Peter Wildeford

Co-CEO @ Rethink Priorities
Working (6-15 years of experience)


Along with my co-founder, Marcus A. Davis, I run Rethink Priorities. I'm also a Grant Manager for the Effective Altruism Infrastructure Fund and a top forecaster on Metaculus. Previously, I was a professional data scientist.

How others can help me

My goal is to scalably employ many well-qualified researchers to work on the world's most important problems.


Topic Contributions

OMG strong upvote for use of squigglepy!

Finance: everything from bookkeeping to outsourced CFOs Legal: contracts, employment, compliance Tech: software implementation, Salesforce etc

Why would it make sense for there to be EA-specific services for these? All of these services seem like things you can outsource to non-EA firms just fine and benefit little to none from EA knowledge/affiliation/alignment.

Where did/does Lightcone get the money to run?

I think your feelings are genuine, but I'm unfortunately not sure what to do about them besides what I'm already doing, which is try to be empathetic and welcoming.


there is a discussion on twitter that suggests screenshots of the forum are fair game. I disagree - while public, this is a different kind of public than twitter. If screenshots are fair game then rephrasing or retracting is out the window.

I had a conversation with someone that went like this:

Them - "Man, the EA Forum is like if all of EA had a water cooler to chat by"

Me, sarcastic - "Great, yeah, real smart of us to have a water cooler that is surrounded by journalists"

I think this gets at an important point that is pretty stifling / chilling, since the norms we've cultivated may not be upheld in other venues. I think it's important to have these conversations in public so everyone can hear, but there are real large costs to that.

Another option: maybe have a moderated conversation in an offline space and then edit it before publishing?

To be clear, I definitely do think you take women's sadness seriously.

Also I certainly hope nothing I've done has implied that you should agree or shut up - that's not my intention at all.

I really do think benefit of the doubt is important. If you misphrase an idea and then concede that you misphrased it, I will understand that and not change my respect for you. I misphrase ideas all the time.

Yeah I'm just going to retract my comment entirely because it looks like I misunderstood the situation.

I don't think this is a good way to think about it. I do actually think this is a pretty racist way of thinking about it. I guarantee you 100% that the reason wherever you are "lacks diversity" is not because minorities "lack the relevant level of aptitude". And I think disparate impact tests are pretty clearly a good thing.

Yeah, we should probably do something about that. My guess is that Community Health is on this (EDIT: they are on this, sorry I missed that message!)

I imagine there's a few things CH could do if they learn the identity of the offender - my guess is an appropriate reaction would be a warning or maybe just ban them from the next EAG, followed by permanently banning from EAG for repeated offending.

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Hey Nathan, thanks for sharing even when it's hard. I'd be curious to hear more about "I think that both parties in this current sexual norms discourse find this discussion exhausting." I think there are tremendously simple norms at play here, from Emma's accounts of EAG in this article:

  • Don't use Swapcard (or other clearly professional infrastructure) to try to get dates / flirt.

  • Don't immediately start touching people until there's a clearer context / consent for it. If you're in doubt, either ask or don't touch them.

  • If someone tells you to stop doing something, stop doing it.

There are definitely a few more norms that should be added to this list.

But I don't think these are too hard or exhausting to think about or follow. And, of course, it goes without saying but I imagine it's way more exhausting for sexual harrassment victims than for non-victims. Curious what I'm missing?

Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

I think this is probably partial, given claims in this post, and positive-agreevote concerns here (though clearly all of the agree voters might be wrong).

I think you may have very high standards? By these standards, I don't think there are any communities at all that would score 0 here.


I think this is nonzero, I think subsets of the community do display "excessively zealous" commitment to a leader given "What would SBF do" stickers. Outside views of LW (or at least older versions of it would probably worry that this was an EY cult.

I was not aware of "What would SBF do" stickers. Hopefully those people feel really dumb now. I definitely know about EY hero worship but I was going to count that towards a separate rationalist/LW cult count instead of the EA cult count.

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