80,000 Hours' annual review (2020) 2020-04-07T05:48:27.806Z · score: 17 (4 votes)
On the impossibility of supersized machines 2020-04-02T22:09:55.997Z · score: 17 (8 votes)
EA Forum Prize: Winners for February 2020 2020-04-02T00:22:09.933Z · score: 14 (6 votes)
Official EA Forum Feedback Survey 2020-03-31T09:53:28.799Z · score: 38 (12 votes)
What posts do you want someone to write? 2020-03-24T06:41:35.531Z · score: 49 (16 votes)
What are examples of EA work being reviewed by non-EA researchers? 2020-03-24T06:04:58.892Z · score: 55 (27 votes)
List of EA-aligned AMAs 2020-03-19T03:26:42.403Z · score: 9 (2 votes)
Lant Pritchett's "smell test": is your impact evaluation asking questions that matter? 2020-03-18T23:38:35.261Z · score: 36 (10 votes)
What COVID-19 questions should Open Philanthropy pay Good Judgment to work on? 2020-03-18T23:31:18.634Z · score: 36 (12 votes)
What are some 1:1 meetings you'd like to arrange, and how can people find you? 2020-03-18T05:02:16.621Z · score: 27 (10 votes)
EA Organization Updates: February 2020 2020-03-15T06:41:05.426Z · score: 22 (7 votes)
80,000 Hours: Anonymous contributors on flaws of the EA community 2020-03-04T00:32:11.525Z · score: 46 (22 votes)
EA Forum Prize: Winners for January 2020 2020-03-02T12:02:32.207Z · score: 26 (11 votes)
80,000 Hours: Anonymous contributors on EA movement growth 2020-02-18T00:09:58.434Z · score: 30 (12 votes)
EA Organization Updates: January 2020 2020-02-14T06:19:35.194Z · score: 24 (12 votes)
Poverty in Depression-era England: Excerpts from Orwell's "Wigan Pier" 2020-02-12T01:01:42.776Z · score: 15 (4 votes)
Anonymous contributors answer: How honest and candid should high-profile people be? 2020-02-12T00:14:34.254Z · score: 21 (6 votes)
AI Impacts: Historic trends in technological progress 2020-02-12T00:08:21.539Z · score: 55 (23 votes)
Volunteering isn't free 2020-02-04T09:04:26.152Z · score: 40 (22 votes)
80,000 Hours: Ways to be successful that people don't talk about enough 2020-01-31T09:59:02.986Z · score: 11 (5 votes)
EA Forum Prize: Winners for December 2019 2020-01-27T10:33:16.359Z · score: 31 (15 votes)
Lewis Bollard: 10 Years of Progress for Farm Animals 2020-01-24T12:47:21.432Z · score: 23 (9 votes)
EA Organization Updates: December 2019 2020-01-16T11:47:54.077Z · score: 27 (10 votes)
EA Forum Prize: Winners for November 2019 2020-01-16T00:56:19.753Z · score: 26 (8 votes)
Five GCR grants from the Global Challenges Foundation 2020-01-16T00:46:05.580Z · score: 31 (10 votes)
Notes on hiring a copyeditor for CEA 2020-01-09T12:56:37.126Z · score: 89 (45 votes)
Reddit highlight: EA and socialism 2020-01-03T13:46:40.508Z · score: 19 (8 votes)
Purchase fuzzies and utilons separately (Eliezer Yudkowsky) 2019-12-27T02:21:19.723Z · score: 37 (17 votes)
80,000 Hours: Mistakes people make when deciding what work to do 2019-12-27T02:16:46.349Z · score: 11 (6 votes)
Open Philanthropy Staff: Suggestions for Individual Donors (2019) 2019-12-26T17:13:33.894Z · score: 21 (14 votes)
EA Organization Updates: November 2019 2019-12-18T10:39:08.717Z · score: 32 (13 votes)
"Altruism-driven research" (EA meets... plant pathology?) 2019-12-18T02:35:58.886Z · score: 14 (7 votes)
80,000 Hours: Bad habits among people trying to improve the world 2019-12-12T21:04:14.949Z · score: 26 (12 votes)
EA Forum Prize: Winners for October 2019 2019-12-11T10:37:12.132Z · score: 23 (14 votes)
aarongertler's Shortform 2019-11-15T12:40:12.085Z · score: 7 (1 votes)
80,000 Hours: Advice on how to read our advice 2019-11-15T00:00:29.874Z · score: 36 (8 votes)
EA Organization Updates: October 2019 2019-11-14T10:48:54.177Z · score: 33 (15 votes)
80,000 Hours: Before committing to management consulting, consider [other options] 2019-11-12T01:22:33.478Z · score: 14 (3 votes)
EA Leaders Forum: Survey on EA priorities (data and analysis) 2019-11-12T01:14:44.040Z · score: 91 (44 votes)
Wild animal welfare in Hans Christian Andersen (Julia Wise) 2019-11-12T00:42:05.726Z · score: 20 (7 votes)
Forum update: New features (November 2019) 2019-11-09T01:00:50.805Z · score: 57 (24 votes)
EA Forum Prize: Winners for September 2019 2019-10-31T08:01:50.508Z · score: 24 (16 votes)
Reflections on EA Global London 2019 (Mrinank Sharma) 2019-10-29T23:00:11.710Z · score: 24 (9 votes)
How we think about the Forum 2019-10-15T16:24:04.447Z · score: 24 (12 votes)
Who runs the Forum? 2019-10-14T15:35:21.353Z · score: 41 (29 votes)
EA Organization Updates: September 2019 2019-10-10T10:05:47.305Z · score: 33 (12 votes)
List of EA-related email newsletters 2019-10-09T09:51:46.668Z · score: 17 (9 votes)
80,000 Hours: How useful are long-term career plans? 2019-10-09T01:03:42.279Z · score: 11 (4 votes)
EA Handbook 3.0: What content should I include? 2019-09-30T09:17:55.464Z · score: 44 (24 votes)
EA Forum Prize: Winners for August 2019 2019-09-24T03:06:08.264Z · score: 32 (14 votes)


