I bet I'm not the only one who, after finishing inadequate equilibria, thought in excitement "Ok, so where's the KickStarter for better Nash equlibria?".

I didn't find any existing site that does something like it, but i wonder if maybe someone in this community is working on it.

If you know anything about it, I'd appreciate a hint ;)

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Is CollAction kind of what you had in mind? Wikipedia also mentions PledgeBank which closed down in 2015 but still has a site with all the archived pledges at www.pledgebank.com. Not sure but I don't think either of these sites allow versions of assurance contracts that use financial contributions.

I wonder what a good binding mechanism might be for crowdaction sites in general, because once the quorum is reached you still have to get everybody to go ahead and perform the action. Any thoughts?

A site based on dominant assurance contracts would also be interesting. It might be a bit more like Kickstarter, in that maybe the entrepreneur initiating the DAC can market and popularize the action, and be responsible for the action happening when/if the quorum is reached.

WOW awesome! CollAction is very similar to what i had in mind (I thought of something with more functions).

It's amazing that i didn't find it with my search...

So, why don't rationalists use it? does it not suffice as a tool?

I didn't know about it until now. If it turns out to work well it might just need the right publicity.

(Poking around it still looks relatively minimalist and I'm not sure if there's more than 6 projects being used on it right now? It also doesn't let me filter by language which is a pretty big deal)

I also just get a kind of allergic reaction to many of the campaigns and get a vibe that "the site is not for me", since the campaigns look more like they're being used as advertisements than to solve a legitimate coordination problem.

(This doesn't preclude me from using it as a tool, just makes me feel a bit less excited about it. If someone has something they actually need coordinating on that's relevant to me I'd be interested in trying it out)

Two key features I think such a site site needs to really have teeth are:

  • Ability to enforce commitments. My first stab at this is something like "you put in a deposit, and you only get the deposit back if the people who created the campaign agrees you took the action." (i.e. you agree to show up at a protest if 10000 other people do. Everyone puts in $100. They get the $100 back if the
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1Yoav Ravid5y
You took the words out of my mouth XD Edit: I'll elaborate my ideas in a post
3Yoav Ravid5y
Apparently someone has already mentioned it a year ago in a comment to Moloch's toolbox, it didn't seem to progress one bit since, so i wouldn't count on it.

I’m working on a project like this called https://spartacus.app/

It will use assurance contracts and conditional anonymity to solve Moloch-like coordination problems.

The goal is de-risking recruitment and organizing for any project that can only make a difference with a group effort, like workplace organizing, whistleblowing, open letters, parallel institution building, breaking "tragedy of the commons" bad equilibria, formation of clubs, and anything else that needs a critical mass of participants to make an impact. It's especially relevant for initiatives that would benefit from covert organizing in the early stages, due to retaliatory risks.

The overall ethos behind the project is to fight preference falsification and facilitate a more honest, democratic culture where everyone "puts their cards on the table".

I'm looking for beta testers, UX/UI experts, and Product Managers to provide feedback and/or get involved. Happy to chat with anyone. DM me here or at https://twitter.com/AppSpartacus

Very cool! I sent a message through the form at the website. Curious to see where this goes :)

btw, the social media links at the bottom of contact us just lead to the homepage of the websites, not to your specific pages.

Someone built the minimum-viable tool, but it was very bare bones and not well publicized.


(I think someone, maybe Eliezer? offered something on the order of $200 to build it, which was enough get the basic thing built but not fully invest in it. It does seem like something someone should offer more money and/or time to build. I think it requires an actual well-specified "inadequate equilibrium to escape" ("leave Facebook" doesn't solve anything you haven't coordinated on where you're all going next)

Quite bare-bone indeed.

Maybe we should do a KickStarter to roll it off :P

I've had many ideas myself for how to do it, but except a lot of time, i don't have much of the resources or skills needed to create such a thing.

Looks like something of this sort could be easily implemented in an already existing platform like Augur, I actually wouldn't mind putting some effort in it if someone is interested
Interesting, what's the connection here? Are you saying that assurance contracts could be implemented using a prediction market? Or were you thinking of something more along the lines of Augur's distributed voting system for decision outcomes? Anyway I'd be interested to hear what you're thinking here.
I guess you could do that in a variety of ways. PM in general can be used to create rewards for events to happen. Take the following: "I agree to leave facebook if ten million other people agree to leave with me." could be implemented as "I bet $$ that 10M people will not leave FB within a month", people can then stake against it and leave FB to promote the event (and share the contract). PM are very flexible, the real limitation IMO is to create a community to bring liquidity to the market and then create a standard contract for people to follow for a specific type of market
1Yoav Ravid5y
could it be useful to someone if i make an idea-dump post?

