All of evelynciara's Comments + Replies

Doing good while clueless

This post helped clarify to me which causes ought to be prioritized from a longtermist standpoint. Although we don't know the long-term consequences of our actions (and hence are clueless), we can take steps to reduce our uncertainties and reliably do good over the long term. These include:

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Wikipedia editing is important, tractable, and neglected

I've created a page in my Wikipedia userspace that lists potentially relevant pages and projects. You're welcome to edit it!

EA Forum feature suggestion thread

Some suggestions regarding sequences:

  • Have sequences show up in search results
  • A way to see which sequences a post belongs to, especially if a post belongs to multiple sequences (e.g. display the sequences at the bottom of the post body under tags)
  • A search function on the library page
Wikipedia editing is important, tractable, and neglected

Thanks for writing this!

I think it would also be valuable to expand or create new articles on the social sciences, especially economics and sociology. For example: Social discount rate

evelynciara's Shortform

Some links about the alleged human male fertility crisis - it's been suggested that this may lead to population decline, but a 2021 study has pointed out flaws in the research claiming a decline in sperm count:

5Larks7dI didn't find this response very convincing. Apart from attempting to smear the researchers as racist, it seems their key argument is that while sperm counts appear to have fallen from towards the top to the bottom of the 'normal' range, they're still within the range. But this 'normal' range is fairly arbitrary, and if the decline continues presumably we will go below the normal range in the future.
evelynciara's Shortform

Possible outline for a 2-3 part documentary adaptation of The Precipice:

Part 1: Introduction & Natural Risks

  • Introduce the idea that we are in a time of unprecedented existential risk, but that the future could be very good (Introduction and Chapter 1)
  • Discuss natural risks (Chapter 3)
  • Argue that man-made risks are greater and use this to lead to the next episode (Chapter 3)

Part 2: Human-Made Risks

  • Well-known anthropogenic risks - nuclear war, climate change, other environmental damage (Chapter 4)
  • Emerging technological risks - pandemics, AI, dystopia (Chap
... (read more)
December 2021 monthly meme post

I could maybe help moderate an EA meme subreddit

December 2021 monthly meme post

We have the resources

We have the logistics

But to end famine and pestilence forever

We need unity

Announcing, powered by EA Funds

Exciting development!

Just wanted to flag that the part of the webpage with the four steps has the number 3 twice. The second 3 should be 4.

8Fabio Kuhn7dThanks a lot evelynciara. I fixed the mistake and the fourth step should be labeled correctly now.
EA Forum feature suggestion thread

Sort of. I'm imagining that each post that is not in the user's preferred language would have a button that lets the user translate the post body into that language. This would work like the equivalent feature on Airbnb (example).

Speaking for myself, I'm curious about what events other EA communities around the world are organizing, so I think this feature would be nice. Right now, I'm able to right click on the page to have my browser translate it into my preferred language, which might be enough for most users who are interested in viewing forum posts in other languages. But having a translate widget on the page might still be more beneficial, if only because it'd be easier to use.

3Sarah Cheng8dThanks for the screenshot - that's helpful! I'll add this suggestion to our list for triage, though I think the browser's translation is good enough for most cases.
Make a $100 donation into $200 (or more)

Is there a deadline for the Fall Giving Challenge, or will it continue until the matching funds run out?

6WilliamKiely8dThe deadline is Nov 30 at 23:59:59 PST [] : That said, [] has hinted to me that they will probably do another donation match of some kind in December. I don't know any details about it, but I think the existence of another match does mean that donors' ability to influence where the matching funds [] has raised will not not be lost after tomorrow. Though it is possible that even with another match the terms will change and make it harder (or easier) to direct the matching funds. So if the existing match still looks appealing, I'd recommend participating now.
Make a $100 donation into $200 (or more)

So glad I discovered this - there's still quite a bit of money left! I just donated $100 to Rethink Priorities and got matched for a total of $210. (My profile)

Announcing my retirement

Congrats on the new job, and thank you for your outstanding service. 🥳

How should Effective Altruists think about Leftist Ethics?

Thanks for sharing this piece – it's nice to gain perspective on where the EA movement, and I personally, fit into philosophy overall! 😅 I'm definitely an r/neoliberal type and have noticed that I tend to be less frustrated with leftist thinkers who fit into the analytic philosophy mold, like Liam Kofi Bright, than with those who rely less on/outright reject reason. At the same time, I've noticed that NL-types have certain blind spots, and I think more collaboration with the other types of analytic philosophers could help ameliorate these.

What is most confusing to you about AI stuff?

Thank you for posting this question and encouraging people to talk openly about this topic!

Here are some of the AI-related questions that I've thought about from time to time:

  • On the margin, should donors prioritize AI safety above other existential risks and broad longtermist interventions? Open Phil gives $10's of millions to AI safety and biosecurity every year, but other x-risks and longtermist areas seem rather unexplored and neglected, like s-risks.
  • What would make an artificial entity (like a computer program) sentient? What would count as a painful e
... (read more)
3SamClarke13dTo the extent that this question overlaps with Mauricio's question 1.2 [] (i.e. A bunch of people seem to argue for "AI stuff is important" but believe / act as if "AI stuff is overwhelmingly important"--what are arguments for the latter view?), then you might find his answer [] helpful. Only a partial answer, but worth noting that I think the most plausible source of s-risk is messing up on AI stuff
3SamClarke13dSome discussion of this question here: []
Where should I donate?

