Insights from an expert survey about intermediate goals in AI governance 2023-03-17T14:59:03.648Z
Author Rutger Bregman about effective altruism and philanthropy 2022-09-20T06:00:46.422Z
EA Hub Berlin / German EA Content: Two meta funding opportunities 2022-05-31T19:50:42.045Z
Effektiv Spenden: A meta opportunity in Germany & Switzerland 2022-05-31T19:50:30.213Z
Effektiv Spenden - Review of the Year 2021 2022-05-31T19:50:19.605Z
Will there be an EA answer to the predictable famines later this year? 2022-05-28T15:30:07.338Z
Effektiv Spenden - Fundraiser and 2022 plans! 2021-11-24T15:51:34.189Z
Introducing TEAMWORK - an EA Coworking Space in Berlin 2021-09-15T17:53:47.814Z
Effektiv Spenden - Fundraising and 2021 Plans 2020-11-26T14:36:46.940Z
[Linkpost] Some Thoughts on Effective Altruism 2020-09-18T10:05:38.972Z 2019 - Year in Review 2020-06-08T13:04:48.642Z
EAGxVirtual Unconference (Saturday, June 20th 2020) 2020-06-08T11:07:59.107Z


Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on Insights from an expert survey about intermediate goals in AI governance · 2023-03-20T14:37:04.400Z · EA · GW

Unfortunately not.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on Bad Omens in current EA Governance · 2022-12-21T15:52:04.194Z · EA · GW

With regards to The site has just been transferred to "Effektiver Altruismus Deutschland (EAD) e.V." (can be seen in the Imprint/Impressum already and will be mentioned in a newsletter that we will probably send later today). Donations will still be managed by Effektiv Spenden (officially knows as "UES – Gemeinnützige GmbH für effektives Spenden") since EAD can't do that at the moment (from a legal perspective and also from a technical/operations perspective). We already mention who is handling the donations on top of the donation form though. Happy to consider further clarification on the website (or elsewhere). Other than that I don't really see why the arrangement should be changed since it would lead to unnecessary overhead but happy to discuss.

Disclaimer: I'm the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Effektiv Spenden.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on Revisiting EA's media policy · 2022-12-05T15:37:09.642Z · EA · GW

For what it’s worth some anecdotal evidence from myself (Founder of Effektiv Spenden → effective giving organization working in Germany and Switzerland and in the last three years the main contact for every journalist coming through → the by far most frequented German EA website).


I have been in contact with I guess 20 - 30 journalists in the last 3 years. Spoke to everyone and never turned anyone down. Never asked to be off the record (but I usually do ask to see drafts to make sure there are no factual errors → ask ≠ require). So far only positive experiences (100%) including three tv features and even more radio features (including discussions with critics). I’m not saying that I’m happy with every single word of every single article etc. but I’m pretty sure that all features, articles… have been net positive and that my views have been by and large presented correctly.


My situation is (very?) special though: Focus was mostly on giving to neartermist causes which might be easier to explain and less loaded + Germany and Switzerland have a much smaller EA community and far less people know about EA so questions are probably more basic. I might also have been more lucky and/or more talented than I think I am. So what has worked for me might not work for you.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on The Hundred Billion Dollar Opportunity that EAs mostly ignore · 2022-09-22T19:15:15.301Z · EA · GW

I'm obviously biased, but wholeheartedly agree with you that EA should invest even more in effective giving (because of the impact the donations will have and also to get more people interested in EA). In the last couple of weeks I have started to become more optimistic that this will happen though (e.g. Open Phil seems to consider supporting this space directly).

With regards to the "pick a fight" strategy you might want to check out some of the very early GiveWell blog posts (2007 - 2009). They definitely didn't shy away from a fight (just ask Charity Navigator) and I actually think that this was a smart strategy at the time and might still be under some circumstances. 

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on Introducing TEAMWORK - an EA Coworking Space in Berlin · 2022-09-21T15:36:22.532Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the feedback. I'm kind of with you, but having a nice office in a really central location would increase the price at least 3x (+ significant setup costs). In addition some of the regulars are living pretty close so it wouldn't be an improvement for everybody. Nevertheless, if someone would be willing to commit €500,000+ I'm very happy to talk and/or help.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on An update on GiveWell’s funding projections · 2022-07-10T21:15:23.852Z · EA · GW

I agree with you that we should stop saying “funding overhang”. I’m also not advocating for Sam or Dustin to sell their stocks and put their money into supposedly safer assets.

What should be done in my opinion is to work harder on diversifying and increasing the amount of money available to EA causes and make sure that GiveWell et al. have to decrease “the bar” faster and more consistently (makes stuff more predictable and therefore probably more effective). One way (out of many) to do so that seems pretty obvious to me would be to put even more money into the effective giving landscape to convince millions of people in the world to give more effectively (again, I’m biased). A decent chunk of that would come from income and not equities. Still correlates with the global markets but much less so.

