It is good for EA funders to have seats on boards of orgs they fund [debate]

It has come to my attention that many people (including my past self) think that it’s bad for funders to sit on the boards of orgs they fund. Eg someone at OpenPhil being the lead decision maker on a grant and then sitting on the board of that org.

Let’s debate this

Since I said this, several separate people I always update to, including a non-EA said this is trivially wrong. It is typical practice with good reason:

  • EA is not doing something weird and galaxy-brained here. Particularly in America this is normal practice

  • Having a board seat ensures that your funding is going where you want and might allow you to fund with other fewer strings attached

  • It allows funder oversight. They can ask the relevant questions at the time rather than in some funding meeting

  • Perhaps you might think that it causes funders to become too involved, but I dunno. And this is clearly a different argument than the standard “EA is doing something weird and slightly nepotistic”

  • To use the obvious examples, it is therefore good that Claire Zabel sits on whatever boards she sits on of orgs OP funds. And reasonable that OpenPhil considered funding OpenAI as a way to get a board seat (you can disagree with the actual cost benefit but there was nothing bad normsy about doing it)

Do you buy my arguments? Please read the comments to this article also, then vote in this anonymouse poll.

And now you can bet and then make your argument to try and shift future respondents and earn mana for doing so.

This market resolves in a month to the final agree % + weakly agree % of the above poll. Hopefully we can see it move in real time if someone makes a convincing argument.

I think this is a really cool real time debate format and we should have it at EAG. Relevant doc