After the publication of the first edition of the Effective Altruism Handbook in April 2015, Will MacAskill's first book Doing Good Better (DGB) was published in July 2015. For a few years, DGB was the go-to introductory book for EA, though the EA Handbook had also originally been intended to fulfill that purpose. DGB was merely a comprehensive and broadly representative introduction to EA that took optimizing the message for a wider audience into account than the EA Handbook. Of course, as EA is a movement predicated on change to become more effective, and also as a relatively young and still growing movement, EA dramatically changed over the course of a few years.
So, in 2018, the Centre for Effective Altruism introduced the EA Handbook 2.0, meant to serve the role that both the first edition of the EA Handbook and DGB, but updated to better represent the EA movement. However, this provoked controversy about the proportionate representation the EA Handbook gave to different causes; in particular, over how much more space was dedicated to AI alignment, existential risk, and long-termism in EA compared to the community's other priorities. So, many effective altruists since then have still preferred to use DGB as an introductory handbook to EA. However, there is one problem with continually recommending DGB in its largely unedited form from 2015 that the EA Handbook 2.0 remains correct in addressing: it is out of date.
As EA Forum user bdixon recently pointed out in his article assessing if climate change deserves more attention within EA, the prioritization of climate change in DGB appears to underrate the degree of warming climate change may bring about in the next 100 years, and some of the potential negative consequences of climate change. As the EA movement's priorities and methods change over time, DGB remains stuck presenting EA as it was in 2015. So, something like the EA Handbook 2.0 should exist to replace DGB, but last year conversation stultified on how such content should be presented, or how often such introductory modules or handbooks to EA should be updated. Consider this post an attempt to reboot that conversation.