Help Build a Landing Page for Existential Risk?

by Mass_Driver 2 min read30th Jul 201532 comments


The Big Orange Donate Button

Traditional charities, like Oxfam, Greenpeace, and Amnesty International, almost all have a big orange button marked "Donate" right on the very first page that loads when you go to their websites. The landing page for a major charity usually also has vivid graphics and some short, easy-to-read text that tells you about an easy-to-understand project that the charity is currently working on.

I assume that part of why charities have converged on this design is that potential donors often have short attention spans, and that one of the best ways to maximize donations is to make it as easy as possible for casual visitors to the website to (a) confirm that they approve of the charity's work, and (b) actually make a donation. The more obstacles you put between google-searching on the name of a charity and the 'donate' button, the more people will get bored or distracted, and the fewer donations you'll get.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any such streamlined interface for people who want to learn about existential risks and maybe donate some money to help prevent them. The website on existential risk run by the Future of Humanity Institute reads more like a syllabus or a CV than like an advertisement or a brochure -- there's nowhere to donate money; it's just a bunch of citations. The Less Wrong wiki page on x-risk is more concerned with defining and analyzing existential risks than it is with explaining, in simple concrete language, what problems currently threaten to wipe out humanity. The Center for the Study of Existential Risk has a landing page that focuses on a video of a TED talk that goes on for a full minute before mentioning any specific existential risks, and if you want to make a donation you have to click through three separate links and then fill out a survey. Heck, even the Skoll Global Threats Fund, which you would think would be, you know, designed to raise funds to combat global threats, has neither a donate button nor (so far as I can tell) a link to a donation page. These websites are *not* optimized for encouraging casual visitors to learn basic facts or make a donation.

A Landing Page for Casual Donors

That's fine with me; I imagine the leading x-risk websites are accomplishing other purposes that their owners feel are more important than catering to casual visitors -- but there ought to be at least one website that's meant for your buddy from high school who doesn't know or care about effective altruism, who expressed concern one night over a couple of beers that the world might be in some trouble, and who had a brief urge to do something about it. I want to help capture your buddy's urge to take action.

To that end, I've registered as a domain name, and I'm building a very simple website that will feature roughly 100 words of text about 10 of the most important existential risks, together with a photo or graphic that illustrates each risk, a "donate" button that takes you straight to a webpage that lets you donate to an organization working to prevent the risk, and a "learn more" button that takes you to a website with more detailed info on the risk. I will pay to host the website for one year, and if the website generates significant traffic, then I'll take up a collection to keep it going indefinitely.

Blurbs, Photos, and URLs

I would like your help generating content for the website -- if you are willing to write a 100-word blurb, if you own a useful photo (or can create one, or know of one in the public domain), or if you have the URL handy for a webpage that lets you donate money to mitigating or preventing a specific x-risk, please post it in the comments! I can, in theory, do all of that work myself, but I would prefer to make this more of a community project, and there is a significant risk that I will get bored and give up if I have to literally do it all myself.

Important: to avoid mind-killing debates, please do NOT contribute opinions about which risks are the most important unless you are ALSO contributing a blurb, photo, or URL in the same comment. Let's get the website built and launched first, and then we can always edit some of the pages later if there's a consensus in favor of including an additional x-risk. If you see someone sharing an opinion about the relative priority of risk and the opinion isn't right next to a useful resource, please vote that comment down until it disappears.

Thank you very much for your help! I hope to see you all in the future. :-)