14

Additional plans for the new EA Forum

CEA is making more concrete plans for the opening of the new EA Forum, and we wanted to let users know about the next steps. Please see our prior post about updating the Forum for more background.

Our vision is that the Forum becomes the main hub for content and discussion in the community. We’d like this to be a place where community members can come to see all the key thinking happening in EA, as well as sharing their ideas with others.

Prizes

CEA is planning to fund monthly cash prizes for the best content published on the EA Forum. (We commit to doing this for at least the first 3 months.) The first prize will be $1000, second $500, and third $200. The winning posts will be determined by a vote of the moderators (Max Dalton, Howie Lempel, Denise Melchin, and Julia Wise) and the current top three Forum users (Peter Hurford, Joey Savoie, and Rob Wiblin).

Sequences

The new Forum will feature sequences of posts on particular themes or topics. You can see something similar in the “Recommended Reading” section of the LessWrong site.

We think it’s important to encourage new users to engage with some core content when they first visit the site, so that they have more context for whatever is currently being discussed. We also think it’s helpful to have some core content that most people in the community will have read, in order to create common knowledge that can be built on in discussion and debate.

We are assembling some sequences to introduce core ideas of EA. While we’ll choose a few main sequences to feature, users will also be able to put together their own sequences.

Cross-posting from personal blogs

We can set up automatic cross-posting to the EA Forum from personal blogs. Please fill in this form if you would like us to do this for you  note that you'll need to have a blog that's consistently about EA-relevant topics, or use tags that let us pull the EA-relevant posts.

Beta

We are running a small, private beta version of the Forum in order to catch bugs and fix problems before we open to the broader community. We are currently forming a list of additional people who would like to participate in the beta version of the Forum. Please fill in this form to express interest.

 

 

The rest of this post is the text that will appear as the “How to use the Forum” guide on the new Forum.

User guide and moderation policy


Effective altruism is a joint effort. Our goal is to make the EA Forum the central place for collaborative discussion about how to do the most good we can.

What we’re aiming for

We encourage:

  • Writing that is accurate, kind, and relevant to the discussion at hand.

  • Scout mindset: “The drive not to make one idea win or another lose, but to see what’s there as honestly and accurately as you can.”

  • Clarity about what you believe, your reasons for believing it, and what would cause you to change your mind.

  • Making concrete predictions where possible.

  • Summary articles: Distilling previous ideas and debates can be really useful because it allows people to get up to speed quickly and build on previous knowledge.

We don’t worry much about:

  • Polish: We’d rather hear an idea that’s presented imperfectly than not hear it at all.

We discourage (and may delete):

  • Unnecessary rudeness or offensiveness

  • Materials advocating major harm or illegal activities

  • Abuse

  • Spam

  • Other behavior that interferes with good discourse

Other pointers:

  • When you disagree with someone, approach it with curiosity: try to work out why they think what they think, and what you can learn from each other.

  • When you criticize someone’s point, consider doing so supportively.

  • Keep an eye out for ways you might be biased — ideologies, people, or causes that you’re particularly attached to.

  • Try to focus on important questions, and the important parts of important questions to keep content useful and to the point.

  • You can flag material that you think is inappropriate for the site, and the moderators will take a look.

 

Finding content

Frontpage posts

Posts on the frontpage have been recommended by other users (via upvotes) or have been selected by moderators as especially useful or interesting.

All posts

Select the “All Posts” section to see posts in all categories.

Sequences

Sequences of posts allow you to follow a longer train of thought on a topic.

Community

This is the place for posts about the EA community itself (including EA organizations) rather than object-level discussion.

Following users

Love someone’s work? Click their username, and you’ll see the option to “subscribe to this user’s posts.” You’ll see their new posts in your notification area.

 

Writing content

You can make a new post by clicking on your username in the upper right and selecting “new post.”

Personal blog post

By default, your posts will be published to your personal blog. Other users can follow your blog if they wish, and they’ll see notifications when you post.

You can use posts to share quick ideas or questions, to publish polished research, or anything in between.

A post will be more visible to other users as it gets more upvotes. If it’s upvoted enough, or if moderators curate it, it will appear on the frontpage.

Link post

We encourage you to post links to content from other sites. You can do this by selecting the link icon when you go to make a new post. When you post links, please either quote or write a summary of the content to get discussion going.

Community posts

If you’re writing about the EA community itself, giving an organizational update, or discussing specific strategies for community building, your post will be moved to the “Community” section.

Sequences

You’ll be able to add sequences of posts on a theme or topic.

 

Karma

When you vote articles up and down, you give the users karma points. The karma points are equal to the number of upvotes minus the downvotes, and by default, the higher rated posts are more visible. The karma is the number shown next to each post or comment.

You don’t need any karma to post, comment, or vote.

 

Voting

You can vote up or down on posts and comments. For content you think is especially good or bad, you can give a “strong upvote” or “strong downvote” by clicking and holding (on a computer) or double-tapping (on mobile). The strength of your votes is affected by your level of karma; more details here.

You are encouraged to also leave constructive feedback about what was helpful or unhelpful about the material you’re voting on:

“That example helped clear things up for me.”

“I didn’t find this relevant.”

 

“Mass voting” on large portions of a user’s content simply because it belongs to that user is not acceptable. Please judge each post or comment on its own merits.

