Rational Politics Project 2017-01-08T13:28:28.203Z
Accomplishments Open Thread - August 2016 2016-08-02T14:37:16.849Z
Promoting Effective Giving at Conferences via Speed Giving Games 2016-07-30T15:13:45.310Z
"Everyday Heroes of Effective Giving": Catherine Low, Jo Duyvestyn, Peter Livingstone 2016-07-24T20:44:33.042Z
Accomplishments Open Thread - July 2016 2016-07-07T15:43:26.345Z
Announcing "Everyday Heroes of Effective Giving" Series 2016-06-14T15:30:57.649Z
Accomplishments Open Thread - June 2016 2016-06-06T20:22:45.304Z
An EA at a CFAR Rationality Workshop: Thoughts and Review 2016-06-06T20:15:55.875Z
Accomplishments Open Thread - May 2016 2016-05-06T20:36:59.737Z
Collaborative Truth-Seeking 2016-05-04T22:56:18.874Z
The Science of Effective Fundraising: Four Common Mistakes to Avoid 2016-04-11T15:14:28.623Z
Accomplishments Open Thread - April 2016 2016-04-07T20:39:19.387Z
Using Breaking News Stories for Effective Altruism 2016-03-15T21:47:00.554Z
Accomplishments Open Thread - March 2016 2016-03-06T21:51:11.528Z
9 Strategies for Effective Donors 2016-02-29T18:28:01.426Z
The Value of Those in Effective Altruism 2016-02-17T00:54:45.835Z
Accomplishments Open Thread - February 2016 2016-02-07T02:45:48.838Z
The Valentine’s Day Gift That Saves Lives 2016-02-01T17:00:42.511Z
The Impact Calculator 2016-01-26T04:14:33.973Z
Celebrating All Who Are in Effective Altruism 2016-01-20T01:05:38.397Z
Accomplishments Open Thread 2016-01-07T19:39:56.967Z
Intentional Insights and the EA Movement – Q & A 2016-01-02T16:53:21.860Z
Why You Should Be Public About Your Good Deeds 2015-12-30T04:06:24.587Z
Tapping Skeptic Hearts Through Giving Games 2015-12-24T02:06:12.175Z
Support Promoting Effective Giving - Intentional Insights 2015-12-20T23:16:20.652Z
Promoting Effective Giving Using List-Style Articles 2015-12-16T19:41:41.034Z
Effective Giving Merchandise - "Be A Proud Superdonor" 2015-12-15T23:45:52.079Z
Effective Giving vs. Effective Altruism 2015-12-14T23:44:55.943Z
Maximizing Donations to Effective Charities 2015-12-07T18:10:05.757Z
[Link] Huffington Post article promoting Effective Altruist ideas 2015-12-04T02:02:40.009Z
Theory of Change feedback 2015-11-30T01:16:02.874Z
Measuring QALYs from advocating a rational response to the Paris attacks and ISIS 2015-11-23T17:37:08.001Z
“Be A Superdonor!”: Promoting Effective Altruism by Appealing to the Heart 2015-11-09T18:22:20.446Z
Effective Altruism Merchandise Ideas 2015-10-20T16:27:44.204Z
Improving the Effectiveness of Effective Altruism Outreach 2015-10-17T20:24:23.286Z
Making Effective Altruism more emotionally appealing 2015-10-13T10:25:45.912Z


Comment by Gleb_T on Are Giving Games a better way to teach philanthropy? · 2017-05-22T02:22:18.610Z · EA · GW

Great piece!

Comment by Gleb_T on The Life You Can Save's 2016 Annual Report · 2017-05-01T04:07:25.896Z · EA · GW


Comment by Gleb_T on Rational Politics Project · 2017-01-17T16:03:59.422Z · EA · GW

Gleb Tsipursky has also repeatedly said he will leave the EA movement.

This is simply false. See what I actually said here

Comment by Gleb_T on Intentional Insights and the EA Movement – Q & A · 2017-01-17T16:03:52.734Z · EA · GW

Gleb Tsipursky has also repeatedly said he will leave the EA movement.

This is simply false. See what I actually said here

Comment by Gleb_T on Building Cooperative Epistemology (Response to "EA has a Lying Problem", among other things) · 2017-01-14T19:17:22.030Z · EA · GW

Let me first clarify that I see the goal of doing the most good as my end goal, and YMMV - no judgment on anyone who cares more about truth than doing good. This is just my value set.

Within that value set, using "insufficient" means to get to EA ends is just as bad as using "excessive" means. In this case, being "too honest" is just as bad as "not being honest enough." The correct course of actions is to correctly calibrate one's level of honesty to maximize for positive long-term impact for doing the most good.

