Posts

High School EA Outreach 2019-05-07T02:04:14.664Z · score: 74 (35 votes)
SHIC Will Suspend Outreach Operations 2019-03-07T16:07:03.465Z · score: 169 (70 votes)
Announcing the EA donation swap system 2018-11-25T08:09:17.760Z · score: 55 (23 votes)
Project for Awesome: You can move ~$1K to a top charity by making a short video - no talent required! 2017-12-07T00:14:52.652Z · score: 9 (9 votes)
Review of EA New Zealand’s ‘Doing Good Better’ book giveaway 2017-06-09T18:38:36.017Z · score: 20 (20 votes)

Comments

Comment by cafelow on Sperm sorting in cattle · 2019-07-16T10:34:58.286Z · score: 7 (6 votes) · EA · GW

The practice might be different in different countries, but in many countries (I know the most about NZ) dairy cows are impregnated every year to keep their milk supply at a high level. The dairy cows are slaughtered after about 4 years, so there are far more calves born than can be used by the industry. This means that a decent proportion of the female calves are slaughtered alongside their brothers at a few days old so sex selection of sperm won't change the number of unwanted calves. If there was a way to induce lactation without pregnancy that would make sex selection very useful.

Comment by cafelow on [deleted post] 2019-07-16T10:21:12.991Z

To make this a low effort action it would be helpful if you could link the voting page or otherwise tell us how to vote and how long it takes to do so.

Comment by cafelow on Latest EA Updates for June 2019 · 2019-07-03T02:17:24.869Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I'm getting a lot out of these monthly updates David. Thank you. Any chance they could be subscribed to in a newsletter or at least put on a website? I'd like to recommend them as a great way of staying up to date, as a step up from the shorter EA newsletter.

(I know you have the EA London newsletters, which have a lot of overlap to these updates).

Comment by cafelow on High School EA Outreach · 2019-05-14T03:14:49.201Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Just a note to say that Brenton's conclusions have been updated above to add estimates of the overall results of the outreach activities mentioned in this post. https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/L5t3EPnWSj7D3DpGt/high-school-ea-outreach#Brenton_s_conclusions

Comment by cafelow on EA Still Needs an Updated and Representative Introductory Guidebook · 2019-05-12T19:47:42.486Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I agree Evan. I still give out many Doing Good Betters (hoping people read past the poverty sections) and only send people the Handbook if they've engaged with EA ideas for a while. The intro book would ideally be written with someone with a high status in the EA community and the world in general, as even an excellent intro book may not supplant MacAskill and Singer's intro books. I'm wondering if the best intro book would be a new edition of Doing Good Better with less on global poverty to allow for more on other cause areas. That would give the new book status and mean the outdated edition will automatically stop being the default intro book (Of course that would require a lot of Will's time, even if a coauthor was brought in).

Comment by cafelow on High School EA Outreach · 2019-05-10T11:40:02.830Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

My impression from my outreach to all ages is that founders effects are pretty significant (including who we network with, and how we usually communicate in a way that people like ourselves would find appealing) - I've found a wide variety of people find the basic ideas appealing.

Also the capability to get fully involved is pretty biased towards young people with few commitments and a lot of choice over what career path they take.

But of course that doesn't rule out a decent skew in who is likely to become deeply interested - I do think a skew is very likely at least for the more "weird" EA ideas.

One thing to note about the the Kagan/Fitz study, is that I believe it used a fairly mild specification of "Interest in Effective Giving" along the lines of whether they support charities overseas rather than in the US, rather than a more out-there specifications including, I dunno, worrying about insect sentience, or what they think of the potential value of interplanetary colonisation.

Comment by cafelow on High School EA Outreach · 2019-05-09T23:29:11.775Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I presume you mean this survey by Ari Kagan and Nick Fitz? https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/MDxaD688pATMnjwmB/to-grow-a-healthy-movement-pick-the-low-hanging-fruit

Comment by cafelow on High School EA Outreach · 2019-05-07T20:39:19.490Z · score: 11 (8 votes) · EA · GW

3 out of the 5 EA-aligned teachers who contributed to the post were from quite elite schools. In London we only got around to contacting schools with high grades (we had a sorted list, and were slowly working our way down the list). In Greater Vancouver we contacted every high school. I haven't done any careful analysis, but from eyeballing the data, there doesn't seem to be a clear correlation between school ranking and interest in running our workshops. Nor does there seem to be a clear correlation between school ranking and interest in advanced workshops.

From the data we collected, there is nothing to suggest students from elite schools are more "interested" in EA than the average population. However, it is probably fair to say students from elite schools are on average more able to act upon EA principles as they get older, so targeting elite schools could be justified for that reason.

