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  • CEA is currently updating the EA Handbook, a resource used by the EA Virtual Programs and group organizers around the globe. 
  • We are seeking input from the EA community to help us calibrate our own judgement of what can or should be updated, both with regards to content as well as structureFill in the survey here by September 8th. 


Every year, the EA Handbook is used by hundreds of participants of the EA Virtual Programs as well as by participants in Intro Fellowships organized by group organizers around the world. It also serves as a common introduction for people who want to get acquainted with the ideas of Effective Altruism outside of any of these programs. Our best guess is that the Handbook is used by thousands of people every year, and - alongside interactions with facilitators and other participants - is part of what shapes peoples’ first impression of the movement. Therefore, we think that making sure that the Handbook accurately represents the current paradigms and provides readers with the tools most commonly used by actors in the wider EA ecosystem is a high-leverage opportunity to improve attraction and retention of community members, contributing to a healthy and inclusive community. 

The EA Handbook has been updated before, and the latest version was developed in mid-2022. So what is the need for a new version?

  • Since the last update, many cohorts of the virtual (and in-person) programs have used this resource and have provided feedback on it, which prompted an initiative to update the Handbook again. 
  • Some of the topics covered in the Handbook have also seen a huge increase in attention in the past ~12 months (especially risks from Artificial Intelligence), which has resulted in the publication of new papers, articles and blog posts that may provide a more up-to-date overview of current debates in a given field, and that reflect the degree to which people’s awareness and background knowledge may have changed. We aim to represent and accurately reflect these changes by adding resources or replacing older ones. That said, a more fundamental change with regards to the representation of different cause areas and topics the Handbook focuses on is currently not planned
  • Finally, there has been an increased interest in EA recently, which increases the need for a good centralized starting point for those who are interested in exploring key ideas and concepts.  

Call to Action 

We would like to hear from you! Apart from consulting users (participants of Intro programs, facilitators of the Virtual Programs and group organisers as well as CEA staff and other stakeholders at relevant EA organisations) and analysing data obtained through the evaluation of said programs, we would like to get input from the wider community on what the next EA Handbook should look like.

To this end, we have created this survey for people to express their opinions on the current Handbook and to provide input in the form of wishes, recommendations or criticism that we hope to integrate into the newer version. The deadline to fill in this survey is September 8th. If there is anything you feel we should know, don’t hesitate to reach out under groups@centreforeffectivealtruism.org

The survey is anonymous, but you are encouraged to leave your contact details in case we want to follow up with you on your thoughts or recommendations. 





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Just a short update here on the outcomes from this process! The updated Handbook content is now live, with the end product mostly consisting of small changes to both structure and content. Below are some brief notes on the process that we followed, and the changes this culminated in.

We took the following steps to assess what edits to make:

  • Interviews with previous EA Handbook authors & CEA staff
  • Open-input survey for the broader EA community, via the survey linked above
  • Review of reading time data for each section of the Handbook 
  • Review of qualitative data: Feedback that participants gave on the Handbook 
  • Interviews with highly rated facilitators 
  • Expert consultation on what are better up-to-date readings for a few topics

This led to a smaller number of edits overall than we were expecting, which we think was driven by the following factors:

  • People were overall pretty happy with the content 
  • Some “outdated” things were hard to replace without having something that needs continuous updating (e.g. recent content on the Executive Order on AI, the EU AI Act etc. which will probably become outdated as the regulatory landscape evolves)
  • Sometimes we got conflicting feedback – so while from the outside you may look at it and think “people are unhappy, we need to make major changes,” which changes were appropriate in these cases were often non-obvious. That said, we’re not sure we made the right decision in all of these cases, and we think that a different editor might have made a higher number of edits. We’re considering coming back to this sometime later this year in light of this.

Some notes on the edits that we did make:

  • We redistributed some topics to different weeks, mostly to better standardise average reading times, since this was something that we got feedback on.
  • We moved some of the content around to improve the coherence of the learning objectives for the different sections, for example, by moving the content on the ITN framework and marginal impact to Section 2.

We made some updates to the readings in the Handbook to provide a more up-to-date overview of the topics covered, such as adding Our World in Data’s page on Global health to Section 2, and Managing AI Risks in an Era of Rapid Progress to Section 6. We also swapped some of the critiques in Section 7 to better reflect the current ecosystem. We traded out some older critiques on free-spending with some readings on the risks of naive consequentialism to highlight reflections since the FTX collapse. 

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