All of Kathy_Forth's Comments + Replies

The main reason I'm not looking for a full-time EA job right now is because I don't have enough runway and financial security. I estimate that it will take around 2 years to accomplish the amount of financial security and runway I need. If you accomplish building a safety net, this might result in a surge of people going into EA jobs. I'm not sure how many people are building up runway right now, or how many hours of EA work you can grab by liberating them from that, but it could be a lot!

This is a big part of why I find the 'EA is talent constrained not funding constrained' meme to be a bit silly. The obvious counter is to spend money learning how to convert money into talent. I haven't heard of anyone focusing on this problem as a core area, but if it's an ongoing bottleneck then it 'should' be scoring high on effective actions. There is a lot of outside view research on this that could be collected and analyzed.

For this group to make an effective social safety net for EAs having a bad time, more is needed than just money. When a real problem actually does arise, people tend to spam that person with uninformed suggestions which won't work. They're trying to help, but due to the "what you see is all there is" bias and others, they can't see that they are uninformed and spamming. The result is that the problem doesn't seem real to anyone.

So, the person who has a problem, who may not have any time or emotional energy or even intellectual capacity left over,... (read more)

Another framing of that solution: EA needs a full time counselor who works with EAs gratis. I expect that paying the salary of such a person would be +ROI.

What I was envisioning was a whole section within the survey where multiple questions about sexual violence are asked. For whatever reason, I described this using the word "separate". That's not actually what I was trying to suggest. I agree that if the questions are separated, there will probably be some bias.

If we use a definition that is vague, a lot of people will ignore the survey results. They'll assume that a lot of what was reported is stuff they wouldn't agree is a sexual assault. Therefore, specific definitions are needed. Ideally, I wo... (read more)

Some people have blue eyes and other people have brown eyes. A lot of mind-related traits vary from intelligence to personality to capacity to pay attention. Not everybody even has two chromosomes (see XXY).

If not everyone experiences sexual trauma, let's not jump to the conclusion that it's due to culture. There are a multitude of possible reasons. For just one example: they might have different genes.

I definitely have the capacity to experience trauma, and I'm pretty sure that's genetic, so it's not fair to me for people to expect me not to experience ... (read more)

No, I do not paint a picture of criminal men and female survivors. Direct quotes:

"Sexual violence harms the health of both men [3] [4] and women." "Additional risk factors - rape myths that apply to male rape:" "While looking for the number of female rapists, I found a meta-analysis on female sex offenders."

This isn't even in the article at all:

"along with high rates of trauma at 90%+ for female survivors."

I haven't even read the rest of your comment because your claims are blatantly, verifiably false.

I read your post as painting a picture of criminal men and victimized women due to it uncritically referencing feminist statistics or narratives. Your post cites feminist research claiming that 36.3% of women have experienced sexual assault, and that 6% of men admit to rape. You then jump from these figures into discussing high trauma rates for female survivors, and male sex offender populations, even though these are from studies with totally different populations. These prevalence figures are extraordinary claims and require extraordinary evidence, which the incredibly politicized and methodologically flawed sexual assault studies do not supply. The effect of this narrative is to exaggerate the female victimization rate, male perpetration rate, and the rate of male criminality and paraphilias beyond what the evidence supports. By suggesting radical measures like stings and medicalization, you are implying that the population of male predators is sufficiently large to make this necessary, and the evidence is sufficiently solid—an extraordinary accusation against your own community. While you do acknowledge a lesser amount of male victimization and female perpetration—which some feminists don't acknowledge—this doesn't solve the problem that your piece drastically overestimates the level of female victimization and male perpetration, and paints an overly negative view of men, which will lead people unfamiliar with the methodological issues astray. My criticism is not that you are underestimating male victimhood: I believe that the male victimization studies suffer from the same methodological problems as the female victimization studies. By uncritically referencing feminist statistics and narratives, your article is—likely unwittingly—inheriting the bad feminists habits of irresponsible use of evidence and self-righteous pathologization towards men. This baggage will undermine both the rigor and empathy of your case, particularly in the ears of men. As for my c
I think Marcus was referring to the stats you quoted under "Sexual violence reduction as suffering reduction", such as the claim that 94% of rape victims met the criteria for PTSD one week later. Marcus's comments were a lot more confrontational than I would have liked, but I still found them worth reading. I think there are some good points if you're able to get past the confrontational tone.

