Comment by riceissa on We should make academic knowledge easier · 2019-01-31T04:53:42.020Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I am having trouble interpreting statements like "it does not seem to be on anyone's agenda" and "not something that anyone has looked at systematically". Can you say more about where you have looked and what you have rejected? (From the title of the post I expected to see mentions of Arbital, Distill, research debt, the many explanatory pieces published on LessWrong and the EA Forum, work by Michael Nielsen, and Metacademy, to name some projects that I have seen mentioned and discussed by effective altruists.)

Comment by riceissa on "Taking AI Risk Seriously" – Thoughts by Andrew Critch · 2018-11-19T22:21:35.975Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Even if you’re not interested in orienting your life around helping with x-risk – if you just want to not be blindsided by radical changes that may be coming


We don't know exactly what will happen, but I expect serious changes of some sort over the next 10 years. Even if you aren't committing to saving the world, I think it's in your interest just to understand what is happening, so in a decade or two you aren't completely lost.

And even 'understanding the situation' is complicated enough that I think you need to be able to quit your day-job and focus full-time, in order to get oriented.

Raymond, do you or Andrew Critch have any concrete possibilities in mind for what "orienting one's life"/"understanding the situation" might look like from a non-altruistic perspective? I'm interested in hearing concrete ideas for what one might do; the only suggestions I can recall seeing so far were mentioned in the 80,000 Hours podcast episode with Paul Christiano, to save money and invest in certain companies. Is this the sort of thing you had in mind?

The way I am imagining it, a person thinking about this from a non-altruistic perspective would then think about the problem for several years and would narrow this list down (or add new things to it) and act on some subset of them (e.g. maybe they would think about which companies to invest in and decide how much money to save, but to not implement some other idea). Is this an accurate understanding of your view?

Comment by riceissa on Burnout: What is it and how to Treat it. · 2018-11-12T03:20:57.078Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I'm not sure how novel that is, but I've never seen it before

Ben Hoffman discussed this back in December 2016 (his recent posts don't do this though), and he seems to cite Arbital propositions as inspiration.

I'm not sure if Elizabeth got the idea from Ben or if Ben came up with the idea.

Comment by riceissa on What's Changing With the New Forum? · 2018-11-12T03:01:23.954Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

There is

See also this comment announcing it.

Comment by riceissa on EA Grants applications are now open · 2018-09-18T04:54:48.104Z · score: 25 (21 votes) · EA · GW

I have two questions:

  1. Is there a full list of grantees and respective grant amounts for the referral-based round?

  2. Is there some sort of evaluation process for funded projects that have concluded? I am curious especially about the outcomes of the projects that were funded in the 2017 round (that have now had the money for about a year). This question was asked about a year ago, but the details seemed uncertain at the time so I am re-asking the question.

Comment by riceissa on Awesome Effective Altruism - a curated list of EA resources · 2018-08-26T04:35:51.415Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Sheon Han's repository was made private. There are more more discussion threads here.

Comment by riceissa on Donations List Website: tutorial and request for feedback · 2018-08-25T02:07:44.596Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

So far almost all DLW work by me has been contract work paid by Vipul, and my guess is it will stay like this for the foreseeable future. We have not sought other sources of funding, but are interested in receiving funding (for my ongoing work).

As mentioned in the post, the intended audience is something like "people who think about effective giving, flow of money in the non-profit world, real-world decision making, and similar topics". To give some examples:

  • Ryan Carey has a GitHub repository with data analysis of Open Phil's grants data. (Last updated 2018-02-11.)
  • Here is another example, but part of a closed Facebook group so I won't describe it. (Probably last updated around 2018-01-14.)
  • Michael Dickens wrote a post entitled "Where Some People Donated in 2017" recording where some EA and EA-peripheral people donated. (Last updated 2018-02-14.)
  • In June 2017, there was a Facebook event called "What's Up With the Open Philanthropy Project?" The event looked at some of Open Phil's work, compiling some documents about some of Open Phil's grants in the process. Looking at the timestamps, I think the Google Docs were created when the meetup began, and were filled in during the course of the meetup. (Last updated 2017-06-09.)

I think in all the above cases, either the current version of DLW or an improved version in the future performs a superset of the data collection/analysis, is continually updated, and provides a single location for all the data and analysis.

Vipul has also made comments (1, 2) and at least one post using in part data collected by DLW, to make observations or answer people's questions.

