EA Forum engagement doubled in the last year

For CEA’s Q3 update, we’re sharing multiple posts on different aspects of our work.

The Effective Altruism Forum aims to be the central place for collaborative discussion about how to do the most good.

Metric status

Hours of engagement are up by 100.2% year-over-year as of October 1. This meets our target of 100%, and means we’ve doubled engagement hours this year.

We weren’t tracking this metric until 2020, but based on other data we have, we estimate that the previous year’s growth rate was 90%, for two-year growth of ~380%.

This chart shows daily engagement hours for 2020 (yellow) and 2021 (blue). The red line shows our daily “target” (the numbers we’d need to hit to reach 100% YoY growth if our engagement grew linearly).

In response to a comment, we’ll also share our graph for monthly active users (people who viewed at least one page while logged in):

We went from 727 MAUs in 10/​2019 to 1140 in 10/​2020 and 1954 in 10/​2021.

Progress this quarter

Key progress:

  • We onboarded 2 new engineers: Sarah Cheng and Jonathan Mustin.

  • We published the community and events page and hired a contractor to make sure the list of events is up to date every week.

  • We cross-posted hundreds of older articles from EA sources to the Forum, to make them taggable and searchable within the site. This includes blog posts from Open Philanthropy, papers from the Global Priorities Institute, and podcast transcripts from 80,000 Hours.

  • We helped Holden Karnofsky cross-post a series of successful posts from his Cold Takes blog, starting with this one.

  • We launched a creative writing contest.

Other progress:

  • We implemented several new user-visible features:

    • Post analytics

    • Forum Digest subscription reminder

    • Sidebar banner

  • We got Cypress testing working, with a handful of initial tests. This won’t have a direct impact on users, but will make it easier for us to test our code. This was a large project – LessWrong started working on it over 2 years ago.

  • ~150 people have ordered books from the order link we posted in the EA Handbook.


I estimate that engineering output tripled in September (e.g. all three of the user-visible features I mentioned were released in September.) This is in line with the tripling of team size. Given that Sarah just started this month, I’m pretty happy with that increase in productivity, though I also think that I could have made the onboarding process even smoother.