Announcing "Naming What We Can"!

post by GidonKadosh, EdoArad (edoarad), Davidmanheim, ShayBenMoshe (shaybenmoshe), sella, Guy Raveh, Asaf Ifergan · 2021-04-01T10:17:28.990Z · EA · GW · 70 comments


  About us
  What Do We Do?
  Impact estimation
  Call to action

We hereby announce a new meta-EA institution - "Naming What We Can". 


We believe in a world where every EA organization and any project has a beautifully crafted name. We believe in a world where great minds are free from the shackles of the agonizing need to name their own projects. 


To name and rename every EA organization, project, thing, or person. To alleviate any suffering caused by name-selection decision paralysis


Using our superior humor and language articulation prowess, we will come up with names for stuff. 

About us

We are a bunch of revolutionaries who believe in the power of correct naming. We translated over a quintillion distinct words from English to Hebrew. Some of us have read all of Unsong. One of us even read the whole bible. We spent countless fortnights debating the in and outs of our own org’s title - we Name What We Can.

What Do We Do?

We're here for the service of the EA community. Whatever you need to rename - we can name. Although we also rename whatever we can. Even if you didn't ask. 


As a demonstration, we will now see some examples where NWWC has a much better name than the one currently used.

  1. 80,000 Hours => 64,620 Hours. Better fits the data and more equal toward women, two important EA virtues.
  2. Charity Entrepreneurship => Charity Initiatives. (We don't know anyone who can spell entrepreneurship on their first try. Alternatively, own all of the variations: Charity Enterpeneurship, Charity Entreprenreurshrip, Charity Entrepenurship, Charity Entepenoorship, …)
  3. Global Priorities Institute => Glomar Priorities Institute. We suggest including the dimension of time, making our globe a glome.
  4. OpenPhil => Doing Right Philanthropy. Going by Dr.Phil would give a lot more clicks.
  5. EA Israel => זולתנים יעילים בארץ הקודש
  6. ProbablyGood => CrediblyGood. Because in EA we usually use credence rather than probability.
  7. EA Hotel => Centre for Enabling EA Learning & Research.
  8. Giving What We Can => Guilting Whoever We Can. Because people give more when they are feeling guilty about being rich.
  9. Cause Prioritization => Toby Ordering.
  10. Max Dalton => Max Delta. This represents the endless EA effort to maximize our ever-marginal utility.
  11. Will MacAskill => will McAskill. Evidently a more common use:
  1. Peter singer & steven pinker should be the same person, to avoid confusion.
  2. OpenAI => ProprietaryAI. Followed by ClosedAI, UnalignedAI, MisalignedAI, and MalignantAI.
  3. FHI => Bostrom's Squad.
  4. GiveWell => Don'tGivePlayPumps. We feel that the message could be stronger this way.
  5. Doing Good Better => Doing Right Right.
  6. Electronic Arts, also known as EA, should change its name to Effective Altruism. They should also change all of their activities to Effective Altruism activities.

Impact estimation

Overall, we think the impact of the project will be net negative on expectation (see our Guesstimate model). That is because we think that the impact is likely to be somewhat positive, but there is a really small tail risk that we will cause the termination of the EA movement. However, as we are risk-averse we can mostly ignore high tails in our impact assessment so there is no need to worry.

Call to action

As a first step, we offer our services freely here on this very post! This is done to test the fit of the EA community to us. All you need to do is to comment on this post and ask us to name or rename whatever you desire

Additionally, we hold a public recruitment process here on this very post! If you want to apply to NWWC as a member, comment on this post with a name suggestion of your choosing! Due to our current lack of diversity in our team, we particularly encourage women, people of color, LGBTQ+, people from the social sciences, people who are not mathematicians, people over 40, conservatives, conservationists, non-consequentialists, people who have never heard of EA, and Rob Wiblin to apply.

