We’re enabling two-factor voting (karma and agree/disagree) on all (new) comment threads in the Forum. We’ll be reviewing feedback and will evaluate how the change has gone in October, but we expect to keep the feature.
We wrote this post to share this update and some other changes. On that note, the Forum team continues to grow; Ollie Etherington and Will Howard recently joined our team, and we’re eagerly anticipating our new product manager. We’re also still excited to hear about promising UX designers interested in working on the Forum.
As always, feedback is welcome — you can comment on this post with specific input, or request more features via the Forum feature suggestion thread.
Summary of the changes
- Two-factor voting is going live on the Forum. This adds agree-disagree voting on top of the usual karma system. ⬇️
- We’ve started curating Forum posts that don’t get enough visibility or are especially good as examples of what Forum posts should be (according to us). ⬇️
- There’s finally a way to copy-paste from a Google Doc with footnotes. ⬇️
- We’re testing a 1:1 service to connect people interested in working in a field with experts in that field (the current service is for people interested in mitigating global catastrophic biological risks). ⬇️
- Crossposting to and from LessWrong is easier. ⬇️
- You can add topics to your public profile. ⬇️
- Some other changes ⬇️
Two-factor voting (karma and agree/disagree) on all comment threads
You can now vote separately on whether you appreciate a comment (and think more people should see it) and on whether you agree with the contents of the comment. Only the first of these will affect the poster’s karma.
The LessWrong team implemented this feature on LessWrong two months ago, and their announcement post shares details about how it works and what they like about it; we echo basically everything in that post. Some key points made in that post:
- Agree/disagree voting does not translate into a user's or post's karma — its sole function is to communicate agreement/disagreement. It has no other direct effects on the site or content visibility (i.e. no effect on sorting algorithms).
- For both regular voting and the new agree/disagree voting, you have the ability to normal-strength vote and strong-vote. Click once for normal-strength vote. For strong-vote, click-and-hold on desktop or double-tap on mobile. The weight of your strong-vote is approximately proportional to your karma on a log-scale (exact numbers here).
We’re really grateful to the LessWrong team for all their work on this and are excited about this as a potential improvement on the Forum.
How sure are we that we want to keep this feature?
Our default plan is to keep it, although we welcome feedback and plan to re-evaluate in October. We had planned to test the feature on the Forum more thoroughly by asking authors to opt into enabling it on their posts’ comment sections. However, the testing has been very slow, and, seeing the results on LessWrong (and on the Forum), we were increasingly feeling like we were wasting a great tool.
Curation of especially good posts
The number of posts that get shared on a single day is growing, and it’s increasingly hard for Forum users to keep up and see the best and most relevant-to-them posts. One way we’re trying to address this is by curating some of our favorite posts. We’ll generally leave a comment explaining why we curated the post.
How this works
The exact details of this system might change, but for now, they’re as follows. When a post is curated, it reappears at the top of the Frontpage with a little star next to it. The timestamp on it will show the time it got curated (although the timestamp on the post page itself will remain unchanged).
If two or more posts are curated, the three most recently curated will go to the top of the Frontpage. They’ll generally go back to where they “should” be when you open them (they’ll go to where they would normally be on the Frontpage, given their timestamp and karma), except the most recently curated post (or the one that you opened last) but if you open them, only one of them will remain at the top of the page for you.
Who decides what to curate
Some people have the ability to “suggest curation” by clicking on the three buttons under the title of a post and selecting the appropriate option. For now, Lizka (that’s me) is the only one making the final decisions.
Reasons for curating a post
- We think it’s just extremely valuable or important, or it prompts a conversation that’s very important to have
- We think it’s very valuable and was overlooked for some reason (like an unfortunate time-of-posting or a boring title)
- We want to signal that this is the kind of post we want more of on the Forum
You’re very welcome to share feedback on curation.
Copy-pasting footnotes from a Google Document
We’re excited to share that we’ve developed a much-asked-for feature. If you're copy-pasting from a Google Document, you can now copy-paste footnotes in the normal (WYSIWYG) post editor in the following way.
- Publish your Google Doc to web
- You can do this by clicking on File > Share > Publish to web
- Then approve the pop-up asking you to confirm (hit "Publish")
- Then open the link that you'll be given; this is now the published-to-web version of your document.
- Select the whole text, including footnotes, and copy that. (If you'd like, you can now unpublish the document.)
- Open the Forum text editor (WYSIWYG), and paste the selection.
Instructions in image form:
If you don't want to copy-paste, you can insert footnotes manually or use Markdown.
1:1 service to get advice on biosecurity
You can get some personalized advice from a professional working to reduce global catastrophic biological risks. The 30-minute meeting with an advisor will allow you to get career advice, learn about their experience, and ask questions about topics of common interest.
We're testing this service, and depending on how the test goes, we might expand the service to other fields and professions.
This is how the service looks right now:
Crossposting to and from LessWrong is easier
When you draft a post on the Forum, you now have the option to automatically crosspost it to LessWrong (you’ll need to be logged in on both sites), and vice versa. While you're editing the post, you should go to "Options" on the bottom, and select "Crosspost to [LessWrong]."
Any updates you make in the original post will appear in the crosspost. The comment sections will be distinct, but both will prompt users to see the other.
You can add topics to your public profile
If you’d like to share your interests, you can add topics to your public profile, which will also subscribe you to them by default (you can undo that). To do this, go to “Edit Profile” from your user profile page, then scroll down to “My Activity” and search for the topics you’re interested in. (Here’s a page that lists all topics.)
Some of the smaller changes are parts of larger projects, and some are more routine improvements to the Forum (e.g. elimination of ongoing bugs).
- We’re ending (un-pinning) the “Who’s hiring” and “Who wants to be hired” threads this week. We might bring back a variation on them, but we’re currently evaluating how they went. If you have any feedback, please feel free to share it!
- We’ve added profile images to private messages.
- We’ve fixed a bug in our “Report user” button, so that should work properly now.
- You can pin comments in your profile.
- If you have edit access to an event (if you’re an author of the event, or if you’re a declared group organizer of the group hosting it), you can duplicate the event so that you don’t need to start from scratch when creating a new event.
Note from Lizka: I'm really grateful to everyone who helped with these features, including everyone who worked on the code, the users who reported issues or contributed user interviews, and the other people supporting the Forum in a variety of other ways. Thanks, all!
This post was written by Lizka and reviewed by JP Addison and some other members of the Forum team.
This allowed us to get around the impossibility of selecting all footnotes in a Google Doc.