I’ve listened to a couple episodes of the EA Forum Podcast, and the fact it contains digressions and commentary (by the reader, not just what’s in the thing being read) makes it seem much less engaging/useful for me personally, and means I actually prefer Nonlinear Library’s machine-read versions when both podcasts have read the same thing. I’d guess that many people would feel the same, though I haven’t checked that at all. I’d also guess that that would make the podcast seem more “weird” and less “professional” than if it had no digressions/commentary, which seems problematic from an “early-in-the-funnel outreach” perspective.
So I personally wouldn’t count that approach as “high-quality” for my purposes/to my taste.
In other words, it seems to me much better if these creative pieces and/or the MIRI conversations were:
read without any digressions/commentary
in a feed where everything else either also has no digressions/commentary or is like a clearly marked “special episode” where the digressions/commentary can be quarantined to (so that people can easily opt out of those eps if they’re uninterested, and can be confident that in other cases their listening experience will just be straight readings of the content they want)
I’d weakly guess other EAIF people would feel the same, but that’s again basically just extrapolating from myself rather than me having checked.
Separate point: I started listening to an episode on a Toby Ord piece yesterday and found the switching of the audio from left to right a bit distracting/annoying/unprofessional-seeming, which further contributed to me not finishing that episode.
(This comment is kinda blunt and maybe rude. Apologies for that. It felt like it’d be worthwhile to say anyway, in this context, since this is a context where I want to actively encourage specific activities and am also promising funding for a certain fuzzily specified version of those activities. But I do acknowledge that it’s a bit odd for me to say this in this public way.)
Also, on the Toby Ord episode, I’ve found a way to strip most/all of my comments from previous episodes. I’ve done this and posted a new version here … (and on all podcatchers).
This is an edited repost of a previous reading (reader David Reinstein); I removed my commentary so you can listen to the full essay uninterrupted.
Let me know what you think I may do this for other prior episodes (remove the comments), if there is interest. I’m thinking for future readings to save my comments for the end, if at all (maybe still including a few explainers if they don’t distract from the flow.) … but if I were to do the MIRI thing I probably wouldn’t add any comments or even explainers, as I have little or know expertise there.
The commenting (including clarifications) and the audio switching was all my doing, I think. I don’t think any of the other readers did this. I tried to denote these episodes separately. For the Toby Ord episode I had a lot to say and some knowledge in this area and I wanted to get my thoughts out there. So it was a “different sort of thing”.
For some other readings I commented less, or almost not at all.
The left/right thing was meant to distinguish between the original text and the comments. Perhaps there is some better way of doing this?
I can definitely see the argument for “reading without commenting” in many cases, or for putting these separate.
For me it was more like “I want to read and comment on these and I thought that while doing so it would be worth posting them”.
Anyways the main point is that ea forum podcast could probably handle doing these, at least some of them and we wouldn’t add commentary… at least if the funding were there I think we could get these done.