If this experiment will work well, we have plans for expanding our efforts which we don’t currently publish due to potential infohazards that have yet to pass all stages of approval by the Infohazard Church.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by meerpirat · 2021-04-01T14:06:31.855Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

High-Impact Athletes ➔ EA Sports for obvious reasons

Replies from: Judith, willbradshaw, edoarad, Marcus Daniell
comment by Judith · 2021-04-07T07:42:16.629Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Well, shoot, guess it's time to rebrand!

comment by willbradshaw · 2021-04-01T16:05:53.480Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

It seems so obvious in retrospect.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2021-04-01T15:14:06.634Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Love it! I also thought that your corporate canpaining org idea [EA(p) · GW(p)] is fantastic 😁

comment by Marcus Daniell · 2021-04-07T11:06:11.707Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I'm on board.

comment by Julia_Wise · 2021-04-01T14:55:02.711Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

My coworkers got me a mug that said "Sorry, I'm not Julia Galef" to save me from having to say it so much at conferences. Maybe I should have just gone this route instead.

Replies from: edoarad, Asaf Ifergan
comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2021-04-01T18:00:57.232Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I generally believe that EAs should keep their identities small. Small enough so it wouldn't really matter what Julia you are

comment by Asaf Ifergan · 2021-04-03T08:00:58.893Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Or, you could change your name to Wise Julia. This will also allow you to signify your intellectual superiority.

Tail risk: if EA ends up voting for a top leader, and you get elected, this could sound pretty culty. If that risk seems significant to you, I would advise avoiding the obvious choice here - Julia the Wise - which is even worse.

Replies from: Ramiro
comment by Ramiro · 2021-04-06T01:05:17.321Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Plus, "Julia the Wise" would evoke Saruman. Too risky.

comment by meerpirat · 2021-04-01T15:43:33.685Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Parents in EA ➔ Raising for Effective Giving

Replies from: Nico Hillbrand
comment by Nico Hillbrand · 2021-04-03T10:34:23.909Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Slogan: Shut up and multiply!

Replies from: wuschel
comment by wuschel · 2021-04-09T12:36:08.517Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

This comment totally made my day!

comment by imben · 2021-04-01T11:10:32.265Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Toby Ordering is really good.

comment by Mark Xu · 2021-04-01T19:19:00.344Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Ben Pace, Ben Khun, Ben Todd, Ben West, and Ben Garfinkel should all become the same person, to avoid confusion.

Replies from: Ben Pace, Ben_Kuhn
comment by Ben Pace · 2021-04-01T20:10:46.014Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I'm open to a legal arrangement of shared nationalities, bank accounts, and professional roles.

comment by Ben_Kuhn · 2021-04-04T01:24:48.446Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Looks like if this doesn't work out, I should at least update my surname...

Replies from: edoarad
comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2021-04-04T05:22:20.500Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I can't wait for a new Bennian paradigm shift

comment by MaxDalton (Maxdalton) · 2021-04-01T16:02:23.949Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Can I suggest that Max Daniel change his name to Max Ipok?

Replies from: Max_Daniel
comment by Max_Daniel · 2021-04-02T08:11:07.046Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think this would be a step in the right direction but wouldn't go far enough. People will still confuse us because of our shared first name.

I'm thinking that maybe I should go for Min Cat Astrophe instead. I'm hoping that the middle name would also help make me more popular on the Internet.

Replies from: Guy Raveh
comment by Guy Raveh · 2021-04-02T09:53:42.328Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Take that even further by changing to Mink Cat Astrophe.

comment by AlasdairGives · 2021-04-01T12:41:14.641Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Finally the mystery of how CEEALAR got named is solved :D

comment by Emanuele_Ascani · 2021-04-01T11:39:09.526Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, seriously, William MacAskill just change your surname already. It's basic SEO for Singer's sake.

Replies from: Julia_Wise
comment by Julia_Wise · 2021-04-01T14:51:33.302Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Third time's the charm!

comment by Ozzie Gooen (oagr) · 2021-04-02T03:47:49.181Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think the phrases "Research Institute", and particular "...Existential Risk Institute" are a best practice and should be used much more frequently.

