Monthly Overload of EA - October 2022 2022-10-01T12:32:12.484Z
The Mistakes of Focusing on Student Outreach in EA 2022-09-20T17:48:41.526Z
Monthly Overload of EA - September 2022 2022-09-01T13:43:18.584Z
Monthly Overload of EA - August 2022 2022-07-30T14:07:14.628Z
Monthly Overload of EA - July 2022 2022-07-01T16:22:35.640Z
Effective Altruism as Coordination & Field Incubation 2022-06-14T16:17:16.261Z
Monthly Overload of EA - June 2022 2022-05-27T15:48:57.995Z
Global Development & Effective Altruism - A Brief Intro 2022-04-01T16:20:52.630Z
EA Updates for April 2022 2022-03-31T16:43:09.868Z
EA Updates for March 2022 2022-02-25T15:42:02.121Z
EA Updates for February 2022 2022-01-28T11:33:52.772Z
EA Updates for January 2022 2022-01-05T11:35:18.758Z
EA Updates for December 2021 2021-11-29T12:08:50.743Z
EA Updates for November 2021 2021-11-01T11:15:03.782Z
EA Updates for October 2021 2021-10-01T15:25:25.467Z
EA Updates for September 2021 2021-08-27T09:37:28.084Z
EA Updates for August 2021 2021-08-06T13:21:30.937Z
EA Updates for July 2021 2021-07-02T14:39:56.088Z
EA Updates for June 2021 2021-05-28T14:04:22.153Z
EA Updates for May 2021 2021-04-30T16:50:01.101Z
EA Updates for April 2021 2021-03-26T14:26:24.396Z
EA Updates for March 2021 2021-02-26T11:35:31.739Z
Ecosystems vs Projects in EA Movement Building 2021-02-08T14:40:45.925Z
EA Updates for February 2021 2021-01-29T14:17:07.457Z
EA Updates for January 2021 2021-01-04T17:09:39.839Z
EA Updates for December 2020 2020-11-27T17:31:21.557Z
EA Updates for November 2020-11-02T12:38:37.362Z
EA Updates for September 2020 2020-10-01T14:51:39.306Z
EA Updates for August 2020 2020-08-28T10:29:25.701Z
EA Updates for July 2020 2020-08-01T09:46:12.622Z
EA Updates for June 2020 2020-07-03T11:34:30.450Z
EA Updates for May 2020 2020-05-29T12:05:50.784Z
EA Updates for April 2020 2020-05-01T10:40:04.234Z
Focusing on Career & Cause Movement Building 2020-04-17T12:17:10.709Z
EA Updates for March 2020 2020-04-01T14:05:39.730Z
EA Updates for February 2020 2020-02-28T14:14:51.759Z
EA Directory & Groups Discussion Board 2020-02-25T13:01:53.949Z
Neglected EA Regions 2020-02-17T11:25:32.678Z
EA Updates for January 2020 2020-01-30T18:38:22.925Z
EA Updates for December 2019 2020-01-03T15:23:19.648Z
Community vs Network 2019-12-12T14:04:33.429Z
EA Updates for November 2019 2019-11-29T13:15:14.780Z
EA Updates for October 2019 2019-11-01T11:47:19.209Z
Latest EA Updates for September 2019 2019-09-28T12:12:25.117Z
Latest EA Updates for August 2019 2019-08-30T11:35:33.472Z
Effective Altruism London Strategy 2019 2019-08-22T11:16:09.423Z
The EA Forum is a News Feed 2019-07-28T22:27:48.912Z
Latest EA Updates for July 2019 2019-07-26T13:58:24.807Z
Latest EA Updates for June 2019 2019-07-01T10:07:50.179Z
Latest EA Updates for May 2019 2019-05-31T16:36:21.148Z


Comment by DavidNash on Join EA Bioethics (and a trial of having groups on the forum) · 2022-09-27T13:13:25.611Z · EA · GW

I gave feedback about another subforum (software engineering) via email but thought it might be useful to add as a comment here about this one.

The 'subforum' seems to be more of a chatroom than a traditional subforum with separate threads where posts can be voted and promoted to the main forum.

It will be harder to create an internal subculture and to grow as a community.

This will make it much more unlikely to succeed and stop future subforum experiments even though this isn't a true subforum.

