Announcing PriorityWiki: A Cause Prioritization Wiki

This es­say was jointly writ­ten by Peter Hur­ford and Mar­cus A. Davis.

Lo­cat­ing and keep­ing up to date on all of the in­for­ma­tion in all ev­ery cause wor­thy of at­ten­tion is time-con­sum­ing work, and a task we think is likely to be du­pli­cated many times over by in­di­vi­d­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions. It’s very use­ful when de­cid­ing what in­ter­ven­tions to spend your time or money on to know what work has already been done in the area.

How­ever, much re­search is done and then lost to the sands of time, buried on some web­page some­where. It takes sig­nifi­cant effort to re­mem­ber where all the rele­vant re­search lives. It would be nice to syn­the­size all of this re­search into one place.

This is why we’ve cre­ated Pri­or­i­tyWiki, a cause pri­ori­ti­za­tion wiki any­one can edit which cat­e­go­rizes par­tic­u­lar in­ter­ven­tions within broader causes. For each of these in­ter­ven­tions and causes, we link out to high-level sum­maries on the topic that have been done within (and out­side of) the broadly defined effec­tive al­tru­ism com­mu­nity. From there, you hope­fully have a good launch­ing pad to all the rele­vant re­search in any topic.

We’ve seeded this wiki with in­ter­ven­tion spe­cific links to work from Open Philan­thropy, GiveWell, 80,000 Hours, An­i­mal Char­ity Eval­u­a­tors, and oth­ers on a wide range of top­ics. For ex­am­ple, within the the high-level of cause of “Devel­oped World Health”, we’ve fur­ther sub­di­vided the page into the type of in­ter­ven­tion and link out to spe­cific re­views into anti-malar­ial in­ter­ven­tions, vac­ci­na­tions, smok­ing in­ter­ven­tions.

While we have seeded the wiki with ini­tial con­tent, it is not cur­rently com­pre­hen­sive in any cause area and doesn’t in­clude all plau­si­ble in­ter­ven­tions. We would like for this wiki will serve as a re­source to quickly lo­cate and in­ves­ti­gate what work has been done on all causes. We would hope that it will at least sig­nifi­cantly re­duce some of the time-con­sum­ing work of try­ing to gather what re­search has been done on in­ter­ven­tion ideas.

The wiki is ed­itable by any­one with­out log­ging in but also sup­ports ac­counts, and sign­ing in with Google. All of the changes are logged pub­li­cly on GitHub with the site it­self hosted here and spe­cific pages here.

If you’re in­ter­ested in ex­pand­ing this, you are free to add con­tent. Just get started at the Pri­or­i­tyWiki.