I work 0.75 FTE as a Group Support Contractor at the Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA). I also am a co-founder and advisor of EA Philippines. I was on a community building grant from CEA to work full-time on EA Philippines in 2021. I was formerly a Senior Product Designer at First Circle, a FinTech company in Manila. You can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or add me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianctan/.
Really happy to see this book being available widely now and publicized more! I'll copy over my Goodreads review here below. I highly recommend the book:
"This was the most useful book I read in 2021. It's an amazing book for people interested in making a large impact with their career, especially those interested in starting a charity or working for one. They tell you why and how to start a high-impact charity, while giving you the tools and tips to make great decisions as a charity entrepreneur, which are useful even if you don't start a charity. Give it a read!"
I was part of Charity Entrepreneurship's incubation program last year, where we also had a 4-week reading group to discuss this book with other incubatees, and we also had supplementary video content during the program. But reading this book alone also has a lot of value in itself without those!
You can share this link instead, which is better than the Softr view, and this means people don't need to get comment access to be able to view the Airtable grid. It also prevents people from being able to see each other's emails if they check the base collaborators. To find that link, I just pressed "Share" at the top right of the base, and scrolled down to the bottom of that modal/pop-up to find the link.
Cool that you made this, and that you even made a Softr page! Although I think the Softr page is worse than just sharing a public grid view of the Airtable.
I realize it would be cool to have a similar database for all EA-related organisations. Jamie Gittins made one on Notion and has a Forum post here listing EA orgs, but they're both not easily filterable. It could have similar attributes to the Airtable you have. I saw that Taymon also has a Google Sheet, but it would be nice to have it on an Airtable and have it have more attributes, to make it more easily filterable and more colorful.
Hey Will, no worries and thanks for the response! Yeah I think I updated my views a bit from some of these discussions I had with others on the Forum about whether it should have profile photos. I'm now probably just 50% in favor of the EA Forum having profile photos, whereas I was probably 80% in favor before.
I think a good compromise is maybe there are ways to make the Forum seem friendlier and more welcoming to newcomers without having to use profile photos. That's the problem I wanted to solve anyway. I see how profile photos can degrade the experience for more engaged Forum users, so maybe there are other solutions, but I won't try to talk about them here.
Thanks so much for posting this! For those who want to know, as of now, the 2:1 match is still ongoing, and there are still $213,811 left in matching funds (see live count here). I assume this will run out within the next 1-3 days.
This is amazing work! I have a bunch of thoughts, which I'll number so it's easier for you or others to respond to. Sorry that this comment is a bit long; you can respond to the numbers one-by-one instead of all at once if you'd like:
I would love to hear what GiveWell's response is to your findings here. As you show, I think there's a strong case to be made for why StrongMinds should be a GiveWell top charity. I'm definitely not an expert in this though, and maybe there are good reasons GiveWell or others have for why StrongMinds shouldn't be a GiveWell top charity.
It will likely take some time before GiveWell would be able to make StrongMinds a top charity, but it would be exciting if StrongMinds (or any mental health charity) could make it to GiveWell's list of recommended charities as early as the end of 2022. It would be nice to hear from GiveWell about the following too if they:
do push through with doing moral weights work related to SWB (which I think would be valuable and important to do)
will assess the cost-effectiveness of task-shifted psychotherapy in low- and middle-income countries, i.e. by creating a program review on it
plan on doing anything else with regards to assessing interventions in terms of SWB
I'm looking forward to HLI's report on the cost-effectiveness of deworming in terms of SWB! I'm also looking forward to your reports on other interventions you think might be just as cost-effective (or even better) than StrongMinds.
Just thought I'd share this here: I and Shen Javier from EA Philippines recently got a grant from the EA Infrastructure Fund to lead a 6-month part-time research project to find the top mental health charity ideas in the Philippines. This is our follow-up project as part of our participation in Charity Entrepreneurship's 2021 incubation program, specifically their region-specific research track. We have recently hired 3 part-time research analysts (all with more background in mental health and research than Shen and I) to help us with this project.
Our goal is to find 1-2 charity ideas that are highly cost-effective to implement in the Philippines (and competitive with StrongMinds), and that Charity Entrepreneurship will be willing to incubate in 2022. These reports of yours will likely be very useful for us, which is why I took the time to read this report and browse through some of the others linked here. And I can see how we can build off and learn from this research in various ways. We'll probably email you within the next couple of weeks to schedule a call with you and/or Joel, with more specific questions about HLI's research and to get advice about our project!
