Edit from 2022: Consider checking the Forum user manual if you're not sure if something you're looking for might already be possible. 


Hello, Forum!

This is Aaron and JP of the EA Forum team. 

We spend a lot of time working on the Forum, and we’d like to hear your ideas for making it better. These can be new features or other kinds of requests.

Even if you don’t have suggestions of your own, consider upvoting ideas you like from the comments. That will have nonzero influence on the features we prioritize (though we also take many other factors into account).

If you’d rather make a suggestion privately, get in touch with us through this page.

Edit April 2022: This thread is still very live as you can see by the continual influx of suggestions. We have now synced our asana project with our public Github issues list, so you can see our recorded tasks there.[1] I'd still recommend suggesting features here so that other users can see and discuss them. — JP

  1. ^

    Note: there's a delay between when we write tasks down and when they get triaged into a state that gets synced with Github.

488 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 1:30 AM
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I would prefer a more failproof anti-spam system; e.g. preventing new accounts from writing Wiki entries, or enabling people to remove such spam. Right now there is a lot of spam on the page, which reduces readability.

Let co-authors access post analytics

I can get around this by asking the main coauthor to share the analytics, but I´d rather I could access them myself.

A page for current contests/prizes, just like there's a page for events. Been quite a few of them lately, and they seem to (anecdotally) generate quite a bit of interest for writing usefwl things. 

The ones I know about:

  1. OpenPhil's Cause Exploration Prize
  2. EA Criticism Contest
  3. Retroactive Funding Contest
  4. Clearer Thinking's Regranting Program
  5. New Blog Prize

Quite a few on LessWrong that recently ended too. I expect there are more that I just haven't seen.

Oh, there's a Topic for it. Another thing I didn't have the bell set to the right colour on. Black! But uh,... (read more)

2JP Addison7d
Thanks, I'll make a note to think about ways to make the Topic more discoverable.

For events it would be useful to get notifications a fixed amount of time before the event rather than when they are uploaded to the system. Right now I get 2-8 notifications at a time often for the same recurring event.

2JP Addison7d
That's useful, thanks. You do get notified/reminded 24 hours before the event if you RSVP to it. I think if you’re subscribed to a group, it still makes more sense to get notified when events are posted rather than 24 hours before, but maybe there's a problem with a bunch of instances of a recurring event getting posted at once.
2Vaidehi Agarwalla7d
Yeah it's the recurring events that is the main problem.

Ability to include a poll in when you make a question post, à la Twitter! I know this feature has been suggested before, in response to which Aaron Gertler made the Effective Altruism Polls Facebook group, but it seems to have plateaued at 578 members after 2.5 years. Response rates in the forum would probably be much higher.

3JP Addison15d
Yeah, I want this. Almost prioritized it recently, we'll see.

An option to subscribe (notifications on email or otherwise) to search terms.

Currently I'm hesitant to even glance at the Frontpage because there are so many potentially interesting things I would eagerly read and get nerdsniped by. So looking at it predictably wastes my time when I know I should (for now) be concentrating on the topics I'm currently focusing on. But I do want to catch the forum post I'm most likely to benefit from. Hence I want to be able to customize what I get sent by email (or the bell top-right).

This is probably a better way to match ... (read more)

3JP Addison15d
Would you like to get notified of all posts that get tagged with some topic [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/topics/all]? That might be the right way to get what you want here. You can do so by going to a topic, Moral Philosophy [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/topics/moral-philosophy] say, subscribing to the topic and choosing to be notified.
Oh. Yes, that would capture most of the value. I had subscribed to topics before, but I hadn't clicked the bell. It's supposed to be dark if I want it to send me emails, right? Thanks!
3JP Addison15d

This is a long series of comments (~1200 words)

TLDR; The EA forum team could transform the forum by introducing high status, high activity “focus posts” that are centered on object level discussion, at the same time greatly empowering the forum moderator.

This content below is quickly written, and tries to motivate a vision, not a specific plan. Also, “focus posts” seems like a bad name, someone please come up with another?"




There is a sense that high quality discussions and comments on the forum are briefer and don't occur ... (read more)

6Charles He1mo
THE SUGGESTION "FOCUS POSTS": We should foster and promote high status, high quality object level discussions. These would be in the form of posts that involve prestigious outsiders, near-EA people, or EA leaders or small teams from strong EA projects. These people would create the content and/or star in the resulting discussion. For lack of a better name, we can call them “focus posts”. Overall, "focus posts" would: * Generally contain deep object level discussion about their topic. * They might star one or more subject matter experts (maybe in addition to the posters themselves). * The discussions would combine elements of AMAs with guaranteed attention from experts, with some of the best discussions of deep, thoughtful opinions from principled people. * Would appear prominently on the forum, for a long and predictable time. This would generate interest in forum discussion and EA principles to both longtime EAs and newcomers. The below is a crude mockup to show how this could appear. (This is a quick, crude mockup, the actual version could be very different.) These “Focus posts” and the culture and general interest that drives regular participation around them, will take effort to set up (but they shouldn’t be overly difficult or delicate to create). Building up the supply of these posts can be done gradually, maybe by starting with relationships with existing EA leaders. There are precedents for this work, like the setup of AMAs, and series like Cold Takes, where a major EA leader wrote on the forum for a long time. As discussed more below, the focus posts would be fostered, curated, and maybe partially developed by the EA forum moderator, who plays a integral, leadership role in the design of this entire feature. While these new posts doesn’t seem to address voting or scaling issues, I think focus posts could be highly effective. I think ultimately, the sustained, high quality discussion in the curated focus posts can have wide p
4Charles He1mo
Underlying aspects of high status and moderator empowerment I think this idea of focus posts might at first seem like a simple UX change. But there are deeper aspects that I think are important to be deliberate about. These two aspects are: 1. Making Focus Posts a high status place with a high expectation for quality discussion and tie in to object level work 2. Greatly empower moderator into a high visibility, highly impactful role. This comment and the next one talk about these points. 1: MAKING FOCUS POINTS HIGHLY EFFECTIVE AND ATTRACTIVE The posts need to attract good discussion. A good supply of posters and commentors is needed, ultimately reducing active work by the moderators and create a virtuous cycle of discussion. There are quick ideas: * Funding might be helpful, for example, a fixed[1] [#fne6utvgdoo1r]monthly amount of $20,000 or $40,000, that is allocated in a transparent way to focus posts (maybe after passing a mild bar of participation, to encourage discussion). * Regarding this use of money, I think that “focus posts” will initially be from or about EAs working on established projects, or altruistic, near EA projects, so their receipt of funding seems reasonable. * However, the main purpose of this money is to set up the "focus post" system correctly and robustly. Given the budget and opportunity cost of the forum staff (5 FTE EAs), the amount of spend seems reasonable. * Other ideas (more marginal because they involve technical changes to karma). * We could imagine an alternate, special karma that is only gainable in focus posts, or modifications to karma that increase participation. * Maybe this special flavor of karma can be used to govern allocation of the fixed monthly amount. Note that slowness when starting out doesn’t seem to be a problem. There might be only 0-1 “focus posts” for a while and that’s OK. 1. ^ [#fnrefe6utvgdoo1r]
4Charles He1mo
2: GREATLY EMPOWER THE EA FORUM MODERATOR AND CHANGE ITS ROLE This second point is really important. This project will greatly change the moderators role, increasing the prominence and even real world impact of the EA forum moderator. The moderator would be the person to curate "focus posts", deciding which posts qualify (or possibly helping to create them outright). * The moderator will decide on the composition of these posts (e.g. breakdown by cause area). * There are other complex issues the moderator will influence: For example, while most of these new "focus posts" might be on object-level topics, some meta posts might appear. What qualifies is tricky to decide, and at the same time, gives a niche for the moderator to express their vision and skill. This control by the moderator is a key aspect of “focus posts” (and ultimately a major change to the forum itself). Note that this control has checks and balances. The moderator’s output and decisions are very visible work. Also, maybe later, additional features can be added that allow community input, such as voting that can promote (or demote) posts into focus posts. Finally, simple regular user discussions act as a check on moderators. This change in the role of the moderator has additional effects: * Sometimes the role of moderators can seem thankless or low reward, yet the role is extremely important. Now, with this change, the moderator has dramatically more prestige, such as great access to a large group of talented senior EAs. The moderator has portfolio and well funded mission of promoting discussion in a highly visible place, as well as making the entire project of focus posts more effective. This permanently improves the role of the moderator, increasing talent flows for this role, and supporting health of the EA forum. * This new role and the focus posts can be a safeguard in periods when the Forum is entering noisy, difficult times with a lower supply of

I would love it if I could scroll through all the comments and posts I have upvoted (so I can easily revisit/revise my own curated list of content that my past self thought was worth others seeing).

Thanks for this suggestion! You can in fact see your past upvotes [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Y8gkABpa9R6ktkhYt/forum-user-manual#Looking_at_your_past_upvotes] , although the feature is really not easily discoverable right now, sadly.
amazing, thanks :)

It was suggested to add the 'looking for a job' checkbox on the EA Forum (see MVP ideas 2.)

  1. Add a sorting option for Occlumency so people can find the posts with the most enduring value historically (sorting by total karma doesn't do it due to the sharp increase in karma allocated towards newer posts due to influx of new forum users).
  2. Add a tag for "outdated" that people can vote up or down, so that outdated but highly upvoted past posts don't continually mislead people (e.g. based on research that failed to replicate). I can't think of any posts atm, but if you can think of any, please mark them.
  3. Consider hiding authorship and karma for posts 24 h
... (read more)
3JP Addison1mo
Thanks for the suggestions. Responding here rather than on the post. I like the "Occlumency" idea, and have been thinking along those lines. I've recorded it. I also like outdated, have passed on to Topics lead Pablo. We've heard this before. I personally lean in the direction that this is the right sort of thing to think about, but does not make for a good Forum experience. There might be other approaches like "ratio of upvotes to reads" that would serve the final purpose while being less disruptive.

A emoticon or image next to someone's first post either on the homepage or when you click into the post so that people know that they are engaging with a potential newcomer and maybe are nicer / more welcoming?

Could be obvious downsides to this I haven't thought of

2JP Addison1mo
I like this idea. Lots of other Forums have it, but we don't even have it in our task tracker yet. Thanks for the suggestion!

See this comment.


This pattern of broken link, where the intended link is appended to another, distinct URL, has appeared in many comments or posts. 

This defect seems common enough that it seems to justify investigation of the root cause (or even very crude automatic fix) especially since the pattern in the defect is so simple. 

2Charles He16d
It happened again! [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/35bfnGmsyrZkEnkLJ/steering-ai-to-care-for-animals-and-soon?commentId=Xi8trzjSXABDA6hsP]
2Charles He16d
And again! [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/wHQTALn3a4wK3PJiA/seems-impossible-to-find-any-ea-meetups-in-sf?commentId=cRdFj2yCzzGhBgQ5m]
-1Charles He15d
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/ZkkeLBwRGgxmsiqrh/apply-to-join-shelter-weekend-this-august?commentId=jQC3Gfvb8CHLuxvjQ]
4Charles He15d
Ok, this issue has been picked up: https://github.com/ForumMagnum/ForumMagnum/issues/5057 [https://github.com/ForumMagnum/ForumMagnum/issues/5057] Yay! The system works.

Please let me search within my bookmarks.

In general, I read something and bookmark it if I liked it. Then that thing that I read comes up in conversation. I go into my bookmarks to find it so that I can share it with the other person mid-convo quickly but then I can't retrieve it from the bookmarks list as fast as I thought I could! This happens to me in almost every session as a facilitator of the EA Virtual programs!

Thanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our backlog.

Reading time estimates on older posts.

If I'm not mistaken, posts before a certain date do not have the estimated time in minutes to read the post near the publication date and author's name at the top.

Thanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our backlog.

A way to report users for deletion.

There are a few spam accounts like this one (https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/users/msreeyaa) but I see no way of reporting them to the moderators.

Since they aren't posting or commenting the way in which they have an effect is when searching the forum. (You'll just have to take my word for it that I wasn't searching for 'escorts' when I came across that profile...)

Thanks for the suggestion! I've added creating a feature like this to our backlog.
Thanks for pointing this out, and for linking to the user! I've deleted their account. For now, if you ever come across a spam user, please feel free to let me know (you can DM me on the Forum or you can email forum@effectivealtruism.org [forum@effectivealtruism.org] ), but I agree that a feature like this should exist.

A way to see what you have previously voted on with karma.

This exists here (https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/votesByYear/2022 [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/votesByYear/2022]), not sure if that is documented anywhere, I found it elsewhere in this thread as a comment
Thanks for pointing out that this is not discoverable! I've added a note about this to the user manual [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Y8gkABpa9R6ktkhYt/forum-user-manual#Looking_at_your_past_upvotes] , but I agree that it should also just be easier to notice as you're exploring the platform.

There's been murmurs about adjustments to the forum about voting and volume and this probably reflects broader sentiment. 

Some considerations:

  • With more content, there's more eyeballs, so the net effect is maybe ambiguous? But yes, it seems plausible it is negative (something something dilution).
  • There's only so much attention that comes from any given user, so you can't fix things by showing more posts


I think there might be a number of solutions that immediately come to mind that haven't been written about, and these solutions do account for the ... (read more)

2Charles He1mo
I don't expect to write more about these ideas soon[1] [#fnlrgsglhgm3r]. While it doesn't seem directly related, I think this linked idea about focus posts [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/NhSBgYq55BFs7t2cA/ea-forum-feature-suggestion-thread?commentId=2ajnNsvM9hQwBjx38] , really helps fix most of the underlying issues around forum noise, voting and other recent issues. (The name "focus posts" is bad, someone come up with a better one). 1. ^ [#fnreflrgsglhgm3r]They would like, literally involve computer science professors and applied math research, in addition to their design and implementation.

The analytics page is great!

2Charles He2mo
Low value ideas (but easy to implement): * I think the stat "Views by unique devices > 5 minutes" per day is great. I suggest breaking this "Views by unique devices > 5 minutes" stat down to daily counts, and showing this stat too. * This duration of reading seems preferable for some theories of change and matches the ethos of the forum. * Much of this duration of reading comes after the first day and it seems to track views less. As you can imagine, "evergreen" posts might have some particular quality that is valuable (given some further criteria/considerations). * For the stat, Median reading time, I would also give more than median, e.g. P25, P50, P75, P90. In my view, more stats is always good. I guess things could get a little "extra" coming from a dorkier stats mindset, but the analytics page isn't at the risk of being overbearing, and can bear more stats.
Thanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our backlog.

Add a tag: "Volunteering listing (open)"

(Just like "Job listing (open)")

Thanks for the suggestion! Could you post it here [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/rxbLqMDhd4832WYit/propose-and-vote-on-potential-ea-wiki-entries] ?

In the forum main page, have a new title:


Help building our community:

This post has no comments yet: ...

This post is from a new user, help welcome them: ...


Thanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our backlog.

After editing Swapcard: "Do you want to update your EA Forum profile too?"

At least if it was done through a CEA form

Thanks for the suggestion! This is on our roadmap.

"I'm open to job proposals" : Yes / Maybe / No


This will really help with EA orgs hiring, and is so easy, and CEA already asks this question for EAGx events

Thanks for the suggestion! This is on our roadmap.
Thanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our backlog.

Make it possible to only filter / see unread posts by default on the forum homepage. 

This past month I've noticed I've missed a bunch of cool and relevant posts  because they dropped off the home page too quickly for me to see them. I'd like that not to happen. Not a suggestion, but related: it seems like some good posts fall of the homepage way too quickly. It would be nice to give those posts  a chance to be seen. Often if there are a couple really high popularity posts in a week then the people who happened to post less popular posts get unfairly disadvantaged, which seems suboptimal.

Thanks Vaidehi! Filtering only to unread seems like a good idea, I've added that to our backlog. Regarding your second point: If you have a suggestion for how to increase visibility of other posts, let me know. My current best guess is to improve targeting, i.e. users who are most interested in animal welfare posts will disproportionately see animal welfare posts, which will give those posts increased visibility amongst the people who most want to see them (albeit at the expense of hiding non-animal welfare posts from these people).
8Vaidehi Agarwalla2mo
Yeah so maybe I'm somewhat of a minority but as a meta person I'd like to see at least the headlines of most posts, and wouldn't want those to have less visibility. Mainly because I'm concerned about only consuming meta content and not staying in touch with object level advancements. Not a suggestion per se - will comment later on if I have any.

A chatroom

A moderated chat room that runs the whole time so you can chat to other poeple currently looking at the forum.

This might make the forum more welcoming.

2Yonatan Cale2mo
(Probably possible to use a 3rd party for this, just integrating it, and at most adding an "opt in" capability)

I would like feedback on this idea: Community Posts

MVP: Change "create topic" to "create community post" and reframe wiki topic summaries as community written posts. Currently they are introductions, not summaries. 

Full change: Allow people to create posts which can be cowritten by anyone once live. Wikis produce high quality content, but the current wiki is framed around the topic tags, rather than any kind of article being able to be written.


Listing of “all posts I upvoted/strong upvoted”

7JP Addison2mo
This is very hidden, but here you go: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/votesByYear/2022 [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/votesByYear/2022]

Easy and credible way to add a bounty and prizes for questions (like this one )

3JP Addison2mo
We don't have a "native" way to do this in the Forum. Perhaps we should — I've added a task to our tracker. The way that I'd recommend, that still uses the Forum's UI, is to put the offer in your Question post, and tag the post with Bounty (Open) [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/tag/bounty-open]. (I've replied to your on your post as well.)

I would like the ability to sort search results by date. Often, I want to know who mentioned something in the past few weeks or months, this is currently not possible. (I'm guessing the current sort order is by magic, but there is nothing indicating this.)

Thanks for the suggestion! There are a number of things I would like to improve about our search; I will add this one to the list of things to consider.

There should be a polis questions feature, where you can embed (or better it's a full feature) a polis question and people can write comments for it/see the visualisation. Not having to go to another page would give polis questions significantly more traction and they are a useful tool

I'm not sure if it's exactly a feature suggestion as a concern highlighted here that I agree with, which is basically: The number of Forum users seem to be growing quite a lot (congrats!), with many more posts, so some posts that might be high-effort slip under the radar or disappear quite quickly (see Ian David Moss' comment). Is there anything the Forum team is doing to mitigate this (someone suggested a higher density of posts on the front page) or other wise any thoughts on this topic? 

Other possible solutions (some already mentioned and I'm not s... (read more)

(Not sure if that has been suggested before, but) you should be able to sort comments by magic (the way posts are sorted on the frontpage) or some other better way to combine top+new properties for comments. Otherwise new contributions that are good are read far too rarely, so only very few people will read and upvote them, while the first comments directly receive many upvotes and so get even more upvotes later. Still, upvotes tell a bit about what comments are good, and not everyone wants to read everything.

I would definitely use it myself, but I would strongly suggest also making it the default way comments are sorted.

(That wouldn't totally remove bad dynamics, but it would be a start.)

An option to post anonymously or non anononymously with your account (instead of having to create a new account to post anonymously, and spend hours on internet anagram server finding an anonymous account name)

Few UX suggestions for post edit:


Add a "publish" button in the options below:

Have a Save Draft / Publish button on the top (not just bottom) when in edit mode / or a "skip to bottom" to make it easier to save /publish 

Meta suggestion: Could be nice to start a new features thread and/or use a feature suggestion forum at some point, this one is getting a bit difficult to navigate right now. 

MVP option could be to create a copy of this thread but delete all the implemented features so that only WIP /not implemented ideas are here. 

There should be a way to suggest an author cross-post a post of theirs and/or give them karma if you x post a work they've posted. 

4JP Addison20d
This loosely inspired a new feature, where you can now make a linkpost and add the author as a coauthor, with them having the ability to accept or decline the coauthorship. Thanks to trialing candidate Ollie E for building the feature.
2Vaidehi Agarwalla19d
That's awesome!
8JP Addison3mo
To clarify, this is the situation where: 1. Someone has an EA Forum account, which you know about, and 2. You know they've written something elsewhere, which you think should be crossposted to the Forum but hasn't been, and then you might do something like: * Click <SuggestACrosspost /> and the author gets a notification (email), where they can click a button and it creates the post without any work from them, or * Make the post yourself, but share karma with them ? I've made a task for this, let me know if I got anything wrong. Thanks for the suggestion!

Yep that seems like the MVP. 

I think if you're xposting and sharing karma you should probably get <50% but even 50% seems better than the current status quo. I do think it could be cool if the person xposting getting some kind of "finder's fee" karma (e.g. 25% or something). 

Would add that if someone does create the post on your suggestion, you should get a notification when its posted / some kind of like "thank you for making the forum a better place!" kind of message. 

There is an "exploit" against anonymity on LessWrong

On a recent popular LessWrong post, the OP, Gwern, receives a "anonymous" critique, and then chooses to deanonymize his critic, very likely by using a trivial API call:



The above call produces the identity of the commentor, who turns out to be Mark Friedenbach.


Technical comment for onlookers:

The reason why this happened is that LessWrong, like all websites, represents the information you see (posts, authorship) with underlying data/variables. This data pops up in a lot of places, and the ... (read more)

The moderators feel that several comments in this thread break Forum norms [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/yND9aGJgobm5dEXqF/guide-to-norms-on-the-forum] . In particular: * Charles He points out that Gwern has doxed someone on a different website, LessWrong, seemingly in response to criticism. We’re not in a position to address this because it happened outside the EA Forum and isn't about a Forum user, but we do take this seriously and wouldn’t have approved of this on the EA Forum. * However, we feel that Charles’s comment displays a lack of care and further doxes the user in question since the comment lists the user’s full name (which Gwern never listed). Moreover, Charles unnecessarily shares a vulnerability of LessWrong. We’ve written to Charles about this, and we’re discussing further action. We’ve also explicitly added that doxing is not allowed or tolerated on the EA Forum [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/yND9aGJgobm5dEXqF/guide-to-norms-on-the-forum#Rules_for_pseudonymous_and_multiple_accounts] , although we think this behavior was already banned or heavily discouraged as a corollary of our existing “Strong norms [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/yND9aGJgobm5dEXqF/guide-to-norms-on-the-forum#What_we_encourage__strong_norms_] .”
8Charles He8d
I agree with this comment and it seems I should be banned, and I encourage you to apply the maximum ban. This is because: 1. The moderator comment above is correct 2. Additionally, in the comment that initiated this issue, I claimed I was protecting an individual. Yet, as the moderator pointed out, I seemed to be “further doxxing” him. So it seems my claims are a lie or hypocritical. I think this is a severe fault. 3. In the above, and other incidents, it seems like I am the causal factor—without me, the incidents won’t exist. Also, this has taken up a lot of time: 1. For this event, at least one moderator meeting has occurred and several messages notifying me (which seems a lot of effort). 1. I have gotten warnings in the past, such as from two previous bans (!) 2. One moderately-senior moderator EA has reached out for a call now. I think this use of time (including very senior EAs) is generous. While I’m not confident I understand the nature of the proposed call, I’m unsure my behavior or choices will change. Since the net results may not be valuable to these EAs, I declined this call. I do not promise to remedy my behavior, and I won’t engage with these generous efforts at communication. So, in a way requiring the least amount of further effort or discussion, you should apply a ban, maybe a very long or permanent one.
7Charles He8d
Instead of talking about me or this ban anymore, while you are here, I really want to encourage considerations of some ideas that I wrote in the following comments: GLOBAL HEALTH AND POVERTY SHOULD HAVE STORIES AND MEDIA THAT SHOW WORK AND EA TALENT * The sentiment that “bednets are boring” is common. * This is unnecessary, as the work in these areas are fascinating, involve great skill and unique experiences, that can be exciting and motivating. * These stories have educational value to EAs and others. * They can cover skills and work like convincing stakeholders, governments and complex logistical, scientific related implementations in many different countries or jurisdictions. * They express skills not currently present or visible in most EA communications. * This helps communications and presentation of EA * To be clear, this would be something like an EA journalist, continually creating stories about these interventions. 80K hours but with a different style or approach. Examples of stories (found in a few seconds) * https://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/magazine/taken-by-pirates.html [https://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/magazine/taken-by-pirates.html] * https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/20/world/africa/somalia-free-ambulance.html [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/20/world/africa/somalia-free-ambulance.html] (These don't have a 80K sort of, long form in depth content, or cover perspectives from the founders, which seems valuable).
4Charles He8d
ANIMAL WELFARE There is a lack of forum discussion on effective animal welfare * This can be improved with the presence of people from the main larger EA animal welfare orgs Welfarism isn’t communicated well. * Welfarism observes the fact that suffering is enormously unequal among farmed animals, with some experiencing very bad lives * It can be very effective to alter this and reduce suffering, compared to focusing on removing all animal products at once * This idea is well understood and agreed upon by animal welfare EAs * While welfarism may need critique (which it will withstand as it’s substantive as impartialism), its omission is distorting and wasting thinking, in the same way the omission of impartialism would * Anthropomorphism is common (discussions contain emotionally salient points, that are different than what fish and land animal welfare experts focus on ) * Reasoning about prolonged, agonizing experiences is absent (it’s understandably very difficult), yet is probably the main source of suffering. Patterns of communication in wild animal welfare and other areas aren’t ideal. * It should be pointed out that this work involves important foundational background research. Addressing just the relevant animals in human affected environments could be enormously valuable. * In conversations that are difficult or contentious with otherwise altruistic people, it might be useful to be aware of the underlying sentiment where people feel pressured or are having their morality challenged. * Moderation of views and exploration is good, and pointing out one's personal history in more regular animal advocacy and other altruistic work is good. * Sometimes it may be useful to avoid heavy use of jargon, or applied math that might be seen as undue or overbearing. * A consistent set of content (web pages seem to be good). * Showing upcoming wo
8Charles He8d
AI SAFETY Dangers from AI is real, moderate timelines are real * AI alignment is a serious issue, AIs can be unaligned and dominate humans, for the reasons most EA AI safety people say it does * One major objection, that severe AI danger correlates highly with intractability, is powerful * Some vehement neartermists actually believe in AI risk but don’t engage because of tractability * This objection is addressed by this argument [https://www.cold-takes.com/ai-could-defeat-all-of-us-combined/], which seems newer and should be an update to all neartermist EAs * Another major objection of AI safety concerns, that seems very poorly addressed, is AI competence in the real world. This is touched on here [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/qfDgEreMoSEtmLTws/contra-ey-can-agi-destroy-us-without-trial-and-error] and here. [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/28zsuPaJpKAGSX4zq/humans-are-very-reliable-agents] * This seems important, but relying on a guess that AGI can’t navigate the world, is bad risk management * Several lock-in scenarios fully justify neartermist work. * Some considerations in AI safety may even heavily favor neartermist work (if AI alignment tractability is low and lock in is likely and this can occur fairly soon) There is no substance behind “nanotech”, “intelligence explosion in hours” based narratives * These are good as theories/considerations/speculations, but their central place is very unjustifiable * They expose the field to criticism and dismissal by any number of scientists (skeptics and hostile critics outnumber senior EA AI safety people, which is bad and recent trends are unpromising) * This slows progress. It’s really bad these suboptimal viewpoints have existed for so long, and damages the rest of EA It is remarkably bad that there hasn’t been any effective effort to recruit applied math talent f
2Charles He8d
EA Common Application seems like a good idea * I think a common application seems good and to my knowledge, no one I know is working on a very high end, institutional version * See something written up here [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/TcfszCh4iTTw7ffLH/brief-presentation-and-considerations-for-an-ea-common] EA forum investment seems robustly good * This is one example ("very high quality focus posts [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/NhSBgYq55BFs7t2cA/ea-forum-feature-suggestion-thread?commentId=wroy6kX2xazcTYgfs#comments] ") * This content empowers the moderator to explore any relevant idea, and cause thousands of people, to learn and update on key EA thought, and develop object level views of the landscape. They can stay grounded. * This can justify a substantial service team, such as editors and artists, who can illustrate posts or produce other design
1Charles He3mo
I find it unseemly that Gwern made the choice to both find and publicly reveal Mark's identity. Additionally, I find Gwern's presentation of this knowledge glib and unbecoming, which calls back to the very issues that Mark objects to. I echo Mark's views in his critique [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/a5e9arCnbDac9Doig/it-looks-like-you-re-trying-to-take-over-the-world?commentId=zd9JFsL78Ze99bHmG] . I often find that Gwern's allusions in his post contribute little. I also find his use of them overbearing. EA and thinkers should be aiming at a very high tier. I think this tier should be aimed at, for example, by a high quality writer contest [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/xapRLBTpMYokrpd9q/we-re-announcing-a-usd100-000-blog-prize] (which cites Gwern). Writers and EA may not get second chances in these exclusive and opinionated spaces. I think that for writers or thinkers aiming to be influential in the ways EAs think are important, acts like this one, or cloudy aesthetics with the truth, could be enough to exclude them.

Suggest posts to link to when inserting a link in the rich text editor

Contest mode (random order for comments) for use cases like the Future Fund's Project Ideas Competition

Please remove Google resources, like Google fonts, from the website. It will make it easier to visit the website from certain countries.

We appreciate your feedback! We will explore how to better support users without Google access.

I'm not sure what the actual feature would be, but make  it easy for people to cross-post from their personal blog (maybe just do substack to start) to the EA Forum. I recently saw the blog prize announcement and there were about 10 blogs linked there i'd never heard of. It would be great to get that content onto the forum.