Another benefit of designing it as a traditional subforum is that there are already lots of related EA forum posts that could be placed in the subforum and allow people to engage with content straight away.

Comment by DavidNash on To devote 51% of earnings for the good of humanity · 2022-09-27T12:09:04.467Z · EA · GW

If you haven't already you should reach out to José Oliveira who also makes art to fund effective charities.

Comment by DavidNash on AI Safety field-building projects I'd like to see · 2022-09-22T14:08:32.169Z · EA · GW

Is there a reason why organising an AI Alignment conference is not on the list? It seems to be one of the more successful things CEA has done for the EA field.

Comment by DavidNash on The Mistakes of Focusing on Student Outreach in EA · 2022-09-22T11:11:24.164Z · EA · GW

Thanks for doing this, that's great to see the real data. Would be good to see if this has changed in the last couple of years.

Comment by DavidNash on The Mistakes of Focusing on Student Outreach in EA · 2022-09-21T11:33:52.810Z · EA · GW

I'm maybe 70% on that claim, I do think founders effects play a big part in most movements and that early success has led people to overweight current strategies. 

Comment by DavidNash on The Mistakes of Focusing on Student Outreach in EA · 2022-09-21T11:14:11.063Z · EA · GW

I think with a more professional focused model there wouldn't be asks for people to switch professions, but for there to be larger career networks that can support EA by shifting directly into impactful roles using the skills they've already got.

There are also lots of experienced people who have heard of EA over the last decade but haven't got more involved as there has been less outreach directed towards them and ways for them to engage. 

Comment by DavidNash on Effective altruism's billionaires aren't taxed enough. But they're trying. · 2022-08-24T11:32:59.878Z · EA · GW

I thought that was more to do with being a country that allowed them to operate at all rather than tax reasons.

Comment by DavidNash on How and when should we incentivize people to leave EA bubbles and explore? · 2022-08-18T06:45:17.619Z · EA · GW

It would be easier, and with much quicker returns, to create more ways for people who are already on the edge of EA to be more connected to others interested in EA.

There are maybe a few hundred people working in EA bubbles, but there are probably thousands of people who have been following along with EA for 3+ years who would be very happy to share their knowledge or get more involved with EA directly.

Comment by DavidNash on Let’s not glorify people for how they look. · 2022-08-12T10:38:07.819Z · EA · GW

One person has already commented saying they will change how they act.

Comment by DavidNash on Let’s not glorify people for how they look. · 2022-08-11T16:33:08.855Z · EA · GW

I think just writing a post can lead to some of the changes you want to see.

One example being the "It's really really hard to get hired by an EA organisation". Having that exist and be spread amongst people was able to start changing expectations that people had.

I also think even if most people already agree, there are some people haven't thought about the subject of this post and may change their behaviour after having read it. I have seen a few examples of this on Twitter and in person before.

Comment by DavidNash on Cover story on EA in Time magazine · 2022-08-10T19:28:56.700Z · EA · GW

I think it helps that the journalist had been aware of EA since 2013 and taken the GWWC pledge in 2014 even if they hadn't been involved in the community that much.

Comment by DavidNash on EA 1.0 and EA 2.0; highlighting critical changes in EA's evolution · 2022-08-10T14:39:13.402Z · EA · GW

It may be more about how much of the conversation space is taken up with different topics rather than the funding amounts (relative or absolute).

I think even if there had been a larger animal funder keepings the percentages the same, but no change in topics, people will still sense a shift.

Comment by DavidNash on Telling each other about random samples of our daily lives (experiment) · 2022-07-21T10:02:07.787Z · EA · GW

This seemingly already exists with BeReal.

"Its main feature is a daily notification that encourages users to share a photo of themselves and their immediate surroundings given a randomly selected two-minute window every day. Critics noted its emphasis on authenticity, which some felt crossed the line into mundanity."

"As of July 2022 the app had over 20 million global installs estimated"

Comment by DavidNash on Book a chat with an EA professional · 2022-07-20T15:08:34.071Z · EA · GW

If there was some kind of Global EA directory/ year round Swapcard, this project idea could be rolled into it quite easily.

Comment by DavidNash on Kurzgesagt - The Last Human (Longtermist video) · 2022-06-29T11:24:15.684Z · EA · GW

The right framing can make a big difference.