You talk about how you estimate the long-term effects on SWB of StrongMinds and psychotherapy via modeling it as exponentially decaying. I want to understand this better - does this mean you are saying that improvements to subjective wellbeing are high post-treatment, and then basically decrease a lot (eventually to zero) over time? Is this saying that these beneficiaries become depressed again, or is this saying that their continuous lack of depression is more going to be due to other factors (and not due to the initial StrongMinds program)? If none of what I wrote above is correct, feel free to explain it better.
Hope it's okay I ask this publicly, but feel free to respond privately if you'd like: How much time did each of these reports take (on cash transfers, psychotherapy, StrongMinds, and this summary report)?
(Optional) Do you see HLI possibly becoming like GiveWell in the future, but with charity recommendations based on which ones improve subjective wellbeing the most? Although maybe you'd want another organization to do the charity analysis, while you focus on the intervention analysis or bigger-picture research questions.
This might make sense as a vision if GiveWell doesn't plan on recommending some charities that do well on improving SWB (i.e. StrongMinds). Hopefully GiveWell does though.
(Optional) I'm not sure if you'll answer this, since you probably are quite uncertain, but do you tentatively think that donating to StrongMinds would be better than donating to any of the life-saving GiveWell top charities (i.e. AMF)? I know you've written about this before here, but I wonder if you have updated views on this.
Thanks for making this. Did you consider making this into an Airtable? It could also be a Google spreadsheet, but I think an Airtable would work better.
An Airtable would be slightly easier to manage and update over time than a post, and it would also be easier to filter and scan through (i.e. if you had columns for cause areas, usual grant amounts, and application deadlines)
Thanks! I think these updates are good. Some thoughts/suggestions:
Maybe instead of saying "unique clients" you can say "unique devices" in the note about the data collection issue.
I'm unsure about how valuable or apt "Views by unique devices > 5 minutes" because some Forum posts take less than 5 minutes to read. So that data point will be irrelevant for those points.
I think some people will not know what "Bounce rate" is, so maybe you still need an icon that people can click or hover on to explain what that means and/or how it's calculated. Maybe you can also say in that tooltip that "The lower the bounce rate, the better".
This is nice of you to offer. Could I or others refer EAs who are still taking their undergraduate degree, but are interested in and/or working towards a career in software development?
I know ~3 Filipinos interested in EA who are 3rd year or 4th year university students, and might want to have a call (or more than one, i.e. a monthly mentoring call) with someone who could give them some advice or mentorship about software engineering.
On #3, yeah I'd be interested to hear other's views too.
On #4 and 4.5, ah I see. Personally I think # of reads (i.e. # of views where the user spent at least 50% of the time it takes to read the article) or average time spent would be more interesting to me than the bounce rate, although I'm unsure.
Got it re: Google assistant, EA Forum podcast, and Speechify!
Re: Natural reader:
do you use the Premium or the Plus plan? The Premium plan is only $5/month if paid annually, while the Plus one is $9/month if paid annually.
Have you tried using the mobile app? I downloaded it just now. The reviews aren't great but maybe the latest update fixed some issues. I don't think it has the ability to let you queue next articles though, so I might try out @Voice again.
This is cool! I have some specific thoughts and questions on the TTS software that you list for personal use, and how other TTS / podcast options might compete with this Library:
What I personally do to listen to an article I'm on is I say "Read it" to the Google Assistant on my phone, and it reads aloud any article I view on my phone in a really nice AI voice. They have a few nice voices to choose from, with different accents. I think it's even a bit more human-like than the current one used by The Nonlinear Library, which is already pretty human-like. So I think I'm likely to stick to using my Google Assistant than the Library, although this could be useful for when I want to download and listen to EA articles when I'm offline.
My phone is a Google Pixel 4a running Android 11, but I think this read aloud feature is probably available on any Android phone with Google Assistant. Have you tried using it? If yes, what made you not mention it in this article? I haven't tried using Evie, and I think I tried @Voice before and wasn't pleased with it.
My guess is the Google Assistant is a bit better (in terms of ease of use and voice quality) than Evie or @Voice. It has these 2 other cons though (aside from not being usable offline), so maybe that's why it might still be valuable for Nonlinear to make the Nonlinear Library:
There's no way to queue a next article to read out loud
Once you close the app, it doesn't save where you are at
Have you or others you know tried Speechify as a TTS? I know the founder. I tried it before and they have nice premium voices, but I find it somewhat expensive at around $140/year.
Do you pay for Natural Reader? If yes, do you generally recommend the paid plan?
