Less Wrong was created to produce rationalists, so that many causes could benefit from the efforts of those rationalists. The point is not just to have nice place to talk about rationality, but to really make ourselves stronger, to apply the lessons that we learn here to improve our own lives, and to improve the world.
80,000 Hours is an organization created to provide direct domain specific help to people who want to support charitable causes, the same causes Less Wrong is supposed to produce rationalists to support. 80,000 Hours has goals clearly aligned with ours. Provided we think they are pursuing their aligned goals effectively, we should be excited about this. We should be happy when they reach out to us, to see how we can work together.
So, I am very disappointed to see the negative reception of a Less Wrong post by 80,000 Hours member Benjamin Todd, asking us what questions we would like 80,000 Hours to answer for us. They are basically offering to do free research for us on things that we care about, because our goals are aligned. And yet, as of this writing, that post has a score of -7, and it has received comments complaining that it is an ad. To be clear, ads of the sort that we want to avoid do not offer free services relevant to a core purpose of our community. I won't argue whether or not the post was an ad, but I will say that it belongs on Less Wrong and we should give it a good reception.
I would like to thank Benjamin Todd and others at 80,000 hours for their work in helping people be more effective philanthropists and otherwise support important causes, and for engaging Less Wrong in this project. I also thank everyone who responded to post with their actual questions about making a difference.
And, please, can we be nice to people who help us?