davidc

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Announcing the EA donation swap system

Do you have any more details on the opinions you've gotten from legal experts? I'd be interested in hearing more about the reasoning for why it's okay.

I think Paul Christiano explained well here why it might be questionable:

If you make an agreement "I'll do X if in exchange you do Y," ... Obviously the tax code will treat that differently than doing X without any expectation of reciprocity, and the treatment depends on Y. ...

EA #GivingTuesday Fundraiser Matching Retrospective

We think these matches are ... mostly attributable to this initiative

As someone whose donation was partially matched ($3k of $5k), I can attest that this is correct, I would not have participated without at least some of these efforts from this group of people.

How to get a new cause into EA

are best thought of as target populations than cause areas ... the space not covered by these three is basically just wealthy modern humans

I guess this thought is probably implicit in a lot of EA, but I'd never quite heard it stated that way. It should be more often!

That said, I think it's not quite precise. There's a population missing: humans in the not-quite-far-future (e.g. 100 years from now, which I think is not usually included when people say "far future").

Applications are open for EA Global Boston

For what it's worth, I think maybe this would be improved by some more information about the standards for application acceptance. (Apologies if that already exists somewhere that I haven't been able to find.)

[Edited to remove the word "transparency", which might have different connotations than I intended.]

MFA Ad Study Targeting Former Vegetarians

Yeah, recidivists reverted once, so it seems reasonable to expect they're more likely to again. That makes the net impact of re-converting a recidivists unclear. Targeting them may be less valuable even if they're much easier to convert.

MFA Ad Study Targeting Former Vegetarians

Image is not showing up for me still.

Is there any reason to share those details privately instead of being transparent in public?

Thanks for letting us know about this study!

MFA Ad Study Targeting Former Vegetarians

I'll second the request for details. Especially within EA, it's pretty important to provide details (study plan, hopefully a pre-registration of the proposed analysis, the analysis itself, raw data, etc.) when mentioning study results like this.

Giving What We Can is Cause Neutral

The value in discussing the meaning of a word is pretty limited, and I recognize that this usage is standard in EA.

Still, I've done a pretty bad job explaining why I find it confusing. I'll try again:

Suppose we had an organization with a mission statement like "improve the United States through better government." And suppose they had decided that the best way to do that was to recommend that their members vote Republican and donate to the Republican Party. The mission is politically neutral, but it'd be pretty weird for the organization to call itself "politically neutral".

This isn't a criticism of Michelle's post or GWWC, since their usage of the phrase is (as I now know) standard in EA. (Initially I was criticizing this post, but I was confused. Sorry!) Instead, it's a criticism of how EA uses the term generally. The "EA definition" is different from a common-sense definition.

As I see it now, "X-neutral" is implicitly "X-neutral for some purpose Y". The way EAs use "cause-neutral", Y is basically "cause selection". It means that EAs haven't committed to a cause before they select a cause. That's a good and useful part of EA, but it's also pretty narrow and (I claim) not the most natural meaning of "cause-neutral" in all contexts.

"Cause-neutral" sounds like a phrase whose meaning you could understand based on a small amount of context, but really you need the special EA definition. This makes it jargon. Jargon can be helpful, but in this case I think it's not.

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