Against the Social Discount Rate (Cowen & Parfit) - Weak refutations 2020-08-12T15:06:46.777Z · score: 28 (13 votes)
How is it going with CFAR? 2020-06-11T10:35:02.925Z · score: 23 (10 votes)
Final update on EA Norway's Operations Project 2020-01-10T11:27:14.032Z · score: 28 (14 votes)
An update on Operations Camp 2019 2019-09-19T07:59:59.793Z · score: 52 (33 votes)
EAGxNordics 2019 Postmortem 2019-08-23T09:37:32.552Z · score: 51 (26 votes)
What are good reasons for or against working on protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services? 2019-05-07T15:37:57.992Z · score: 24 (14 votes)
Pre-announcement and call for feedback: Operations Camp 2019 2019-02-19T17:16:44.045Z · score: 39 (23 votes)
A short review of the Effect Foundation in 2017 2018-03-03T11:40:54.507Z · score: 10 (10 votes)
Project Report - On the Potential of Norwegian CSR-donations to Effective Charities 2018-01-18T10:56:56.438Z · score: 9 (9 votes)
Reorganizing EA NTNU into agile self-organizing teams 2016-11-13T17:49:08.079Z · score: 16 (16 votes)
EA introduction course and YouTube playlists 2015-08-13T12:50:09.081Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
EA-commercials on national TV in Norway - for free! 2015-07-16T16:18:18.938Z · score: 10 (10 votes)
Book-campaign in Norway - The plan and a request for input 2015-04-07T00:45:08.879Z · score: 7 (7 votes)
Meetup : Lunch meeting: Aid - Does it work? 2015-01-13T12:40:01.016Z · score: 0 (0 votes)
Meetup : Open EA Kick-off: Lunch meeting - EA NTNU 2014-09-19T06:58:58.850Z · score: 0 (0 votes)


Comment by jorgen_ljones on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-10-22T16:37:10.291Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

One argument against the effectiveness from mega charities who does a bunch of different, unrelated interventions is that from the Central Limit Theorem ( the average effectiveness of a large sample of interventions is apriori more likely to be close to the population mean effectiveness - that is the mean effectiveness of all relevant interventions. In other words, it's hard to be one of the very best if you are doing lots of different stuff. Even if some of the interventions you do are really effective, your average effectiveness will be dragged down by the other interventions.

Comment by jorgen_ljones on Against the Social Discount Rate (Cowen & Parfit) - Weak refutations · 2020-08-13T07:19:52.490Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for pointing out these unclear sentences. I've made some changes in this paragraph to make my point more clearly.

The first part of the sentence remains; in some views, it is not right that a giver of gifts get any privileges on other benefits. But in a pure utilitarian view, this might be the case in some sense. If one party provides a gift to another, otherwise equal party, this will create an inequality that decrease the total utility. A pure utilitarian view will demand that a redistribution of benefits should follow to restore the equal situation.

Of course, the utilitarian will not use the term "rights" or "privileges" to argue the case for a redistribution after the gift. Also, it is worth pointing out that in a utilitarian view the initial gift is immoral as it decreases total utility, but this is a bit beside the point as this gifting is an assumed fact with this argument.

Comment by jorgen_ljones on Problem areas beyond 80,000 Hours' current priorities · 2020-06-24T11:51:47.032Z · score: 12 (5 votes) · EA · GW

This made me think of backing up online EA content. It's not that hard to automatize backing up the content on the EA Forum, the EA Hub and the websites of CEA, GiveWell and other organizations. Not all movement collapse scenarios involve loosing access to online content and communication platforms, but it may be part of both internal conflict scenarios and external shocks.

Is the EA Forum regularly backed up, Aaron?

Comment by jorgen_ljones on EA Leaders Forum: Survey on EA priorities (data and analysis) · 2019-11-13T16:26:48.344Z · score: 16 (11 votes) · EA · GW

Regarding the question about the preferred resource allocation over the next five years, I would like to see someone take a stab at estimating the current allocation of resources over the same categories. My guess is that many of the cause areas are far from these numbers and it would imply a huge shift from status quo to increase or decrease the number of people and/or money going to each cause area.

The 3.5% allocation to wild animal welfare, for example, is 35 of the most engaged EAs contributing to the cause area and the money that goes with it. Or more people and less money if we trade off the resources against each other. Currently Wild Animal Initiative, the most significant EA actor in the field, employs eight people according a document on their website, most of them part-time. Going from here to 35 people would mean large investments and need of management, coordination and operations capacity. Especially if we should interpret it to mean 35 people on average over the next five years, given the position we're starting at.

