Comment by peter_hurford on High-priority policy: towards a co-ordinated platform? · 2019-01-14T21:06:14.761Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

One clear strategy would be acting via OpenPhil, which can put a lot of money into policy advocacy.

Comment by peter_hurford on Climate Change Is, In General, Not An Existential Risk · 2019-01-11T23:56:08.165Z · score: 16 (12 votes) · EA · GW

I really like the writing and material in this post. :) Have you considered the possibility that global warming may introduce instability that could exacerbate other potential conflicts, leading to potential existential crises from nuclear war? Perhaps this is too indirect and unlikely, but my understanding is that EAs that worry about climate change as an x-risk envision this kind of two-step x-risk scenario.

Comment by peter_hurford on An integrated model to evaluate the impact of animal products · 2019-01-09T16:44:29.682Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for putting this together. If this analysis is true (though I’m skeptical), then pescatarian -> vegetarian advocacy could be beneficial. I definitely do agree that not including carbon cost in the existing calculations has long been a mistake... there are likely other considerations that are yet still missing.

Having ~1 human welfare day lost per 5kg of carbon seems high to me... and in the long run scenario close to 9 human welfare days per kg. Both of these calculations would require more defense in my opinion.

Comment by peter_hurford on Public policy push for effective altruism · 2018-12-29T17:00:14.645Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

There's a fair amount of work being done on animal welfare policy.

Comment by peter_hurford on EA Hotel Fundraiser 1: the story · 2018-12-27T17:57:34.419Z · score: 17 (12 votes) · EA · GW

1.) How do you think the EA Hotel compares in impact to giving out direct £6,000 grants to individuals selected for impact, to work wherever they are, without having to relocate to a hotel? I imagine the hotel may have some economies of scale but may also be limited to only those who can relocate?

2.) How hard is it for people to relocate to Blackpool?

3.) How many EAs apply for EA Hotel residency but don't get in? What is the "selecting for impact" process actually like? Who does the selecting?

4.) How long do people stay?

5.) Are there concrete results from past EA Hotel residents yet? Or would it be too soon for that still? It would be great to see the actual testimonials here.

6.) How easy is it to "host events and retreats that help EA’s get more socially involved" from Blackpool?

Comment by peter_hurford on Animal-Welfare Economic Research Questions · 2018-12-22T02:36:47.319Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW
I am interested in Lewis Bollard's open philanthropy newsletter which seems to have some ideas about this sort of stuff but I can't find back issues.

Back issues are available here: https://us14.campaign-archive.com/home/?u=66df320da8400b581cbc1b539&id=de632a3c62

Comment by peter_hurford on Forum Update: New Features, Seeking New Moderators · 2018-12-22T02:24:48.787Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Also, is there going to be support for linked endnotes?

Comment by peter_hurford on Forum Update: New Features, Seeking New Moderators · 2018-12-21T04:23:05.541Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Can you implement co-authorship? I think I saw it on the Alignment Forum.

Comment by peter_hurford on Long-Term Future Fund AMA · 2018-12-19T21:47:34.357Z · score: 8 (6 votes) · EA · GW

What are your thoughts on funding smaller "start-up" organizations (e.g., Ozzie's project) versus larger "established" organizations (e.g., MIRI)?

Comment by peter_hurford on Long-Term Future Fund AMA · 2018-12-19T21:47:12.016Z · score: 15 (11 votes) · EA · GW

What generally is your criteria for evaluating opportunities?

Comment by peter_hurford on Long-Term Future Fund AMA · 2018-12-19T21:46:52.495Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · EA · GW

What new research would be helpful to finding and/or evaluating opportunities?

Comment by peter_hurford on Long-Term Future Fund AMA · 2018-12-19T21:46:48.532Z · score: 11 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Do you plan to continue soliciting projects via application? How else do you plan to source projects? What do you think distinguishes you from EA Grants?

Comment by peter_hurford on EA Meta Fund AMA: 20th Dec 2018 · 2018-12-19T21:46:12.395Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

What new research would be helpful to finding and/or evaluating opportunities?