I know about the replication crisis, I've read "Statistics Done Wrong" and I've read some Ioannidis. Perhaps I was too subtle, my way of addressing these concerns was to load up on as many review articles and meta-analyses as I could find, in all the areas where there was enough research for me to do so. In other areas, I looked for as many studies as I could find and included them all.

This is not perfect either. Ioannidis has warned about some specific vulnerabilities in meta-analyses and review articles. There isn't something perfect for me to ... (read more)

Truly acknowledging the problems with social science in general, and these studies in specific, would involve greatly softening your argument and shelving most of your prescriptions and impact analysis. Sometimes, the best a field has to offer isn’t good enough to support policy recommendations, and epistemic humility requires acknowledging this. This body of research just isn’t strong enough to do the things that you want to do with it. I think that both you and the audience here has the sophistication to recognize the flaws in this research, and the lack of recognition is explained by biasing factors. If you find feminist sexual assault research plausible based on your experiences, if you think that a large minority of men are rapists, paraphiliacs, harassers, or frotteurs, then that’s OK—everyone has their experience. But please mark your true reasons for believing those things, rather than acting like it’s scientifically solid enough to be a basis policy and community interventions. Then other people can make up their minds based on their own experiences. Although you report following the review articles and meta-analyses, it is notable that all the evidence you discovered lines up perfectly with standard feminist narratives and your own experiences. From there, you jump into some very divisive prescriptions without seriously examining the countervailing evidence or the methodological problems. This is hasty at best, and morally questionable at worst—especially if, as you say, you were already aware of the methodological issues with social science. Here are some of the things you either did not encounter or address. I am not claiming that you should have addressed any particular one of these, but they are critical parts of this debate: * The decades of criticism towards feminist rape statistics by Christina Hoff Sommers [

Yeah. There are a lot of different people using a lot of different definitions of sex offender. There are definitions like the undetected rapist study I linked which sticks to such obvious and stereotypical behaviors that it leaves out at least half of the ways one can do obvious bad things (Example: why didn't they ask about spiking drinks?). Then there are people who advocate asking for explicit consent for everything every time, starting with kissing. In practice, most of the people in my experience use things like context and body language to communica... (read more)

Here is an interesting thread [] in the slatestarcodex subreddit where some possible problems with this idea were discussed (ctrl-f "public symbol"). The simplest way to do this would be on the basis of whether a woman wears revealing clothes. Unfortunately, there's something of a taboo among feminists regarding this approach, because if you say anything about how a woman wore revealing clothes, feminists round that off to victim blaming and condemn you on that basis. Thanks for asking! Some brainstorming: * I like your centralized reporting idea. Julia Wise says [] she has served as a contact point, and CFAR recently added a community disputes council [] which does this, among other things. (If you're unable to see the post I linked, you can get in touch with the CFAR people here [].) Getting all these people to make entries in a shared database seems good. (BTW, how many people reached out to you since you made this post and shared your anonymous feedback link?) * Try to understand why people don't want to report sexual assaults. Would they be willing to report them in the context of the EA survey or some other anonymous survey? But also, would allowing for anonymous accusations this way present its own set of problems? Maybe if someone gets more than one anonymous accusation from different sources, then they should get quietly kicked out of the community ("quietly"=in a way that doesn't harm their reputation, because these anonymous accusations are unverifiable--so we are kicking them out in order to mitigate risk, not because we think they should be condemned). * Instead of doing expensive soc

I don't think we can have an accurate idea of how much sexual assault is happening in EA without a separate high-quality survey. This is because there are so many definitions of sexual violence which contradict one another, that to ensure an accurate picture of what's going on, we'd have to wrangle with definitions for a long time - and we'd end up asking a set of questions, not just one question.