I believe similar examples could be made from biosecurity (90 people and 9% of funding) or AI in shorter-timeline scenarios (180 people and 18% of funding). I guess that meta EA, global health and development and maybe farmed animal welfare are the categories that would need to scale back funding and people involved to reach these allocation targets.

Aaron commented that the respondents answered quickly to the survey questions, and this particular question even asks for a "rough" percentage of resource allocation. This might suggest that we shouldn't look too much at the exact average numbers, but only note the order of cause areas from most to least resources allocated.

Another possibility is that the respondents answered the questions based on the assumption that one could disregard all practical issues of how to get from status quo to this preferred allocation of resources. If so, I think it would be helpful to state this clearly with the question so that all respondents and readers have this in mind.

Comment by jorgen_ljones on Be the Match: a volunteer list for bone marrow donation · 2019-10-28T17:52:40.223Z · score: 29 (10 votes) · EA · GW

FWIW, I was a stem cell donor in March this year.

Here in Norway you can sign up after donating blood at least three times, they take a couple of extra blood samples for the stem cell registry and then you wait for the call. Most people on the list are never matched with anyone. I understand that the registry is an international collaboration, so the patient could have very well (most likely) been from a different country than Norway. I don't know where the patient lives that received my stem cells.

Here's a database of countries and agencies that take part in this international collaboration:

I donated through blood, which means I was first treated with injections of growth factors in the four days leading ut to the blood harvesting to provoke the release of stem cells from the bone marrow into the blood. This induce flu like symptoms with neck and back pain as the bone marrow swells up. The first injection my doctor gave me, but the rest I took at home after observing how it was done. On the day of the harvest I went to the hospital and spent about 3h in a bed hooked up to an apheresis machine which takes my blood out one arm, separated out the stem cells and puts the rest of the blood in the other arm.

The day of the harvest was a Monday, and I started feeling sick (the induced pseudo-flu) Friday evening with significant back pain on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but I was back to work the second half of Tuesday.

In total I think I spent a total of ~30 hours of productive hours (including Sat and Sun), while the Norwegian Bone Marrow Donor Registry refunded my workplace for the 15 hours I was on leave for this. I didn't pay anything in the end, nor got compensated anything else than my normal salary for the hours I was on leave. Some of this time I spent on low productive things like reading books and the rest I spend relaxing, playing computer games or sleeping.

I don't think this was the most effective thing I've done in my life, and I'm unsure it was even better than the expected value of my hours, but I'm confident that was higher than average.

Since I already was a blood donor it was very low effort to registrer for stem cell donation, and when I was a match, the relevant calculation on my part was the time I was going to spend, not the time all non-matched donors already had spent.

I also value that I learned some interesting things about stem cell treatment and stem cell donation in particular, and I enjoyed the experience and the story I can tell afterwards.

Comment by jorgen_ljones on EAGxNordics 2019 Postmortem · 2019-08-29T11:29:15.982Z · score: 8 (6 votes) · EA · GW

It seems to me like you and Halffull (previous comment) puts more weight on the goals we didn't achieve than was our intention with this report. I would like to note that we did not conclude the conference to be a failure and that the results are more nuanced.

It is true that we mostly failed at reaching the specific goals of engaging "inactive" EAs with the conference as we defined it. But the results report also show that there was a 10 percentage points increase in interests in applying for an EA Job and also an increase in interest of being responsible for an EA project.

In addition to these results being more nuanced than concluding with "EAGxNordics19 was a failure", on more traditional conference engagement targets we did quite well. An NPS of 45 is very good, 70% said the conference influenced their plans and 85% of the attendees found at least some interactions valuable. 92% of the respondents reported that the conference keeps them motivated to do good and 88% feel like they are part of a community because of the conference.

Because of this, we do not think our evaluation of EAGxNordics to be a case against running EAGx-conferences. If anything, our strongest take away for later EAGxs is that is it hard to use the conference as a tool for engaging "inactive" community members, and if you are aiming to to that, intensive, targeted outreach is needed to get them to participate in the first place.

Comment by jorgen_ljones on Announcing plans for a German Effective Altruism Network focused on Community Building · 2019-07-30T12:19:33.620Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Sorry we're late to reply, but we hope it's still valuable.

Thanks for our detailed post and willingness to be transparent about our plans! Regional and national EA groups in Germany seems like potentially a very valuable initiative.