Now, the above refers to the ideal-type scenario. IRL, different people are differently calibrated. Some tend to be too oriented toward exaggerating, some too oriented to being humble and understating the case, and in either case, it's a mistake. So one should learn where one's bias is, and push against that bias.

Comment by Gleb_T on Building Cooperative Epistemology (Response to "EA has a Lying Problem", among other things) · 2017-01-13T12:23:26.724Z · EA · GW

Sarah's post highlights some of the essential tensions at the heart of Effective Altruism.

Do we care about "doing the most good that we can" or "being as transparent and honest as we can"? These are two different value sets. They will sometimes overlap, and in other cases will not.

And please don't say that "we do the most good that we can by being as transparent and honest as we can" or that "being as transparent and honest as we can" is best in the long term. Just don't. You're simply lying to yourself and to everyone else if you say that. If you can't imagine a scenario where "doing the most good that we can" or "being as transparent and honest as we can" are opposed, you've just suffered from a failure mode by flinching away from the truth.

So when push comes to shove, which one do we prioritize? When we have to throw the switch and have the trolley crush either "doing the most good" or "being as transparent and honest as we can," which do we choose?

For a toy example, say you are talking to your billionaire uncle on his deathbed and trying to convince him to leave money to AMF instead of his current favorite charity, the local art museum. You know he would respond better if you exaggerate the impact of AMF. Would you do so, whether lying by omission or in any other way, in order to get much more money for AMF, given that no one else would find out about this situation? What about if you know that other family members are standing in the wings and ready to use all sorts of lies to advocate for their favorite charities?

If you do not lie, that's fine, but don't pretend that you care about doing the most good, please. Just don't. You care about being as transparent and honest as possible over doing the most good.

If you do lie to your uncle, then you do care about doing the most good. However, you should consider at what price point you will not lie - at this point, we're just haggling.

The people quoted in Sarah's post all highlight how doing the most good sometimes involves not being as transparent and honest as we can (including myself). Different people have different price points, that's all. We're all willing to bite the bullet and sometimes send that trolley over transparency and honesty, whether questioning the value of public criticism such as Ben or appealing to emotions such as Rob or using intuition as evidence such as Jacy, for the sake of what we believe is the most good.

As a movement, EA has a big problem with believing that ends never justify the means. Yes, sometimes ends do justify the means - at least if we care about doing the most good. We can debate whether we are mistaken about the ends not justifying the means, but using insufficient means to accomplish the ends is just as bad as using excessive means to get to the ends. If we are truly serious about doing the most good as possible, we should let our end goal be the North Star, and work backward from there, as opposed to hobbling ourselves by preconceived notions of "intellectual rigor" at the cost of doing the most good.

Comment by Gleb_T on Rational Politics Project · 2017-01-09T21:51:35.873Z · EA · GW

We have a number of collaborative venues, such as a Facebook group, blog, email lists, etc. for people who get involved.

Comment by Gleb_T on Rational Politics Project · 2017-01-09T04:55:57.578Z · EA · GW

Yup, we're focusing on a core of people who are upset about lies and deceptions in the US election and the Brexit campaign, and aiming to provide them with means to address these deceptions in an effective manner. That's the goal!

Comment by Gleb_T on Rational Politics Project · 2017-01-08T21:04:31.031Z · EA · GW

Broad social movement. We're aiming to focus on social media organizing at first, and then spread to local grassroots organizing later. There will be a lot of marketing and PR associated with it as well.

Comment by Gleb_T on Rational Politics Project · 2017-01-08T21:03:43.842Z · EA · GW

Well, ok, are you really going to make this semantic argument with me? Trump is widely accepted by the Republican party as its leader. I'll be happy to agree on using the term "Republican" instead of "conservative" to address your concerns.

Comment by Gleb_T on What does Trump mean for EA? · 2016-11-11T03:28:45.942Z · EA · GW

I've made a strong and public decision to orient much more toward making politics less irrational. For me, this means not orienting toward party politics, but addressing the problems in political discourse and culture. It's a bipartisan/nonpartisan stance.

Comment by Gleb_T on Setting Community Norms and Values: A response to the InIn Open Letter · 2016-11-02T02:54:41.558Z · EA · GW

You are mistaken, we have never claimed that we will distance InIn publicly from the EA movement.

We have previously talked about us not focusing on EA in our broad audience writings, and instead talking about effective giving - which is what we've been doing. At the same time, we were quite active on the EA Forum, and engaging in a lot of behind-the-scenes, and also public, collaborations to promote effective marketing within the EA sphere.

