Posts

Answering some questions about EA 2019-09-12T17:44:47.922Z · score: 33 (18 votes)
There's Lots More To Do 2019-05-29T19:58:55.470Z · score: 113 (55 votes)
Value of Working in Ads? 2019-04-09T13:06:53.969Z · score: 17 (13 votes)
Simultaneous Shortage and Oversupply 2019-01-26T19:35:24.383Z · score: 40 (24 votes)
College and Earning to Give 2018-12-16T20:23:26.147Z · score: 26 (19 votes)
2018 ACE Recommendations 2018-11-26T18:50:57.764Z · score: 10 (13 votes)
2018 GiveWell Recommendations 2018-11-26T18:50:22.620Z · score: 8 (9 votes)
Donation Plans for 2017 2017-12-23T22:25:49.690Z · score: 14 (15 votes)
Estimating the Value of Mobile Money 2016-12-21T13:58:13.662Z · score: 8 (10 votes)
[meta] New mobile display 2016-12-05T15:21:22.121Z · score: 5 (5 votes)
Concerns with Intentional Insights 2016-10-24T12:04:22.501Z · score: 48 (54 votes)
Scientific Charity Movement 2016-07-23T14:33:38.192Z · score: 24 (24 votes)
Independent re-analysis of MFA veg ads RCT data 2016-02-20T04:48:29.296Z · score: 11 (11 votes)
The Counterfactual Validity of Donation Matching 2015-03-02T22:02:40.295Z · score: 12 (9 votes)
The Privilege of Earning To Give 2015-01-14T01:59:51.446Z · score: 23 (27 votes)
Effective Altruism at Your Work 2014-11-12T14:06:39.089Z · score: 6 (6 votes)
Lawyering to Give 2014-09-25T12:19:29.251Z · score: 11 (11 votes)
Disability Weights 2014-09-11T21:34:58.961Z · score: 12 (12 votes)
Altruism isn't about sacrifice 2013-09-06T04:00:13.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes)
Personal consumption changes as charity 2013-07-31T04:00:49.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Haiti and disaster relief 2013-07-19T04:00:57.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes)
Keeping choices donation neutral 2013-06-28T04:00:07.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes)

Comments

Comment by jeff_kaufman on How to Make Billions of Dollars Reducing Loneliness · 2019-08-31T01:45:40.756Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW
Facebook and Google have an incentive to track their users because they sell targeted advertising.

Even without ads they would have a very strong reason for tracking: trying to make the product better. Things you do when using Facebook are all fed into a model trying to predict what you like to interact with, so they can prioritize among the enormous number of things they could be showing you.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter? · 2019-07-10T18:58:53.873Z · score: 11 (5 votes) · EA · GW
For every decision I've made, there's a version where the other choice was made.

Is that actually something the many-worlds view implies? It seems like you're conflating "made a choice" with "quantum split"?


(I don't know any of the relevant physics.)

Comment by jeff_kaufman on EA Survey 2018 Series: Do EA Survey Takers Keep Their GWWC Pledge? · 2019-06-18T02:10:46.536Z · score: 13 (9 votes) · EA · GW

One group I'm especially interested in is people who were active in EA, took the GWWC pledge, and then drifted away (eg). This is a group that likely mostly didn't take the EA Survey. I would expect that after accounting for this the actual fraction of people current on their pledges would be *much* lower.

Since we don't know the fraction of people keeping their pledge to even the nearest 10%, the survey I would find most useful would be a smallish random sample. Pick 25 GWWC members at random, and follow up with them. Write personalized handwritten letters, place a phone call, or get a friend to contact them. This should give very low non-response bias, and also good qualitative data.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on There's Lots More To Do · 2019-06-11T19:59:45.370Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Other people being mislead is how I read "Claims to the contrary are either obvious nonsense, or marketing copy by the same people who brought you the obvious nonsense. Spend money on taking care of yourself and your friends and the people around you and your community and trying specific concrete things that might have specific concrete benefits. And try to fix the underlying systems problems that got you so confused in the first place."

