All of Aaron Gertler's Comments + Replies

How to reach out to orgs en masse?

I agree with Kevin's comment about creating a post where you explain your experience, and what you want to help with, in more detail. Lots of charity staffers read this website, and many other readers might know of charities they'd want to share your post with.

People who've done this in the past include Simon Panrucker and JSWinchell.

vaidehi_agarwalla's Shortform

I think Josh was claiming that 75% was "too low", as in the total % of unpaid hours being more like 90% or something.

When I applied to a bunch of jobs, I was paid for ~30 of the ~80 hours I spent (not counting a long CEA work trial — if you include that, it's more like 80 out of 130 hours). If you average Josh and I, maybe you get back to an average of 75%?


This isn't part of your calculation,  but I wonder what fraction of unique applicants to EA jobs have any connection to the EA community beyond applying for one job?

In my experience trying to h... (read more)

Database dumps of the EA Forum

We have a GraphQL interface that people can use to scrape Forum data.

We block web crawlers from the All Posts page so that they don't click "load more" a thousand times and slow down the site. But you can use your own crawlers on the page if you're willing to click "Load More" a lot.

Let me know if you have more questions, and I'll make sure they get answered (that is, I'll ask the tech team).

Research into people's willingness to change cause *areas*?

I recommend making this comment into a full post, so that more people will see it and have a chance to share feedback!

Narration: The case against “EA cause areas”

I'll be a third person here: the narrations are nice, but are starting to clutter the front page.

I'd recommend having one big post where you list all the narrations you've done, with links to the appropriate posts or comments. That post can have the "audio" tag so people find it when they look for audio, and it's a handy way for you to link to the full set of recordings at once if you want people to know about the resource.

EA Forum feature suggestion thread

Yes, a tag is removed when its score drops to zero. As long as multiple people haven't all used the job listings tag, it can be removed by the author's downvote. And in a pinch, any admin's strong vote will suffice to drop something below zero even if it has 2-3 votes.

Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki entries

The direct democracy tag is meant for investments in creating specific kinds of change through the democratic process. But people are using it for other things now anyway -- probably it's good to have a "ballot initiatives" tag and rename this tag to "democracy" or something else. Good catch!

2Pablo4hI agree. I'll deal with this tomorrow (Thusday), unless anyone wants to take care of it.
Is impersonal benevolence a virtue?

Thanks for the discussion! I realize that I was mostly explaining my own instincts rather than engaging with Hursthouse, but that's because I find her claims difficult to understand in the context of how to actually live one's life.

1newptcai6dShe is a virtue ethicist, so she believes the best way to live a good life to develop virtues in ourselves. The reason she gives it that being a virtuous person, on average, is the best bet to flourish, e.g., having good health, satisfying career, happy family, etc. But she rejects that "impersonal benevolence" is a virtue. Thus, for Hurshouse, a person can still be virtuous and live a good life even if she does not care at all about strangers whom she has never met. To be honest, this is the most problematic part I found in her thesis.
Open Thread: July 2021

Hello, Willa! I've activated the Markdown Editor for you — not sure why it wasn't working. (I'm the lead moderator/admin here.)

There's a lot of stuff on the Forum. Perhaps the best way to start out is to browse the top posts of all time and read whatever looks interesting. I don't love all the posts on that list, but they're a reasonable sample of the topics that get a lot of interest here.

The natural book recommendation would be Toby Ord's The Precipice if you haven't read it yet; I've liked the bits I've read, and reviews from outside of EA have been solid.

Open Thread: July 2021

Welcome! And well done to donate 50% — I only know a few people with ordinary jobs who've done this, and they're all among my favorite individuals. You're doing incredible good.

I feel that the Effective Altruism movement overvalues animal well-being vs human well-being.

The EA movement doesn't really have its own values, aside from a few baseline principles — it's a collection of individuals who agree on the principles but differ on many other things. If you were to ask something like "how valuable is saving a chicken from a year of constant suffering?", pe... (read more)

Open Thread: July 2021

Your instinct that there isn't a "go-to" place for all data is correct. Not sure about GDPR barriers, but it seems likely that a lot of things became unavailable (or were never available) because the people running those projects just got caught up in other things.

Fortunately, we have mechanisms for funding useful projects that no existing person maintains yet. If you're really interested in sorting through everything and making it available, that might be a good candidate for the EA Infrastructure Fund. And if you're busy with other things, you can even p... (read more)

Is impersonal benevolence a virtue?