Now, we are distancing from the EA movement as a whole.

Comment by Gleb_T on Setting Community Norms and Values: A response to the InIn Open Letter · 2016-10-30T22:48:15.758Z · EA · GW

FYI, we decided to distance InIn publicly from the EA movement for the foreseeable future.

We will only reference effective giving and individual orgs that are interested in being promoted, as evidenced by being interested in providing InIn with stats for how many people we are sending to their websites, and similar forms of collaboration (yes, I'm comfortable using the term collaboration for this form of activity). Since GWWC/CEA seem not interested, we will not mention them in our future content.

Our work of course will continue to be motivated by EA concerns for doing the best things possible to improve the world in a cost-effective way, but we'll shift our focus from explicitly EA-themed activities to our other area of work - spreading rational thinking and decision-making to reduce existential risk, address fundamental societal problems, and decrease individual suffering. Still, we'll also continue to engage in collaborations and activities that have proved especially beneficial within the EA-related sphere, such as doing outreach to secular folks and spreading Giving Games, yet that will be a smaller aspect of our activities than in the past.

Comment by Gleb_T on Setting Community Norms and Values: A response to the InIn Open Letter · 2016-10-30T22:38:21.188Z · EA · GW

FYI, we removed references to GWWC and CEA from our documents

Comment by Gleb_T on Setting Community Norms and Values: A response to the InIn Open Letter · 2016-10-28T02:50:44.736Z · EA · GW

Interesting to see how many downvotes this got. Disappointing that people choose to downvote instead of engaging with the substance of my comments. I would have hoped for better from a rationally-oriented community.

Oh well, I guess it is what it is. I'm taking a break from all this based on my therapist's recommendation. Good luck!

Comment by Gleb_T on Setting Community Norms and Values: A response to the InIn Open Letter · 2016-10-27T20:32:26.554Z · EA · GW

I think it would be great to set up a formal panel. That way, we can have an actual calm discussion about the topics at hand. Furthermore, we can make sure that all points are thoroughly discussed and there is a clear resolution.

For example, InIn has been accused of astroturfing, etc. However, no one responded to my comments pointing out that astroturfing does not apply to our activities. The same goes for other points of disagreement with the claims of the authors of the document expressing concerns - no one has responded to my points of disagreement. A formal panel would be a good way of making sure there is actually a discourse around these topics and they can be hashed out.

So far, the impression I and many others are getting is that these accusations are unfair and unjust, and paint some of the top-level EA activists in a negative light. These concerns would be addressed in a formal procedure. I'd be glad to take the InIn situation through a formal procedure where these things can be hashed out.

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-27T20:23:50.790Z · EA · GW

This makes sense for spreading the message among EAs, which is why we have the Effective Altruist Accomplishments Facebook group. I'll have to think further about the most effective ways of spreading this message more broadly, as I'm not in a good mental space to think about it right now.

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-26T16:25:29.142Z · EA · GW

Fair enough

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T23:09:10.052Z · EA · GW

1) I would prefer to hear Jeff's answer to my questions - he's more than capable of speaking for himself.

2) I will not stoop to engaging with the level of discourse you present in this comment.

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T20:09:52.844Z · EA · GW

I am unwilling to take "active members of the EA group" as representative of the EA community, since your actual claim was that I made the experience of the EA community significantly worse, and that includes all members, not simply activists. On average, only 1% of any internet community contribute, but the rest are still community members. Instead, I am fine taking the bet than Benito describes - who is clearly far from friendly to InIn.

I am even fine with going with your lower estimate of 14 out of 20.

I am fine including friends.

I am fine with the two questions, although I would insist the second question be "significantly worse" not simply "negative impact," since that is the claim we are testing, and the same for "significant preference for Gleb or InIn to not have engaged." Words matter.

I am fine with having a pledge of $1K to be contributed as either of us has the money to do so in the future. I presume you will eventually have $1K.

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T20:05:20.279Z · EA · GW

I'd be curious to learn more about the analogy to law, so that I can update. Perhaps you can post some links here for the basis of your perspective?

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T19:59:05.192Z · EA · GW

If the organizations concerned give permission, I am happy to share documentary evidence in my email of them reviewing the script and giving access to their high-quality logo images. I am also happy to share evidence of me running the final video by them and giving them an opportunity to comment on the wording of the description below the video, which some did to help optimize the description to suit their preferences. I would need permission from the orgs before sharing such email evidence, of course.

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T19:55:54.699Z · EA · GW

Jeff, in your comments above, you say describe yourself as having two kinds of concerns, the ones about the content being more serious. However, in your comments here, you describe your "primary concern" as the nature of the content. I am now not sure about your actual position.

