Comment author: vollmer 10 March 2018 04:08:46PM 0 points [-]

Have you considered using a service that allows for anonymous conversations between you and the other person? This would enable you to respond to and discuss anonymous submissions. (I'm not sure this is needed – just an input.)

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 06 March 2018 04:56:55PM 2 points [-]

I've tried to initiate translation projects for EA into non-English languages in the past. I was looking for EAs who were (close to) fluent in a language and local to where outreach would take place. This was a couple years ago. So, the local EA communities outside the English-speaking world were new, small and didn't have enough people to start up their own translation project. Given the arguments in Ben's post, I don't think necessarily much was lost in not having capitalized on the opportunity to translate EA content into other languages as well.

The most successful case of translation of EA content, and moreover, the generation of brand new EA content, outside of English is in Germany. This was started by EAs who were native speakers of German, and the work of their EA Foundation (EAF). Depending on how much one thinks their circumstances could generalize, it might be best for the movement to work with local groups which successfully develop over a few years to generate new content in other languages. This content could be specialized in its messaging to the culture.

Comment author: vollmer 10 March 2018 03:51:02PM *  4 points [-]

Based on EAF's experience in Germany and Switzerland, I strongly agree with Ben's main points in the post. In the early days we made several mistakes that could have been prevented fairly easily. In particular, it seems hard to correct the perception that EA is not just about donating (to GiveWell top charities). It also remains very difficult to counter the impression that EA is mainly the practical implementation of Singer's views; e.g. Singer's views on infanticide get quoted in many media articles about EA.

Some of the challenges that might have led to this:

  • DGB and Singer's EA book were translated to German, but much of the more advanced content is only available in English.
  • Quickly translating English content is easy. However, it takes much more time to ensure high quality both in terms of language and framings/nuance, and it's even more challenging to keep these translations up to date. See the "fidelity model" blog post referenced above for more discussion of this.
  • The media frequently interview members of the community. Community members are more or less up to date with recent EA publications and would explain EA well, but the media very proactively ask about charitable donations and related issues. It takes a lot of active effort and experience with media interviews to counter this pigeonholing, which is hard to do without much practice. I personally find it pretty hard to give good guidance on this.

So as a conclusion, I think the expansion to Germany, Switzerland, and Austria could have gone much better still, and while I agree it could be the deemed most successful case of translation of EA content, I think it was worse than what we should be aiming for.

Comment author: vollmer 13 January 2018 12:35:18PM 2 points [-]

Great post!

("CEA" in the post refers to "cost-effectiveness analysis" – maybe explain the term the first time you use it? It can be confusing to those who know the Centre for Effective Altruism but not the abbreviation for cost-effectiveness analysis.)

Comment author: vollmer 02 January 2018 10:34:53PM 0 points [-]

Room for more funding update: We've only reached 53% of our minimum target so far (€159k), so we have considerable RFMF at this point. We've extended the deadline of our fundraiser by another 10 days:

Comment author: vollmer 02 January 2018 10:06:20PM *  0 points [-]

Great post!

A brief remark / recommendation: Consider replacing "first"/"third" world by "developed"/"developing" world or something more specific. The former terms are a bit dated and are sometimes seen as presumptuous.

(Random article that explains the difference in more detail: )

Comment author: vollmer 22 December 2017 10:23:48AM 1 point [-]

Do you still have RFMF?


Effective Altruism Foundation update: Plans for 2018 and room for more funding

This post provides an overview of the Effective Altruism Foundation’s plans for the coming year. A version of this update was also published on our blog . The Effective Altruism Foundation is a Berlin-based EA meta-charity that fundraises for EA charities, builds the German-speaking EA community, and does research on... Read More
Comment author: vollmer 13 November 2017 09:38:31PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for sharing!

Do you have recommendations for tools to manage reading lists? Especially doing the things that you describe in your flowchart (list types/categories/tags, dragging items around and reordering them, etc.). Mobile apps would be a plus. I've experimented with several tools (e.g. Pocket / Instapaper) but will probably stick with Google Docs / Evernote.

Comment author: Tee 30 August 2017 03:54:52PM 0 points [-]

I don't think there is a difference between a moral duty and an obligation.

I'm not entirely sure that I would agree with this. I'm supposed to be publishing more survey content on the Forum at the moment, so parsing this out may have to wait, but obligation to me feels relatively more guilt-driven, and being duty-bound seems to invoke a more diverse set of internal and external pressures

At any rate, if it's not clear here, it's certainly not good as a survey question.

In 2015, there were more than 2000 respondents, right? Does this mean EA is getting smaller??

Could be! May also be indicative of year-on-year survey fatigue though. We'll be revamping the survey for 2018 to make it a better experience in general

Comment author: vollmer 20 September 2017 02:03:02PM 1 point [-]

As a non-native speaker, I find it particularly difficult to understand the difference between "moral duty" and "obligation". And I've travelled in the US for half a year and have taken some extra English classes, so I'd expect that many/most other non-native speakers won't see any difference between the terms.

Comment author: vollmer 12 August 2017 05:09:03PM 1 point [-]

This paper by Butera and Houser (2016) seems relevant and interesting (emphasis mine):

Philanthropy, and particularly ensuring that one’s giving is effective, can require substantial time and effort. One way to reduce these costs, and thus encourage greater giving, could be to encourage delegation of giving decisions to better-informed others. At the same time, because it involves a loss of agency, delegating these decisions may produce less warm-glow and thus reduce one’s charitable impulse. Unfortunately, the importance of agency in charitable decisions remains largely unexplored. In this paper, using a laboratory experiment with real donations, we shed light on this issue. Our main finding is that agency, while it does correlate with self-reported warm-glow, nevertheless seems to play a small role in encouraging giving. In particular, people do not reduce donations when giving decisions are made by algorithms that guarantee efficient recipients but limit donors’ control over giving allocations. Moreover, we find participating in giving groups − a weaker form of delegation − is also effective in that they are appealing to donors who would not otherwise make informed donations, and thus improves overall effective giving. Our results suggest that one path to promoting effective giving may be to create institutions that facilitate delegated generosity.

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