I'd love to see a yearly undetected sex offender survey given to both men and women regarding how much sexual violence they committed against EAs in the last yea... (read more)

I think there's a tradeoff here. If this is created as a second, separate survey, there will likely be selection effects in who chooses to take it. I expect people who are more concerned about the problem of sexual assault (such as people who have been sexually assaulted) will be more likely to complete a survey that's specifically about sexual assault. Given these selection effects, I suspect it's best to settle on a relatively brief measure and include it in the main survey. Brainstorming on what to include in that measure: One idea is to just ask people "were you sexually assaulted" and let them use their own definition. After all, our goal is to reduce psychological trauma. If someone's experience met some technical definition of sexual assault, but it didn't bother them very much, maybe it's not something we need to worry about. Source [] . I don't think using a broad technical definition like this would be very useful, but a narrow technical definition of rape seems like it could be pretty useful to measure. This blog post [] makes the case for vague rules like "don't be a jerk" and "don't be creepy". Maybe that could make a good survey question: "Did you get creeped out by another EA in the past year? How creeped out were you on a scale of 1 to 10? Here's a rubric." I actually think a measure like this could be less controversial than trying to precisely define sexual assault. Hopefully even the most fraternity brother-ish of EAs can recognize the case for not creeping chicks out. (Similarly, having a central registry that tells people things like "a lot of people are getting creeped out by you" seems like it could maybe work better than trying to define what exactly constitutes "assault"--it frames the problem as something you'd like to become aware of and fix,

On punishment and stigma: I think it would be better for everyone if we found a cure for sexual violence and persuaded all the offenders to use it. That said, I have no idea what the rest of the world will choose to do. I suggested two options which can scale globally, sting operations and researching a cure. I cannot leave out an option if it might succeed because that would be a failure of honesty, and because I think using either option is much better than letting them run amok.

I did note that finding a cure for sex offenders is probably more cost effe... (read more)

I agree with all of this. Perhaps I'm too quick to extrapolate from my own experiences--I know that I've accidentally creeped out women in the past, and I always feel really bad about it afterwards, but this could be a bad mental model of the typical case.

On "minor" sex offences vs. rape: even if the 900 acts per frottage figure is wrong, I suspect that acts like groping and frotteurism are far more common than rape. Because frottage offences are so much easier to commit, I believe that frottage offences are likely to be several times as common as rape. I would even go so far as to bet that we can agree on this point.

I didn't find any information on whether frottage causes psychological trauma. My own observations tell me that frottage offences do cause psychological trauma, but it's usually less ... (read more)

These are all good points. I find it totally plausible that some individuals are responsible for many assaults. I think this is a problem we should address. And I'm really sorry to hear about your experiences.

I know about the replication crisis, I've read "Statistics Done Wrong" and I've read some Ioannidis. Perhaps I was too subtle, my way of addressing these concerns was to load up on as many review articles and meta-analyses as I could find, in all the areas where there was enough research for me to do so. In other areas, I looked for as many studies as I could find and included them all.

This is not perfect either. Ioannidis has warned about some specific vulnerabilities in meta-analyses and review articles. There isn't something perfect for me to do. I could have chosen to do nothing because the research is flawed. I decided that the subject is too important to ignore and I made the best of it.

I plan to write a new post about estimating the number of sexually violent people in EA. I have a large number of specific concerns about biasing our estimate. For instance, a lot of people commented or messaged me saying that the estimate was too high, but they didn't incorporate any of the information which would actually increase the estimate. They only included information that would decrease the estimate. There are a lot of other ways we could go wrong with adjusting this estimate. That's part of why my estimate is so simple. If I adjust it at all, I ... (read more)

Why do you feel it's important to have a more accurate guess regarding the number of sexually violent people in EA? I'm in favor of trying to measure the rate of sexual assault using e.g. the EA survey, because that is a metric we can track in order to measure whether things are improving. (Ideally using a question such as "Were you assaulted in the past year?", so our metric will be responsive year over year.) But it seems to me that time spent refining our guess based on priors would be better spent implementing measures to reduce sexual assault.

