All of GabrielExists's Comments + Replies

Yes, this is exactly what I'm trying to convey, well put.

Thank you for linking this, very interesting.

My goal with this post was mainly to share a model of "it's better to do little than nothing" in the hopes I'd help someone else give money when they were hesitating. To make that point, I used the retro of the project I happened to be in. This project happened to be a humanitarian one. That it's about Ukraine is just a coincidence.

Talking about military interventions because of some theoretical higher impact, when in practice very few people will have means to help militarily, is exactly the kind of analysis paralysis that qualifies as "nothing" instead o... (read more)

This is an important consideration, like how could the software be misused? However, in this concept, artillery and targeting buses wouldn't be an issue, because the entire concept takes place outside Ukraine. It's specifically for getting people from Poland (or other close-by countries) to other, more distant, countries that have more capacity.

For this to be a problem, they'd have to shell Polish cities, and if they do, we have bigger problems.

I didn't realize I was inviting these kinds of discussions, nor that I didn't want them until now. I'd like to keep the comments focused on helping in humanitarian ways, if that's okay.

It would help if you clarified from the get-go that you care not about maximizing impact, but about maximizing impact subject to the constraint of pretending that this war is some kind of natural disaster. 

Fair point. I was writing this from a position of having earmarked a sum of money as "for charity", thus removing the value to myself. But using your assumptions, then it's just a matter of where you draw the line of how efficient a charity has to be, sure.

I'm all for choosing effective causes and charities to donate to. The case I'm making here is that if there's only one cause that could move you to help, then you shouldn't refrain from helping just cause the efficiency is low. If you realize that looking around for other charities would end in you just losing interest, then the reality in which you actually donate to a 1% efficient cause, you will have done more good than the reality when you look for a 50% efficient cause, are gripped by analysis paralysis and give up.

But if you have energy to optimize, of course, optimize!

7Yair Halberstadt2y
That's assuming that keeping the money for yourself is valueless. I would say that 1000 dollars for myself is probably worth more than 1 dollar to a refugee.

4 hours ago, I thought there was a 0% chance money would be paid out. But 3 hours ago, a discussion made me think there was a chance they would do a payout for today, and then retract the whole thing tomorrow. That made me 20% certain that money would be paid out. So between those hours, there was a linear increase in the chance of money being paid out. And as other trends are possible, but not probable, then the prior should be that the trend continues, right? So I expect this to arrive at 100% chance several hours before payout time.

Though I'm curious wh... (read more)

This part makes me think they'll actually pay out; Especially the part where it's 600 and not 500. That sounds like the kind of number that came out of people actually deciding how much they wanted to pay out.
Not taking extrapolation far enough! 4 hours ago, your expected value of a point was $0. In an hour, it increased to $0.2, implying a ~20% chance it pays $1 (plus some other possibilities). By midnight, extrapolated expected value will be $4.19, implying a ~100% chance to pay $1, plus ~45% chance that they'll make good on the suggestion of paying $10 instead, plus some other possibilities...

Part of me says that this mentality is irrational, and that I should work to fix it. But maybe this is one of those times where the rational thing to do is identify how your irrational brain works, and then learn to work with it rather than against it.

I also see this as one of those things where "you shouldn't stop yourself from doing the small good just because the big good wasn't available". Sure, it'd be better to just have a rational mentality, but if you can't have that, then it's better to just be rational about how your irrationality works. (And in the best case, we'll find that it's a stepping stone to a rational mentality.)