1Sarah Cheng4mo
I believe we can rss-import blogs to the forum, and we currently do so for a few. We have to manually set it up on our end, so if you contact us [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/contact] we can work with you to start doing this. :)
2Vaidehi Agarwalla4mo
Not quite a feature but it would be cool to have a monthly / quarterly round-up of interesting EA blog posts from off-the-forum that are cross-posted (as a sequence maybe?
7Sarah Cheng4mo
Thanks Vaidehi! I've added it to our list for triage.

Ability for OP to pin comments to the top of the comment thread

(not actually sure about this - could have bad negative consequences) 


Use case: I write a post about a project and a team member makes a comment that I want to make sure people see, or I make an update comment 

Ways to reduce risk: 

  • If the OP of the post is in good standing karma-wise, or has X karma (100+? 1000+) they should be able to pin certain comments.
  • People can still filter by the existing filters and ignore the pins 

Why not just edit the post itself? I think some... (read more)

7Sarah Cheng4mo
Thanks for the suggestion! I've added it to our list for triage.

It would be useful to schedule posts ahead of time. 

7Sarah Cheng4mo
I believe moderators can do this for you, but perhaps we should allow users to do this as well. I'll add it to our list for triage.

I'm a mod and did not know this was a feature! But I think it would be good for users to do it themselves. 

It would be great if I could link to a comment.

(And sorry if this was already suggested. I couldn't find it when I searched "link to")

6Jaime Sevilla4mo
If you click on the link icon next to the votes you will be redirected to the comment's URL. For exampe, here is a link to your comment above. [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/NhSBgYq55BFs7t2cA/ea-forum-feature-suggestion-thread?commentId=DgpF2yMgTTBJja4Zq]
1Matt Goldwater4mo
Awesome. Thanks for letting me know!

Mouse over probability distributions
Likelihood qualifiers (likely, unlikely) are a common source of miscommunication. Lots of content on the forum feels pretty nuanced to me and subtle differences in priors can often be cruxes e.g. most important century.

A step in the right direction could be being able to add prob. distributions as tooltips (maybe using an elicit like interface or maybe just 'freehand') to illustrate these qualifiers better. The user can highlight a word in their draft and press a button, this will being up the prob. distribution entering... (read more)

Inline draft comments
I really like the forum editor. Unfortunately, I don't end up writing posts in it very much as I almost always ask for feedback and reviewers can not easily add their suggestions.

Google doc comments are probably the gold standard here.

4Vaidehi Agarwalla4mo
Strong +1 the few times I have drafted a post in the forum editor i've then copypasted it into a gdoc to get comments. I remember a while ago this was in the LW feature pipeline, not sure if it still is?
4Charles He4mo
I think it's in beta [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/q6d4vtGwt5FE84wk7/beta-feature-google-docs-like-editing-for-lesswrong-posts] . (As you know better than me, I guess there's several principled and mundane reasons why a LW feature won't make it to the forum for a while). Update: From the post [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/q6d4vtGwt5FE84wk7/beta-feature-google-docs-like-editing-for-lesswrong-posts] : Woah, multiple users can write a doc at once? I think that's hard and impressive to achieve.
7Sarah Cheng4mo
LW have been working hard on this, and are still ironing out the bugs. When it's more production-ready, the EA Forum devs will figure out how we might want to enable it (ex. we might want some different functionality here). If you're excited for collaborative editing, I recommend you beta test it on LW and give them lots of feedback! :) That will help improve both forums.

HTML injections?

I wanted to write a post with color highlighting. This would have been easy to do if I could inject some HTML code into my posts. I imagine there are other use cases where people want to do something special that the code base does not support yet.

Being able to embed OWiD interactive graphs and other visualization would be a great plus too!

2Yonatan Cale2mo
(This would introduce security concerns, but could be done safely, especially if the LW/CEA teams don't actually write the security code but use something ready)

Any thoughts or updates on implementing "two axis" voting? This feature is described here.


I don't really want to add pressure or pull things forward, I just wanted to check if there were thoughts on this.


For more context, the post below is a situation where this was useful :


The above shows one comment chain where a good idea seems to be downvoted because of disagreement, and not content.

 Basically, I didn't like (and really many others as well) how several comments in that post were treated voting wise, even if at the same time, we disagreed with the actual content. 

It seems possible this could be alleviated by the two axis voting.


BTW I also really like a bunch of other features and I have ideas, but basically you don't want to get me started. 

[Speaking from LessWrong here:] based on our experiments so far, I think there's a fair amount more work to be done before we'd want to widely roll out a new voting system. Unfortunately for this feature, development is paused while we work on some other stuff.

I like the post analytics thing! One thing that would be nice (maybe as an option) would be to see a time series of cumulative unique views as well as the time series of daily unique views that you already get. E.g. that would help with

  • comparing posts that went up at different times (e.g. "does post X only have more views than post Y because it's been up for 3 months longer?")
  •  answering the question "after how many days did the post accumulate 90% of its (as of today) total unique views".

Cumulative time series of all the statistics could also be pretty nice.

1Ben Snodin5mo
Related question: I'm not sure whether the unique views time series plot is showing "number of views that were unique for that day" rather than "number of views from devices that never accessed the page before". E.g. if I looked at my post every day, and no-one else ever looked at it, maybe I'd see 1 unique view every day in the plot?

Footnotes are great!

One feature that would make then even greater is if I could copy paste text from a Google Doc that includes footnotes, and have them be formatted correctly.

4Vaidehi Agarwalla3mo
Strong +1 now as I actually try to insert a post with 10+ footnotes :D

If we had a tag called "Links" for  posts that aren't displayed on the front page, then we could have a "Hackernews"/ "Reddit" style section were people can share -without comment- external links related to EA or that could be discussed in the context of EA. This would be different from current "link posts" which might have a higher (imagined) bar to posting.

Along a similar lines, there could be a low effort way for the current Shortform function to emulate Twitter, where the 'magic' sorting algorithm also takes into account the length of the post.

You can simulate this in your head by blending r/effectivegiving with the current forum. Problem is I think it devalues forum posts a bit. Kinda like (but milder than) if a scientific publication allowed authors to submit Tweets. Personally, I'd be more excited about people just using those platforms - Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, Quora, Tiktok, etc to discuss EA-related arguments, and for EA orgs to offer prizes for that, rather than shoehorning activities into the forum.
4Hauke Hillebrandt5mo
The main draw of Hackernews is that the people on it are quite smart and so it might be nice to have it on the forum. But I agree that the r/effectivealtruism sub is not that good in terms of quality of discussing and what gets upvoted and would benefit from core EA people engaging and voting more there.

EA Forum single sign-on (SSO)

Rough idea: You can use your EA Forum login on other EA websites that aren't affiliated with CEA, such as EA Hub and Impact CoLabs. This would be enabled using an OAuth2 interface that any developer can integrate into their apps.

Benefits: The main advantage of SSO is that users would not have to create new logins; they'd just need to create one for the EA Forum and could then use it on other EA community websites. This would make it easier to create and scale up new digital infrastructure for the EA community.

This exists! The EA Hub has keys for an OAuth integration with the EA.org login system, but did not prioritize building the feature. I hadn't heard of Impact CoLabs before, but they're welcome to ask us for one. You can use your EA.org login to sign in to EA Funds, GWWC, and to save your application data for next time when you apply for EA Global.

Effective Animal Advocacy (EAA) forum

EDIT: I made this suggestion into an EA forum post so I deleted it from here to avoid duplication. The post contains the text that was originally here.

You should make this a post as I think there could be a lot of interest.
ok, I made it into a post, thanks for the suggestion :)
I think this is a good idea and is probably worth it for one or more people to try making this happen!

The ability to add links in bios would be great!

If we could make it so I can edit my bio like I would edit a post it would be even better.

EDIT: ohh the bio uses markdown, noted.

1Sarah Cheng5mo
Thanks for the suggestion! Markdown formatting should work, though I agree it's very unclear how to add a link your bio. And it looks like we already have an item in our backlog to use the rich text editor for the bio. :)

Bunch of visual accessibility stuff. In particular:

*Night mode.

*The ability to make textblocks narrower for smaller saccades and thus easier reading. (I'm not sure this is more comfortable for everybody, so a variable-width widget like Royal Road or Fanfiction dot net have at the top of their display pages might be optimal? This might require experimentation.)

*Ability to change text size.

*Better visual distinction between widgets like the Tags, Post, Pingback, and Comments. Panel borders? Width variation?

On another note, I'm using uMatrix, and it's blockin... (read more)

4Sarah Cheng5mo
Thanks for the suggestions! I've added them to our list for triage.

The EA forum is one of the key public hubs for EA discourse (alongside, in my opinion, facebook, twitter, reddit and a couple of blogs). I respect the forum team's work in trying to build better infrastructure for its users.

The EA forum is active in attempting to improve experience for its users. This makes it easier for me to contribute with things like questions, short forms, sequences etc, etc. 

I wouldn't say this post provides deep truth, but it seeks to build infrastructure which matches the way EAs are. To me, that's an analogy to articles which... (read more)

Having an option to "resolve" a comment thread (analogous to "closing" a GitHub issue) would be very useful, especially for Wiki comments.

TL;DR: I'd like to have a single board where to see a summary of the analytics for all my posts.

I've been really enjoying the analytics feature!
I used it for example to notice that my post on persistence had become very popular, which led me to write a more accessible summary.

One thing I've noticed is that it is very time consuming to track the analytics of each post. That requires me to go to each post, click on analytics and have them load.

I think Medium has a much nicer interface. They have a main user board for stats, from which I can see overall engag... (read more)

3Jonathan Mustin6mo
Good suggestion! I expect this would be a well-liked feature. Added to our project list. Thanks!

Some basic functionality I would benefit a lot from:

  • Add functionality for footnotes in the WYSIWYG editor
  • Make both editors interoperable
  • Have a way to toggle between the markdown and the WYSIWYG editor on the fly

Footnotes are a thing that I would use more often if it was easy to do so.

I love editing using the WYSIWYG editor, which does not support them. So when I want to add footnotes I would need to: 1) copy paste my article into a google doc, 2) run a plugin to turn the text to markdown, 3) change my editor settings to Markdown, 4) create a new artic... (read more)

3Jonathan Mustin6mo
Thanks for the feedback Jsevillamol! And good timing 🙂 [https://emojipedia.org/slightly-smiling-face/] Hope WYSIWYG footnotes are meeting your needs. Full interoperability is a pretty tall order, and I expect it won't be a near-term add, but I've added it to our list in any case. Cheers!
3Jaime Sevilla6mo
Thanks to you! In hindsight, the footnotes was the thing I really wanted so I am a very happy user indeed! Would be good to be able to switch between editors to do things like eg editing complicated LaTeX (right now its complicated to edit it in the WYIWYG editor). But maybe the more reasonable ask is to make the WYSIWYG equation editor span multiple lines for large equations.
1Jonathan Mustin6mo
Really glad to hear footnotes have met your needs! Added to the list! Are you writing long enough equations that the text goes offscreen?
2Jaime Sevilla6mo
Yes, that is right. I don't have any recent examples in the EA Forum, but here is an article [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/R28ppqby8zftndDAM/a-bayesian-aggregation-paradox] I wrote in LessWrong where the equations where very annoying to edit. I expect I occassionally would use larger equations, better formated (with underbraces and such) if it was easier to edit in the WYSIWYG editor.
3Jonathan Mustin6mo
Actually it looks like a version of this is currently possible! There's a handle in the lower-right corner of the equation editor that let's you resize it. Once you've done that, it remains at the set width and wraps the contents to fit. The way the equation editor follows the cursor can be a bit janky, but it does seem to work.

Some suggestions regarding sequences:

  • Have sequences show up in search results
  • A way to see which sequences a post belongs to, especially if a post belongs to multiple sequences (e.g. display the sequences at the bottom of the post body under tags)
  • A search function on the library page
3Sarah Cheng6mo
Great suggestions! I added them to our list for triage.

Button to automatically translate posts that aren't in the reader's preferred language.

  • This could help readers understand posts that aren't in a language they understand. Even though the majority of EA Forum content is in English, we have an increasing number of community of event posts that aren't, like this post in Italian and this one in Swedish.
  • This could also benefit readers whose native language isn't English.
3Sarah Cheng7mo
Thanks for the suggestion! Could you expand on this idea a bit? Are you imagining that each post has a button that lets you translate the post body into any language you select? I think most events have a specific language they will cater to, so if you can't read the Italian event description you probably won't get much from attending the event. That said, I have been considering adding "languages spoken" to the user profile, and displaying what languages are spoken by the event attendees on the event page (based on people RSVPing). This could be helpful if you are looking for nearby in-person events but you don't speak the local language (ex. you are traveling or recently moved). But I assume users will generally ignore any events posted in a language they don't understand.
Sort of. I'm imagining that each post that is not in the user's preferred language would have a button that lets the user translate the post body into that language. This would work like the equivalent feature on Airbnb (example [https://imgur.com/xA3MIKA]). Speaking for myself, I'm curious about what events other EA communities around the world are organizing, so I think this feature would be nice. Right now, I'm able to right click on the page to have my browser translate it into my preferred language, which might be enough for most users who are interested in viewing forum posts in other languages. But having a translate widget on the page might still be more beneficial, if only because it'd be easier to use.
3Sarah Cheng7mo
Thanks for the screenshot - that's helpful! I'll add this suggestion to our list for triage, though I think the browser's translation is good enough for most cases.

Some potential improvements to the search function:

  • Advanced search: filter results by tag, author, etc. as well as keywords.
  • Fuzzy text matching: return posts or comments with synonyms or related words, not just the exact keywords entered. This could be implemented using a word embedding, either a generic one or an embedding fine-tuned on the EA Forum text. For example, if I search for "global development", I might also get results for "poverty" and "global health". This would help because I often remember that there was a post or comment about a certain topic but can't remember the exact words that it used.
Another search results suggestion: Show bookmarked posts more prominently in search results by either: * Adding a section titled "Bookmarks"; or * Increase the rank of posts that the user has bookmarked in that user's search results and show a bookmark icon next to them
3Sarah Cheng7mo
Appreciate the suggestions! I've added them to our list for triage.

I'd like to be able to add pinned posts or comments to my profile. Several people have asked me about my EA origin story so I've tried to refer them to this comment, but I always have a hard time finding the link.

3Sarah Cheng7mo
Thanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our list for triage.

It's quite easy to gain a lot of karma by writing questions. I think that's fair, but I thought I'd flag it cos I've been doing very well on karma for that reason.

Did we try having this post sort by magic? 

Also can we have magic as an option to sort all comments and answers? 

Also maybe call it "hot" or "vogue (new or highly rated)". 

1Sarah Cheng7mo
Thanks Nathan! I see this is already in our backlog. :)

A text box to add your preferred pronouns to your profile in Settings (e.g. she/her or they/them). Here's an example of how to do it.

3Nathan Young7mo
What would you like this to be beyond writing one's pronouns at the top of the bio box? I guess I don't have a good picture of the change you want.
I should have clarified: a separate text box
2Will Bradshaw7mo
I also don't have a great sense of what this request is requesting in practice.
Thanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our list for triage.