So question 1: Were you revealing your true beliefs earlier or now?

I also want to point out what you said above

While I think the second category is more serious, the first category is much easier to document and communicate.

This to me seems a classical example of bikeshedding (not focusing on the "primary concern") and motte-and-bailey (defending a much narrower but stronger position after making initially grand but indifensible claims).

So question 2: Do you agree or disagree that these are examples of bikeshedding and motte-and-bailey?

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T19:48:53.947Z · EA · GW

I'm fine taking a random sample of 20 people.

Regarding positive connections, the claim made by Oliver is what we're trying to measure - that I made "significantly worse" the experience of being a member of the EA community for "something like 80%" of the people there. I had not made any claims about my positive connections.

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T19:18:46.646Z · EA · GW

I will think about this further, as I am not in a good space mentally to give this the consideration it deserves

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T18:37:24.670Z · EA · GW

One of the things I'm trying to do, as I noted above, is a meta-move to change the culture of humility about good deeds. I generally have an attitude of trying to be the change that I want to see in the world and leading by example. It's a long-term strategy that has short-term costs, clearly :-)

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T18:34:44.482Z · EA · GW

I'll be happy to take that bet. So if I understand correctly, we'd choose a random 10 people on the EA FB group - ones who are not FB friends with you or I to avoid potential personal factors getting into play - and then ask them if their experience of the EA community has been "significantly worsened" by InIn. If 8 or more say yes, you win. I suggest 1K to a charity of the choice of the winning party? We can let a third party send messages to prevent any framing effects.

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T18:14:42.961Z · EA · GW

Carl, I guess we have a basic disagreement about the ethics of this. I think it is unethical to disclose any aspect of the exchange without the consent of the other person. You believe it is appropriate to disclose one's own aspect of the exchange without the consent of the other person. We can let other people make up their minds about what they consider ethical.

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T18:03:51.623Z · EA · GW

I am claiming that it is highly problematic ethically to disclose private email exchanges in order to damage other people, without an accusation against you that can be rectified only through disclosing these exchanges. I am comfortable standing by that statement.

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T17:46:38.885Z · EA · GW

True, I don't have a very good perception of social status instincts. I focus more on the quality of someone's contributions and expertise rather than their status. I despise status games.

Also, there's a basic inference gap between people who perceive InIn and me as being excessively self-promotional. I am trying to break the typical and very unhelpful humility characteristic of do-gooders. See more about this in my piece here.

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T17:41:08.044Z · EA · GW

I am confused by how you believe that citing words from an email written by Michelle Hutchinson to me, without my consent to the email being cited, does not constitute disclosure of a private email exchange. The specific method by which this citation got out doesn't matter - what matters is that it happened.

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T17:38:40.504Z · EA · GW

I have indeed shared private emails when I have been accused of something improperly, and doing so was the only way to address this accusation. I have similarly done so in my statement above with regard to Leah's email allowing me to share her comment on how InIn helped ACE. I have never done so as an aggressive move to defame someone.

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T02:46:48.544Z · EA · GW

Note – I will make separate responses as my original comment was too long for the system to handle. This is part three of my comments.

Now that we got through the specifics, let me share my concerns with this document.

1) This document is a wonderful testimony to bikeshedding, motte-and-bailey, and confirmation bias.

It’s an example of bikeshedding because the much larger underlying concerns are quite different from the relatively trivial things brought up in this document: see link

Consider the disclosures. Heck, even one of the authors of this document who is a GiveWell employee has very recently engaged in doing the same kind of non-disclosure of her official employment despite GiveWell having a clear disclosures policy and being triply careful after having gotten in trouble for actual astroturfing before: see image So is one of the core issues throughout this whole thread, of InIn volunteer/contractors engaging with InIn content on Facebook through likes/shares. This is something that is widely done within the EA sphere. Why does the disclosures part of the document not list people’s actual motivations and beliefs that led them to write this document?

A) For example, let’s take the originator of the thread, Jeff Kaufman. He stated that his real concerns were not with the engagement by contractrors – the original topic of his post – but that his real concerns were about the nature of the content: see image

Now, I responded here: see image with Jeff not raising points in response. This is a classical motte-and-bailey situation – making a strong claim, and then backing away to a more narrow one after being called out on it: see link

This is similar to the concerns that Gregory Lewis raised in his comments in response to the post.