Also I see lots of positive comments from people who have done the Intro EA virtual program or who have read Doing Good Better.

It may also be a difference between how YouTube comments are quite positive these days and Twitter still has incentives for negative comments.

Comment by DavidNash on Community builders should focus more on supporting friendships within their group · 2022-06-16T14:21:18.633Z · EA · GW

I think supporting friendships in a group can be useful, but this tends to be what most community organisers are already focusing on.

There are downsides like being perceived as a friends group which make it harder for new people to get involved. Also some of the most impactful people may not be looking for new friends, but are looking for advice on where to donate/work/volunteer their time.

I've written about how group organisers should try to focus more on the wider network than just a tight knit club. 


This will also depend on the size of a group, smaller groups probably benefit from strong friendships to begin with, but as the group grows, too many close friendships might limit future growth.

Comment by DavidNash on Paths to Impact for EA Working Professionals · 2022-06-09T16:05:48.408Z · EA · GW

Within the community building section I think there are a variety of activities that a group could support, some of these are mentioned above but I thought it might help to  categorise them.

  • Helping people to advance their careers within that field
  • Helping people work out what are the paths out of that profession and into more impactful careers
  • Helping people who are considering a career in that profession to decide whether it is a good fit for them
  • Doing research as a group into what are the ways to have impact within this profession
    • Fundraising, volunteering, shifting company giving and shifting company priorities as mentioned in the post
  • Helping EA related organisations when they are looking for insights/support from this field
  • Providing another way for people to stay engaged with EA
Comment by DavidNash on Open Thread: Spring 2022 · 2022-06-06T13:55:36.171Z · EA · GW

I would suggest to try coaching first as it will be much quicker to find out if you enjoy it/find it impactful compared to therapy which could take years before you get a good sense of your personal fit.

80,000 Hours have a section in their career guide on exploration which might be useful here.

"Later in your career, if you’re genuinely unsure between two options, you might want to try the more ‘reversible’ one first. For instance, it’s easier to move from business to nonprofits than vice versa."


It's worth reaching out to therapists and coaches here to get a better sense of your uncertainties. 

Comment by DavidNash on Lizka's Shortform · 2022-05-30T12:19:49.489Z · EA · GW

I tried to do something similar a while ago looking at under-5 mortality.

Comment by DavidNash on Thoughts on Nadia Asparouhova (nee Eghbal) essay on EA ideas, Ideas machines · 2022-05-26T12:16:19.124Z · EA · GW

I think it would be similar to the opinion people would have on the choice of film you choose to see at the cinema or which meal to buy at a restaurant. 

I don't see EA as trying to maximise all donations, just maximise the impact of donations set aside for effective giving. And the donation side is just part of the larger set of actions we can take when trying to do good.

Julia Wise has a couple of good posts on this topic - Giving Cheerfully and It's Okay to Feed Stray Cats.

Comment by DavidNash on List-omania · 2022-05-24T09:59:47.972Z · EA · GW

I made a list of lists for EA London as I couldn't find one elsewhere that had the info I wanted to share.  

Comment by DavidNash on james.lucassen's Shortform · 2022-05-23T09:59:39.494Z · EA · GW

There was a post on this recently.

Comment by DavidNash on Most students who would agree with EA ideas haven't heard of EA yet (results of a large-scale survey) · 2022-05-20T06:10:45.220Z · EA · GW

In the UK there are people who've heard about it on the radio, podcasts and some articles in the media.

Comment by DavidNash on Do you offset your carbon emissions? · 2022-05-05T17:13:34.282Z · EA · GW

Founders Pledge have a report on offsetting here.

"In the first post in this series, Climate and Lifestyle: policy matters, we discussed some of the most important lifestyle decisions for the climate and saw the effect that climate policy has on each person's potential impact. However, our analysis excluded one crucial lifestyle decision: donations to effective climate non-profits.

The potential impact of effective donations

Emissions per person vary considerably even across rich countries: the average American emits 18 tonnes of CO2 per year, whereas the average Swede emits only 7 tonnes. As a guiding rule, if you live in a rich country and live a typical lifestyle, then you probably emit between 5 and 20 tonnes of CO2 each year.

