The company has made errors, and lists them publicly on its website on a page called `Shortcomings`. "This page logs mistakes we've made, strategies we should have planned and executed differently, and lessons we've learned." Examples include inappropriate Internet marketing strategies during 2007
How we fell short: As part of an effort to gain publicity, GiveWell's staff (Holden and Elie) posted comments on many blogs that did not give adequate disclosure of our identities (though we did use our real first names); in a smaller number of cases, we posted comments and sent emails that deliberately concealed our identities. Our actions were wrong and rightly damaged GiveWell's reputation. More detail is available via the page for the board meeting that we held in response.
Given the nature of our work, it is essential that we hold ourselves to the highest standards of transparency in everything we do. Our poor judgment caused many people who had not previously encountered GiveWell to become extremely hostile to it.
Steps we have taken to improve: We issued a full public disclosure and apology, and directly notified all existing GiveWell donors of the incident. We held a Board meeting and handed out penalties that were publicly disclosed, along with the audio of the meeting. We increased the Board's degree of oversight over staff, particularly with regard to public communications.
While the user in question has done a lot of editing on the Givewell article, s/he is also a pretty prolific Wikipedia editor on other articles, so I wouldn't automatically assume there is a conflict of interest. S/he probably has the article on their watchlist, hence the quick response.
The Wikipedia standard for inclusion is supposedly notability, and the astroturfing is clearly notable. Even if GiveWell does excellent charitable work
I ended up reverting edits to Scott Adams' WP page, which were made by an anonymous editor and were attempts to remove all mention of his actions on Reddit and Metafilter, a subject that could fairly be argued as notable and worthy of inclusion, given his relatively public status.
Because the human animal is a complicated creature, and "bad" is subjective. Do you know who else worked in the charity sphere with a lack of transparency and engaged in possibly shady practices with the people she was supposed to be helping?
No one is saying otherwise. I'm just responding delmoi's incredulity that working in charity and having personal failings can coexist.
I like Givewell. I think applying an analytical approach to the benefits of a given charity is a pretty good approach, even if it's not the be-all-and-end-all. They do not recommend stupid things like golf associations, and they do not take any money away from charities.
What do you mean by "financial penalty"?
Holden and Elie were each fined $5000. This will come directly out of their salary. $5000 is being allocated to professional development opportunities for Holden. The remaining $5000 will be used to augment grants to the GiveWell causes.
How will the organization be run without an Executive Director?
The Board has significantly increased its involvement in the daily operations of the organization, is closely monitoring the staff work, is managing relationships and communications with external donors and constituencies. An executive committee of the board is managing these responsibilities.
What is the difference in responsibilities between Executive Director and Program Officer?
An executive director is responsible for managing the organization, its vision, operations, and external relationships. A program officer is responsible for conducting due diligence and program review, and implementing the program strategies developed by the Board of Directors.