Will the Effective Altruism Movement experience another major scandal not related to FTX by the end of 2023?
Resolved
YES

This market resolves "Yes" if, by 11:59 p.m. AoE on 31/12/2023 at least three Wikipedia-notable publications publish an article about the misbehavior of a major philosophical voice or financial donor of the Effective Altruism Movement that directly relates the purported behavior to the ideals or structure of the Effective Altruism movement (i.e. "Figure X accused of Embezzlement" does not count; "Figure X, sheltered by 'Effective Altruists', accused of Embezzlement," does). Reports by minor publications, accusations on Effective Altruism forums, etc. do not count. If no such thing occurs, this market resolves "No."

UPDATE 1 (13-1-2023 @ 10:01 P.M.): There is a Business Insider article that explicitly mentions Bostrom, his relationship to effective altruism, and the email scandal. Insofar as I can tell, this is the closest thing to an article about the scandal as it exists now that ties it to Effective Altruism. I am inclined to count this as one in favor of the requisite three, but am open to more discussion on this in the comments.
UPDATE 2 (17-1-2023 @ 7:54 A.M.): Discourse in the comments leaves me inclined to not count the above-linked article.

UPDATE 3 (20-1-2023 @ 9:57 A.M.): See the status of particular articles here. When three distinct articles on the same topic get a "Yes," that's what this market will resolve to. If the movement makes it the rest of the year without such an event, this market resolves "NO." This is not a change in the stipulations I laid out above, but rather a more effective and public way of tracking it than the analog method that I was probably going to end up using. Thanks to @HenriThunberg for making this spreadsheet.

Jan 23, 7:42am: Will the Effective Altruism Movement will experience another major scandal not related to FTX by the end of 2023? → Will the Effective Altruism Movement experience another major scandal not related to FTX by the end of 2023?

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HenriThunberg avatar
Henri Thunberg
bought Ṁ206 of YES

✅ EA mention
✅ "directly relates the purported behavior to the ideals or structure of the Effective Altruism movement", "Racism is one of the most pernicious and intractable causes of suffering and inequality in the world. And a philanthropy rooted in racist ideas will not alleviate injustice and poverty."
❓Depending on how you view "an article", an Opinion piece might not count. Since it's a regular author for the outlet, I think it should.
https://www.alternet.org/nick-bostom-perfect-congruence-bigotry/

3 for 3, then?

CadeMataya avatar

@HenriThunberg Yes, this counts for me and it is precisely the thing that I had in mind when I made this market. I am resolving it as "YES."

NathanNguyen avatar
Nathan Nguyen
bought Ṁ100 of YES

If there’s a follow up to the truthdig article (written by the same author in response to comments), would that count as a third article?

https://twitter.com/xriskology/status/1617997942241243136?s=46&t=PiNDMrlLAQ11JdlEuk3XxQ

NathanpmYoung avatar
Nathan Young
bought Ṁ100 of YES

@NathanNguyen I suggest no, on the spirit of it.

CadeMataya avatar

@NathanNguyen I would also go with "No," in reference to this question. If I allowed for that, Torres (or anyone else for that matter) could just take one small incident and write a bunch of articles about it. It would pass the market's measuring stick, but could easily be about something that is not at all a scandal to the rest of the world.

ButtocksCocktoasten avatar
Buttocks Cocktoasten
bought Ṁ10 of YES

I predict that many prominent effective altruists will simultaneously tweet the word "rationalussy". This will be a major scandal for the movement.

EMcNeill avatar
E McNeill
predicted YES at 81%

There’s an extra “will” in the title.

CadeMataya avatar

@EMcNeill Fixed that, thank you!

