We Could Move $80 Million to Effective Charities, Pineapples Included

post by DonyChristie · 2017-12-14T04:40:26.648Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · EA · GW · Legacy · 17 comments

Want up to $80 million to go to effective charity?

An anonymous crypto-millionaire is donating that much in Bitcoin. They are taking suggestions HERE on Reddit, and they are taking applications from nonprofits at PineappleFund.org (application here). You can also private message them on Reddit or email them at contact@pineapplefund.org!

What can we do to help them donate to more effective nonprofits? Here are some ideas:

1) Comment! You can make a new, top-level comment or reply to the previous ones. Here are some thoughts on good commenting practice:

  1. Take a look at the previous EA comments, to both support with comments of your own and inspiration. Here are two highly-upvoted ones mentioning effective altruism. (1, 2)
  2. Don’t be an asshole. I know it’s annoying to see worse charities getting attention but don’t bring it up, just ignore it. Be kind. Be positive! :) Don’t be spammy. Add thoughtfulness and variety to your comments and messages. We don’t want to just look like a brigade of mindless drones. Remember the Unilateralist’s Curse. Don’t give us a bad image. Think like a virtue ethicist here. If in doubt, don’t do anything.
  3. Think about content. Here are some links you can send:   https://www.givewell.org/
    Singer’s TED Talk
    What is effective altruism?
    The Greatest Good (positive Atlantic article)
    Effective Altruism (The Washington Post, short but links to stuff)
    Effective Altruism: Where Charity and Rationality Meet
    Use any others that you can think of!
  4. Here's a great resource for EA Concepts to explain.

2) If you represent a nonprofit: apply for funding here! The earlier the better!

  1. Similarly: If you’re Peter Singer or Holden Karnofsky or Will MacAskill, etc., like, maybe make a comment on the post and/or contact the person? Aubrey de Grey did it. :)

3) Wacky ideas:

  1. Consider giving Reddit Gold to signal-boost comments you like?
  2. Buy and email them a copy of books like Doing Good Better (comment if you’ve done that so there’s no duplication of effort). (EDIT: Carl Shulman did this!)
  3. Pineapple-themed memes (do reddit comments support images?).
  4. If you’re a journalist or blogger, consider writing an article praising this person and reference effective altruism under the same breath?
  5. Make this the most gilded post of all time so it gets more attention?

4) Comment with any suggestions here and I'll add them.


This could be really impactful. Some bad napkin math on the value of an upvote: If an upvote takes 5 seconds, and it's one of 1000 on a top-level comment, and that comment has a 1/100 chance of counterfactually moving $1 million according to EA principles, then the upvote is worth $2/second or $7200/hour equivalent donation to EA charities. Of course, the variance is high and the value depends on what one does. It's also hard to avoid double-counting causal responsibility for collective efforts. My brain can't explicitly math this very well right now, feel free to make a better estimate of the value of different actions in the comments. Eyeballing it, it seems worth acting on but it does require some thought, time, and energy if you want an outsized impact.
Point is, $80 million is at stake and this guy wants ideas for donation opportunities. If we wait too long then we will lose millions to the defective altruists who want it for the homeless shower-bus that is fuelled by the wishes of dying puppies! This is a real opportunity to do some good by being a keyboard warrior altruist; think for a moment how big of a number that is!
However, you might be one of the lucky few to have high opportunity costs associated with this, if so then go do that awesome thing that's better. For those of us who do want to spend some time collectively moving millions, I sincerely hope we can make a difference here. Will the highest good into being with every keystroke. Just do it!
Pineapple Shia Labeouf holding a Bitcoin
 Many thanks to Avraham Eisenberg, Harlan Stewart, and Matthew Barnett for assisting.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Carl_Shulman · 2017-12-14T18:17:50.180Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Buy and email them a copy of books like Doing Good Better (comment if you’ve done that so there’s no duplication of effort).

I like this one, and just sent Doing Good Better and Superintelligence with some explanations to their email.

comment by Peter_Hurford · 2017-12-27T16:36:28.725Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

He ended up donating $5M to GiveDirectly. People are giving him grief in the announcement though... maybe we should give him some love?

comment by itaibn · 2017-12-14T16:54:50.222Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

I've spent some time thinking and investigating what the current state of affairs is, and here's my conclusions:

I've been reading through PineappleFund's comments. Many are responses to solicitations for specific charities with him endorsing them as possibilities. One of these was for SENS foundation. Matthew_Barnett suggested that this is evidence that he particularly cares about long-term future causes, but given the diversity of other causes he endorsed I think it is pretty weak evidence.