Comment by aarongertler on Official EA Forum Feedback Survey · 2020-04-07T06:47:31.305Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I think there are several good points to what you've written here (for transparency: I upvoted the comment), but I'll share some counterpoints as well.

When I imagine what would happen if we launched a "transparent voting" feature and people couldn't opt out of it, I foresee many people telling me that this feature would make them very worried about ever downvoting any material from people with a high-status/"authoritative" viewpoint on something. I already hear frequently, from a surprisingly wide range of people, that writing critical comments on the Forum is intimidating when the target of criticism is well-versed in the subject or generally a well-respected thinker. 

I'm not certain that transparent voting would actually be more informative in the end (if many fewer people bother to vote at all, and fewer voters vote their true beliefs in controversial cases, that's a lot of lost info).

Comment by aarongertler on Official EA Forum Feedback Survey · 2020-04-07T06:43:17.447Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Tags are under active development and should be available on the Forum soon (though no specific date has been set).

Comment by aarongertler on evelynciara's Shortform · 2020-04-06T21:45:38.092Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Maybe a better question for late May or early June, when classes are over.

Comment by aarongertler on Fundraiser Report: Using Facebook to raise 5288€ · 2020-04-06T09:08:25.883Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for writing this up! Having data and observations for small fundraisers is really nice for people who are considering running similar events in the future. Every fundraiser will be different in some of the specifics, but the more posts like this exist, the better people will be able to predict how much they'll be able to raise (and thus, whether it's worth the effort to put something together).

Comment by aarongertler on What posts you are planning on writing? · 2020-04-06T08:23:46.398Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW
  1. Wonderful!
  2. Yes, I do plan to do this at some point -- in fact, I've added it as something to do this week thanks to your comment, thanks for the push.
  3. That's an interesting idea. I'll pass it along to CEA's tech team, though I'd guess it wouldn't be something that would happen soon (no guaranteed demand, unlikely to increase people's use of the platform, some risk that people accidentally expose sensitive information).
  4. I'm a fan of Claire's suggestion. Not likely to do it myself, because my reasons for donating are pretty quirky and difficult to explain, but I've liked all the posts of this kind that I've seen from others on the Forum.
Comment by aarongertler on evelynciara's Shortform · 2020-04-06T08:13:04.000Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

When suggestions of this type come up, especially for causes that don't have existing EA research behind them, my recommended follow-up is to look for people who study this as normal academics (here, "this" would be "ways that grades and grading policy influence student outcomes"). Then, write to professors who do this work and ask if they plan on taking advantage of the opportunity (here, the natural experiment caused by new grading policies).

