Lorenzo Buonanno

Software Developer
Working (0-5 years experience)




Currently (Oct 2022) mostly doing translations and community building in Italy, and some web development consulting part-time.

I'm also a forum mod, which, shamelessly stealing from Edo, "mostly means that I care about this forum and about you! So let me know if there's anything I can do to help."

Please have a very low bar for reaching out!

Used to be a Software Developer donating most of my income, and won the 2022 donor lottery, happy to chat about that as well


Topic Contributions

It seems that footnotes got lost when the article was copied to the forum.

From the original article (scroll to the bottom and expand footnotes)

20 million annual spending × 1000x hurdle rate / (71.4 million DALYs/year × $50 thousand (value of DALY) × 10 year duration ) = .00056. Note that we are currently re-examining our value per DALY, but expect that value to either rise or remain the same, so the overall importance of this cause would increase or remain the same.

Sorry for the late reply,

The comment was unnecessarily rude and antagonistic — it didn't meet the minimum bar for civility. (See the Forum norm "Stay civil, at the minimum".)

In isolation, this comment is a mild norm violation. But having a lot of mildly-bad (unnecessarily antagonistic) comments often corrodes the quality of Forum discourse more than a single terrible comment.

It's hard to know how to respond to someone who seems to have a pattern of posting such comments. There's often no "smoking gun" comment that clearly deserves a ban. That's why we have our current setup — we generally give warnings and then proceed to bans if nothing changes.

I think we've not been responding to cases like this enough, recently. At the same time, I wish we could figure out a more collaborative approach than our current one, and it's possible that a 1-month warning was too long — we're discussing it in the moderation team.

(Note: some parts of this comment, as with some other comments that moderators post, were written by other moderators, but I personally believe what I'm posting. This seems worth flagging, given that I'm sharing these opinions as my own. I don't know if all the people on the moderation team agree with everything as I put it here.)

Lorenzo Buonanno5dModerator Comment2-14

We have a higher bar for taking moderation action against criticism, but considering that sapphire was warned two days ago we have decided to ban sapphire for one month for breaking forum norms multiple times.

Edited, thank you for flagging all these formatting errors!

My instinct is that people will have a very wide range of intuitions on this, at least until we're able to be a bit more specific about what we're asking for- even then, I expect quite a high degree of variance in how much people value averting a stillbirth. I don't have a strong opinion myself on what the right number is.

I agree with this, and I think this might be a case where the largest donors, median donors, and beneficiaries might have very different intuitions.

What would your guess have been?

Very low confidence, but my central estimate would have been closer to 10, when asking beneficiaries, but it's a baseless wild guess based on nothing.

GiveWell directed $3,900,000 to Evidence Action to fund their work on syphilis testing and treatment in pregnancy- see below for details. 

In addition to the $3.9M grant, there's also a more recent $15M grant to scale up.

I was surprised to read that GiveWell estimates the value of "averting stillbirth or miscarriage" at 21 (where 1 is the value of doubling someone's income for 1 year) and the value of averting a stillbirth at 33 based on a survey of "70 of our largest donors", sadly it seems that they didn't have beneficiaries survey data on the value of preventing stillbirths.

That's more than what I would have guessed (for reference, the value of "preventing one 5-and-over death from malaria" is 83).

To be clear, I would not have commented on the other comment by itself. Still, I do think there's a general pattern on the forum where some threads by default tend to spiral out by commenters gradually modeling each other as more and more adversarial, unless we make a significant active effort in assuming good faith and being kind[1], and I think that thread might have become an example of that.

I agree that there's an important difference between calling someone disingenuous and mentioning that a comment reads to you as disingenuous, but I still think that discussing things on the object level (like you mostly do in the rest of the comment) is kinder and helps to prevent such spirals.

  1. ^

    Someone wrote somewhere that discussion norms are ectotherms: need to constantly receive energy to survive, I've found it a helpful metaphor.

Lorenzo Buonanno11dModerator Comment105

Hi Ivy,

This comment was reported as needlessly unkind and assuming bad faith, which goes against forum norms, and on a second read I agree.

Accusing someone of "shitting on" the community, producing "anti-EA graffiti", and being "unconscionable and monstrously ill-mannered" is a lot, especially based on a username that might have been intended as sarcastic rather than offensive.

Especially in particularly sensitive threads, please aim for a much higher standard before accusing someone of bad faith (including in this other comment).

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