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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; we didn't get round to posting the meetings in between this and the first one we posted, but as always they can be found here, as can the agenda for the next general updates meeting - which is happening on Sunday 7 June, 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 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 24 May, again at 9pm UTC, and will be a deep dive into this year's annual EA survey.

10 May 2015 project updates meeting


Tom Ash

Haseeb Qureshi

Randy Carlton

Jacy Reese

Eric Bruylant

Matiss Apinis

Elizabeth Van Nostrand

Matthew Gentzel

Marcus Davis

Erik Engelhardt

Project Updates


  • Sam’s proposal, which we’ll implement this meeting unless people disagree:
    • Next .impact meeting make people opt-out of taking on action points
    • Ask at the beginning of the meeting that anyone who 100% definitely does not want to come away from the meeting with one or more action points of things to do over the next 2 weeks speaks up now.
  • Just one AP per person is a good start
    • During the meeting try to find at least one thing for each person to do that suits them.
      • We will find suitable task for most people.
      • In the short term the benefits of more getting done due to more people would be roughly cancelled out by the cost of less getting done as things are delayed as they get given to volunteers who do not have the time for them.
      • People will get more involved and in the medium term and .impact would grow quicker.
  • Peter applied to EA Ventures for the .impact fund
  • Tom created Welcome to the .impact hackpad wiki (pinned to top) & .impact Frequently Asked Questions . Potential AP: Both could use a lot of editing - anyone up for it?
  • Set up VA services on fancyhands and odesk which .impact projects can use, paid for via the .impact fund ( Ozzie Gooen kindly added his credit card to both ). Email Ozzie if you’d like to use these for now.
  • Elizabeth Van Nostrand is compiling descriptions & newsletters for EA orgs. Ask Tom about .impact, so Tom created a .impact newsletter automatically sending out things on the blog (and anything else we want). Linked from the .impact site, join at http://eepurl.com/bmDrGL 
    • How do we add blog posts? What process should anyone reading this follow if they want to?

Elizabeth’s project

  • Realised that there were many open spaces for involvement in EA, so compiled information about all the organisations
    • Suggestion: put on EA Forum

EA Facebook group

Peter’s been thinking about improving the EA "funnel" as a whole and is planning to help improve it through .impact, including hiring someone part time. On this, it strikes me that the EA Facebook group could be put to better use if a little time was spent thinking about this. It’s very popular, and seems to be a common first stop for people getting interested in EA, who often ask questions and are unfamiliar with existing EA knowledge and resources. (Examples of improvements would be simple things like a FAQ or ways to point people to steps along the funnel.)


Jacy: I’m one of the moderators. We’re always looking for ideas like this. We have one pinned post and a sidebar description. 


  • Banned post today
    • Made several offensive comments, about autistic people, women, children, etc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/effective.altruists/permalink/867806953275663/
      • Elizabeth: my experience is people tend to underregulate.
        • Marcus: agree
      • Jacy: was Ryan or Jacy’s approach best? (Ryan tried to steer it to civility via comments.)
        • Elizabeth: good to have different admins trying different approaches
        • Erik: Agree, but good to have some strict rules
        • Tom: i haven’t read it but i generally like the ryan-style approach except in extreme cases
        • Eric: Just reading the thread now, and it seems the guy wasn’t even trying to be civil. Should definitely be discouraged.
        • Randy: General guideline example from Hacker News: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html
  • Jacy: one issue that comes up is what sort of content we should allow
    • Tried to have a rule that you have to explain things, eg why a link is relevant to EA
    • Jacy: would it be good to have a written policy?
      • Elizabeth: share a written policy she has for Seattle with Jacy Reese
      • Eric: consider phrasing in a positive way, eg. ’Civil discourse is expected’ rather than ’you must not be uncivil’
    • Jacy: discussion of weird/offputting topics
    • Eric: [missed some of this] bans could just be cooling-off periods
      • Randy: I like the cool off period and taking the Facebook discussion to another forum that is more appropriate/long-form.
    • Tom: *written*, explicit rules people can check against would be good.
    • What are the procedures? E.g. when admins disagree? It’s not a democracy, or like what a majority of admins want happens.
      • Jacy: administration has evolved organically. But if people think it’d be good to have written rules or voting procedures that’d be good.
        • Do think this would be good
      • Jacy: could require 4/6 for bans
        • Erik: from experience, would suggest just getting 2 who agree first, and then discussing others with example first.
          • Jacy: the 4/6 would be good for non-urgent
    • Jacy: if anyone knows of any other movements which manage similarly large 
  • Improvements and uses welcome
  • What should go in the sidebar?
    • Matiss: rules of discourse
    • Matiss: what is EA? a clear, short introduction
      • What’s the best one of these?
        • Wikipedia article or TED talk
        • http://www.effectivealtruism.org/about-ea/ is not ideal
        • Apparent consensus for Wikipedia article
    • Eric: if you want to get involved, here’s what to do, here are ways to raise money like birthday fundraisers
      • http://effectivealtruismhub.com/actions (and the things long to)
      • Better than just having people read about cool stuff and then not go onto read stuff
      • Character limit concern
        • Laundry list of organisations would be a good one to cut
        • 3rd point of 
        • AP Eric: make on wiki and send to Jacy
      • Matiss: link to EA Wiki
  • Jacy: how about pinned post?
    • https://www.facebook.com/groups/effective.altruists/permalink/585877764801918/
    • Point to the sidebar
    • Looks basically good
    • Flag/tag that it can be used for introducing yourself at the very top

