Edit from 2022: Consider checking the Forum user manual if you're not sure if something you're looking for might already be possible.
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. I'd still recommend suggesting features here so that other users can see and discuss them. — JP
Note: there's a delay between when we write tasks down and when they get triaged into a state that gets synced with Github.
I would like to be able to subscribe to notifications for sequences like this one: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/s/FxFwhFG227F6FgnKk
There are some posts, for example this "EA Forum feature suggestion thread", the "List of EA funding opportunities", and "Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki articles / tags", which I think could be pages in their own right, findable via the home page's left menu. I make this suggestion because:
... (read more)
- These posts are harder to find, in my opinion, than they should be given that they're essentially living documents that'd benefit from having more contributors.
- A comments section seems like not the best interface for handling suggestions/contributions.
- For insta
The "Library" page, accessible from the home page's left menu, appears to be a list of all(?) the sequences on the Forum. But the order in which the sequences are listed—I think it's just recency—isn't very friendly, in my opinion. My vision for this page has the sequences listed in order of (some combination of) importance and quality. This ordering could be determined by a site admin, or maybe it could be automated (e.g., based on the combined karma of each sequence's posts). Sequences are also filterable by topic in my vision: for this, sequence pages would probably need to be taggable.
Also, sequence pages don't appear to show up in the top right search bar. I think sequences should be searchable.
Suggestion: Integrated search in LessWrong, EA Forum, Alignment Forum and perhaps Progress Forum posts.
[I was inspired to suggest this by the downvotes on this comment, but it's a problem I've seen more generally.]
The agree/disagree voting dimension is amazing, but it seems to me like people haven't properly uncoupled it from karma yet. One way to help people understand the differences could be to introduce a confirmation box that pops up whenever you try to vote, that you can opt out of from your profile settings.
This box could contain something like the following guidelines:... (read more)
Add the option to disable comments on your posts.
I was going to write a short suggestion about profile wikis, but it ended up long so I made it into a post. In a picture:
This is my current frontpage, logged in and logged out
It would be nice to have a way to post sequences without having all the posts show up on the frontpage, we would definitely use it for EA Italy
How long until we can bring Anthropic's Claude on as a moderator?
I'm finding him to be very good at demonstrating cognitive and emotional empathy for views that are in disagreement with his own, updating accordingly, and then gently proposing ways forward that incorporate both perspectives.
(Maybe a little too deferential at this point, although I expect there's less of that when he's moderating human discussion rather than talking to one human, plus of course it's a live debate in EA how much epistemic integrity to sacrifice for the sake of keeping the pea... (read more)
I'm planning to write a piece on animal welfare, as part of that post it will help to post a picture of a dead animal. I'd like to have it blurred until users choose to see it, is there a way to do that?
Side note: I can't see anything about this circumstance in the user manual or guide to norms.
Several serious posts are drowned out on April 1st each year. I half intended to write a round up of these to help them avoid being drowned out, but didn’t get around to it before the work week; now I’m requesting that the EA Forum team consider doing this. In future years (assuming your timelines are that long) I would also be in favour of having a separate section for April fools (like the community section) even though this dampens the humour.
We’re trying out moving our Italian translation of the EA Handbook to the forum, to see if participants of the next round of our virtual program prefer it that way compared to google docs. (most of the first chapter is now here)
One feature I really like on forums like Hacker News is the ability to traverse comments by having options to jump to a comment's parent, or next or previous sibling.
When you are deep in a gnarly comment thread, I find it useful to be able to hop up a couple of levels and then minimise a comment and its children
This is what comments looks like on Hacker News for example:
On https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/allPosts, clicking on a shortform expands it, but there is no way to unexpand/contract it
This is not the case with topic page edit and discussion, where clicking on the topic title toggles between expanding it and unexpanding it
Ideally shortforms could be toggled unexpanded in a similar way
Upvoting a post shouldn’t be possible within 30 seconds of opening a (not very short) post (prevent upvoting based on title only), or should be weighted less
The link from linkposts like this one, don't work, I assume because the link needs to be prefixed with https://
Can this be added automatically if it is missing, or do linkposts need to go via
Maybe a bit obscure but exporting a sequence from LW or EAF as a PDF would be awesome.