Based on our experience building the national EA group in Norway, we want to echo the feedback previously given here by EAF, Michelle and Aaron. Especially the notion of not planning too much in advance, as reality will always be merciless to any plans. Adopting an agile approach with rapid feedback cycles is really important. We've found much of the advice in the Startup Playbook (Y Combinator) really useful:

Here's a relevant extract from their chapter about great products:

"Understand your users as well as you possibly can. Really figure out what they need, where to find them, and what makes them tick.

“Do things that don’t scale” has rightfully become a mantra for startups. You usually need to recruit initial users one at a time (Ben Silbermann used to approach strangers in coffee shops in Palo Alto and ask them to try Pinterest) and then build things they ask for. Many founders hate this part, and just want to announce their product in the press. But that almost never works. Recruit users manually, and make the product so good the users you recruit tell their friends.

You also need to break things into very small pieces, and iterate and adapt as you go. Don’t try to plan too far out, and definitely don’t batch everything into one big public release. You want to start with something very simple—as little surface area as possible—and launch it sooner than you’d think. In fact, simplicity is always good, and you should always keep your product and company as simple as possible."

May be it's a good idea to select just a few of the activities you mention, starting with North Rhine-Westphalia or Greater Berlin before expanding? NRW is 18 million people, about the size of Sweden, Norway and Denmark combined.

We would very much be interested in discussing EA community building and new regional and national groups further. We regularly collaborate and share experience and best practices with other EA groups so please don't hesitate to reach out.

Comment by jorgen_ljones on Pre-announcement and call for feedback: Operations Camp 2019 · 2019-02-20T15:42:01.033Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thank you for an interesting comment. Would you say that we should expect more impact from the fact that we are identifying and referring strong candidates, and providing them with a strong signal of their competence, motivation and EA understanding, than from any learning and experience they might build during the camp?

Comment by jorgen_ljones on Pre-announcement and call for feedback: Operations Camp 2019 · 2019-02-20T15:21:17.394Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for your comment. In our previous posts we explored the nature of the operations talent gap, and among other things surveyed EAs working in operations roles about what traits and skills they believed to be important in their job, and how these skills could be acquired.

From our previous post [part 2]:

" experience with operations, running logistics at events and workshops, and project management are mentioned as ways in which the respondents gained some of their skills. Furthermore, internships, volunteering and doing independent side projects were mentioned as concrete ways to gain certain skills, while also being less costly than taking a job somewhere."

"Other mentions in the survey were reading articles and books on business-related topics, trying to improve the organisations you work at, and getting feedback from colleagues and experienced operations people. [...] In terms of other ways which one could acquire these skills, the respondents proposed attending workshops, and work experience in the private sector or non-EA organisations. They also mentioned taking tutorials on relevant topics, coaching from others, and online courses."

We share your concern that short-term experience will not provide participants with a significant increase in skill level of any relevant skill. Still, we think that an intensive project with deliberate practice, supported by solid mentoring, could provide useful and enhance participants skills. At least if the target group of the camp is juniors. Also, we would add that given the third mechanism mentioned in our post, we believe that most of the value will come from finding already skilled people and help them signal their skill level and motivation reliably, rather than relying on significant up-skilling during the camp.

Comment by jorgen_ljones on Pre-announcement and call for feedback: Operations Camp 2019 · 2019-02-20T15:06:07.697Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

That's great! Thanks for the offer! We'll add your name to a list of resources we'll consider for the camp. That being said, developing the content is not a priority in the next month.

Comment by jorgen_ljones on A short review of the Effect Foundation in 2017 · 2018-04-06T20:55:51.561Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

As of now it is quite low effort. We got a website that works like a donation portal providing information about GW orgs in Norwegian, general arguments for why one should give effectively and transparent information about the Effect Foundation. The main value here is the information is provided in Norwegian and that we support Norwegian payment methods. These payment methods are no or low fees so there are some savings in transaction cost by donating through us rather than directly.

In addition to the website we use Facebook to promote the organizations and effective giving, and we use the new facebook fundraising feature. Also we have a promotional video shown on national television 1-2 days a year(

We have experimented with donor events (AMF visited Oslo last year for a talk and get together at a pub afterwards) and reaching out to companies and their CSR-projects (

Comment by jorgen_ljones on Effective Altruism London - Strategic Plan & Funding Proposal 2018 · 2018-03-03T23:09:24.718Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

I'm interested in hearing how the fundraising drive went and what the current situation of EA London is?

Comment by Jorgen_Ljones on [deleted post] 2016-03-16T00:40:50.525Z

What happend to this post? Is it retracted? The autor seem to be deleted or something. I was interested in learning how others with insight in this topic would respond and follow the debate.

