Will we fund "Rethink Priorities (Survey Team)"?
resolved Oct 20

Will the project "Rethink Priorities (Survey Team)" receive any funding from the Clearer Thinking Regranting program run by ClearerThinking.org?

Remember, betting in this market is not the only way you can have a shot at winning part of the $13,000 in cash prizes! As explained here, you can also win money by sharing information or arguments that change our mind about which projects to fund or how much to fund them. If you have an argument or public information for or against this project, share it as a comment below. If you have private information or information that has the potential to harm anyone, please send it to clearerthinkingregrants@gmail.com instead.

Below, you can find some selected quotes from the public copy of the application. The text beneath each heading was written by the applicant. Alternatively, you can click here to see the entire public portion of their application.

Why the applicant thinks we should fund this project

Actors in the effective altruist and longtermist space face significant uncertainties such as how to frame EA and longtermism to be most effective in convincing key players, policymakers, or new segments of the general public. Rethink Priorities’ Survey Team can help with those questions by conducting timely and accurate polls, surveys and messaging studies. Being able to talk about our movement in a way that is more aware of how the public will perceive it will allow us to better grow and shape the movement going forward, especially in the face of a lot of new media growth.

We face broad strategic questions affecting the movement as a whole (e.g. “What are the implications of associating ‘effective altruism’ and ‘longtermism’?”, or “What are the costs and benefits of developing separate brands such as ‘global priorities research’?”) that we don’t have good answers to yet. Our research will help with that. Our work can also reduce significant downside risks for the movement and potentially reduce the risk of negative and unexpected PR backlash.

Here's the mechanism by which the applicant expects their project will achieve positive outcomes.

Our research will help identify which messages, arguments and framings can be expected to perform better or worse, as well as what generally leads to different approaches performing better or worse with specific audiences. EA and longtermist organizations can then optimize their outreach based on these insights. EA and longtermist actors can likewise mitigate the risk of harm to the movement by avoiding messages which might seem reasonable to EAs, but which provoke negative reactions from other groups.

Our work can also identify potential harms to the movement by providing an early warning where EA or longtermism and their associated ideas are perceived negatively (for example, by identifying public misconceptions), allowing decision-makers to take ameliorative action (for example, by working to correct or avoid these misconceptions). 

Our research could also inform decision-makers’ actions regarding concrete initiatives. For example, decision-makers might be reluctant to support an initiative due to concern that it will be seen as ‘weird’ by the public. Yet empirical research might show that this concern is misplaced (and, conversely, initiatives which decision-makers believed to be innocuous, might be perceived negatively).

To sum up, Rethink Priorities produces insights which help effective altruists better understand how the lay public thinks about EA and longtermism, which helps to better position EA for future growth, potentially reallocating resources, shifting programs, or proposing successful policies.

How much funding are they requesting?

$ 457,950

What would they do with the amount just specified?

We would make sure the current Surveys Team is funded reliably so that they can work on the projects they deem most high-impact rather than only chasing contracts or doing pro bono work for organizations.

We would pay salaries, including all taxes and benefits, for 3 FTE researchers. 

We would spend another $11,200 on directly project-related research supplies, equipment, technology, and travel.

Employing these three staff to work on this project also creates administrative costs (HR, communications, finance, development, etc.), which is necessary to sustain the research and enable the work of the team going forward. However, we understand if your fund cannot cover these operating expenses.

Here you can review the entire public portion of the application (which contains a lot more information about the applicant and their project):


Sep 20, 3:43pm:

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Note that, as per our Tournament rules, "A market will resolve in favor of a project being funded if Clearer Thinking selects that project as one to provide any funding to (even if, for some reason, the project fails to receive the money - for instance, if it is shut down by the people running it before the money is received)." 

We selected this project and recommended that the Future Fund provide funding to it, which is why the market is resolving as "yes." As the Surveys Team noted in their public copy of their application, they have received funding in the past from the Future Fund for a different project, described as tracking "awareness of and attitudes towards effective altruism and related issues among the US population." However, the Future Fund did not act on our recommendation to give a grant to this new project at this time. For those interested, note that the Rethink Priorities Surveys Team says they have room for funding for their proposed new project at this time, and the reference checks we conducted about their Principal Research Director reflected favorably upon them.

