The Frontpage/Community distinction

byMaxdalton6mo16th Nov 2018No comments


This is a reference post to explain the distinction between the EA Forum's Frontpage and Community sections. We’ll update this post over time to add examples and clarifications.

As we’ve discussed before, we have two different sections for discussion. The reason to have two sections is to:

  • Allow people who are newer to the community to become engaged with core ideas before engaging with community discussion, which might seem insular or confusing to people not aware of the specifics.
  • Allow people to choose to engage with quite different types of content.

The Frontpage is for discussing ideas relevant to doing the most good, which we expect to be of interest even to people who are not particularly involved with the effective altruism community.

This content should be relatively timeless: most of this work should be on topics which you expect to still be relevant in 5-10 years. Of course, as we make progress on these research questions, some of the content is likely to be superseded, but the topics are likely to stick around. This content also shouldn’t make significant reference to organizations, individuals, or events in the community. This is not to say that Frontpage posts can’t assume prior knowledge: it’s useful for making progress that some core concepts can be assumed, but it should not be assumed that you’re socially connected with the community, or familiar with the organizations in the community.

Examples of Frontpage posts:

Community discussion is for discussion of community topics, organizational updates, and more situation-specific posts:

Examples of community posts:

If your post contains some general points, but you also want to point out how it relates to a specific circumstance, we recommend that you create two separate posts, and link to the Frontpage post from the community post. If your post is a mixture of Community and Frontpage content, we will put it in the Community section.

Of course, this distinction is always likely to be somewhat fuzzy. Posts are more likely to be on Frontpage the more they are timeless, the less they make reference to particular events and organizations, and the more they are setting out facts/considerations rather than trying to persuade. But sometimes there will be judgement calls to be made. We anticipate edge cases around assessments of the (relative) value of organizations: if these are assessments are focused on the principles of assessing effectiveness, they are likely to be on the Frontpage, whereas posts on the effectiveness of particular organizations are likely to be in Community.

Comments on Frontpage posts which are focused on topics which are normally discussed in Community will be removed. (The text of removed comments will be sent to their author, along with the reasons for deletion.) Users are encouraged to start a separate thread for discussion in Community, and link from the Community discussion to the Frontpage discussion.

Moderators will decide which posts are moved to the community section - users need only publish their posts. All other posts will be in the Frontpage section. We are happy to discuss the principles behind moderation, but won’t always be available to discuss specific moderation decisions.