There's a good chance that the people you write to will have had this idea already (academics who study a subject are frequently on the lookout for opportunities of this kind, and the drastic changes wrought by COVID-19 should be increasing the frequency with which people think about related studies they could run). And if they haven't, you have the chance to inspire them!

Writing to random professors could be intimidating, but in my experience, even when I've written emails like this as a private citizen without a .edu email address, I frequently get some kind of response; people who've made research their life's work are often happy to hear from members of the public who care about the same odd things they do.

Comment by aarongertler on How do you optimise career choice based entirely on personal fit? · 2020-04-03T00:07:35.783Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Could you say a bit more about the kinds of resources that would be helpful? I'm not clear on whether you're thinking of switching careers or whether you're looking for ideas about how to solve problems and gain skills outside of work.

I will note that lack of sleep can, as you surmised, make a big difference in how you feel about many elements of your life (work included). If you're going to bed at a reasonable time but can't easily fall asleep, some of the comments on this post might be helpful, and I also liked this post (wearing glasses that "block blue light," as the author suggests, has been a real boost for me).

Comment by aarongertler on Is Existential Risk a Useless Category? Could the Concept Be Dangerous? · 2020-04-01T22:55:46.896Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for clarifying. This topic has generally been contentious, so I want to be careful to keep the discussion based on substantive discussion of Torres' ideas or specific wording.

Comment by aarongertler on Is Existential Risk a Useless Category? Could the Concept Be Dangerous? · 2020-04-01T06:45:08.979Z · score: 2 (7 votes) · EA · GW

ælijah: If you're going to accuse other users of having read something superficially, please explain your views in more detail. What do you think the paper's key message is, and what sections/excerpts make you believe this? 

I'll note that Khorton didn't suggest that "it doesn't matter if everyone dies" was what the post's author actually meant to convey - instead, she expressed concern that it could be read in that way, and asked the author to clarify. 


Also, speaking as a Forum moderator: the tone of your comment wasn't really in keeping with the Forum's rules. We discourage even mildly abrasive language if it doesn't contain enough detail for people to be able to respond to your points.

Comment by aarongertler on NunoSempere's Shortform · 2020-04-01T06:29:00.069Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Did you mean to post this using the Markdown editor? Currently, the formatting looks a bit odd from a reader's perspective.

Comment by aarongertler on Effective Animal Advocacy Nonprofit Roles Spot-Check · 2020-04-01T06:20:58.008Z · score: 9 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for posting this! I've come to believe that a lot of common beliefs about the EA job market are based on anecdotes and impressions rather than data on available positions or the population of job-seekers. I'm excited to see AAC taking on this work for animal advocacy roles.

Comment by aarongertler on Official EA Forum Feedback Survey · 2020-03-31T20:49:29.381Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks! I fixed the form a few hours ago.

Comment by aarongertler on What posts do you want someone to write? · 2020-03-31T11:17:10.567Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

What writing currently exists like this?

Future Perfect and a few one-off articles, mostly. Tom Chivers is a journalist with strong EA leanings who routinely writes from that perspective.

Where's best to publish this?

I wasn't thinking that these stories would have to be published by a large media outlet; I just want them to exist somewhere so that I can share them with people who are new to the movement. 

Getting published on a wider platform could be great for certain orgs (e.g. Wave is just a business, I imagine they wouldn't mind the attention), but bad for others (CSET generally keeps its work fairly private). I'd hope that anyone writing one of these hypothetical stories would check the org's publicity preferences before submitting a story anywhere!

Comment by aarongertler on What posts do you want someone to write? · 2020-03-31T11:10:57.544Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

A detailed study of hyper-competent ops people. 

What makes these people so competent? What tools and processes do they use to manage information and set priorities? What does the flow of their workday look like; mostly flitting around between tasks, or mostly focused blocks of time? (And so on.)