I think the user bio editor in Settings should be a bigger text area with rich text formatting (like the ones for posts). This would make them more WYSIWYG since user bios are displayed in a similar style to posts.

4Nathan Young7mo
Yessssss. I was halfway through writing this request when I realised you already had.
Thanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our list for triage.
Thank you! Always appreciate an acknowledgment 😃

Having recently wrote a post that got a lot of silent downvotes, I've been thinking more about the general role of silent downvotes and how we could mitigate their downsides. (See some earlier discussion here.)

Silent downvotes are important for content ranking/visibility and providing a rough high-level signal of what the Forum community values/disvalues, but they have some pretty important disadvantages, especially when they represent a preponderance of a post's karma:

  • They can be badly demoralising to authors, without providing the kind of actionable feedback they could use to do better. (I've seen plenty of plaintive comments asking people to explain their downvotes, often with no responses.)
  • They create an atmosphere of tension and adversariality that I think tends to degrade the quality of discourse (as well as being generally stressful for many people).

There's already a feature that allows authors to hide comment karma on selected posts. I'm not sure entirely how it works, but I think it means that if the author chooses, nobody can see karma scores on that post?

That might be what some authors want, and is maybe preferable to seeing lots of silent downvotes, but at least for me ... (read more)

2Yonatan Cale2mo
+1 [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/mtBwjfygyAudDakyC/shortform?commentId=JxEjsE3XwAkdudHPG]
You might be interested in providing feedback on this mockup [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/xN2sHnLupWe4Tn5we/improving-on-the-karma-system?commentId=FvJy3neGnDHLy6HRE] from LW (which the EA Forum might implement, if they develop it)
6Will Bradshaw6mo
I forgot to respond to this! Thank you for the link. That mockup is in some ways very close to my suggestion, which is exciting, but in some ways importantly different. * Less confidently, I feel iffy about having votes along these additional axes be public. I can see arguments for it (I think I'd feel better about being publicly downvoted for unclarity than for mystery reasons) but I'd also worry that it could make the intimidation effects worse for some (perhaps many) authors. That feels like an empirical question, though, and I wouldn't be super surprised to be wrong. * More confidently, I would absolutely hate it if the Forum started letting people post emoji reactions on posts. I really don't want the Forum to be more like Slack or Facebook in that way, and I think it would singlehandedly reduce my interest in posting on the Forum by >40%. This especially applies in cases where users can post custom reactions, but even if the reactions are pre-set I think it's pretty bad.
Thanks! That's helpful
Thanks for the suggestion! I think you are right that this would be a fairly big project, but I've added it to our backlog for triage.

Consider protections to prevent "pattern downvoting," that is, a single forum user downvoting every one of another user's comments and articles, particularly in articles and comments that have received few views.

Usually it's not the case that every comment made by a single person contains zero value and is detrimental to online discourse. However, some people seem to have a tendency to want to do so. Rather than allowing one person to suppress the views of another's right after publication, it would be better for other users to vote to ensure the content i... (read more)

Aaron, can we write forum PR FAQs too?

nice format

Would dilute the legitimacy of current ones

"Unofficial PR FAQ"

But if you're okay with this could you explicitly say so. If you don't I think me writing one will feel like I'm freeriding on the current legitimacy of the concept.

4Aaron Gertler10mo
Others are welcome to write these — I think it's a good structure and works out better than the average suggestion post. All of these would be fine: * Just saying "PR FAQ" and making it clear in the intro that you don't work for CEA * Saying something like "Unofficial PR FAQ" * Just using a title like "Proposal: Do X" and using the PR FAQ format

A problem for me is that I don't often use the evergreen questions (like this one)

I've written feature suggestions elsewhere, but I sense people don't find them compelling, so I thought I'd just flag the problem as I see it:
- new answers get added to the bottom and are hard to find
- the question itself will never be seen for the first time again and receive the flood of interest it first did
- old questions are sometimes poorly phrased or framed

Do you think this is a problem, if so, how should we solve it?

4Aaron Gertler1y
I try to link to the evergreen questions in places people might find them (principally the "Useful Links" post, though I'll often send the links to people directly if they have a relevant idea). There are only so many places to put something on the Forum that people are likely to actually find. Some options for upgrading e.g. the "what should someone write?" post: 1. Turn it into a tag, so that anyone can apply that tag to a request/question and "turn it into a writing idea" 2. Repost it to the front page every so often, with comments sorted by new or magic These both use existing mechanisms of the Forum that don't require new programming, adding a new component to a crowded frontpage, or making people radically change their behavior. Of course, (1) and (2) can be combined — reposting the original posts could help people remember to use the tags for other posts as needed.
2Nathan Young1y
These are my proposed solutions from what I guess is least objectionable to most - mark certain questions as "evergreen" that resurface once per year.They are sorted by newness and score rather than just score - Edit the titles of these questions for maximum clarity each time - Perhaps this is true for all posts which are in the top 3% of posts - Evergreen questions start with effectively 0 karma and rise as normal. Likewise their comments reset in karma. After a month, their karma recofigures (voting on a comment in both its original and reset form only awards the user karma once) - High karma users can edit the titles and grammar of evergreen questions of users with lower karma. I know you all hate this, but stack overflow does it and it's fine
4Aaron Gertler1y
(Late-night quick reaction, tried not to spend much time on it) This sounds like quite a bit of new code for relatively little benefit, compared to just having a "Frequently Asked Questions" post with links to various question threads. Those links can have nice clean titles that don't match the original post titles, and subheadings should make the post fairly navigable. The post can then be recommended to new users (or more experienced users, in the sense of "do a good deed by seeing if you have something to add to one of these questions"). If your goal is to solicit new answers for certain questions every so often, you can always ask a mod to do this (we'll discuss it) or post the questions yourself, referring back to old threads so people can see past answers and a chain of continuity is created.
2Nathan Young1y
I don't disagree. However I think nothing compares to the initial flood of comments a post gets. I reckon for dinner it could be worth a lot to have a way of putting an idea at the forefront of people's minds regularly. I guess the question is if it's worth enough. What you suggest is worth doing too.

Can this thread be tagged with the words "features" and "requests". I often struggle to find it because I can't remember what exact formulation of words are in the title.

4Aaron Gertler1y
I've changed the body text to include those words. But I'd also recommend just bookmarking the thread under a title like "Forum features and requests", so that you can just find it from your main searchbar. (I have a bookmarks folder called "Quick Access" for links I file in this way.)

A different default sorting on this page

I have used this page about once a month for several years and only today decided to sort by new. It showed loads of great new comments. 

I suggest a sorting which balances scores and newness (like reddit's "Hot")

4Aaron Gertler1y
Done. (This turned out to be existing functionality, albeit obscure. I'm going to apply it to a few other "evergreen" posts of mine.)
2Nathan Young1y
This is just sorting by new right? that's still an improvement, but I think that will make me post on this thread less. If you want I'll study and write the formula I'd use.
2Aaron Gertler1y
We already have an algorithm like that ("magic"), which is used for sorting frontpage posts. Based on your experience with the frontpage, does that sound useful, or would you want something else? (At the moment, the top comments might stay at the top for a few extra days, but I expect you'd want them up for weeks or months instead — the algorithm could be changed in the case where it applies to comments.)
2Nathan Young1y
Feels like "magic" would be better than sorting by new. I guess I reckon 20 karma a month ago should be worth more than 60 karma 6 months ago. How does that sound?
2Nathan Young10mo
Yeah now I come here and all my posts are at the top and that feels bad.
2Aaron Gertler10mo
There's nothing wrong with using the suggestion thread — that's why it's here! But if we do implement magic sort for comments at some point, I'll use that instead.
2Nathan Young10mo
I think if people come to this thread and see 8 of one persons suggestions as the first 8 they will probably grow to resent that person. Also, I was using grammarly on this page and it was reaaally slowing down typing speed. FYI.
2Nathan Young1y
Now we need a way to hide this post since it's been answered.

Spaced repetition cards

Ability to add spaced repetition cards to forum posts so that once you've read it, you can add the cards to a deck, which can either be exported or reviewed in the forum.

edit  Ideally anyone could create these for any post, rather than it having to be the author

We have that! The functionality is a bit hidden, but you can see how to do it here: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/yK8mKmMQ73TuzgCv6/you-can-now-embed-flashcard-quizzes-in-your-lesswrong-posts [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/yK8mKmMQ73TuzgCv6/you-can-now-embed-flashcard-quizzes-in-your-lesswrong-posts]
2Nathan Young1y
I think to be used much it would have to be open to anyone to create the flashcards. As you imply, authors aren't currently using them.
Ah, yeah. I agree that that would be a natural next level of integration. I do think the current setup does cover that use case acceptably, and the biggest problem is more that the feature is completely undiscoverable. Like, you can create flashcards for any post, and then just leave them as a comment, which seems like the natural place to find them anyways.
2Nathan Young1y
Yeah that sounds great. I'll see if I can figure it out.

Tags for tags: We should turn the "Related entries" sections of wiki pages into native tags so we can build a crowdsourced graph of links between the wiki pages. Links can be uni- or bidirectional and specify different types of relationships such as "A is related to B" or "A is a parent of B".

Hi, sorry to be a complainer - I've just seen a new "continue reading" feature and I don't like it. If I stopped reading a sequence or article it means I'm aware of its existence and have chosen not to read it. This feature keeps reminding me of my least favourite articles (right now it's convinced I should read Aaron's placeholder post for a new sequence). I couldn't spot any way to remove it. Okay, that's all, thanks very much for your attention.

2Aaron Gertler1y
It sounds like the "placeholder post" you're seeing is a draft that should be invisible to you, which indicates a different bug. Is the title you're seeing "Sequence Placeholder Draft", or something else?
Yes that's right - it has [Draft] [Unlisted] before that title
6Aaron Gertler1y
Oy vey, thanks for the notice. Definitely a bug, and one LessWrong is now looking into.
There should be a button that appears when you hover over the post on the frontpage that allows you to remove it from your continue reading queue.
I can't hover, I only use the Forum on mobile. Thanks for the suggestion though - good to know it's possible!

The all-posts view gives excessive prominence to shortform posts: while for both ordinary posts and Wiki entries only titles are displayed, for shortform posts one gets to see the entire content. I suggest truncating such posts so as to show only the first line.

2JP Addison1y
I can't reproduce this, can you tell me what browser you were using, what settings you have for the allposts page, and whether you can still see the issue?
Yes. Chrome version 92.0.4515.107 (Official Build) (x86_64). However, (1) the issue persists if I change the view settings (selecting "magic", unticking "show low karma" etc makes no difference) and (2) the issue disappears if I open the page in incognito, or in another browser. From this I conclude it is likely caused by one of the many Chrome extensions I have installed. I will keep an eye on this and will let you know if I manage to identify the cause.
2JP Addison1y
What happens if you log in in incognito? Do you have any of these settings set?
Ah, I had the first of those options ticked, and the issue disappeared after I unticked it. So this is the cause. Is this behavior deliberate? I think the option should not affect how shortform posts are displayed in the "all posts" view.
2JP Addison1y
Seems right. I doubt it was deliberate.
2JP Addison1y
That’s a bug, thanks for reporting.

We should add the ability to convert posts to questions (or back to regular posts, but that's tricky because answers would have to be converted to regular comments).

Also, the editor should automatically suggest converting your post to a linkpost or question post if the title or body text matches certain patterns. For example, if you write "Crossposted from X" or "This is a linkpost" at the top, it can infer that your post is most likely a linkpost. I see a lot of posts from inexperienced users that are classified as regular posts even though they're intended to be linkposts or questions, so I think this would be helpful to them.

Co-authors on posts should also share the karma of the post. I don't know how they should, whether it's equal split, or some percentage of the whole (e.g. if there's 100 karma each person gets 75 or something).

(I noticed this on 1 account for a post the person had co-written ~6 months ago)

Strongly agree with this! Having only the first author get all the karma seems unfair for the co-author(s) and doesn't provide the appropriate incentives. Maybe the first author gets 50% of the karma and the following ones share the rest.

When editing a document, it would be nice to be able to link to headings/subheadings from the main editor when writing summaries or internally linking to other sections of a post, e.g. how it's done in Google Docs (see screenshot)

It would be useful to have and easy way to tag / untag job and request listings when they become open or closed (so basically binary tags?)

Would also be good to have an icon next to those posts how there is for the AMAs.

You can strong downvote on a "open listing" tag to try to get it removed from a post, and then just add a "closed listing" tag. I think once the tag score drops to 0, it gets removed.
4Aaron Gertler1y
Yes, a tag is removed when its score drops to zero. As long as multiple people haven't all used the job listings tag, it can be removed by the author's downvote. And in a pinch, any admin's strong vote will suffice to drop something below zero even if it has 2-3 votes.

Ability to submit questions to a monthy poll. Then everyone who has signed up gets the poll.

Option to donate to author.

Some blog articles are really good and I would pay a bit to authors I liked.

cf. the GitHub sponsor feature [https://github.com/sponsors]

Ability to mark items in this thread as “complete”

This thread is the best place to suggest feature requests and it's pretty hard to use because you can't tell which items have been done and which haven't.

I suspect that many people don't post on the forum because they're worried about their post being poorly received and damaging their reputation in the EA community.

I believe this because I feel this way myself, because I've heard other people around me worrying a lot about posting to the forum, because Will MacAskill spoke on the 80,000 hours podcast of being anxious about their reputation being damaged after posting on the forum, and because of the existence of Aaron Gertler's talk "Why you (yes, you) should post on the EA Forum".

Perhaps, by default, new posts could be anonymous until a certain karma threshold (say 30 karma) is met. After that post meets the karma threshold, the true author of the post could become visible.

That way, authors could post knowing that their reputation wouldn't be damaged if their post wasn't well received, but that they would get the credit if the post was well received.

I'd expect this to increase the number of posts (both good and bad) from hesitant new users, and I think that the increase in the number of mediocre new posts would be a cost worth paying. It's good for people to contribute and feel valued for their contribution, especially if it encou... (read more)

Do people not find it viable to post under a pseudonym? Is your worry about coming across as dishonest?
I do think pseudonymity is the right way to solve this. It's plausible that we might want to make name-changes easier, so if you create a pseudonymous account, you can later take ownership over it more properly, if it turns out to not have embarassed you.
4Aaron Gertler1y
Meanwhile, name changes aren't yet easy, but I'm happy to change a username if you ask! I can also transfer a pseudonymous post to your "real name" account if you have one and want to take ownership.

A way to get an RSS feed which is filtered int he same way as the main feed. 

2JP Addison1y
Sounds legit.

I would consider something to reduce the karma users can get from commenting on controversial posts. Right now it seems easy to get very high scores by making not really that great comments in such places.

