Paradigm and other individual effective altruists they connected with. In the run-up to organizing this Summit, the organizations these individual community members are staff at became sponsors of the EA Summit.

Thus, the Local Effective Altruism Network; Charity Science; Paradigm Academy and the CEA are all participants at this event, endorsing the goal of the Summit within EA, without those organizations needing to endorse each other. That's an odd question to ask. Must each EA organization endorse every other involved at EA Global, or any other EA event, prior to its beginning for the community to regard it as "genuinely EA?"

As far as I can tell, while Paradigm is obviously physically hosting the event, what it means for the CEA and the other organizations to be participating organizations is just that, officially supporting these efforts at the EA Summit itself. It means no more and no less than for any organization other than what Julia stated in her comment.

Also, I oppose using or pressuring the CEA in a form of triangulation, and to be cast by default as the most legitimate representation of the whole EA movement. Nothing I know about the CEA would lead me to believe they condone the type of treatment where someone tries speaking on their behalf in any sense without prior consent. Also, past my own expectations, the EA community recently made clear they don't as a whole give license to the CEA represent EA as a whole however they want. Nonetheless, to the point of vocally disagreeing with what I saw as a needless pile-on Nick Beckstead and the CEA, in that thread I've made an effort to maintain an ongoing and mutually respectful conversation.

Comment author: ole_koksvik 04 August 2018 04:50:49AM 36 points [-]

Evan, thank you for these comments here. I just wanted to register, in case it's at all useful, that I find it a bit difficult to understand your posts sometimes. It struck me that shorter and simpler sentences would probably make this easier for me. But I may be totally ideosyncratic here (English isn't my first language), so do ignore this if it doesn't strike you as useful.

Comment author: Halstead 11 July 2018 01:42:28PM *  9 points [-]

Thanks for getting the conversation going on this topic, which hasn't received enough systematic attention by EAs. An excellent treatment of this issue is given by Paul Brest here - https://ssir.org/articles/entry/impact_investing . This suggests that the prospects of achieving market rate returns and having social impact are dim. One may be able to have counterfactual impact by accepting below market returns or at the extreme providing a grant to a company. (Open Phil has invested in Impossible Foods, presumably accepting below market returns).

One observation I have is that there is a big step between showing that impact investing might work in some conditions and actually finding good opportunities. It seems like identifying good opportunities would take serious up a lot of serious research time - of the same order we would expect to identify a recommended GW charity. A glance through some impact investing platforms suggests they offer quite shallow analysis of enterprises that look unlikely to be effective. So, I think we should acknowledge that this space is worth exploring but be very sceptical about any particular opportunity, whether that be Wave, World Tree or whatever

Comment author: ole_koksvik 01 August 2018 06:44:16AM *  0 points [-]

One may be able to have counterfactual impact by accepting below market returns

I think this is an important possibility. Some invested funds cannot be turned into donations, but there may be a chance of getting them invested in something with a social payoff.

Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 23 July 2018 04:57:43AM 7 points [-]

I'm concerned with the plans to make voting/karma more significant; I would prefer to make them less significant than the status quo rather than more. Voting allows everyone's biases to influence discussion in bad ways. For example, people's votes tend to favor:

  1. things they agree with over things they disagree with, which makes it harder to voice dissenting opinions
  2. entertaining content over important but less-entertaining content
  3. agreeable content without much substance over niche or disagreeable content with lots of substance
  4. posts that raise easy questions and give strong answers over posts that raise hard questions and give weak answers

Sorting the front page by votes, and giving high-karma users more voting power, only does more to incentivize bad habits. I think the current voting system is more suited to something like reddit which is meant for entertainment, so it's reasonable for the most popular posts to appear first. If the idea is to have "all of EA’s top researchers posting and commenting regularly", I don't think votes should be such a strong driver of the UX.

About a year ago I essentially stopped making top-level posts on the EA Forum because the voting system bothers me too much, and the proposed change sounds even worse. Maybe I'm an outlier, but I'd prefer a system that more closely resembled a traditional forum without voting where all posts have equal status. That's probably not optimal and it has its own problems (the most obvious being that low-quality content doesn't get filtered out), but I'd prefer it to the current or proposed system.

Comment author: ole_koksvik 01 August 2018 06:19:18AM *  0 points [-]

I agree with this concern.

  • Even with some weighting for 'long-timers', 16x seems excessive.
  • The concern seems exacerbated by the idea of more active modeation
  • I'm not convinced that a forum being having diverse viewpoints already represented suffices to counteract this.
  • The distinction between modearting based on content and procedure ('good discussion') might be hard to uphold: disagreement on what constitutes a good argument is also important, for example.
  • The concern seems also exacerbated by a worry (which I tried to articulate elsewhere) of people established within the community possibly giving too much epistemic weight to someone being thus embedded.
Comment author: ole_koksvik 01 August 2018 05:33:06AM *  12 points [-]

Re the community fund: I find the decision to not review applications for new, small, projects both surprising and troubling.

  1. That established organisations which by the grant-maker's own assessment are not significantly funding constrained would make better marginal use of funds than a new organisation might seems very unlikely.

  2. It is also unlikely that donating to established organisations will do more to grow the movement than helping new organisations start up would.

  3. Echoing what has already been noted, the rationale given does not stand in a reasonable relation to the disbursement of more than half a million pounds. This even more so when one of the recepient organisations is so closely aligned with the grant maker. This is not at all an expression of distrust in the grant maker's intergrity; this is just obvious good governance.

  4. The rationale of lacking time to make the judgements does not stack up. First, a person who lacks the time to make obviously pertinent evaluations should not be in charge of the fund. Second, there are solutions, such as contracting people to invest the time required.

  5. Not unrelatedly (and apologies for not being able to articulate this super well) there appears to be a somewhat pervasive belief among some of those that are already well established within EA organisations that they're a lot better at making important decisions than outsiders would be. It's reflected in the grant maker's apparent reluctance to hand over management of the fund to someone else, in some comments in the discussion thread here (that put a lot of weight on how long someone's been involved, for example), and most explicitly in the belief that a new, small EA organisation would actually do net harm, by being "suboptimal representatives", or by not disappearing quickly enough for the grant maker's liking. This smacks of hubris to me.

(I feel like I've seen this a lot recently, and I think it's really worrying for the future health of the EA movement. One place is in this post, where the message can be glossed as: hey, for many important decisions, it's just not worth our while to explain to you all why we make them.)