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.