Basically my point is, depending on answers to questions such as the above, you may think a longtermist cause area is WAY better than a shorttermist cause area, or vice versa, and we haven’t even gone near a CEA (which I’m not sure would help matters). I can’t emphasise that ‘WAY’ enough.
I think this is true. I therefore also basically agree with your conclusions, but I think they’re much less damning than I get the impression you think. Basically, I’d rephrase your second-last paragraph to:
“So it seems worth noting that this model is probably most/only useful for the project of generating and comparing cause candidates within a cause area. E.g., it could be useful for neartermist human-focused stuff, neartermist animal-focused stuff, or longtermist stuff, but probably separately for each.
But that alone shouldn’t prevent this model from being very useful. That’s because there are a huge number of ideas that could be generated, deconfused, evaluated, and implemented within each broad cause area, so a model that helps us do that for each cause area could be really handy, even if it doesn’t simultaneously help us decide between broad cause areas.”
Yes, I agree. I actually think this model could work well if we do multiple funnelling exercises, one for each type of cause area.
The only reason I was perhaps slightly forceful in my comment is because from this post and the previous post (Big List of Cause Candidates) I have got the impression that there is going to be a single funnelling exercise that aims to directly compare shorttermist vs longtermist areas including on their ‘scale’.
Nuno—I don’t want to give the impression that I fundamentally don’t like your idea because I don’t, I just think some care has to be taken.
I have got the impression that there is going to be a single funnelling exercise that aims to directly compare shorttermist vs longtermist areas including on their ‘scale’.
Yeah, so I (and others) have been exploring different things, but I don’t know what I’ll end up going with. That said, I think that there are gains to be had in optimizing first two stages, not just the third evaluation stage.
Absolutely, every stage is important.
And reading back what I wrote, it was perhaps a little too strong. I would quite happily adopt MichaelA’s suggested paragraph in place of my penultimate one!