Comment by aarongertler on Is donating to AMF and malaria interventions the most cost-effective way to save lives from COVID-19? · 2020-03-31T10:36:41.872Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

It's excellent that you reached out to AMF about this! I think people do that sort of thing slightly less often than they should; people who run effective charities tend to know a lot about their subjects, and they're often happy to answer questions.

Comment by aarongertler on Fundraising for the Center for Health Security: My personal plan and open questions · 2020-03-31T10:31:49.165Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · EA · GW

For what it's worth, this is a totally reasonable topic for a Forum post! Figuring out how to communicate ideas about effective giving is a core part of the EA project, and that's what this post seems to be trying to do.

Have you started the fundraiser yet? If so, how has it been going?

Comment by aarongertler on Normative Uncertainty and the Dependence Problem · 2020-03-31T10:25:28.237Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for summarizing this! I really like seeing people write up literature from EA-adjacent academic work that didn't happen within the community; it's cool to see how EA ideas get picked up and interpreted/criticized by others (see here for more examples).

Comment by aarongertler on Normative Uncertainty and the Dependence Problem · 2020-03-31T10:22:55.991Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I'd be very excited about this! I really appreciate it when people take research effort they already put in, then making it accessible to others (a la Effective Thesis or my own thesis).

Comment by aarongertler on What are examples of EA work being reviewed by non-EA researchers? · 2020-03-27T16:30:10.443Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Do you feel comfortable giving some general impression of what the economists' views were (e.g. "one favorable, two mixed, one unfavorable")? If not, that's understandable!

I would expect EA to have a weaker insistence on citable knowledge than people in other academic fields; do you think the insistence is actually stronger? (Or are most people in academic fields wrong, and EA isn't an exception?)

Comment by aarongertler on MichaelA's Shortform · 2020-03-27T01:11:31.088Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

This was an excellent meta-review! Thanks for sharing it. 

I agree that these little slips of language are important; they can easily compound into very stubborn memes. (I don't know whether the first person to propose a paperclip AI regrets it, but picking a different example seems like it could have had a meaningful impact on the field's progress.)

Comment by aarongertler on An Effective Altruist "Civic Handbook" for the USA (draft, calling for comments and assistance) · 2020-03-26T17:53:58.683Z · score: 9 (6 votes) · EA · GW

I like this! I'm glad to be able to see a lot of your prior work gathered together like this (plus some material I don't remember seeing before).


One concern: I think this document, if seen outside the Forum's context, could be read by people as representing an "official" view of the EA community, rather than one person's views on how to effectively engage with politics.

(The name "Effective Altruist Civic Handbook" feeds into this; something like "Civic Activism through an EA Lens" seems better, though I'm sure you can come up with something less clunky than my example.)

When documents exist that can be shared around independent of an explanatory post, it's good to include info on authorship/purpose to clarify who created them and what their background is.

This is something CEA has struggled with in the past. When we published the second version of the EA Handbook, we didn't initially clarify that CEA had written it, which made it seem like the work of the entire movement rather than the work of a single organization. 

For a positive counterexample, Julia Wise wrote a piece on treatment for alcohol problems which included a note on her experience (mental health training and amateur research skills, no experience in treating substance abuse).

Comment by aarongertler on Lant Pritchett's "smell test": is your impact evaluation asking questions that matter? · 2020-03-25T00:47:20.988Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I see his argument as:

"To create conditions conducive to development, we should have a moderately strong prior in favor of doing things almost every developed country has done, and a moderately strong prior against doing things almost no developed countries have done."

I'm not familiar with Rodrik's work, but my mental model of Pritchett would claim that we should try to find similarities between very different countries that successfully developed, and that such similarities do exist. (My model could be way off, and it doesn't account for most of how I judge development projects.)

I actually didn't read Pritchett as having anything against LLINs, because "stopping malarial mosquitoes from biting people" seems like a thing developed countries generally do. (If he's actually against LLINs and a big promoter of eradication strategies, I'm reading him wrong.)

I also imagine him trying to think backwards from end states: "What would a developed, wealthy Kenya look like? What sorts of work do people do in this hypothetical country? What role do women's self-help groups play? If they've faded away, what role would they have had in enabling development? Why do we think they'd have had that role if we don't have evidence that women's self-help groups have enabled development in other places?"