B) Let’s consider Oliver Habryka’s real concerns, about how I personally made the experience of nearly everyone in EA worse: see image Gregory Lewis says something similar but not quite as strong in his comments here

The experience of nearly everyone in EA being worse due to me is highly questionable, as a number of EAs have upvoted the following comments supportive of InIn/myself: see image or this comment: see image or this comment: see image

I find it hard to fathom how Oliver can say what he said, as all three comments and the upvotes happened before Oliver’s comment. This is a clear case of confirmation bias – twisting the evidence to make it agree with one’s pre-formed conclusion: see link To me Oliver right now is fundamentally discredited as either someone with integrity or as someone who has a good grasp of the mood and dynamics of EAs overall, despite being a central figure in the EA movement and a CEA staff member.

2) This document engages in unethical disclosures of my private messages with others.

When I corresponded with Michelle, I did so from a position as a member of GWWC and the head of another EA organization. Neither was I asked nor did I implicitly permit my personal email exchange to be disclosed publicly. In other words, it was done without my permission in an explicit attempt to damage InIn.

After this situation, both with Michelle and Oliver, how can anyone trust CEA and its arm GWWC right now to not use private emails against them when they might want in the future to damage them after any potential disagreements? And it’s not like I was accusing CEA/GWWC/Michelle of anything that they were trying to defend themselves with. This is a purely aggressive, not defensive, use of emails. It’s especially ironic in a document where I received criticism for sharing my impressions of a phone call, one that I later acknowledged was inappropriate to do but was done in the heat of the moment and in no way intended to damage the other person

Now, I do not know if Michelle herself provided the email, or if Oliver found it through his access to CEA email servers, or if it ended up in the document through other means. Regardless, it had to come from CEA staff. Why would CEA/GWWC permit its staff to use confidential access to information they have only as CEA staff to critize a nonprofit whose mission is at least somewhat competing, as Vipul Naiak pointed out: see image ? How is the CEA/GWWC going to be perceived as a result of this? What is the reputation cost there?

I bet some of you might be hating on me right now for pointing this out. Well, you’re welcome to commit the cognitive bias of shooting the messenger, but I am simply pointing out the reality of the situation. In fact, I am using only publicly available statements, and am not revealing in my comment any of the reputationally damaging information I have in personal communications, despite the fact that my own personal communications with CEA staff has been revealed publicly by CEA staff. I do not consider it ethical to share personal exchanges with others in a way that damages those people. I hope we as a movement can condemn this practice.

3) I am incredibly frustrated by all the time and resources – and therefore money, and therefore lives – this episode cost. And for what? For finding out about our volunteer/contractors doing social media engagement on their volunteer time? For finding out about my use of the term best-selling author, a standard practice even if I didn’t make the NYT best-seller list? I very much appreciate the information about Facebook boosting being problematic, and other things I pointed out as correct in my comments, but this could have been done in a way that didn’t drain so much money, time, lives, reputation, and other costs. This is a black mark in the history of the EA movement.

4) And talking about black marks, how many people were driven away from the EA movement because of this? I had many people approach me about how this caused them to be alienated from the EA movement. I asked one of them allowed me to share his comments and impressions publicly: see image

5) Building on the last point, this episode is a classic example of the “Founder effect” that plagues the EA movement: see link The authors and their supporters are trying to drive away people who share their goals and aspirations, but are somewhat different in their methods. The result of such activities is the evaporative cooling effect, where only those who hold the same methods being part of the movement. This results in the movement being increasingly limited to only a small demographic category. And it’s not like InIn is trying to bring people into the movement – we are trying to spread the ideas of effective giving in an effective manner. Such intolerance is deeply damaging to the movement as a whole.

6) The document and the episode as a whole reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature among the authors. What if I was a different person than I am? What if this drove me to break away from and criticize publicly the EA movement? Emotions have a funny way of reversing themselves sometimes when people feel rejected. Think of a bad breakup you might have had. How much damage do you think would be done in that case to the movement itself, considering the media sway that InIn has? We regularly appear on TV, radio, in prominent public venues. Why would the authors of this document risk such damage? Now, there's certainly a part of me that wants to do it, but fortunately I am enough of an aspiring rationalist to recognize that this is an emotion that will pass, and am not overwhelmed with it. What if I was not?

To conclude:

I don’t expect that those who come from an established conclusion that “InIn is bad” or “Gleb is bad” or something in that style will update. Many have already committed themselves to this belief, and for the sake of consistency, they will hold that belief.

Just keep in mind the deep damage done by this episode, and consider focusing on how to strengthen others aligned with your goals, not bring them down and drive them away. When conflicts within the EA movement grow personal and irrational – “Gleb made the experience of almost all EAs significantly worse” – this tears apart the movement as a whole.

