It's been at least a few months since the last proper EA scandals, and we're now desperately trying to squeeze headlines out of the past ones.

On the contrary, a few scandals have been wrapped up:

  1. SBF was sentenced to 25 years in prison
  2. The investigation regarding Owen Cotton-Barratt presented its findings
  3. Whytham Abbey is being sold

Indeed, even OpenPhil's involvement in the Whytham Abbey sale shows they're now less willing to fund new scandals.

Therefore it seems to me that EA is now neither funding- nor talent-constrained, but rather scandal-constrained.

This cannot go on. We've all become accustomed to a neverending stream of scandals, and if that stream dwindles, we might find ourselves bored to death - or worse, the world might stop talking about EA all the time.

I therefore raise a few ideas for discussion - feel free to add your own:

  1. EA Funds should open a new Scandal Fund to create a continuous supply.
  2. CEA's community health team should hire a person to look harder for scandals lying under the surface.
  3. Nick Bostrom should publish a book.
  4. EA should work harder on encouraging group housing of people with their bosses, preferably in secluded areas abroad.




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Our data suggests that the highest impact scandals are several times more impactful than other scandals (bear in mind that this data is probably not capturing the large number of smaller scandals). 

If so, it seems plausible we should optimise for the very largest scandals, rather than simply producing a large volume of less impactful scandals.

Looks like someone should attempt a pivotal act. If you think you might be the right person for the job - you probably are!

Thank you! This is the kind of important work EA must now strive for.

  1. Manifest should blow up in some unexpected way.

  2. Elon Musk should announce he is giving all his money to EA causes.

  3. EA should fund SBFs appeal process

  4. Will Mac Askill should launch a new cryptocurrency "AskCoin", where rich people buy large amounts of the cryptocurrency for the poorest people on earth, driving up the value.

Love it

9.  EA should publicly support Israel's war effort
10. Buy a large coal mine and employ the world's poorest people
11. Only fund community builders who say they are longtermist
12. Publish the secret deal with Huel as EA's main sponsor

Meal replacement companies were there for us, through thick and slightly less thick.

(btw, I find it funny that I cringe internally more about posting 11 than about 9)

I don't see how 12 would sink us lol, but the other 3 for sure.

They probably have a large influence on prioritization. I'd check into ALLFED

Donating to SBF's appeal process may be the highest impact charity we have ever seen.

In randomized controlled trials from 2022, SBF had donated over 130 million dollars in less than a year, and a successful appeal would counterfactually create this benefit for 25 years. An expensive criminal trial in the US can cost as much as $15,000. Even if $15k increases the odds of winning the appeal by 0.1%, that is still an expected 217x amplification of every dollar donated.

The money amplified goes in to effective charities like GiveWell, so if we use GiveWell's one life saved per $4,500 measure, donating to SBF's appeal fund would save a life for every 20 dollars.

This is just a back of the napkin calculation, so my numbers might be off a little, but this seems to be the most effective charity by *many* orders of magnitude.

Does anyone know where he has been funding all his defense expenses from, and how much firepower is left there? If you'd merely be funging with his own assets, the Bank of Mom & Dad, or a D&O insurance policy, the giving would be rather ineffective.

He has to have been paying the bills, else it is unlikely new sentencing stage counsel would have signed up.

If trial counsel were somewhat competent, they already know what their best chances on appeal would be. Appeals are done on the record generated below, so the marginal returns to extra $ are likely minimal beyond a certain point.

Elon Musk? So last year... 2024 is time for Trump scandals.
Let's buy some Truth shares and produce new scandals!

Scandals don't just happen in the vacuum. You need to create the right conditions for them. So I suggest:

  1. We spread concern about the riskiness of all altruistic action so that conscientious people (who are often not sufficiently scandal-prone) self-select out of powerful positions and open them up to people with more scandal potential.
  2. We encourage more scathing ad-hom attacks on leadership so that those who take any criticism to heart self-select out of leadership roles.
  3. We make these positions more attractive to scandal-prone people by abandoning cost-effectiveness analyses and instead base strategy and grantmaking on vibes and relationships.
  4. We further improve the cushiness of these positions by centralizing power and funding around them to thwart criticism and prevent Hayekian diversity and experimentation.
  5. We build stronger relationships with powerful, unscrupulous people and companies by, e.g., helping them with their hiring.
  6. We emphasize in-person networking and move the most valuable networks to some of the most expensive spots in the world. That way access to the network comes with even greater dependency on centralized funding, making it easier to control.

[Meta: I'm not claiming anyone is doing these things on purpose! It would be nice, though, if more people were trying to counter these risk factors for scandals and generally bad epistemics.]

Scandals don't just happen in the vacuum

Has anyone tested this? Because if we could create them in a vacuum, that might save a lot of energy usually lost to air resistance, and thus be more effective

Even scandal-prone individuals can't survive in a vacuum. (You may be thinking of sandals, not scandals?)

Is it definitely established that a living person is required for every scandal?

Only half a person per sandal I think!

you can totally have scandals involving dead or imaginary people. So, definitely no.

Right? Also you can have a person turn on the scandal machine, which then creates more than one scandal associated with them.

  1. We make these positions more attractive to scandal-prone people by abandoning cost-effectiveness analyses and instead base strategy and grantmaking on vibes and relationships imaginary Bayesian updates.


If this post resonates with you, consider traveling back in time a few days and submitting an application for CEA's open Head of Communications role! (Remember, EA is first and foremost a do-ocracy, so you really need to be the change you wish to see around here)

Off-topic: When presenting the first part of the post on the front page, we get "The investigation regarding Owen Cotton". Might be better for hyphenated terms to be all-or-nothing when being cut off like this?

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