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2285 karmaJoined Sep 2014Working (6-15 years)Pursuing other degree/diploma


  • Attended an EA Global conference
  • Attended more than three meetings with a local EA group
  • Received career coaching from 80,000 Hours


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Setting the Record Straight on Effective Altruism as a Paradigm
Effective Altruism, Religion and Spirituality
Wild Animal Welfare Literature Library


I'm the admin of that Facebook group. Do you have any suggestions for what I/we could do to help it serve its purpose of helping EAs better?

When I first checked this post, it had 0 karma but 4 votes. That means about half of those who voted on this post downvoted it. I would understand why except nobody explained why. 

To explain that myself, it's typically preferred introductory posts like this are submitted as personal posts, or as a comment in an open thread, as opposed to as frontpage posts. Especially in light of how eagerly you seek to contribute to the community, it was rude nobody who disliked your post bothered taking a moment to explain why. In light of that, I've strongly upvoted this post, and I apologize on behalf of our other peers who were so unwelcoming.

Thanks for the consideration, though I knew you weren't referring to me. What I meant is that, while lurkers or faithless actors may have motives including profiteering in theory, in practice there isn't enough incentive to put that much effort into profiteering that way. 
I'm not aware there's enough money in that kind of task for anyone to bother with the effort, compared to other ways they could make money. 

Those most motivated to weaponize damaging info on EA have proven themselves savvy enough to acquire that kind of info without bothering with the EA Forum. Between critics, whistleblowers and haters, there's so great a supply for negative info on EA that there isn't enough demand that someone could earn much money off of trying to sell it.

I'm considering writing a reply to one or more of Bordelon's reports. To aid others who might want to do so is one of the main reasons why I shared the document. Given my understanding that POLITICO is widely read by policymakers in DC, another reason I shared it is for more EAs to at least be aware of how they're being perceived in DC, for better or worse.

If I wind up writing a response, I'm not sure where I might publish it, though the EA Forum would likely be one platform. Other than EAs, it could serve as a resource to be shared with those outside of EA.

I'm not aware of reason to suspect any such person might be profiteering. That seems like by itself it wouldn't be lucrative to justify the effort. 

Summary: As EA remains a poorly understood movement in DC, and POLITICO is a publication that may be widely read by policymakers, it's worth those in EA and AI safety being aware of how the perception of their efforts are being shaped, whether for better or worse. To facilitate that is one of the main reasons I shared this document. Journalists who spin conspiracy theories about EA tend to do so regardless of content like this on the EA Forum. Those journalists who would bother to be whatsoever accurate will probably be apt enough to check this comment for clarification.

I think it's pretty amusing that much of the mainstream media thinks that EA is some coordinated illuminati-like movement, even though that is incredibly far from being the case. However, dropping a list of EA-critical articles on the forum and speculating on journalists future behaviour without any further explanation actually does make that impression - even though I think most readers of this forum will be just as confused by seeing this list as any journalist from the mainstream media would be.

This list wouldn't provide that impression to most EAs. Like you, they know how false the impression is that EA is such a conspiratorial movement. To those who consider EA dubious or insidious, this linkpost might appear as though someone is surveilling journalists who tend to cover EA activities in ways many EAs dislike. Some such individuals have long presumed that without posts like this being on the EA Forum. During the last couple years, some news articles with a critical bent on EA have called the EA Forum the community’s secret platform. Meanwhile, it's accessible on the World Wide Web. Given that fact apparently won't deter those who fabricate conspiracy theories about EA anyway, the risk my linkpost will worsen the problem seems negligible. 

The third likeliest alternative is that some EAs may be concerned the author of this document is someone who is trying to give an impression someone is trying to convince them there is a conspiracy among their ranks. For context, that's not the case, as I'm the one who created the document. I've participated in the EA community since 2011. Given my understanding that POLITICO is widely read by policymakers, it seemed worthwhile for more EAs to at least be aware of how they're being perceived in DC, for better or worse. That was one of the main reasons I shared the above document. As to potentially confused journalists, as much as some EAs may doubt the quality of the reporting some of them provide, many are at least savvy enough to even read deep into comments sections on the EA Forum to gain insights. I expect any journalist so determined to understand the purpose of this linkpost might read this comment, thus clearing their confusion.

I didn't mean to speculate about what the main journalist in question, Bordelon, might do next. I'm aware of others in AI safety and EA who have speculated the series of articles has been written as a series of hit pieces. He's generally one of POLITICO's main reporters on the influence of Big Tech lobbies in DC. Having read several of the articles he has written in that vein not focused on EA-affiliated organizations, it seems he tends to write a comprehensive set of reports on the stakeholders pushing various agendas in DC. His reports on EA don't seem to be more critical than others, so I doubt he's especially hostile to EA. He has written a few reports on EA that have gotten to the root of a perceived AI safety agenda as thoroughly as anyone could.

Especially as tends to be expected by editors of their reporters, I expect he will soon focus on some other lobby from Silicon Valley in his next articles. As he hasn't published another report so far in 2024, there's not yet a way to verify my expectations, or the speculations others in EA and AIS have already made. I sought to clarify for those who already have their own suspicions about his motives that there is not yet anymore evidence to confirm or deny the suspicions. 

all I know about Politico is that a while ago they published an article on EA that seemed to be written in pretty bad faith.

Do you remember whether:

  1. that article was published in the last 6 months, or before that?
  2. the article covered an area EA has influence over, other than AI safety or biosecurity?

If it was published in the last 6 months, it's probably one of the ones I've listed. If it was published before then, it may have been one about the connections between Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX, and EA. If it was something else, it's one of their articles that most EAs wouldn't be aware of.

I'm sorry to hear to join Alameda under the impression that it would be the opposite of what it became to be, like happened to so many others, is the reason you quit the company you had founded. I didn't know you stopped working at the company you founded to work at Alameda.

At the time, I thought you had maybe sold your stake in it or something so you'd have a lot of cash to donate while moving onto an opportunity to do way more good in some other job at the advice of 80k or whoever. I thought it seemed strange you had left the company you founded then, given that it seemed unlikely you could find that much of a higher-impact job that would outweigh the value of the money you could gain to donate if you stuck at Health eFilings for a while longer. I was sad you left the company at that point because it seemed to me you could've gotten more good done there. I was glad to hear you were hired at the CEA, though I felt like it was strange to learn about your exciting new job a few months after you stopped working at Health eFilings, when I thought it's something you'd want to tell the rest of us about right away.

In a way, I was right about all of that. I wish I had read this post when you first published it last year, though it's still interesting to be someone who has also participated in the EA community for that long and to know the fuller story now.

This was an acerbic and bitter comment I made as a reference to the fake MIRI strategy update in 2022 from Eliezer, the notorious "Dying with Dignity." I've thought about this for a few days and I'm sorry I made that nasty comment.

I was considering deleting or retracting it, though I've decided against that. The fact my comment has a significantly net negative karma score seems like punishment enough. Retracting the comment now probably wouldn't change that anyway.

I've decided against deleting or retracting this comment because its reception seems like a useful signal for MIRI to receive. At least as of the time I'm writing this reply, my original comment has received more agreement than disagreement. It's valid for you or whoever from MIRI disagrees with the perception I snarkily expressed as wrong or unserious. I expect it's still worth MIRI being aware that almost as many people still distrust as trust MIRI as being sufficiently honest in its public communications.

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