The per year incidence is a totally different type of number from the numbers I used. The numbers I used cover a much longer time span. Comparing 276,000 annual cases to the number 36,53,846 is comparing apples to oranges.

It is not clear that your intent was to disagree with me. If you are throwing in an additional reference, I can't incorporate that because the other research I referred to wasn't using annual figures.

I suppose it's interesting as something to check against. For an outrageously crude way to do that, you can multiply 276,000 by 80, the number of years in the average female lifespan (for one country) and compare a hacked together lifetime rate to my hacked together 36,53,846.

An outrageously crude estimate of life saving potential:

7,600,000,000 (world population)

3,800,000,000 (females, approximately half, because the suicide figure I have is for females)

760,000,000 (females raped, based on figures from just one country because I don't have all ~200 figures)

36,53,846 (suicide deaths related to rape, phrased in past tense because the research isn't about the future)

6,211,538,200 (cost of saving 36,53,846 people through deworming)

Point: If 6.2 billion dollars is enough to find a cure for rapists, and rapists pay for their own pres... (read more)

There are an estimated 276,000 annual cases of female suicide in the entire world ( []. If, say, half of them are associated with sexual violence (guess), and you throw males in as well, then the eventual lifesaving potential is maybe 150,000 people per year. Most of these suicides are in SE Asia and the Western Pacific where I believe healthcare and medication provision are not as comprehensive as they are here in the west.

Framing effects matter. "There are 100-600 male rapists in EA" comes across much differently than "men in EA may be rapists at the same rate as men in the population at large".

There are many statements people make to other people that are similarly discouraging / humiliating / upsetting. Verbal abuse is certainly bad for people, but people's reaction to sexual abuse is very different. Making statements like the one you described does not cause the sort of sudden, deep, intense, devastating psychological trauma you see with rape. You're comparing an apple to an orange here.

Additionally, hearing one's dad say a rapist stole your innocence is bad, but it's not going to account for most of the upset. Not nearly. It seems that you a... (read more)

Even if this is descriptively true (and I think it varies a lot - some people aren't bothered long-term), there's no reason that this is a desirable outcome. Everything is mediated through attitudes.

Part of the reason I combined various types of sexual violence together is that there wasn't enough research on all the different types for me to explore as broadly as I would have liked. Unfortunately, that's an element that I cannot change even though I want to write more deeply on different types of sexual violence. I just did my best with the information that was available.

I have begun to wonder what proportion of sexism against women is coming from sexually violent men. Sexism is a risk factor for sexual violence. Hostility toward women is common amon... (read more)

I scoured Google Scholar for sexual violence reduction methods. I already included what I found in the article. It appears to me that workplaces don't have anything better. I'm pretty sure managers just decide who to believe when someone is being accused, and just make a decision about which side to take. Some might investigate, but investigations would usually produce no evidence because this is sexual violence and it doesn't leave much. Most issues just lead to a game of he-said-she-said that can't be resolved.

I don't see any reason to believe anyone has... (read more)

Good point about false precision. I hadn't thought of that. The article has been updated!

You wrote: "A more tractable approach to reducing the trauma from sexual violence might be to change perceptions of sexuality. Many people believe that it's important for women to be sexually "pure", which is one reason that female victims experience trauma."

You didn't cite anything for this. I am concerned that some people may become confused and think they can convince women to tolerate atrocity. There are people out there who will twist anything ... (read more)

There's no reason that this should be the case. There are a lot of factors that are difficult to untangle. The ways that adults or peers react can certainly have an influence. I heard one father saying that a sexual abuser "stole his daughter's innocence", or something in a similar vein. While I'm sure he meant well, I'm not sure if these types of heavy-handed symbolic declarations are constructive for healing. I think sexual abuse could be prevented and its effects could be mitigated if people could have conversations (including with children) about healthy sexuality versus violence and coercion. Instead, some people seem more upset about the "sexual" side than the abuse side.

