I guess another thing to watch out for is whether the prize consistently creates controversies like the one in the thread above. If it does, then maybe the prize is more distracting than useful.
I didn’t think that far, I just expressed a concerned. But no one said it requires a significant time investment and Peter said the opposite, so maybe there is no problem :)
I wanted to write something similar. I saved up the money that I donated by buying cheaper food and living in cheaper places. It all felt a bit pointless when I saw that the orgs that I donated to spend some of that money on fancy offices in expensive areas. But if I remember correctly, it wasn’t a big deal as I continued donating to them. I thought that from an utilitarian POV it could be the right decision on their part.
I also want to say that I’m not sure that I now enjoy my job as a researcher at an EA org more than I enjoyed earning to give as a programmer. I thought that doing something directly meaningful would be much more enjoyable and make me more motivated day-to-day, but it’s not happening. I think that what matters more (at least for me) is the nature of the task and whether it’s easy to get into a flow.
As for social status, I always felt that even in EA circles (e.g. at EA Globals) it mostly depends on how charismatic/socially smooth you are and that what you do for a living has little impact on it. Maybe it’s different in places other than the UK, I don’t know. I guess I’m saying all these things because I want to show earning-to-givers that the other side might not be as glamorous as it can seem.
I’m interested in what you think about using subjective confidence intervals to estimate effectiveness of charities and then comparing them. To account for the optimizer’s curse, we can penalize charities that have wider confidence intervals. Not sure how it would be done in practice, but there probably is a mathematical method to calculate how much they should be penalized. Confidence intervals communicate both, value and uncertainty at the same time and therefore avoid some of the problems that you talk about.
Voters are important people whose time is valuable, and I’m a bit concerned about the time they spend to decide whom to vote for. For example, I don’t want them to read the very long post I’ve written just to decide whether to vote for it (provided it’s not relevant/interesting for them otherwise). I expect them to have more important things to do with their time. I understand that they are not obliged to read it. But being a voter probably puts some pressure on them to read the forum more than they would otherwise, and that might come at the expense of other work. Also, making voting decisions of this kind can be mentally tiring. And if voters don’t put much energy into it because they are busy with more important stuff, then wrong posts get selected.
In some cases, fish are released when they are small in size, and then recaptured when they are bigger (this is called sea ranching). This can be economically viable because it’s expensive to grow big fish in farms and their mortality rate in the wild is low compared to juveniles. In other cases, they try to augment or (re)create self-sustaining populations which increases the catch in the long term.
These fish are not slaughtered, they are released into natural waters. But I wouldn’t jump to conclusions that quickly :)
Icefish might weigh less than 10 grams, they really look tiny. Also, I see some wild-caught icefish in a fishcount table but it’s ten times less in weight than farmed icefish. It could be that these stats don’t include all the icefish though.
Fishcount also estimated that each year 0.45-1 trillion wild-caught fish are used to make fishmeal and fish oil, and that between 140 and 490 billion wild-caught fish are fed directly to farmed fish. But all of these fish seem to be wild-caught. This article also seems to assume that (although I only skimmed it). I haven’t seen evidence that fish are farmed to feed other farmed fish, I’m not sure if that could be economically viable.
I don’t quite understand this estimation. It seems you are comparing Albert Schweitzer Foundation’s work with an intervention that improves welfare for farmed food fish (rather than stocked fish)? It seems that the graph includes wild-caught fish. According to a fishcount estimate, in 2015 Germany slaughtered 8-66 million farmed fish. In general, my intuition is that those variables would not be similar to the ones in chicken campaigns.
Also, the full quote from Honglang (2007) is:
According to an investigation report in 2001, there were 16 435 fish seed production units and of these, about 8 072 were well equipped for hatching and juvenile rearing. Total production of all the hatchery is 13 385 billion individuals which meet the need for grow-out production. There are 8 171 hatcheries of the “four major domesticated fish”, 6 700 hatcheries for common carp and crucian carp and 499 for tilapia. The rest of the hatcheries are for river crab (515), reptile (203) and shellfish (1 017).
According to the same article, “four major domesticated fish” are black carp, grass carp, silver carp and bighead carp.
I think this and other sources would mention that most of the fish are of one tiny species that is relatively unimportant commercially and produced by a small number of hatcheries. Or maybe they would exclude them from statistics. But this is not a very strong evidence.