Annual EA Survey

  • Main update to come in other meeting - Peter Hurford to add details/FB event once up.
  • David Moss is publishing 2 posts seeking suggestions from the community, the first to come by ???

Wearable EA

From Francelle:

  • For the past several weeks I’ve been playing around with wearable EA designs, and have shared these concepts with a few others in EA and related circles. 
  • Eager for your feedback.
  • Eric: I like them, I’d definitely wear a paperclip one!
  • Ozzie: not sure how to make the cross sign intuitive




EA Wiki

  • Draft: http://wiki.effectivealtruismhub.com/w/index.php?title=Effective_Altruism_Wiki
  • MediaWiki+a load of useful extensions set up (plus gadgets and widgets, including embedding support for google docs/sheets and hackpad)
  • Foreground skin set up as default, modified color scheme to fit EA Hub theme
  • Content imported from old wiki
  • Initial version of charity/organization infobox made. Suggestions for what to include useful.
  • Am reaching out to people suggested by tom for web design help (primarily with the main page, also possibly infoboxes), my web design/html is not great and it’s not something I enjoy. Help appreciated.
  • Main sticking point is SSO, which is needed to stop spambots and make it easy for editors, and needs work from the drupal end. May need web dev attention to update an old extension if the current plan does not work.
  • To discuss: SMW, VisualEditor, Scribunto
    • SMW definitely
    • VisualEditor - Ozzie thinks we have a relatively technical audience. Some think the non-visual editor would be kind of confusing.
    • Scribunto lets you do lua scripting. Leaning towards excluding.
  • How much should I just do things that make sense to me, will people point out if I do something silly/am not aware of some resource?
    • Yes, do that, people should try
    • Ozzie: if have questions, these meetings are good, 
  • Ozzie: awesome job. Lots of praise. Seconded, thirded, etc. by others.
  • Ozzie: what are metrics for success? can we make pageviews public?
  • Potential APs
    • Content (adding organization infoboxes, lots of possibilities), design for the main page
    • Help with single sign on / OAuth - for someone somewhat familiar with web development
      • Ozzie: could use the .impact fund, would be happy to foot the bill - Will look into configuring
      • Decision: Ozzie and Eric will work out

Worldwide EA Donation Routing Mechanism

  • We’ve learnt a lot about efficient cross-currency transfer and conversion
  • Ozzie and Randy will talk outside this meeting, after the 18th.

Hub website

  • Sprang for .org after asking if it was worth it on the .impact FB group
  • Oliver Habryka got in touch asking to host some pages he was putting together on EA Hub. Ended up making sense to put them on http://www.bayrationality.com/ linked from the hub groups page, but it’s worth mentioning we’re generally open to hosting stuff.

List of startup ideas, with comments and upvotes

  • Created by Peter Hurford.
  • This is a list shared among a restricted set of people, mostly EAs. Most of the ideas are not themselves EA or non-profit, but they could be used for earning to give. This list is not primarily an EA project, however, and is under the ’Tangential/For-Profit’ section of .impact’s list.
  • Location: https://github.com/peterhurford/xventures/issues, which you need to request access to from Peter (there’s a trial secondary location, not in very active use: https://www.reddit.com/r/xventures/ ).