I'm glad to hear you would find that easy, Zeke. I made dozens of estimations in this article, and decided that instead of upgrading every single one of them to the maximum level of quality, I should focus on higher value things like raising awareness and persuading people to test methods of sexual violence reduction and doing in-depth evaluations of the two scalable sexual violence reduction methods. Unfortunately, I don't have time to upgrade all these estimations to the maximum level myself.

How long do you think it would take you to upgrade every single... (read more)

Um I don't know, I just said I would estimate this one number. I think I was clear that I was talking about "this particular question". Assuming 2,300 people in EA per the survey, for every 100 rape victims: Out of the 25 rape victims who are spouses or partners of the perpetrator ( [], 20 will be outside of EA, when the offender is in EA. Out of the 45 rape victims who are acquaintances of the perpetrator, 30 will be outside of EA, when the offender is in EA. Out of the 28 rape victims who are strangers to the perpetrator, 20 will be outside of EA, when the offender is in EA. Out of the 6 victims who can't remember or are victimized by multiple people, 4 will be outside of EA, when the offender is in EA. For the 1 victim who is a non-spouse relative, the victim will be outside of EA. This makes a total of 30% of rape victims of EAs being in EA. Assuming 13,000 people in EA per the FB group, for every 100 rape victims: Out of the 25 rape victims who are spouses or partners of the perpetrator ( [], 23 will be outside of EA, when the offender is in EA. Out of the 45 rape victims who are acquaintances of the perpetrator, 40 will be outside of EA, when the offender is in EA. Out of the 28 rape victims who are strangers to the perpetrator, 24 will be outside of EA, when the offender is in EA. Out of the 6 victims who can't remember or are victimized by multiple people, 5 will be outside of EA, when the offender is in EA. For the 1 victim who is a non-spouse relative, the victim will be outside of EA. This makes a total of 12% of rape victims of EAs being in EA.

I am already aware of a pretty large number of correlations between sexual violence and a lot of different things. I'm telling you that there are a bunch of other things on that list I provided which would significantly alter the result of the estimate.

I'm definitely not going to alter the estimate to incorporate just race. I am definitely not going to alter the estimate to incorporate the entire list.

I think the most worthwhile way of getting a better estimate is to do a study, so I will not put further time into this discussion.

I think you'd get better results if you spent your time simply including things that can easily be included, rather than sparking meta-level arguments about which things are or aren't worth including. You could have accepted the race correlations and then found one or two countervailing considerations to counter the alleged bias for a more comprehensive overall view. That still would have been more productive than this.

Thanks weeatquince. Given problems like the replication crisis and publication bias, I am focusing on meta-analyses and review articles as my main source of information wherever possible. If I didn't see any, I sought out multiple studies on the same topic and included them all.

So far, the results of these studies has been really poor when it comes to sexual violence reduction programs. Therefore, I'm feeling sceptical.

Until the research on a particular method has at least replicated, I cannot include it in the article. I'm sorry.

Does this contain detailed enough information on the different kinds of perps that you can actually use it to target the worst type? That's the part I'm concerned will be missing.

The reason is because the topic is simply too complicated, there is too much ignorance, and there are too many myths. If I published anything shorter it would seem to be full of holes to the reader.

I hope to have the time to write a series of shorter articles in the future. Even if I don't do this, I bet other people will. People have already begun expressing interest in this.

The ball is rolling. The short articles will come.

This still does not obviously ring true to me as an advantage over one long article vs a series covering the same content. Still, it is written up now, and I think you will have your hands full replying to the other comments, so I am happy to let it be :)

This post is long because there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about sexual violence. To have accurate ideas about the effective altruism potential of sexual violence reduction as a cause, one needs to be informed about a bunch of things at once. Given the complexity of the issue and the number of common misconceptions, a long length was the only way to do this topic justice.

This is a foundation article. Now that it exists, a series of short articles can be written based on the information and context contained in it to help raise awareness.