HenriThunberg avatar
Henri Thunberg
predicted YES at 81%

❌ Doesn't explicitly mention EA. But if you tried to describe salient aspects of a movement without explicitly naming it, this is pretty much how you would do it.
❌ "an article about the misbehavior of a major philosophical voice or financial donor" – I think the article is not about misbehavior, but general ponderings on existential risk that also mentions negative aspects of the thinking.
✅ "directly relates the purported behavior to the ideals or structure of the Effective Altruism movement" regarding Bostrom's email.
https://thepointmag.com/forms-of-life/apocalypse-soon/

CadeMataya avatar

@HenriThunberg "makes one worry about the whole Bostrom-adjacent thoughtspace." Honestly I am having a tough time with this one. It seems extremely likely to me that this person had the EA community in mind when they wrote that sentence. That being said, this article is not really about Bostrom's email or Effective Altruism specifically, so I think you are right in that is falls short on that front.

HenriThunberg avatar
Henri Thunberg
predicted YES at 81%

❌ Doesn't explicitly mention EA
❌ "an article about the misbehavior of a major philosophical voice or financial donor" – I think the article is not about misbehavior, but general ponderings on existential risk that also mentions negative aspects of the thinking.
✅ "directly relates the purported behavior to the ideals or structure of the Effective Altruism movement" regarding Bostrom's email.
https://thepointmag.com/forms-of-life/apocalypse-soon/

HenriThunberg avatar
Henri Thunberg
predicted YES at 81%

@HenriThunberg I can't edit or delete comments? 🤦

NathanNguyen avatar
Nathan Nguyen
predicted NO at 81%

If an article is published that’s critical of EA in general and lists Bostrom in passing as an example of Something Bad, would that count?

CadeMataya avatar

@NathanNguyen I'm going to tentatively answer this "No" unless someone gives a good reason as to why I instead should say "Yes." The Emile Torres article was about Bostrom and mentioned specifically him, his email, EA, and the way everything is tied and impacts one another. The Jacobin article did the same. In those senses, they were about Bostrom and how his racism is a problem for or revealing of EA values. The Business Insider Article seems to sort of be along the lines of what you were describing, but it wasn't really "about" Bostrom, the email, or his connections to EA. Unless there are good reasons as to why I should count an article like that, I'm currently erring towards No.

amoebus avatar
amoebus
bought Ṁ126 of YES
CadeMataya avatar

@amoebus Yep! 2/3 on the Bostrom email.

AngolaMaldives avatar
Angola Maldives
predicted NO at 81%

@amoebus I'm not an EA, and I share the opinion that most (although not all) of the 'HBD' movement is thinly-veiled traditional racism, but even so... HOLY guilt by association, Batman! The entire article is basically just a long, fancy version of 'some people who have had influence on movements adjacent to EA have said prejudiced things, therefore the EA movement is actually just racism and if we ever listened to anything EA had to say we'd get Holocaust 2.0'. Reading it was really depressing :(

NathanNguyen avatar
Nathan Nguyen
predicted NO at 81%

@AngolaMaldives It was written by Emile Torres. This is to be expected.

JoshuaAnderson avatar
Joshua Anderson
predicted YES at 81%

@AngolaMaldives Agreed. I was shocked at how poorly thought out it was. You could very easily paint an equally nasty portrait of any movement via some guilt by association.

JamieCrom avatar
jamie
predicted YES at 81%

i thought the article was great and correctly laid out an argument that bostrom and hanson and scott alexander are white supremecists. you gotta believe that most people in EA aren't racists like these leaders are, and are annoyed at being unable to criticize EA leaders because they're scared of getting blacklisted. you gotta imagine a schism occurring this year in the EA institution

JoshuaAnderson avatar
Joshua Anderson
predicted YES at 81%

@JamieCrom, what makes you think that Scott Alexander is a white supremacist? In general, he seems like he does his research, and my mental model of him is somewhat center-leftish, but certainly not racist (in the sense of believing that there are meaningful biological differences between ethnicity A and B, that make B measurably worse than A.).

