Comment author: weeatquince  (EA Profile) 22 December 2017 03:19:17PM *  1 point [-]

This is fantastic. Thank you for writing up. Whilst reading I jotted down a number of thoughts, comments, questions and concerns.



I am very excited about this and very glad that CEA is doing more of this. How to best move funding to the projects that need it most within the EA community is a really important question that we have yet to solve. I saw a lot of people with some amazing ideas looking to apply for these grants.


"with an anticipated budget of around £2m"

I think it is quite plausible that £2m is too low for the year. Not having enough funding increases the costs to applicants (time spent applying) and you (time spent assessing) relative to the benefits (funding moved), especially if there are applicants above the bar for funding but that you cannot afford to fund. Also I had this thought prior to reading that one of your noted mistakes was "underestimated the number of applications", it feels like you might still be making this mistake.


"mostly evaluating the merits of the applicants themselves rather than their specific plans"

Interesting decision. Seems reasonable. However I think it does have a risk of reducing diversity and I would be concerned that the applicants would be judged on their ability to hold philosophise in an academic oxford manner etc.

Best of luck with it




"encouraging more people to use Try Giving,"

Could CEA comment or provide advise to local group leaders on if they would want local groups to promote the GWWC pledge or the Try Giving pledge or when one might be better than the other? To date the advise seems to have been to as much as possible push the Pledge and not Try Giving


"... is likely to be the best way to help others."

I do not like the implication that there is a single answer to this question regardless of individual's moral frameworks (utilitarian / non-utilitarian / religious / etc) or skills and background. Where the mission is to have an impact as a "a global community of people..." the research should focus on supporting those people to do what they has the biggest impact given their positions.

5 Positives

"Self-sorting: People tend to interact with others who they perceive are similar to themselves"

This is a good thing to have picked up on.

"Community Health"

I am glad this is a team

"CEA’s Mistakes"

I think it is good to have this written up.


"Impact review"

It would have been interesting to see an estimates for costs (time/money) as well as for the outputs of each team.



Comment author: Kerry_Vaughan 19 December 2017 09:20:15PM 6 points [-]

Good question. I agree that the process for Individual outreach is mysterious and opaque. My feeling is that this is because the approach is quite new, and we don't yet know how we'll select people or how we'll deliver value (although we have some hypotheses).

That said, there are two answers to this question depending on the timeline we're talking about.

In the short run, the primary objective is to learn more about what we can do to be helpful. My general heuristic is that we should focus on the people/activity combinations that seem to us to be likely to produce large effects so that we can get some useful results, and then iterate. (I can say more about why I think this is the right approach, if useful).

In practice, this means that in the short-run we'll work with people that we have more information on and easier access to. This probably means working with people that we meet at events like EA Global, people in our extended professional networks, EA Grants recipients, etc.

In the future, I'd want something much more systematic to avoid the concerns you've raised and to avoid us being too biased in favor of our preexisting social networks. You might imagine something like 80K coaching where we identify some specific areas where we think we can be helpful and then do broader outreach to people that might fall into those areas. In any case, we'll need to experiment and iterate more before we can design a more systematic process.

Comment author: weeatquince  (EA Profile) 22 December 2017 02:53:33PM 1 point [-]

I have a very similar concern to Michael's. In particular it looked like, to me, that participants picked for this were people with whom CEA had an existing relationship. For example picking from CEA's donor base. This means that participants were those that had a very high opportunity cost in moving to direct work (as they were big donors). I expect that this is a suboptimal way of getting people to move into direct work.

Look forward to seeing:

something much more systematic to avoid the concerns you've raised and to avoid us being too biased in favor of our preexisting social networks

Comment author: weeatquince  (EA Profile) 08 December 2017 04:03:46PM 2 points [-]

Looks awesome - I hope people find it useful :-) Maybe if it gets popular worth having a way or plans for a way to filter jobs / projects via location?

Comment author: weeatquince  (EA Profile) 12 November 2017 05:46:08PM 7 points [-]

There was a project in London where we decided on where to donate £1000. The participants were EAs in London who have non-utilitarian ethical intuitions that equality / justice are intrinsically morally valuable. The result was a sexual violence prevention charity called 'No Means No' that runs education workshops in the developing world, and has a few RCTs that support their claims about impact.

Project written up here:

Someone is also working on a write up of the evidence base behind 'no means no' but this is not ready for publication. If you are interested I can try to loop you in (PM me on Facebook: Samuel Hilton).