Comment by peter_hurford on Animal Welfare Fund AMA · 2018-12-19T21:45:56.595Z · score: 12 (8 votes) · EA · GW

What new research would be helpful to finding and/or evaluating opportunities?

Comment by peter_hurford on EA Meta Fund AMA: 20th Dec 2018 · 2018-12-19T21:44:52.879Z · score: 11 (6 votes) · EA · GW

What are your thoughts on funding smaller "start-up" organizations (e.g., LetsFund) versus larger "established" organizations (e.g., 80K)?

Comment by peter_hurford on EA Meta Fund AMA: 20th Dec 2018 · 2018-12-19T21:44:05.811Z · score: 12 (7 votes) · EA · GW

What generally is your criteria for evaluating opportunities?

Comment by peter_hurford on EA Meta Fund AMA: 20th Dec 2018 · 2018-12-19T21:43:52.086Z · score: 10 (5 votes) · EA · GW

What do you consider to be "meta"? What do you consider to not be "meta"?

Comment by peter_hurford on EA Meta Fund AMA: 20th Dec 2018 · 2018-12-19T21:43:36.196Z · score: 10 (5 votes) · EA · GW

What generally is your plan to find good funding opportunities?

Rethink Priorities Plans for 2019

2018-12-18T00:18:31.987Z · score: 55 (36 votes)
Comment by peter_hurford on EA Forum 2.0 Initial Announcement · 2018-12-17T23:55:14.174Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

While the new editor is nicer in many ways, there appears to be no way to format the size of images or insert tables. This makes the new forum noticeably weaker than the old forum, where we at least had an HTML editor to allow us to fine-tune these things. It would be great to bring back an HTML editor, or at least be able to create tables and format the size and position of images.

Comment by peter_hurford on EA Funds and Donor Lottery this December: Quick Update · 2018-12-10T05:57:37.836Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

The donor lottery says it is "Closing: Wed, 9th January 2019 4:00 PM" but notably a timezone is not listed. Can you clarify?

Comment by peter_hurford on Should Effective Charities Prepare for a Recession? · 2018-11-29T16:54:10.443Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · EA · GW

I've thought before that it would be worth OpenPhil of adopting an explicit policy of acting counter-cyclically, aiming to donate more during recessions. I haven't thought about this much though.

Comment by peter_hurford on EA Survey 2018 Series: Community Demographics & Characteristics · 2018-11-26T22:16:49.329Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

We've now written a bit more about that here: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/K2u4rvy38YmSnhQ5X/ea-survey-series-2018-subscribers-and-identifiers

Comment by peter_hurford on MIRI 2017 Fundraiser and Strategy Update · 2018-11-26T14:22:12.534Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Is there a mistake? Why is the 2017 fundraiser published in 2018?

Comment by peter_hurford on Should you have your own blog? · 2018-11-26T07:57:03.167Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I moved my blog over to the EA Forum a long time ago and I'm pretty glad I did. I think it's nice to have more EA content in one place.

http://veg-ea.com/blog/2016/vegan-advertisements-arrive-in-times-square-but-are-they-effective looks to be pretty useful to me.

Comment by peter_hurford on Outreach to Farmers · 2018-11-24T00:13:13.065Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for this. I'd love to hear more if you could elaborate on some of your sections, such as the opportunities for farmers now or the analogy to how similar strategies fit into anti-tobacco lobbying.

Comment by peter_hurford on Takeaways from EAF's Hiring Round · 2018-11-19T22:16:46.366Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I also find myself feeling initially skeptical/averse of GMA testing for hiring, though I don't really have a specific reason why.

Comment by peter_hurford on Takeaways from EAF's Hiring Round · 2018-11-19T22:12:31.443Z · score: 2 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Same

Comment by peter_hurford on Amazon Smile · 2018-11-18T22:20:20.464Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

GiveWell (unrestricted) is on there too, under "The Clear Fund" (the official legal name of GiveWell)

Comment by peter_hurford on 2017 Donor Lottery Report · 2018-11-13T21:10:44.924Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for writing up your reasoning!