To a certain extent effective giving organizations are already receiving considerably more money than a couple of years ago but as long as several have a counterfactual multiplier (donations raised / cost of raising donations) of > 10 I think we should be much more aggressive since it kind of pays for itself many times over (and also to hedge against a possible prolonged bear market).

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on An update on GiveWell’s funding projections · 2022-07-07T20:36:04.450Z · EA · GW

I’m obviously biased but I do see this as another clear sign that instead of worrying about a perceived funding overhang EA should invest heavily in increasing and diversifying its fundraising capabilities.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on EA Hub Berlin / German EA Content: Two meta funding opportunities · 2022-06-02T20:34:51.549Z · EA · GW

Thank Konstantin for you pushing the idea (translate/create great German EA content).

In case other people reading this are confused: Konstantin and I are in close contact and are convinced that more than one person should work on this for the foreseeable future (especially if you also want to make sure that this content can be found easily via SEO etc.).

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on EA Hub Berlin / German EA Content: Two meta funding opportunities · 2022-06-02T20:32:07.866Z · EA · GW

Thanks for your feedback. Just created an anonymous feedback form for people who have spent time at TEAMWORK to get more critical input (will put it on our website, in our handbook etc. as well).

I think some of your concerns could be addressed with more funding. Others probably only if a bigger player like CEA goes all in and opens up its own EA-Coworking/Event-Space in Berlin. As far as I know no such plans exist, but if I’m wrong please let me know. Happy to completely focus on our core business.

Compared to the situation in Berlin before we opened up TEAMWORK I still have a very hard time not seeing our Space as a huge improvement.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on Effektiv Spenden - Review of the Year 2021 · 2022-05-31T20:30:01.895Z · EA · GW

We didn't but heard from other philanthropic advisors (mostly from outside the EA community) that it can sometimes be very challenging to nudge major donors to give effectively and be open minded (actually some of us experienced that first hand in former jobs).

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on Will there be an EA answer to the predictable famines later this year? · 2022-05-29T20:38:06.098Z · EA · GW

Thanks a lot for this. Hope GiveWell will speed up there process (will contact them directly as well).

Edit: Removed broken link.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on Will there be an EA answer to the predictable famines later this year? · 2022-05-28T16:30:20.661Z · EA · GW

I think so. Not sure where to donate though.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on EA will likely get more attention soon · 2022-05-12T10:56:56.421Z · EA · GW

Definitely the case in Germany. Top 3 Google results for "longtermism" are all very negative posts. 2 of them by some of Germany biggest news magazines (ZEIT and Spiegel). As far as I know there is no positive content on Longtermism in German.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on Awards for the Future Fund’s Project Ideas Competition · 2022-03-25T10:00:22.304Z · EA · GW

Having set up the TEAMWORK EA-Coworking-Space in Berlin I’m very sympathetic to the EA Coworking Spaces at Scale idea (almost applied with something similar).

A couple of question and thoughts on this topic though:

1. It says “The EA community has created several great coworking spaces”. Where are those other spaces?

2. It also says they were set up “in an ad hoc way, with large overheads”. In my case I agree with the “ad hoc” part (which I don’t consider particularly bad though) but am not sure with the “large overheads” part. What is this assessment based upon? Probably I spend too much of my own time on it (because of a lack of funding) but I don’t really see how a central international organization would have saved much time or money if the alternative would be to hire and pay someone locally.

3. I kind of doubt that there currently is the demand for up to 100 EA-Coworking-Spaces in the world, at least if you are thinking of them including event space, a library…. The space in Berlin is pretty small (200m2) and we haven’t reached capacity yet. Could be a lack of marketing (and obviously Covid) etc. but my best guess is that there are right now less than 10 cities worldwide where a bigger space would make sense. If the growth of EA accelerates and the BEAHR is unleashed that might change soon though and it could make sense to set up the necessary infrastructure already.

Anyway, if anyone wants to open up an EA-Coworking-Space I’m happy to talk (not sure if I can provide much insight besides adding phone booths from the start but I’ll try).

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on Potential EA NYC Coworking Space · 2021-12-08T12:00:55.644Z · EA · GW

We recently started one in Berlin ( tl:dr I'm very happy with the decision. Happy to chat about details.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on Introducing TEAMWORK - an EA Coworking Space in Berlin · 2021-09-27T21:45:46.522Z · EA · GW

Very rough monthly cost all in (rent, insurance, electricity, heating, cleaning, internet... ) is around 3.500€. In addition we had some upfront costs (mostly furniture) of around 11,000€. We currently also tend to buy a lot of new stuff which adds up to a couple of hundreds of Euros every month (e.g. we got a Microwave today, last week we bought an air purifier... ). Next week we will get some phone booths which will luckily be paid for through a grant from the EA Infrastructure Fund though (around 14,000€ for 4).