Comment by jorgen_ljones on Finance Careers for Earning to Give · 2016-03-06T15:58:23.719Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I would love to see more of the same kind of overview for other careers like computer science, consulting and economics. 80.000 hours should consider integrating such concrete, practical guides for choosing sub-fields.

Comment by jorgen_ljones on EA-commercials on national TV in Norway - for free! · 2015-07-16T18:44:23.526Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

In order to be eligible for tax deduction you mean? No, they have to be registered inside the EEA, though.

EDIT: Ah, you meant for sending in videos. I don't know actually. Will try to find an answer.

EDIT again: Yes, the charities have to be "nationwide" and they are stating that they want to promote "ideal organisations and the voluntary work in our country". This is from the larges commercial TV station, but I think the same goes for the smaller media channels as well.

Comment by jorgen_ljones on How I Raised $5010.32 for AMF and How You Can Too! · 2014-12-24T12:12:34.197Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Great with all the tips for a successful birthday fundraiser! But I've got a couple of questions that I would like to see your thoughts on.

I) People you meet on a regular basis, like your best friends of nearest family, do you include them on the email list? Isn't it like texting people while you talk to them? A bit weird and too formal?

II) I imagine you want to do this again next year, but could you send the same email again? Do you think people will think differently about the email and you contacting them with a fundraising call every year?

Comment by jorgen_ljones on Open thread 5 · 2014-11-17T16:20:31.544Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I'm thinking of giving "Giving games" for Christmas this year.

Family and friends gets a envelope with two cards. A nice Christmas card saying they now have x NOK to give on a charity of their choosing. Then it presents some interesting recommendations and encourage them to look more into them if they want to. When they have decided they have to write it down on an accompanying empty (but postaged) card addressed to me and when I get the card after Christmas I will donate the money.

Have somebody else though of something similar? Do you have any ideas that could make it more interesting or better in any way?

Comment by jorgen_ljones on Open Thread 4 · 2014-11-10T19:46:49.695Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

We are planning to do a survey of a representative selection of students at NTNU, our university in Trondheim, Norway. There are about 23 000 students across a few campuses. We want to measure the students':

  • ... basic knowledge of global development, aid and health (like Hans Rosling's usual questions)

  • ... current willingness and habits of giving (How much? To what? Why?)

  • ... estimates of what they will give in the future, that is after graduating

And of course background information.

We think we may use this survey for multiple ends. Our initial motivation was to find a way to measure our own impact at the university. And we still think, in some sense, we could measure our impact over time. Another use of the results would be the media opportunity when we present the disaggregated results, e.g. how altruistic are the engineering students compared to the medical students. We think the student press would love these kind of results and give us a lot of free media coverage. Lastly we have thought about these results could be interesting to other institutions in Norway, primarily in the aid sector. Our university is the largest technological university in Norway with many of the most attractive fields of study and thus many businesses and institutions are interested in the students.

It this is a success we want to expand to the universities in Oslo and Bergen. This will also give us a better control group, more solid results, maybe national media coverage and a better chance to reach out to people.

I would love to get some answers to the following questions: Do you have any experience from similar projects? Are there any specific questions or other topics we should consider including in the survey? Maybe you have other ideas of how we could leverage the results?

Comment by jorgen_ljones on Introduce Yourself · 2014-11-10T10:52:14.622Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Yes, are hoping to have him over spring of 2015. The plan is to book the student hall (about 800 seats) at the weekly mass meetings. His excellent videos online is quite known at the university, so I think we will have good chances of a high turn up!

Comment by jorgen_ljones on Introduce Yourself · 2014-09-21T09:58:57.738Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · EA · GW

Hi! I'm Jørgen (or George for English speakers who find the ø difficult) and I study industrial engineering at the Norwegian University for Technology and Natural Sciences (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway.

About 9 months ago I gathered a few classmates and we founded [Effektiv Altruisme NTNU] ( as the first EA organisation in Norway. In just these few months we have had great success in building the organisation, networking and planning our [launch event] ( this Thursday. We have already third most likes on Facebook of the international focused idealistic student groups in Trondheim and we are expecting 150 people at the event next week.

We have a lot of plans and good ideas for events and projects in Trondheim and Norway, including a talk from Hans Rosling, lobbying towards Norwegian politicians and people and organisations with influence and a university wide charity survey to map knowledge and attitudes towards giving effecivly. The last one is essential to measure our own influence on students over time.

Besides EA and ethics, I consider my self a part of the skeptic movement (witch we already are finding supporters from) and I just love bordgames!