(As expl... (read more)

I am not sure I understand your reasoning for having this as one long post instead of (say) a series of three posts, still covering all the content. This would still allow people to be linked back to it as a foundational resource (either by linking to the most relevant post for them, or just to the start of the series, telling them to read them all). Glad to hear about the formatting :)

The way in which gender is relevant while race is not is that sexual attractions are limited by gender preferences in most humans.

Given that most sexually violent people attack one gender but not the other, and given that our gender ratio is very seriously skewed, gender is a critical component of this sexual violence risk estimate.

Given that you believe a race adjustment should go with gender adjustment, I don't see why you are not also advocating for all of the following:

  • age
  • marital status
  • literacy
  • education
  • employment status
  • occupation
  • geographical lo
... (read more)
Sexual violence tendencies are correlated with racial status in most humans. Why treat it differently? And given that sexually violent people are disproportionately represented across racial categories, and given that our race ratio is very seriously skewed, race is a critical component of this sexual violence risk estimate. Try and find some statistics for both EAs and sex offenders with comparable data categories on those topics and you'll see.

Actually, to avoid bias when adjusting a prior, we really need to include as many adjustments as possible all at once.

Otherwise, unscrupulous people can just come along and say "Let's adjust these three things!", which all make the risk look smaller, thereby misleading people into thinking that the risk is negligible.

Or an ordinary biased human being could come along and accidentally ask for ten things to be adjusted which all just so happen to make the risk look super exaggerated.

We'll have a lot of vulnerability to various biases if we adjust ... (read more)

Well that's true. Depending on how many unscrupulous people you think there are on the EA forum :) Though you don't necessarily need to include all possible adjustments at once to avoid biased updates, you just need to select adjustments via an unbiased process. Demographics is one of the more obvious and robust things to adjust for, though. It's a very common topic in criminology and social science, with accurate statistics available both for EA and for outside groups. It's a reasonable thing to think about as an easy initial thing to adjust for. You already included adjustment for gender statistics, so racial statistics should go along with that.

I am using estimates to make other estimates. I clearly labelled each estimate as an estimate.

It would be nice to have high-quality data, such as from doing our own studies. First, someone needs to do an estimate to show why the research questions are interesting enough to invest in studies.

I am doing the sorts of estimates that show why certain research questions are interesting. These estimates might inspire someone to fund a study.

Again - I'm not making any demand about putting a lot of effort into the research. I think it's totally okay to make simple, off-the-cuff estimates, as long as better information isn't easy to find. On this particular question though, we can definitely do better than calculating as if the figure is 100%. I mean, just think about it, think about how many of EAs' social and sexual interactions involve people outside of EA. So of course it's going to be less than 100%, significantly less. Maybe 50%, maybe 75%, we can't come up with a great estimate, but at least it will be an improvement. I can do it if you want. And you didn't write that the number was 100%, but the way the calculation was written made it seem like someone (like me) could come away with the impression that it was 100% if they weren't super careful. That's all I'm suggesting.

It's not clear that spending hundreds of hours updating this estimate to include dozens of factors is worthwhile. We could instead do our own undetected rapist study on the EA population with that kind of time. Do you have a few hundred hours for this, and the research background needed? Do you want to fund a researcher to do it?

Of course that would be suboptimal, hundreds of hours calculating base rates would certainly not be worthwhile. I'm not offering to do it and I'm not demanding that anyone do it. Hundreds of hours directly studying EA would surely be more worthwhile, I agree on that. All I'm saying is that this information we have now is better than that information which we had an hour ago.

"There are a lot of options that have a chance to succeed. The impact could be many times greater than the effort it takes to use the options explored herein. Testing is needed to determine the effectiveness of the options. Given the human rights concerns and the potential for a large productivity impact, testing options could turn out to be very worthwhile." - from my conclusion section.

This is my honest conclusion, which I made as accurate as possible. We do not know how effective all the methods are, but it looks like it's worth testing them to find out.

Having this information is a valid kind of progress.