Yoav avatar

@CadeMataya I don’t think this article should count because the author explicitly sets out to dig up dirt on longtermism and EA, so it doesn’t actually provide any support for this being a “scandal.” A publication digging up dirt and writing a hit piece doesn’t make a scandal. It only becomes a scandal once other publications, without direct interest in the dirt digging, write about it.

CadeMataya avatar

@Yoav While this is a fair point (especially because of the Author's history with EA), the circumstances shift this, for me.
A scandal is some sort of misbehavior deemed morally wrong that results in public outrage. The way I have tried to measure this is by using Wikipedia-notable publications. I think that Bostrom's email clears the bar for scandal, the thing is that it has not been definitely linked to Effective Altruism by three publications. Admittedly, I could revise that, but I will grant that you may be right in that I should not count initial hit pieces as part of the three used to measure "scandal" (and there are some things that may not be reported on by major news sources that could constitute scandal; EA is not the center of the universe after all, so that marks a major limitation of this market's measuring stick, in my opinion). However, given the fact that Bostrom revealed this prior to Torres, I will count it, as the prior revelation was factored into the Truthdig article, meaning that it still constitutes a reaction to Bostrom's more recent behavior and is more than the original hit piece would have been.

NathanpmYoung avatar
Nathan Young
predicted YES at 83%

@CadeMataya Though for full reference Torres admits it was them who went looking for the article which proceeded all this.

JosephNoonan avatar
Joseph Noonan
predicted NO at 55%

Weird that the market is still a lot higher than it was before even though Cade is no longer counting the Business Insider article as one of the three.

EdwardKmett avatar
Edward Kmett
predicted YES at 53%

@JosephNoonan It's only 19 days into the year, and we've had two as-of-yet insufficiently noteworthy scandals with Bostrom and Tegmark playing the unlikely leads so far. At this rate @ScottAlexander will be doing blow off of underage hookers by mid-season. I'm strapping in for the ride.

NathanNguyen avatar
Nathan Nguyen
predicted NO at 53%

@EdwardKmett *doing modafinil off of underage hookers

EdwardKmett avatar
Edward Kmett
bought Ṁ0 of NO

@NathanNguyen I thought I was supposed to give an unlikely scenario?

firstuserhere avatar
firstuserhere
predicted YES at 54%

@NathanNguyen lol too real

JosephNoonan avatar
Joseph Noonan
bought Ṁ10 of YES

@EdwardKmett Yeah, turns out I was wrong to say this, since Nathan Nguyen posted the Jacobin article that is counting towards the Bostrom scandal as was typing the comment. But oh well, I still made a profit by selling No shares just as it got down to near 50%.

JosephNoonan avatar
Joseph Noonan
sold Ṁ11 of NO

@NathanNguyen This one seems like a much better contender to be included than the BI article, since it does specifically try to tie Bostrom's racist email to EA, and mentions it as more than just a side remark.

JonasVollmer avatar
Jonas Vollmer
predicted NO at 54%

@JosephNoonan Seems right, although it seems like it might qualify as a "minor publication"

EdwardKmett avatar
Edward Kmett
predicted YES at 53%

@JonasVollmer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobin_(magazine) it has a wikipedia page, so it should pass the notable bar used here at least.

CadeMataya avatar

@EdwardKmett There we go, that's one that I'll count without qualification. Barring serious objections, Bostrom's email is at 1/3

JonasVollmer avatar
Jonas Vollmer
bought Ṁ2,000 of YES

@CadeMataya Ok, given how you're resolving this, I'm now betting much more strongly the other direction

HenriThunberg avatar
Henri Thunberg
predicted NO at 53%

I suggest keeping track of the articles (and possibly commenting?) using this editable sheet?
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1as24eTi5Pie4Og2kHX1jcFQjSjfW7T1FvYbkguE1OGA/edit#gid=0

PeterWildeford avatar
Peter Wildeford
bought Ṁ237 of NO

@CadeMataya The three articles don't all have to be about the same thing, do they?