The best answer here, the one that actually lets us try to live our lives by reasonable ethical principles, seems to me like "morality isn't conflict-free and humans aren't perfectly consistent". The whole point of EA is that standard "ethical" systems often fail to provide useful advice on how to live a good life. No one can be perfectly virtuous or benevolent; all we can do is act well given our circumstances and the options in front of us.

How does this interface with the question of objective morality? You can either say "morality is objective and peopl... (read more)

1newptcai6dI like your answer. Thanks for all the replies!
Lant Pritchett on the futility of "smart buys" in developing-world education

Do you know of any studies showing that people in low-income countries regard their own education as a major source of intrinsic value, apart from its effects on other life outcomes?

I ask because I think most people in the developed world value education primarily because it will help them "succeed in life" (or "get a good job", "move up in the world", etc.). If you gave people in the U.S. a choice between e.g. the experience of being in school for 3 extra years, or an extra $5,000/year in salary, I'd expect almost everyone to choose a higher salary. And I... (read more)

0lucy.ea85dAaron, I have written a lot about education on this forum. See this old post of mine [] I am talking about basic education here (12 years). A child going to school is not losing family time, they are learning and playing with their friends at school. If there are not at school they might be looking after siblings, grazing the animals, or maybe doing nothing. Givewell's research on education is of really poor quality. Partly that is because they assume education has no intrinsic value and hence put little effort into it. Partly it's hard to disentangle effects of education because those effects last a lifetime, and can easily be mis-attributed to income, government policy, soap operas [], economic policy etc... The question of intrinsic and extrinsic value is not very interesting. We can ask why does health have intrinsic value? Income it is clear has no intrinsic value. UNDP considers Income, education, health to be equally important, because they allow us to leads lives that we want to live i.e. enhance human capability. See Capability Approach [] Given the importance of HDI, the research backing HDI (kerala model []), the people who created it (Mahbub ul Haq [], Amartya Sen +others). The starting point for any moral weights has to be HDI, we can differ from it but need really solid explanation for substantial deviations from HDI. The burden of proof is on the EA community and especially Give Well. After 30 years of HDI, the major changes are Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI), Gender Development Index (GDI), Gender Inequality Index (GII), Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) In all of those indexes education is gi
How do you communicate that you like to optimise processes without people assuming you like tricks / hacks / shortcuts?

Yes, I recommend both of those things for... well, almost all communication, and this isn't an exception.

Writing about my job: pharmaceutical chemist

Thanks for posting this! 

I don't think I saw this mentioned, but do you think you might end up using these skills in a role with a more explicit connection to EA, if an opportunity comes along? I'm no chemist, but I can imagine this kind of expertise being useful for vaccine production (maybe?)

Not that I think this is essential — it sounds like you're living your dream, and that's an extremely good reason to have a job, EA considerations aside. Just curious if that's something you've thought about.

8indrekk7dOrganic synthesis sadly is a bit too far from immunology to have much skill crossover. Though of course making an immunologist out of a chemist would be faster than out of a layperson. We do quite often help universities and startups with research and clinical trials, so the net good from my work is still above average, I would hope. Yeah that's my one regret about this job, haha. It fits too perfectly with everything I could ever want from a job, so I would not consider a sharp change in career trajectory for the sake of EA priorities. I compensate for that through being quite active in my local EA group.
Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki entries

Thanks, have created this. (The "Donation writeup" tag is singular, so I felt like this one should also be, but LMK if you think it should be plural.)

Is impersonal benevolence a virtue?

Which of the four items on Hursthouse's list do you think are impossible to reject without embracing relativism? And why do you think those ideas are necessarily linked together? 