  • Team is open to donating equity to EA/.impact if we would like to take on a somewhat established startup

Outreach to non-EA societies and groups

  • Tom created project page for this, including some comments on promising local societies from people

Non-English language EA outreach

  • Tom made list of venues at wiki: http://effective-altruism.wikia.com/wiki/Non-English_language_EA_venues?venotify=created 
  • Discussion at http://effective-altruism.com/ea/go/nonenglish_language_effective_altruism_including/
  • Tag: Alberto Emanuele Sichirollo & Pablo Stafforini

Improve EA Presence on Wikipedia

  • Vipul Naik edited the effective altruism entry a bunch
    • Discussion at https://www.facebook.com/groups/effective.altruists/permalink/852858801437145/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/672206686151455/permalink/872775369427918/ 

Small EA task suggester

  • Decided where to host, featured on EA Hub’s ’Actions’ tab at http://effectivealtruismhub.com/actions
  • Decided ready enough to launch - soon now, not yet, Chris Conte making some changes
  • This may now end up powering the EA Actions interface and badges we considered for EA Profiles
  • Could this be integrated into EA chapter meetings for those looking to get involved further w/ EA?
  • Matiss suggestion: let people sign up to get regular emails with new actions

Possible APs

  • Programming ones on project page


EA Reading Group


Currently reading Thinking and Deciding by Jonathan Baron



Regular EA Digest

  • Evan Gaensbauer: Mailchimp?
  • Tom introducing Michal and Agata to take some work on as they were planning something similar


Local Effective Altruism Network (including Creating EA local presences)

  • Productive discussion with Jon Courtney
  • Scope for someone to get involved in running this - anyone interested? Let anyone you know who might be.
  • Several now holding active, well-attended meetups, with large meetup.com groups, etc.
  • Done: send resources, answer questions, set up mailing lists and meetup.com groups, etc.
  • More of the new groups starting to have meetups

Partial Charity Science updates

  • Experience Poverty main dates done
  • Someone may run an experiment with face-to-face asks, potentially door-in-the-face ones. What’d be a good experiment? And in particular what’d be a good ask?
    • Tom: I think the key way to make it more scientific and useful would be to do something which gets sufficiently frequent positive responses. More rapid responses would also be more useful in terms of providing results sooner, and more importantly letting them adjust the experiment based on these.
    • Randy: Can we ask a few people attempting Experience Poverty to go out on the street, layout the food they plan to eat for the day, and attempt asks?
  • Comment from Randy (via Facebook post): Can we cover .impact volunteers for building EA marketing materials and adding EA action points to existing (viral) materials?

EA Forum

Ryan Carey is looking for another moderator.



 - https://github.com/OAGr/rulebook


 - Project-specific linting, written in golang


Free Discussion

Next .impact meeting

Peter Hurford to add details/FB event once up.


Anyone else can add topics here, or ask about anything they’d like to


Bay Area Hackathons


Suggestion from Matiss: charity gift cards

If you give people a donation as a gift, have a card or token you can give them. 

  • People who are already EAs could use this as an advocacy tool to non-EAs or just to gift to other EAs.
    • Ozzie: "For your birthday, I’m allowing you to donate money to Givewell that I would have otherwise given to Givewell"

Charity Science considering, but not a priority. We made http://www.charityscience.com/christmas-cards.html . Would be helpful for Matiss to ask around to find demand: find how many EAs would use them. 


Matiss: Yes, until next .impact meeting: Add idea with points discussed this meeting to .impact project board, ask around EA groups thoughts on idea, demand for it.


Ozzie or Tom (forgot): Send someone to a page where they have a token corresponding to sum of money that can get donated to whatever effective charity they want [money transfer coding issue]?

  • Randy: Could help with coming up with a transfer system?

Ozzie: could give the recipient choice of charity, like a giving game, opportunity to inform people about cost-effective charities.

  • Ozzie: You could also ask for such a gift to you from a non-EA, e.g. on your birthday.
    • Ozzie: It would be cool to make a website where you could choose whom to gift, what charities they should spend on.

Haseeb: People might not feel good if it looks too much like a recruitment tool. It should supplement what gifts and giving is about. It should feel like a good gift, not just EA persuasion.

  • Ozzie: you really don’t have to mention effective altruism in the gift card

Eric [on who gets the credit as donator so you don’t get faux donation inflation]: i’d promote community norms about gifted donations ’counting as’ donations by the receiver of the gift otherwise you get to double count everything

  • Matiss: Yeah, it has to count only for one person and that’s the receiver of the gift, otherwise it doesn’t seem like a gift.
  • Randy: Need to sort out analytics to determine whether impact is happening or just echochambering EA donations between EAs that would have donated otherwise as non-gifts.

Matiss: Someone mentioned that there would have to be an expiration term if the person who received it didn’t use it. What happens then - refund to giver or default charity option offered by system or chosen by giver.

  • Ozzie: Default option chosen by giver requires more coding but gives more choice/functionality.
  • Eric: Reasonable default could be split between GiveWell top recommendation, although chosen by giver could work as well.





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