In response to comment by MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) on Minor Updates
Comment author: RyanCarey 19 September 2014 02:41:52AM *  4 points [-]

Thanks for the suggestions, Michael.

So far every comment I've seen has been insightful and thoughtful. I would like to see the karma requirement lowered soon to make it easier to get new users.

I want more users too. In terms of article creation, there are some good ones on the way so we're not yet constrained. In terms of new user-created aricles, we haven't yet had any, and so it might be useful to see some before we make a comparison. Comparing based on comments is a good start, though it's not quite the same. I think it's unlikely that I would need to decrease the karma requirement before the stated timeframe of October 10 but I think it's good to think of creative ways to increase participation.

Feature request: The ability to tag people in posts like on Twitter and Facebook

This would be an interesting feature, and I think I would like it. So far, we've prioritised bugs and I've tried not to impose excessively on the time of Trike Apps (they have made a large and entirely voluntary contribution). So far, they've done an awesome job creating the site with basic functionality. I think that before we install any new features, it would either be necessary for the code to be made public to allow other volunteer contributions, or for the site to demonstrate a lot of usage over a period of months so that we could go to Trike with a case that further development was of high value.

Feature request: Separate sections for serious in-depth writings and incomplete thoughts or discussion prompts.

I lean against creating multiple fora. Even if it was a good idea in the long run, I think that it's better to start with one forum so that it's easier to achieve a critical mass. It's no exaggeration to say that LW's Main/Discussion distinction was one of the most hated features of the site. I also think that fragmenting an online community and decreasing its usability are two of the most damaging things you can do to a budding community website. I think that we can bridge the gap by making main a bit more lenient to short questions. If the open threads are too big, and some high quality comments are being lost, then we can move whichever kinds of posts were most successful in the open threads to the main page to make more space. We could also create more specific open threads e.g. a careers open thread.

Lastly, for future reference, if you have multiple suggestions, it's often good to post them in separate comments so that users can give feedback on them independently.

In response to comment by RyanCarey on Minor Updates
Comment author: Jess_Riedel 20 September 2014 04:06:29AM 1 point [-]

I lean against creating multiple fora. Even if it was a good idea in the long run, I think that it's better to start with one forum so that it's easier to achieve a critical mass. It's no exaggeration to say that LW's Main/Discussion distinction was one of the most hated features of the site. I also think that fragmenting an online community and decreasing its usability are two of the most damaging things you can do to a budding community website.

This was interesting to me.

Here's one more idea to throw out there: Divide the posts into "major" and "minor" tags and then include a checkbox for signed-in users that says something like "filter for major posts" that would only show the important/major/fleshed-out posts. If you wanted to make sure the minor posts didn't get neglected by apathy, you could have that box become unchecked the next time the person visits. In order to maintain an impressive appearance to visitors, they would only see the major posts.

This should significantly reduce the chance that minor posts are neglected (except by people who shouldn't or don't want to see them) and would be expandable to a more extensive tagging system in the future.

In response to comment by Jess_Riedel on Open Thread
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.

In response to comment by RyanCarey on Open Thread
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).

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Meetup : New York City

Discussion article for the meetup : New York City WHEN: 16 September 2014 08:00:00PM (-0400) WHERE: 38 E 8th St, New York City Cafetasia 38 E 8th St (b/t University Pl. & Greene St. ) Organizers: Jess Riedel, Alex Flint, Chris Jenkins Discussion article for the meetup : New York... Read More
In response to Open Thread
Comment author: Jess_Riedel 16 September 2014 02:48:35PM *  15 points [-]

I'm still fuzzy on the relationship between the EA Facebook group and the EA forum. Are we supposed to move most or all the discussion that was going on in the FB group here? Will the FB be shut down, and if not what will is be used for?

I think the format of the forum will present a higher barrier to low-key discussion than the FB group, e.g. I'd guess people are much less likely to post an EA related new article if they don't have too much to add to it. This is primarily because the forum looks like a blog. Is FB style posting encouraged?