I think I'm most excited to put energy (technical and social) into such a platform if there's a clear use for it, and I think that might be the limiting factor. I created two more specific questions:

1Yoav Ravid5y
i easily thought of more than a dozen possible coordinated actions that can be initiated. so at least in the platform i envision, i don't see it as THE limiting factor :)
If so, can you post them as answers on the "what concrete inadequate equilibrium do you want to fix?"
Please do!
2Yoav Ravid5y
Done :)

Hi all, just discovered this discussion through another post and thought some of you might be interested to know we're currently building a collective action platform for academics: Project Free Our Knowledge

The basic premise is the same as Collaction (who I think are doing great things) but targeted more at collective action problems in academia (of which there are many). In general, any researcher can propose a new behaviour they want to see their peers adopt (generally an open science practice of some kind), put it out to the crowd, and then when the critical mass is met everyone carries out the action together. The project is still in its infancy (haven't actually reached the target threshold on any campaigns yet), but I'm hoping in time that we can grow the community and host ever-larger campaigns to reform academia.

I agree with the view expressed here that collective action between institutions could be a real game-changer, but also think that academics themselves have a lot of power to reform academia -- we just haven't been organising effectively to put that latent power into use. E.g. in the case of journal publishing, we could be supporting new journal systems through collective action, which would 'kickstart' their reputation/prestige (which depends entirely on the content we provide them) and allow individuals to transition their value from legacy systems to these new systems without risk to their careers. Impact factors roll around every two years, and in the meantime, a public display of support for progressive journals/systems would be a strong signal to universities to update their hiring procedures to reflect this.

But having said that, I do think that the ideal solution to this problem would be a combined, multilevel collective action across both researchers and institutions at the same time, e.g., researchers agree to support alternative venues at the same time as institutions agree to reward those venues moving forward. Hopefully this is something that our platform could evolve to cover, but in the short term we're focussing on researcher behaviours because those seem like the simplest and most tractable way to create change.

Any and all feedback welcome! :)

I created this Facebook group to for coordination and crowdfunding on EA and LW related projects: https://www.facebook.com/groups/LWCoordination/

Interesting. i don't use Facebook so i won't participate/follow the group, but this is a subject i'm still interested in and thinking on, so i would appreciate if you would inform of any major things that stem from there :)

I think Facebook allows to get the ball rolling faster, and experiment more rapidly. But if this grows is something bigger, the Facebook group wouldn't be sustainable. I'm taking a mental note to report back anything I think is particularly interesting (which I might or might not forget).
1Yoav Ravid4y
Thank you, much appreciated
8 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 10:48 PM

@CooperSmout pointed me towards this discussion (thanks @Stoat) so I thought I'd jump in :). I co-founded collaction.org a while ago while contemplating a similar question that started this thread.

I think we have a pretty ok proof of concept now and some proof points, but there is obviously still a lot of room for improvement and lots of untapped potential (some in line with some of the good suggestions here!). However, the main challenge so far has been resourcing: we're a volunteer-led project with limited funds, which makes it difficult bring the consistency and speed one would ideally like to see. This is also the reason the platform has been quite quiet for the past months.

So if there are any people who'd like to take this platform to the next level - please feel free to reach out :) 

Cheers all! Ron

Hey Ron! awesome to have someone from one of these platforms chip in to the discussion here. did you see the rest of the discussion on this topic on LessWrong? you might find more interesting ideas there.

Hi! thanks! I came across one other one just know, but I'll check it out a little more later - thanks! 

Loving all the discussions on this topic - wish I'd know about this community and discussion when we were starting CollAction. 

I'd be more than happy to share my experiences so far and hear the ideas of the community in some kind of group call / Q&A session if people would be interested. It's actually a good time, since we're currently rethinking our strategy going forward with collaction.org. Just let me know. 

PS still getting the hang of this forum, so if I dont respond to questions here i might've just missed it, so feel free to drop me an email if thats the case

PPS any advice on how to change my user name from my email to another user name here? :) Sorry if missed it - cant seem to find an edit option for that. Thanks!  

I think a retrospective post about CollAction would be highly appreciated here (even though it hasn't ended, perhaps there's a better word).

I think to change your username on the site you need to ping the admins through the intercom on the bottom right.

This was previously talked about on LessWrong in this post (and maybe other places i haven't found), two simillar systems were presented (except from KickStarter) - thunderclap, "I agree for the system to automatically publish this post to my Facebook if X number of people do too", it was discontinued due to FB policy update. and we the people, a petitioning system of the white house, if enough people sign a petition it gets the white house's attention.

So - not in the scope of what i was thinking (or the linked post)