As an example, I think this comment I made is decent. It makes a true and relevant point that no-one else had mentioned . But it's not great; the topic of that thread is not that important, and the all the comments in it, let alone mine alone, do not resolve the issue. Most importantly, that comment is definitely not over 50% as good as this article I wrote. I would say the article is at least a thousand times more important, and took at least a thousand times longer to write.

I'm not sure how exactly you would do this though, as all the most obvious methods have significant drawbacks.

2Will Bradshaw8mo
Just saw this and wanted to add my strong agreement that (a) this is a problem, and (b) I don't know how to fix it. My lizard brain has definitely learned that commenting on high-controversy posts gets me lots of karma, and I don't like it.
Maybe turn off strong voting in comments or even comment karma from counting to users' total karma in such posts? How do we decide which posts to consider controversial, though? Just the mods do it (they kept object-level election posts in the personal blog)?
An approach some forum use is the ratio of up and downvotes: -38+40 is not the same as +2 ! This allows you to have a smooth measure of the degree of controversy rather than a binary classification.
A topic could be controversial in society but the votes could still go mostly one way on the EA Forum itself, though. For example, I wouldn't be surprised if Democrat-favouring election posts were not scored as very controversial on the EA Forum, given the political leanings of EA. Do we also want to consider posts on controversial topics more broadly?
One underlying reason your comment got a lot of upvotes was because the post was viewed many times. Controversy leads to pageviews. Arguably "net upvotes" is an OK metric for post quality (where popularity is important) whereas "net upvotes"/"pageviews" might make more sense for comments. Side-issue: isn't Karma from posts weighted at 10x compared to Karma in comments? Or at least, I think it once was. And that would help a bit in this particular instance.
We no longer weigh frontpage posts 10x, though we might want to reinstitute some kind of weighing again. I think the 10x was historically too much, and made it so that by far the primary determinant of who had how much karma was how many frontpage posts you had, which felt like it undervalued comments, but it's pretty plausible (and even likely to me) that the current system is now too skewed in the other direction. My current relationship towards karma is something like: The point of karma for comments is to provide local information in a thread about a mixture of importance, quality and readership, and it's pretty hard to disentangle those without making the system much more complex. Overall the karma of a post is a pretty good guess on how many people will want to read it, so it makes sense to use it for some recommendation systems, but the karma of comments feel a lot more noisy to me. As a long-term reward I think we shouldn't really rely on karma at all and instead use systems like the LessWrong review [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/QFBEjjAvT6KbaA3dY/the-lesswrong-2019-review] to establish in a much more considered way which posts were actually good. We've also deemphasized how much karma someone has on the site quite a bit because I don't want to create the impression that it's at all a robust measure of the quality of someone's contributions. So, for example, we no longer have karma leaderboards.

I'd like it if I could paste a link into the editor (for either comments or posts), then click or hover over it to see an option to automatically covert the text to the name of the page, similar to how that happens in Google Docs.

This would be most valuable to me in comments, since I usually copy posts from Google Docs anyway.

I use a lot of links in comments, and think it's valuable to do so (to connect conversations to other relevant work), but sometimes I feel a bit inclined to not bother or not write the actual title (just leaving the URL) since it's a ... (read more)

Vaidehi_agarwalla and I thought it might be a good idea to have sequences within sequences. For example: Vaidehi created sequences for the ea-survey results per year, because sometimes you want to only look at the survey results for that one year. Other times you want to look at all the survey results. If we add a new survey sequence every year it will clutter up the sequence page, but if you put them in one larger sequence it will take up less space and it will allow people to either read everything in one go, or select the "sub-sequence" they want to read and stop there.

When adding new posts to a sequence everytime I add a post, my search disappears and I have to type it in again to add the next one. Would be useful to just have the search not disappear. 

Copying Bob Jacob's suggestion here so that people can vote: 

Right now most sequences are still displaying my name, even though I didn’t write them. The mods have thankfully already changed the name for the “moral anti-realism” sequence, but ideally the other sequences should be properly credited too. Maybe the whole sequence should just be handed over to the authors themselves, since they might not like the descriptions and images I have created (I did message them). That way they can also just add new posts to the sequence without having to contact

... (read more)
2Aaron Gertler1y
I think it makes sense for the default "sequence author" to be the person who actually put the posts together; many sequences have a bunch of different authors represented, and users can see who wrote each post in a sequence as soon as they click on it. However, in cases where one user sequences a bunch of another user's posts, without other posts mixed in, it seems reasonable for the second user to "own" the sequence. For all sequences of that type currently on the sequence page, someone from our team will edit the author manually (looks like the functionality may not be available on my side, so I'll talk to the devs). I think manual edits of this type will probably suffice for now, as I don't think anyone else is going to create two dozen sequences anytime soon. Being able to assign someone else as the "owner" of a sequence could be useful eventually, though!
2Vaidehi Agarwalla1y
That makes sense!
  1. The option to tag individual shortform posts (not just a user's whole shortform page, which may feature a large number of shortform posts on a variety of very different topics)
  2. Previews for shortform posts showing up when the shortform posts are linked to elsewhere on the Forum, in the same way previews for regular posts show up [ETA: as Habryka notes below, this is already the case]

(I find the shortform feature really valuable, and I think these two things would make it even more valuable.)

2.) Should already be the case. Linking to comments causes previews to show when hovering the link. (example [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/NhSBgYq55BFs7t2cA/ea-forum-feature-suggestion-thread?commentId=fYEGgeQrXjcGdts5j] )
Oh, whoops! Yeah, I must've seen previews of comments hundreds of times, yet forgot they existed while writing the above comment. (I had these feature ideas while getting to sleep, and it seems I did not take a moment to re-evaluate them when I woke up...)

It could be cool if the EA Forum allowed for boxes of text that start off collapsed but can be expanded, in the way that e.g. Gwern's site does (here's a random example). This could be used for long sections that the author wants to signal (a) are sort-of digressions and/or (b) may be worth skipping for some people. 

There are a few things authors can already do that serve a similar purpose:

  • Have a section that explicitly says at the top "I think this section will be of interest to far fewer people than the rest of this post, so feel free to skip it."
  • Move a section to the end and call it an appendix
  • Just link to a google doc that sort of serves as the expandable box/appendix
  • Move the section into a footnote

But the first two of those options seem to less clearly signal "We really think fewer people should read this than should read the rest of this post", compared to having a collapsed but expandable box of text. 

And the third option might sometimes signal that too strongly, and also doesn't allow things to show up when you use the Forum's search function.

And the fourth option doesn't seem to work well for fairly long sections of text; more than a few paragraphs in a single fo... (read more)

Yeah, I generally want to have a bunch more interactive elements in posts. This was historically blocked by a bunch of improvements we were making to our editor, but that is now done, and I hope that soon we can make a bunch of improvements in this space.

It would be fantastic if we could set up RSS feeds for individual tags!

2Aaron Gertler1y
There are multiple ways to accomplish something like this. You can subscribe to a tag, which will notify you whenever a post gets that tag: Or set a tag as "required". This will show you only posts with that tag, creating an instant "feed":

I worry a bit that all the suggestions are about details, whereas the macro trend is that public discourse is moving toward Twitter, and blog content linked from Twitter. One thing that could help attract new audience would be to revive the EA Forum Twitter account, automatically, or manually.

When you say "macro trend", do you mean within EA or across the internet as a whole?

Also, when you say "moving", do you mean away from Facebook? The Forum has been growing steadily since we launched the new version in late 2018, by all the metrics we measure.

(Neither of these questions takes away from the idea of having a Forum Twitter account, but I wanted to figure out where the ideas were coming from.)

Across the internet as a whole. I agree that a lot of discourse happens on Facebook, some of it within groups. But in terms of serious, public conversation, I think a lot of it was initially on newsgroups/mailing lists, then blogs, and now blogs (linked from Twitter) and podcasts.

There should be a feature that points out broken links when you write posts/comments!

Yeah, I like it. Does seem like a good thing to have.

Feature Request: Allow users to make their comments display as collapsed-past-a-certain-point by default.

Why? Sometimes I want to post a long comment, but feel that it's not one that everyone needs to see/read. I'd happily post the comment if I could write a summary of what it's about at the top and have the rest hidden/collapsed-by-default, but without this ability I'm often reluctant to post the comment. This is especially true when there are many comments on a post (or when I expect there will be), since I don't want the experience of other users who a... (read more)

3Aaron Gertler1y
This is an interesting idea! I'll keep it in mind as something to potentially implement later (I haven't discussed this with folks on the tech side yet). I will say that I think you may be underestimating the value of your long comments relative to the inconvenience of scrolling past them. Every comment comes with a "collapse" button that people can use, and I'd hope that anyone annoyed by scrolling will learn to use it, though I can't be sure of how often this happens.

As far as I can tell, it isn't possible to have line breaks in footnotes (though I may just be doing something wrong). This also precludes bulleted/numbered lists, block quotes, etc. Any chance that could be changed? 

3Aaron Gertler2y
See the "long footnote with multiple blocks" syntax here [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/fQ4HGx4AR2QXHR5RL/ea-forum-footnotes-are-live-and-other-updates#Footnotes_are_live] . You need to indent successive lines within a footnote to add line breaks by adding four spaces in front of each line. See here [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/E7AJ3CurdZ9RJFbkQ/u-s-executive-branch-appointments-why-you-may-want-to-pursue#_ftnref13] for an example of someone doing this in a post.

Could we get notifications if someone comments on a thread we started, but not as a direct reply to us? Currently, if I make a comment, I get a notification if Alice replies, but not if Bob replies to Alice. And I suspect Bob's replies would often relate to what I said and be interesting to me.

I've just noticed I can subscribe to comment replies on a thread, but I'm not yet sure if that captures replies to replies, and really I'd like this to be default for every comment thread I start (rather than me having to manually opt in every time).

(Apologies if someone else already mentioned this; I haven't read the other suggestions on this page.)

2Aaron Gertler1y
If you select "auto-subscribe to replies to my comments", you'll be subscribed to each comment that replies to one of your comments. You can combine this with a notification for "replies to comments I subscribe to". This should capture your "replies to replies", though I haven't validated this through testing. In the time since you left this comment, have you seen evidence that this method works, or that it doesn't?
Update: I think that this doesn't work, at least for me and in cases where I didn't start the comment thread. (Unless I'm doing something wrong.) My specific observations: * I replied to a comment here [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/R7rLHPhdwPajQtyGv/80-000-hours-one-on-one-team-plans-plus-projects-we-d-like?commentId=ijGscBFgbmz3t8CaD#pp6aSfJDgu6MzZtyf] . I was notified when Michelle Hutchinson replied. But I wasn't notified of the various replies to her replies. * When I click on the three dots to the right of my comment, one of the options is "Unsubscribe to comment replies". So I think that means that the current state is that I am subscribed to comment replies to that comment of mine. * In my user settings, "Auto-subscribe to replies to my comments" is ticked. * In my user settings, "Replies to comments I'm subscribed to" shows the current settings as "Notify me on-site" and "Immediately". (Is there something else I should do? Also let me know if screenshots would be useful.)
4Aaron Gertler1y
I've checked with LW's tech staff, and it looks like what you've seen is the behavior they'd expect -- it's apparently difficult to track longer comment chains in this way with the current tech setup. I'm sorry to have given you an incorrect theory.
4Aaron Gertler1y
That's a reasonable test, and I wouldn't have expected that result. I'll follow up with our tech folks and let you know what I find out.
I think I forgot about this. (Though I'd still value getting notifications for replies to replies; I just forgot to think about it or check if solutions worked.) I'll pay attention over the coming days :)

I like listening to articles on "Voice aloud reader." I think that the easiest way to use this is to open a PDF file. So some method of converting forum posts into PDF's might be useful, even if it stripped out images, graphs etc.

(Pretty low priority, feel free to ignore if not common. It's also possible I just haven't played around with Voice Aloud Reader and similar software enough)

I would love to have more features for the Markdown editor, since I prefer it over the WYSIWYG editor. For example, I'd like to be able to upload images while editing in Markdown (like GitHub does). Also, a syntax cheatsheet would be wonderful.

Ideally, I'd like to be able to switch between the Markdown and WYSIWYG editors while editing a document, or have a rendered preview tab in the Markdown editor.

Two consecutive hyphens should autocorrect to an em dash!

That way, a parenthetical clause in the middle of your sentence - like this one - isn't offset by "space hyphen space" on either side--or, even worse, by "hyphen hyphen". Instead, autocorrect two hyphens to a nice, clean em dash—like that.

I think this is a common feature for text editors - Microsoft Word definitely uses it.

8Will Bradshaw2y
Interesting. I'm used to two hyphens for an en dash and three for an em dash.

Post and comment previews in search results!

Command + K should add a hyperlink!

This is also the case in the new editor! Sorry for not having this for so long!
Cool, thanks.

I sometimes think of an idea for a forum post that I want someone other than me to write about, perhaps because I don't have the expertise or time to write it.

An idea could be to have a dedicated area to suggest posts for someone else to write. These suggestions could be upvoted or downvoted so that we can see what the community would most like to see written about.

It would be good to have a way to stop say twenty people then writing the same post at the same time. Perhaps people could put their name next to the suggestions that they are interested in... (read more)

2Aaron Gertler2y
We have a thread for this [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/9AEEqDR8zcQv2XmsB/what-posts-do-you-want-someone-to-write] ! It's not on the homepage anymore, but people who track new comments will still see what you post there, it will come up in search results, etc. It's possible that I should resurface this thread once in a while to collect new suggestions.

On mobile, you could shrink the menu bars on the top and bottom of your screen (where the top has the Forum logo, and bottom has “all posts” and other navigation bars). Smaller navbars -> More screen space for reading -> easier to read and comment.

2JP Addison2y
What page are you on when you want this? Do you spend a lot of time reading Recent Discussion on the homepage? On posts the header goes away when you scroll down and the bottom bar never appears at all.
When reading the text of a post. You’re right, it’s totally good when scrolling downwards— I’m having trouble when writing comments, scrolling up and down between the text and my comment and getting blocked by the bars.

''Next" and "Previous" arrows/buttons at the bottom of a post, to move to the next/previous post - useful when you haven't read the forum for a while and want to catch up. This would obviously have to assume a certain ordering (e.g. chronological vs karma) and selection (e.g. all or excluding Community/Questions), which could perhaps be adjusted in Settings.

Double the karma weight of votes made before the new karma system was implemented. All votes used to be worth one point. For example, let's take an old post like this. It currently has 43 karma and 43 votes (probably all of them are upvotes). For comparison, my newest post has 53 karma and 16 upvotes. If you think about it, that old post is clearly more endorsed by the community. There were fewer readers when it was posted and a very high percentage of them chose to upvote it and probably many would have strongly upvoted if that was an option. Nowadays, even a regular upvote by high-karma users is worth two points. Posts like that old post do not appear in forum favourites and other places like that but they should. If you doubled the karma of such old posts, the karma for that old one would be 86 instead of 43 - a much better representation of how much the community endorses that post. Ah, maybe you should even triple the karma weight. Posts like this would then actually make forum favourites and I think they should.