NathanNguyen avatar
Nathan Nguyen
predicted NO at 75%

@PeterWildeford If it doesn’t reach three articles about a single thing, each thing is unlikely to be “major”

CadeMataya avatar

@NathanNguyen This is a good point. If Effective Altruism had a few hiccups that only picked up minimum steam each (journalistically), I doubt that it would be good faith to put any of those things anywhere near the importance of the FTX event.

PatrickAupperle avatar
Patrick Aupperle
bought Ṁ5 of NO

Unless I'm not seeing the whole thing, I'm not sure that business insider article should count. It does connect him with Effective Altruism, but it does not appear to "directly relates the purported behavior to the ideals or structure of the Effective Altruism movement"

There's a difference between him being connected and his actions bring related to it. I don't see any connection between his racism and the ideals of Effective Altruism

JosephNoonan avatar
Joseph Noonan
predicted NO at 76%

@PatrickAupperle I agree. It briefly mentions the behavior, pretty much as an aside, and doesn't say anything to imply that it is connected to EA. Not sure how that would be considered to "directly relate the purported behavior to the ideals or structure of the EA movement".

StevenK avatar

@JosephNoonan Even if it did "directly relate ... movement", it would arguably not be "an article about the misbehavior".

StevenK avatar

@StevenK (Because texts can mention things without being about those things.)

CadeMataya avatar

@PatrickAupperle Fair point! Seeing the discourse in this thread, I think y'all are right: it neither links the behavior directly to effective altruism nor would it be enough to say that the article is "about" the misbehavior/linking the misbehavior to effective altruism.

NicoDelon avatar
Nicolas Delon
bought Ṁ10 of YES

This is one of the prominent blogs of the philosophy progression, it links to previous posts about EA, and it relates Bostrom’s behavior to longtermist/EA attitudes.

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polack
predicted NO at 55%

"wikipedia notable"? Blogs aren't usually notable i i r c

StevenK avatar

@jacksonpolack It's mentioned here but doesn't have its own page.

NicoDelon avatar
Nicolas Delon
predicted YES at 70%

@jacksonpolack I honestly don't know what "Wikipedia notable" means.

NicoDelon avatar
Nicolas Delon
bought Ṁ10 of YES

I'm fine if this one doesn't count. It's just some more signal.

CadeMataya avatar

@NicoDelon I'm going to say it doesn't count based on my metrics, but is possibly indicative of what's to come.

JonathanRay avatar

@NicoDelon If this is one of the most prominent blogs in the philosophy profession it reflects poorly on that profession imo

NicoDelon avatar
Nicolas Delon
predicted YES at 67%
jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polack
predicted NO at 59%

the two big claims it makes are "racism is creepy. creepy vibes. racism is, like, bad, ew. bostrom is racist" and "despite that, longtermism isn't false JUST because he's creepy, so he shouldn't be fired". The second claim is better than nothing, but the first claim attributes some enduring and entirely unspecified badness to bostrom because of what he said. Philosophy makes one think of 'clear and precise thinking and writing', this isn't that!

I am not astonished because longtermism has seemed to me to have a creepy vibe from the start, an elaborate and ugly rationalization for not doing anything about the actual suffering of billions of human beings, which no doubt is why it has been very appealing to creepy billionaries like Elon Musk. 

as has been said a hundred thousand times at this point, followers of longtermism have clearly done more for the physical suffering of the global poor than any of the people making these criticisms.

DeanValentine avatar

Why is every criticism of EA on the internet so disgusting and offensive?

Dreamingpast avatar

@DeanValentine and it's not even limited to small communities like the sneerclub

NicoDelon avatar
Nicolas Delon
predicted YES at 63%

@jacksonpolack I’m glad we’re all resting our impression of philosophy as a profession on a single blog post.