 

Profile

Let other users know more about you. To edit your user profile, click your username in the upper right and select “Profile.”

It’s fine to make a pseudonymous account in order to express views you wish to keep anonymous. It’s not acceptable to vote multiple times on the same material, to use multiple accounts to express the same opinion multiple times, or to impersonate other people.

 

Moderators

Currently (as of September 2018), moderators are Denise Melchin, Howie Lempel, Max Dalton, and Julia Wise, using the email address forum@effectivealtruism.org. Please feel free to contact us with questions or feedback.

Moderators will be able to access

  • The IP address a post/comment came from

  • Voting history of users

  • Identity of voters on any given post/comment

This information will only be used to identify behavior such as “sockpuppet” accounts and mass downvoting. The moderators will not view or use this information for any other purpose.

Comments (18)

Comment author: weeatquince  (EA Profile) 16 September 2018 01:08:48AM 6 points [-]

Feature idea: If you co-write an article with someone being able to post as co-authors.

Comment author: MichaelPlant 09 September 2018 09:23:12AM *  6 points [-]

On prizes 1) when would you plan to start them from (i.e. what are posts eligible for this) 2) have you thought much about extrinsic motivation crowding out intrinsic motivation? My worry is that by offering financial rewards, it changes how people will think about this e.g. "well, I'm probably not going to win anything, so I won't bother posting" or "there was some really good content this month, I'm going to hold onto mine"

Comment author: Julia_Wise  (EA Profile) 09 September 2018 12:13:55PM *  6 points [-]

1) The first period for prizes will start as soon as the new forum is open to everyone.

2) Yes, this was a concern we had, but we decided that encouraging a wave of people's best content in the early period of the new forum was worth trying.

Comment author: Jan_Sz 10 September 2018 10:51:26AM 3 points [-]

Cerasoli, C. P., Nicklin, J. M., & Ford, M. T. (2014). Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic incentives jointly predict performance: A 40-year meta-analysis.

In general, our most important theoretical and empirical contribution is that incentives and intrinsic motivation are not of necessity antagonistic; We found that incentives coexist with intrinsic motivation, depending on the type of performance and the contingency of the incentive. http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-03897-001

Comment author: Benito 12 September 2018 06:24:58AM 1 point [-]

Yeah, this matches my personal experience a bunch. I'm planning to look into this literature sometime soon, but I'd be interested to know if anyone has strong opinions about what first-principles model best fits with the existing work in this area.

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 09 September 2018 11:31:29PM *  0 points [-]

Another risk is demoralizing anyone who is encouraged to make a post based on the presence of the awards but doesn't actually end up winning.

Comment author: Flodorner 10 September 2018 08:59:08AM 5 points [-]

Are any ways of making content easier to filter (like for example tags) planned?

I am rather new to the community and there have been multiple occassions, where i randomly stumbled upon old articles, i haven't read, concerned with topics i was interested in and had previously made an effort to find articles about. This seems rather inefficient.

Comment author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 11 September 2018 02:52:34AM 4 points [-]

Another feature that could help people find old posts is to display a few random old posts on a sidebar. For example, on any of Jeff Kaufman's blog posts, five old posts display on the sidebar. I've found lots of interesting old posts on Jeff's blog via this feature.

Comment author: Jeff_Kaufman 19 September 2018 05:58:15PM 1 point [-]

a few random old posts on a sidebar

In my case I just have a list of posts I thought were good and want more people to see, but in a forum with voting you could show highly upvoted older posts.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 11 September 2018 03:52:35AM 1 point [-]

Yes I second this - tag system please, if possible

Comment author: SiebeRozendal 08 September 2018 04:33:41PM 2 points [-]

Roughly when will the new forum be launched, if I may ask?

Comment author: Julia_Wise  (EA Profile) 08 September 2018 10:19:25PM 3 points [-]

The small beta version opened this week, and we plan to run that for roughly two weeks before opening to the wider community.

Comment author: Julia_Wise  (EA Profile) 19 September 2018 07:40:52PM *  2 points [-]

I didn't fully understand the steps here - we'll be moving to an open beta soon, and the full version (with all posts and comments from the current forum ported over, links redirected, etc) will likely open in October.

EDIT: Aaand I misunderstood again. If you've requested to join the open beta, we should be adding you this week. Open beta will be in October, and full transition after that.

Comment author: Taymon 07 September 2018 06:10:02PM 2 points [-]

Is that form supposed to be accessible to outside CEA? Right now it's not.

Comment author: Maxdalton 07 September 2018 06:16:28PM 4 points [-]

Sorry, that should be fixed now.

Comment author: DavidNash 09 September 2018 07:46:13PM 0 points [-]

Would it be possible for posts/comments to have to be approved before getting posted, or at least for users that haven't gained a certain amount of karma.

Comment author: Khorton 09 September 2018 07:59:14PM 0 points [-]

Even if it's possible, I prefer instant updates. Spam gets down-voted quickly and moderation of every post is very labour intensive.

Comment author: adamaero  (EA Profile) 08 September 2018 11:11:11PM 0 points [-]

I hope it has a locked top title bar of "EFFECTIVE ALTRUISM FORUM" so it shows what I'm looking at to other people (even when scrolling down the page).