I may be confused, but I don't see why "ethical naturalism" has to be tied to virtue ethics. It seems wholly consistent to me for people to believe in objective morality, and to believe that this morality is impartial benevolence. It also seems reasonable to believe that if everyone really tried to practice impartial benevolence, we'd end up with a healthy and thriving societ... (read more)

1newptcai7dOf course Hursthouse's account of ethical naturalism could be mistaken. (I am not totally satisfied with it either). But I just don't see how morality can be seen as "objective" without appealing to human nature in some way. (I know Derek Parfit has a book On What Matters defending moral objectivity. But I have not had the guts to dive into it.) As for "impersonally benevolence", I agree that it doesn't necessary has to conflict with the well-being of one's family. For example in Alienation, Consequentialism, and the Demands of Morality [], Peter Railton argues that maybe to be it is may be the case that a do-gooder can do more good if he/she be a bit partial -- If you have a happy family, you may have a lot more energy to help strangers. But I do think this is not necessarily always conflict free. For example, Peter Singer was once accused of being hypocrite because he and his sister put their mum with Alzheimer's disease in a caring facility, which cost a lot of money. Did helping his mum motivated Singer to do more good later in his life? Maybe. But it would be very hard to do the calculations.
Lant Pritchett on the futility of "smart buys" in developing-world education

Were these increases typically driven by public demand, or driven by top-down government policy? If the latter, Pritchett's point could still stand.

0lucy.ea86dThey were driven by government policy, the policy was around changes in the schooling system + whatever changes were needed to encourage kids to go to school. The changes had NOTHING to do with "increase the returns to schooling" as Pritchett wrongly asserts. This is really hard to tell. If there are no schools in walking distance of your village and hence no one goes to school does it mean there is no demand? If you live in an authoritarian country and know that the dictator will not build schools, and hence no one demands schooling. Is there no demand? In the case of Kerala, Singapore local governments did all they could to encourage schooling. As a result enrollment increased. Does that mean there was an increase in public demand? (Edit: The governments of Kerala, Singapore also built the schooling system: building, teachers, books etc...) Disentangling government action vs public demand is not so important. There are good practices from Singapore, Kerala etc... that can be learnt by governments the world over.
You should write about your job

I'd be extremely interested in this, and it's the highest-karma comment on this thread at the moment!

3AndyMorgan6dSweet, will do!
Is impersonal benevolence a virtue?

(Not a philosopher, this is deliberately quick and snappy)

One response is to just deny the naturalist account (why is it required that every "good wolf" or "good person" try to do all four of those things?).

Another is to deny the claim that impersonal benevolence has to contradict being "social animals" or "nurturing young". The average impersonally benevolent person who supports AMF is helping to nurture hundreds of young people, and probably making life "socially better" for entire villages (it seems good for village life when fewer children are sick or ... (read more)

1newptcai7dI feel that rejecting ethical naturalism necessarily implies rejection of moral objectivity. Thus we will have to accept ethical relativism, which amounts to moral nihilism. There is a chapter of Strangers Drowning [] which tells the story of an American missionary who had worked in Africa with her family, including two young children. During their time there, her children was almost kidnapped by a mob. But she persisted and kept working there. Eventually, she had to come back to American for the benefit of one of her children, who has intellectual disability. But she felt bad about it breaking commitment to the church. I think this example shows that indeed, for people who strive to be "impersonal benevolent", there would come a time to decide whose benefit comes first, the children or strangers? And the children may come to resent morality if the parents actually choose strangers.
Building my Scout Mindset: #1

Keep in mind that some people choose not to apply our default filter (which removes "personal blog" posts from the front page). The only way to completely hide a post from the front page for everyone is to make it a Shortform post or leave it "unlisted" (only available via link).

However, anyone who chooses not to use the filter is by definition interested in personal-blog-type posts, so I think you're fine!

2Miranda_Zhang7dOh, I didn't know that! Appreciate the clarification of how the Forum works.
The case against “EA cause areas”

As technicalities noted, it's easy to see the merits of these arguments in general, but harder to see who should actually do things, and what they should do.

To summarize the below:

  • EA orgs already look at a wide range of causes, and the org with most of the money looks at perhaps the widest range of causes
  • Our community is small and well-connected; new causes can get attention and support pretty easily if someone presents a good argument, and there's a strong historical precedent for this
  • People should be welcoming and curious to people from many different ba
... (read more)
2nadavb6dThank you Aaron for taking the time to write this detailed and thoughtful comment to my post! I'll start with saying that I pretty much agree with everything you say, especially in your final remarks - that we should be really receptive to what people actually want and advise them accordingly, and maybe try to gently nudge them into taking a more open-minded general-impact-oriented approach (but not try to force it on them if they don't want to). I also totally agree that most EA orgs are doing a fantastic job at exploring diverse causes and ways to improve the world, and that the EA movement is very open-minded to accepting new causes in the presence of good evidence. To be clear, I don't criticize specific EA orgs. The thing I do criticize is pretty subtle, and refers more to the EA community itself - sometimes to individuals in the community, but mostly to our collective attitude and the atmospheres we create as groups. When I say "I think we need to be more open to diverse causes", it seems that your main answer is "present me with good evidence that a new cause is promising and I'll support it", which is totally fair. I think this is the right attitude for an EA to have, but it doesn't exactly address what I allude to. I don't ask EAs to start contributing to new unproven causes themselves, but rather that they be open to others contributing to them. I agree with you that most EAs would not confront a cancer researcher and blame her of doing something un-EA-like (and I presume many would even be kind and approach her with curiosity about the motives for her choice). But in the end, I think it is still very likely she would nonetheless feel somewhat judged. Because even if every person she meets at EA Global tries to nudge her only very gently ("Oh, that's interesting! So why did you decide to work on cancer? Have you considered pandemic preparedness? Do you think cancer is more impactful?"), those repeating comments can accumulate into a strong feeling of
What would you do if you had half a million dollars?

On (1): Have you encouraged any of these people to apply for existing sources of funding within EA? Did any of them do so successfully?

On (3): The most prominent EA-run "major achievement prize" is the Future of Life Award, which has been won by people well outside of EA. That's one way to avoid bad press — and perhaps some extremely impactful people would become more interested in EA as a result of winning a prize? (Though I expect you'd want to target mid-career people, rather than people who have already done their life's work in the style of the FLA.)

1peterhartree20h1. In some cases yes, but only when they were working on specific projects that I expected to be legible and palatable to EA funders. Are there places I should be sending people who I think are very promising to be considered for very low strings personal development / freedom-to-explore type funding?
EA cause areas are just areas where great interventions should be easier to find

Props for writing the post you were thinking about!

Overwhelmingly, the things you think of as "EA cause areas" translate to "areas where people have used common EA principles to evaluate opportunities". And the things you think of as "not in major EA cause areas" are overwhelmingly "areas where people have not tried very hard to evaluate opportunities".

Many of the "haven't tried hard" areas are justifiably ignored, because there are major factors implying there probably aren't great opportunities (very few people are affected, very little harm is done, or ... (read more)

How do you communicate that you like to optimise processes without people assuming you like tricks / hacks / shortcuts?

There are terms like "operations", "management", and "logistics" that might stand in for "optimizing processes" (depending on what processes you are talking about).

It might also be helpful to talk about an example of some useful project you or someone else has done right away, so that people don't get the wrong idea. (To give a really trivial toy example, "I recently cut down on the time I spend surfing the web by taking all the blogs I follow and putting them on RSS — I like noticing options like that, where I can improve the way I do something.")

1Madhav Malhotra6dIt sounds like you're saying that you add examples and avoid using big, vague words where possible? Is that correct? :-)
Further thoughts on charter cities and effective altruism

I'd caution against equating "lack of support from Open Philanthropy and GiveWell" with "lack of interest from people in the EA movement". There are a tiny number of people who contribute to how those organizations give out funding, and a lot of donors who might be open to a strong argument from a charity with a good track record in a different promising area.

The effective altruism (EA) movement dedicates minimal resources to studying the lessons, let alone attempting to replicate, the greatest poverty alleviation in living memory.

If someone is interested ... (read more)

Types of specification problems in forecasting

This is a nice reference!

When you publish a post like this (explaining a major subtopic, as "specification problems" are for the topic of "forecasting"), I recommend looking at the EA Wiki article for the topic in case you see a chance to update it. 

This could mean adding your post to the bibliography, updating the article text to reference the existence of specification problems, etc.

Khorton's Shortform

Terms that seem to have some of the good properties of "EA-aligned" without running into the "assuming your own virtue" problem:

  • "Longtermist" (obviously not synonymous with "EA-aligned", but it accurately describes a subset of orgs within the movement)
  • "Impact-driven" or something like that (indicating a focus on impact without insisting that the focus has led to more impact) 
  • "High-potential" or "promising" (indicating that they're pursuing a cause area that looks good by standard EA lights, without trying to assume success — still a bit self-promotion
... (read more)
Khorton's Shortform

I have exactly the opposite intuition (which is why I've been using the term "EA-aligned organization" throughout my writing for CEA and probably making it more popular in the process).