NicoDelon avatar
Nicolas Delon
predicted YES at 63%

@NicoDelon FWIW I don’t share Brian Leiter’s view of EA and longtermism at all. It’s just a widely read blog, for all sorts of reasons. The point of this market is not to discuss the merits of Bostrom, philosophy, critics, or what have you. Focus.

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polack
predicted NO at 63%

my answer was to "why that blog post looks bad", not "why that blog post means philosophy is bad".

NicoDelon avatar
Nicolas Delon
predicted YES at 63%

@jacksonpolack No one asked that question.

JonathanRay avatar

@jacksonpolack Fwiw every bad philosophy blog post should update me very slightly in the direction of academic philosophy sucking, and the size of the update depends on the popularity of the blog among academic philosophers.

NicoDelon avatar
Nicolas Delon
bought Ṁ45 of YES

@JonathanRay You’re taking noise for signal.

HenriThunberg avatar
Henri Thunberg
bought Ṁ50 of YES

Doesn't mention EA, but some other version of the story might come to that. The timing is also unfortunate, but surely random. https://expo.se/2023/01/elon-musk-funded-nonprofit-run-mit-professor-offered-finance-swedish-pro-nazi-group

Gigacasting avatar
PeterWildeford avatar
Peter Wildeford
bought Ṁ995 of YES
StevenK avatar
Steven
sold Ṁ106 of YES

@PeterWildeford It's not clear to me that this part of the condition is satisfied:

that directly relates the purported behavior to the ideals or structure of the Effective Altruism movement

StevenK avatar

@StevenK (It seems pretty likely that it will be satisfied by future articles, though.)

PeterWildeford avatar
Peter Wildeford
predicted YES at 89%

@StevenK I guess up to @CadeMataya to decide how to interpret "directly relates". I still think it "directly relates". But admittedly none of the articles mention the phrase "effective altruism" and only 1/3 mention the phrase "longtermism" (Vice).

StevenK avatar
Steven
bought Ṁ10 of NO

@PeterWildeford It may be that the behavior directly relates (intransitive verb) to the ideals/structure, but for it to be true that the articles relate the behavior to the ideals/structure, I think they'd have to say something about that explicitly.

napewno avatar
na pewno
predicted NO at 82%

@PeterWildeford At least merriam webster defines "relates" (as in 'X relates A to B', not 'A relates to B') as "to show or establish logical or causal connection between" - just mentioning that he also is a longtermist wouldn't count under that definition.

CadeMataya avatar

@StevenK If/When a publication creates an article that is more along the lines of "How Nick Bostrom's racism reveals the white saviorism of Effective Altruism" or something akin to that, I'll say that counts; as of right now we're in "Figure X accused of Embezzlement," territory, not quite "Figure X, sheltered by Effective Altruism, accused of Embezzlement" territory (at least in my view).

NeelNanda avatar
Neel Nanda
bought Ṁ100 of NO

@PeterWildeford IMO if a source doesn't mention the words effective altruism, it shouldn't count. Though I can totally believe we'll get to three soon enough... (at the very least, there'll surely be a Torres article)

PeterWildeford avatar
Peter Wildeford
predicted YES at 64%

@CadeMataya Sure ok thanks for clarifying. I accept that. So right now we're at 1 based on the Vice article?

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polack
bought Ṁ10 of NO

vice doesn't have the phrase "Effective Altruism" in it. it has "existential risks" and 'longtermism". idk

PeterWildeford avatar
Peter Wildeford
predicted YES at 63%

@jacksonpolack @CadeMataya can you clarify whether you view "longtermism" as sufficiently synonymous with "effective altruism"?

CadeMataya avatar

@PeterWildeford Good question. I do not; they are deeply related but distinct enough from one another that it would be inaccurate to use the terms interchangeably (some Effective Altruists, for example, would reject Longtermism).

PeterWildeford avatar
Peter Wildeford
sold Ṁ339 of YES

@CadeMataya Ok thanks! So currently we're at 0/3!

