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As before, here are updates from the last month in EA projects from .impact, the venue for communicating and collaborating on these. They come from our last meeting on Google Hangouts; as always, notes from previous meetings can be found here, as can the agenda for the next general updates meeting - which is happening on Sunday 5 July, and to which anyone's very welcome! It's at 9pm UTC (2pm Pacific, 5pm Eastern, 10pm London) and a Google Hangouts link to join will be posted in the soon-to-be-created Facebook event at that time.

Two weeks after each general meeting we also now have a 'special' meeting - a deep dive into a particular project, a meeting especially focused on new people, or anything else that seems worthwhile. The next one will be on Sunday 21 June, again at 9pm UTC - Ozzie's still working out the topic for it, and has suggested options like a 'New Project/People Meeting', which would be smaller than a regular meeting and aimed at people either looking for things to do or with new ideas. I'm sure he'd welcome ideas!

7 June 2015 General/Project Updates Meeting


Marcus Davis, Chicago

Matiss Apinis, EA Latvia

Ozzie Gooen, .impact cofounder

Yanick Steinbeck , working on mobile giving

Tom Ash, Charity Science

Eric Bruylant, EA Wiki, and about to start at MIRI

Kyle Scott, 80k & CEA

Project Updates

r/smartgiving changes

  • http://www.reddit.com/r/smartgiving/
  • People don’t like the current auto-poster as much as the old one.
  • Fixed by adding Autoposter v3, which is the fixed Autoposter v1.
  • Potential problem: posts show up in /new, but not on the r/smartgiving front page?
  • Matiss: Why is it r/smartgiving rather than r/effectivealtruism? Just wondering.
    • Tom: gave explanation. /r/ea is owned by Dee in Vancouver and Peter couldn’t get admin rights from her in time. 
      • Peter Hurford , given it’s mainly link-sharing rather than commenting it might be worth setting your autoposter to post to /r/ea too/

EA Survey data gathering

  • Had a separate brainstorming meeting that went well.
  • Currently reaching out to EA orgs for input.  Have drafted an email to send and have gathered contact info, but have not sent the emails yet.

EA Forum

Hub website

Evidence Aid Redesign?

  • Michelle Hutchinson describes Evidence Aid as trying "to get systematic reviews in the humanitarian sphere out to those who could best use them (policy makers and aid workers), and to work out what research most needs to be done in the area and get organisations like the WHO, Dfid and the Cochrane Collaboration to commission them."
  • Michelle says "[t]hey’d be interested in having a volunteer who could improve their website and also who could set up analytics to figure out who is using their resources."
  • Corresponded with Claire of Evidence Aid personally, she said: "it would be excellent to have someone who can help Tony [their web guy] on a permanent basis, plus a to act as a back-up when he is away, or when a disaster such as the recent Nepal Earthquake strikes whom we could call in when necessary to help out. There will also be other activities to improve the website in general that will be developed as the business plan (which has just been finalised) is activated."
  • Peter is going to contact Evidence Aid again and ask for more details.
  • Potential AP: Is anyone interested?  What questions would you have?

Charity Science Research

  • Doing shallow overviews of many possible fundraising ideas, with the goal of prioritizing Charity Science’s future activities.
  • Potential AP: Looking for volunteers to finish unstarted shallow overviews .
  • Volunteers have been very successful at this, and past volunteers have reported it to be a fun activity. :)

Studying Vegetarian Advocacy

  • Just moved to the final study phase -- collecting responses to the intervention questionnaire.

Individual Facebook welcome

  • Peter and To plan to talk to Giles Edkins about someone sharing the load

EA Point Systems / EA Gamification

Local Effective Altruism Network

  • Description from Marcus Davis of how he recruited many new people for presences to cover ~20 new areas
  • Helped distribute/coordinate distributing EA Handbooks to local groups
  • Found and trialled a few different VAs to do some work on this (and other things), got them to do some tasks
  • Started arranging finances
  • Dealt with several queries, hooking people up with relevant groups, etc.