While still enthusiastic about the ideas of EA, and excited to work with many people in the movement, I am deeply disappointed in some EAs at the higher levels of the movement. For the sake of my own mental health, I have been taking a break from the EA Forum and to a large extent from the EA main FB as well. I will continue to be happy to work with those people who want to build up and create and actually do as much good as they can to spread effective giving ideas broadly. Contact me if interested by email, I anticipate I won’t be checking the Forum much: gleb (at) intentionalinsights (dot) org

Finally, let’s get on with it. Let’s orient toward leaving this in the past, learning from it, avoiding doing anything like this again, and trying to work together to do the most good that we can, even if we may disagree somewhat on the best ways of accomplishing these goals.

P. S. Based on past experience, I learned that back and forth online about this will not be productive, so I did not plan to engage with, and if someone wants to learn more about my perspective, they are welcome to contact me privately by my email.

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T02:45:25.572Z · EA · GW

Note – I will make separate responses as my original comment was too long for the system to handle. This is part two of my comments.

Some of you will be tempted to just downvote this comment because I wrote it. I want you to think about whether that’s the best thing to do for the sake of transparency. If this post gets significant downvotes and is invisible, I’ll be happy to post it as a separate EA Forum post. If that’s what you want, please go ahead and downvote.

I disagree with other aspects of the post.

1) For instance, the points about affiliation, of which there were 2 substantial ones, about GWWC and ACE (I noted earlier it was a mistake to post about the conversation with Kerry).

A) After Michelle Hutchinson sent the email, we changed the wording to be very clear regarding what we mean, stating that we engaged in "collaboration with Against Malaria Foundation, GiveDirectly, The Life You Can Save, GiveWell, Animal Charity Evaluators, Giving What We Can, and others about them providing us with numbers of clicks and donations that they can trace to our article." see link

In other words, to prevent any semantic and philosophical discussion about the meaning of the term “collaboration,” we gave a very specific and clear statement about the nature of the collaboration at hand to prevent folks from getting confused about what it means. I am very comfortable standing by this statement.

B) Leah’s words were not in any way indicative of a formal endorsement for InIn, nor did we claim they were. They were just a statement of the kind of positive impact that InIn had for ACE. And in fact, we did ask Leah about quoting her in our internal documentation, which is where this information is located, our internal document about our EA impact: see image

2) The claims about astroturfing are way out of line: by comparing it to what GiveWell did, the authors are creating a harsh horns effect – smearing by association, in other words. For context, GiveWell’s senior staff on their paid time as employees went to forums where donations were discussed, and made up fake names to pose as forum members singing the praises of GiveWell. I and many other folks were very disappointed upon finding out what GiveWell did, although I appreciate the way they handled it. I would never want to do anything of the sort.

So let’s compare it to InIn. What the authors of this document point to is instances of InIn volunteers and volunteer/contractors on their own, non-paid time, and without any direction from the leadership, and using their real names, engaging with InIn content and posting mostly supportive messages, although with some criticism as well. They did not at all try to hide their identity, nor did they do so on paid time, as did GiveWell employees. We pay people only for specific things, such as doing video editing or social media management, and our miniscule budget does not cover low-impact and unethical activities such as the kind of thing done by GiveWell employees employees in the past.

I do not control what our volunteers or volunteer-contractors do on their non-paid time. I don’t have time to monitor all that our volunteers do, and I generally leave it up to them to figure out, as I have an attitude of trust and faith in them. Volunteer management is a delicate balance, as anyone who actually managed volunteers knows. So I only intervene when I hear about problems, otherwise I focus on more high-impact activities such as actually doing the work of outreach to a broad audience that makes a difference in improving the world. When folks engaged in things that got pushback, such as posting on Less Wrong without sharing in their introduction statements their role with InIn, I asked them politely to revise their introduction statements in one-on-one conversations.

Now, since this blowup, I have had a thorough conversation with the Board of Directors and our Advisory Board, and we decided to institute a more formal Conflict of Interest policy. We decided it would be appropriate to have a systematic policy that applies to anyone with an official position in the organization, meaning holding an office or being paid. Hopefully this will help guide people’s behavior in a way that results in appropriate disclosures. However, we anticipate it will take some time to shift behavior and not everything will go right. You are welcome to point out to me any instances where there’s an issues, and I’ll talk to the person who engaged in problematic behavior.

3) I’m not sure why the volunteer/contractor is listed as a dubious practice. All people who are contractors started off by being volunteers. Over time, as we had a need for more work being done, we approached some volunteers who we knew already had a background as contractors on Odesk to do some part-time work for the organization. You can see the screenshots with my description for more details.

