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Posted on behalf of the research team at the Centre for Effective Altruism

The effective altruism community has surfaced a number of important ideas, identified existing research which is relevant to decisions, and in some cases pursued its own valuable research. Although there is a vast amount yet to learn, we’ve come a long way from a position of ignorance about how to help the world. At the same time, as the body of knowledge grows, it poses a number of challenges:

  • There isn’t always an easy reference for some important concepts or ideas.
  • It’s not obvious to someone coming into the area what to start reading, or where to find information on a given topic.
  • It can be obscure how the different branches of research are supposed to fit into the same overarching intellectual project.

Over the last month or two, the research team at the Centre for Effective Altruism has been working on a resource which attempts to address these challenges. The current version is somewhere between a reading list, an encyclopedia, and a textbook.

  • It is like a reading list in that we started with some of the highest-quality external material we know of, and wanted to provide readers a guide for this material.
  • It is like an encyclopedia in that it has separate short articles for different ideas, so users can dip into a part of it and browse.
  • It is like a textbook in that we provide a conceptual map of the space, which may help people orient their idea of how different concepts or pieces of work relate to others. This also gives people a natural place to start reading.

We think it’s important for the success of a project that it be useful from the outset, so we’ve put work into making sure that we have reasonable content across the entire space. However, we regard this as very much a starting point. We’re interested in finding out whether and how people use it. We’re interested in continuing to develop and improve the content. And we’re interested in whether we are missing important features, and how such a tool should work and accept contributions going forwards.

We've tried to do a good job of presenting a balanced view of important topics. We are confident some errors (of comission and omission) remain. The fault for these is all ours, but if you spot them please let us know. For broad discussion of the project, please use the comment thread here on the forum. For specific suggestions or feedback, or if you want to make a private comment, please see the feedback page.

We hope you find it interesting!

Effective Altruism Concepts