Jan 5, 2014
There are many project ideas that could be really useful for the effective altruist community. There are people with the skills and free time to make things happen but who lack guidance or support. .impact aims to provide infrastructure to get people and useful projects together. We hope to help volunteers learn useful skills, meet great people, and create something substantial.
We're soon launching Skillshare.im, a place to share skills and services for free. We've collaborated on several Trello boards to organize projects, research topics, and useful resources. We’ve brainstormed and started outlining projects like a vegetarian advocacy study, an EA wiki, and argument mapping software. We’ve had several weekly group hangouts and discussions with a variety of individuals. Most of our general discussion holds place in our Facebook group, which now has 114 members and seems to be growing organically at a rate of 5 per week.
We’re guided first and foremost by a desire to do the most good. This is our purpose. But it’s difficult to do this without having some additional values. The following are heuristics we think will best guide future volunteering in order to optimize our purpose. These are will be changed as we gain experience.
We value action. "Help people" is a good rule, and it’s often a more useful one than "understand how to help people optimally." There appears to be a lot of low-hanging fruit—we can achieve a lot by simply motivating people to do something.
We value effectiveness. We encourage and promote projects according to our expectations of their impact and probability of success. We vet and brainstorm ideas before putting them into action. We use lean methodology to get things out quickly and then decide whether to expand, pivot, or end a project.
We value openness and transparency. Our meetings and projects are documented; published work is open source or creative commons. We’ll release information on the success of applications, and we’ll publish lessons we’ve learned on our wiki and blog.
We value decentralization. We believe that volunteers will do best with little outside authority. We will try to limit individual ideologies in favor of collective opinions. Important decisions will be decided through voting whenever possible.
Interested in working on a project? Already working away on something, but want more support? Interested in learning a particular skill, like computer programming or research? We need you!
-(Also cross-posted on our website.)