Comment by peter_hurford on Reducing Wild Animal Suffering Ecosystem & Directory · 2018-11-01T06:04:28.987Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks!

I'm aware, but SI and ACE received grants funding activity related to farm animal welfare, not wild animal welfare.

Oh, that makes sense.

Comment by peter_hurford on Reducing Wild Animal Suffering Ecosystem & Directory · 2018-10-31T18:56:06.429Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Hey Evan Gaensbauer, this is great! Thanks for putting it together.

Though, of course, it is hard to represent all these organizations. Some nitpicks:

1.) Rethink Priorities was founded in 2018, not 2017.

2.) Rethink Priorities is an independent project of Rethink Charity, but we operate independently. I wouldn't say we were created by Rethink Charity, though I have been personally involved with Rethink Charity for quite some time.

3.) I don't think Rethink Priorities has any volunteer partnerships with any other organizations yet.

4.) Rethink Priorities has received grant money from the EA Foundation in addition to the EA Animal Welfare Fund.

5.) While this is clear from your text, it's not clear in your image: Sentience Institute and ACE have also received grants from the EA Animal Welfare Fund.

6.) It might be nice to make the direction of these relationships clear with arrows.

Comment by peter_hurford on Announcing new EA Funds management teams · 2018-10-28T21:18:14.558Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · EA · GW

people from ACE and Sentience Politics to contribute to the Animal Welfare Fund

Worth noting that no one from Sentience Politics is on the Animal Welfare Fund. Lewis is from OpenPhil, Natalie is from Effective Giving, and Toni/Jamie are from ACE.

Comment by peter_hurford on Many EA orgs say they place a lot of financial value on their previous hire. What does that mean, if anything? And why aren't they hiring faster? · 2018-10-25T01:51:35.921Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

That would be great, Ben!

Worth also noting that The Charity Entrepreneurship Program seems like a great way to get involved with creating a new charity in global health or factory farming.

Comment by peter_hurford on Survey of EA org leaders about what skills and experience they most need, their staff/donations trade-offs, problem prioritisation, and more. · 2018-10-24T23:28:15.591Z · score: 11 (6 votes) · EA · GW

AGB can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'd summarize it as:

  • EAs originally thought that replicability meant your value is only equal to how much better you are than the next best applicant, rather than your total value.

  • Now EAs think your value is equal to your full value, as the person you "replace" would go on to produce their full value somewhere else. Replaceability thus isn't really the issue that we once thought it was.

  • However, when considering additional costs, underemployment factors, other market dynamics, etc., it looks like the EA employment market is very saturated and the next best applicant actually doesn't end up producing their full value somewhere else. So perhaps our original naive analysis of replaceability ends up being closer to the truth.

Comment by peter_hurford on Survey of EA org leaders about what skills and experience they most need, their staff/donations trade-offs, problem prioritisation, and more. · 2018-10-24T23:25:41.872Z · score: 1 (2 votes) · EA · GW

You're welcome!

Where I used to find the default assumption of B going and doing something almost as directly valuable credible, I now assign high (>50%) probability that B will either end up unemployed for a significant period of time, or end up 'keeping the day job' and basically earning-to-give for some much lower amount than the numbers EA orgs generally talk about.

I agree here and think this is a very important concept and that you put it well. It seems like, unfortunately, in practice, that a next best candidate who just barely doesn't make the cut has a risk of being a perennial EA job applicant who just barely doesn't make the cut in a bunch of places.

To me, this seems like a standard issue of EA unemployment or underemployment that could be analyzed like any other market, looking at the supply of EA jobs to the supply of potential EA laborers. The "level-1" assumption that people who just barely don't make it will find roughly equally valuable employment elsewhere doesn't fully account for the additional costs of a prolonged search, the risk of getting discouraged, etc.

I'd love to try to use the 2019 EA Survey to analyze EA unemployment / underemployment and see if this is amenable to more analysis.

