Sebastian Becker

Director of Technology @ Effektiv Spenden
134 karmaJoined Working (6-15 years)



"Manipulative" does not seem an apt description to me. Sebastian Schienle wrote: 

So hopefully, the current focus provides a good entry point for donors who are new to effective giving whom we can then guide to the place where money goes furthest towards the goal of defending democracy, once such recommendations are available, as well as to other cause areas.

We are up front on our website about in the future probably giving money to organisations outside of Germany from this fund. With regard to other cause areas, I don't see anything dishonest about hoping that donors will look at other cause areas after entering through a specific one. 

lawmakers are considering banning the party, and the state has put the party under surveillance. This would be unconstitutional in many countries. 

It might be worth pointing out to others reading this who aren't aware that the banning of parties constituting a threat to the constitution is constitutional  in Germany. It was enshrined in the German Basic Law to prevent repeating the mistakes of the Weimar Republic. 

(This is not to say that banning the AfD is a good idea, I am personally sceptical about this.)

Hi, I am Director of Technology at Effektiv Spenden. Thanks for your comments, we appreciate having a discussion on this!

I wanted to point out that describing our approach as "bait and switch" is not correct IMO, nor that we somehow do not tell people "what we believe and why". Here is what we currently write on our website:

As external analyses and evaluations of the same quality and depth are not yet available in the area of democracy as in our other areas, the effectiveness of the measures we recommend and promote is subject to greater uncertainty than our other recommendations. Nevertheless, the urgency demands that we act now - and not later. We have therefore decided to mark the qualitative difference between the Defending Democracy Donation Fund and our other funds with a "beta" status.
In the medium term, we plan to expand our donation fund in close coordination with Power for Democracies to include particularly promising initiatives to protect and strengthen democracy worldwide. This year, however, the focus remains on defending and strengthening democracy in Germany.

Similarly in a newsletter we wrote: "We do not expect truly robust donation recommendations before 2025".

So we make clear that (i) this recommendation isn't as robust as others and that (ii) the scope is limited to Germany, but that this is a temporary limitation. 

@Shemetz, thanks for the shout out!

Yonatan helped us at Effektiv Spenden with this job ad and the hiring process in total. I think it really helped:
- We had 45 applications, which is up from 13 in our previous hiring round. This is probably down to a number of things, like us being able to explicitly mention that we're funded by OP now and being more open to remote workers, but I believe the improved job ad also played a part, because: 
- 3 applicants, without me prompting them, told me that they really liked the job ad. The comments were roughly
  -  "One of the best [job ads] I have seen" 
  - "I think it's good you didn't put a specific number of years of experience on"
  - "it was helpful, in comparison to your previous job ad, that you mentioned a specific thing (do a PR within 2 weeks) of how I could judge whether I'd be a good fit"

Very cool idea!

but comparable or larger than probably any other city in continental Europe. Prague has a thriving local EA community, a newly established alignment research group, ~20 full-time people working in/with high-impact organizations (eg Metaculus, ESPR, ALLFED, CFAR), and about a hundred people in the broader EA and rationalist communities.

In case you (or anyone else) is curious about the size of EA communities in continental Europe: We did a quick headcount of FT EAs in Berlin and got to 30+. 

Thanks for the comment and further clarifying OP's point. This is an important perspective. I have edited the post to refer to your comment. 
Would you maybe like to share a link to some discussion regarding this for those who would like to read more about it?

Thanks, Niel, I probably should have been more explicit about this. I've added a paragraph to make this clearer.

Thanks. I don't have a personal opinion on this, but I've adapted the list to show which of the OpenAI positions were listed on the 80k job board and which not. I would point out that 80k lists OpenAI as an org they recommend.

AFAIA, the list of orgs is not linked to any official EA source, but a wiki that can be updated by anyone.  If you're looking for something more official, the list of organizations on 80k's job board might be better. But it's missing some orgs that are clearly EA-aligned, e.g., the national regranting orgs.