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Jess_Riedel comments on Open Thread - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: RyanCarey 19 September 2014 06:32:31AM 4 points [-]

Hey Jess. Good questions. Obviously, the relationship between these is mostly decided by the community, rather than by one individual, and will emerge gradually over some number of weeks.

That said, I think it's good for most substantive discussion to move here. Here should also have some blog-length posts that are lighter and fun to read.

Since most people are using the same names on Facebook as here, there are some advantages to keeping it open. It's a kind of bridge between internet and real world. It helps people to put faces to the names of people they're interacting with, which should increase willingness to meet or collaborate. As for what goes there, I think the stuff that goes there will include:

  • some links (e.g. Elon Musk made a bunch more dough of this nasa deal)
  • practical real-world stuff will go there, (e.g. "I'm going to X city, does anyone have a room to offer there")
  • specific topics (similar to the Open Threads. There should be enough minor EA discussion to go around)

I'm kicking around a rough guidline in my head. Somethnig like "post it to the forum if it's at least three of 'fun to read', 'substantial', 'relevant' and 'reasoned'. If it's two of those things, then an open thread or facebook is more suitable. If it's only one of those things, then it's no good.

Tom and I are thinking of ways to tie-in with the Hub. I think that the Hub could use the Forum to run a survey, whereas the Forum could use the Hub's map to identify people who might want to attend a meetup.

Feedback helps, especially on the FB/Forum border. Anyway, I'll bundle these thoughts into my next update post.

Comment author: Jess_Riedel 20 September 2014 03:26:47AM *  1 point [-]

Thanks for info Ryan. A couple of points:

(1) I don't think minor posts like "Here's an interesting article. Anyone have thoughts?" fit very well in the open thread. The open threads are kind of unruly, and it's hard to find anything in there. In particular, it's not clear when something new has been added.

One possibility is to create a second tier of posts which do not appear on the main page unless you specifically select it. Call it "minor posts" or "status updates" or whatever. (Didn't LessWrong have something like this?) These would have essentially no barrier to entry and could consist of single link. However, the threaded comment sections would be a lot more useful than FB.

This is similar to Peter_Hurford and MichaelDickens and SoerenMind comments above.

(2) I've talked to at least a couple of other people who think EAs need a place to talk that's more casual in the specific sense that comments aren't saved for all eternity on the internet. (Or, at the very least, aren't indexed by search engines.) Right now there is a significant friction associated with the fact that each time you click submit you have to make sure you're comfortable with your name being attached to your comment forever.

It might make sense to combine (1) and (2) (or not).

Comment author: RyanCarey 20 September 2014 04:01:06AM *  2 points [-]

(1) I don't think minor posts like "Here's an interesting article. Anyone have thoughts?" fit very well in the open thread. In particular, it's not clear when something new has been added. One possibility is to create a second tier of posts which do not appear on the main page unless you specifically select it.

I agree that the links might not fit well in an open thread. An alternative might be to bundle up a bunch of links into a "links for November" type thread like State Star Codex. Then, people can put more links in the comments if appropriate.

However, learn against improving discussion by subdividing discussion fora. The main/discussion distinction was one of LessWrong's most unpopular features. In the effective altruism community, we already have a subreddit, many facebook groups, many personal blogs, many Twitters, many Tumblrs, LessWrong, here and many other online locations. Moreover, given limited programmer resources, we're not currently looking for new features. Having said that, I'll look into the feasibility highlighting new comments because that seems like it would be useful.

(2) I've talked to at least a couple of other people who think EAs need a place to talk that's more casual in the specific sense that comments aren't saved for all eternity on the internet. (Or, at the very least, aren't indexed by search engines.)

A private Facebook group is best for this. There's no straightforward way to prevent public pages from being indexed by sites like archive.today.

Comment author: Jess_Riedel 20 September 2014 04:18:32AM 1 point [-]

Very reasonable. Thanks Ryan.