I guess there's less need now for the EA Forum podcast now that we have the Nonlinear Library?
To clarify, the data collection issue was in getting the daily # of views by unique devices in the first half of 2021 right? That's unfortunate, but anyway hopefully it doesn't happen again.
I don't see anything at all about that note on posts older than June 2021. So yes it would be good to mke that noticeable.
Yeah I think this dashboard would be more useful than the current implementation. It would take authors 3 clicks to go see the analytics of their post currently, and it's much more valuable and easier to see in one table which of my posts got more views, reads, and karma.
In the table or in the individual view, you might even want to include a stat for "read ratio" like Medium does. I wonder though if what the EA Forum should count as a "read" is not just views >10 seconds, but more like a "view where the user spent at least 50% of the estimated time it takes to read that article." An average time people spent on the post could be useful too.
I saw that for my posts that I viewed the analytics of, even if they were published before June 2021, the graphed "Daily Data" only goes as far back as June 2021. But I thought based on the PR FAQ for this feature that the data is "based on engagement going back to March 30, 2020." So is the "Daily Data" graph only able to show data as far back as June 2021, or is it only able to show the last 4 months? Maybe for posts that were published more than 4 months ago, you can state something like "This graph shows data only for the last 4 months."
For the view counts under "Cumulative Data", how far back does that data go? It might be good for you to state in that section if a post was published earlier than how far back the data goes.
Are you considering launching a "Post Stats" dashboard soon (i.e. within the next 3 months), similar to Medium.com's "Stats" dashboard? It would likely be valuable for authors to view the stats ("All views", "Views by unique devices", and "Views by unique devices, on page for > 10 sec") of multiple posts all in one table. You could also include the karma count in that table. Maybe you can shorten the headers to "Views", "Unique views", and"Reads" too so it would fit, with tooltips to explain what those headers mean. (I hope it's alright I'm giving quite specific feedback - I think it helps.)
I'm attaching below an image of Medium's Stats dashboard for those who aren't familiar with it. The top-half of Medium's stats dashboard also has nice aggregate data on # of views and reads in the last 30 days, and that would be cool to see on the EA Forum too, but that's probably less valuable than just the table view below.
I know you said that you'd like feedback via the feature suggestions thread or via private message, but I thought more people would see it here. If you'd like me to post this on the feature suggestions thread as well, let me know!
There's a book and audiobook for Overcoming Perfectionism, and I think some EAs may score high in perfectionism, especially when it comes to their work and/or in trying to be highly impactful.
I've listened to the first hour of the audiobook, which is newly released, and it's been somewhat helpful. I'm not sure if I'll finish the book though, and I may not. I wouldn't quite recommend it fully yet, given I haven't finished it, but I like what I've listened to so far.
I think I am somewhat of a perfectionist, so just knowing that this is a problem that others share, is likely generally not helpful, and can be overcome, has been valuable.
I found it a bit helpful for lessening my guilt in feeling that I could spend more hours working on EA stuff, or that I could be achieving more impact. But I've only listened to the first ~8 articles so far. I was listening to the audiobook version, which is pretty good quality.
My understanding is that most of these standout charities are not likely to become future top charities within the next few years.
GiveWell instead gives incubation grants to organizations/projects that would support the development of future top charities, and the organizations they grant to are usually not their standout charities (except for their 2020 grant to DMI and a 2017 grant to Zusha!). Some organizations they have given incubation grants to are Fortify Health, Pure Earth, and Centre for Pesticide Suicide Prevention.
I'm not sure if it's necessary for GiveWell to make a list of these potential future top charities. Maybe just looking at which organizations they give incubation grants to might serve the same purpose?
Thanks so much for taking these notes! I've put some suggestions. We normally phrase EA Philippines as EA PH and not EAP, but that's a minor thing. And it's a community building grant I'm on, not a community grant.
Could I ask the Hispanic EA community to even link to your notes in the YouTube video's description? That might help people find it.
Another thing I would have liked for the video was there to be timestamps to certain questions/topics, so people wondering what my answers were can view those. But anyway I think these notes work too.
I could say much more about this topic, but I'll keep my comment short for lack of time:
I agree that it would be better if EA was more representative and had more geographic and ethnic diversity. I think that's true though regardless of if this century is the most important century. I still strongly upvoted this post though because it highlights how EA's diversity is important from a longtermist perspective too.
If you or anyone else is interested about the topic of growing EA in developing countries, you can watch this Q&A I did with the Hispanic EA community about how we started and grew EA Philippines, and some advice of mine that might cross-apply to other groups starting or operating in developing countries.