All of Tom_Ash's Comments + Replies

COVID: How did we do? How can we know?

It's interesting that (being from the Guardian), that article presents the story as being a scandal, with the implication that Cummings was being corrupt. 

How to leave money to charity in your will: a simple guide

I don't know the answer to that myself, but if you find it out and let me know I'd be happy to update the guide.

Effective Altruism and Utilitarianism

Is anyone familiar with the philosophical literature on that? My understanding is that it's controversial.

Separately, what's the connection to moral realism?

Building Cooperative Epistemology (Response to "EA has a Lying Problem", among other things)

Yes, the .impact team (particular Patrick Brinich-Langlois) have been working on this for a little while, and it's long been part of our to do list for the forum.

Semi-regular Open Thread #35

(There's a whole set up procedure for them that they follow, including there being once a month. It's part of their procedure for doing the EA Newsletter to post an open thread with its contents at the same time. What sort of a board member are you not knowing every single detail? :p ;) )

Semi-regular Open Thread #35

Yes, the .impact team has the details - probably neatest if I don't post it here!

0Tom_Ash6y
(There's a whole set up procedure for them that they follow, including there being once a month. It's part of their procedure for doing the EA Newsletter to post an open thread with its contents at the same time. What sort of a board member are you not knowing every single detail? :p ;) )
Semi-regular Open Thread #35

When we did them once a month they got only a few comments, but I'd say that's no problem and they're still helpful. We added that link to them in the sidebar, so that's a reason to keep them up. We should change the intro text to explicitly welcome people new to EA with any sorts of questions or observations.

1Peter Wildeford6y
Standardizing / fixing the intro text sounds good to me. Is there a way to get the sidebar link to automatically update?
GiveWell's Charity Recommendations Require Taking a Controversial Stance on Population Ethics

This stuff is genuinely tricky, and I'm deeply aware of that! Does deworming increase population though? My guess is it might even decrease it. Remember that my concerns are slightly different than Michael's, and focused on the general difficulty of knowing how and why deaths are bad, making me want to prioritise easing suffering (and increasing welfare).

How should we prioritize cause prioritization?

Probably not! We plan to use an off-the-shelf service from somewhere like Vanguard in the US or the UK's Charities Aid Foundation if we do this at all, but even so.

Announcing "Everyday Heroes of Effective Giving" Series

Good luck! I think having a set of material which doesn't make EA (or effective giving) seem too demanding is very sensible - even though the three people you've started with, all of whom I know, definitely seem like "full time" EAs, to use the least-bad terminology people could come up with when this was last discussed on the forum!

5Gleb_T6y
Tom, thanks! Boris, as he describes in the video, drifted away from being active in the movement after leaving college - he still donates, but does much less volunteering than he used to. So that video would be useful to share for demonstrating how EA/effective giving is not too demanding. Scott and Alfredo are more on the full-time spectrum, I agree.
How should we prioritize cause prioritization?

(*For my part, I'm unsure of my credence that I can, but if forced to pick one I'd put it at below 50%, though that's for various reasons which are quite idiosyncratic to me.)

How should we prioritize cause prioritization?

I'm interested as to different people's views on whether they can beat the wisdom of the EA crowds on this.* Those who think they can't might theoretically want to give to a portfolio of charities based on a particular crowd's pick. We've been talking about collaborating with Michael Page to make something like this happen, though my purely personal estimate is that it won't happen any time soon, and I'm not sure how many people would donate to certain sorts of portfolios - that'd also be interesting to hear!

1Gleb_T6y
I think the wisdom of EA crowds is kind of hard to estimate, as we don't have a true and definitive evaluation of the actual value of the investments in a portfolio. Moreover, a complicating factor is that people frequently donate based on what they personally value, and have different trade-offs (for example, the value of a current human life vs. current animal life vs. future human/animal life).
0number426y
I might give to a portfolio in a particular cause area like meta. I'd only be giving a small portion of my pledge to that though, perhaps about £100 a month - would that even be worth it for the admin hassle for you?
0Tom_Ash6y
(*For my part, I'm unsure of my credence that I can, but if forced to pick one I'd put it at below 50%, though that's for various reasons which are quite idiosyncratic to me.)
Announcing the new EA Wiki!

