I will run the best, most representative poll I am able to, and people will be able to vote whether the purchase was a better spend of money given what was known at the time. This will resolve to the % of "Yes" answers.
I will attempt to run the poll on anyone who can understand roughly the compatible costs. I'm not gonna make it public but I will try to allow non-EAs, ex-EAs etc to vote. I will resolve to the % of this community who things it was better, rather than the poll result. (I assume that will be more in favour of no, fyi)
This market will have a week-long grace period in which I may modify resolution criteria.
Dec 10, 3:20pm:
In 10 years, what % of the EA/adjacent community think, on balance that Wytham Abbey was a good use of money, compared to the other options? → In 10 years, what % of the EA/adjacent community think, on balance that Wytham Abbey was a good use of money, compared to the other options? (Buy yes to increase)
Jan 7, 2:36pm:
In 10 years, what % of the EA/adjacent community think, on balance that Wytham Abbey was a good use of money, compared to the other options? (Buy yes to increase) → In 10 years, what % of the EA/adjacent community think, on balance that Wytham Abbey was a good use of money, compared to the other options at the time? (Buy yes to increase)
Sold a bunch all at once. Enjoy trading it back to a reasonable value y'all. I will hold the rest for a random amount of time and then consider my views and how they interact with what I'm holding. I still think the true value is less than 30%, but I haven't been able to convince y'all to trade it towards there, so I'll let it percolate.
I overspent on this market in an impulse when frustrated at the community. I should not be hoarding this correction; so I'm going to start selling my shares in no, more slowly over time, until it appears to have restabilized somewhat. if others don't buy no, I guess it'll go up! I do think a correction down is likely eventually, but I'm not going to hodl around for it unless others start agreeing that it's likely.
Ex post, most interventions will look worse than they did ex ante. So I would buy NO in this market (and would do the same for almost any grant) despite thinking it's a good bet.
@JonasVollmer Interesting! Just because of adverse selection? (Everything has error, ones where the error happens to be positive are more likely to be selected, so will look worse after the fact(
@NeelNanda No, I'm just assuming that outcomes will be heavy-tailed. So most things will look worse than their EV, and a small fraction will look vastly better than its EV.
@NeelNanda See here for an example of a market that has IMO better resolution criteria: https://manifold.markets/Sydney/will-i-think-that-running-the-lurks
evidence of colonialist corruption in EA is what it is
@L Is this a serious comment?
@NathanpmYoung yep. I'm pretty worried about british colonialist culture in EA, and I think by 10 years from now, that'll be the standard perspective.
@L after all - british authoritarian rule is most of what EA is about recovering from, and the corruption by british authoritarian culture is critical to that culture protecting itself from EA. y'all aren't halfway skeptical enough of authority, and that's what lead to the SBF scandal being possible.
@NathanpmYoung keep in mind - by 10 years from now, we'll have survived superintelligence.
Want to make a question on if EA will be seen to be authoritarian looking back?
@NathanpmYoung https://manifold.markets/noumena/will-i-consider-ea-more-centralized here's a starting point. I'll consider what to post tomorrow.
@L Your thought is that EA will become less centralized, as people realize we are too authority-loving and move away from it? That sounds plausible to me, though I don't share the impression that British Colonialist cultural influence is a big problem in particular. If I want to change my mind about that in less than ten years, assuming I was wrong, is there something I should look at?
@KatjaGrace I haven't been able to think of a good single source I can link you, and I know you value your time highly, so I have been hesitant to link you a big list of low quality sources the way I normally do when attempting to share the concepts I think will eventually turn into something of the level that can convince you. I intend to write a top level less wrong post about this at some point, but for now I haven't and have simply been linking related websites in the hope that people who are better at explaining themselves than I am will be able to help me convey this part of human knowledge better. there has already been progress on the direction I'm noticing, and I think that updates from SBF and the way these land purchases shake out will be a major factor. Even if I'm right about this overall, it's quite possible the aesthetic doesn't have to be unhealthy and that buying a big castle can be good praxis; but I think it will turn out that the type of costly signaling performed by castle purchases is primarily useful when impressing a kind of authority whose popularity and capability is slowly waning, and that including more and more people who don't have access to significant amounts of today's power coupons (money) into EA will be far more impactful than attempting to impress those who are impressed by very high cost very high specificity aesthetic signaling like this land purchase.
if you would in fact like me to share some of my less directly relevant search results from the past few days trying to think of how I wanted to answer this, I can. I doubt they will impress many at the moment, because they don't speak directly to the relevant topic.
@L to clarify this little bit, I don't actually think that effective altruism is overall colonialist or anything like some would say, but I do think there is pressure to get corrupted, and I think trying to impress funders has caused some of the funders' culture to leak into the aesthetics of ea in ways that mess with prioritization. funders have an incentive to play it close to the chest to try to get effective altruism to give them concessions which slow the spread of value out of the funder's control.
@L so even a potentially altruistic funder doesn't necessarily want to do things that change the balance of power in the world, they want to make sure they stay on top, at least for the kind of funder I am talking about. the purchase of the inn in Berkeley is a similar type of signaling that I think is concerning.