It is very common for nonprofit organizations to offer people who volunteer for them to do some part-time work. This is how many other EA organizations besides InIn got started – with volunteers who then went on to do some part-time work. Eventually, these organizations became large enough to have full-time employees, and we’d like InIn to be there eventually.

Some folks expressed disbelief that the volunteer/contractors are really there because they support the mission and instead believe that they are just there for the money. Well, that’s simply not the case. Let’s take the example of Ella, who in October 2015, in response to a fundraising email, made a $10/month donation: see image She voluntarily, out of her own desire, chose to make this donation. Let me repeat – she voluntarily, out of her own volition in response to a fundraising call that went out to all of our supporters, chose to make this donation. Just to be clear, we send out fundraising letters regularly, so it’s not like this was some special occasion. She did not have to do it, it’s just something she wanted to do out of her own volition.

Nor is this in any way an explicit or implicit obligation for contractors – about half of the contractors are also donors, and the others are not. I value, respect, and treasure Ella and all the others contractors, they are a great team and I feel close to them. We have a family environment in the organization, and care about and support each othyer. It makes me very upset and frustrated to see the relationship between us described in this twisted way as a “dubious practice.”

4) The claims about it being bad to call oneself a best-selling author if one did not do it through making the New York Times best-seller list are silly. There are many best-seller lists, and authors who make it to the top of any list describe themselves as best-selling authors: see link The document makes it seem like I'm not following standard author practice here, and that's simply false.

5) The claims about not disclosing paid support are not backed up by any real evidence. I said that I ran the t-shirts by multiple people. Sure, some of them were volunteer/contractors for InIn. Does that fact cause them to not count as "people?" Wouldn't they be more likely to want higher-quality products so the organization succeeds more? In fact, they gave some of the more stringent criticism of the initial design, because they are more invested in the success of the design.

6) Regarding the Huffington Post piece, the person – Jeff Boxell – did not hear of effective giving before. Now he did, and he intends to use GiveWell and TLYCS as the guide for his donations. I am very comfortable standing by that claim.

P. S. Based on past experience, I learned that back and forth online about this will not be productive, so I did not plan to engage with, and if someone wants to learn more about my perspective, they are welcome to contact me privately by my email.

Comment by Gleb_T on Concerns with Intentional Insights · 2016-10-25T02:44:29.457Z · EA · GW

Note – I will make separate responses as my original comment was too long for the system to handle. This is part one of my comments.

Some of you will be tempted to just downvote this comment because I wrote it. I want you to think about whether that’s the best thing to do for the sake of transparency. If this post gets significant downvotes and is invisible, I’ll be happy to post it as a separate EA Forum post. If that’s what you want, please go ahead and downvote.

I’m very proud of and happy with the work that Intentional Insights does to promote rational thinking, wise decision-making, and effective giving to a broad audience. To be clear, we focus on spreading rational thinking in all areas of life, not only charitable giving, with the goal of raising the sanity waterline and ameliorating x-risk. We place articles in major venues, appear on radio and television, and spread our content through a wide variety of other channels. It is not an exaggeration to say we have reached millions of people through our work. Now, we don’t have a large resource base. We have a miniscule budget of just over 40K, mostly provided by my wife and I. It’s thanks to our broad network of volunteers of over 50 people that we can make this difference. A few of these volunteers also provide some contract work, and I’m really happy they can do so. Thanks to all the folks who helped make this happen!

Let’s go on to the content of the post. I appreciate the constructive part of the criticism of the authors of this post, and think some of points are quite correct.

1) I do think we made some mistakes with our social media, especially on Facebook, and we are working to address that.

2) We have instituted a Conflict of Interest policy to provide clear guidance to anyone in an official position with InIn to disclose their affiliations when making public statements about the organization.

3) Unfortunately, the person I asked to update our social media impact after Jacy Reese thoughtfully pointed out the “shares” vs. “likes” issue forgot to update the EA Impact document, although she did update the others. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, and it’s now fixed.

4) While I was careful to avoid explicitly soliciting upvotes, my actions were intended to bring information about opportunities to upvote to supporters of Intentional Insights. I should have been clear about that, and I noted that later in the FB post.

5) I am at heart a trusting person. I trusted the figures from TLYCS, and why shouldn’t I? They are the experts on their figures. I’m glad that this situation led to a revision of the figures, as I want to know the actual impact that we are making, and not have a false and inflated belief about our impact.

In part two, I will describe what aspects of the post I disagreed with.

P. S. Based on past experience, I learned that back and forth online about this will not be productive, so I did not plan to engage with, and if someone wants to learn more about my perspective, they are welcome to contact me privately by my email.

