Wiki Contributions


Effective Altruism, Before the Memes Started

Aside: I'm confused by the "who does not have an account on the EA Forum. I'm posting this on his behalf, and will reply to comments with his replies if/when he responds to them." Anyone can make an account here, it's only a few steps, and it's very fast.

Issues with Giving Multiplier

Holden specifically put forward the claim that this kind of influence matching is a type of non-illusory matching. He even suggests the very concept that Giving Multiplier is doing

Holden wrote "the matcher makes a legitimate commitment to give only if others do, in an attempt to influence their giving".  That's not what's happening here: the matchers are donating regardless of whether others do.  Additionally, I'm quite pessimistic about people being able to make legitimate commitments in this regard, since predicting what you would otherwise do with the funds is typically very difficult.

(I also think glossing Holden's "perhaps ... you should fight back" as "you should fight back" gives the wrong impression.)

Issues with Giving Multiplier

Isn't (2) is in conflict with (1)?  That the counterfactual donations are all coming from the donors and not the matchers is not what (I would predict) the donors believe.

Issues with Giving Multiplier

it should be pretty obvious that almost all donation matchings that are advertised as such are at least a bit fake

Obvious to who?  Both Giving Multiplier and (last week) GiveWell are targeting matches to people new to effective giving.  My guess is that if you interviewed people right after they donated in these matching campaigns and asked them whether they thought the match was real, they would say it was.

Also note that both GiveWell and Giving Multiplier are putting a lot of argument behind the position that their matches are real.  (If they offered illusory matches and were upfront about them being illusory I would not have a problem)

What should "counterfactual donation" mean?

If you spend your personal luxuries budget in full every year, this sounds like #9, and I agree it's fine to call it counterfactual.

GiveWell Donation Matching

I’d love it if you crossposted that post


I think there’s another category before 9, which is “Donate to a charity not commonly supported by EAs, such as the World Wildlife Fund or Habitat for Humanity.”

Yes, I think that's fine as long as we all agree that the impact of donating to an AA charity is very much higher than donating to one of those charities.

GiveWell Donation Matching

In this case it's definitely counterfactual (it wouldn't have gone to a GiveWell charity)

I don't think that should count as counterfactual, actually. Even though the money would not have gone to a GiveWell charity, it would have done something similarly valuable, so the donor cannot reason that their impact is higher. Compare this to when an employer offers to match $X per person, and doesn't put any restrictions on what charity you donate to. In the latter case, this really is more impact, and should factor into decisions like "should I be earning to give".

( I wrote some about this a few years ago, with some discussion:

GiveWell Donation Matching

This is a coherent view, but I doubt it's how GiveWell is approaching it?  Specifically, I would be quite surprised if GiveWell chose to advertise a "true" match just with the goal of preventing criticism.  GiveWell has historically been comfortable with a pretty high level of transparency, and if they thought illusory matching was acceptable I would expect them to say so. Instead, they say the opposite: their post introducing their donation matching starts by describing their issues with conventional matching offers. 

Note that GiveWell is giving up quite a lot in potential donations by insisting on a "true" match, since it means their pool of matching funds will only support small gifts by first-time donors.

College and Earning to Give

Combine this with the destitute medicare strategy, and have them adopted by grandparents:

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