Comment by jeff_kaufman on There's Lots More To Do · 2019-05-31T01:12:32.570Z · score: 12 (7 votes) · EA · GW

I don't think the post is correct in concluding that the current marginal cost-per-life-saved estimates are wrong. Annual malaria deaths are around 450k, and if you gave the Against Malaria Foundation $5k * 450k ($2.3B) they would not be able to make sure no one died from malaria in 2020, but still wouldn't give much evidence that $5k was too low an estimate for the marginal cost. It just means that AMF would have lots of difficulty scaling up so much, that some deaths can't be prevented by distributing nets, that some places are harder to work in, etc.

It does mean that big funders have seen the current cost-per-life saved numbers and decided not to give those organizations all the money they'd be able to use at that cost-effectiveness. But there are lots of reasons other than what Ben gives for why you might decide to do that, including:

  • You have multiple things you care about and are following a strategy of funding each of them some. For example, OpenPhil has also funded animal charities and existential risk reduction.
  • You don't want a dynamic where you're responsible for the vast majority of a supposedly independent organization's funding.
  • You think better giving opportunities may become available in the future and want to have funds if that happens.
Comment by jeff_kaufman on There's Lots More To Do · 2019-05-30T00:14:10.460Z · score: 12 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I agree the distribution would be interesting! But it depends how many such opportunities there might be, no? What about:

"Imagine that over time the low hanging fruit is picked and further opportunities for charitable giving get progressively more expensive in terms of cost per life saved equivalents (CPLSE). At what CPLSE, in dollars, would you no longer donate?"

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Why does EA use QALYs instead of experience sampling? · 2019-04-25T18:03:30.022Z · score: 12 (5 votes) · EA · GW

I tried experience sampling myself for about a year and a half (intro, conclusion) and it made me much more skeptical of the system. I'm just not that sure how happy I am at any given point:

When I first started rating my happiness on a 1-10 scale I didn't feel like I was very good at it. At the time I thought I might get better with practice, but I think I'm actually getting worse at it. Instead of really thinking "how do I feel right now?" it's really hard not to just think "in past situations like this I've put down '6' so I should put down '6' now".

And:

I don't have my phone ping me during the night, because I don't want it to wake me up. Before having a kid this worked properly: I'd plug in my phone, which turns off pings, promptly fall asleep, wake up in the morning, unplug my phone. Now, though, my sleep is generally interrupted several times a night. Time spent waiting to see if the baby falls back asleep on her own, or soothing her back to sleep if she doesn't, or lying awake at 4am because it's hard to fall back asleep when you've had 7hr and just spent an hour walking around and bouncing the baby; none of these are counted. On the whole, these experiences are much less enjoyable than my average; if the baby started sleeping through the night such that none of these were needed anymore I wouldn't see that as a loss at all. Which means my data is biased upward. I'm curious how happiness sampling studies have handled this; people with insomnia would be in a similar situation.

I agree that DALY/QALY measurements aren't great either, though.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Value of Working in Ads? · 2019-04-11T12:16:56.107Z · score: 9 (6 votes) · EA · GW
I think the internet shouldn't run on ads. Making people pay for content ensures that the internet is providing real value rather than just clickbaiting

Before the internet you still had tabloids with shocking claims on the cover that, after you bought the paper and read it you realized the claims were overblown. If we moved away from ads the specific case of "you pay, and afterwards you realize you were baited" would still exist.

the dependence on advertising creates controversies where corporations compel content hosts to engage in dubious censorship.

The role of middlemen like Google diminishes this substantially. Since the advertisers and publishers aren't talking directly to each other we end up with censorship only on the sort of thing that advertisers generally agree on: things like "adult or mature, copyrighted, violent, or hateful content" -- AdSense policies: a beginner's guide

Yes in theory people could always create and use paid websites, but there is too much inertia, both economically (network effects) and socially (people now feel very entitled to the Internet).

I'm not convinced this isn't just "people don't want to have to pay for things, and mostly don't mind ads that much". Newspapers, magazines, and cable TV both cost money and have ads. Analog radio sticks around on an ad-funded basis and people keep listening because it's incredibly low friction.

The government can always shift tax and welfare policy to account for the additional financial burden on low income people.