CadeMataya avatar

@PeterWildeford Yes! I imagine that a forthcoming article by Emile Torres will push it to 1/3 pretty soon, though.

EdwardKmett avatar
Edward Kmett
bought Ṁ2,000 of YES

@CadeMataya While some effective altruists reject longtermism, I'd argue that longtermists are considered a proper subset of Effective Altruists. The wikipedia article on Longtermism highlights directly the relationship,

and it'd be damn near impossible to argue Toby Ord and Will MacAskill, who collectively coined the phrase, are not Effective Altruists!

CadeMataya avatar

@EdwardKmett This is a fair point; I'm not entirely sure that one could be longtermist without also being an effective altruist (maybe someone who only cared about the very long-term future of their country or city would fit that bill?). There could be a question, then, if scandals in subsets of movements could be enough for the whole movement to be in scandal (i.e. scandals involving Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists embroiling the entire modern feminist movement in scandal). It would be incumbent on showing that Longtermism is indeed a proper subset of Effective Altruism (it can't exist outside of it) and that scandals involving Longtermists should be considered scandals for the whole Effective Altruism movement. I'll allow some discourse on this and weigh-in based on that.

EdwardKmett avatar
Edward Kmett
predicted YES at 70%

@CadeMataya On the TERF front, there are effective altruists that hold all things crypto to be negative utility, but yet the movement still gets painted with a broad brush in the FTX scam.

Longtermism really comes down to saying that when someone is is as irrelevant as where someone is when calculating quality adjusted life years, and then measuring the number of people in the future and deciding that therefore we should do everything we can to improve the lives of the unborn masses. All of the steps in that argument are EA arguments.

Most objections about longtermism coming from within the EA community come from folks softmaxing on outcomes as a form of deference, quibbling with the process that yields the claims of gajillions of future lives and thereby indicating that perhaps we shouldn't put all our eggs in that basket, discounting QALYs for net present value, or generally disliking the outcomes of the ideas.

It is EA ideas on both sides of the fence.

A hypothetical non-EA "longtermism" would just be something else that happened to get assigned the same label, and I'd argue isn't something anybody can really point to as actually existing today.

Maybe some kind of nihilistic negative utilitarian somewhere has a version of it in a blog post?

MattCWilson avatar
Matt C. Wilson
predicted YES at 55%

hot take: “bed net EAs” : longtermists :: agile practitioners : waterfall practitioners

Or basically - an un(der)specified criterion of doing consequentialism well is definining “when do you ‘resolve’ your consequences”

StevenK avatar
Steven
sold Ṁ10 of NO

What do you mean by Wikipedia-notable publications? Wikipedia seems to have notability standards for whether to have pages about topics, and reliability standards for publications.

CadeMataya avatar

@StevenK Good question! When I drafted the market, what I had in mind were publishers that themselves had an article on Wikipedia (CNN, Fox, etc.) as a means of safeguarding against someone with an obscure blog from publishing articles that would count. There are outliers and sources that are not credible that have Wikipedia articles, though, so that may be amended.

L avatar
L
bought Ṁ10 of YES

candidates:

  • the land purchases

  • abuse scandals

harfe avatar
harfe
predicted NO at 29%

@L I don't think the land purchase being talked about by a major publication would lead to positive resolution (at least under current information, where there is no evidence of embezzlement/fraud/illegal activities). EAs seem to be split whether it was an effective use of money. Not clear if suboptimal use of money would clear the "misbehhavior" bar. Plus, it is not clear which major philosophical voice or donor they would tie to that (but the resolution criteria require that there is such a person)

JesusDeSivar avatar
Jesus Of Sivar
predicted NO at 29%

@harfe Agree.

The land purchases by itself wouldn't constitute scandal, unless some sort of corruption or conflict of interests arise.

Something sexual in nature (like the scandal that hit oxfam in 2018) would clear the bar, but there's no indication of that. Mind you that this Oxfam example took like 8 years to come to light.