Can you link to some studies on the political effects of local investigative journalism?

9HStencil13dYeah, I’d be happy to, but I may not get around to it until next week, if that’s alright.
Open Thread: Winter 2021

Just watched the new James Bond movie No Time to Die - the plot centers around a nanobot-based bioweapon developed by MI6 that gets stolen by international terrorists (if I'm understanding the plot correctly; it was confusing). Maybe someone can write a review of it that focuses on the EA themes?

When to get off the train to crazy town?

The train isn't linear, but is a network of criss-crossing routes. You can go from Biosecurity to Wild Animal Welfare to Artificial Sentience.

EA Forum feature suggestion thread

Button to automatically translate posts that aren't in the reader's preferred language.

  • This could help readers understand posts that aren't in a language they understand. Even though the majority of EA Forum content is in English, we have an increasing number of community of event posts that aren't, like this post in Italian and this one in Swedish.
  • This could also benefit readers whose native language isn't English.
3Sarah Cheng8dThanks for the suggestion! Could you expand on this idea a bit? Are you imagining that each post has a button that lets you translate the post body into any language you select? I think most events have a specific language they will cater to, so if you can't read the Italian event description you probably won't get much from attending the event. That said, I have been considering adding "languages spoken" to the user profile, and displaying what languages are spoken by the event attendees on the event page (based on people RSVPing). This could be helpful if you are looking for nearby in-person events but you don't speak the local language (ex. you are traveling or recently moved). But I assume users will generally ignore any events posted in a language they don't understand.
EA Forum feature suggestion thread

Some potential improvements to the search function:

  • Advanced search: filter results by tag, author, etc. as well as keywords.
  • Fuzzy text matching: return posts or comments with synonyms or related words, not just the exact keywords entered. This could be implemented using a word embedding, either a generic one or an embedding fine-tuned on the EA Forum text. For example, if I search for "global development", I might also get results for "poverty" and "global health". This would help because I often remember that there was a post or comment about a certain topic but can't remember the exact words that it used.
3Sarah Cheng8dAppreciate the suggestions! I've added them to our list for triage.
EA Forum feature suggestion thread

I'd like to be able to add pinned posts or comments to my profile. Several people have asked me about my EA origin story so I've tried to refer them to this comment, but I always have a hard time finding the link.

3Sarah Cheng8dThanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our list for triage.
Our Criminal Justice Reform Program Is Now an Independent Organization: Just Impact

Haha, I didn't write this! I don't know why they emphasized that either.

EA Forum feature suggestion thread

I should have clarified: a separate text box

EA Forum feature suggestion thread

Thank you! Always appreciate an acknowledgment 😃

EA Forum feature suggestion thread

A text box to add your preferred pronouns to your profile in Settings (e.g. she/her or they/them). Here's an example of how to do it.

2Nathan Young19dWhat would you like this to be beyond writing one's pronouns at the top of the bio box? I guess I don't have a good picture of the change you want.
4Ben_West20dThanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our list for triage.
EA Forum feature suggestion thread

I think the user bio editor in Settings should be a bigger text area with rich text formatting (like the ones for posts). This would make them more WYSIWYG since user bios are displayed in a similar style to posts.

4Nathan Young19dYessssss. I was halfway through writing this request when I realised you already had.
4Ben_West20dThanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our list for triage.
evelynciara's Shortform

Yeah, good point. Advocating for individual projects or rezonings is so time-consuming, even in the urban housing context.

evelynciara's Shortform

Yeah, I think that might be easier too. But YIMBY groups focus on housing in cities whereas most utility-scale energy developments are probably in suburbs or rural areas.

3Daniel_Eth24dHmm, culturally YIMBYism seems much harder to do in suburbs/rural areas. I wouldn't be too surprised if the easiest ToC here is to pass YIMBY-energy policies on the state level, with most of the support coming from urbanites. But sure, still probably worth trying.
Open Thread: Winter 2021

It seems like there's been a proliferation of AI safety orgs recently; I'd like to see a forum post describing all of them so people can easily find out more about them and who's hiring.

evelynciara's Shortform

Nonprofit idea: YIMBY for energy

YIMBY groups in the United States (like YIMBY Action) systematically advocate for housing developments as well as rezonings and other policies to create more housing in cities. YIMBYism is an explicit counter-strategy to the NIMBY groups that oppose housing development; however, NIMBYism affects energy developments as well - everything from solar farms to nuclear power plants to power lines - and is thus an obstacle to the clean energy transition.

There should be groups that systematically advocate for energy projects (which ... (read more)

I thought YIMBYs were generally pretty in favor of this already? (Though not generally as high a priority for them as housing.) My guess is it would be easier to push the already existing YIMBY movement to focus on energy more, as opposed to creating a new movement from scratch.

evelynciara's Shortform

I think partnering with local science museums to run events on EA topics could be a great way to get EA-related ideas out to the public.

