Prior to the existence of a unified effective altruism movement, a handful of proto-EA communities and organizations were already aiming towards similar ends. These groups included the web forum LessWrong and the charity evaluator GiveWell. One lesser-known community that played an important role in the history of the EA movement is the Felicifia utilitarian forum.

The name "Felicifia," a reference to Jeremy Bentham's felicific calculus, was originally used as the title of Seth Baum's personal blog which he started in September 2006. In December 2006, Baum moved to, which became a community blog/forum. A minority of the posts from this site are viewable on the Wayback Machine and (Brian Tomasik is slowly working on producing a better archive at The final iteration of Felicifia, and the one I'm concerned with here, launched in 2008 as a phpBB forum.

Unfortunately, for years the site has been glitchy, and for the past several months it has been completely inaccessible. Thus I thought it would be valuable to produce an archive that is more easily browsable than the Wayback Machine.


The site featured some of the earliest discussions of certain cause areas, such as wild animal suffering. Common EA concepts such as the meat eater argument and s-risks were developed and refined here. Of course, the forum also delved into the more theoretical aspects of utilitarian ethics. A few of the many prominent EAs who participated in the forum include Brian Tomasik, Peter Hurford, Ryan Carey, Pablo Stafforini, Carl Shulman, and Michael Dickens. While not all of the threads contained detailed discussion, some of the content is quite high-quality.




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