Are there actually infoboxes? Where? I don't see them - all I see is manually centered links at the top of e.g. http://wiki.effectivealtruismhub.com/index.php?title=Library/Giving_What_We_Can

GiveWell's Charity Recommendations Require Taking a Controversial Stance on Population Ethics

I thought you might like to know that, after a few days' thought and discussion, this reminder of my population ethics concerns has made me switch my donations from AMF to SCI; I originally favoured this over life-saving interventions for population ethics reasons back in 2010, six years ago. (My concerns are slightly broader ones about the difficulty of knowing how and why deaths are bad - without doubting that they are - but I don't have time to go into them any time soon.)

7Brian_Tomasik6y
This is sad from my point of view, because [http://reducing-suffering.org/cost-effectiveness-comparison-for-different-ways-to-reduce-insect-suffering/#AMF_vs_other_charities] increasing the human population plausibly prevents lots of bug suffering, while increasing quality of life does not (at least not as clearly; the sign of impact of quality-of-life improvements on bug suffering is more ambiguous).
The Effective Altruism Newsletter & Open Thread – May 2016

Here's giving a shoutout to Giving What We Can for making their calculations for the lifetime value of a member public - I've been finding them very useful recently for evaluating the value of projects!

.impact's pivot to focus projects

This is in fact already one of our focus projects! The list is at https://impact.hackpad.com/Projects-aRiPtncmuKS

1Evan_Gaensbauer6y
I'd be interested, then, in taking this up as part of my volunteering. I'll just talk to you about that next time I'm in the office.
Effective Altruism Blogs

Here are some new organisational blogs added on Pablo's site:

  • AI Impacts
  • Animal Ethics
  • Centre for the Study of Existential Risk
  • Charity Entrepreneurship
  • Effective Altruism UNSW
  • Foundational Research Institute
  • GBS Switzerland
  • Global Catastrophic Risk Institute
  • Intentional Insights
  • Open Philanthropy Project
  • Sentience Politics
  • Stiftung für Effektiven Altruismus
EA project updates for Dec 2015/Jan 2016

Good question. It's easiest to answer in money terms: a very rough answer is $80 (which buys 7 hours non-management staff time at $6.46 an hour, plus the volunteer time we can parlay that into, plus some management time). That includes a healthy amount of safety buffer. If anyone would like to donate it, they could contact peter@peterhurford.com

1Peter Wildeford6y
To be clear, any volunteering on Shop for Charity would still need a good deal of attention from Tom, and we can't afford Tom focusing on anything other than what he's currently doing until we're fully funded.
Can you think of any fundraising ideas?

Thanks, I'll get the current CS team to look into this!

The Effective Altruism Newsletter & Open Thread – March 2016 Edition

Can you tell us roughly what income you're looking at through ETG? :)

1Orborde6y
I don't know what you mean by "through ETG". I estimate that I could get a salary+bonus of roughly $250K with a few months of searching at the moment. And by estimate, I mean that I literally turned down a job for that amount of money. I really should have just said that up front instead of being coy.
.impact is recruiting for jobs and internships!

Thanks Gleb! Anyone else who wanted to share this (and others' job postings) would also be helping out.

.impact is recruiting for jobs and internships!

Yep, you'll be in the queue and everyone will hear about interviews, etc. at roughly the same time. :)

The Effective Altruism Newsletter & Open Thread – March 2016 Edition

Given that the top 1% in the US have a household income of $400,000, I'd strongly favour earning to give. The most relevant post on this is Peter Hurford thinks that a large proportion of people should earn to give long term (the second most upvoted article here ever).

0Orborde6y
I am nowhere near $400,000. I should probably have been more precise. I am single, and among single earners, I am at about the 98th percentile and have had job offers above the 99th percentile. However, I am somewhere around the 94th percentile of household incomes, where the 99th percentile is around $400,000.
Charity Science 2.5 Year Internal Review and Plans Going Forward

I find it difficult for example when dealing with a large number of emails on a variety of topics.

