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Estimating existential risks

I would prefer 'existential risk estimates' over 'estimating existential risks'.

Naive vs. sophisticated consequentialism

Cool, that all seems sensible. I'll update the guide to reflect this.

Propose and vote on potential tags

I agree it's relevant. But we already have an article: demandingness of morality.

(It's likely you haven't seen it because many of these articles were Wiki-only until very recently.)

Indirect long-term effects

I am copying below the original contents of the 'Future considerations' article, which we decided to delete for being redundant, in case some of it should be incorporate here, or into some other article.


The value of any action taken today will depend on what happens in the future. This is of course true in a trivial sense. For instance, if we were to discover that there was a meteor hurtling for Earth, and that humanity had only a few years of life left, then this would decrease the expected value of work on climate change.

However, future events can also determine the value of present actions in more subtle ways. First, some actions taken to address present-day problems may turn out to have long-term indirect effects that dwarf their short-term impact. For example, work that lessens the burden of disease in the developing world could have an economic impact that compounds across generations.

Second, the value of progress on many present-day problems will depend on how the severity of the problems and the attention they receive evolve over time. If synthetic meat will make factory farming disappear, for instance, then this could lessen the value of present efforts to end factory farming.

Third, it is possible that some of the most high-value actions available today, such as actions to combat climate change, are ones that will not have any payoff until significantly in future.

Considerations related to the long-term future and new transformative technologies may be particularly decision-relevant.

Naive vs. sophisticated consequentialism

Cool. There are a number of existing or projected entries with names of the form 'x vs. y', such as 'criteria of rightness vs. decision procedures', 'broad vs. narrow interventions', 'near vs. far thinking', etc. Alternative forms for these entries are 'x versus y' and 'x and y' (e.g. 'broad versus narrow interventions' and 'broad and narrow interventions', respectively). In addition, sometimes using just one of these terms may be most appropriate, though I don't think this is always the case. I don't have a clear preference for one form over the others, but I do think we should follow one form consistently. Thoughts?

Style guide

Update: We discussed this with Aaron and we'll put up a document shortly.

Donation pledge

Great entry! I lean slightly towards keeping the current title, since all the listed instances are clear examples of the same intuitive phenomenon, whereas if we expand it to pledges involving non-monetary resources, the boundaries would become fuzzier, I think. But this is just a quick reaction.

Ha, it's not very clear to me what the topic of this entry really is, and I would be inclined to just delete it, moving any salvageable content to the relevant articles. We already have long-term future and indirect long-term effects, and I don't see this covering anything  that wouldn't naturally fall under the scope of those two other articles. 

Style guide

I think the Style Guide is not the right place for discussion of these norms. As you note, this concerns tagging rather than Wiki content. I'd tentatively suggest commenting on the proposed tags thread, but I'll ask Aaron.

Sentience & consciousness

I would prefer to delete tags of this sort (another example is intelligence and neuroscience), provided that any substantive content is preserved elsewhere. In this case, the sentience article has the following, which seems to broadly capture the substance of the tag under consideration:

Sentience is the capacity to feel, or have subjective experiences. According to many views in normative ethics, the possession of this capacity is a necessary condition for counting as a moral patient.

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