Max Clarke

279 karmaJoined Nov 2020Northland, Wellington, New Zealand


Just posting my reactions to reading this:

I find that rates are fairly high:

  • 25% of signatories have been accused of financial misconduct, and 10% convicted

That's really high?? Oh - this is not the giving what we can pledge😅

I estimate that Giving Pledgers are not less likely, and possibly more likely, to commit financial crimes than YCombinator entrepreneurs.

At what stage of YC? I guess that will be answered later. EDIT:

I previously estimated that 1-2% of YCombinator-backed companies with valuations over $100M had serious allegations of fraud.


Gina and I eventually decided that the data collection process was too time-consuming, and we stopped partway through. The final dataset includes 115 of the 232 signatories.

Random, alphabetical, or date ordered? Not that it will really matter - although I guess I would expect the earlier pledgers to be more altruistic, maybe more risk taking though.

I found that the punishment of the criminals in my data set correlated extremely poorly with my intuition for how immorally they had behaved. It would be funny if it weren’t sad that one of the longest prison sentences in my data set is from Kjell Inge Røkke, a Norwegian businessman who was convicted of having an illegal license for his yacht.

Ohhh ok 😂😅 Yeah that is funny and sad.

[Milken] was pardoned by Donald Trump in 2020.


While not all Giving Pledge signatories are entrepreneurs, a large fraction are, which makes this a reasonable reference class. (An even better reference class would be “non-signatory billionaires”, of course.)


Despite this, I can find very little criticism referencing the fact that many of these signatories are criminals.

This is interesting, and is naturally raised by this post (v. interesting by the way). It makes me wonder about their screening practices. I'm guessing a random like me can't sign up (they check one's net wealth somehow?) but perhaps that's all? If any billionaire can sign up, then maybe it's not really the giving pledge that one should criticize?

Soaking screams food poisoning to me; especially with unclean water. Perhaps this is not a risk if done right, but this could be why it's not done.

Definitely, for example if people are bikeshedding (vigorously discussing something that doesn't matter very much)

Another proposal: Visibility karma remains 1 to 1, and agreement karma acts as a weak multiplier when either positive or negative.


  • A comment with [ +100 | 0 ] would have a weight of 100
  • A comment with [ +100 | 0 ] but with 50✅ and 50❌ would have a weight of 100 + log10(50 + 50) = 200
  • A comment with [ +100 | 100✅ ] would have a weight of say 100 * log10(✓100) = 200
  • A comment with [+0 | 1000✅ ] would have a weight of 0.

Could also give karma on that basis.

However thinking about it, I think the result would be people would start using the visibility vote to express opinion even more...

Would you gift your karma if that option was available?

This is good for calibrating what the votes mean across the responses

A little ambiguous between  "disagree karma & upvote karma should have equal weight" and "karma should have equal weight between people"

I think because the sorting is solely on karma, the line is "Everything above this is worth considering" / "Everything below this is not important" as opposed to "Everything above this is worth doing"

It's karma - which is kind of wrong here.

One situation I use strong votes for is whenever I do "upvote/disagree" or "downvote/agree". I do this to offset others who tend not to split their votes.

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