If this has all been described somewhere. Could someone point me toward it?

Also, what's the relationship between the EA forum and the EA hub? http://effectivealtruismhub.com/

Comment author: CarlShulman 01 January 2014 11:06:00PM 0 points [-]

CSER is at startup stage, with a lot of valuable resources going underutilized, so it looks more leveraged.

Comment author: Jess_Riedel 02 January 2014 09:21:00PM 0 points [-]

My impression is more that FHI is at the startup stage and CSER is simply an idea people have been kicking around. Whether or not you support CSER would depend on whether or not you think it's actually going to be instantiated. Am I confused?

Comment author: Niel_Bowerman 02 January 2014 09:00:00PM 0 points [-]

I would imagine Will donates to multiple charities because the impact of his donations come primarily through their ability to inspire others to donate. Because of Will's profile as a columnist and public intellectual, he often meets with potential donors who favour one of his recommendations over the others, and Will is able to say that he also donates to them, which may increase the likelihood of donations via the "actions speak louder than words" heuristic.

This would apply to others if they believe {{the impact of donations they can inspire by donating to multiple charities} - {the impact of donations they can inspire by donating to their top recommended charity}} > {{the impact of the donation to their top recommended charity} - {the impact of instead donating to multiple charities}}. Presumably Will believes that this inequality is true for his case. The exact quantities of donations that you need to be able to inspire for this to be true depend on your assessment of the relative efficiencies of the different charities that you are considering donating to. Of course in reality these quantities are virtually impossible to calculate and so there is always going to be signficant uncertainty associated with this decision.

It is also possible that Will is using some variant of the argument used by Julia Wise: "I wouldn’t want the whole effective altruist community to donate to only one place. So I’m okay with dividing things up a bit." /ea/5l/where_im_giving_and_why_julia_wise/

It is also interesting to note that many of the GiveWell staff have chosen to donate to only one of their recommendations, presumably because they agree that they can have more impact that way. http://blog.givewell.org/2013/12/12/staff-members-personal-donations/

Comment author: Jess_Riedel 02 January 2014 09:18:00PM 0 points [-]

I think the claim, which I do not necessarily support, would be this: Many people give to multiple orgs as a way of selfishly benefiting themselves (by looking good and affiliating with many good causes), whereas a "good" EAer might spread their donation to multiple orgs as a way to (a) persuade the rest of the world to accomplish more good or (b) coordinate better with other EAs, a la the argument you link with Julia. (Whether or not there's a morally important distinction between the laymen and the EAer as things actually take place in the real world is a bit dubious. EA arguments might just be a way to show off how well you can abstractly justify your actions.)

Comment author: Niel_Bowerman 02 January 2014 08:11:00PM 0 points [-]

In addition to Carl's comments on why the registery would be easier, it has the added benefit of people being able to control their own funds and thus being more willing to contribute to the 'fund'.

"Do you really think people would just send money to 1st-world strangers (ii) on the promise that the recipient was training to earn to give?" They needn't be strangers. This has already happened in the UK EA community amongst EAs who met through 80,000 Hours and supported each other financially in the early training and internship stages of their earning to give careers.

Comment author: Jess_Riedel 02 January 2014 09:06:00PM 0 points [-]

> They needn't be strangers. This has already happened in the UK EA community amongst EAs who met through 80,000 Hours and supported each other financially in the early training and internship stages of their earning to give careers.

Agreed, but if the funds are effectively restricted to people you know and can sort of trust, then the public registry loses most of its use. Just let it be known among your trusted circle that you have money that you'd be willing share for EA activities. This has the added benefit of not putting you in the awkward position of having to turn down less-trusted folks who request money.

Comment author: Jess_Riedel 31 December 2013 06:51:00AM 0 points [-]

Will, are you saying that this fund would basically just be a registry? (As opposed to an actual central collection of money with some sort of manager.)

Do you really think people would just send money to 1st-world strangers (ii) on the promise that the recipient was training to earn to give? I have similar misgivings about (iv).

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