All of Jeroen_W's Comments + Replies

The Parable of the Boy Who Cried 5% Chance of Wolf

What is the reasoning behind having the probability increase each time? It might be more interesting if the probability stayed at 5% each time. Because now you might get the conclusion "only once the odds are significantly high, say at 15%, should we start worrying". 

3Kat Woods3d
Great point! I didn't give it much thought, honestly. I think you're right and saying 5% each time is better. Gonna update it now. Thanks for the suggestion!
Some unfun lessons I learned as a junior grantmaker

I agree, and like I said, I'm sure those sentences can be massively improved.

I prefer to have my feelings a little hurt than remain in the dark as to why a grant didn't get accepted.

I agree
Some unfun lessons I learned as a junior grantmaker

Still, you might be able to turn that into a few easy sentences. Ex. "We don't think you have enough expertise on the topic", "We don't think you have the right skills for the project, we think there are likely better other candidates out there" "You're research project is poorly scoped",...

These are just quick examples I had on top of my brain, they likely could be massively improved.

Even just sharing something in the rejection letter like

"Unfortunately, even if the problem is solely due to project-specific competence and fit, there aren’t many tractable ... (read more)

6Chris Leong3mo
It's hard to say some of those without coming off as insulting.
Should You Have Children Despite Climate Change?

I don't have a confident view on this, but I can easily imagine situations where all your (grand)children have a bigger impact on the world than you alone.  It might make sense for people to try and make their own EV calculations here.

I think that it is very difficult to beat community building (even non-professionally, just in some spare time) by having children. There is also an exponential growth in the effect, and probably with a greater growth factor. Moreover, the similarity between you and your grandchildren is probably not that important, and it is very plausible to me that their effectiveness decreases sufficiently quickly so that it doesn't even beat direct effects that you could have instead.
How should people spend money to be more productive?

Focusmate costs just 5 dollars per month, which is low enough to at least try it out for a while!

Beeminder could be worth trying out as well, but I haven't personally used it. Here you pay money if you don't reach your goals.

Increasing you Google Drive/Photos storage is worth the money in my opinion. It's quite cheap and you don't have to worry or think about managing your online storage that much.

Response to Kurzgesagt: How We Can Fight Climate Change

Thanks a lot for sharing this! I appreciate this well thought out criticism. You make great points, but I find it hard to say at the moment how it has updated my own views. I'll share it in the comment section under the video.

I feel anxious that there is all this money around. Let's talk about it

For me the reputational risks that Jack Lewars mentioned worry me a lot. Like how will the media portray effective altruism in the future? We're definitely going be seen as less sympathetic in leftist circles, being funded by billionaires and all.

Another concern for me is how this will change what type of people we'll attract to the movement. In the past the movement attracted people who were willing to live on a small amount of money because they care so much about others in this world. Now I'm worried that there will be more people who are less aligned w... (read more)

Can someone clarify this "taking money from billionaires bad" thing? I know some people are against billionaires existing, but surely diverting money from them to altruistic causes would be the ideal outcome for someone who doesn't want that money siloed? The only reason I can think of (admittedly I don't know a lot about real leftism, economics, etc.) that someone wouldn't want to, assuming said billionaire isn't e.g. micromanaging for evil purposes, is a fear of moral contamination-- or rather, social-moral contamination... Being contaminated with the so... (read more)

0[comment deleted]5mo

Hi Jeroen, thank you for a wonderfully worded comment.  I think this is an excellent overview of different feelings of uneasiness people have surrounding the influx of funding within EA. I share most of these feelings, and know other that do.

The logical arguments these feelings relate to are another discussion (I have many thoughts), for now I find it really interesting data to see other people are experiencing feelings of uneasiness and why. 

Why do I get to ask for 10k with a good chance of success, while friends of mine struggling with money who aren't EA aligned can't? I don't feel any more special or deserving than them in a way. I feel unfairly privileged somehow.

I appreciate that you're not trying to make logical arguments, but rather share your feelings. But in any event, my view is that this isn't an important consideration.