Ok, but in practice the government mostly doesn't do this. Figuring out how to get it to do this would open up a *ton* of valuable policies, but we also need to make reasonable choices in the present.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Salary Negotiation for Earning to Give · 2019-04-08T19:21:49.929Z · score: 26 (10 votes) · EA · GW

I've helped a few people negotiate salaries at tech companies, and my experience has been people always bring me in too late. You want to have multiple active offers at the same time so you can get them to bid against each other. For example, when I came back to Google I did:

  • Google made me an offer
  • Facebook beat Google's offer
  • Amazon declined to match either offer
  • Google beats Facebook's offer
  • Facebook beats Google's offer
  • Google matches Facebook's offer

The ideal for you is lots of back and forth, which is the opposite of what they want. They want to cut it short and will say things like "You're asking for a lot, but I think might be able to get it for you if I talk to my boss. If we can do $X can you confirm you'll accept it?" You want to be positive enough that they'll come back with an offer of $X, but not so positive that you have no negotiating room left if they accept it.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Apology · 2019-03-23T12:05:03.121Z · score: 27 (22 votes) · EA · GW

These steps, to my knowledge, are completely unprecedented for CEA.

I think CEA may have done something similar with Gleb, though for very different reasons: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/fn7bo8sYEHS3RPKQG/concerns-with-intentional-insights

Comment by jeff_kaufman on After one year of applying for EA jobs: It is really, really hard to get hired by an EA organisation · 2019-03-06T03:20:50.407Z · score: 13 (6 votes) · EA · GW

(Peter has been one of several people continuing to argue "earning to give is undervalued, most orgs could still do useful things with more funding".)

Comment by jeff_kaufman on EA Boston 2018 Year in Review · 2019-02-06T18:09:46.990Z · score: 9 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Aaron wrote:

Jeff's fundraiser for Google...

The post has:

For the past few years, Jeff Kaufman has led Google Cambridge’s EAs in successfully lobbying to direct that money toward GiveWell-recommended charities. At between a quarter-million and a half-million dollars each year, this may be the largest fundraising event for GiveWell charities in the world.

This is worded correctly but is a bit hard to interpret: I don't organize the fundraiser, I help organize the EA participation in it. Overall it looks like:

  • Each year, for the week of Giving Tuesday, there's a company wide system of fundraising for charities.
  • I coordinate EAs across the company in finding other EAs with compatible interests in their location/business unit and send out reminders about deadlines.
  • In the Cambridge office we have a bake-off where employees bake, sponsors put in some amount per good baked, other employees donate in order to taste them, and another set of sponsors matches these donations. The more you donate the more votes you get. This is the fundraiser the post talks about.
  • The bake-off organizers are people who think highly of GiveWell, partly related to the advocacy of Boston EAs, but I think don't identify as EAs themselves. They make the decision about what charities the bake-off should feature, and have chosen GiveWell top charities for the past several years.
  • The bake-off is built around matching and sponsorship, especially that the donations people make to eat/vote are matched. That matching has been provided by Google Cambridge's EAs, and one factor in the bake-off organizers choosing GiveWell charities is that we've been able to provide a large match pool.
  • It's not clear how counterfactual any of this is. Each year when I publicize it internally part of what I talk about is that my match isn't counterfactually valid, and I'll be donating my share whether or not others also donate. I use it as a time to talk about why you shouldn't expect matches like this to be counterfactual, and present it as "please join us in funding" and not "you can unlock extra funding".
Comment by jeff_kaufman on Simultaneous Shortage and Oversupply · 2019-01-28T00:55:23.266Z · score: 9 (5 votes) · EA · GW

My model is that if you want to move from generic software engineering to safety work that these would be very good next steps.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on EAs Should Invest All Year, then Give only on Giving Tuesday · 2019-01-25T14:52:02.894Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I got the whole $20k: https://www.jefftk.com/p/facebook-donation-match

Comment by jeff_kaufman on EAs Should Invest All Year, then Give only on Giving Tuesday · 2019-01-10T22:37:20.771Z · score: 15 (9 votes) · EA · GW

FB had a limit of $20k/donor this year, and I think that's much more likely to go down than up. So depending how much you're donating there's not much reason to save more than than for Giving Tuesday.

