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The African EA Forum Competition ran from mid-May to mid-August with the goal bringing more African perspectives to the wider EA community, to encourage African EAs to share experiences, thoughts, and to engage with the online EA community.

I'm excited to announce the winners and runners up across our three categories.

The winners and runners up

Cause exploration: 

African perspectives on EA:

Summaries of existing work / personal reflections:

Winners win a prize of USD $1,000, runners up win USD $500.

Impact of the competition

  • We ended up with ~30 posts from Africans in 3 months. I believe this is roughly half of all posts that have been made by Africans in the history of the EA Forum
  • As the list of winners testifies, we had a great mix of posts across topics - animal welfare, AI risk, EA culture, global development, longtermism etc.
  • I think it's notable that it is not always the highest karma post that won within each category. We didn't want to anchor too much to reception by forum readers, and to reward posts that were outside the typical forum style (still requiring that a post be original, clear, discussion-provoking, and persuasive or relevant to the forum)
  • We had around 15 writers join the virtual training on how to write for the EA Forum. Many of the people who ended up posting were in this training. From my perspective the impact was less teaching the nuts and bolts about writing a good post, and more about instilling the confidence that we really want their voices on the forum (if you're reading this, we want YOUR voice on the forum!)
  • On the other hand, not very many writers took up the offer of mentorship. I think it was helpful to have the offer because a few writers were paired with mentors, and also the mere offer of being paired with a mentor helps instill confidence even if you don't accept the offer.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to our judges for taking their time to evaluate posts, to the admins of the forum for maintaining this wonderful platform, and Daniel Yu for funding the prizes.

And most of all thank you to all the writers. I hope the variety of posts highlighted by this competition and the great engagement from the online EA community will encourage more Africans - and people elsewhere in the world - to use this forum. Share your viewpoints. Challenge and be challenged. Contribute to this collective effort to make the world a better place for all.

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Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 4:13 AM

Thank you Luke (and your team) for the conceptualization and implementation of this competition. You did a great job!

Also, reading through these posts have enriched my mind and it was truly enlightening to see and learn from different intellectual perspectives of EA from Africa

Congratulations to all the victors! Personally, I've faced challenges when it comes to competitions and applications, particularly within the Effective Altruism (EA) sphere. When it mentioned a "typical forum style," I started doubting my ability to make an impact in the EA context because I felt I didn't align with the ideal EA system.

As I reflect on it, it seems that EA members possess a distinct mindset, approach, and perspective. I've come to the realization that making a significant impact within the EA context might not be my forte.

Nevertheless, I want to express my gratitude to the organizers for providing me with the opportunity to voice my thoughts and opinions on various issues. Thank you!

Nice comment and interesting reflections!

"As I reflect on it, it seems that EA members possess a distinct mindset, approach, and perspective. I've come to the realisation that making a significant impact within the EA context might not be my forte." - I understand this sentiment but would encourage you to stay engaged! 

 For what its worth I would have put your fungus post right near the top of the cause exploration section of this competition, found it novel and compelling.

Thank you, Nick, for your thoughtful feedback. Perhaps in the future, event organizers could clearly specify the preferred "article format" and the criteria for evaluation. This would help eliminate biases and promote transparency. When writers are asked to contribute without clear guidelines, but there are hidden expectations for a specific format, it can be demoralizing. Participating in future competitions may lose its appeal under such circumstances.

To ensure objectivity, consider implementing an open voting system in the future. This approach can foster fairness and impartiality in the selection process.

This is all the more important because of the judgment criteria earlier set out

Posts will be judged based on the following rubric:

Originality of insight Clarity Discussion provoked: (judged by the post’s forum score and number of comments) Persuasiveness of argument This is replaced by Relevance to forum readers for summaries of existing work

Looking at the above in the context of

“ I think it's notable that it is not always the highest karma post that won within each category. We didn't want to anchor too much to reception by forum readers, and to reward posts that were outside the typical forum style (still requiring that a post be original, clear, discussion-provoking, and persuasive or relevant to the forum)”

You can tell that unexplained rules and changing rules mid way would not help.

All the same, I am happy I shared my thoughts and I hope it will provoke some research and increased support in studying fungi

Thanks Emma

To be fair the winners displayed a wide range of formats, I don't think there was a standard "kind" of post that they were looking for really. Also they did list "engagement" as only 1 of 4 criteria, which I personally agree with.

So we wouldn't expect all of the highest karma posts to win - most of them did I think.

Hi Emmanuel, I'm sorry to hear that you feel that rules were unexplained and changing in the process.

I see that you have emailed me on the same, and will respond there.