Forum update: New features (June 2021)

by Aaron Gertler, JP Addison2 min read17th Jun 202113 comments

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Effective Altruism Forum
Frontpage

We have some fresh, tasty updates for you:

Unified logins for effectivealtruism.org

We’ve moved the Forum onto the shared login system that was already being used for EA Funds and Giving What We Can. 

(The system also allows you to pull information from past EA Global applications into your present application, though you can't "log in" to the EA Global website.)

If you use the same email for the Forum as you do for those services, your accounts have been merged. Your new password will be your EA Funds password. Note that Funds and GWWC were already unified before we added the Forum; if you had an EA Funds account, that was also your GWWC account, and vice-versa.

If you use a different email for the Forum, you'll keep your old Forum password, and will have separate "effectivealtruism.org" accounts: one with your Forum info, one with your Funds/GWWC info. If you try to log into one service using an email that isn't connected to a profile on that service, you'll be prompted to create a new profile.

If you want to merge two separate "effectivealtruism.org" accounts, contact aaron@centreforeffectivealtruism.org. Please include the email addresses you use for each account, and say which one you'd like to use for the merged account.

If you use multiple Forum accounts, you now have one effectivealtruism.org account for each of those.

Wiki updates

Several improvements on the Forum Wiki:

  • You can now vote on edits, and their authors will receive karma! Incentives!
  • Also, you can now see the edits that pop up when you click on "History" from an article page (that one was a bugfix).
    • You can see what was changed on the History page; if you click an individual edit, you'll see the version of the article from after the edit was made.
  • Edits now appear in the "All Posts" feed.
  • Articles now include the same table of contents you see on posts.
  • You can now see someone’s edit count on their profile page:

The Pinned Post section

Pinned posts now have their own section of the page. Fun!

We’ve also added icons to our long-term pinned posts as a tiny experiment in adding visual interest to the Forum. Feel free to suggest new ones.

The Great Karma Recalculation

Posts created on the prior version of the Forum (pre-November 2018) awarded 10 times their visible karma. At the time, this was a deliberate choice, but we’ve decided to simplify. As a result, people who created posts in that era have seen their karma recalculated without the 10x multiplier. Our condolences to Peter, but we have every confidence he’ll get back to 12,000 again!

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13 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 9:06 AM
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people who created posts in that era have seen their karma recalculated without the 10x multiplier.

Worth also noting that these earlier posts didn't benefit from the invention of strong upvoting (or from the increased size of the voting community), so their karma seems a lot below what they would've gotten if they were posted recently.

Could we effectively repost them? Have some way of sending them back through the system and seeing if new users like them?

Posts created on the prior version of the Forum (pre-November 2018) awarded 10 times their visible karma.

Could you say why this was done then? Was it to encourage posting?

The reason is that Aaron couldn't beat me in karma fair and square, so he had to play dirty.

Upvoting this to signal that I am not afraid.

Easy to not be afraid when you're the player and the scorekeeper!

(BTW this sounds salty from me, but I promise I'm just joking around.)

Yeah, I think the reasoning was the same as for LW 1.0. Posting requires more effort, and so rewarding it with more karma made sense. We might at some point at something like this again, but I do think the 10x was a bit extreme (and I think might have actually reduced the degree to which people post, because it was kind of scary and you could lose a lot of karma if you got downvoted).

It does seem like bad incentives that very well-researched pieces can get much less karma than relatively quick comments.

Yeah, agree. I think there is some opportunity to do something better here, though I think strong-upvotes did also address that a decent amount (posts tend to get a lot more karma because they also tend to get a lot more strong-votes). I don't really think this fixes the whole problem though, and incentives are definitely still off.

I might've asked this before, but would we be in a better place if posts just counted for 2-3x karma (rather than the previous 10x or the current 1x)?

Yeah, pretty plausible. At some point I expect to sit down, run some simulations, and see in what final karma allocations different algorithms result in, and that's definitely one thing I would try out.

Also a number of older posts have 0 karma whereas now there's at least a default of 1 karma (or whatever the users minimum is). Maybe it wouldn't make a huge difference in terms of an individual's karma, but it does look a bit odd

Thanks for your work and the work of all others involved, including at LW.