Over the last few months, we’ve been ramping up the creation of new articles for the EA Forum Wiki. (Some of these articles can be applied to posts: we call those “tags”.)
Today, we’re starting the EA Forum Editing Festival. The festival is an all-out blitz of tagging and article editing, with the goal of:
- Applying as many useful tags as possible to as many posts as possible, so that tags become a much better way to find relevant content.
- Creating and updating Wiki articles, so that someone interested in a topic can reliably get a good summary and know what to read next.
- Improving the way the whole system is organized — including the layout of our tag portal, which tags even exist, and the way posts are ranked within individual tags.
To kick things off, we’ve released an update to the tag portal, showing almost every article on the Forum (not just tags — we may change the title) in a collection of tables.
While the new portal isn't complete, and we may end up reorganizing it entirely, we hope it inspires you to find an article to edit, create a new article, or suggest improvements to the portal itself.
People often say they’re looking for a way to do some small, useful thing for the community in their spare time.
This is one such way. You’ll make the Forum better with every tag you apply, every edit you make, and every suggestion you share.
How long is the festival?
One month. Until Friday, May 7th, we’ll consider any edits, tags, etc., to be part of the festival. This means they’ll make you eligible for fabulous prizes.
If you’ve already been doing lots of editing and tagging — good news! Your past efforts have not gone unnoticed, and we’ll consider them when prizes are given.
Why hold a festival? What’s with all the hullabaloo?
At the moment, most of the tagging and article editing that now happens on the Forum comes from a very small number of people.
We really appreciate their work, but we also want to get more people in the habit of adding tags, editing articles, and generally taking part in the crowdsourced bits of the Forum.
So we’re writing a loud, flamboyant post, pinning it to the top of the frontpage, and giving away fame, glory, and money. We hope the festival will help the Forum settle into a new pattern of broad participation.
If you don’t do much editing or tagging yet, now’s the time! See below for ideas on how to start.
Why is this important?
Improving the Wiki
See my previous post. In short, we’d like people to have access to a collection of material that sums up lots of important bits of EA knowledge: philosophy, cause areas, organizations, even memes. Pablo is working full-time to generate and organize content, but he can only write so much — a really good wiki has to be a community effort.
There are new posts on the Forum every day. And every day, it becomes just a bit harder to catch up on everything that came before, and a bit harder to feel as though you’ve read the “right” content on a given topic.
Tags make this better. Ideally, a tag will:
- Summarize a concept well enough to give someone a basic understanding
- Gather together many posts that can help them learn about the concept
- Sort those posts according to their relevance
I’ve had many people tell me they feel overwhelmed when they try to explore EA. Our massive backlog of content has been a barrier. But properly tagged and sorted, it can also be one of our greatest strengths. And you can help to make that happen!
How can you help?
As I said before, every tag and every edit helps. The Forum Wiki has no perfect articles, and few posts have every tag they should.
That said, here are some easy ways to get involved:
- Tag your own posts with as many relevant tags as you can.
- Visit the list of posts with 25+ karma and no tags. Tag some of them.
- See the list of new tags at the top of this page. Choose one. Add it to relevant posts.
- Some tags are older, but only recently became usable as tags (before, they were "wiki only"). Those tags will have (null) next to their names at the bottom of this page. Adding those tags to posts is also very useful!
- Choose an organization. Add that organization’s tag to every post about their work, every cross-post from their website, etc. (If they have no tag, create one!) You can find these posts by entering the org’s name into the searchbar.
- Choose a tag. Search for the tag’s name, and apply the tag to every post that mentions it (if you think the tag actually belongs on those posts).
- Go to a tag’s page. Upvote the articles you think are most relevant for that tag, so that someone interested in the tag will see those articles first. We see every tag vote, so we notice and appreciate people who do this!
- Create a tag you think should exist, but doesn’t. Apply it to whatever relevant posts you can find.
- If you want to use an existing tag but can't use it on a post, that means it's set to "wiki only". Send me a message and I can remove that status. (We've applied it to most of the new articles by default, so that the tag menu remains navigable.)
- Look at the list of articles. Find one that you know a lot about. Go to that article, and add at least one useful sentence. Repeat for more sentences and/or more articles.
- At the moment, many articles are single-sentence stubs. If you want to add more detail, those are your low-hanging fruit.
- Edit articles so that they conform to our style guide.
- Leave comments where you notice issues or chances to expand an article (even if you don’t want to write the additional material yourself). Pablo (and other editors) will be looking for comments like these to guide their work.
- Examples of issues you could raise:
- Possible title changes
- Splitting one article into several
- Merging several articles into one
- Revisions or expansions to content
- Examples of issues you could raise:
- Pick an article and add some related articles to its description. Here’s an example.
Suggestions and sorting
- Look at the list of articles. The table that sorts them out is very messy. If you can think of a way to make it less messy, whether that means a totally different categorization system or a single post moved elsewhere… tell me!
- Find articles that you think should be merged, or deleted entirely. Tell us about them. There’s a good chance we’ll agree, because we’ve mostly been taking the approach “build everything, then see what doesn’t need to be there in retrospect”.
What are the prizes?
Once the festival ends, we’ll read through:
- The edit history of every article
- Every application of a tag (including upvotes after a tag has been applied)
- The suggestions people have made for individual articles, the article page, etc.
If we find you, you’ve earned a place of honor on the Forum: In our festival wrap-up post, we’ll list every single contributor in alphabetical order, with a separate list for prizewinners.
If we see that you’ve done especially good work, or a high volume of generally useful work (e.g. applying tags, which is hard to do “especially well”), we may award you a prize!
Prize amounts will depend somewhat on how many contributors stand out, and what each of them ends up doing. But there will be:
- At least a dozen prizes,
- Worth at least $100 each, from a total prize pool of at least $5000,
- In the form of donations to an EA Funds-eligible charity of your choice.
I'll err on the side of giving out more prizes, so your odds may be better than you think!
Also, there’s a small chance that the Forum might have profile badges someday. If we do, there will be a “festival champion” badge, and it will look so cool. (The “festival participant” badge will also exist, and will also be cool.)
Let the festival commence!
Remember those easy ways to get involved?
Why not pick one, then mark a time on your calendar to do it?
Or you can wait for the mood to strike you and go on a crazed late-night tagging spree, which is something we’ve only heard of and has definitely never happened to us.
Either way, we hope you enjoy the festival — both as a participant, and as a beneficiary of the better-organized Forum we’ll soon have.