Guest post by Tom Ash
Tom runs the Effective Altruism Hub and was one of the first three employees of the Centre for Effective Altruism, where he created the original version of ACE’s website.
I’m pleased to announce the first annual survey of effective altruists. This is a short survey of around 40 questions (generally multiple choice), which several collaborators and I have put a great deal of work into and would be very grateful if you took it. I’ll offer $250 of my own money to one participant.
The survey should yield some interesting results such as EAs’ political and religious views, what actions they take, and the causes they favour and donate to. It will also enable useful applications which will be launched immediately afterwards, such as a map of EAs with contact details and a cause-neutral register of planned donations or pledges which can be verified each year. I’ll also provide an open platform for followup surveys and other actions people can take. If you’d like to suggest questions, email me or comment.
Anonymised results will be shared publicly and not belong to any individual or organisation. The most robust privacy practices will be followed, with clear opt-ins and opt-outs.
I’d like to thank Jacy Reese, Ben Landau-Taylor, David Moss and Peter Hurford for their help.
Other surveys’ results, and predictions for this one
Other surveys have had intriguing results. For example, Joey Savoie and Xio Kikauka interviewed 42 often highly active EAs over Skype, and found that they generally had left-leaning parents, donated on average 10%, and were altruistic before becoming EAs. The time they spent on EA activities was correlated with the percentage they donated (0.4), the time their parents spend volunteering (0.3), and the percentage of their friends who were EAs (0.3).
80,000 Hours also released a questionnaire and, while this was mainly focused on their impact, it yielded a list of which careers people plan to pursue: 16% for academia, 9% for both finance and software engineering, and 8% for both medicine and non-profits.
I’d be curious to hear people’s predictions as to what the results of this survey will be. You might enjoy reading or sharing them here. For my part, I’d imagine we have few conservatives or even libertarians, are over 70% male, and have directed most of our donations to poverty charities.
[Ed.: You can read additional comments on the 2014 Survey of Effective Altruists on the original announcements made on the Effective Altruism blog, Less Wrong, and the Effective Altruism Group on Facebook.]
I guess that probably your anyalsis misses the point where you underline that it’s admirable to help “good friends”: you see, neither Altruists nor Anti-altruist are saying something different.The question is: should the average guy you happen to meet once in a lifetime be considered “lazy, stupid, bad”? Or should we consider him “good”?In the last case you are an “Altruist”: he is good, so i’ll help him guessing that he will eventually do the same for me when the occasion rise. Maybe this will never happen, but surely someone else will help me for the same reason if i will spread out enough my altruist mood…In the first case you are an “anti-altruist”: he is lazy, stupid, bad, so i’d better avoid him like a non-swimmer avoid deep water. Is he in some needs? Well, it’s his problem not mine…Got the point? There’s no debate about how to interact with relatives and “good friends”. There’s a lot of debate about how to best approach a complete stranger.