I didn’t know about whitebait. It’s an interesting theory. I haven’t found much information about whitebait/Salangidae farming or fisheries. I only see one species of icefish in fishcount aquaculture statistics—Clearhead icefish (Protosalanx hyalocranius). All of them are produced by China. Fishcount certainly underestimated their numbers by assigning a generic mean weight of 322-1,081 grams. If their mean weight is 10 grams (this is just a guess), there would be 2.1 billion of them produced every year—a lot, but not nearly enough to explain those huge numbers. But there are many tonnes of farmed fish with no species specified in fishcount and it could be that some of them are icefish.
Can we make any inferences about what percent of wild-caught fish were originally stocked in specific areas? Or has any research been done (via tagging, genetic markers, species, etc) to try to estimate that?
Yes, I’ve seen such statistics in many articles. For example, Stopha (2018) claims that “[o]ver the past decade (2008–2017), hatcheries contributed an annual average of about one-third of the total Alaska commercial salmon harvest. By species, Alaska hatchery fish contributed an annual average 66% of the chum, 40% of the pink, 23% of the coho, 20% of the Chinook, and 5% of the sockeye salmon in the total commercial harvest over the decade.” I remember tagging being mentioned as a way to estimate it.
I think that time capping can sometimes be the right decision but I’m also afraid of people overapplying it in research. I remember how I was writing Is the percentage of vegetarians and vegans in the U.S. increasing? I did a couple of days of research, concluded that veg*ism is trending upwards, and planned to share my findings in a short post. I was hoping to finish it in a week. But when writing it up, I realized that some of the evidence was conflicting. Part of me wanted to ignore it so I could get it over with sooner. But sharing analysis with a wrong conclusion can be harmful. So I dug deeper. The week turned into months. My conclusions became more nuanced. I was thinking that if I changed my opinion or found an important piece of evidence yesterday, it would be foolish to stop thinking and searching for more evidence today because the probability of me changing my opinion again is significant. I think that this is a useful heuristic. If I would’ve time-capped, I would’ve published the wrong conclusion. Maybe someone would’ve later did more research and correct it, but that would’ve required more effort spent on the issue overall, overall research on the topic would be more difficult to comprehend because it would be in multiple places, and some people would hold incorrect opinion despite the new research because they only read my incorrect research.
Also, if there is a shortage of ops people within EA, and you find a person that is good for you org but wouldn’t apply to other orgs, you should be more willing to hire them, because you would increase the pool of EA ops people.
I once heard the advice that if you are a donor who finds an opportunity that is worth EA money, you should just donate to it, even if you think that you could find a better opportunity after more research. Because if everyone only looks for the very best available opportunity, everyone will have to spend much more time evaluating many projects, or evaluations will be less deep.
The same advice could be adapted to hiring in some cases. If you find an ops person who is good enough to do ops for some EA org, you should consider hiring them, even if you think you could find a better candidate after more search. Because otherwise orgs will have to spend more time evaluating candidates, and candidates will have to spend more time applying.
In other words, having a lower threshold for hiring could be cooperative with other EA orgs in some game-theoretical scenario. Of course, if we go too far in this direction, we will no longer have a good grasp on where the threshold for being hired is, and best people might not get hired. And there are other complications. But EA orgs could go a little bit in this direction.
Note that this is also relevant for the question of whether eating more wild-caught fish is good for fish. If humans continuously restock waters with hatchery-produced juveniles to compensate for wild-caught fish, fishing might not affect wild fish populations in the same way.
One complication is that tens of billions of fish are raised in hatcheries for a little bit, and then released into the wild, to enhance wild stocks, so that more fish could be caught later. You could say that they are farmed for a little bit. I am currently writing an article about that.
Have you seen Founders Pledge report on Women’s Empowerment? Seems relevant.
I mentioned that U.S. egg producers are not transitioning to cage-free housing as fast as they should. That means that many U.S. companies probably made less progress than they should have, which is not something they want to report. Europe may not have a similar problem.
I also vaguely remember someone telling me in a conversation that there are cultural differences: European companies are more likely to make promises only when they already have a clear plan how to make a change, or even to just announce that a change was already made without any prior promises. I don’t know if that is really true.
I wonder if outreach to not buy dogs and cats could be more effective for reducing the number of farmed animals than vegan advocacy. And if corporate campaigns that encourage dog and cat food manufacturers to use higher welfare animals (e.g. gestation-crate-free pigs, broilers that are stocked less densely) could be effective.