@clearthinkbot Curious when you guys expect to choose the top comments and payout the winners?

predicted YES

@BTE curious as well

@RinaRazh I am thinking about doing a postmortem post on my general trading strategy for the contest and include my favorite comments…

predicted YES

@BTE Would definitely be keen to read this :) This was my first ever attempt at predicting anything so it would be really informative to read more about how people approached it, especially the top performers like you.

I feel like maybe @ClearerThinkingRegrants just forgot about these last few unresolved markets?

predicted NO

Mi gozo en un pozo (My joy down a well)

Hi! Co-CEO of Rethink Priorities here. I am not betting in any of these markets but I want to clear up confusion - this application to Clearer Thinking has not yet been funded by FTXFF or Clearer Thinking or any other entity.

FTXFF funded our EA Pulse which covered funding for 0.5 FTE staff as well as the costs of implementing the survey and compensating participants. We are still seeking funding for the remainder of the staff costs of our survey team, which would assist in implementing EA Pulse as well as implement other projects we'd like to do to understand how people think about EA and associated topics. This would allow us to dive into more detail on findings we see in EA Pulse, give us funding for the overhead needed to manage and maintain EA Pulse (e.g., management, operations), and allow us to explore work unrelated to EA Pulse.

@PeterHurford Correction: The FTXFF EA Pulse grant covers 0.3 FTE not 0.5 FTE

predicted YES

@PeterHurford why aren’t you betting on the markets tho. x

@NathanpmYoung not allowed per the rules

predicted YES

@PeterHurford I just scanned the rules and can't find that clause. Could you quote it?

@NathanpmYoung It was communicated to those who applied to the grant via email:

"If you opted into having your project listed on Manifold Markets, please note that you are not permitted to bet on the market associated with your project, and neither can any of the people collaborating with you on your project (if you have collaborators). You are allowed to comment on your market, however, and to respond to the comments that others write.

You can also bet and/or comment on markets other than the one associated with your project if you wish."

So yeah I could bet on the other projects markets but I think it's best just to steer clear.

predicted YES

@PeterHurford lol. One person has already clearly broken this. Also @ClearerThinkingRegrants, I think this is a bad rule and you should remove it. Surely the whole point of this set of markets is to encourage insider trading. I want Peter to bet.

@NathanpmYoung Skin in the Game makes sense to me!!

predicted YES

@BTE Well they do have a tonne of skin in the game, I just want to see what it would do to market accuracy.

@NathanpmYoung That is what I meant. Why bar them from betting when they are clearly already all-in. Though, it barely affected activity in the other markets where the applicants bet all they had before being told to sell it by the regranter.

@BTE is correct!

This whole upset was a mistake. Looking at the application again more closely...

If the answer to the above question was that you received at least some funding, please specify how much you were granted by FTX when you made your direct application and how you are using (or will use) it.

We did not receive FTX Future Fund money for the Surveys Team, but for a specific new project which tracks awareness of and attitudes towards effective altruism and related issues among the US population.

The announced project on EAF is indeed a different project that is already mentioned in this grant application.

I bite a couple hundred of losses here.

predicted YES

@jbeshir The other approved project, now the amount of overlap is clear, does raise questions about the -marginal- effect of this project, but definitely not "drop down to 14%" questions.

@jbeshir lol gg wp

predicted NO

@GeorgeVii I controlled F "US survey" and a couple other things & wasn't seeing anything, i did have some doubts & now realize that i did see this before. anyway i snooze i loose

@ClearerThinkingRegrants will you guys not fund someone because they have already gotten a grant from FTXFF? Does that even factor into your analysis at all, positively or negatively? @jbeshir @GeorgeVii

@BTE Are you on tilt?

@GeorgeVii i am not sure what you mean in this context? Why do you think this is now so unlikely to get funding when it already got validated by funding from FTX?

predicted NO

@BTE My apologies ser

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