There's also the 1% PayPal match (plus 2% cash back) that's been in December each year. At a 16%/year discount rate it's worth waiting a couple months for that 3% but not all year.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Response to a Dylan Matthews article on Vox about bipartisanship · 2018-12-21T19:09:53.288Z · score: 14 (9 votes) · EA · GW

"Trump signed a good law this week. Yes, really." presents conflict: here's a person who you usually expect to be doing harmful things, and here they are doing something good. It can't make that hook without assuming something about their readers, and the hook draws people's interest. It's not an "unnecessary jibe"; it's the sort of thing that draws far more interest than a headline like "Trump signed a good law about HIV this week."

It's not a tradeoff I would make in my writing, but Vox is a left-leaning outlet and it seems pretty reasonable to me for them to write for a left-leaning crowd.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on EA Survey 2018 Series: Donation Data · 2018-12-12T16:58:04.459Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

The linear trend line in https://i.ibb.co/BgBkLZW/regression-graph.png looks like a poor match. Instead I'd model it as there being multiple populations, where one major population has a very steep trendline.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on 2018 GiveWell Recommendations · 2018-11-26T20:29:42.880Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Fixed, thanks!

(Though the title with [Link] is only used on some views, for example not on the article-view page, so it's somewhat confusing.)

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Is The Hunger Site worth it? · 2018-11-26T15:27:07.005Z · score: 33 (15 votes) · EA · GW

A site that brings in money by showing ads generally makes under $10 per 1000 visits (CPM) so at most $0.01 per visit. Even if we make unrealistically positive assumptions (they're getting very high CPMs, they donate 100% of the money, the money goes to charities that are as valuable as the AMF) then $10 to the AMF does as much good as visiting the Hunger Site daily for three years. With the same unrealistically positive assumptions, if this takes you 10s each time then you're working for under $3.60/hr.

So I think this is probably not worth looking into further. Volunteering to look at ads just doesn't bring in that much money so even if you got the best possible answers to your questions it wouldn't make sense.

(Similarly, I don't think trying to clone a site like this and run it targeted at GiveWell top charities would be worth it either.)

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Announcing new EA Funds management teams · 2018-10-31T15:01:32.063Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Who would you have recommended for these spots?

My not-that-informed view is something like "there are a bunch of problems with ACE, but I'm not sure there's anyone better right now". But if you have people in mind who would have been better for this role that would be really helpful to know!

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Thoughts on short timelines · 2018-10-26T12:31:00.432Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

You can extend your argument to even smaller probabilities: how much effort should go into this if we think the chance is 0.1%? 0.01? Or in the other direction, 50%, 90%, etc. In extremes it's very clear that this should affect how much focus we put into averting it, and I don't think there's anything special about 1% vs 10% in this regard.

Another way of thinking about it is that AI is not the only existential risk. If your estimate for AI is 1% in the next ten years but pandemics is 10%, vs 10% for AI and 1% for pandemics, then that should also affect where you think people should focus.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Additional plans for the new EA Forum · 2018-09-19T17:58:15.450Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

a few random old posts on a sidebar

In my case I just have a list of posts I thought were good and want more people to see, but in a forum with voting you could show highly upvoted older posts.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on EA Hotel with free accommodation and board for two years · 2018-08-27T17:16:46.941Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I'm assuming that the counterfactual here is someone who wants to do unpaid direct work full time, has some funds available that could be used to either support themselves or could be donated to something high impact, and could either live in SF or Blackpool.

Is this the counterfactual for the hotel manager, or for a resident? I'm only trying to address the hotel manager role here, but I wouldn't expect the counterfactual for a hotel manager to be unpaid direct work.

I think the value of having a very talented full-time manager for your group house is not about reducing expenses, it's about creating a house culture that serves to multiply the impact of all the residents

This makes a lot of sense to me, but reading the Hotel Manager section the impression I get is that a hotel manager would be too busy to do much in that direction. There's no discussion of their role in setting culture, and a lot of operations work.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on EA Hotel with free accommodation and board for two years · 2018-08-24T18:14:25.934Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

These chores don't go away if you live in an expensive housing market or make a high income.

If you have a high income, though, you can pay other people to do them: for example, instead of cooking you could buy frozen food, buy restaurant food, or hire a cook.

I expect that these economies of scale effects will become even more valuable as the number of people in the hotel grows.

My experience with cooking is that above about 6-10 people the economies of scale drop off a lot. I really like living in a house with enough adults that I can cook about once a week, but as the number of people (and combinations of dietary restrictions) grows you get beyond what one person can cook easily.