Our research suggests that Founders Pledge-recommended climate charities - the Clean Air Task Force and the Coalition for Rainforest Nations - have in the past averted a tonne of CO2 for less than $10 in expectation (i.e. after weighting the impact of the changes they worked for by the probability that the organisation actually made a difference), and potentially much less. Therefore, as Figure 1 shows, the expected impact of your personal donations is much larger than any of the lifestyle decisions discussed in the first post:


figure 1: Climate impact of lifestyle decisions compared to effective donations (tonnes of CO2)

Source: See the references and calculations in the Climate and Lifestyle calculations sheet


This being said, it is very important to choose carefully who you donate to. Many organisations offer surprisingly cheap carbon offsets, promising to abate a tonne of CO2 with high confidence for $1 or less. These figures are not realistic. The incentives are not set up well for organisations to provide reliable carbon emissions reductions. There is limited oversight of offsetting organisations' work, so they have an incentive to offer attractive price points without actually reducing emissions. Thus, choosing instead to donate to effective policy and research organisations is crucial. The impact is plausibly 100 times greater.

The limited ambition of offsetting

This raises the question: does donating offset the harm you do by emitting? We argue that looking at donating through the lens of offsetting is doubly flawed. Most importantly, it limits people's ambitions. People ask: how can I undo the effect of my own emissions? Instead, they should ask: how can I have the biggest possible impact on climate change?

If we only donate to offset our personal emissions and no further, then we hugely restrict our potential impact. A typical person emits 5-20 tonnes of CO2 each year. So if you assume that the most effective climate charities can abate a tonne of CO2 for less than $10, then you can offset your emissions for just $200 per year. Our recommended charities operate on budgets in the low millions but have led policy campaigns that have had a huge effect on global climate policy. Many people in wealthy countries could give more than $200 to support them, and thereby have enormous leverage.

Ethics and offsetting

Secondly, donating to effective climate charities almost never, in any meaningful sense, offsets the harm you do by emitting.


In sum, it is not usually feasible to truly offset the harm from your past emissions. So, on rights-based views, donations to climate charities do not offset any harm you have done by emitting. On consequentialist theories, offsetting is always irrelevant, and we should instead try to do the most good with our donations. If stopping climate change turns out to be the best way to do good, then donations should be a top priority for the climate-conscious individual. For a more detailed treatment of these and more considerations, refer to our full research report on Climate and Lifestyle."

Comment by DavidNash on The AI Messiah · 2022-05-05T17:04:19.378Z · EA · GW

I'm not so sure about the religious tendencies, at least not in comparison to other communities or social movements. Especially if the people who seem to be most interested in AI alignment are the ones least interested in tithing/special diets .

Also roughly half the people who are seen as leaders  don't identify as effective altruist.  It would be hard to imagine leaders in the environmentalism movement not describing themselves as environmentalists.

Comment by DavidNash on FTX/CEA - show us your numbers! · 2022-04-20T18:02:09.438Z · EA · GW

I'm not sure how clear it is that it's much better for people to hear about EA at university, especially given there is a lot more outreach and onboarding at the university level than for professionals.

Comment by DavidNash on Can we agree on a better name than 'near-termist'? "Not-longermist"? "Not-full-longtermist"? · 2022-04-20T11:22:52.394Z · EA · GW

I generally see this as broad global development (encompassing anything related to improving the world rather than preventing extinction (and some causes/interventions do both of these)).

Comment by DavidNash on Rory Stewart discusses GiveDirectly on The Rest is Politics · 2022-04-07T15:30:59.135Z · EA · GW

DfiD was already funding and researching cash transfers, and seems to have been doing this for quite a while.

Comment by DavidNash on EA Updates for April 2022 · 2022-04-04T14:50:52.725Z · EA · GW


Comment by DavidNash on EA Updates for April 2022 · 2022-04-04T09:58:46.377Z · EA · GW

When I started I told myself that if each post gets roughly 10 votes than it's providing enough value to keep on doing, and the last month and this month have been just below that, so there seems to be declining interest, and the people that are interested can just sign up to get the updates.

Comment by DavidNash on What readings should we include in a "sequence" on global health and development · 2022-04-01T16:16:16.886Z · EA · GW

Sure, I can make it into a post, thanks for suggesting it.

Comment by DavidNash on What readings should we include in a "sequence" on global health and development · 2022-04-01T16:08:17.174Z · EA · GW

I wrote up a brief overview of EA & Global Development, there may be some resources in there that are useful to add.