Comment by cafelow on SHIC Will Suspend Outreach Operations · 2019-03-11T09:46:12.545Z · score: 46 (13 votes) · EA · GW

Good question Ozzie. In the start of 2018 we mostly focussed on getting into schools and on the surveys (metrics 1 and 2 above), because they were our first hurdles and we were very uncertain on how these would go until we started the project.

However that meant we didn't optimise our workshops for engaging students long term (metric 3) for several months after starting the project. That meant we weren't confident in making decisions based on the first indications that we were not meeting metric 3, and ran the project for several more months as a result. If we had planned our long term engagement strategy at the start of 2018 and set success criteria earlier we could have learnt what we needed to in less time.

Comment by cafelow on List of possible EA meta-charities and projects · 2019-01-11T10:53:06.168Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Great ideas!

Comment by cafelow on List of possible EA meta-charities and projects · 2019-01-10T09:59:27.793Z · score: 8 (7 votes) · EA · GW

I agree that the forum does already provide this function to get written feedback, however I'm not sure the written feedback makes it clear whether there is approval or lack of approval in general. Up and down voting helps, but I wouldn't want to construe a bunch of upvotes as widespread approval to start a project, nor the downvotes as suggesting I'm triggering some terrible unilateralist curse! My thought was not fully formed, but I was thinking a bit more of a rating system, where someone could have a pretty rough idea, gets it checked it over with a few EAs and if it is approved, then they flesh the idea out a bit, and then it gets checked over by more people with more experience. Ideally in a way where people don't feel uncomfortable sharing their ideas, and people feel okay about checking a box that says "This is likely to hasten catastrophe, don't do it!". I've been in a position where I've thought of starting a project, didn't feel all that comfortable asking for feedback on the forum or reaching out widely until I had befriended many EAs so I could quietly talk it over with them, and I guess that others might be in the same boat (Although that might be more about me, than about the systems we have in place!).

I'm not quite sure what forum features could be added to help that, or whether there is a market for that beyond me!

Comment by cafelow on Announcing the EA donation swap system · 2018-12-12T19:49:19.069Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

That is a really good point Denis!

The only thing we put in to help with preferences, is to allow donors to "reject the swap" - e.g. if they don't like the charity they are instructed to donate to. But that is clearly insufficient. They could be given more information before they choose to reject.

I'm trying to think of a way of asking for easily accessible information from donors to avoid these problems. This info would be shared with the match. Would "If you don't get matched where would your donation go?"

with the options

  • Same charity, and I'll get tax benefits
  • Same charity, and I won't get tax benefits
  • Charity X and I'll get tax benefits

Would that be sufficient to avoid the worst of the problems?

Comment by cafelow on Announcing the EA donation swap system · 2018-11-27T00:52:56.425Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Khorton! We really appreciate you saying those kind words.

Comment by cafelow on Announcing the EA donation swap system · 2018-11-26T01:54:33.461Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks David. As Paul says, it certainly isn't clear cut. We have had unofficial legal advice, but nothing formal. The general idea from the advice is that some of the laws say things on the lines of "You must not have received goods or services from the charity" - which is still true in the case of swapping. There is also no legal obligation for your matched donor to donate to the charity you want them to donate to, and that is apparently significant. Also the tax rebate isn't dependent on WHY you chose the charity that you donated to. If the website proves to be popular we will look into getting official legal advice in the countries that want to use it the most.

Comment by cafelow on Announcing the EA donation swap system · 2018-11-25T18:13:29.387Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Larks! There will be the very occasional swaps where both parties benefit, but most will have just one beneficiary like the example above. We thought briefly about incentivising Robert-type people, but in the end decided to go for the simple "both charities get the same $" for the first iteration. If we are struggling to get Robert-type donors to offer swaps we will definitely revisit this idea.

Comment by cafelow on Are men more likely to attend EA London events? Attendance data, 2016-2018. · 2018-08-10T05:18:59.276Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

You show Disney movies at EA meetups!! That is really lovely!

Comment by cafelow on Students for High-Impact Charity: 2018 Update · 2018-08-10T02:21:56.306Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · EA · GW

My guess is the main problem occurs when it is very clear to students what the instructors want them to say. Since we don't talk about water usage, students may not change their answer for the water usage question, but still change their answer to the questions relating to the content (whether or not they have been impacted by the program), so there may not be a shift in the water question, but still a shift in the other questions.

We did test out some different social desirability scales in the surveys, which is a common method. The preliminary analysis suggested that social desirability is a factor, but we haven't finished that analysis on the full data yet.

Comment by cafelow on To Grow a Healthy Movement, Pick the Low-Hanging Fruit · 2018-06-06T23:38:58.393Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Ari for your post. This is very interesting and an important research question. I also believe that EA ideas can be appealing to people far beyond the current demographic of EAs (which I think is strongly influenced by founders effects).

