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I'm trying out updating some of 80,000 Hours pages iteratively that we don't have time to do big research projects on right now. To this end, I've just released an update to — our problem profile on improving epistemics and institutional decision making.

This is sort of a tricky page because there is a lot of reasonable-seeming disagreement about what the most important interventions are to highlight in this area.

I think the previous version had some issues: It was confusing, and it was common for readers to come away with very different impressions of the problem area. This seems like it is in part because the term "improving institutional decision making" is very very broad, and can include a lot of different things. We didn't do a great job of making clear our views about which sub-areas were most promising. This is partly because those views are not that strongly developed! Basically a lot of people who've thought about it disagree, and we're not confident about who's right. The previous version of the article, though, presented a confident-sounding picture that mostly highlighted forecasting, structured analytic techniques, and behavioral sciences. It was out of date. The opening felt a bit unrealistic.

In the update I sought to address (1)-(2) by just honestly writing that we aren't sure which focus(es) within the broad umbrella area are best, and going through a few of the options that seem most promising to us and some people we asked for advice. I sought to address (3) and (4) by doing a low-hanging-fruit edit to update the information and writing, and cut the opening.

The update was much quicker than most updates we'd make to our problem profiles. It will be far from perfect. I'd be very happy to get feedback — if you want to suggest changes you can do so here as comments or leave a comment on this thread. However, I probably won't respond to most comments — as I said above, people have very different views in this area, so I'd be surprised if there weren't a decent amount of disagreement with the update. That said, I still want to hear views (especially if you think perhaps I haven’t heard them before), and if there are smaller changes that seem positive I'd be very keen (e.g. "X is a bad example of the thing you're talking about.")