"Note 3: We cannot assume that EA rapists target only other EAs. Sometimes, they might target people outside the social network. We cannot assume that EAs are targeted only by EA rapists. Sometimes they might be targeted by people outside the social network. Depending on how much of an EA’s social life consists of contact with other EAs and also depending on how sociable they are, their individual risk will vary. There is not enough lifestyle information available on EAs for me to include numbers on this into the estimate."

I am beginning to wonder if you read carefully because it looks like you missed multiple things that were already addressed.

I did not see that note. But for the calculations on the productivity impact, it seemed like one might read it with the assumption that the 80,000 hours in a career are EA career hours. If we don't have enough information to make an estimate on this proportion, that's fine, but it definitely doesn't mean that we should implicitly treat it as if it is 100%; after all it is certainly less than that. What I read of the calculations just didn't make it clear, so I wanted to clarify.

While some people are so uninvolved that they would not take the EA survey, others are so very busy that they might not take the EA survey either, even though they should be counted.

Unless research is done to determine what percentage of EA takes the EA survey, we cannot assume that it is accurate.

For that reason, I am using the total number of EAs from the survey as the low estimate. For the high estimate, I am using the EA Facebook group.

The exact number of EAs is unknown but probably lies between these two figures. So, as an estimate, there are probably between 2,352-13,861 people in the effective altruism movement, like I mentioned.

The study on the left will say race A commits more crimes while the study on the right will say it's race B. Do people of a particular race commit more crimes, or are they just more likely to be convicted due to prejudice? As I said, incorporating all these other factors would be very complicated.

"It could easily require an article of the same length as this one, just to create an estimate which takes all known relevant factors into account. To ensure enough time for the other parts of this article, a simple rough estimate has been created based on information about the overall population. Please remember that this is an estimate."

I feel like you didn't read the quoted part there.

Yes, I saw that part. But first, just because there are lots of unknown factors doesn't mean we should ignore the ones that we do know. Suppose we're too busy to look at anything besides demographics, that's fine, but it doesn't mean that we should deliberately ignore the information that we have about demographics. We'll have an inaccurate estimate, but it's still less inaccurate than the estimate we had before. If you don't/didn't have time to originally do this adjustment, that's fine, like I said you already did a lot of work getting a good statistical foundation here. But we have more information so let's update accordingly. Now the statistics could be incorrect because of different rates of conviction or indictment or something of the sort. Sure, that is a different possibility, and if we have any suspicions about it then we can make some guesses in order to facilitate a better overall estimate. I would assume, from the outset, uniform priors for conviction rates. Maybe whites are under-represented due to bias in the system, or maybe they are over-represented due to the subcultures in which they live and the social independence or access to legal/judicial resources of their victims. What are the facts? Sexual offense victims report ( []) that 57% of offenders are white, exactly in line with my other source. Only 27% report the offender as black, which is significantly less than my other source suggests though of comparatively little consequence for EA going by statistical averages. 6% say other and 8% say unknown. In this case you are right that it seems like there was a disparity, blacks are apparently convicted disproportionately. But here at least we have an apparently more reliable source of perpetrator demographics and it says roughly the same thing about what EA base rates would be relative to that of the broader population.

There are a lot of ways in which sexual violence has an impact on effective altruism, so reducing sexual violence will help us reach our effective altruism goals in various different ways. Because it will help us do more effective altruism, and the cost-benefit ratio looks good, I believe that gives it a lot of potential to be an effective altruism cause. It seems like you may not have read the entire impact section. Here is a table of contents for the impact section:


Estimating the number of sexually violent people.

  • Why we should not assume that eff

... (read more)

I read the whole post, and though I saw a lot of good points about why sexual violence is bad, I didn't see much about how efficacious the interventions you suggested were. It might be the case that things which increase EA productivity in a cost-effective manner are EA causes - though it seems a little strange to consider something like "getting enough sleep" to be an EA cause - but I don't think you've really made the case that these interventions do have a particularly high effectiveness.

Edit: There is a table of contents now.

By the time the suggestion to create a table of contents came along, it was too late to do so. I agree. If I get some time today or tomorrow I will do that.