Are you able to share the details of your SEGS scale? I think the details of the scale would be interesting. I can see that you have a high correlation between Empathy and SEGS. In particular I am wondering what the chances that generally altruistic people are choosing the high SEGS answers because they look like the most empathetic answers, even if the person isn't particularly effective in general with their altruism - you may have found a way to feather this out.

And also I can't seem to click the links to the EQ and CRT scales etc in your pdf - that might just be me, but a list of links would be great!

Comment by cafelow on The Importance of EA Dedication and Why it Should Be Encouraged · 2018-05-06T10:36:49.740Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · EA · GW

The increased concern about downside risk has also made it much harder to ‘use up’ your dedication.

Thanks for articulating that - it was a undefined sense of ill-ease, that I now have words for. When I joined EA initially I naively thought everything I did (donating, outreach) was certainly net positive, and I could boldly dedicate away! The uncertainty I now feel about everything makes motivation harder and deprives me of the satisfaction I used to get (especially as my brain prefers to fixate on the possible negatives, rather than the expected value).

Comment by cafelow on Wild Animal Welfare Project Discussion: A One-Year Strategic Review · 2018-05-06T01:11:54.412Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for this! Your link to "a template for how this could be done with several causes" doesn't seem to work. (But I found the right article anyway).

Comment by cafelow on Review of EA New Zealand’s ‘Doing Good Better’ book giveaway · 2017-06-13T20:22:31.664Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Lauren, it look us about 8 months to give away that many books actually! EA NZ is pretty small group so far, so once we had exhausted our own networks like our FB pages and groups it was a bit slower - many we gave away at conferences we attended. We tried to make it clear that there is an expectation that they would read it and fill in the survey when it arrived to avoid people just taking a copy for their book shelf. But at the conferences there was a decent percentage (maybe 30-50% depending on the event) of people who accepted a book.

Comment by cafelow on Save the Date for EA Global Boston and San Francisco · 2017-03-20T09:38:26.328Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Amy, just checking - the disappearance of the word "tentatively" means that the SF dates are confirmed right? I'm anxious to book my flights while they are still cheap from NZ. Thanks.

Comment by cafelow on EA Global 2017 Update · 2017-02-19T09:22:09.889Z · score: 8 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Amy, any progress on the dates? I live a long way from the EA Global events and have a not-so-flexible work schedule to work around so having early dates makes a huge difference to my likelihood of attending. I'd really appreciate the dates to be published as soon as they are known. Thanks, Catherine.

Comment by cafelow on Proposal for an Pre-registered Experiment in EA Outreach · 2017-01-09T19:26:32.317Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

I guess we'll find out :)

Comment by cafelow on Proposal for an Pre-registered Experiment in EA Outreach · 2017-01-09T02:14:39.795Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Sounds great Linch. My only thought is... if this is supposed to inform the usual rank-and-file GWWC members about whether and how to approach talking to others, you should try to get a fairly normal distribution of GWWC members to be the experimentees. My guess is that Peter Hurford may well be more convincing to his friends than the average GWWC member.

Comment by cafelow on Accomplishments Open Thread - July 2016 · 2016-07-31T09:30:38.810Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

One part was when talking about whether or not we have a moral obligation to help people when we can - and how far we have to go to "be a good person" in the utilitarian framework - some students were understandably exasperated by the demandingness of that framework.

Another part was when looking at the harms the student are causing through greenhouse gas emissions and animal consumption. I did a lot of "this is what thinks might be correct", rather than saying it was my belief - although they asked me about my beliefs and actions, which I answered honestly, so I think I failed to appear non-judgemental because of that. We try to finish the discussion of each problem, with a potential solution they could contribute to, in order to make these discussions more constructive, which helped a bit.

Comment by cafelow on Accomplishments Open Thread - July 2016 · 2016-07-30T10:19:50.682Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

I was really pleased to see that Research Fund! I am really looking forward to the results in time - I feel that there are a bunch of people waiting for more research in the animal advocacy field before taking action.

Comment by cafelow on Accomplishments Open Thread - July 2016 · 2016-07-30T10:15:46.289Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I've had a really exciting EA month too.

I finished running through the pilot of the Students For High-Impact Charity program with a group of students in my school. Some students found some aspects of the program confronting, but they all found it interesting, and raised a bunch of money for CoolEarth (the charity they chose for the main fundraiser), and ran an "Animal Friendly Lunch" - with vegan sausages and bake sale, to spread awareness and raise money for Animal Equality International.

I also helped out planning and running the EAGxAustralia conference, which was really well received (and I had a fantastic time). So I am feeling really positive about being a useful part of the EA movement right now.

Comment by cafelow on Accomplishments Open Thread - July 2016 · 2016-07-30T10:10:12.235Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Chris, I just read through the survey. Very interesting stats and inferences. It is certainly making me think about striking a balance between making sure people don't have the "I don't feel EA enough" feeling, but also developing a culture where people are normalising high impact giving.