I confess I'm not quite sure how to usefully participate in this market by putting actual Ṁ in, as I don't think there's a lot of signal to convey and the market duration is so long that even that signal seems like it will assuredly get washed out further, so I'll just comment for now:
I do personally think that the Wytham Abbey investment is actually a good investment based on what I've seen in terms of return on similar community investments being made in the bay area, and should even be net positive monetarily relative to running events in hypothetical austere concrete slab buildings 2+ hours outside of Oxford while paying to shuttle guests you shoehorn into nearby AirBNBs and the like.
@EdwardKmett Do you know how loans work? Because this means that you'll get most of your money back on this question much sooner than 10 years?
@NathanpmYoung The problem is I get the same as long as I keep my money in any market, so I still wind up wanting to keep my money tied up in short term markets with better ROI. Today I basically try to calculate what the closest thing to a risk-free rate that I have is, and stack rank my markets off that based on their return and time window to settle, adjusting to try to treat separate markets as separate Kelly scaled bets. (Technically I should modulate by some kind of copula, because some of these markets are closely correlated, but I tend to lump them by topic before calculating the bet sale.) Loans would need to have their return rate adjusted based on the time to close of the market AND have penalties for early withdrawal (e.g. act closer to a CD) to change me away from this behavior, but that is probably problematic because early close breaks the CD model.
@EdwardKmett er s/sale/scale and s/early close/early resolution/
@EdwardKmett The only thing loans do today is incentivize me to make sure that I always have almost everything on some position all the time, except what I need to cover a portion of my limit orders, based on whatever rate they seem to be getting burned through in practice.
@EdwardKmett don't you end up having more money loaned to you if you make longer term bets, because you pay back loans each time markets get resolved? (I have barely thought about this)
I've also done limited modeling here, but it led me to somewhat paradoxical results.
> don't you end up having more money loaned to you if you make longer term bets, because you pay back loans each time markets get resolved? (I have barely thought about this)
Hrmm. Except for the fact that there's the secondary condition on loans where they aren't a pure 2% return, but rather you only get the 2% of the difference beween your investment and the total of loans you currently have outstanding, no?
The model I've been running with is that the loans basically force me to try to find and earn more than 2% worth of alpha a day, lest they start to eat all my profit. Then they have a negative effect during accrual that they gum up the total used to calculate future loans, so it strikes me that there is some optimal amount of loan percentage to carry. e.g. currently my portfolio is 33379 but that carries 4825 worth of loans, so daily I'm getting 2% of 33379-4825 = 571 worth of loans. On the other hand if I clear my loan balance, which will almost perfectly happen at year end, since 95%+ of my positions end on the year or before, I'd be getting 667 worth of loans, and that's before accounting for a 30% expected windfall from actually using the money well in the meantime, which would take me to 868 worth of daily loans. If on the other hand I kept everything invested in a market that wasn't going to go anywhere for a year while it rots there the loan crud will start accumulating and I can't clear it out. So yes, I get (most of) the money back in the limit, but it literally comes at the expense of my ability to keep getting loans.
I do need to do better modeling here, but I don't think loans actively incentivize the behavior they are intended to incentivize.
Effectively, when given loan money I'd rather use it to try to find _any_ Ṁ-flow positive opportunity that pays me back more than the cost of the loan, and pay back the loan eagerly, so that I can get larger loans in the future, or I'll dilute away at the basis used to set the size of the loans.
Say you have 50000Ṁ invested, and no loans. Get 0.02*50000 = 1000Ṁ in loans, day trade it on something that is basically all but resolved. Make 3-4% = 30-40Ṁ profit off the loan, trading on near certainties that will resolve today/tomorrow. Pay back the loan completely. Tomorrow you are getting loans against 50030-50040Ṁ.
Same scenario carrying the loan by investing that money long term: 0.02*50000 = 1000Ṁ come in. You invest it longer term. Now you have 51000Ṁ worth of portfolio, but only getting loans against 50000Ṁ, which may well be worth it if the return over several days is better than several times the single day return you could make, after all there are only so many good markets here.
10 years seems like a long time for this, especially given the "given what was known at the time" clause. Couldn't you just do this poll now?
@WilliamHoward I think we want to predict once the dust has settled. It's unclear what else the donor might have given to.
Please help improve the question.
@NathanpmYoung "I will run the best, most representative poll I am able to..." - literally doing that sounds like a bad idea that will take e.g. more than a year—one can put huge amounts of effort into making polls representative! How about 'I will try to run a reasonably good and representative poll..'. (Nitpick perhaps, but I like the resolution criteria to be literally followable.)
@NathanpmYoung "I will attempt to run the poll on anyone who can understand roughly the compatible costs." - not sure what you mean 'compatible costs'. Also committing to attempting to run it on that population sounds like signing up for a huge amount of effort. Maybe better to say you will do something that seems reasonable, and give an example of what it would look like if you were running it now? (e.g. would you put it on the EA forum? Write to individual people you know of? etc)
what are the other options?
@harfe I dunno what the donor might have funded, but we will probably know in 10 years.
@NathanpmYoung Or you know, a week.