Overall, though, it sounds like you're more arguing for "group houses are great" (which I agree on) and not "taking the hotel manager job has high counterfactual impact" (which I think is much more important?)

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Fact checking comparison between trachoma surgeries and guide dogs · 2018-08-20T12:58:04.561Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

It looks like GiveWell put that project on hold in January 2018: https://www.givewell.org/charities/IDinsight/partnership-with-idinsight/cataract-surgery-project

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Making EA groups more welcoming · 2018-08-09T00:44:42.017Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Good point! I just measured some standard cheap new construction doors and found:

  • You lose 3/8" on each side to the jamb.

  • The door open to 90° loses you 1 5/8" on top of the jamb.

So a 30" door has a clear opening of 27 5/8" (or 29 1/4" with the door off).

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Leverage Research: reviewing the basic facts · 2018-08-06T12:29:29.037Z · score: 14 (10 votes) · EA · GW

Paradigm Academy was incubated by Leverage Research, as many organizations in and around EA are by others (e.g., MIRI incubated CFAR; CEA incubated ACE, etc.). As far as I can tell now, like with those other organizations, Paradigm and Leverage should be viewed as two distinct organizations.

See Geoff's reply to me above: Paradigm and Leverage will at some point be separate, but right now they're closely related (both under Geoff etc). I don't think viewing them as separate organizations, where learning something about Leverage should not much affect your view of Paradigm, makes sense, at least not yet.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Leverage Research: reviewing the basic facts · 2018-08-06T12:27:08.319Z · score: 25 (20 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for clarifying!

Two takeaways for me:

  • Use of both the "Paradigm" and "Leverage" names isn't a reputational dodge, contra throwaway in the original post. The two groups focus on different work and are in the process of fully dividing.

  • People using what they know about Leverage to inform their views of Paradigm is reasonable given their level of overlap in staff and culture, contra Evan here and here.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Leverage Research: reviewing the basic facts · 2018-08-06T12:12:00.133Z · score: 14 (13 votes) · EA · GW

See Geoff's reply to me below: Paradigm and Leverage will at some point be separate, but right now they're closely related (both under Geoff etc). I think it's reasonable for people to use Leverage's history and track record in evaluating Paradigm.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Leverage Research: reviewing the basic facts · 2018-08-04T14:34:54.126Z · score: 31 (31 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Geoff,

In reading this I'm confused about the relationship between Paradigm and Leverage. People in this thread (well, mostly Evan) seem to be talking about them as if Leverage incubated Paradigm but the two are now fully separate. My understanding, however, was that the two organizations function more like two branches of a single entity? I don't have a full picture or anything, but I thought you ran both organizations, staff of both mostly live at Leverage, people move freely between the two as needed by projects, and what happens under each organization is more a matter of strategy than separate direction?

By analogy, I had thought the relationship of Leverage to Paradigm was much more like CEA vs GWWC (two brands of the same organization) or even CEA UK vs CEA USA (two organizations acting together as one brand) than CEA vs ACE (one organization that spun off another one, which is now operates entirely independently with no overlap of staff etc).

Jeff

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Leverage Research: reviewing the basic facts · 2018-08-04T12:48:16.767Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · EA · GW

Given there are usernames like "throwaway" and "throwaway2," and knowing the EA Forum, and its precursor, LessWrong, I'm confident there is only be one account under the username "anonymous," and that all the comments on this post using this account are coming from the same individual.

I'm confused: the comments on Less Wrong you'd see by "person" and "personN" that were the same person happened when importing from Overcoming Bias. That wouldn't be happening here.

They might still be the same person, but I don't think this forum being descended from LessWrong's code tells us things one way or the other.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on The EA Community and Long-Term Future Funds Lack Transparency and Accountability · 2018-07-23T12:49:03.144Z · score: 9 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Lewis Bollard is also in this position, however, so this isn't everything.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on The EA Community and Long-Term Future Funds Lack Transparency and Accountability · 2018-07-23T12:46:54.010Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · EA · GW

My (guessing) model is that through his work for OpenPhil Bollard often has additional grants he wants to make, while Beckstead can more often convince OpenPhil to make his intended grants and so is rarely in this position. Hence Bollard has more use for supplementary funding.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on How to have cost-effective fun · 2018-07-02T19:24:37.748Z · score: 7 (11 votes) · EA · GW