Reformat all shortforms so they have agreevotes.
I unhid community posts on the main posts section to see what would happen but now I can't rehide them. But I'd like to.
Reformat this comment section so that it has agreevotes.
(Semi-serious), since we care about the long-term future, denote years with a 10,000 year digit, so 02023 instead of 2023, like they do at longnow.org
You can subscribe to other users' new posts from their profile, but I would like to be able to subscribe to users' new comments which I don't see a way to do
I think authors of a post should be able to add the "community" tag to their post.
See also this, this, and this comments. The first comment thread includes a workaround: creating the post on the http://forum.effectivealtruism.org/topics/community page
On mobile, I think there's no way to remove your vote on your own comments. On desktop, I can just click my vote again, but on mobile the normal workflow is to tap to cycle between normal / strong / no vote, and I can't strong upvote my own comments, so I get "stuck" in the cycle.
edit: ok I think you can do it by just going through the cycle quickly enough, but I definitely struggled with this before, perhaps it depends on the latency of your connection to the server...
When a comment is deleted in such a way that leaves a "comment deleted" block, it has a little [+] to expand the comment, but it doesn't do anything. I would prefer if it wasn't there so I didn't feel like I had to click on it to check if there's something I missed.
Can we add agreement karma to comments on all posts?
@Matt Goodman thanks for all your suggestions. I think they all make sense or have been suggested before, and we'll have to prioritize them against our other work!
I'd like to be able to hide the amount of karma and agreement points a comment or post has. I think seeing how many people have upvoted a statement affects how likely I am to agree with or upvote that statement. I think it makes me more likely to vote in accordance with social agreement, rather than whether or not I think a statement is true or well written. I'd like to be able to turn this off from time to time. Strongly downvoted comments should probably still be hidden.
I think the UI for voting could be improved in the following ways:
The formatting toolbar doesn't appear until after you highlight text. This means you can only format text after you've written it - you can't for example, select bold and have your text appear in bold as you write it. This is something I find unintuitive. It took me a a few minutes of looking for the toolbar and googling how to do it before I realised the toolbar only appears when you highlight text. I'd like the formatting toolbar to always be on the page when I'm writing.
I'd like to be able to highlight a word or phrase in text I'm writing and Ctrl-V a URL link directly into that phrase. This is something that other platforms, like Slack do.
Yes, you can highlight a phrase and bring up the toolbar to add a link, but being able to do it immediately through a well known keyboard shortcut is easier.
Can we put this page in the sidebar?
I noticed that adding a tag to a post in draft mode now automatically adds the parent tag. But it's not clear to the user why two tags are being added at once. This also contributes to the overtagging of posts.
On Wikipedia, the guideline is to tag pages with the most specific categories they belong to. So if category B is a child of category A, then pages that belong to both A and B should only be tagged with B, whereas pages in A \ B should only be tagged with A.
In general, I think the EA Forum should be more thoughtful about tags. If we want to replicate... (read more)
When using search, the date on the search result card doesn't seem to always match up with the published date on the post itself.
For example, this post was published yesterday, 24th January, but when it appears in search it looks like:
which might be the date it was first created in draft form, and not published?
Which also leads to counter-intuitive things like:
Display a more detailed breakdown of karma and agreement karma by number of upvotes and downvotes rather than overall amount.
I think that the weighted voting system is counterproductive overall (it creates perverse incentives, it ascribes false authority to users who are more prolific or who may have expertise in one area and poor understanding in others, and it is needlessly undemocratic) and makes it harder to meaningfully understand the karma of a given post or comment, but this could go someway in making the actual impact of posts and comments more legible. I think there is a difference between how to read agreement karma for a comment that has 10 agreement karma overall from, say, 8 2 point upvotes and 2 -3 minus point downvote versus one that has 10 1-point upvotes, and the breakdown of how a comment achieved its agreement karma is not currently legible, which makes agreement karma a much less useful indicator than it could be otherwise.
P.S.: Similar suggestions have been made below on how the karma and voting system can be tinkered with to make it more meaningful, but seems different enough to warrant a new top-level comment.