Batching email on similar topics can help. But I don't think it's worth the time except when it feels like the batching is efficient on its own merits.

.impact is recruiting for jobs and internships!

Ouch, and she studied English at Cambridge! Those Oxbridge degrees aren't all they're cracked up to be. :p

0Linch6y
I thought that this was a difference between British and American English at first...
.impact is recruiting for jobs and internships!

For those already in Vancouver (or who know people who are), here's flagging that you'd maximise your chances if we heard from you as soon as possible.

Charity Science 2.5 Year Internal Review and Plans Going Forward

One issue is the possibility that better research is more likely to bring in more funding than explicitly focusing on fundraising or outreach. This is somewhat supported by the much larger amount of funding that an organization like GW has moved (compared to Charity Science). We are currently very uncertain about whether this is true or not and can see a strong case for both viewpoints.

We can't straightforwardly work out how valuable future (marginal) research by GiveWell or others is, as this seems quite different from the value of their historic research and basic maintenance of this. My personal sense is that outreach is more valuable at this point, though that's of course uncertain.

0Joey6y
I agree it’s really tricky and seems likely future research will be less valuable than historical ones. My personal sense varies a lot day to day on this question
Charity Science 2.5 Year Internal Review and Plans Going Forward

That's covered here:

Although the specific details of staff’s backup plans are confidential, the co-founder estimates of the total counterfactual impact of Charity Science employees/volunteers are close to ~$500k at the upper bound for all current combined staff/volunteer counterfactuals over the last 2.5 years. This number is extremely soft and based on limited evidence. Using this estimate one could up the counterfactuals included costs of Charity Science to $580k

2Elizabeth6y
Thanks. Given that, hasn't Charity Science actively cost effective charities money?
Is EA growing? A concrete study idea to find out (and a $100 offer for implementation)

We'll share the full results soon, including all non-confidential raw data. :)

Is EA growing? A concrete study idea to find out (and a $100 offer for implementation)

LEAN is capturing it in our annual questionnaire for group organizers, and also our monitoring and evaluation of meetup.com accounts in particular (many of which we provide).

Is EA growing? A concrete study idea to find out (and a $100 offer for implementation)

LEAN is capturing it in our annual questionnaire for group organizers.

0Stefan_Schubert6y
Great! What patterns have you spotted so far?
Should effective altruists work on taxation of the very rich?

I'm sympathetic to that position in the domestic context. But what about when the owners of companies (e.g. multinationals or shareholder-owned companies) are in the developed world yet make many of their profits in the developing world? We might well want developing countries to capture some of that tax.

Should effective altruists work on taxation of the very rich?

Interesting piece. Improving taxation (particularly of large/multinational companies) in the developing world is interesting and possibly neglected. It'd at least be interesting to see how tractable it is and how one would go about working on it. It fits well with the fact that EAs are typically more radically cosmopolitan than the leftists who criticise them for ignoring domestic taxation and wealth inequalities, and could provide a good comeback to these.

2Robert_Wiblin6y
If we could tax the owners of companies suitably, we could probably stop taxing large companies directly at all.
Internships with .impact: My Experience

See also Sören Mindermann's description of full-time and part-time paid job opportunities at .impact: http://effective-altruism.com/ea/pw/working_at_ea_organizations_series_impact/

Working at EA organizations series: .impact

See also Joseph Kijewski's description of his experience interning with .impact and what this involves: http://effective-altruism.com/ea/r7/internships_with_impact_my_experience/

The Valentine’s Day Gift That Saves Lives

Yep, it's not repetitive and will contain fresh information in publications like a newspaper!

Effective Altruism Prediction Registry

What's the count up to now, counting all sources?

0ghabs7y
13 in total, from this post and an EA meetup - so 48 hours to find two more to be "well calibrated" on the prediction.
Effective Altruism and ethical science

materialism/physicalism [...] is mostly uncontroversial now among [...] philosophers

That's not really true. For example, in the PhilPapers survey, only 56.5% accepted physicalism in philosophy of mind (though 16.4% chose 'Other'). There's no knock-down argument for physicalism.