Comment by DavidNash on EA should taboo "EA should" · 2022-03-29T10:32:44.667Z · EA · GW

There was some related discussion on this a while ago - 'The Folly of EAs Should'

Comment by DavidNash on State of the land: Misinformation and its effects on global catastrophic risks · 2022-03-28T14:50:01.865Z · EA · GW

I don't know much about this topic and funding in this area is most likely neglected but I'm unsure how to think about the scale of this issue and how to get a sense as to whether it's getting better/worse/roughly the same year to year.

I think some of the concerns I have are highlighted by this post from Matthew Yglesias suggesting that the danger of misinformation is overblown.

The Wellcome Foundation also has a regular survey looking at global trust in science/institutions and found a ~10% increase in the publics trust of science and scientists between 2018 and 2020.

It might be that misinformation is a problem but isn't the biggest part of the problem with vaccine hesitancy and that more general improvements in communication strategies/governance/economic growth could be more important.

Comment by DavidNash on When did EA miss a great opportunity to do good? · 2022-03-09T15:38:29.359Z · EA · GW

It could be that both are true, as EA grows and professionalises, it is able to put more organised resources to areas that EA as a whole is less concerned about.

Comment by DavidNash on Some thoughts on recent Effective Altruism funding announcements · 2022-03-03T20:12:58.405Z · EA · GW

Your point on biosecurity and marginal thinking was discussed in this forum post.

Comment by DavidNash on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2022-01-21T15:05:40.949Z · EA · GW

You should make this  a post as I think there could be a lot of interest.

Comment by DavidNash on Working inside or outside "the system" in lowering CO2 emissions? · 2021-12-22T16:44:32.422Z · EA · GW

I don't have an answer but you may get more responses on the EA Careers Discussion Facebook group or one of the Effective Environmentalism spaces.

Comment by DavidNash on Exposure to 3m Pointless viewers- what to promote? · 2021-12-11T17:15:17.017Z · EA · GW

I'd be slightly surprised if it led to a single donation, I'm not even sure how many searches it would lead to

Comment by DavidNash on Exposure to 3m Pointless viewers- what to promote? · 2021-12-11T17:14:05.076Z · EA · GW

I think for most people who hadn't heard of EA, it's very unlikely that they'll start searching for it online after hearing about it briefly on daytime TV. For those that have already heard about EA it may just reinforce what they already think about it, some positive and some negative.  Even just the phrase effective altruism can be interpreted as arrogant if you don't spend some time explaining what you mean.

I prefer people to have high value impressions when they come across EA, whether that's online/in person,  rather than having more but less valuable touch points.

Comment by DavidNash on Exposure to 3m Pointless viewers- what to promote? · 2021-12-10T18:00:49.490Z · EA · GW

I would avoid mentioning EA, it seems hard to get across nuance in 20 seconds and there seems to be a lot of misinterpretation even in longer form media.

Mentioning what you study/plan to work on and where to donate seems like a fine thing to do.

Comment by DavidNash on Give Me Career Advice · 2021-11-19T17:55:18.720Z · EA · GW

I would say that, given that you're already doing some projects in the EA & software development space, that you should consider building that network more comprehensively.


At the moment you are coaching, creating a volunteer board and listing impactful companies which is  a few projects but you could build the ecosystem for EA & Software. This could be similar to what the EA Consulting Network is doing, with their recent hire of a full time person.

I think this would hit a few of your requirements of being meta, not earning to give, involves software knowledge, early stage project but not as stressful as a startup and with coaching/advising. Although it would involve remote work but that could be solved by having an EA Israel coworking space. Potentially this could also grow to more than 1 person if you're seeing signs of impact.


Some things I think you could do as part of building the EA Software ecosystem.

  • You could be the go to person when someone involved in software wants to get more involved in EA
  • The go to person when someone at an EA org wants to find software people or know more about the space
  • You could set up a mentorship network similar to WANBAM
  • You could have more in depth research on how to have impact in tech. 80,000 hours can only dedicate so much time and limited knowledge of the global tech ecosystem to this area, some of their software articles haven't been updated since 2015
  • Newsletter updating people in EA & software on job/volunteer opportunities, startup ideas, stories of impact


If this sounds potentially interesting let me know and we can chat in more depth about ways of making this happen.