Centre for Effective Altuism -> Effective Altruism Research Institute (EARI)
Open Philanthropy -> Funding Effective  Research Institute (FERI)
GiveWell -> Shortermist Effective  Funding Research Institute (SEFRI)
80,000 Hours -> Careers that are Effective Research Institute (CERI)
Charity Entrepreneurship -> Charity Entrepreneurship Research Institute (CERI 2)
Rethink Priorities -> General Effective Research Institute (GERI)
 Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence -> Berkeley University Ai Research Institute (BUARI)
CSER -> Cambridge Existential Risk Institute (CERI 3)
LessWrong -> Blogging for Existential Risk Institute (BERI 2)
Alignement Forum -> Blogging for AI Risk Institute (BARI)
SSC -> Scott Alexanders' Research Institute (SARI)

Replies from: edoarad, sawyer
comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2021-04-02T06:14:27.751Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

With so many research institutions, we should really have an organization to support this ecosystem [EA · GW]. I propose RIRI - Research Institutes Research Institute.

comment by sawyer · 2021-04-08T15:20:41.319Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

In accordance with best practices, BERI will be changing our name from "Initiative" to "Institute" and our acronym from "BERI" to "BERI 1".

comment by markus_over · 2021-04-02T12:42:40.356Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I believe there are a few serious flaws in your guesstimate model:

  • a year has 365.2421905 days, not 365.25. That's not even rounded correctly!
  • Smiles per QALY should multiply days in a year with smiles in a good day, instead they are added. They don't even have the same unit, how can you add them! Insanity!
  • the post's karma is far outside of even your 99% interval

Everything else seems quite correct and I agree with your CIs and conclusions.

Also, please find a new name for guesstimate.

Replies from: edoarad, edoarad
comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2021-04-03T07:56:04.650Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Sorry, I've tried very hard but guesstimate is near perfection

Replies from: Max_Daniel, BrianTan
comment by BrianTan · 2021-04-06T15:08:46.162Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

How about Confidance, since guesstimate cells look like a dance floor to me

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2021-04-02T15:39:13.821Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for your valuable critique! I've updated our model accordingly. 

Must say that I should have been more skeptical when my calculation resulted in a post that's worth 0.4 QALY. Now, after also raising our estimates for total Karma (wow!) we estimate our impact as 0.018 QALYs, which makes more sense. 

Replies from: markus_over
comment by markus_over · 2021-04-02T16:32:09.414Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Perfect! In the end the impact will of course be orders of magnitude higher, as a slightly better name of any particular organization will affect tens if not hundreds of thousands of people in the long run. And there may even be a tail chance of better names increasing the community's stability and thus preventing collapse scenarios. I think overall you really undersold your project with that guesstimate model only focusing on this post only, as if that was all there is to it.

comment by BrianTan · 2021-04-02T02:08:22.344Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

BERI should be renamed to BERI Good.

Replies from: edoarad, sawyer
comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2021-04-02T10:31:26.103Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

this is so silly, I love it!

comment by sawyer · 2021-04-08T15:22:13.474Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

It's BERI fun to make puns like this, they've always been BERI popular among BERI employees.

comment by Venkatesh · 2021-04-01T10:39:21.406Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

May I suggest that you also name people who strongly identify with the ideas of some of these organizations? For instance, 64,620 hourists; Glomars; Dr.Phils; The InCredibles (CrediblyGood);

Also if FHI is Bostrom's squad then they should rename their currently boringly named "Research Areas" page to Squad Goals.

Happy April Fools! :-)

Replies from: Paige_Henchen
comment by Sunny1 (Paige_Henchen) · 2021-04-02T01:35:12.627Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Strong +1 for squad goals :)

comment by Davidmanheim · 2021-04-08T07:18:10.500Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

"Ian David Moss [EA · GW]" -> "Ian I. David Moss", to reduce the incidence of accidentally not confusing him with IIDM [EA · GW].

Replies from: Davidmanheim
comment by Davidmanheim · 2021-04-08T07:24:29.125Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Alternatively, repurposing the IIDM working group to focus on improving Ian David Moss.

Replies from: IanDavidMoss, Pablo_Stafforini
comment by IanDavidMoss · 2021-04-08T18:30:34.840Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

David, I hate to remind you that EA interventions are supposed to be tractable...

Replies from: Davidmanheim
comment by Davidmanheim · 2021-04-11T19:39:36.775Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Seems tractable to me; how much money would you need to add an initial?

comment by Pablo (Pablo_Stafforini) · 2021-04-08T14:39:52.395Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

"David Moss [EA · GW]" -> "Not Ian David Moss"

Upon reflection, given David's suggestion* I propose instead:

"David Moss" -> "Neither Ian I. David Moss nor IIDM" (conveniently abbreviated NIIDMNIIDM)

* I should clarify that by "David's suggestion", I meant "the suggestion made by David Manheim", who is neither Ian I. David Moss, nor NIIDMNIIDM (nor, of course, IIDM).