-

my opinion based on private information about just who is in the 'can't get a junior job at an EA org' pool is that this pool is pretty high quality right now

Based at least on my recent hiring for Rethink Priorities, I can definitely confirm this is true, at least for us. We ended up completely overwhelmed with high-quality applicants beyond our wildest dreams. As a result we're dramatically scaling up as fast as we can to hire as many great applicants as we can responsibly, taking on a bunch of risk to do so. Even with all of that additional effort, we still had to reject numerous high-quality candidates that we would've otherwise loved to work with, if only we had more funding / management capacity / could grow the team even faster without overwhelming everyone.

Comment by peter_hurford on Open Thread #42 · 2018-10-19T04:11:45.521Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I'm interested.

Comment by peter_hurford on Open Thread #41 · 2018-10-14T20:41:41.504Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

You made it to five karma.

Comment by peter_hurford on Survey of EA org leaders about what skills and experience they most need, their staff/donations trade-offs, problem prioritisation, and more. · 2018-10-14T02:51:22.850Z · score: 7 (6 votes) · EA · GW

I do see large differences in expected impact of potential new hires, but I see a lot of hires who would be net positive additions (even after accounting all the various obvious costs enumerated by Rob) and even had to unfortunately turn away a few people I think would have been rather enormously net positive.

We're not constrained by management capacity but we will be soon.

Comment by peter_hurford on Double Crux prompts for Effective Altruists · 2018-10-13T04:17:17.234Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

These would be fun questions to chat over at an EA party. :)

Comment by peter_hurford on Many EA orgs say they place a lot of financial value on their previous hire. What does that mean, if anything? And why aren't they hiring faster? · 2018-10-12T20:26:25.946Z · score: 1 (14 votes) · EA · GW

Since this looks like it was written partially in response to me, I’d like to reply. First, I appreciate the clarification. It is very helpful and I definitely agree with most of it.

It strikes me that the actual problem here is one of messaging. By getting EA orgs to list very large figures for their hires and talk about talent gaps writ large, you risk misleading EAs into thinking that they should be focusing on applying or upskilling for these jobs in particular, when the actual value of doing so may be less than it appears (though still potentially large). It seems like it would be far more informative to ask EAs to place figures on future hires or discuss more detail about how exactly they feel constrained or bottlenecked.

Also, if EA orgs are better informed that there actually are a lot of talented applicants out there, perhaps these orgs may invest more in figuring out how to productively bring on more people.

Comment by peter_hurford on Open Thread #41 · 2018-10-12T02:14:03.008Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Go for it

Comment by peter_hurford on Survey of EA org leaders about what skills and experience they most need, their staff/donations trade-offs, problem prioritisation, and more. · 2018-10-11T21:36:26.758Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Ah, I see. There's overlap on 80K and CEA, but the long-term future fund goes to CFAR and MIRI, whereas the EA Community fund goes to Founders Pledge.

Comment by peter_hurford on Survey of EA org leaders about what skills and experience they most need, their staff/donations trade-offs, problem prioritisation, and more. · 2018-10-11T21:34:47.439Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

there is just a smaller talent pool of both extremely skilled and dedicated potential employees to draw from

We have been screening fairly selectively on having an EA mindset, though, so I'm not sure how much larger our pool is compared to other EA orgs. In fact, you could maybe argue the opposite -- given the prevalence of long-termism among the most involved EAs, it may be harder to convince them to work for us.

So the data seems to imply leaders at EA orgs which already have a dozen staff would pay 20%+ of their budget for the next single marginal hire.

From my vantage point, though, their actions don't seem consistent with this view.

Comment by peter_hurford on Survey of EA org leaders about what skills and experience they most need, their staff/donations trade-offs, problem prioritisation, and more. · 2018-10-11T18:58:41.725Z · score: 8 (7 votes) · EA · GW

The median view was that the Long-Term Future fund was twice as effective as the EA Community fund

This strikes me as an odd statement to make, given that - so far - the two funds have essentially operated as the same fund and have given donations to the exact same organizations with the exact same stated purposes. That being said, I agree it’s reasonable to expect the grantmaking of the funds to diverge under the forthcoming new management and maybe this expectation is what is being priced in here.