Outreach to famous people/celebrities

  • Jason Ketola : This is a long shot, but I was surprised recently to learn that 50 Cent is involved in quite a bit of philanthropy. Generally, the charity is tied to businesses he’s started, which suggests to me he may appreciate impact/ROI. I wonder if he could be reached through his agent to talk about effectiveness. http://anonhq.com/rapper-50-cent-targets-feeding-one-billion-children-africa-2016/ http://www.forbes.com/sites/rahimkanani/2012/02/23/50-cent-on-philanthropy-and-corporate-social-responsibility-csr/ http://www.theagencygroup.com/artist/50-cent/
  • Rochelle Harris : I have some experience with this. It would be helpful to be asking them for a low ask i.e. don’t anticipate them becoming EAs, but making a donation (including of goods for auction) or asking them to attend a fundraising event. 
  • Sam Harris
    • Michael MF and Charity Science trying
    • RC: what for?
      • TA: I  believe michaelm f is just telling him about EA/effective charity and seeing if he expresses interest or bites, and then following up. The followup would depend on how he responds, but see Xio’s ideas for Dawkins.
  • Ben Goldacre
    • GWWC tried
    • Rochelle Harris : We live in the same area, I can see if that helps. Any thoughts on what we are asking him for?
  • Richard Dawkins
    • Tom Ash knew passingly through the secularist sphere (and was friends with his daughter at school). Hopefully meeting up with (passingly) when we’re both at the Vancouver Imagine No Religion conference in June 2015.
      • Update: went well, he seemed genuinely interested (and believe me he doesn’t feign interest when it’s not present ;-) and invited Charity Science to talk to his foundation.
    • RC: what for?
      • TA: Ryan , now that Dawkins bit and invited further contact, Xio’s idea is to try to get him to mention effective charity to his audience, eg via his social media. And follow up any opportunities that present themselves, e.g. his invitation for Charity Science to talk to his foundation.
  • Lawrence Krauss
    • He initiated conversations with Xio at the conference and volunteered his email address so she’ll follow up.
  • Tom: has generally not been very promising when organisations and people have tried it. Trouble is that an email from a random unknown individual often gets mentally filed as such or ignored altogether, even if the celebrity would otherwise get excited by EA. One exception is when the celebrity instantly gets exceptionally excited by the idea.
  • Ozzie: matters to have someone good doing the introduction to EA. Maybe EA outreach could do better?
  • Kyle: EA outreach might get people like Peter Singer, Nick Bostrom, etc. to approach people which is much better
    • All agreed
    • Kyle is going to contact EAO and ask them for ’best practices’ when doing outreach

RC: Machine Learning for Good

I don’t have any action points except for everyone to know this exists. If you have a data-oriented .impact project, you can try passing it to our group. Peter H knows some about this because he attended the first meeting. (Noone knows very much because it’s brand new) The description is: we’re meeting once a month to learn and apply machine learning, including neural nets. Monthly meetings are kept to one hour, and in-between times we do machine learning courses and Kaggle contests. Professional/academic ML experience is not required but for those who lack it, it’ll be necessary to know basic math and be willing to put in some hours to catch up. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1582428355359588/?fref=ts

Gratipay / Paying Network

  • Gratipay has re-opened, has different strategy.
    • Changes focus from individuals to organizations.
    • To be a ’Gratipay Team’ you need to apply
  • Alternatives:
    • Dwolla (US only)
    • Google Wallet (restricted to your gmail country)
    • Cryptos..... :-/
    • We decided a path forwards: we're now going to use a pure money transfer service and will handle the other old features of gratipay (transparency, project descriptions, request, etc.) separately, e.g. through the .impact fund.

EA Mobile Giving App [Working title: Donr]

The basic idea is to build a mobile application for effective giving and market it to a wider audience outside the traditional EA community. 

Would be happy to give you guys an update on the basic idea and the current status of the concept and hear your inputs!

Charity Gift Cards (CGCs)

  • Haseeb Qureshi mentioned that GWWC tried this last year with sendable printed Christmas CGCs and it wasn’t promising (only about 90 purchases).
  • Haseeb contacted Sasha Cooper who wrote a test suite, but no code.
  • Haseeb may help develop an EA CGC platform in the future.

EA Wiki

  • Eric got accepted to the MIRI/CFAR summer internship, so is slowing a bit.
  • Still around, still want to help, but focusing on the parts I already have the skills for/enjoy (community organizing, MW sysadmin things), rather than things I don’t have a comparative advantage at.
  • Specifically passing off setting up SSO to someone who already knows drupal and is familiar with login systems, Ozzie suggested hiring someone

EA Book club

We’ll be reading Peter Singer’s new book (The Most Good You Can Do) this month, good opportunity to invite people you know to a low-commitment entry discussion to EA, or chime in for more nuanced discussion. Should be good!

Free Discussion

Paper: FAI Research Constraints and Side Effects


Is There A Master List of Facebook Groups?

This is on the EA wiki at http://effective-altruism.wikia.com/wiki/Discussion_groups - Eric Bruylant may be making a polished version.





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