Donations List Website: tutorial and request for feedback

2018-08-21T04:36:18.183Z · score: 10 (10 votes)
Comment by riceissa on Current Estimates for Likelihood of X-Risk? · 2018-08-08T05:42:11.003Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Anders Sandberg's Flickr account has a 2014 photo of a whiteboard from FHI containing estimates for the following statements/questions:

  • Probability that >50% of humans will die in a disaster in next 100 years
  • Are we living in a computer simulation created by some advanced civilization?
  • Your credence that humanity goes extinct in the next 100 years – replacing us with something better (e.g. WBE) doesn't count
  • Your credence that AGI is developed by 2050 (on Earth)

The photo caption is:

Office guesses at (A) a disaster killing 50%+ of humanity in the next century, (B) our reality turning out to be a simulation, (C) extinction within a century, and (D) artificial general intelligence before 2050.

This is based on earlier Aumann agreement experiments we did. Credences are free to update as we see each other's views, as well as get new evidence.

There are two other photos showing parts of the same (or similar) whiteboard.

HT: Louis Francini for originally pointing me to these photos.

Comment by riceissa on In defence of epistemic modesty · 2018-06-29T22:20:42.645Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

To add to the list of references in this thread, Brian Tomasik talks about this in "Gains from Trade through Compromise" in the section "Epistemic prisoner's dilemma".

Comment by riceissa on Announcing PriorityWiki: A Cause Prioritization Wiki · 2018-06-20T06:22:12.854Z · score: 7 (6 votes) · EA · GW

(Context: I host the Cause Prioritization Wiki.)

I think there might be a misunderstanding here, so I would like to clarify a couple of things.

I also don't want the fact that one person has done the project at one point to mean that no one can ever do the project again.

I assume this is referring to me, and that Peter is saying the Cause Prioritization Wiki is dead. It's true that the wiki was inactive for about two years, but more recently I've been adding more content to it; there is an edit history graph showing activity for the past year.

But even assuming the wiki is dead, I'm not sure starting essentially from scratch is better than reviving the existing project.

We mainly chose to go with a different wiki software to improve the editing experience (especially editing without creating an account) to remove barriers to contribution.

The choices of wiki software and of allowing anonymous edits are not unchangeable. For the former, I've actually been pondering for a while whether switching to MediaWiki would be a good idea (I haven't looked into Wiki.js, which is what PriorityWiki uses), as I've gotten more experience with editing on MediaWiki wikis since the time when I started the Cause Prioritization Wiki. For the latter, my thinking has been that I don't want to spend a lot of time moderating the wiki, which is why I chose to restrict account creation and disable anonymous edits. But if there is enough energy to moderate the wiki, I would be fine with allowing more open editing.

Some thoughts I had about competition while thinking about this situation (I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about this topic):

  • In general I think competition benefits end users.
  • There are four existing wikis about bitcoin that I know of, which might be an interesting case study:
  • With free software, forking is often difficult (existing codebase too complicated to understand, written for a different OS, written in a language that one is unfamiliar with) so there's a proliferation of similar applications. This seems to be less of a problem for prose.
  • Again with free software, different software projects focus on different (sometimes incompatible) things, like speed, feature-richness, memory use, portability. With a wiki, there is still some of that (one can trade off along formal vs informal language, background knowledge assumed, audience's goals) but I think it's less strong.
  • Again for software, there is also the issue of getting stuck in local optima (think how horrible LaTeX is but people are forced to use it). I think Wikipedia is similarly a local optimum for a generic encyclopedia, but this seems mostly problematic because of its deletionism.
  • For products that are sold there is also competition along price.
  • For textbooks, I think it's good that there are a bunch of them for each (topic, level) combination, because exposition style/difficulty can vary significantly. I think for general reference works there is a lot less of that, and even less for inclusionist electronic wikis.
Comment by riceissa on Which five books would you recommend to an 18 year old? · 2017-09-13T17:39:32.993Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Re top MIRI donors, there is a 2013 in review post that talks about a survey of "(nearly) every donor who gave more than $3,000 in 2013" with four out of approximately 35 coming into contact via HPMoR. (Not to imply that this is the survey mentioned above, as several details differ.)

Comment by riceissa on Announcing Effective Altruism Grants · 2017-06-11T02:38:30.700Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · EA · GW

How does this compare to EA Ventures?

Essay contest: general considerations for evaluating small-scale giving opportunities ($300 for winning submission)

2017-01-20T03:57:17.689Z · score: 10 (12 votes)
Comment by riceissa on Tell us how to improve the forum · 2017-01-04T05:32:42.245Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I would find HTTPS support useful.

Comment by riceissa on June 2016 GiveWell board meeting · 2016-08-21T20:26:00.451Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

I am fine with this plan. Feel free to reply here or message me directly if you run into difficulties or have any further questions.

Comment by riceissa on June 2016 GiveWell board meeting · 2016-08-21T06:39:45.714Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Ben, thanks for the suggestion. I would be fine with moving the active work to the EA Wiki, but I see two challenges: (1) the EA Wiki uses MediaWiki markup instead of Markdown; (2) the EA Wiki tends to use CC BY-SA instead of CC BY-NC-SA as its license, so GiveWell's original license would need to explicitly be maintained.