Comment by Gleb_T on Students for High Impact Charity: Review and $10K Grant · 2016-09-28T16:34:43.540Z · EA · GW

Glad to hear of your support, SHIC is an important and worthwhile project!

Comment by Gleb_T on .impact updates (1 of 3): New leadership, organizational overview and changes, LEAN · 2016-09-28T16:33:48.848Z · EA · GW

Nice to see this progress!

Comment by Gleb_T on Is not giving to X-risk or far future orgs for reasons of risk aversion selfish? · 2016-09-15T18:15:27.823Z · EA · GW

It seems to me that risk aversion and selfishness are orthogonal to each other - i.e., they are different axes. Based on the case study of Alex, it seems that Alex does not truly - with their System 1 - believe that a far-future cause is 10X better than a current cause. Their System 1 has a lower expected utility on donating to a far future cause than poverty relief, and the "risk aversion" is a post-factum rationalization of a System 1, subconscious mental calculus.

I'd suggest for Alex to sit down and see if they have any emotional doubts about the 10X figure for the far-future cause. Then, figure out any emotional doubts they have, and place accurate weights on far-future donations versus poverty relief. Once Alex has their System 1 and System 2 aligned, then proceed.

Comment by Gleb_T on How to Measure and Optimize EA Marketing · 2016-09-03T15:15:38.478Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the tip! We haven't looked into these, we'll have to check them out.

Comment by Gleb_T on How to Measure and Optimize EA Marketing · 2016-09-02T18:33:32.428Z · EA · GW

Good question about RCTs! We're actually gathering funding to conduct a study on various forms of messaging using Mechanical Turk.

Comment by Gleb_T on Accomplishments Open Thread - August 2016 · 2016-08-28T04:20:05.857Z · EA · GW

I think it's a really great piece, and look forward to seeing it on the forum!

Comment by Gleb_T on Promoting EA in Russia: Barriers and opportunities · 2016-08-22T19:16:09.301Z · EA · GW

Oh, I didn't mean "going to the people" as an activity, but a cultural tradition of valuing the masses. Namely, get to that part of the intelligentsia that values such activities, and show that EA is actually a great way to achieve their goal of valuing human beings in the most effective way possible (and later perhaps expand to other sentient beings).

Ah, didn't know about Yuliy's disengagement. Thanks for updating me about that.

Comment by Gleb_T on Promoting EA in Russia: Barriers and opportunities · 2016-08-21T23:01:36.445Z · EA · GW

Speaking from my perspective as someone who has researched Soviet civic engagement, I'm curious if it would be good to tie EA to existing Russian cultural ideas. For example, the idea of "going to the people" might be useful. This sort of cultural translation is what is being tried right now in translating EA to Muslim norms of giving to charity. Also, have you worked with the sizable LessWrong community in Moscow? They might be particularly amenable to EA. I can put you in touch with the group leader there if you're not, email me at

Comment by Gleb_T on Introducing Envision: A new EA-Aligned Organization · 2016-08-16T06:54:09.222Z · EA · GW

Ok, thanks for clarifying. Sounds like there will be a significant focus on collaboration. Also consider collaborating with SHIC if you aren't yet!

Comment by Gleb_T on Introducing Envision: A new EA-Aligned Organization · 2016-08-14T07:28:21.305Z · EA · GW

Thanks for sharing about the project! I'm curious how do you plan to engage with existing EA chapters in colleges?

Comment by Gleb_T on Promoting Effective Giving at Conferences via Speed Giving Games · 2016-08-13T21:44:00.318Z · EA · GW

Yup, scared straight is a famous example, but not a charity. Neither are the social interventions at the link. I'd love to see some charities that had scholarly studies proving them either ineffective or net negative.

Comment by Gleb_T on Promoting Effective Giving at Conferences via Speed Giving Games · 2016-08-13T17:54:59.682Z · EA · GW

I'm not sure I know of many studies of charities that show they have negative effects. Do you have any citations of such studies?

Comment by Gleb_T on Accomplishments Open Thread - August 2016 · 2016-08-12T05:00:40.680Z · EA · GW

Interesting stuff about Effective Environmentalism. Can you share some relevant links for people who might want to learn more?

Comment by Gleb_T on Accomplishments Open Thread - August 2016 · 2016-08-12T04:59:53.671Z · EA · GW

I personally donated to the fundraiser and encourage other folks to do so as well, it's a great cause.

Comment by Gleb_T on Accomplishments Open Thread - August 2016 · 2016-08-12T04:59:13.426Z · EA · GW

Excellent to hear about both the outreach work, and the fundraiser too. We tend to focus too little energy on doing outreach by comparison to moving money, so it's great to see you and the EA Munich group doing so much great outreach!