So currently we are still subsidizing the office through our main project (or we just pay a relatively high rent ourselves) but we are getting closer for it to be financial self sufficient (probably not if I would honestly calculate the staff time we invested though). Still feels like a really good investment, especially since we started hosting (small) events as well (e.g. EA Berlin Meetup, EA Consulting Network Meetup, AI Lecture... ).

Make sure to visit us if you are ever in Berlin.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on What are the 'PlayPumps' of cause prioritisation? · 2021-06-25T06:49:29.610Z · EA · GW

Great project. Really looking forward to it.

One example that came to mind is this old blog post by GiveWell comparing "saving a child’s life in Africa to that of helping improve a child’s education in the New York City":

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on Effektiv Spenden - Fundraising and 2021 Plans · 2021-01-28T20:08:43.952Z · EA · GW

Our own fundraiser was quite successful so we should be covered to pursue our original plans without limitations till at least the beginning of 2021. But since the donation volume in 2020 turned out to be much bigger than expected (at least a 6x increase compared to 2019 according to preliminary numbers) we are in the process of updating our plans and have some ideas how to use additional capital in a promising way (eg internationalization). So I'm happy to talk if you know someone... ;-)

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on Effektiv Spenden - Fundraising and 2021 Plans · 2021-01-27T13:09:46.610Z · EA · GW

Hi Chi!

Thanks for your comments. We'll most likely start to "gender" once we relaunch the website somewhen in the next couple of quarters. The reason why I'm reluctant to do this is because I'm quite certain that this will decrease the mass appeal of the website. So when we do it we'll do it with the expectation of decreasing the amount of donations. Reasons are: 

- Currently our site is kind of gender neutral already since we don't just use the male version but male and female versions alternate (see for a longer explanation). There are at least some people who care about a gender neutral language who prefer this approach (it was also the new and progressive way to do it when I was at the university). 
- The vast majority of Germans don't use a gender neutral language themselves and I would assume that most don't want it to be used in general. I don't have a data source for the latter but the fact that pretty much all newspaper don't use gender neutral language different to ours seems to be a clear indicator for that. This obviously doesn't mean that one shouldn't do it, just that it's not mainstream yet. Obviously it's very different with different demographics. Eg when I think of people I'm close with I know several who are kind of actively annoyed with gender neutral language but they are all 40+. It's not because they are opposed to the concept but because they are used to a different language and it make the language less appealing for them. I tend to agree (I'm also 40+). For me it's the same as with vegan food. It's the right thing to do but it's just not as appealing as the stuff I'm used to. Talking to EAs who attended university during the last ten years I'm sure it will be quite the opposite.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on The German Effective Altruism Network - recap 2020 · 2021-01-18T21:18:20.801Z · EA · GW

I'm also not sure if Germany is leading on climate issues but the work of John Halstead's and Johannes Ackva (and also Hauke Hillebrandt through Let's Fund) have been very valuable to the effective giving efforts through

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on Effektiv Spenden - Fundraising and 2021 Plans · 2020-11-26T18:24:27.462Z · EA · GW

Hi Brian!

There is a breakdown for all individual organizations:

Against Malaria Foundation: 111,147.50 Euro
Deworm the World: 149,701.57 Euro
GiveDirectly: 251,463.61 Euro
Malaria Consortium: 116,394.15 Euro 

Clean Air Task Force: 83,174.71 Euro
Coalition for Rainforest Nations: 142,242.56 Euro
ITIF: 62,650.22 Euro 

Good Food Institute: 66,687.53 Euro
The Humane League: 43,532.53 Euro


It's important though that we only offered GiveWell recommended charities for the first 7 month and that most of the press we got also focused on them (and to a lesser degree on climate change). The numbers have been more evenly distributed lately.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on AMA: Tobias Baumann, Center for Reducing Suffering · 2020-09-10T21:23:00.670Z · EA · GW

Thanks a lot for the reply and the links.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on AMA: Tobias Baumann, Center for Reducing Suffering · 2020-09-10T21:21:59.992Z · EA · GW

Thanks a lot for the reply and all the links.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on AMA: Tobias Baumann, Center for Reducing Suffering · 2020-09-08T14:59:38.545Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the reply. With regard to drugs I think it depends on the situation. Many people drink alcohol even if they are in a good mood already to get even more excited (while being fully aware that they might experience at least some kind of suffering the next day and possibly long term). In this case I think one couldn't say they do it to avoid suffering (unless you declare everything below the best possible experience suffering). There are obviously other cases were people just want to stop thinking about their problems, stop feeling a physical pain etc.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on AMA: Tobias Baumann, Center for Reducing Suffering · 2020-09-07T14:09:34.105Z · EA · GW

One of my most confusing experiences with EA in the last couple of month has been this poll where you and your colleauge Magnus stated that one day of extreme suffering (drowning in lava) could not be outweighed by even an (almost) infinite number of days experience extreme happiness (which was the answer with the most upvotes). Some stated in the comments that even a chance of “1 in a gogol probability of 1 minute in lava” could never be outweighed by an (almost) infinite number of days experiencing extreme happiness.

