Among the EA community, the questions "what are the most important, the most effective causes?" is a crucial topic. There are even lists of the most important ones, so people can focus their effort on them.
I assume that to build these lists, a lot of causes have been studied and compared. In the end, only the most neglected, important, and tractable ones have been chosen, the other ones have been discarded.
In my opinion knowing what are the most effective cause is a must, but knowing which causes have been discarded is also important. Here are a couple reasons why:
- If someone decides to use its time to search for new promising areas, it would be a waste of time to explore already discarded areas.
- In my opinion, for someone discovering EA (such as myself), some of the most important problems are often counter intuitive. Therefore, to have explanation about these problems helps to have a better understanding of the EA's way of thinking. I believe that also understanding what problems are ineffective and why they are ineffective would also be an interesting approach to EA's way of thinking.
So here is my question: Are there lists of causes (that seemed promising but are) known to be ineffective?
One problem with making a list like this: People already get mad at EA for saying that their favorite trendy cause is ineffective. I'm somewhat sympathetic to this: Even if I don't think [super trendy cause] is the most important cause, I'm usually glad people are working on it, and I don't want to discourage them (if the likely result of me discouraging them is that they switch to playing video games or something). It's also bad from a public relations point of view for EA to be seen as existing in opposition to trendy causes.
Therefore, if anyone makes a list like this, I suggest you stick to obscure causes.