Changing the raw totals sounds confusing, but you could implement some form of regularisation in ranking contexts - for example karma relative to total karma across all posts for that month. It is a little strange that if I go to an old post I upvoted, un-upvote, and then re-upvote, its karma increases I think.
It's not just about ranking. It's also about how much karma individual users have and (most importantly) about how worthy-of-reading a post looks when you open it based on its karma. I think that the situation where all votes made before the new system are worth one karma point is no less confusing than a system where they are worth two karma points.
Triple sounds approximately right to me in terms of relative weighting.

Categories / sub-fora / better overview of tags

I think it would be very helpful if the forum was made easier to navigate by creating categories/sub-fora, making tags more intuitively accessible, or some other method. E.g., how do I find the most-upvoted forum posts and comments about EA investing?

6Will Bradshaw2y
I think sub-fora is a somewhat contentious issue, the counter-argument being that it's good to have the Forum be a clearing-house of EA ideas without too much splintering. I agree the tag interface could be more discoverable. If you go to https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/tags/all [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/tags/all] you can see a list of all tags and how many posts each one has, but there doesn't seem to be much functionality beyond a featureless alphabetical list (e.g. it would be cool to allow them to be sorted by number of posts, and for the tags page to be discoverable from the homepage). Once you get to a specific tag, though, it seems to already have the functionality you're looking for, including different sort orders: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/tag/investing [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/tag/investing]
2Jonas Vollmer2y
Thanks, I wasn't aware of this!

I would like to promote Wei Dai's suggestion that it would be nice if it was possible to share drafts privately and then potentially make them public at a later point. (I think there's some chance that this is already possible, but the UX doesn't seem intuitive, otherwise I would have noticed already.)

Before implementing, it seems worth talking to users to find out whether this would actually make them more likely to share their internal work publicly at some point. It could also be good to find out whether there are any other ways that coul... (read more)

3JP Addison2y
Some of this will appear with the new editor, which has collaborative editing features built in. I admire your confidence. There's a sense in which if an experienced user doesn't know about a feature, it isn't well designed. OTOH, I assign some probability you've forgotten what the new post dialogue looks like.
4Jonas Vollmer2y
Very cool! I think for me personally, this would work better if there were two buttons at the end – one called "publish", one called "share as draft with users" or something like that. That puts it more in the reference class of "this is a form of publishing my work" rather than "here's some additional feature that I don't understand how it works". Also: I notice that my wording was a bit unfriendly – apologies, I would like to retract that. :) EDIT: It seems that drafts don't support comments. I think this is one of the main features I was hoping for.
4JP Addison2y
Re: your edit - yep, that will come with the new editor, though maybe not in the first iteration.

Have a nice format for linkpost in shortform.

With the goal of having the forum fully replace the EA subreddit at some point.

It has taken me a long time to find the EA online events calendar (thanks @EdoArad) could this be displayed more prominently


2Aaron Gertler2y
This post [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/KcMnHuXg9Yhwp37kW/connecting-with-online-ea-events] (which links to the calendar and other resources) has been pinned on the Community page for weeks. I could also pin it on the main page, but I have a much higher bar for that, because it means everyone will see it every time they come to the Forum (and it doesn't really fit the Frontpage category).

Can we have a nice "Community Events" section like in LW? Can it integrate automatically with the International EA Events Calendar?

I posted some things in this comment, and then realized the feature I wanted already existed and I just hadn't noticed it - which brings to mind another issue: how come one can retract, overwrite, but not delete a comment?

9Will Bradshaw2y
I think in the case of regular comments there's a desire not to let people edit the record too much; if you say something you no longer endorse the intended action is that you retract it (which applies strikethrough but leaves the comment standing). Of course, there are some issues with this setup: * One can edit one's comments freely, so it's easy enough to remove unwanted content anyway (as we see here, and in the occasional comment consisting entirely of a struckthrough "."). * If the original comment is yours and no-one has responded to it, there's no conversation to protect, so I'm not sure blocking deletion makes much sense. * Since shortform is implemented as one big comment thread, it's impossible to delete shortform posts except by asking a mod to do it (I've run into this one myself). So one has less power over one's own shortform feed than one's major posts, which seems backwards to me given the intended purpose of shortform.
Yeah, I really dislike that I can't delete comments.
We actually just [https://github.com/LessWrong2/Lesswrong2/pull/3261] deployed the ability for users to delete their own comments if they have no children (i.e. no replies) for lesswrong. So I expect that will also be up on the EA Forum within the next few weeks.

Could we have better help for those whose content has been (heavily) downvoted?

I often see people plaintively saying something like: "My comment has been heavily downvoted, but I have no idea why!" Can the forum be more helpful for this scenario?

Not sure what the best solution is, but here's an idea:

  • if someone's comment/post has been downvoted enough for it to have net negative status, the UI allows the user to ask for feedback (e.g. it's an option when you click on the three dots on the top right hand side)
  • if they ask for feedback
... (read more)
7Will Bradshaw2y
I also don't know what the best solution is, or if the best solution is a codebase change (as opposed to just a norm that you should avoid silently downvoting things if you can, unless feedback you agree with is already there). But I agree this is a problem: downvoting silently achieves the function of allowing the forum to sort and filter content, but fails the function of allowing users to learn and get better.

I think this could be more useful for people who are slightly downvoted, or whose posts just don't get much attention. I remember a few recent highly-downvoted posts and comments (below -10 or so), and all of them seem to have well-written feedback; sometimes more thought was put into the feedback than the original post (not necessarily a bad thing, but going even further could be a massive waste of energy).

People who provide feedback also have to want to engage. On Stack Exchange, closing a question requires a reason, but mods and high-rep users are known to close poorly-written questions for vague reasons without providing much feedback. An even worse failure mode I see is if users are disincentivized from downvoting because they don't want to be added to the feedback list.

Making it possible for people to add a bio in their profile (that supports external links) so people can get a better idea of someone's background and interests when reading posts and comments.

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply
I didn't know this was possible because the bio doesn't display when you are logged in and viewing your profile page, so perhaps displaying the bio itself with a button to edit it would be more obvious to users.

If I am on the main page, it might be nice if center-clicking on the 'Show Previous Comment' button opened that comment tree in a new tab. At the moment you can center-click the date to open a comment in a new tab, and then separately need to click 'Show Previous Comment'.

Is there an equivalent post on lesswrong for this discussion?

Has anyone considered a hackernews-style section? I know there is already support for posting links, but:

  • They act as posts, while their function is not at all like that in Hackernews. E.g.,
    • I don’t want my subscriptions to people show me their submitted links. At not as post notifications.
  • Hackernews thrives by banning editorialization. You can only submit a link with its original title (or a sufficiently neutral title in case the original title sucks. They have guidelines on their site, iirc.). The poster has no privilege over other users.
  • There is a culture of posting relevant links that the community finds useful. We do not have such a culture here, because we do not provide the medium and guidelines for it.

This links section will create a distributed content aggregator for our community. Considering finding relevant content in our current era is a hard problem, this can be very useful. I think a lot of us here are distasteful of surroundings ourselves with news outlets, for example. It’d be great if we could get a filtered important news list through the community. Adding features such as an RSS feed for links with X+ karma will be helpful in this endeavor.

Also see lobsters.

I am curious, why isn’t the greaterwrong frontend getting adopted as the primary UI? It’s much faster, much more touch-friendly, customizable, and generally rocks. Its only downpoint is that it lacks features compared to LW, which should be solved in, say, 6 months? That would be a major QoL improvement. The LW UI frequently hangs on my iPad, it’s so bloated.

Is it hard to make here and Lesswrong more compatible? I am thinking of a cross-posting feature that has comments of both forums. Linking the accounts (for subscriptions, for example. Karma maybe.) also seems nice.

Yeah, just a feature which displays the comments from LessWrong crossposts would save me some clicking.

I think the EA Forum should allow authors to pick one of the images they attached into their post as the "preview image" when the post is shared on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

I don't think this feature currently exists, and I think it would help drive traffic to the EA Forum whenever posts are shared. I'm assuming that the authors would link an image that is more enticing than the standard EA forum logo, which would result in slightly higher click-through rates. Medium.com and most other CMS's allow you to pick a preview image. I think Medium.com's UI for picking a "featured image" is a good example of how to design this feature.

4Vaidehi Agarwalla17d
Adding to the better preview image for twitter, I notice other sites have top quotes from the article as a cover image, which I think is pretty interesting. (probably not worth implementing, but just for inspiration really)
2JP Addison17d
Thanks! No worries about suggesting "inspirational" features.
I am reasonably confident that we use the first image that is used in a post as the preview image, so you can already mostly do this.
Hm I tried linking a recent EA Forum post with an image [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/6x2MjPXhpPpnatJFQ/some-promising-career-ideas-beyond-80-000-hours-priority#Use_your_skills_to_meet_a_need_in_the_effective_altruism_community] (image is at the bottom) just now on Facebook, and the EA forum photo is still the one showing up. I tried running it via the Facebook sharing debugger [https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/?q=https%3A%2F%2Fforum.effectivealtruism.org%2Fposts%2F6x2MjPXhpPpnatJFQ%2Fsome-promising-career-ideas-beyond-80-000-hours-priority] and pressing "Scrape Again", but it still shows the same photo.
Huh, you're right. I will look into it.

Probably this should go on LessWrong rather than here, but: it would be great if the Markdown editor could handle basic image formatting, rather than stripping out all the HTML so all my images revert to maximum-width.

1. Could analytics be displayed on the forum? I think it'd be interesting to people to see how many people read different posts. This is also related to the question re: the forum prize - I reckon many authors would be more motivated by seeing that their posts are widely read than by a cash prize.

2. I often see very long posts that jump right into the introduction without summary. Could one introduce a field that is mandatory if a posts is more than 300 words long that forces the author to provide a 200 characters (or so) summary? Or something like this:


could even be added by the mods.

4Aaron Gertler2y
On (2), we've considered adding a summary field in the editor, but I don't think we'd make it mandatory unless we did so for a much larger character count. Whether or not we eventually implement that, I encourage anyone reading this to include summaries in their long posts! Thanks for providing the Elsevier link -- I could imagine us linking to that as an example of how one might compose a summary.

Perhaps include a short form subsection under the Forum Favorites section? It seems to me that most short form posts have very low visibility.

If the forum admins have traffic statistics, they should be able to get a better sense of the visibility issue than I can. In particular, I suspect the short form section receives a fraction of the traffic of the frontpage, but this should be verified empirically.

Can tags be linked to (this page) for easy access? How about grouping the tags into a hierarchy for ease of use and discovery, rather than just organizing them alphabetically?

2Aaron Gertler2y
By the first suggestion, do you mean having each individual tag's page include a link to the list of all tags?
I was initially thinking of including a link to the tags page in the sidebar on the home page, but that is another good idea as well. Including tags in the metadata subheader under article titles on the home page would also increase the prominence/usage of this feature.
2Aaron Gertler2y
We now have a sidebar link to this page [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/tags/all].

When performing a search, the search results page uses "LW Search - EA Forum" as the contents of the title tag. I doubt this is an intentional reference to this forum being a fork of the lesswrong forum, so I assume the "LW" part should be removed.

By the way, I looked for 60 seconds to find where to post this small bug report, but the only options I saw was the unlisted contact us page, which seems to send a message to content people rather than the people that work on the codebase of the forum. This page is the only place where I could... (read more)

1JP Addison2y
On the object level, the search title bug is fixed on staging and should be deployed soon. On the meta level, the contact us page is on the sidebar as well. You were correct that it reaches Aaron not me, but if it’s a technical problem it will quickly get forwarded to me. Aaron just clarified the page to say that emailing Aaron is a good way to get to me.
...and literally thirty seconds later, I appear to have found the bug report submission form is intended to be the Intercom on the side of every single page. I feel a little bit ashamed about this, but it just didn't occur to me that I should give bug reports there.
2Ben Pace2y
Hah! You're forgiven. I've seen this sort of thing a lot from users.

Option to reply to personal messages directly from email. Say, some form of a widget in the email notifications with a text box.

An option to automatically move a shortform post to a top level post

Yeah, I agree with this. I actually think we have an admin-only version of a button that does this, but we ran into some bugs and haven't gotten around to fixing them. I do expect we will do this at some point in the next few months.
So like, when I'm logged into my account, I'll see every shortform post as top level?
No, sorry, though that might be a good idea. I meant an option to easily move a shortform post you have written to a top level post, because I've seen many cases where people write amazing shortform posts which might get a lot more visibility if they were forwarded to top level, perhaps after getting some feedback and comments from people who are more engaged with the forum to even look at the shortform. That should transfer all comments and Karma with it, and simply have the option of adding a title. I guess this should apply to all comments, not just in the shortform.
I like this idea a lot. It probably lowers the effort bar for a top-level post, which I think is good.
2Will Bradshaw2y
I agree this is a good idea. Not sure about regular comments, but it would be great if shortform posts had a "Promote to full post" button.

When sending a message to a user, it should open an old instance of the conversation instead of a new conversation

Groups tags which users can belong to or identify with. These can be displayed publicly in the user's bio, which would allow for automatic search of people with related interest or affiliations. 

Perhaps such groups can have a default chat conversation with all members
1Nathan Young2y
I dont' know whether you want this to be a chat platform, but maybe having them function as email groups?
There is an existing conversation feature in the forum, so I was thinking it's enough. It also allows for notifications by mail
Perhaps using #hashtag for something like this, so that it will be easy to create non-official tags.

Pingbacks should include comments

Option to @mention usernames.

Should have something like an autocomplete and an opt-out-able notification/mail whenever one is mentioned. 

WebMonetization - this takes about 30 minutes to add to a website, ask me how. Then anyone who has Coil would give money to this site - (maybe then just give it to charity).

Good shout— iirc adding Coil is easy enough to be worth doing (it's just a <meta> tag). But I doubt it'll raise much money!
Recently Less wrong [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/eWqFy8wESHbxNod7i/lesswrong-now-has-dark-mode] has created this feature. C'mon EA Forum!
Also seconded. In the meantime, you can get pseudo dark mode with the dark reader [https://darkreader.org/] extension.
Seconded! I would maybe use the site 20% more if it had a good dark mode.
I don't know if you've seen ea.greaterwrong.com [https://ea.greaterwrong.com/] - that has a dark mode (in the left hand menu).

It would very dramatically improve my experience of the Forum if there were the option to hide posts. This would mean that the first page of the Forum would always be posts that were relevant to me. As it stands, whenever I visit the Forum most of the posts which I can see are not relevant to me (perhaps because I've already read them and don't want to read them again or check in on the ongoing discussion), whereas posts which are relevant to me and which I would want to visit again are invisible if they are more than a few days old.