"EA-aligned organization" isn't supposed to mean "high-impact organization". It's supposed to mean "organization which has some connection to the EA community through its staff, or being connected to EA funding networks, etc."

This is a useful concept because it's legible in a way impact often isn't. It's easy to tell whether an org has a grant from EA Funds/Open Phil, and wh... (read more)

2Aaron Gertler7dTerms that seem to have some of the good properties of "EA-aligned" without running into the "assuming your own virtue" problem: * "Longtermist" (obviously not synonymous with "EA-aligned", but it accurately describes a subset of orgs within the movement) * "Impact-driven" or something like that (indicating a focus on impact without insisting that the focus has led to more impact) * "High-potential" or "promising" (indicating that they're pursuing a cause area that looks good by standard EA lights, without trying to assume success — still a bit self-promotional, though) * Actually referring to the literal work being done, e.g. "Malaria prevention org", "Alternative protein company" ...but when you get at the question of what links together orgs that work on malaria, alternative proteins, and longtermist research, I think "EA-aligned" is a more accurate and helpful descriptor than "high-impact".
Lant Pritchett on the futility of "smart buys" in developing-world education

I deliberately chose not to use this as one of my chosen excerpts, though I don't think it reveals a weakness in anything Pritchett believes — I read him as a skeptic about these "rights" who nevertheless acknowledges that other people would rather talk about rights than economic return in discussions of education. But whether he believes in the concept or not, your objection to the concept seems correct to me.

Miranda_Zhang's Shortform

My hope is that people who see EA-relevant press will post it here (even in Shortform!). 

I also track a lot of blogs for the EA Newsletter and scan Twitter for any mention of effective altruism, which means I catch a lot of the most directly relevant media. But EA's domain is the entire world, so no one person will catch everything important. That's what the Forum is for :-)

I'm not sure whether you're picturing a project specific to stories about EA or one that covers many other topics. In the case of the former, me and others at CEA know about nearly... (read more)

All Possible Views About Humanity's Future Are Wild

There are lots of places you can read about this. Two of my favorite "starter" posts are:

Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki entries

Career profiles (or maybe something like "job posts"?)

Basically, writeups of specific jobs people have, and how to get those jobs. Seems like a useful subset of the "Career Choice" tag to cover posts like "How I got an entry-level role in Congress", and all the posts that people will (hopefully) write in response to this.

2EdoArad9dWhat about posts that discuss personal career choice processes (like this [] )?
2MichaelA10dYeah, this seems worth having! And I appreciate you advocating for people to write these and for us to have a way to collect them, for similar reasons to those given in this earlier shortform of mine [] . I think career profiles is a better term for this than job posts, partly because: * The latter sounds like it might be job ads or job postings * Some of these posts might not really be on "jobs" but rather things like being a semi-professional blogger, doing volunteering, having some formalised unpaid advisory role to some institution, etc. OTOH, career profiles also sounds somewhat similar to 80k's career reviews. This could be good or bad, depending on whether it's important to distinguish what you have in mind from the career review format. (I don't have a stance on that, as I haven't read your post yet.)
What posts do you want someone to write?

I want people to write posts about their jobs, and how they got those jobs. I think this will help a lot of people, both with object-level information about getting particular jobs, and by making a meta-level statement that it's not impossible or unrealistic to get a job in EA.

You should write about your job

Suggestion: If you're not sure anyone would want to read your job post, reply to this comment and say what your job is, then see how people respond.

Also, consider that we'll have a nice tag for these posts and that, if lots of people write them, the tag will become a resource that could help hundreds of EA-aligned job-seekers.

9Paulindrome7dI work in energy and infrastructure financing for a large bank in the UK, and don't have a background in business or finance.

I work as a senior policy analyst in the New Zealand government, specifically in the area of genetic modification policy.  I can talk about how I got the job, and why I think I excel at it, despite not having a background in science, as well as what the work is like day-to-day.

For the past five years I have been doing contract work for a bunch of individuals and organizations, often overlapping with the EA movement's interests. For a list of things I've done, you can see here or here. I can say more about how I got started and what it's like to do this kind of work if there is interest.

I'm currently interning at the Stanford Data Science for Social Good summer fellowship! My team works on using computer vision and Google Street View data to identify physical features of buildings and urban environments that might correlate with community well-being in U.S. cities.

