Sorted by New


COVID-19 brief for friends and family

Thanks for taking the time to think and write about how we can reduce the risk of getting ill. I think it's fair to say that this advice is a bit more alarming than what other organizations are saying, like the Centers for Disease Control, the National Health Service, the World Health Organization, and the UK Foreign Office. For example, says that you don't need to self isolate unless you are feeling unwell and have been to one of the listed countries recently, and they also say that even if you are self isolating, it is ok to accept food drop-offs. This contrasts with the advice above.

Could you tell us a little about why you think these organisations aren't giving us the same advice as what you've written above? I'm finding it hard to give credence to this when the official picture is so much more subdued. I would guess that maybe there is a concern about creating hysteria or pressures on supplies of resources, but it would be good to know what you think.

The Labour leadership election: a high leverage, time-limited opportunity for impact (*1 week left to register for a vote*)

Thanks for taking the time to try and explain. I'm really surprised at your description of my comment, however. In fact I'm so surprised that I wonder if my comment was badly misunderstood. Did people think that by saying "it might make Labour supporters seem more intellectual" that I was saying "Labour supporters are/seem stupid"? I didn't mean that at all. I've voted Labour in the last two general elections.

Or was there something else in my comment that seemed antagonistic?

The Labour leadership election: a high leverage, time-limited opportunity for impact (*1 week left to register for a vote*)

I agree that this strategy goes against the spirit of party membership, and I'm sympathetic to norm-subscription in a lot of contexts. But are norms a weightier consideration than the reasons for taking up the strategy outlined by OP? While it's true that these vulnerabilities might eventually be closed, it might still be good to exploit them while they're open.

To what extent do you think the relatively small numbers of EAs taking advantage of this strategy will sow mistrust? To me it doesn't seem like it will make a lot of difference, and indeed there might be some positive signalling to be gained if people think that engaging in strategies like this is cool and smart. It might make Labour supporters look more intellectual.

Announcing the 2017 donor lottery

1) The winner of the last lottery, Tim, wrote several paragraphs explaining his choice of where to send the winnings. Is this required/expected of future winners? I can understand that a winner selecting a non-EA cause might end up having to convince CEA of their decision, but if I win and just want to give the money to a bona fide EA cause, do I have to say anything about my thought process?

2) Are there advocacy-related reasons for donating directly to charities instead of joining such a lottery? For example, if I'm trying to increase my impact by convincing others to join EA, and someone asks where I donate, there seems to be a cost associated with describing a complicated lottery scheme that may end up with my money going to a cause that I think is ineffective or possibly even bad. It seems likely that people would be confused by the scheme and put off, or even think that I was being swindled.

2b) Relatedly, while I personally trust that the complexities of the scheme arise from a desire to optimise it for fairness and other considerations, I worry that the explanations may be off-putting to some. I appreciate that they are in beta, so I will try to be constructive: I would like to see something like an interactive page with colourful buttons and neat graphics that explains how the scheme works. The boxes (A,B,C,G) are a great start, but I think that for example the equations would be best kept behind an expanding box, or even on another page. The headers as they are are good (though might be better framed as questions like "how will the winner be chosen?"). My take-home point here is that having all of the information on one page is intimidating. These are suggestions largely based on my personal experience of looking through the page.