Couldn't see if someone already suggested this but:
I'd like to be able to bookmark comments, in the same way you can bookmark posts. There's a lot of really, really well thought out and written comments, in some cases containing just as much value as articles, and I'd like to be able to bookmark a comment to come back to.
I'd argue this is even more important than bookmarking articles, because articles have tags and titles to search for, whereas comments don't, and it's easy to loose track of what article and what thread the one you're looking for is contained in.
It would be nice to be able to order search results by date and maybe some other features like karma.
(Probably has been suggested before but thought I'd add): A small indicator for the original poster of the top-level post in the comments. Like the microphone on Reddit.
If someone downvotes, suggest that they explain why
So, proposing that we give everyone equal voting power gives those on the forum with more voting power an incentive to lessen mine (by downvoting this). So how about this: we make the agreement karma democratic. That way we can see what people actually agree or disagree on and since it doesn't affect karma we can make it democratic without affecting those with disproportionate voting power.
EDIT: Three people upvoted this suggestion, one person downvoted this suggestion, the result is negative karma. What we see is that the downvotes contain a lot more voti... (read more)
Add Agreement Karma to posts.
This comment suggesting this feature got 32 Agreement with 9 votes:
When LessWrong posts are crossposted to the EA Forum, there is a link in EA Forum comments section:
This link just goes to the top of the LessWrong version of the post and not to the comments. I think either the text should be changed or the link go to the comments section.
When a user moves a controversial post to drafts, other readers get worried of censorship. Two recent examples: https://mobile.twitter.com/erikphoel/status/1559527499188654085 https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/sD4kdobiRaBpxcL8M/what-happened-to-the-women-and-effective-altruism-post?commentId=GpSneam3oSwaBYDWH
It might make sense to tweak the prose. Maybe let moderators add a reason, like for deleted comments (e.g. "spam", "moved to draft after a request from the author"), and for users write "the author of this post marked it as a private draft"
We should make it harder to manipulate your own comments' karma. My favoured approach would be to deactivate all voting on one's own comments. Also fine would be if by default, you strongly upvote and strongly agree with all of your own comments.
There was a good amount of agreement about this previously.
This has now been implemented. You cannot strong upvote your own comments, nor vote along the agreement axis.
I think it would be better if agree/disagree voting didn't follow the typical karma rules where different users have different amounts of karma. As it stands I often don't know how many people expressed agreement vs. disagreement, which feels like the information I actually want, and it doesn't make intuitive sense that one forum user might be able to "agree twice as much" as another with a comment.
Make the forum available in other languages. Right now the only option is English.
Also rely less on acronyms. For example, when selecting "program participation" it shows you the acronym VP:
I happen to know that this stands for "Virtual Program" but a newcomer (especially one that isn't a native English speaker) might not know this (and might even assume it stands for something different like Vice Presidency, Virtual Profile, Video phone-call, Viewpoint, Value proposition etc).
Curated posts could resurface to the frontpage at exponentially decaying intervals.
... (read more)
- Counteracts recency bias. Enables longer-term discussions.
- Increases exposure (and over a more varied reader population) to the most important ideas.
- Efficiently increases collective memory of the best contributions.
- We might uncover and dislodge some flawed assumptions that reached universal acceptance in the past due to information cascades.
- Given recency bias combined with the fact that people are very reluctant to write things that have been written about befor
Quiz as a Service for posts
I stumbled upon this service:
That can generate a quiz out of anything.
Having a "quiz me!" or "did you fully get the article?" button on every forum post where it would provide an AI-generated multiple-choice quiz would probably be very valuable for everyone.
I'd be happy to work on the development of this.
Some use cases:
This feature is very versatile and would solve many things at once.
Co authors (second authors and later?) of posts don't appear to have their posts in the profile?
Sidhu has no post listed:
This seems mild, but could be bad if someone likes to co author a lot.
Check if information cascades / social influence bias is a problem on EA Forum.
If it is, maybe we could implement Emrik's idea to counter it, or some similar mechanism.
See here for the explanation of the potential problem.
