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Wiki Contributions


Khorton's Shortform

Reducing procrastination on altruistic projects:

I have often struggled to get started on projects that are particularly important to me so I thought I'd jot down a couple ways I handle procrastination.

  1. Check if I actually want to do the project. Sometimes I like the idea of the project but don't actually want to do it (maybe I can post the idea here instead), or I'm conflicted because working on this task would conflict with my other values (can I change the plan so it meets my needs more fully?).
  2. Check if I have an actually realistic plan. My subconscious is better at expected value calculations than I am and will not go forward with an unpleasant project that is doomed to fail. Sometimes I'm procrastinating because deep down I know this plan would never work.
  3. Lower the stakes. If I think "I'm going to write the perfect blog post, convince everyone to become EA, and save hundreds of lives" that can easily turn into "I have to write the perfect blog post or else I might miss out on convincing someone and people will literally die." That mindset does not help me to produce my best work. A better approach is remember perfect is the enemy of done, and take things in stages - for example writing a first draft and sharing it with a friend for comments.
Why & How to Make Progress on Diversity & Inclusion in EA

Thanks for taking the time to post this result four years later!

Testing Newport's "Digital Minimalism" at CEEALAR

Hey, I'm actually most interested in what kind of data you're planning to collect from the control group - what are your plans there?

What would you do if you had half a million dollars?

I think perhaps we agree then - if after significant research, you realize you can't beat an EA Fund, that seems like a reasonable fallback, but that should not be plan A.

Re: increasing grantmakers, I meant increasing the number of grantmakers who have spent significant time thinking about where to donate significant capital - obviously having hundreds of people donating $1k each would have more diversity but in practice I think most $1k donors defer their decision-making to someone else, like an EA Fund or GiveWell.

What would you do if you had half a million dollars?

I've been impressed recently with the work of the Simon Institute for Long-Term Governance, which might match the brief for new, experimental long-termist organizations.

What would you do if you had half a million dollars?

I disagree. One of the original rationales for the lottery if I recall correctly was to increase the diversity* of funding sources and increase the number of grantmakers. I think if the LTFF is particularly funding constrained, there's a good chance the Open Philanthropy Project or a similar organisation will donate to them. I value increased diversity and number of grantmakers enough that I think it's worth trying to beat LTFF's grantmaking even if you might fail.

*By diversity, I don't mean gender or ethnicity, I just mean having more than one grantmaker doing the same thing, ideally with different knowledge, experience and connections.

Should EA have a career-focused “Do the most good" pledge?

I do like the idea of creating a community and a bit of an accountability mechanism around career impact. I do have a critique of your suggestion: there's a big difference between a "donate 10%" pledge and a "maximize the impact of my career" pledge.

You have more than one goal, and that's fine [1]. Truly maximizing the impact of your career is more like donating 90% of your income than 10% - it would mean giving up all the other goals you have in order to focus on one thing. I don't see many examples of that even in EA and I wouldn't encourage it.

In this situation, the fact that we probably wouldn't want to encourage literally maximizing impact from careers would unfortunately make a pledge even more difficult to operationalize!


Should EA have a career-focused “Do the most good" pledge?

I'm not going to downvote it as that would give you negative karma and hide this comment!

What would you do if you had half a million dollars?

I could imagine that happening in some situations where after a lot of careful thought you decide to defer to another grantmaker, but if you know in advance that you'd like to give your money to a grantmaker, shouldn't you just do that?

Khorton's Shortform

I'm becoming concerned that the title "EA-aligned organisation" is doing more harm than good. Obviously it's pointing at something real and you can expect your colleagues to be familiar with certain concepts, but there's no barrier to calling yourself an EA-aligned organisation, and in my view some are low or even negative impact. The fact that people can say "I do ops at an EA org" and be warmly greeted as high status even if they could do much more good outside EA rubs me the wrong way. If people talked about working at a "high-impact organisation" instead, that would push community incentives in a good way I think.

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