I think the fellowship is good for students who are interested in getting into academic research and data science, so I'm happy to talk more about it if anyone's interested.

I'm a generalist researcher at Rethink Priorities. I'm on the longtermism team and that's what I try to spend most of my time doing, but some of my projects touch on global health and some of projects are relevant to animal welfare as well (I think doing work across cause areas is fairly common at RP, though this will likely decrease with time as the org gets larger and individual researchers become more specialized). 

I'm happy to talk about my job, but unclear how valuable this is, given that a) "generalist researcher" is probably one of the most wel... (read more)

Aaron Gertler's Shortform

I enjoyed learning about the Henry Spira award. It is given by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health to "honor animal activists in the animal welfare, protection, or rights movements who work to achieve progress through dialogue and collaboration."

The criteria for the award are based on Peter Singer's summary of the methods Spira used in his own advocacy. Many of them seem like strong guiding principles for EA work in general:

  1. Understands public opinion, and what people outside of the animal rights/welfare movement are thinking.
  2. Selects a course of actio
... (read more)
New blog: Cold Takes

We feature a set of selected videos on the website (accessible from the top navbar), along with an "intro playlist" on our YouTube that the site links to. We're well aware that people like videos!

(We did just hire some new developers, so it's likely that the way displays videos will be much better than "just a list of videos on the site" in the medium-term future. )

I wouldn't fault the community for "typical mind fallacy" -- people regularly tell us they want to make videos because they recognize the lack of good video content, and we ty... (read more)

6Peterslattery13dThanks Aaron! Sorry if that sounded like it was stating the obvious :P Glad to hear about the pending changes to, that sounds great. I didn't really mean to implicate CEA when I talked about the EA community. I was more so thinking of EAs like myself who tend to default to always producing a long report/post to relay their findings and never consider adding a video or infographic. I agree you that video takes a lot more work and that that's a major barrier. It makes sense to me that curation should be your focus. I'd mainly like to see more work from other orgs and intellectual leaders on video creation and also more funding for that work to make the curation easier. I really like what Luke is doing at Giving What We Can with video (and in general) and that's the sort of thing that I would like to see that as more of a norm. Thanks for taking the feedback onboard. With that said, I'd be more than happy for other people to take on the responsibility of creating/curating more videos and let you keep focusing on improving the forum! I can't really overstate how much I like the current forum. It is so enjoyable to engage with that I have to limit my time using it. Thanks for all your work on it.
New blog: Cold Takes

Rather than Holden creating a video (which takes quite a bit of non-writing work + additional team members), it would probably make more sense for Rational Animations or A Happier World to produce something. Those are both YouTube channels with new EA Funds grants, and Rational Animations produced the video you linked. They currently ask many people in the community to review their EA-based scripts before they film. 

(That said, this may overlap a bit with the Rational Animations video, and I think it would be a worthy post for a bigger creator like Ku... (read more)

6Peterslattery14dThanks for responding Aaron. Yeah, that sounds like a better idea. I'd like to see that happen. Thanks for mentioning the ongoing funding/networking. I was unaware. I am really glad to hear and keen to watch and share more EA videos! I'll also try to help the new channels if I have time. In addition to seeing more video content on longtermism on YouTube I would also really like if there were a few good videos on the website. Perhaps in time, there could be a whole series covering the key concepts discussed on the website. I wonder if the EA community have a little bit of typical mind fallacy. We are usually the people who quite like reading long in-depth articles/post and also have time to do it. This may leads us to set up all of our content to be geared towards similar types of people in similar situations and miss some people who might be more receptive a different approach. I really liked the development of good podcast/audio content (which I give credit to 80k for). The next thing I'd love to see is videos on key concepts. Particularly short and catchy videos that pull people in and make them interested enough to start engaging with our deeper content.
Effective Altruism Polls: A resource that exists

Thanks for the note. The group is open for anyone to join, so poll responses won't be anonymous, but I've removed the images from this Forum post to keep everything on Facebook.

Inspiring others to do good

I think it would be great if a project in this space took off, and lots of new people were turned on to effective giving who want a nicer-looking site. I think Momentum might be on the way to doing that, though I don't know what user numbers + donation targets look like these days.

Have you tried tracking your giving through Momentum? I don't know whether they allow "standard" donations or if all donations are managed by "giving rules". If the latter, maybe the true killer app is just adding standard one-time + timed recurring donations to that platform.