This feature just shipped. You can hide posts from the frontpage using the triple dot menu to the right of the post item. Let us know if you have any feedback. Thanks to trialing candidate Steven R for building it.

Many thanks! This will make the Forum a lot more usable for me.
Yes, agreed. You can hide tags, like the creative writing contest, from the frontpage, but if you scroll down those posts and their comments are visible (at least they do to me; maybe there is some way to hide them). It would be good if they could be entirely hidden. And yes, it would be good to be able to hide individual posts (along with their comments) as well.
5Jaime Sevilla9mo
Similarly, I would like for comments I have minimised to stay minimised between visits (unless there is a new reply in thread)
4Peter Wildeford9mo
I’d like this too.

On-site image hosting for posts/comments? This is mostly a minor QoL benefit, and maybe there would be challenges with storage. Another benefit would be that images would not vanish if their original source does.

2Aaron Gertler2y
I'm stopping by to mention that this is now live: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/CMy2ueJ9WhZFNyBGs/ea-forum-update-new-editor-and-more [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/CMy2ueJ9WhZFNyBGs/ea-forum-update-new-editor-and-more]
6Ben Pace2y
The new editor has this! :)

Import from HTML/gdoc/word/whatever: One feature I miss from the old forum was the ability to submit HTML directly. This allowed one to write the post in google docs or similar (with tables, footnotes, sub/superscript, special characters, etc.), export it as HTML, paste into the old editor, and it was (with some tweaks) good to go.

This is how I posted my epistemic modesty piece (which has a table which survived the migration, although the footnote links no longer work). In contrast, when cross-posting it to LW2, I needed the kind help of a moderator - and even they needed to make some adjustments (e.g. 'writing out' the table).

Given such a feature was available before, hopefully it can be done again. It would be particularly valuable for the EA forum as:

  • A fair proportion of posts here are longer documents which benefit from the features available in things like word or gdocs. (But typically less mathematics than LW, so the nifty LATEX editor finds less value here than there).
  • The current editor has much less functionality than word/gdocs, and catching up 'most of the way' seems very labour intensive and could take a while.
  • Most users are more familiar with gdocs
... (read more)

Alas, I don’t think this is possible in the way you are suggesting it here. We can allow submission of a narrow subset of HTML, but indeed one of the single most common complaints that we got on the old forum was many posts having totally inconsistent formatting because people were submitting all kinds of weird HTML+CSS with differing font-sizes for each post, broken formatting on smaller devices, inconsistent text colors, garish formatting, floating images that broke text layout, etc.

Indeed just a week ago I got a bug report about the formatting of your old “Why the tails come apart” post being broken on smaller devices because of the custom HTML you submitted at the time. Indeed a very large fraction of old LW and EA Forum posts have broken formatting because of the overly permissible editor that old LessWrong and the old EA Forum both had (and I’ve probably spent at least 10 hours over the last years fixing posts with that kind of broken formatting).

If you want to import something from Google Docs, then exporting it to markdown and using the markdown editor is really as well as we can do, and we can ensure that always works reliably. I don’t t... (read more)

+1 for internal links

Footnote support in the 'standard' editor: For folks who aren't fluent in markdown (like me), the current process is switching the editor back and forth to 'markdown mode' to add these footnotes, which I find pretty cumbersome.[1]

[1] So much so I lazily default to doing it with plain text.

Yeah, this is the current top priority with the new editor rework, and the inability to make this happen was one of the big reasons for why we decided to switch editors. I expect this will happen sometime in the next month or two.

Sans-serif font in body text! The comments section is absolutely beautiful to read, but I find the body text of posts very difficult. Most blogs and online news sources seem to use sans-serif, probably for readability.

Alternatively, give users the option to pick their own font. Also, maybe make text black instead of a lighter grey?

6Aaron Gertler2y
When you say "make text black instead of a lighter grey," are you referring to all of the Forum's light-grey text (e.g. voting buttons, section subtitles), or something more specific? I tried to check on the "sans-serif is easier to read" claim but didn't find conclusive evidence; checking Google Scholar, the first study of computer readability [https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/48796293/Readability_Subjective_Preference_and_Me20160913-23237-1flwrcn.pdf?1473763994=&response-content-disposition=inline%3B+filename%3DReadability_Subjective_Preference_and_Me.pdf&Expires=1596440786&Signature=cF6plN7EEdbNPeNbxfUlnt1fyYuGI~HMXGfxFz~Go~i-f7-bhQv1DGtBwncUgYcroe4SGw6557Im2FtPxac7mkvt7IJ5YeaKsaxipMlua1rg8QLruxvEcf4fidXuKB4pL~sge3b-NpBgYyzPwKzy2LWpX3HmPnyzQVt5c6htLR-UH0K6lEtTi3oiyh6GdUEg906R7kTeMy9pWzPLEQJXbs5sbNRhHs1V9B7vmZ2qNNrb0gG38gzRe0CnSCjywfqv-lSJBV2st~k3A-dIDPKFRA9VcWCjqI8VZ6f~j~ZgTQ5Kr1d666hW6wKjMR7LkNgZX3rmDTML39LJabEmhRSG6Q__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJLOHF5GGSLRBV4ZA] I saw found that serif fonts were easier to read. (This is just one study, of course, and knowing that the Forum's specific body type is tough for some people really helps us.)
I meant the body text of posts could be darker - I wouldn't change the buttons or other light-grey text. Interesting that the study found serif fonts more readable. I'm not aware of conclusive evidence in either direction, I'd just heard folk wisdom that sans-serif is more readable on a computer screen. My general opinion is that the comments section on this forum is extremely easy to read and clean to look at, some of my favorite formatting anywhere, but personally I find the body text of posts much more difficult to read than most sites. I wonder what most people think, I wouldn't expect everyone to have the same experience.

The expectation that *ALL* EA resources should be in this forum. Ideally people would post books (with the tag "book") and then new users could see which resources the community thinks are worth reading first.

That's an interesting idea for Forum v3: a wiki for all EA materials. Newcomers could go to the Forum and find Peter Singer, Doing Good Better, and links to 80,000 Hours research + new posts every day. Related: "Should EA Buy Distribution Rights for Foundational Books? [http://Should EA Buy Distribution Rights for Foundational Books?]" by Cullen O'Keefe
1Nathan Young2y
I think EA wikis have been tried in the past. For what it's worth I think rather than storing information you want to store connections and allow for easy error checking. I suggest this is the non-obvious value of wikipedia. In that regard I think a roam board would be better than a wiki.

Soon after publishing, hide scores on comments so people aren't biased by them. Randomise the order of comments early on.

I think greaterwrong has an option to hide karma.
2Nathan Young2y
Example here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_cascade [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_cascade]
1Nathan Young2y
Thanks to whoever burned this early :P I suggest this is evidence towards my point.

Community threads on each of impact, tractability and neglectedness of different cause areas. Would be interesting to see if their ordering agrees with 80k.

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply

Numbers in articles which get multiplied at the end. The ability for the community to forecast these numbers and it change the overall result.

Ability to add postive or negative citations to points in an article.

The ability to request a citation on a specific point.

A portal for booking a call with an EA.

How often are poeple connected throught the EA hub? How often did poeple connect at EAGx virtual. If connections are valuable, this is a way they could happen more.

I've put some different use cases in the comments.

Roots-based approach to the same outcome: Leave an open invitation and a Calendly link in your EAForum bio.
2Nathan Young2y
Sure but you could reduce the friction on that. And ideally make it more trackable.
1Nathan Young2y
There could be a "new to EA, book a call" button and EAs could sign up to a call. This would be very welcoming.
1Nathan Young2y
A way this could work is that EAs could log in wiht their calendly and then a visitor would choose a time and it would randomise among EAs who were free. The main thing is that you want the friction to be low enough that it gets used. EA seems to think networking is valuable enough to arrange conferences. This would expand that.

Link to profiles on the EA hub. How often do EAs use this website or the Hub to find people to work with? I guess someone tracks this?

2Aaron Gertler2y
People can already add this information to their Forum bios if they want to, and I encourage [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/2j8ERGPu68L5Bd95y/you-should-write-a-forum-bio] anyone who hasn't done this to do so! I think linking a Forum bio to an EA Hub profile might backfire, in that a Hub profile might be more onerous to fill out than a quick bio (but maybe getting more Hub profiles would be worth the tradeoff?).
1Nathan Young2y
It seems there is iteration possible here. Are there more users on here or the EA Hub, if the former it might be worth using EA forum logins for the EA hub.
1Nathan Young2y
Perhaps these are not visible itially but you can toggle that.

Comment guidelines which suggest single points per comment to allow more effective upvoting.

Ability to split comments into multiple seperate comments. This could be limited to poeple who are higher karma.

Do you mean to do this to comments written by other people? Because you can already do this for your own comments by editing them and making more comments. But even that is problematic if anyone already voted on the comment.

Be able to edit the text of articles which leaves hidden suggestions. Others can turn this feature on and upvote them. Highly upvoted suggests appear as comments.

Perhaps this feature would only be available for people above a certain karma.

Make comments on specific sections of text which appear to the right of the text. And can be up and downvoted.

This will be a distracting overhead though. Also, there can be many comments on a single paragraph.
2Nathan Young2y
I don't think so. As I commented, parhaps these start invisible (or with little markers you can mouse over). I find it works on google docs. what do you think?
I don’t know :) I guess the idea itself is definitely sound, but implementing it correctly might be a challenge.
1Nathan Young2y
I think we should upvote features we'd like and let the tech team decide what is possible to implement. It might be hard, it might not.
What if, when you highlight text within a post, a small toolbar pops up where you can click to quote the text in your comment box?
2Nathan Young2y
Perhaps these are not visible itially but you can toggle that.

Icons on pages to show that other, anonymous people are reading them. I think this would increase engagement. This can be cheaply tested.

Examples, googledocs.

Must say that these usually causes me a slight anxiety for some reason. Something about other people knowing what I read and when I entered which document makes me feel uncomfortable.
1Nathan Young2y
I think it should be anonynous rather than showing which user you are.
I meant even in that case!

As assumption that there are some "evergreen" questions like this one, which periodically the community should spend time thinking on.

Please comment with other such questions

1Nathan Young1y
I nearly posted this just now and then realised I already did a year ago.
1Nathan Young2y
"What should our community guidelines be?"
1Nathan Young2y
"Please order these cause areas by importance" -> how does the community's thoughts compare to 80k's?
1Nathan Young2y
What are your most useful tools https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/zY9grSFwxmskxGQY4/what-are-good-sofware-tools-what-about-general-productivity [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/zY9grSFwxmskxGQY4/what-are-good-sofware-tools-what-about-general-productivity]

This thread should be linked in the intercom button under "feature requests".

If you click "submit a feature request" it should send you here.

Thanks so much to the team for their work. I really like the layout of this forum. It's clean and pleasant to use.

6JP Addison2y
Thank you! Most of design credit goes to the LessWrong team, whose depth of focus on design I admire.

I'm not sure if such a feature would be worth the work it would involve, but: a very simple "editor" to very easily create probability distributions (or maybe more generally graphs that don't require mathematical formulas but just very rough manual sketching) and embed them into posts or comments could be useful. I'm not sure how often people would really use that though. Generally however, it would probably be a good thing to make probability estimates as explicit as possible, and being able to easily "draw" distribution... (read more)

2JP Addison2y
You might be interested in: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/EQJfdqSaMcJyR5k73/habryka-s-shortform-feed?commentId=dQT4kmtd594nQFf85 [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/EQJfdqSaMcJyR5k73/habryka-s-shortform-feed?commentId=dQT4kmtd594nQFf85]

I'd love to have a weekly/monthly open post, where everyone could ask questions and post small ideas. I imagine something similar to LessWrongs "Open & Welcome Thread". This could make some people more comfortable with starting to contribute to the forum.

5Aaron Gertler2y
I used to do these, but I think I phased them out when Shortform posts came along, as those appeared to serve a similar role (sharing things that you don't think merit a full post). As it turns out, while Shortform has been useful, I think it has a different feel than open threads, so bringing them back seems like a good idea. I or another moderator may start posting them soon.
1Nathan Young2y
Aaron used to do these, I wonder why he stopped https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/rB3kQng99cXDim7XH/open-thread-45 [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/rB3kQng99cXDim7XH/open-thread-45]
Perhaps this can be done without an option of voting on comments, which might make this easier for people to participate in.

While I think LaTeX is useful, it is not very intuitive or user friendly and posting long curated articles is quite tedious. It would be nice to have a feature like Elementor.

I think there would be a lot of value in a detailed how-to document for content creators explaining each step needed to go from a GDoc or WordDoc to a forum post. This would optimally include a directory for keywords like footnotes, typographical emphasis, Title/Header/Normal text functions, etc.

4Will Bradshaw2y
The reference to LaTeX here isn't very clear to me. Does Elementor provide an alternative equation-rendering system? Or did you mean something else?

Level 3 headings should be supported. Unless it's changed recently, it currently jumps from Level 2 to Level 4, which makes it hard to logically format complex documents.

4JP Addison2y
It has. We no longer apply the same styling to h2 and h3. While you still can’t create h3s using the editor, you can paste in from google docs and they will appear correctly. Sorry for not mentioning this anywhere, it’s such an invisible change — I don’t know what I was thinking. (Unfortunately, I will need to remake this change once the new editor ships. LessWrong does not want its posts to have more than 3 levels of headings [h1, h2 and bold text]. I don’t think that’s the right choice for the EA Forum, but sometimes their updates won’t be checked for compatibility with minor features of the Forum).
2JP Addison2y
The new editor has shipped (still just to beta users) but I have just reintroduced h3s.
H3s are still being converted to regular Paragraph format when I paste them in from GDocs. What am I doing wrong?
3Aaron Gertler2y
H3 headers should be available again soon; the feature broke after a recent migration.
I had the same problem when posting a few days ago. Though I think level 3 headings work for me if I use the markdown editor (e.g., a paragraph that only has "### How often have people been wrong about such things in the past?" will show up as a level 3 heading). And when I just put a sentence fragment in a line by itself and in bold, it at least showed up in the sidebar as if it was a level three heading. (Well, one of them didn't initially work, but then I fixed it somehow - I think the fix was simple, but can't remember.)
6Will Bradshaw2y
Strongly agree with this, have been very frustrated in the past with how the Forum (via LessWrong) coerces my header usage. It looks bad in the sidebar too.

I think that karma can be gamified more. 

In StackExchange they have an option of offering bounties for questions which can be collected by answerers. If we'd have something similar here, that could serve as a good signal that someone cares about a question and has yet to get a satisfying answer. 

I'd be curious about what kinds of trades people can do if there would be a process for (probably better publicly) exchanging karma. I can imagine bets being made, offers to help editing, seeking information, a bounty on finding mistakes or whatever. 