Comment by riceissa on June 2016 GiveWell board meeting · 2016-08-19T02:24:55.723Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for the feedback, Michael.

I worked on this post under a fairly tight time constraint, so I was not able to clean it up in all the ways I would have liked to (including using full sentences, as you mention). There was also the concern that the post would be mostly ignored, causing my extra efforts to be wasted. Since this type of post seems to have generated a fair amount of interest, I would be willing to push for doing a cleaner job in the future.

Also, the source Markdown file for this post is available on GitHub, and, with the fairly permissive license, it would be possible for someone else to come along and fix things (or fund someone to do so); I would be happy to update this post to incorporate any significant improvements.

June 2016 GiveWell board meeting

2016-08-17T15:25:42.662Z · score: 12 (14 votes)
Comment by riceissa on Looking for Wikipedia article writers (topics include many of interest to effective altruists) · 2016-04-17T05:37:31.684Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

This is Issa Rice, one of the paid writers mentioned in this post. In addition to writing pages, I also provide feedback to some of the other paid writers on pages they are creating.

Working with Vipul has been a generally positive and enjoyable experience. He has deep knowledge of both the workings of Wikipedia as well as the topics on which he wants pages created (although this might be less true for some of the newer topics in this post). Prior to working for Vipul, I had virtually no experience editing Wikipedia pages. Vipul walked me through the basics (like making sure to create pages under one's user space, having enough citations, certain other rules for Wikipedia editing, and so forth—things that are not obvious for a new Wikipedia editor) so that I was soon able to begin creating pages. For each new topic I worked on (taxation, immigration, global health), Vipul has been willing to guide me through the basics, help find useful sources, and review the page before publication.

As someone who cares about his altruistic output and impact on the world, I'm still uncertain about the overall impact of writing for Wikipedia relative to other things I could be working on, but I think of working for Vipul as a fairly unique opportunity to gain experience and expertise on topics while getting paid.

An overview of Y Combinator’s non-profit program

2015-11-07T17:13:27.145Z · score: 6 (6 votes)
Comment by riceissa on An update on the Global Priorities Project · 2015-10-07T23:48:45.345Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

looking at which work gets most views on our website

How many page views has GPP been getting (for various pages), and how do you factor page views into your thinking, specifically?

Comment by riceissa on EA Blogging Carnival: My Cause Selection · 2015-08-16T01:12:59.690Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

There is some relevant discussion on the Cause Prioritization Discussion Group.

Comment by riceissa on Direct Funding Between EAs - Moral Economics · 2015-07-29T09:45:50.575Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

If you are hired by an EA institution to do a particular set of tasks, you are being paid to do those tasks, and help that organization do well in its function. If you are directly being paid to be an EA however, this is much more ingrained in your identity. There are people paying you to do the most good you can do. If you see an opportunity for doing good, you will be more likely to take it, since you are never done with the obligation of being a great EA.

While I agree that funding individuals is promising, I don't find this particular argument very convincing. If one is not being paid to do particular tasks, then "being paid to be an EA" is a lot like being paid to be cool, which probably only works if one has already demonstrated the ability to perform well under similar conditions. Saying that people are paying one to "do the most good one can do" sounds a lot like a rationalization where the whims of the donee are gratuitously tolerated.

Also I'd point out that constantly thinking of EA as an obligation and "never being done" may be suboptimal.

Comment by riceissa on Direct Funding Between EAs - Moral Economics · 2015-07-29T09:18:43.001Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

if I recall correctly, direct donations are not subject to income tax on the donee’s part, which makes it even cheaper for the donors.

At least on Patreon (which you seem to be suggesting that people use) you probably have to pay tax if you make over $600 per year. See their FAQ on taxes:

If you are a US creator, and you make over $600 a year, you’ll need to complete a W9 and we will send you a 1099.


In most jurisdictions, the money you receive from your patrons is taxable income.

Comment by riceissa on Stanford EA History and Lessons Learned · 2015-07-05T03:48:19.891Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Check whether your school explicitly desires or opposes affiliation with an outside organization.

Do you happen to know why Stanford didn't like the affiliation with external organizations?

Meetup : Discussion Meetup: Volunteering

2015-01-04T22:01:18.847Z · score: 0 (0 votes)

Meetup : Donation Decision Day

2014-11-18T00:12:17.364Z · score: 0 (0 votes)

Meetup : Discussion with Jonathan Courtney from Giving What We Can

2014-10-29T20:16:34.309Z · score: 0 (0 votes)

Meetup : Animal Suffering Documentary Night

2014-10-13T05:18:47.293Z · score: 0 (0 votes)

Meetup : Challenges of Effective Altruism

2014-10-08T20:33:23.917Z · score: 0 (0 votes)