Comment by aarongertler on Lant Pritchett's "smell test": is your impact evaluation asking questions that matter? · 2020-03-25T00:46:33.922Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

To clarify, Lant Pritchett is a development economist criticizing other development economists here. He's the only person I've heard use "smell test" in this particular field, but it's also a pretty common expression for applying "common sense" to check whether an idea seems good, across many different domains.

Comment by aarongertler on What are examples of EA work being reviewed by non-EA researchers? · 2020-03-25T00:15:05.946Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

The Wolfgang Schwarz writeup is exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for; thank you! 

Will's critique is also a reasonable fit; I was hoping to avoid "EA people reviewing other EA people," but he seems to approach the topic in his capacity as a philosopher and shows no sign of soft-pedaling his critique.

Comment by aarongertler on What are examples of EA work being reviewed by non-EA researchers? · 2020-03-25T00:06:56.535Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Data on "general quality" was my goal here, yes, albeit split up by source (since "EA research" includes everything from published journal articles to informal blog posts). 

Specifics are valuable too, but in my work, I often have to decide which recent research to share, and how widely; I don't expect experts to weigh in very quickly, but a general sense of quality from different sources may help me make better judgments around what to share.

Comment by aarongertler on What are examples of EA work being reviewed by non-EA researchers? · 2020-03-24T09:03:21.875Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

That's also good to see, and I'd appreciate examples! But I think it's a bit less interesting/useful to me because it's what I would expect in general.

I see a lot of people claiming that EA has better research than the norm, others claiming worse than the norm, so I'm curious which opinion actually seems more popular among scholars (vs. the neutral "yeah, this is fine, that's why the journal accepted it" reaction I'd expect to be more common than either of the other reactions).

Comment by aarongertler on What posts do you want someone to write? · 2020-03-24T08:50:34.264Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

If people want to ask other charities, that also seems fine! I suppose I was assuming that EA charities probably do more engagement with small donors (in the sense of "answering lots of questions about their work") than most other charities, and that they might be easier to contact for someone who reads the Forum and sees my post. But I'd guess there would be more value in having a wider sample of organizations.

Comment by aarongertler on A naive analysis on if EA is Talent constrained · 2020-03-24T08:41:35.384Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Slight correction: I spent somewhere between 60 and 90 minutes engaging with this post.

Comment by aarongertler on What posts do you want someone to write? · 2020-03-24T07:03:16.309Z · score: 19 (13 votes) · EA · GW

More journalistic articles about EA projects.

I don't necessarily mean "written by journalists", though there's been a lot of good journalistic coverage of EA.

I mean "in the style of long-form journalism": Telling an interesting story about the work of a person/organization, while mixing in the origin story, interesting details about the people involved, photos, etc.

Examples of projects I think could get the journalistic treatment:

Comment by aarongertler on What posts do you want someone to write? · 2020-03-24T06:56:41.008Z · score: 17 (9 votes) · EA · GW

I want a post on how to be a good donor.

Context: I work with a small foundation that asks a lot of questions when we investigate charities. We sometimes worry that we're annoying the charities we work with without providing much value for them or for ourselves, especially since we don't make grants on the same scale as larger foundations. Even when they tell us our questions are helpful/reasonable, they obviously have a strong incentive to make us feel happy and valued. 

Ideal version of this post: Someone goes to a lot of EA orgs, asks them questions related to the above dilemma, and reports the results. 

Other general questions about "what donors should know" would also be neat: How should someone with no special preferences time their donations? How much more valuable is unrestricted than restricted funding? And so on.

Comment by aarongertler on What posts do you want someone to write? · 2020-03-24T06:51:42.128Z · score: 9 (7 votes) · EA · GW

An AMA from someone who works at a really big foundation that leans EA but isn't quite "EA-aligned" in the same way as Open Philanthropy (e.g. Gates, Rockefeller, Chan/Zuckerberg, Skoll).

I'm interested to hear how those organizations compare different causes, distribute resources between areas/divisions, evaluate the impact of their grantmaking, etc.

Comment by aarongertler on What posts do you want someone to write? · 2020-03-24T06:48:57.655Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

A post about when we should and should not use "lives saved" language in describing EA work.