The recommendations for sharing others Netflix/Steam accounts and downloading books from LibGen seem like they're in a different category from the rest of the stuff here. There's an enormous debate on piracy out there, but I wanted to flag this.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on How to have cost-effective fun · 2018-07-02T19:20:21.488Z · score: 7 (11 votes) · EA · GW

Other things in this direction I've enjoyed:

  • Learn how to fix things, especially expensive things. Working on your own house can save an enormous amount relative to hiring someone.
  • When thinking about hobbies, prioritize ones that don't have large consumable costs
  • Social dances (I like contra dance: trycontra.com) are really cheap for how much enjoyment I get out of them
  • Many events will let you in free if you volunteer to help. I've taken money at the door for an hour at many dances in exchange for admission, and it's a great way to meet people.
  • Get good enough at a hobby that it makes you some money (for me, playing music for dances)
  • Learn how to cook: if you get to where it's fun then it's not housework anymore
  • Get excited about optimizing things (for me, recently: house cooling without AC, bulk groceries)
  • If you have kids, figure out how to get things done while also watching them. Bring them to the grocery store, cook with them, etc. It's fine if it takes a lot longer that it would if you did the thing without the kids, because the time is coming out of childwatching-time and not childcare-time
  • Learning how to make the components of your hobbies instead of buying them can be a lot of fun, and can allow much more creativity later as you understand more about the things you're working with.

A lot of this depends on what you enjoy, what you're good at, and what your situation is. A lot of people would find many things on my list not fun at all and probably actively unpleasant.

(On the other hand, I think EA has generally overemphasized frugality. If spending more on transit, or buying food instead of making it, or getting a better internet connection, etc means you have more productive hours on valuable work that can easily be worth it even if it means spending more than your 'share' of world income.)

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Animal Equality showed that advocating for diet change works. But is it cost-effective? · 2018-07-02T17:31:23.201Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Would you increase your consumption of other animals, such that your meat consumption stayed relatively stable?

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Effective Advertising and Animal Charity Evaluators · 2018-06-22T01:11:45.701Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

they likely would have given it to other non-EAA animal charities

Thanks! It sounds like how counterfactual to consider this match is depends a lot on how much better you think ACE's Recommended Charities are than the sorts of charities this funder tends to support. Which I'm guessing isn't public information?

just left the money in their foundation for future donations

This is also important for assessing counterfactual impact, and is probably not something the funder knows either. If it would go to an ACE Recommended Charity in 2018 instead of 2017 that's pretty different than if it (a) wouldn't get donated for a long time or (b) would go to a much less valuable charity (see previous paragraph).

Overall, I think when an EA organization describes a match they offer as counterfactually valid they should link to details describing how they're reasoning that. For example "funder wouldn't otherwise donate to any ACE recommended charity this year", "funder would otherwise donate to GiveWell's recommendations", or "funder would otherwise spend the money on a yacht".

Comment by jeff_kaufman on EA Hotel with free accommodation and board for two years · 2018-06-15T18:58:46.619Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thinking about the hotel manager role, it's useful to use earning to give as a baseline for comparing impact. Maybe someone who could do a good job at this role could otherwise earn to give at $75-$150k/year if they were only to keep $20k/year for themself? [1] At full capacity there would be 16 bedrooms, but maybe you average 80% full, so this is an effective subsidy of $6k to $12k per resident per year. This on its own is in the same range as just giving people money to rent housing, even in an expensive market like London or the Bay Area. Then add in the other costs (real estate, upkeep, tasks that are contracted out) and this doesn't actually seem cheaper.

Might still be worth it, for the value of crystalizing a new EA hub in a generally cheaper area, but I'm not sold on it.

[1] Long term my expectation is that working a high paying job is probably building a lot more career capital than working as a hotel manager, but let's ignore that for now.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Ineffective entrepreneurship: post-mortem of Hippo, the happiness app that never quite was · 2018-06-14T18:13:09.626Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Pushing the code into the open is the easy part; if the technical cofounder was on board with open sourcing it that would be very easy for them. The hard parts are things like:

  • Does the code contain anything you don't have the rights to share?
  • Does the code contain any passwords, tokens, or other secrets? (It shouldn't, but this is common.)
  • Is the code a mess that they're worried would reflect poorly on them as a developer? (Very likely; I deal with this by just pushing things publicly anyway, but I also have a good enough traditional resume that I'm not reliant on my github resume.)
Comment by jeff_kaufman on Effective Advertising and Animal Charity Evaluators · 2018-06-14T17:39:25.011Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

we had a donor who would not otherwise have given to our Recommended Charity Fund

Do you know anything else about what they would have done with the money otherwise, aside from that it wouldn't have gone to this particular fund?