If they're doing something that's high-impact, then there might be such a case - but I assume you mean that they are not. And I think it's better to look at a global... (read more)

“Should you use EA in your group name?” An update on PISE’s naming experiment

It's very much appreciated that you tried out a name change and that you wrote up the results of the experiment, thank you! I thought it was a great idea at first that made a lot of sense to me, but I've now changed my mind. Looking forward to hearing about other efforts you think may have contributed to PISE's success.

EA should learn from the Neoliberal movement

I personally disagree. I think EA should try appeal to many people across the political spectrum, from socialists to libertarians. Aiming to be apolitical (in most cases) is required for this. Neoliberalism, while I'm personally sympathetic to it, has a very negative name across the political spectrum so linking EA with it would probably hurt the EA brand a lot. Collaborating is possible insofar it's just asking each other for advice behind the scenes. I don't think people should be secret about liking neoliberalism either, I think the current state of overlap is around where it should be.

A spreadsheet with titles and links for over 1900 YouTube EA videos

Relevant to this: I made a spreadsheet of all EA-aligned video content creators that I'm aware of. 

Jeroen_W's Shortform

Like I said, they don't necessarily make EA content. I think I'll add a column specifying whether they do or not.

Jeroen_W's Shortform

EA-aligned video content creators

I made a spreadsheet of all EA-aligned video content creators that I'm aware of. This doesn't mean they make EA content necessarily, just that they share EA values. If I've missed anyone, let me know!

1Charles He9mo
Responding as per Samuel Shadrach's suggestion: Neil Halloran seems like a good addition. He doesn't seem to be an EA, yet he's rigorously writing on some EA aligned topics. [] See here: []
3Aaron Gertler9mo
This was a really cool thing to do! In case you feel like adding another feature, it might be nice to include an example or two of each channel's EA-related content in another column. It's easy to tell how Rational Animations is EA-focused, but I wasn't sure which content I should look at for e.g. the person whose TikTok account was largely focused on juggling.

I downvoted this for the following reasons:

  1. Not a big fan of the design: It is nearly identical to the globe emoji, commonly used by neoliberals on Twitter. A globe doesn't really represent the pov of the universe that well (what if we discover sentient life elsewhere?). Plus the smiley isn't that clearly visible.
  2. I feel like this competition was held a bit unprofessionaly. After Bob Jacobs shared his (in my opinion great) idea the rules changed as to exclude mathematical symbols. I don't really understand this rule either, as I think mathemical symbols like
... (read more)
EA Forum Creative Writing Contest: $22,000 in prizes for good stories

Love this idea! For all the writers here, I'd like to notify you about the EA Creatives and Communicators slack. You can use it to connect with other writers and maybe give feedback and bounce ideas off each other!

(Please let me know or downvote if this was inapproriate of me to comment, as it could be considered advertising.)

Linking to an EA Slack is definitely not advertising ;)
A Happier World: An EA inspired YouTube channel

Funny that you mention it, I've been working on a template today for instagraphics!

A Happier World: An EA inspired YouTube channel

I like this, added it to my list of possible episodes!

Great! I'd also recommend reaching out to leaders of university EA groups who might be able to share the videos on social media
Why EA groups should not use “Effective Altruism” in their name.

I really like this! Haven't read such a thought-provoking EA forum post in a while. Some initial thoughts I have: In case of local groups, could it be best to avoid the name of the city/region? Ex. 'Positive Impact Brussels' sounds like you're trying to make a positive impact in Brussels, not on the world. On the other hand, perhaps many local groups will then end up with the same names and they will become indistinguishable. Maybe that can be solved by saying something like 'Brussels for the World'... (I don't think this sounds good, but it might spark better ideas).

The Next Pandemic Could Be Worse, What Can We Do? (A Happier World video)

Thank you! There is actually a longer version of my video (that I didn't publish) where I mention the EA longterm future fund and quickly pitch EA itself. But I decided to cut out that part because I already share it in a link in the description and it didn't add a lot to the central claims of the video. It would've made the video longer and lose its focus.

2Max Görlitz2y
Good thinking! Attention spans are short enough these days so 15min seems plenty :)
Clarifying the Giving What We Can pledge

What is the generally advised minimum income level at which to start doing the 10% pledge? I guess there should be enough money left to make investments and/or to save money.

One consideration is that you should have enough saved to live on in case you temporarily stop working. Here is 80,000 Hours' view on this: []