EricHerboso

Executive Director @ Effective Giving Quest
Working (15+ years of experience)

Bio

I’m the Executive Director at Effective Giving Quest, a fundraising org at the intersection of EA and gaming. I also am an Organizer of WikiProject Effective Altruism, where we coordinate effective altruism related articles on Wikipedia, and am a moderator of r/EffectiveAltruism, the main EA subreddit with 20,000 members. Most of my history with EA is through my service at Animal Charity Evaluators from 2012–2022; I helped influence ACE’s formation in 2012 and became the 2nd paid employee in 2013 as Director of Communications. Between 2019–2022, I served as Secretary on ACE’s Board of Directors.

I’ve been involved with the EA movement since 2011, well before the phrase "effective altruism" was coined. I hope to continue being a part of the movement for many years to come.

You can learn more about me through my personal blog at ericherboso.org. I also have a profile up on the EA Hub.

How others can help me

If you have contacts in the video game or board game industry that may be highly receptive to EA, please let me know! Our mission at Effective Giving Quest is to help gaming companies, streamers, and other gaming professionals do the most good through their donations, and we would be glad to guide those in the gaming industry toward effective altruism causes.

Comments
93

Topic Contributions
1

I incorrectly (at 4a.m.) first read this as saying "Would this include making EA apparel…for views like nativism and traditionalism?", and my mind immediately started imagining pithy slogans to put on t-shirts for EAs who believe saving a single soul has more expected value than any current EA longtermist view (because ∞>3^^^3).

That may be the case with those in your social circle, but several existing EA donors have been vocally upset on the EA subreddit. One question we've had to answer there multiple times is whether GiveWell had anything to do with this, because, if so, they would cease their donations there.

People on the EA subreddit are generally more casual than the people that come here to the EA Forum. But comments like this are typical in the last few days:

"I really have trouble believing that someone who has even vaguely brushed up against the insights of EA would buy a mansion. In fact, I could think of few acts that would be more bluntly and vulgarly antithetical to EA."

These are not anti-EA zealots posting on social media about how this kind of thing disgusts them, using this opportunity as a chance to strike (though some of those also exist). No, these are actual EAs — they may not be as engaged as EA Forum users, but they care enough to join the subreddit, to donate to EA orgs, and to participate in light EA discussions on reddit. They are really not happy about the purchase of Wytham Abbey.

It depends. In isolation, that statement does seem concerning to me, like they may have been overestimating the potential negative optics.

What matters to me here is whether sufficient thought was put into all the different aspects. Clearly, they thought a lot about the non-optics stuff. I have no way of easily evaluating those kinds of statements, as I have very little experience organizing conferences. But I’m concerned that maybe there wasn’t sufficient thought given to just how bad the optics can get with this sort of thing.

My career has been in communications, so I'm used to thinking about PR risks and advocating for thinking about those aspects. Perhaps I'm posting here with a bias from that point of view. If I were in a room with decision-makers, I'd expect my comments here to be balanced by arguments on the other side.

Even so, my suspicion is that, if you write something like "do what really is good rather than just what seems good", you're more likely to be underestimating rather than overestimating PR risks.

I did feel a little nervous about the optical effects, but think it’s better to let decisions be guided less by what we think looks good, and more by what we think is good — ultimately this was a decision I felt happy to defend.

 

While I understand this sentiment, optics can sometimes matter much more than you may at first expect. In this specific case, the kneejerk response of many people on social media of this seeming  incongruity (a seemingly extravagant purchase by a main EA org) can potentially cement negative sentiment. By itself, maybe it's not that bad. But in combination with the other previous bad press we have from the FTX debacle, people will get in their heads that "EA = BAD". I'm literally seeing major philosophers who might otherwise be receptive to EA being completely turned off because of tweets about Wytham Abbey.

This isn't to say that the purchase shouldn't have been made. But you specifically said that you think the general rule should be that we make decisions about what we think is good rather than by what looks good. While technically I agree with this, I think that blindly following such a rule puts us in a state of mind where we are at risk of underestimating just how bad optics can become.

This actually may affect whether Wikipedia policies will count certain EA Forum articles as "reliable sources" (in the Wikipedia sense). I'll be taking this back to WikiProject: Effective Altruism to see whether this may allow us to cite specific EA Forum posts for claims where no secondary source is yet available.

Unfortunately, I don't have a firm launch date that we can publicly share yet. It will be no later than Q4 2022, but we're aiming for earlier than that.

Effective Giving Quest hasn't quite officially launched — when we do, we will be certain to post an announcement on the EA Forum. But EffectiveGivingQuest.org did somewhat quietly go live today.

Unfortunately, we're not yet ready to host a full list of games either about EA or created by EAs, but I can share a smaller list of non-commercial games if you're interested.

Right now, Effective Giving Quest is in the process of working with several game developers and publishers that are receptive to EA. When we finally get to our hard launch, you'll be able to see several commercially available games listed on our site. But until we get to that point, all I can offer is this unofficial short list of non-commercial games.

Note that the hyperlink given no longer works. GWWC now has the deworming study response post at this updated link.

Note that the location has changed to (1906,587). Details on why/how are on the subreddit.

 

EDIT: After relocating to (1906,587), we have successfully been able to put up the EA logo plus the EffectiveAltruism.org url! I'm impressed by the effort that some of our redditors have.

While it may not exactly be the best use of any one person's time, and there was somewhat significant effort (by 2–3 redditors) put into negotiating with nearby subreddits, it appears that a discord channel of relatively few EAs has been successful at this communications project. Please check out the image live by clicking the coordinates above, or you can see a screenshot here.

The intention from here is to defend the text from trolls so that it makes it to the final canvas when the r/Place event ends.

EDIT 2: The EA logo+text is now located at (957,1772). We are stable in this new location, thanks to help from several surrounding communities. You can see what we look like by clicking the coordinates link.

While the OP's effort didn't end up working, a much smaller alternate effort has been somewhat successful. The logo is at (1644,570) and coordination is at r/EffectiveAltruism.

Note that I don't actually believe this is a good use of our time; it is unlikely to result in any sort of outreach without text next to the logo, and not only does it seem unlikely that text will persist, but also the small size means it will likely get no play when the final r/Place image gets shared around online. Nevertheless, it seems like a number of EAs are interested in doing this, so I thought it might be relevant to post their success here.

 

EDIT: I crossed out the above because we had to relocate to (1906,587). However, we have successfully been able to put up the EA logo plus the EffectiveAltruism.org url! I'm impressed by the effort that some of our redditors have.

While it may not exactly be the best use of any one person's time, and there was somewhat significant effort (by 2–3 redditors) put into negotiating with nearby subreddits, it appears that a discord channel of relatively few EAs has been successful at this communications project. Please check out the image live by clicking the coordinates above, or you can see a screenshot here.

The intention from here is to defend the text from trolls so that it makes it to the final canvas when the r/Place event ends.

 

EDIT 2: The EA logo+text is now located at (957,1772). We are stable in this new location, thanks to help from several surrounding communities. You can see what we look like by clicking the coordinates link.

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