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Empirical data on value drift · 2018-05-03T17:56:47.170Z · score: 14 (9 votes) · EA · GW

I think this is a direction Julia and I could have gone around 2011. We didn't donate for a year (Julia was in grad school, I took a pay cut to work at a startup trying to maximize risk neutral returns) and it would have been easy to drift away.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on EA #GivingTuesday Fundraiser Matching Retrospective · 2018-01-14T07:25:27.347Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for writing this up! Collecting knowledge about what did or didn't work is really important for making progress.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Donation Plans for 2017 · 2017-12-25T01:21:27.112Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

These are our plans for the rest of 2017. While there aren't many days left, we also haven't made most of our annual donations yet.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Changes to the EA Forum · 2017-07-10T16:06:39.558Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

We've also thought a bit about integrating commenting systems so that discussion that happens on various EA blogs is mirrored on the forum (to avoid splitting discussions when cross-posting).

I've thought a bunch about this; let me know if you want to talk.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on How important is marginal earning to give? · 2017-06-20T14:20:47.471Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

This is now a thing: http://effective-altruism.com/ea/174/introducing_the_ea_funds/

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Effective altruism is self-recommending · 2017-04-27T19:02:00.206Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

if it happens again, I'd love a screenshot so I can debug

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Effective altruism is self-recommending · 2017-04-26T20:46:19.002Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

it now looks like you're criticizing a reasonable post, at least on mobile

When I look at this on mobile I see: https://goo.gl/photos/uzum9yU8YWceuUSg6

This doesn't look confusing to me, but does it to you? Or do you see something else?

(If the layout makes it look like replies to deleted comments are replies to the post, that's a problem we should and can fix.)

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Proposed methodology for leafleting study · 2017-02-08T02:46:14.876Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · EA · GW

"I reused the diet questions in my plan from MFA 2013 study on leafleting"

In my view, this study asked way too much. When you try to ask too much detail people drop out. Additionally, it asks about things like diet change, but to pick up on changes we should be comparing the experimental and control groups, not comparing one group with its (reported) earlier self.

What I'd like to see is just "do you eat meat" along with a few distractor questions:

  1. Are you religious?
  2. Is English your native language?
  3. Do you eat meat?
  4. Do you own a car?

Yes, we'd like to know way more detail than this, and in practice people are weird about how they use "meat", but the main issue here is getting enough responses to be able to see any difference at all between the two groups.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Proposed methodology for leafleting study · 2017-02-08T02:36:55.992Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

"A question to determine if they were leafleted or not, without directly asking."

People who were leafleted but ignored it and don't remember enough to answer this one accurately is a problem here.

What would you think of: at a college that allows students to mass pigeonhole directly, put experiment leaflets in odd mailboxes and control ones in even boxes. Then later put surveys in the boxes, with different links for odd and even boxes.

Instead of having the links be example.com/a and example.com/b it would be better for them all to look like example.com/gwfr so people don't know what's going on. You could generate two piles of follow-up links and use one for the odd boxes and the other for even. QR codes might be good to add so people have the option not to type.

Comment by jeff_kaufman on Living on minimum wage to maximize donations: Ben's expenses in 2016 · 2017-01-31T16:29:00.468Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

an individual on minimum-wage would qualify for food stamps, and possibly a rent subsidy as well?

My (MA) understanding is that food stamps are relatively easy to get, and most people with low enough income can get them, but housing subsidy is very hard to get, with a queue of several years.

Which is another thing that makes this tricky: there are a lot of benefits that people are technically entitled to but often don't get in practice, and often take up a lot of time to get. So if you look at the CBO's "Effective Marginal Tax Rates for Low- and Moderate-Income Workers in 2016" pdf (figure 1) you can see that there are significant benefits at the low end, but lots of people don't get them.