1Ramiro1moThat's a pretty cool idea
There's a role for small EA donors in campaign finance

True! A lot of policies I favor (like climate action) are easier to enact when Democrats have a majority in the relevant legislature, but one could have a Democratic majority and still be held up by a single Democratic politician who opposes climate action (Joe Manchin).

But finding candidates who are competitive and support the policies you value could be difficult for individuals because it requires you to have information on races across the country. So I think there's a role for PACs etc. to select candidates on behalf of donors.

How can we make Our World in Data more useful to the EA community?

Can you clarify what this means, for the benefit of all forum readers? I figured it has something to do with carbon offsets.

2Nathan Young1moThanks for asking.
How can we make Our World in Data more useful to the EA community?

Data on trends in the influence of geopolitical "great powers," possibly going back to the beginning of civilization.

How can we make Our World in Data more useful to the EA community?

Data on housing and transportation:

  • Housing costs and affordability measures in various countries and metropolitan areas
  • The costs to build transportation infrastructure in various countries and metropolitan areas (available at, preferably split by mode of transportation
  • Data on the economic, environmental, and health benefits (or drawbacks) of transit-oriented development and denser housing
  • Data on the mix of transportation modes used in various metropolitan areas
How can we make Our World in Data more useful to the EA community?

Collaborate or merge with New Things Under the Sun, a website that compiles social science research on innovation.

I would be especially interested in pieces on:

  • What types of innovation are out there, who is innovating (large companies, startups, universities, individuals, etc.), and ways to measure innovation
  • What we know about the effects of patent laws and other innovation policies on economic and social outcomes
Annual donation rituals?

I've run a birthday fundraiser every year since 2019. This year, I've been raising money for the Clean Air Task Force, and as of November 4 I've raised $375, which is the most money I've ever raised for a birthday fundraiser! Last year, I raised money for the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and the year before, I did AMF.

There's a role for small EA donors in campaign finance

Should you donate to individual campaigns or funds like the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC)? I figure that the DSCC would have experts with better information about where campaign donations would have the most impact, much like EA Funds, but I don't know how they work.

Also, for what it's worth, the post introducing Guarding Against Pandemics also talks about campaigns being a comparative advantage for small donors:

Unlike many EA priorities, because of campaign finance limits of $5,000 per person in donations, political giving is bottlenec

... (read more)

DSCC's goals are just to elect democrats – they don't consider, for instance, how different democrats differ on EA criteria such as biosecurity. Donating to particularly aligned candidates (especially in primaries) is probably higher value than donating to existing (non-EA) funds.

Effective altruism merchandise to advertise the movement

Yeah! I've thought about this and think it's a good idea. I suggest joining the EA Creatives and Communicators Slack if you want to work with other people on this.

There was also this post from a while back.

How long until we *will* stop recommending Longtermist research effort/funding on the margin?

I recommend emphasizing the "will" and "should" in the question titles because otherwise they look like duplicate questions if one is not reading carefully. You could use asterisks or all caps (although all caps usually looks like shouting 😅).

3tobytrem1mogreat shout with the asterisks, normally italics is my go to but it isn't possible in titles.
evelynciara's Shortform

There should be a directory of EA co-living spaces, if there isn't already. The EA Hub would be a good place for it.

4--alex--1moThere's also a Software Engineers in Effective Altruism [] Slack for those interested in private, for-profit, EA-aligned startups and other areas not covered by the incredibly awesome EA Public Interest Technologists Slack space [] . You can join both!!
6Yonatan Cale1moYay, thank you <3 I joined
Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki entries

Criticism of the EA community

For posts about what the EA community is like, as opposed to the core ideas of EA themselves. Currently, these posts get filed under Criticism of effective altruism even though it doesn't quite fit.

6Aaron Gertler2moSeems like a good idea! If we have three criticism tags covering "causes", "organizations", and "community", then having a general "criticism of EA" tag doesn't seem to make sense. The best alternative seems like "criticism of EA philosophy". If I don't hear objections from Pablo/Michael, I'll make that change in a week or so and re-tag relevant posts.
evelynciara's Shortform

Making specialty meats like foie gras using cellular agriculture could be especially promising. Foie gras traditionally involves fattening ducks or geese by force-feeding them, which is especially ethically problematic (although alternative production methods exist). It could probably be produced by growing liver and fat cells in a medium without much of a scaffold, which would make it easier to develop.

6Linch2moThis sounds plausible to me, and there's already at least one company working on this [] , but I'm actually pretty confused about what goes into foie gras. Like do we really think just having liver and fat cells will be enough, or are there weird consistency/texture criteria that foie gras eaters really care about? Would be excited to hear more people chime in with some expertise, eg if they have experience working in cellular agriculture or are French.
Suffering-Focused Ethics (SFE) FAQ

Also, you don't need to insert the table of contents into the post itself because the EA Forum automatically generates a TOC in the sidebar.

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