StackExchange might have some great principles to implement here, though I don't know much about it
I do worry about people's incentives being unfavorably changed though, but it seems to me that getting more karma is sort of aligned with doing more good. Perhaps if all trades would be on a public ledger it would mitigate the possible harms as it would be easier to see who tries to game it.

Having the option of suggesting edits easily, as in google docs. 

I think that it being easy for readers to add links, explanations and corrections might improve the quality of posts and enable better participation between commenters and the OP. Specifically, I think that we should link more, especially to other posts on the forum, and it would be helpful if that could be aided by commenters.

Technically, that could work by saving a history of versions (which would perhaps be a good idea anyway), perhaps by remembering the diffs in a git-like fashion. T

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That’s actually a lot of what the LessWrong team is currently working on! I don’t know yet whether we want to allow suggesting edits on all posts, but we are planning to allow wiki-like posts that allow people to submit changes.

4Nathan Young2y
For what it's worth I think you want this to have the minimal friction but that maybe suggestions are hidden as standard.
2Nathan Young2y
I've been working on something similar to this recently (I've added all my thoughts as sperate suggestions here). I am not sure you need live editing, but upovable suggestions, comments in text and requests for citations/citations seem valuable. Would love to talk about this some time. My calendly is here https://calendly.com/nathanpmyoung/video-call [https://calendly.com/nathanpmyoung/video-call]

Can I opt out of Forum favourites? I'm sorry but I hate it

3JP Addison2y
I agree it isn’t great. This was slated for a redesign, but then I deprioritized it. I should probably revisit what the right thing to do is. I’ve been meaning to randomize it, as Habryka mentioned. (I want it to not be randomized when you're logged out, which is why it’s like this. It’s supposed to be a way for newcomers to see the best of the Forum, so they don’t get lost in the weekly churn.) Maybe just randomizing it for logged-in users would be enough, but an option to hide it seems good, if more work.

I also don't like this feature, although we should be aware that this feature is most helpful for new users, and new users are probably under-represented in this thread.

Variant of Korthon's comment:

I never look at the "forum favorites" section. It seems like it's looked the same forever and it takes up a lot of screen real estate without any use for me!

I just updated this section and it now shows randomized posts.

Same is true for me (as the person who built the feature). On LessWrong the recommendations are randomized but for some reason on the EA Forum the admins/devs decided to always have them be strictly ordered by the latest highest karma posts you haven’t read, so they never change, and inevitably end up in a configuration where you’re not interested in any of the posts.
7Will Bradshaw2y
I agree, I think the Forum has enough very-high-karma content now that randomising it here as well would be a good idea.

Can I get email updates about a specific tag?

4Aaron Gertler2y
This feature is now live! Any tag page will give you the option to subscribe to that tag.
Yep, that feature is live on LessWrong, so I expect it will go live within a few weeks on the forum.

It's still a crime that we don't support tables and it's a second crime that no one else has mentioned this yet.

4Aaron Gertler2y
I'm stopping by to mention that this is now live: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/CMy2ueJ9WhZFNyBGs/ea-forum-update-new-editor-and-more [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/CMy2ueJ9WhZFNyBGs/ea-forum-update-new-editor-and-more]

They are supported in the new editor which LessWrong has currently shipped if you op into beta features (and I expect will go live for everyone by default in the next two weeks or so).

2Peter Wildeford2y

I'd like to have the option to make polls within a post. I recently wrote a short question post to see if an idea seems promising and I got a couple of upvotes and no comments. Having the option to get quick and cheap feedback from the community would've been useful.

The bucket this falls in for me is ... Widgets! I really want to make widgets. For example, making it so authors could add a button to donate. This is planned, but not concretely.

8Aaron Gertler2y
In case you haven't seen it, I created the Facebook group Effective Altruism Polls [https://www.facebook.com/groups/477649789306528/] for this use case. Response rates are generally pretty high!

Very specific and small comment, but I'd like to see the "Reply" button for comments be bigger and more noticeable. I would prefer it to be an actual button (with padding and an outline), and with a message icon beside it. It's happened to me twice where I couldn't figure out how to reply to a comment until ~30 seconds of searching for the reply button.

I'd like users to be able to attach/link a profile picture to their EA Forum profile, and that these pictures would be viewable next to their usernames in posts or comments. I think this would make the forum a bit more human and friendly!

4JP Addison2y
I also like this idea. In addition to the effect you describe, I think it could help your eyes track the conversation more easily. It would also add more color to the site. Here are some reasons why I currently think it’s a little too much work. First, it’s more work than it seems, because the current layout of these comments feels very unsuited for slapping in all but the tiniest of avatars. So we’d need to substantially update the comments UI as well as build the profile upload. Also it makes the experience of engaging in the comments nicer, but my current guess is most of the value comes from people writing good posts and more people reading them [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/csQCDjE2Rjj99zHgW/how-we-think-about-the-forum] . I don’t see the strong causal pathway between pictures and more of that happening. — Having written that, if it caused authors to find the comment section friendlier, I could imagine them having a smaller barrier to posting. OTOH, I could imagine authors being more intimidated by the “oh crap these are real people” feeling. I’d be curious to hear thoughts from authors.
I think this has bad effects also. It’ll make the site appeal more to “normal” people, and look less serious. It also doesn’t give us any useful information, but take up real estate and use up attention. It might make groupthink more prevalent, too; I personally have found my thinking is most honest when I am thinking alone and don’t plan to share them socially.

Hey JP, thanks for your thoughts! When you're saying it's a little too much work, how many weeks are we talking about? I can understand how the profile upload part might take a bit long (1-2 weeks?).

For adding in the profile pictures beside author's usernames, I would think there isn't any big UI updating that has to be done there. It's only in the comments section that things might be a bit trickier. I've made mockups for my own suggestion here, including mockups for showing these on the frontpage, post header, and two different options for how to show pictures on comments. Even just showing pictures on the frontpage and beside the author's names in a forum post page would be great, if those are easier to do than adding on the comments.

But yeah it's good that you flag that the value of the forum comes from people writing posts and more people reading them. I'm also curious about what authors think on if they would prefer to have their face in posts, as well as if they prefer to see commenters' faces!

+50 points for making UI mockups, makes it much more likely to get the feature.

1Nathan Young2y
Related to this what does our user research say that new users think about the forum? Do they think it is minimalist or stark? I guess we could learn this, particularly if we want EA to be more representative of the global population.
Yeah I think the EA Forum team could do usability testing on users if they haven't done it yet. Maybe they could do it on people interested in EA but have never visited the forum yet. I remember the first few times I visited the forum was quite daunting - long posts, usually no pictures on posts, no faces, and no onboarding. I'm thinking that for users not logged in (which presumably means they're new to the forum?), they could be pointed to this article (maybe with some edits to make it a better first-read for new users): https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/about, [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/about,] and then they're encouraged to sign up in the end. A link to a short 2-5 minute video on the homepage about what the forum is and how to use the forum could work too. I think some gamification for guided onboarding could work too, i.e. upvote your first article, upvote your first comment, message an author, write your first comment, write your first post, acquire x much karma (and get a badge) Now that we have tags, tags could be part of onboarding and a more central part of the experience too. Similar to how Medium.com encourages you to follow or subscribe to certain topics. But yeah I wouldn't want to speak ahead too much on feature suggestions without knowing what the user research and usability testing results are first! As a UI/UX designer myself, I'd much rather see user research and usability testing be done first. My experience in using the forum might not be representative.

I do actually quite like the UX mockups for the photo idea, which I think would have the positive effects already described (friendlier impression, easier to track comments). Here are two reasons I'm less keen:

  • People discriminate a lot based on how people look. My impression of someone on Facebook is coloured pretty strongly by their choice of profile picture, for example. I'd predict that attaching images to posts and comments would cause people to give relatively more weight to people who (a) look like them along various dimensions, and (b) have access to good, professional photographs of themselves.
  • There are a lot of users of the Forum who post anonymously or under a pseudonym. If the Forum had ubiquitous images, these users would have to either (a) use no image, (b) use a cartoon/non-human image (as is/was common in Slate Star Codex comment threads, for example), or (c) use a fake photo à la thispersondoesnotexist.com. Apart from the third option, which is ethically somewhat dubious, I think this would be significantly harmful to other users' impression of these users, especially if they are in dispute with named users with real photos, in a way I don't think we want.


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Hi Will, I realize I never responded to some of these. Let me respond to them now: 1. "People discriminate a lot based on how people look..." - I think there's a lot of truth to people's impressions of someone being shaped by what they look like. However: 1. I don't think people are going to have significantly more negative impressions of Forum users just because of how they look. If anything, assuming a lot of people upload friendly photos of themselves, they'll have more positive impressions by seeing people who seem warm and friendly, instead of the cold and intimidating feel that the forum has to it. And if someone doesn't want to show a warm or friendly photo, then they can always put a different photo that conveys what they want to convey about themselves. 2. As you've said, I think people forming impressions of others on the Forum based on how they look is already happening even without profile photos. It's quite easy to search on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google the name of a forum user (for those without pseudonyms), and know what their background is based off of their pictures. I would guess quite a few people on the Forum do this to have a better sense of who they're reading or talking to. I do this regularly myself so I can get a better sense of who I'm talking to. I think it's an important part of communication to understand one's audience, and pictures allow you to better understand who you are interacting with. 2. "There are a lot of users of the Forum who post anonymously or under a pseudonym." I think these users can just either opt to have a blank image, or use a random image. I would think 30-50% of current active Forum users are willing to upload profile photos, and having at least 30% of people upload photos may be good enough to make the forum a bit more friendly.
2Will Bradshaw8mo
My turn for a slow response. I think you're more concerned with the effect of having images on a user's feelings about the Forum generally, while I'm more concerned with its effect on user's (differential) feelings about other individual users. I think there's a bit of a disconnect there that makes your responses not feel like they quite hit what I was getting at. I think you're probably right about the warm fuzzy angle with respect to users' impression of the Forum generally, but I'm not convinced this outweighs the inequitable effects on individual users. Concretely, I think in a discussion between an attractive person with a good-quality, well-posed & -lit photo and a weird-looking person with a bad photo (or no photo), the former will be at a very significant advantage with regard to swaying the audience. This discriminates against several groups of people: ethnic or other minorities, poorer people, people with worse intuitions about self-presentation, etc. The current setup of the Forum discriminates on the basis of writing ability, which has various downsides, but I predict the effect of photos to be much stronger and even less well-correlated with actually being right. A bit more grumpy than I actually endorse, but a feeling I'm having here: The world is full of places where people are evaluated based on how they look. It's no bad thing to have some places where they are evaluated based on what they write.
5Aaron Gertler8mo
Preface: I hate photos of myself and have been annoyed when past employers have required they be used in email profiles, so I get where you're coming from. I may be unusual, but this doesn't match my experience with any discussion platform that includes profile pictures (Facebook, Twitter, Slack...). Profile pictures on these platforms are small enough that you'd actually have to expend effort (clicking through to someone's profile or at least hovering over the photo) to judge someone's appearance. (Though race and gender can usually be seen even at small scale, which I guess is something.) I also think this dynamic, such that it exists at all, breaks down quickly when people use anything other than photos of their own faces. I assume all anonymous users would avoid photos, and that at least some other named users would do the same (including me). What ends up happening when an argument involves: * One person with a generic nice-looking photo, * One person with an artsy photo, face obscured by shadow, * A howler monkey, and * Hobbes the tiger? I grabbed these examples from four profiles that popped up quickly when I opened Twitter. And I think this kind of scenario will be much more common than "two people having a conversation where most onlookers would agree that person A looks nicer than person B, based on what you can see at a glance from their profile pictures". You'll get some instances of the latter, but I think that the effect will be quite small compared to the overall impact of having a warmer Forum with easier-to-track conversations.
6Will Bradshaw8mo
My own experience of these platforms is that someone's profile picture or lack thereof has a big effect on my impression of that person. (With Twitter > Facebook > Slack in terms of both size of image and size of effect, but I remember specific examples from all three platforms.) This applies also to cartoons or other non-photo images. My clearest memories of this are from old Slate Star Codex comment threads, when almost no-one used photos but I was still very aware of my feelings about users being strongly affected by their images – and changing significantly when those images changed. As another example, my system 1 is often noticeably better-disposed toward people who use profile pictures which are nice drawings of themselves than it would be if they used the original photo. It's possible I'm unusually impressionable here, but I currently doubt it.
Hey Will, no worries and thanks for the response! Yeah I think I updated my views a bit from some of these discussions I had with others on the Forum about whether it should have profile photos. I'm now probably just 50% in favor of the EA Forum having profile photos, whereas I was probably 80% in favor before. I think a good compromise is maybe there are ways to make the Forum seem friendlier and more welcoming to newcomers without having to use profile photos. That's the problem I wanted to solve anyway. I see how profile photos can degrade the experience for more engaged Forum users, so maybe there are other solutions, but I won't try to talk about them here.
2Will Bradshaw8mo
Definitely interested in seeing this explored more!

i would find it helpful to establish a norm to begin posts with a short (!) 'tl;dr'-section which summarizes the main results/arguments of the article, since sometimes it is hard to tell what a post is about only from the title/the preview one gets by hovering over the link.

5Will Bradshaw2y
I think it's already quite common for commenters on posts without these to request them; is there something in the UI you'd like to change to encourage this?
if im not mistaken, when you hover over the link to a post you just see the beginning of the post, right? this sometimes is not very useful. maybe you could give post creators another text field ("thumbnail"/"preview"/"tl;dr") where they can explicitly fill in what should be shown when hovering over the link. this field should probably be character limited then. this text should be displayed at the top of the post, too. (and if posters dont fill it out it could just fall back to showing the beginning of the post).
2JP Addison2y
What you describe is almost exactly identical to an admin feature that we have from LessWrong. Which isn't much help to you yet, but might get released more widely.
3Nathan Young2y
This needn't be written by the author - it could be added by higher karma readers, for instance.
or written by anyone but approved by the author?
1Nathan Young2y
Yeah that works too.

I'd like the Forum to support superscript and subscript.

2Aaron Gertler2y
While these are supported in the new editor, users can't access the functionality yet. However, subscript is currently possible in Markdown: Adding subscript to my post You need to start the subscript with a tilde, then put a backslash after every word but the last word (the closing tilde goes after the last word). For example, see lines 2 and 14 of this file [https://github.com/markdown-it/markdown-it-sub/blob/master/test/fixtures/sub.txt] .
This is also supported in the new editor.

I'd like to see the experimental sequences feature rolled out to all users.

2Aaron Gertler2y
I'm stopping by to mention that this is now live: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/CMy2ueJ9WhZFNyBGs/ea-forum-update-new-editor-and-more [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/CMy2ueJ9WhZFNyBGs/ea-forum-update-new-editor-and-more]
5JP Addison2y
+1 on this, and on curated posts. (As also discussed here [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/ccc4fXMnQ63zkqGKo/why-doesn-t-the-ea-forum-have-curated-posts-or-sequences] ).
[+][comment deleted]2y