Effective Altruism Prediction Registry

I can't access the facebook group, is it public?

You have to join to see posts.

Effective Altruism Prediction Registry

What tools for prediction markets are there besides http://predictionbook.com/ ? Any comments on what features they have or which are best for which purposes?

The only other one I know of is https://called.it/ which is mobile only (h/t John Maxwell).

People may be interested in https://www.facebook.com/groups/eapredictons/

2Richard_Batty7y
Augur (http://www.augur.net/ [http://www.augur.net/]) - a decentralised prediction market.
0ghabs7y
I'm not familiar with too many "personal" prediction sites, one's you can register your own predictions (outside of predictionbook). Zocalo, (http://zocalo.sourceforge.net/ [http://zocalo.sourceforge.net/]) is a toolkit for building prediction markets, but isn't currently supported. https://www.cultivatelabs.com/ [https://www.cultivatelabs.com/] creates enterprise prediction markets. And Augur is a cryptocurrency based prediction market that is currently in Alpha, but you can spin up your own test nodes if you wanted to run a separate network.. I can't access the facebook group, is it public? would be interested to check it out!
Effective Altruism Prediction Registry

With 75% confidence I’d say that by February 10th at least 15 people will have expressed interest in predictions about effective altruism.

I hereby express interest. Others can do so in a comment under this!

0DanielFilan7y
Am interested.
0Castand7y
And me
0jayd7y
Me also.
0Randomized, Controlled7y
Also interested, would prefer something not facebook-based. If something needed to be setup/maintained/whatnot, I'd be happy to help.
0Tom_Ash7y
What's the count up to now, counting all sources?
0Peter Wildeford7y
/interest expressed
1Linch7y
Way ahead of you guys. https://www.facebook.com/vipulnaik.r/posts/10207082656600741 [https://www.facebook.com/vipulnaik.r/posts/10207082656600741]
The EA Newsletter & Open Thread - January 2016

[Here's some introductory verbiage so nothing hooky shows up under 'Recent comments']

ATTENTION: please read this:

To help us test how many people see comments on the month's open thread when it's got old, please upvote this comment if you see it. (I promise to use the karma wisely.)

The EA Newsletter & Open Thread - January 2016

(Does anyone see open threads this late? Say if so!)

I just found out that the Open Philanthropy Project funded http://waitlistzero.org/ which was a small charity started by two EAs who I worked with in its early days. OPP gave $200k, presumably covering Waitlist Zero's whole budget (way more than it used to be).

This suggests more people creating charities could get fully funded by OPP. Does anyone have any insight into this? Claire Zabel of GiveWell/OPP said:

It's possible. It's best if the organization fits into one of our focus areas (openphilanthropy.o

... (read more)
1Mati_Roy3mo
nice!
Investment opportunity for the risk neutral

Also, whatever happened to the self help group...?

It still exists! It's linked from that wiki page - I believe the admins Evan, Leo and Jacy have to approve new people.

0kbog7y
I guess it's a secret group? Because the link tells me there is no group. I'll shoot Jacy a message, then. Thanks.
Investment opportunity for the risk neutral

I didn't downvote, but for what it's worth I think this may be a bit niche and of tangential relevance to be a top level post on the EA Forum. The 'EA Hangout' or investment Facebook groups would be better fits - see http://wiki.effectivealtruismhub.com/index.php?title=Discussion_groups . People would likely be interested there. I hope this is helpful feedback!

0kbog7y
This really should go in the Crazy EA Investing Ideas group... I'd sent an invite but I don't know this guy's name. Also, whatever happened to the self help group...?
Against segregating EAs

Gamification of EA... I wonder how many achievements I can unlock! You could have an achievement for working at a recognized EA organization for at least 6 months, having donated for 5 (then 10) consecutive years, etc. etc.

There's been discussion of this and 'EA points systems' over the past. Here's the .impact page for the idea.

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