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Dolores1984 comments on [Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young - Less Wrong

22 Post author: Konkvistador 18 August 2012 03:17PM

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Comment author: Dolores1984 19 August 2012 05:27:36PM 7 points [-]

You make an interesting assumption that we care about other people in general. If you assume that we model the human species as a group of people with the bell curve split fifty percent above and below the zero value line symmetrically, then it's perfectly rational to give only to people who are familiar enough with to rank in the positive half.

Note: I do not believe this.

Also, if you actually believe in optimal charity for utilitarian reasons, then abusing people for sub-optimal charity is ridiculous. It does not make them more likely to engage in optimal charity, it makes them more likely not to engage in charity at all. You're shooting your cause in the foot at least as much as they are.

Comment author: gwern 19 August 2012 06:03:35PM 7 points [-]

It does not make them more likely to engage in optimal charity, it makes them more likely not to engage in charity at all.

It may make them overall less likely to engage in charity, yes, but if they do, it also makes them more likely to engage in optimal charity*. Since optimal charity is something like 2-3 orders of magnitude better than this particular instance of fuzzy charity, I should be willing to cause a lot of overall drops in charity in exchange for diverting a small fraction of that to an optimal charity.

* If it doesn't even do that, though, then I have some serious problems on my hand.

Comment author: Dolores1984 19 August 2012 06:10:12PM 1 point [-]

The next time people are presented with an opportunity for charity(any opportunity), their last memory is now changed from 'hey, I was charitable a couple of months ago, and that was nice' to 'hey, I was charitable a couple of months ago, and this optimal-charity jerk made me feel terrible about it.'

You're making them less likely to give in general, and, by being rude about it, you're also damaging the PR brand of your cause, which will hurt you more than you think. I don't know of any corporation that advertises its product by abusing its customers.

Comment author: J_Taylor 19 August 2012 07:28:08PM 5 points [-]

This is likely to be the case if gwern were to act in such a way in the vast majority of environments. However, in this particular online community, criticizing people for publicly donating to suboptimal charity may well be a fairly good method for gwern to produce utilons.

Comment author: gwern 19 August 2012 08:10:32PM 4 points [-]

Indeed. Consistent with this situational point, I also recently advised not attempting to go over the The Oatmeal and related forums and evangelizing for optimal charity.

Comment author: gwern 19 August 2012 06:49:48PM 2 points [-]

Which doesn't address my point, but just reiterates the argument of the first comment.

Comment author: army1987 19 August 2012 10:24:17PM 2 points [-]