(Disclaimer / apologies: I have a lot on and have not read the whole article or the comments, it looks well researched so good job. But I just wanted to make sure you had seen this project as it maybe relevant for your research.)

Comment author: zdgroff 05 October 2017 07:58:22PM 1 point [-]

Thanks for sharing this! Out of curiosity, was there any particular evidence that drove the basic theory of outreach (awareness -> engagement -> behavior change)? This seems like actually a hotly contested empirical area so I'm curious. Thanks!

Comment author: weeatquince  (EA Profile) 29 October 2017 11:14:37PM *  0 points [-]

It roughly came from the idea of treating movement builidng as a marketing funnel. It is similar to the marketing funnel you'd expect of any other organisation except "buy our junk" is replaced with "behaviour change".

I did not have specific evidence on community building that this was a particularly good theory of change, although nothing I read when looking for data on this suggested it would not be a good theory of change.

What is it that it contested about this?

Comment author: Robert_Wiblin 05 October 2017 01:40:57AM *  11 points [-]

Nice post. A few comments:

i) I'd focus more on the opportunity cost of the people involved than the financial cost.

ii) Being half as cost effective as CEA would still be pretty good! So long as CEA wasn't significantly funding constrained, it would make sense to fund others groups that could do that well. BTW I'd heard of marginal cost of pledge acquisitions as low as a few hundred dollars 3 years ago, but maybe that has gone up. I've also heard concerns the pledge quality could be declining as GWWC has scaled and made it easier to join.

iii) $2,000 for a pledge makes it better than funding AMF just from a fundraising point of view. You only need someone to follow through on giving 10% for an extra 1 year or so to break even. People who are part of a local community are probably above-average quality members as well (likely to donate to better places and for longer). But if you think about the staff's opportunity cost (i.e. their ability to do useful direct work if they weren't doing EA London) maybe it's not so good.

iv) I expect the long-term impact on the people involved to be more valuable again than the 12 pledge-equivalents, but people's mileage varies on that quite a lot.

Comment author: weeatquince  (EA Profile) 29 October 2017 11:10:19PM *  2 points [-]

Thanks for the feedback Rob

i) The opportunity cost of time has been low.

• For me, there were minimal opportunities to do something higher impact at this stage in my career. For example, I may have stayed in government and I doubt this would have had much impact (also this year out has not significantly damaged my civil service career, I was able to return on a promotion). It is not clear that I had the credibility on any other EA project that I could have found funders willing to cover my costs for the year. I could have worked part time in the civil service and tried to found a different type of other organisation but I think it is unlikely to have gone as well.

• David Nash has invested time but it is helping him move career-wise in a direction he wants to be going in.

• I expect the interns taken on would not have spent time as effectively otherwise.

• Time invested by others was minimal.

ii)-iv) Agree

Comment author: weeatquince  (EA Profile) 18 October 2017 08:54:48AM 0 points [-]

Quick question: Is your term "disentanglement research" similar to the discipline of "systems thinking" and what are the differences? (Trying to get to grips with what you mean by "disentanglement research" ) (

Comment author: weeatquince  (EA Profile) 18 October 2017 01:08:36PM 0 points [-]

In fact a more general version of the above question is:

What are the existing research / consultancy / etc disciplines that are most similar to the kind of work you are looking for?

If you can identify that it could help people in local communities direct people to this kind of work.

Comment author: weeatquince  (EA Profile) 18 October 2017 08:54:48AM 0 points [-]

Quick question: Is your term "disentanglement research" similar to the discipline of "systems thinking" and what are the differences? (Trying to get to grips with what you mean by "disentanglement research" ) (

Comment author: weeatquince  (EA Profile) 07 October 2017 01:41:00PM 3 points [-]

I want to add additional thanks to Ellie Karslake for organising these events, finding venues and so on.

Comment author: weeatquince  (EA Profile) 07 September 2017 11:33:52AM *  2 points [-]

Hi, In case helpful for considering the additional Facebook information, I have a bunch of data on EA social media presence to help me compare growth in London to other locations, including a lot of downloaded Sociograph data from 2016.

For example the EA Facebook group size over the last year:

03/06/2016 _ 10263

13/01/2017 _ 12070

10/06/2017 _ 12,953

Obviously you'd expect these things to grow as people join then do not leave (but might ignore it), even if the movement was shrinking.

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