Comment by cafelow on Accomplishments Open Thread - May 2016 · 2016-05-09T07:09:29.830Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

That is great. I read somewhere on this forum that starting a meetup is supposed to be super impactful! Facebook is very useful... but I have found meetup really good too. My facebook feed also makes me a better EA too - I have joined so many groups and friended loads of lovely EAs so I now get no Latte Art, and only get inspiring stories of people doing wonderful things and thinking interesting ideas, and that keeps me inspired and active.

Comment by cafelow on Accomplishments Open Thread - May 2016 · 2016-05-09T07:05:44.895Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

That's an amazing amount for a student! You rule Kieren.

Comment by cafelow on Accomplishments Open Thread - May 2016 · 2016-05-09T07:04:56.322Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · EA · GW

You guys are doing great jobs!

I'm getting crazy good-busy with outreach at the moment.

I am working a lot on Students for High Impact Charity (SHIC) http://www.shicschools.org/, working on a high school level Effective Altruismish programme, which is really exciting. I am a teacher so I think that is where my comparative advantage is. After ranting about EA to some of my senior students (when we should have been doing physics) they asked if I could give a course, so they asked management, and now I have a no-credit elective 20 hour course on EA for my seniors (17-18 yo), which I repeat later in the year, and another 10 hour elective course with a 15-16 yo crowd. I've only had one lesson so far, but it went great.

I've also been doing some adult outreach, with a Giving Game for a choir group I know (very receptive and some significant giving changes!) and one to Skeptics (some receptive and some very argumentative, as you would expect). I was also interviewed for the NZ Skeptics podcast - but they have yet to edit out all my mumblings so it is not out yet... I am pretty nervous about hearing it.

Comment by cafelow on Effective Altruism Is Exploring Climate Change Action, and You Can Be Part of It · 2016-04-23T03:50:32.134Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Evan, that is a really useful summary.

Comment by cafelow on The Effective Altruism Newsletter & Open Thread – April 2016 · 2016-04-22T00:18:11.257Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Evan, that was a very thorough and helpful reply. I am now better equipped to answer that question, and feel less uneasy too.

Comment by cafelow on The Effective Altruism Newsletter & Open Thread – April 2016 · 2016-04-21T10:17:49.173Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

(I'm assuming this open thread is for random EA questions. Yes?)

A non-EA friend said to me today, that she believes/fears that EA is a small echo chambery group, and so its conclusions are not to be trusted? (And was also concerned that the conclusions of GiveWell are not peer reviewed).

My response was that while you can't eliminate echo chamber possibilities, EAs are very self-reflective and consider critiques carefully, and that GiveWell is very transparent, and makes recommendations based on scientific evidence from universities and other organisations. I also said that the goals and methodology of EA make a lot of sense to me.

I don't think I did justice to EA there, and I can't say that my response was very convincing to her. The conversation made me very uneasy - partially because I always feel a bit upset by friends criticising what I hold dear. Perhaps she thinks I have joined a cult. Perhaps I have joined a cult!

I would welcome any comments on how you feel about the smallness and reliability of EA, and whether anyone has some different ways of thinking about it.

Comment by cafelow on The great calculator · 2016-03-26T07:02:54.042Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Really cool Michael. Totally worth making this a webpage. 1) Is it a pig or a dog? The type of animal would elicit different answers for many people. 2) I think it would be good to have an explanation spelling out how the final numbers are calculated 3) Is there a reason for "if you were the only one who could do so?" I take it is because only we can save the animals we eat? If so, I get the idea. But I think that the statement makes it more emotional. Perhaps that is the idea. I felt that the statement compelled me to put a larger number in than I would have otherwise.

Comment by cafelow on Accomplishments Open Thread - March 2016 · 2016-03-07T09:11:13.304Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · EA · GW

I have had a busy EA month, and I feel really good about it.

I ran three giving games in one week - with three very different audiences - which was pretty epic. They went from awesome, to pretty good, to really awesome. The really awesome was with a group of altruistic 15-17 year olds at my school, they didn't find the ideas particularly controversial, but they said they found it fascinating, and later several of them told me that they talked to their family and friends all about it, and asked me to teach a short course on EA.... so that is hopefully happening starting in May.

I also started helping a couple of other people who are going to be running their first giving game in the next wee while.

Comment by cafelow on Causality in altruism · 2016-03-05T08:25:23.346Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for that post Michael. I have been musing on that when considering my own effectiveness. I ended up deciding that I don't actually have a problem with the donor and the influencer claiming they caused $100 to be donated. (But I reckon part of this is because it makes feel more effective).

I was amused by Peter Singer suggesting that the vegetarian he sat next to in a university dining hall once upon a time might be able to claim all the good from all the people Singer influenced to be vegetarian, and all the people those people influenced to be vegetarian.... so where might it stop!