I find that telling people they can save a life for $5000 often leads to a lot of confusion: Whose life is being saved? What if they die of something else a few months later?Explaining QALYs isn't too hard if you have a couple of minutes, but you often have a lot less time than that.

Is there some shorthand we can use for "giving 50 healthy years, in expectation, across a population" that makes it sound anywhere nearly as good as simply "saving a life"? How important is it to be accurate in this dimension, vs. simply allowing people to conflate QALY/VSL with "saving a specific person"?

Comment by aarongertler on What posts you are planning on writing? · 2020-03-24T06:34:06.153Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I'm enthusiastic about seeing EAs do good work in a variety of fields, including those unrelated to standard EA cause areas. I'd be really interested to see you work on this post, and I'd be happy to read over a draft if you want feedback before you publish.

Comment by aarongertler on What posts you are planning on writing? · 2020-03-24T06:18:26.284Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I'll throw my hat in as someone who would be interested to read this!

Comment by aarongertler on What posts you are planning on writing? · 2020-03-24T06:17:44.501Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I'd be really interested to see this! It's one of those causes that pops up from time to time in writing by EA-adjacent organizations, but I don't have a sense for what the core numbers even look like (e.g. what debt relief allows countries to accomplish that isn't feasible without debt relief, what the actual cost of relief is to countries that hold debt).

Comment by aarongertler on What posts you are planning on writing? · 2020-03-24T06:14:32.403Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

What's the status of this project? Even if you no longer plan to publish most of these posts, I suspect that some people would be interested in seeing even very rough versions of the material, and I'd be happy to look over anything you weren't sure about posting!

Comment by aarongertler on What posts you are planning on writing? · 2020-03-24T06:12:14.411Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

It's been cool to see some of these go up on the Forum since you posted this!

I'd be interested to see the veg*ism survey if you still think you might work on it at some point. And of course, I'm happy to look over drafts of anything you write if you want feedback.

Comment by aarongertler on What posts you are planning on writing? · 2020-03-24T06:10:33.918Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I know it's been a while since you posted this, but if you still hope to post it someday, and if there's anything I can do to help with the last 10%, please let me know!

(With everyone cooped up inside, I figured this might be a good chance for folks to get to the writing projects they thought they'd never have time for, though of course not everyone has become less busy as a result of the pandemic.)

Comment by aarongertler on What posts you are planning on writing? · 2020-03-24T06:07:32.589Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Checking back on this thread now that everyone's spending more time cooped up inside :-/

Have you made progress on any of these ideas? I'd be happy to help!

Comment by aarongertler on EA Global Live Broadcast · 2020-03-23T07:52:59.751Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Sorry about that! I've replaced the previous link with one that should never expire.

Comment by aarongertler on EA Global Live Broadcast · 2020-03-21T11:17:45.604Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

The "EA Corner" Discord has quite a few users and an ea-global channel set aside for live conversation, but it's a community project and isn't linked to CEA.

Comment by aarongertler on The Hammer and the Dance · 2020-03-21T10:45:02.351Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Fair enough. I did think the article was excellent, and I encourage people to read it in full.

Comment by aarongertler on COVID-19 may cause permanent "reduced lung function" to young people, damaging productivity and intelligence · 2020-03-21T06:29:33.395Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

This seems like a good time to discuss Forum policy around posts about COVID-19. 

I think that we should try to avoid about just posting general pandemic news when there's nothing especially actionable about it. Reading this piece tells me something worrisome about the virus, but I can't see how it's meant to change my behavior, or pull me in the direction of supporting a policy I didn't support already, etc.

Does this piece have any special relevance for the EA community that I might not be missing? You write "people familiar with EA ideas probably should not be disproportionately vulnerable to the outbreak," but why would someone's "EA ideas" make them more vulnerable in the first place?

Comment by aarongertler on The Hammer and the Dance · 2020-03-21T03:33:48.209Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · EA · GW

For posts like these, I recommend providing a brief summary of the main argument/most notable points in the linked article. Otherwise, it's hard for discussion to coalesce around any arguments in particular. (In my experience, linkposts get a lot more discussion when they include a summary and a bit of commentary.)

I certainly plan to read the article, though! Thanks for the link.

