I'm the Director of Operations at Animal Charity Evaluators and a volunteer for EA Giving Tuesday. I co-founded and co-led EA Madison (Wis.) and have been involved in effective altruism since 2013.

Wiki Contributions


The case against “EA cause areas”

Agree on all points :)

And thank you, again, for bringing up this issue of acceptance.

The case against “EA cause areas”

Thank you for posting. I'm sorry to hear that some people in the community have been made to feel excluded or "not EA enough", and agree with ideas already shared above about how the community can behave better.

I generally agree with Aaron's comments above, and just had a few points that I don't think people have already made:


our general countermeasure is to think long and hard about potential missed opportunities and candidates for cause-X, trying to study and map ever greater territories... But is it the most efficient strategy to explore the space of opportunities? I suspect that in many cases you can’t really see very clearly the full utility of acting in some space until you actually try to do it.

I agree that we shouldn't just think about other cause areas, but jumping into working on them directly is sort of on the other extreme, pretty costly. I think people wanting to assess other cause areas that seem promising should research their history, accomplishments, failures, etc. and talk to some of the key people working in those areas. I hope and expect that people working on cause prioritization are in fact doing something like this.


From the perspective of the entire EA movement, it might be a better strategy to allocate the few individuals who possess the rare “EA mindset” across a diverse set of causes

As new potentially high-impact causes are identified, I agree, and think that this is happening. For causes which we're pretty sure are generally not as high impact, I think that EAs will most likely do more good by working within priority causes rather than working to "lift up" lower priority causes. This is based on my understanding that causes can vary in effectiveness by ~100x or more. There are surely exceptions though, where a certain intervention change in a "low priority" cause area could have a huge impact, and it'd be exciting if we found more of those opportunities.


Minor point here, but:

If we are in the business of giving career advice to wider publics

FWIW, 80k is not in that business. They say, "Our advice is focused on people who have the good fortune to have options for how to spend their career, and who want to make helping the world one of their main goals. We especially focus on college students and graduates living in rich countries like the U.S. or U.K. who want to take an analytical approach to doing good."

How much do you (actually) work?

I'm part-time/hourly, so have been tracking my time for years, "clocking out" for short and long breaks. I've averaged about 6.2 hours/day since the beginning of 2020 (to pick a random period of time). That excludes paid leave (holidays, PTO, sick).

AMA: We Work in Operations at EA-aligned organizations. Ask Us Anything.

I recall hearing from Alex Barry at the EA Summit a couple years ago who, at the time, was leading Cambridge EA (iirc) and they had an absolutely incredible rate of engagement from volunteer organizers/members contributing time to the EA group's events and activities. And huge numbers of them. IIRC, he said the key for them was to have one basic requirement: the organizers had to commit to checking and responding to Slack daily. That way, they'd know write away if someone didn't have time to keep working on something, and they'd quickly find someone else to do it.

AMA: We Work in Operations at EA-aligned organizations. Ask Us Anything.

There are a few ways which allow me to get involved in other areas of our organization:

  • All of our Lead staff have weekly meetings, so in those meetings I can reflect on questions other Leads bring to the group, contribute ideas, etc.
  • Our whole team tries to allow pretty good visibility of what we're working on by keeping project- or task-related information in the appropriate place in Asana and by posting brief weekly project updates in Slack.
  • We have a "reciprocity" Slack channel where we can post if we'd like someone's help on something, and that can often be someone from a different competency area than the poster's.
  • We encourage staff to join projects as Scrum Master, even if the project is outside their competency area
AMA: We Work in Operations at EA-aligned organizations. Ask Us Anything.

Several months ago, our team all switched over to using Asana. Before that, some were using Asana, some Trello, and maybe some neither. I believe the switch-over went pretty smoothly and there wasn't much resistance to using the new software. A few things that we did which may have contributed to the good adoption were:

  • Before selecting Asana, we asked staff to list all the features they'd like in a task management software, did research to compare a few options, and chose the one that met most (or maybe all) of staff's requested features
  • We acknowledged that this is a big shift, it'll take a few months for everyone to get comfortable with it, but that we expect greater efficiency in the long-run; expressed appreciation for staff doing the work necessary to figure out this new tool; reminded staff that this is the tool which meets most/all of their requested features
  • Wrote a guide about how to use it (I thought this didn't seem very necessary, since Asana has lots of their own tutorials and instructions, but given Sawyer's comment, maybe that helped!)
  • Together as a team over the first few months, we established conventions about how we use Asana, and documented those as a separate section in the guide (new staff read this guide as part of onboarding)
  • We held frequent (weekly?) coworking sessions for a little while, where we could ask each other questions about Asana and/or share tips
Ranking animal foods based on suffering and GHG emissions

This is really neat, thank you for making it!

Question: Did you take into account the following?:

  1. Culling of male chicks in the egg industry
  2. The lives of dairy cows' offspring (whether they're kept for veal or slaughtered right away)
  3. Bycatch and/or the lives of the fishes that are fed to farmed salmon?

And a couple requests:

  1. If you do make some updates, could you consider adding eggs from pasture-raised hens for comparison, too?
  2. And add wild salmon?
  3. I was surprised with how much the brain function choice affects the results, but don't have a good sense of which function is the best estimate. I wonder if there's enough of a consensus on that among animal sentience researchers for it to be appropriate to designate one of those options as "experts' choice" or "most likely" or something?
Ranking animal foods based on suffering and GHG emissions

I am not good at coming up with names for things, but do agree a specific URL would be nice. Maybe "meat impacts estimator" (although it's not just about meat, but "animal products impacts estimator" or "farmed animals impacts estimator" are pretty long), or some other combination of words like:

  • animal agriculture, animal products
  • impact, harms (or specifically "suffering" or "welfare" and climate")
  • calculator, estimator, estimate
Ask Rethink Priorities Anything (AMA)

Saulius, just wanted to comment that while I haven't devoted the time to read in detail most of your research, I have noticed and greatly appreciated that you have contributed a LOT of useful knowledge to EAA over the past several years. Yours is a name I've recognized in EAA since its early days. I am glad that you're shifting to express your opinions more strongly so that more action can be taken on all of the wonderful research you've contributed. I've gotten the sense that you take these issues very seriously, are super motivated to address them, and don't get pulled into more trivial things, and I greatly admire and am inspired by you for that.

Re (6), I hope that you can be proud of what you've done and decrease your negative self-talk. Take care of yourself. I'd be curious to hear if meditation ends up helping out with this.

ACE's Compensation Strategy

Hi Larks, Thanks for your comment. While our current formula does not take into consideration the type or field of work, it does differentiate between different levels of skill that are needed. So, for example, if we did want to hire someone to do data entry, we might classify that a level 1 position (or maybe we'd need to re-number all of our levels so that that position could be below research associates).

Regarding scarcity, it's true that our current formula does not take that into consideration. If we find in the future that we have difficulty hiring for a certain position, we may need to seek additional funding in order to raise the base wages for every position or else make adjustments to the structure of our formula.

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