[Question] What are some heuristics for longtermist project evaluation?

I’m looking to compile a list of principles or rules-of-thumb that can help determine whether a project intended to improve the long-term could be valuable.

Given a reasonably fleshed-out project idea, what characteristics (besides estimated expected value) indicate that the project is likely worth putting time or money behind? Similarly, what red flags suggest that a project is probably not worth doing?

Another twist: given a list of longtermist project ideas, what criteria could be used to rank those ideas? Note here that “project” is intentionally an ambiguous term here; it could be a short, self-contained side project, or an entirely new organization. Assume, though, that each project has a clearly-defined deliverable/​goal.

Any suggestions or links are helpful! I’m assuming OpenPhil, EA Funds, and other longtermist funders have some internal criteria that they use to assess grant applications, so information about those criteria would be particularly useful.


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