They haven't yet commented on any of the subthreads specifically discussing EA. However, these subthreads are high up on the Reddit sorting algorithm and have many comments endorsing EA. This is already a good position and is difficult to improve: They either like what they see or they don't. It may be better if the top-level comments explicitly described and linked to a specific charity since that is what they responded well to in other comments, but I am cautious about making such surface-level generalizations which might have more to do with the distribution of existing comments than PineappleFund's tendencies.

Keep in mind that soliciting upvotes for a comment is explicitly against Reddit rules. I understand if you think that the stakes of this situation are more important than these rules, but be sure you are consciously aware of the judgment you have made.

comment by Carl_Shulman · 2017-12-14T17:41:40.840Z · score: 20 (18 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Keep in mind that soliciting upvotes for a comment is explicitly against Reddit rules. I understand if you think that the stakes of this situation are more important than these rules, but be sure you are consciously aware of the judgment you have made.

I'd say our policy should be 'just don't do that.' EA has learned its lesson on this from GiveWell.



Because we believe that trust, cooperation, and accurate information are essential to doing good, we strive to be honest and trustworthy. More broadly, we strive to follow those rules of good conduct that allow communities (and the people within them) to thrive. We also value the reputation of effective altruism, and recognize that our actions reflect on it.

comment by itaibn · 2017-12-14T18:19:31.703Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Indeed, maybe I should made the point more harshly. To be clear, that comment is not about something people might do, it's about what's already present in the top post, which I see as breaking the Reddit rules.

I used soft language because I was worried about EA discussions breaking into arguments whenever someone suggests a good thing to do, and was worried that I might have erred too much in the other direction in other contexts. I still don't feel I have a good intuition on how confrontational I should be.

comment by Carl_Shulman · 2017-12-14T18:55:11.274Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think it was an understandable first thought for someone who didn't know those rules, and Dony shouldn't be castigated for not knowing about them in a useful post about an important topic. But I think we should be definite about not violating the rules (e.g. by editing the post) now that everyone involved knows about them, while pursuing Dony's other good ideas.

comment by DonyChristie · 2017-12-14T21:09:54.558Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Keep in mind that soliciting upvotes for a comment is explicitly against Reddit rules. I understand if you think that the stakes of this situation are more important than these rules, but be sure you are consciously aware of the judgment you have made.

Oh dear! No, I didn't explicitly realize this beyond passing thoughts. In retrospect, I'm confused why this wasn't cached in my mind as being against reddiquette. I should eat my own dogfood regarding brigading. I edited it so it's not soliciting. Let me know here or privately if there are any further fixes I should make to the post (i.e. if I should just remove the links to the known EA comments).

comment by Matthew_Barnett · 2017-12-14T04:50:10.487Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Just a thought: if you think that earning-to-give is a good strategy, then this is one of the best things you can do as an effective altruist. Just to put things in perspective here, if you donated $50,000 to an effective charity for 20 years, then you would be doing just about as much good as merely leaving a good comment in that thread. I hope that helps to internalize just what's at stake here.

Just make sure that the Pineapple fund doesn't generate some animosity towards EA. If it takes 100 good reasons to change someone's mind, it only takes 1 really bad one to turn them away. The person doing the giveaway said that they are interested in the SENS foundation. This is pretty good evidence that they care about the long-term future. We might be able to do the most good if we focus our efforts on that cause area specifically.

comment by Cullen_OKeefe · 2018-03-26T21:49:56.032Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

A final update for this: it looks like they have stopped considering new applications. They have made grants to the following (arguably) EA orgs:

  • GiveDirectly ($2 MM)
  • Possible ($1 MM)
  • MAPS ($5 MM)
  • SENS ($2 MM)

Total directed to EA orgs: $10MM

Apologies if I'm missing any.

comment by Cullen_OKeefe · 2017-12-21T23:24:04.928Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

I'm running a PredictionBook prediction on the success of this: https://predictionbook.com/predictions/188373 :-)

comment by Denkenberger · 2017-12-19T18:13:17.040Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for letting us all know! I put Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED) into the running. It's great to see so much support for EA in the discussion.

comment by brunoparga · 2017-12-14T23:13:38.755Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

I messaged Nate Soares of MIRI for them to apply, in case they hadn't done it yet. If they do, the post should probably be updated to reflect that (same for other EA charities).

Edit: they've already applied.

comment by vaniver · 2017-12-15T17:20:28.350Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks! Also, for future opportunities like this, probably the fastest person to respond will be Colm.

comment by Cullen_OKeefe · 2018-01-17T06:53:58.076Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

It looks like they also donated to Possible, which is a TLYCS charity :-)

comment by Mjreard · 2017-12-15T04:38:27.658Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Am I violating Reddiquette by advising people to browse the thread, use ctrl+F, and sort by new to find comments they might enjoy?

comment by Khorton · 2017-12-14T10:14:25.819Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Commented for AMF. https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/7jj0oa/comment/dr8f0es