Replies from: IanDavidMoss
comment by IanDavidMoss · 2021-04-08T18:34:21.910Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

In fairness, David Moss was doing useful things in EA way before me, so I should probably be Ian David NO NOT THAT DAVID Moss!

comment by MichaelPlant · 2021-04-02T07:57:03.379Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I'd like to know what the Happier Lives Institute should be; we never liked the name anyway.

Replies from: GidonKadosh, edoarad
comment by GidonKadosh · 2021-04-03T12:18:18.700Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I suggest Measuring Everything with units Of Wellbeing, or, in short, Meow
This might support the new field of increasing global welfare through kitten distribtuion, as been proposed before [EA(p) · GW(p)]. 

Replies from: MichaelPlant
comment by MichaelPlant · 2021-04-05T09:04:52.929Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Ha. I like this name.

While I'm writing, I'll mention I seriously proposed calling HLI the Bentham Institute for Global Happiness (BIGHAP), but it was put to an internal vote and I, tragically, lost. I am fairly confident not calling it BIGHAP will be my biggest deathbed regret.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2021-04-02T10:20:19.883Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

How about Smiles Without Borders (SWB)?  Potentially include a "Research Institute [EA(p) · GW(p)]"

Replies from: MichaelStJules
comment by MichaelStJules · 2021-04-10T06:03:37.706Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

SWB already means subjective well-being. Can't do that.

Replies from: edoarad
comment by meerpirat · 2021-04-01T15:35:15.292Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Center for Long-Term Risk ➔ Stiftung für Effektiven Altruismus

Maybe the real suffering risks we reduced were the good old times EAs could hang out with you in Berlin along the way schnief

comment by haven · 2021-04-02T03:39:22.405Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Could you please rename Fish Welfare Initiative? Initiative is also really hard to spell.

Replies from: edoarad, Hollis Howe, Guy Raveh
comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2021-04-02T06:27:35.002Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

How about Caring Tuna? This would surely get support from Open Phil

comment by Hollis Howe · 2021-04-02T20:40:48.066Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

We could embrace "intitiative," which I type at least twice a day.

comment by Guy Raveh · 2021-04-02T09:47:08.230Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I would propose to unite all animal welfare orgs under one umbrella and call it HappyFarm.

comment by meerpirat · 2021-04-01T15:54:07.782Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Now that the first few learned how to pronounce it:

Schistosomiasis Control Initiative ➔ Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (×3)

comment by Khorton · 2021-04-01T22:44:48.696Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Can you please rename the EA Forum? Thank you

Replies from: edoarad, meerpirat, AnnieAB, edoarad
comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2021-04-02T06:22:31.967Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think that the forum itself is nothing without the people and the community within. We, the users, are the ones that upvote or downvote posts. From this emerges [LW · GW]a collective intelligence that deems what is worthy for the EA community and what should be strongly downvoted to oblivion, which in return explains what content gets written.

I propose to call this collective intelligence The Karma Police.

Replies from: TobiasH, Guy Raveh
comment by TobiasH · 2021-04-03T18:03:15.533Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Arrest this man!

comment by Guy Raveh · 2021-04-02T09:51:14.625Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think this could be slightly improved by noting the uniqueness of our Karma based system from others like Reddit, which is of course effectiveness.

Hence I propose the Ecosystem for Effective Karma, or in short, EEK.

comment by meerpirat · 2021-04-02T05:51:39.599Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Utilitarian

Or how about...

PS, I love utility.

comment by AnnieAB · 2021-04-02T20:22:22.007Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Toby Words :p

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2021-04-02T03:09:47.756Z · EA(p) · GW(p)


comment by Jonas Vollmer · 2021-04-10T12:35:04.097Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

If someone writes another book about EA, it should be titled How to Be Great at Doing The Most Good You Can Do Better

comment by NunoSempere · 2021-04-01T15:38:48.092Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Unsong: The Origins. 

comment by Mati_Roy · 2021-04-01T20:27:29.201Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Good thinking. Names and currency (along with status) are one of the few things you have less when others have more, and so benefit from being put on the blockchain

comment by aaronmayer · 2021-04-13T19:41:29.150Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Lost it at Toby Ordering! 😂 

comment by syk0saje · 2021-04-10T03:26:39.739Z · EA(p) · GW(p)