I couldn't split this into multiple posts. There are multiple context reasons for doing it this way. I'm sorry that this is inconvenient. I accept that fewer people will read the entire article. That won't stop me from making progress. Like I said, this article is a foundation. This is step 1. :)

I will probably write multiple shorter articles later.

The great thing ... (read more)

Good point, Denise! Would you please direct me to the part of the article I should edit?

Great suggestion! "Are most acts of sexual violence committed by a select particularly egregious few or by the presumably more common 'casual rapist'? Answering this question is relevant for picking the strategies to focus on. This is because it seems plausible that different types of people who commit rape require different strategies to stop them."

I suspect political pressure has effectively prevented in-depth research on this specific topic from being done. There is a lot of political pressure to stigmatise rape as much as possible, no matter ... (read more)

"Multiple types of sex offenders exist. We may not have a complete list of different types yet."

This is a direct quote from the article, from a section covering a few different types of sex offenders. Section name: "Why we should not assume that effective altruism repels sex offenders"

I can't cover every single sub-topic in entirety in every single spot where a sub-topic is mentioned. The article would repeat itself a ridiculous amount.

I also cannot remove all mentions of all sub-topics that have not yet been fully covered. That would r... (read more)

I agree that is a sensible norm. I'm sorry I implied you personally think that, I'll edit my comment accordingly. However, since many people will stop reading before the article ends I think it's important to not get people get away with the impression this is what you think.

This post is long because:

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about sexual violence. To have accurate ideas about the effective altruism potential of sexual violence reduction as a cause, one needs to be informed about a bunch of things at once. Given the complexity of the issue and the number of common misconceptions, a long length was the only way to do this topic justice.

This is a foundation article. Now that it exists, a series of short articles can be written based on the information and context contained in it to help raise awareness.

I don't disagree with the full content being laid out. I'm glad you wrote such an in depth article. Although I think it would be better if you created an index of contents and having split it up into a few posts would help as well.

Great points! I'm going against the trend where community-building organizations focus on number of people rather than attracting people who might do high quality work. I'm intentionally growing Evidence and Reasoning Enthusiasts slowly and selecting for people who have demonstrated the ability to make an important update publicly, who have improved their rationality by reading books, etc. I am so glad to see this connection being made by someone other than me! I feel inspired! Thanks!

I suspect a lot of this is due to people trying to save time on reading. There are too many articles to keep up, so we (myself included) choose the articles that seem most likely to have the information I need most, and some of this priority order is author based. An additional method for people who are doing this for efficiency reasons:

We could do an experiment to find out what percentage of high status people's karma points are due to their status or getting a larger amount of attention overall than other posters. Then, us efficiency oriented people can mentally adjust the karma scores accordingly.

We need disentanglement research examples. I tried using Google to search and for the term "disentanglement" and received zero results for both. What I need to determine whether I should pursue this path is three examples of good disentanglement research. Before reading the study or book for the examples, I will need a very quick gist - a sentence or three that summarizes what each example is about. An oversimplification is okay as long as this is mentioned and we're given a link to a paper or something so we can... (read more)

I run an independent rationality group on Facebook, Evidence and Reasoning Enthusiasts. This is targeted toward people with at least some knowledge of rationality or science and halfway decent social skills. As such, I can help "build up this community and its capacity" and would like to know what specifically to do.

For five years, my favorite subject to read about was talent. Unlike developmental psychologists, I did not spend most of my learning time on learning disabilities. I also did a lot of intuition calibration which helps me detect various neurological differences in people. Thus, I have a rare area of knowledge and an unusual skill which may be useful for assisting with figuring out what types of people have a particular kind of potential, what they're like, what's correlated with their talent(s), what they might need, and how to find and identify them. If any fellow EAs can put this to use, feel free to message me.

I run a group for creatives on Facebook called Altruistic Ideas. In it, I have worked to foster a creative culture. I've also written about the differences between the EA and rationality cultures vs. the culture creatives need. If this might be useful for anyone's EA goals, please feel free to message me.