Comment by peter_hurford on Survey of EA org leaders about what skills and experience they most need, their staff/donations trade-offs, problem prioritisation, and more. · 2018-10-11T18:35:26.991Z · score: 17 (14 votes) · EA · GW

Continuing on the EA talent paradox (“EA orgs need talent but many EAs can’t get hired at EA orgs”), I’m confused why 80,000 Hours is continuing to bemoan earning to give. I get that if someone could be an FHI superstar or earn to give at $50K/yr they should go join FHI and I get that there are many awesome career paths outside of EA orgs and outside ETG that should be explored. Maybe in the past ETG was too much of an easy auto-default and we want to pressure people to consider more of their options. But ETG is an easy auto-default for a reason and I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that ETG is genuinely the highest impact option for >50% of the population of people who are EA enough to, e.g., fill out the EA Survey!

It seems pretty discouraging to EAs to make them feel bad about what is a genuinely a really great option. I think we may have overcorrected too strongly against ETG and it may be time to bring it back as a very valid option among the top career paths, rather than “only for people who can donate $1M/yr or more” or “the auto-default for everyone”.

~

Edited to add that it looks like 80K seems to actually promote ETG in the way I recommend - see https://80000hours.org/articles/high-impact-careers/#5-otherwise-earn-to-give - but I don't think this is communicated very clearly outside that section of that article. In general, I get the sense that ETG has become depressing and low-status in EA when it was once high-status, and I'd like to see that trend reversed at least somewhat.

Comment by peter_hurford on Survey of EA org leaders about what skills and experience they most need, their staff/donations trade-offs, problem prioritisation, and more. · 2018-10-10T23:47:59.756Z · score: 22 (18 votes) · EA · GW

I’d really like to hear more about other EA orgs experience with hiring staff. I’ve certainly had no problem finding junior staff for Rethink Priorities, Rethink Charity, or Charity Science (Note: Rethink Priorities is part of Rethink Charity but both are entirely separate from Charity Science)… and so far we’ve been lucky enough to have enough strong senior staff applications that we’re still finding ourselves turning down really strong applicants we would otherwise really love to hire.

I personally feel much more funding constrained / management capacity constrained / team culture “don’t grow too quickly” constrained than I feel “I need more talented applicants” constrained. I definitely don’t feel a need to trade away hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in donations to get a good hire and I’m surprised that 80K/CEA has been flagging this issue for years now. …And experiences like this one suggest to me that I might not be alone in this regard.

So…

1.) Am I just less picky? (possible)

2.) Am I better at attracting the stronger applicants? (doubtful)

3.) Am I mistaken about the quality of our applicants such that they’re actually lower than they appear? (possible but doubtful)

Maybe my differences in cause prioritization (not overwhelmingly prioritizing the long-term future but still giving it a lot of credence) contributes toward getting a different and stronger applicant pool? …But how precise of a cause alignment do you need from hires, especially in ops, as long as people are broadly onboard?

I’m confused.

Comment by peter_hurford on Proposed methodology for leafleting study · 2018-10-08T17:12:04.228Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Instead, you could assign based on whether they have and odd or even number of letters in their name.

You could SHA-256 hash the names and then randomize based on that. Doing so should remove all chances of confounding effects.

Comment by peter_hurford on EA Survey 2018 Series: Community Demographics & Characteristics · 2018-10-02T03:57:21.508Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

We should have a post coming out soon about that.

Comment by peter_hurford on EA Survey 2018 Series: Community Demographics & Characteristics · 2018-09-26T13:42:09.704Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

The raw data is temporarily offline right now. We'll hopefully get it back up in the next few days.

Comment by peter_hurford on EA Survey 2018 Series: Community Demographics & Characteristics · 2018-09-22T15:44:43.738Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Give this man a radio button!