Comment by aarongertler on Examples for impact of Working at EAorg instead of ETG · 2020-03-19T02:58:37.523Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Note that GiveWell stated longer-term plans to "more than double" the size of their research team by early 2022. I assume that one of their bottlenecks is that they recently chose a new Managing Director who will add more research management capacity, but who doesn't start until July 2020. I wouldn't be surprised if hiring scales up after that (though I don't know for sure that it will).

Comment by aarongertler on Halffull's Shortform · 2020-03-19T02:39:06.756Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Kelsey Piper's "On 'Fringe' Ideas" makes a pro-risk argument in a certain sense (that we should be kind and tolerant to people whose ideas seem strange and wasteful).

I'm not sure if this is written up anywhere, but one simple argument you can make is that many current EA projects were risky when they were started. GiveWell featured two co-founders with no formal experience in global health evaluating global health charities, and nearly collapsed in scandal within its first year. 80,000 Hours took on an impossibly broad task with a small staff (I don't know whether any had formal career advisement experience). And yet, despite various setbacks, both projects wound up prospering, without doing permanent damage to the EA brand (maybe a few scrapes in the case of 80K x Earning to Give, but that seems more about where the media's attention was directed than what 80K really believed).

Comment by aarongertler on AMA: Elie Hassenfeld, co-founder and CEO of GiveWell · 2020-03-18T10:08:20.023Z · score: 14 (6 votes) · EA · GW

You and Holden Karnofsky have worked together on GiveWell and Open Philanthropy for more than twelve years at this point. I'm really interested in this partnership, which may be unique within the EA movement in its longevity and the scale of what you've accomplished together.

One element of a good partnership is that partners often have complementary strengths.

What are some things you do well or enjoy doing that aren't in Holden's wheelhouse?

What are some things Holden does well or enjoys doing that aren't in your wheelhouse?

Comment by aarongertler on AMA: Leah Edgerton, Executive Director of Animal Charity Evaluators · 2020-03-18T10:03:31.738Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · EA · GW

GiveWell is conducting research in new areas, in hopes that they'll find charities to recommend in those areas even though this hasn't happened before. 

Is ACE currently doing any work like this -- to find new promising areas that will open up more charities to potentially be recommended? If so, what area(s) are being looked at?

Comment by aarongertler on What are some 1:1 meetings you'd like to arrange, and how can people find you? · 2020-03-17T01:41:26.990Z · score: 16 (9 votes) · EA · GW

Who are you?

I'm Aaron! I work at CEA! You can learn more in my Forum bio. (You should consider making a bio, too.)


People can talk to me about:

  • Writing a Forum post, or getting one reviewed before publication
  • Writing and editing other EA content
  • Finding work as a writer in an EA-aligned role
  • Communicating with the public about EA (though I may refer you to my colleagues in some cases)

I also read a lot of stuff for my job. If you want to find EA content on a specific topic, there's a good chance I can help.

Finally, I've had some recent professional success with Magic: the Gathering, and I routinely chat with people about that game, so you're welcome to ask questions about Magic if you're one of the many EA folks who moonlights as a planeswalker.


I'd like to talk to other people about:

  • I'm very interested in questions about EA community growth: How much of it should there be? How do we avoid the pitfalls of fast expansion? What groups of people should we be reaching that we aren't?
    • If you have a lot of experience introducing people to EA or certain concepts within it, I'd be curious to hear your takeaways.
  • Personal donation strategy. As a small donor, how much time should I spend considering my options? Are meta-features of my donation (e.g. publicizing it) possibly more impactful than the donation itself? Etc.
  • Communicating with the public about EA. How could the EA Newsletter be better? Who are some people who are doing a great job with EA social media content?


How to get in touch: (for questions you want answered in writing)

Calendly (if you want to set up a live meeting)

Comment by aarongertler on More Dakka for Coronavirus: We need immediate human trials of many vaccine-candidates and simultaneous manufacturing of all of them · 2020-03-17T00:24:39.339Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Have some of these ideas been brought up with relevant regulatory agencies? Have any of those agencies formally declared their unwillingness to relax standards in these cases?

Given all the unusual actions being taken around COVID, I'd be a bit surprised if these options were really off the table, or if the relevant agencies weren't considering many of them.