To be honest these sound like extremely strange and unituitive views to me and made me wonder if EAs are different compared to the general population in ways I haven’t much thought about (eg less happy in general). So I have several questions:

1. Do you know about any good articles etc. that make the case for such views?
2. Do you think such or similar views are necessary to prioritize S-Risks?
3. Do you think most people would/should vote in such a way if they had enough time to consider the arguments?
4 For me it seems like people constantly trade happiness for suffering (taking drugs expecting a hangover, eating unhealthy stuff expecting health problems or even just feeling full, finishing that show on Netflix instead of going to sleep… ). Those are reasons for me to believe that most people might not want to compensate suffering through happiness 1:1 , but are also far from expecting 1:10^17 returns or even stating there is no return which potentially could compensate any kind of suffering.

Disclaimer: I haven't spent much time researching S-Risks, so if I got it all wrong (including the poll), just let me know.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on EAGxVirtual Unconference (Saturday, June 20th 2020) · 2020-06-27T12:47:09.088Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the nice words.

I also think there could me more Unconferences in the future. Every month might be a bit much, but every quarter or every 6 month might work. Currently we (or at least I) have no plans to organize another event but that might change soon. In case you are interested, please feel free to start planning.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on 2019 - Year in Review · 2020-06-09T14:00:16.942Z · EA · GW

Yeah, you are right that although we didn't emphasize it some journalists asked about EA and made it part of their coverage. I don't think that this has been negative but one challenge might be not to give the wrong impression that EA is only about donating money (we are at least aware of it).

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on 2019 - Year in Review · 2020-06-09T08:29:19.340Z · EA · GW

Yes, but concerning tax deductibility Austria seems to be one of the hardest countries to get into. You actually have to get on a small list of tax exempt Organizations provided by the Austrian financial authorities which might take years. Therefore it currently is not a priority for us but we might get back to it one day.

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on 2019 - Year in Review · 2020-06-08T21:28:27.780Z · EA · GW

Thanks for your questions/comments.

With regards to we plan to ran it as an independent project with some community input and at least initially oversight from the EAF. The outreach strategies will be different and overall much less active for

With regards to the Media our biggest successes have been to be portrayed in German television several times (see eg or ). Thischelped to draw a lot of donors. What made it easier for us than for eg the EAF was that we could focus in effective giving and also only highlighted cause areas people are already familiar with (especially development aid and climate change). I think that is much easier than eg talking about X- or even S-Risks or some of the other more abstract aspects of EA. Most talks with journalists were about things like the overhead ratio, potential difference in cost-effectiveness, charity watchdogs vs. charity evaluators or the 2019 winners of the Nobel price in economics (who happen to be the founders the Deworm the World Initiative). The only time I got kind of challenged was when I was asked if I would rather save an expensive painting than a child from a burning building (in order to sell the painting and donate the money). My answer didn't even survive the final cut though.

Comment by EA-Basti on [deleted post] 2020-05-30T13:53:36.556Z

What kind of activities would you like your local group to offer and what is stopping you from implementing these changes (within or even outside of the local group)? This is meant to be an honest question. Maybe other people could help you (from CEA, from other groups, people here in the forum... ).

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on AMA: Rob Mather, founder and CEO of the Against Malaria Foundation · 2020-01-26T20:04:07.691Z · EA · GW

Obviously anecdotal evidence but I don't know anyone who responds faster to email than you do (especially for people with similar responsibilities). Is this a habit that you consciously cultivate? If so, why?

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on AMA: We are Jon and Kathryn. We work with The Life You Can Save. Ask us anything! · 2020-01-22T21:51:43.279Z · EA · GW

Why do you recommend Oxfam but not The End Fund (recommended by GiveWell)?

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on AMA: We are Jon and Kathryn. We work with The Life You Can Save. Ask us anything! · 2020-01-22T21:50:30.819Z · EA · GW

If I get it right you target not only EAs but also "the average donor". In this case have you ever thought that it might be confusing to offer so many charities and that this could lead to a paradox of choice kind of situation? Eg several charities working on deworming (an intervention "the average donors" probably has never heard of before).

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on Who should I put a funder of a $100m fund in touch with? · 2019-10-17T16:18:09.474Z · EA · GW

I would suggest to get in touch with these guys:

Comment by Sebastian Schwiecker (EA-Basti) on What should Founders Pledge research? · 2019-09-11T09:18:21.915Z · EA · GW

Mental health (especially in developing countries --> eg a more thorough look at Strong Minds etc.).