Peter Wildeford

Along with my co-founder, Marcus A. Davis, I run Rethink Priorities. Previously, I was a professional data scientist.

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Writing about my job: Data Scientist

FWIW I made $187K/yr in total comp (£136K/yr) in Chicago as a data scientist after four years of experience. My starting salary was $83K/yr in total comp (£60K/yr) with no experience. In both jobs, I worked about 30hrs/wk. My day-to-day experience was rather identical to this post.

Writing about my job: Internet Blogger

This is cool, and I think it is underrated as a path. In either case, I wish more people tried out just writing, especially on the EA Forum.

What do you see as the difference, if any, between being an internet blogger and being an independent EA researcher (besides sounding less pretentious)? What would you see as the difference, if any, between being an internet blogger and a journalist?

Notes on EA-related research, writing, testing fit, learning, and the Forum

I definitely agree that one of the best things applicants interested in roles at organizations like ours can do to improve their odds of being a successful researcher is to read and write independent research for this forum and get feedback from the community.

I think another underrated way to acquire a credible and relevant credential is to become a top forecaster on Metaculus, Good Judgement Open, or Facebook’s Forecastapp.

Some 2021 CEA Retention Statistics

Peter Wildeford has done the largest non-manual retention analysis I know, which looked at the percentage of people who answered the EA survey using the same email in multiple years. He found retention rates of around 27%, but cautioned that this was inaccurate due to people using different email addresses each year.


Thanks for citing me, and I'm excited for the new data sources you are looking at.

One thing you might want to add is that I looked at two different approaches. You quote the first approach, but the second approach - which I think is more accurate, and is based on comparing the year people say they joined EA versus the survey take rate for that year - shows that roughly ~60% of EAs still stay around after 4-5 years.

Help Rethink Priorities Use Data for Animals, Longtermism, and EA

Alas, if I were graduating sooner ... In the mean time, will be following closely. 

We'll definitely have more roles open for after you graduate - don't worry!

Oh, and to support the suggested model of a consultancy, one need only look at Data for Progress for an example of a polling arm that has become quite influential (within progressive/leftist circles) for issue messaging

Yes - I think we aspire to be somewhat like Data for Progress, but for effective altruism, though I think we are more wary of blurring between the lines of advocacy and truth-seeking.

EA needs consultancies

I'm happy to speak with anyone who wants to compete with Rethink Priorities! Feel free to send inquiries to peter@rethinkpriorities.org

Forum update: New features (June 2021)

Easy to not be afraid when you're the player and the scorekeeper!

(BTW this sounds salty from me, but I promise I'm just joking around.)

Forum update: New features (June 2021)

It does seem like bad incentives that very well-researched pieces can get much less karma than relatively quick comments.

Forum update: New features (June 2021)

people who created posts in that era have seen their karma recalculated without the 10x multiplier.

Worth also noting that these earlier posts didn't benefit from the invention of strong upvoting (or from the increased size of the voting community), so their karma seems a lot below what they would've gotten if they were posted recently.

Forum update: New features (June 2021)

The reason is that Aaron couldn't beat me in karma fair and square, so he had to play dirty.

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