One... (read more)

2Punty21dIt appears there are two "giving rules" that cover "standard" donations. They call them "Monthly Giving" and "Giving Now". I love the idea behind Momentum with these rules. Such as donating set amounts when you buy drinks or dine out (something I thought of doing for myself manually). Not sure how it works however and can't see it being an automatic process - would have thought your linked bank account cannot categorise your spending like this for the purpose of automatic separate donation contributions. I tried to set up an account myself to test it out, but appears it is for United States only, which likely highlights a gap to be filled. By sacrificing some automation and having the cause area to be user-defined but specific charity options limited, it seems likely to be able to create a more globalised product. Due to this, and the publicising angle, I think Laurin's project has promise.
How to Stop The Deadliest Animal on Earth (new A Happier World video)

Thanks for sharing a summary! It doesn't seem like it applies to AMF's work, but it does describe other malaria control efforts. My impression is that the scientists who work on these things all day often pay more attention to risks and safety than other people realize, but I hope that the initial tests being run on this technology include appropriate follow-up to understand any unintended consequences.

How to Stop The Deadliest Animal on Earth (new A Happier World video)

I've seen you link to the Mao video multiple times. Whenever you're linking to a long resource in a way that isn't self-explanatory, it really helps to share a summary of what you mean. 

Mao Zedong made (to be charitable) many errors, so that summary is much less informative than "cause local net manufacturers to go out of business". 

But since you've already seen the video, you could probably write a brief summary in much less time than it will take, say, five interested readers to watch enough of the video to see what you mean. And you'll be able to use that summary in other threads where you want to raise the same question, so it pays dividends.

3Question Mark22dThe Gates Foundation is financing a campaign to genetically engineer the mosquito population in order to control malaria. He compares it to Mao Zedong's Four Pests Campaign, and how Mao's attempts to wipe out the sparrow population resulted in the Great Chinese Famine. Taleb argues that there may be similar unintended consequences, and something similar could happen with genetically modifying mosquitoes. He also talks about processes that are too fast for nature, and he draws a graph comparing the speed at which the ecosystem changes and the corresponding risk of harm, and how harm scales non-linearly in proportion to speed.
How to Stop The Deadliest Animal on Earth (new A Happier World video)

On the question about AMF's impact on local manufacturers, here's Rob Mather, head of AMF, on exactly those concerns. The response (copied below) is ten years old, so the information may be out of date. 

It sounds like a difficult trade-off, and I'd be happy to see data on manufacturing conditions or other economic conditions in areas where AMF has worked, or on longer-term malaria rates that might reflect the impact of nets becoming less available locally. But I'll note that I haven't really seen a "go out of business" argument that reflects these poi... (read more)

The most successful EA podcast of all time: Sam Harris and Will MacAskill (2020)

That's an interesting theory, but if there was an effect, I don't see it in the data we have on the growth of Giving What We Can. (The slope goes a bit higher around the 2016 election, but that happens every holiday season, because there's a lot more charitable giving then.)

Linch's Shortform

That said, I also think maybe our culture will be better if we celebrate doing naively good things over doing things that are externally high status.

This is a reasonable theory. But I think there are lots of naively good things that are broadly accessible to people in a way that "janitor at MIRI" isn't, hence my critique. 

(Not that this one Shortform post is doing anything wrong on its own — I just hear this kind of example used too often relative to examples like the ones I mentioned, including in this popular post, though the "sweep the floors at CE... (read more)

You are allowed to edit Wikipedia

You can't change a question to a post directly; you'd need to copy this text over to a new post and then remove this question.

Because there's already discussion here, creating a new post doesn't seem worth the trouble. I'm happy leaving it as an accidental question, but if you want, you can remove the question and make a new post.

1ChristianKleineidam23dI think leaving it the way it is is better then deleting it and getting rid of the comments. Maybe Darius_Meissner will finish his post somewhere in the future and then there's a new post that goes a bit deeper then mine.
You are allowed to edit Wikipedia

Did you mean for this to be a post instead of a question? 

I assume not, so I'd recommend making this a post instead. (It's a good post, but the question format may confused people.)

1ChristianKleineidam23dI did intend to make it a normal post and this was an accident. I don't know of a way to make the change myself. If some moderator knows a way, I'm happy to have it changed.
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