Comment by DavidNash on When and how should an online community space (e.g., Slack workspace) for a particular type/group of people be created? · 2021-10-14T17:42:25.701Z · EA · GW

I think if you can't find the space you are looking for you should create something (at least a low cost version) and then if someone tells you of an existing space that works, then you can inform the people who have already joined. 

Even if the space isn't particularly active it gives future organisers a starting space and potential people to contact who may be interested.

I think the main case where creating a space could be wrong is if the admin is bad at moderation and not open to improving the space. This also provides an incentive for creating spaces because if you don't, someone else could create that space which then gives a bad impression for others who wanted to get more involved.

I don't think it would be bad for there to be a workspace for each major cause/career area. It seems that there probably should be somewhere in between Facebook and the EA Forum for people to have discussions about causes they care about. I've written more about this here. Ideally the forum would be able to support sub forums, but it seems unlikely to happen soon.

I set up a Slack for groups that are smaller but still want to use it for discussion. At the moment it is mainly used by the EA & metascience subcommunity and sometimes by FIRE & EA. I thought it would be a good space whilst subcommunities are small to see if there is enough demand for their own space. If you want you could use channels on there to start groups you wanted to see.

Choosing the right online space can make a difference, especially if people you want to join don't already use the product you're suggesting. Different spaces also allow for different tools/culture/vibe, there is a brief overview of some pros/cons here but it will depend on your target audience.

Maybe there are also more general question to ask if you're thinking about coaching or nuclear risk sub communities, some of which may be here. If you think there should be an online discussion space, how does that fit into the wider ecosystem for the subcommunity.

Comment by DavidNash on Join EA Global: London as a virtual attendee · 2021-10-14T16:04:35.022Z · EA · GW

Is it possible to opt in to be seen by both virtual and in person attendees? In the past I've found the connections via virtual events to be super valuable.

Comment by DavidNash on Effective Altruism, Before the Memes Started · 2021-10-13T16:05:24.346Z · EA · GW

There was this response by Hadyn Belfield to the longtermism article a few months ago. 

I also don't think that William MacAskill has to be the person that responds to each criticism if there are others better placed to respond.

Comment by DavidNash on Some longtermist fiction · 2021-08-19T17:19:06.842Z · EA · GW

It's sometimes a bit of a slog but also relatively short and I was constantly impressed by the scope of the book and the variety of interesting ideas for something written in the 1930's.

Comment by DavidNash on Some longtermist fiction · 2021-08-19T16:04:50.524Z · EA · GW

I recently read Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon after a conversation in which someone said that it inspired them to think about longtermism related ideas way before they had heard of effective altruism.

It covers a fictionalised history of the universe from the beginning to end, more like a documentary or a textbook than a novel with characters and plot. It's from the point of view of someone who is picked up from a hill in England and then moved around the galaxy and observes other civilisations in a variety of  times throughout the life of the universe.

It's written in 1937 and was said to inspire people like Arthur C. Clarke, Freeman Dyson and Jorge Luis Borges and includes speculation on civilisational unity and collapse, space exploration, metaverse, future technology, genetic engineering and existential risks.

Comment by DavidNash on EA needs consultancies · 2021-07-07T16:32:00.529Z · EA · GW

There is also an Airtable version of that directory that is more up to date, I'll update the google sheet 

Comment by DavidNash on Some thoughts on EA outreach to high schoolers · 2021-06-16T09:35:22.984Z · EA · GW

Is engagement the thing you want to optimise for over impact or are the two highly correlated for you?

Comment by DavidNash on What are your main reservations about identifying as an effective altruist? · 2021-03-30T12:49:25.064Z · EA · GW

I don't think I've ever called myself an effective altruist, part of it is the small identity idea mentioned in the original post and another part is that it doesn't seem correct to call myself effective when there are large uncertainties about the prioritisation of causes and interventions, so new evidence could come up showing I was actually very ineffective.

On a more practical level, it's easier to have conversations with people who are newer to EA or are sceptical of certain aspects of it when I'm not calling myself an EA and making it seem like something you are either in or out of.

It's also probably easier to find flaws in a topic when it isn't part of your identity, it reduces the chance of defensiveness, and I think I should try and make it easy to always be open to potential problems in EA.