To test it, we could do an experiment where some bot (or server-side process) randomly upvotes or downvotes new posts. We measure final karma after some fixed time, and see if that single vote snowballed.
Recommend posts using collaborative filtering ("people who like the same posts as you, also like:")
MVP could be done quite easily using some of these techniques.
I have some ideas how to do better. If you consider implementing this feature, hit me up to talk!
Invisible by default so they don't distract, but you can easily switch visibility.
So the reader particularly interested in some section could dive into the comments particularly about that section.
Also, as a further feature, you could color code different comment types, like:
Also see @Emrik's comment with more rationale.
There should still be the default one, but if you choose you could put the post in some other folder (sorta like youtube does with saving videos to playlists).
It can have many use cases, like:
Right now I'm doing something along these lines, but with an external editor and lists of links, so it's a bit awkward to use.
An optional reading time indicator, like here: working example (and that tool's description).
The bar at the right of each post is the reading time indicator. Full bar means 30 min, half bar means 15 min, and so on.
You can find the code that implements that bar here: html, css
The post length is often the deciding factor in whether I want to read something, so it's nice to have it at a glance. Also I admit I kinda want to incentivize people to write more concise posts :)
Add an option for drafts: "Anyone with a link can read", but make it really anyone, not only forum users, as it is now.
(Recently I wanted to get feedback from some people who are not on the forum, and I had to copy draft to google doc, and later copy it back, and fix all the footnotes :/ )
Next step (but probably harder), would be to let anyone comment. If they aren't logged into forum, these comments are anonymous.
Also collaborative editing in markdown mode would be useful.
Have an optional Subtitle line to add more context on forums, and have it be expandable on the front page.
E.g. "Why The forum should have subtitles: an in-depth look into how subtitles help people get more context in less time"
Hi! I didn’t realize this thread existed until just now. Just wanted to make sure you were aware of my feature suggestion, “Fine-Grained Karma Voting”
The Search Page doesn't seem to show results for basic questions. Some examples:
Not sure if this is an search indexing issue, or perhaps the actual "questions" user would put in the search field, aren't part of the posts answering them. This could maybe be solved by adding a new post - which basically explains the same as other inform... (read more)
This is minor, and probably not relevant to most people, but my work (Rethink Priorities) would definitely use an RSS feed version of the Forum so we can get notifications of when things with certain tags are posted in Slack. I think we could do this now with an account / notifications to email / email to Slack, but instead are using Greater Wrong for now for simplicity (e.g. this feed goes to our comms Slack channel) https://ea.greaterwrong.com/topics/rethink-priorities?format=rss). Thanks for all you do!
"agree/disagree" for posts, not only comments.
Might reduce downvotes on posts
Allowing for selective shared list for post that may be drafts and or info hazards in a similar way in which I can do Facebook posts to close friends etc.
Allowing for photos to be smaller / in-line with text so you can have image on the left and text on the right.
I have had a request for uploading a PDF.
Maybe a feature to let Google Doc headers/internal links be switched automatically to EAF headers? This will be mildly useful to me, and considering the most common type of broken links I see from others on the forum, probably to others as well!
Hi there, as a fellow EA, developer and avid creator of Userscripts, here are my thoughts on first seeing the site.
The design is very different from other online communities. This makes for an awkward first impression, users like familiarity in their UI.
I believe the gold standard for forums are Reddit, Facebook, StackOverflow, Discourse. By gold standard I mean some of the best minds in software UX works on these site. I particularly love Discourse.
This is a forum, yet there are no topics / subtopics. It tries to do too much in one place. I don't think questions, articles and events belong in in the same listing. I am aware of the filters, my criticism still stands :-)
Everywhere I move the mouse I'm assaulted by a popup. Why do you hate me? :-D
Infinite scroll / load more adds uncertainty to the UX. It's hard to track context, I can't tell if I click somewhere all my "progress" will be lost.
Gray on gray! No gray background please!
Titles are long, yet the columns are narrow.
The comments font looks bold, it should be lighter.
Some pages have too much info. "How to use the Forum" shouldn't have a pages long comments section, specially with unrelated discussions.
Still, thank you for taking the time in trying to innovate and contribute to the OS community!
The LessWrong API does not seem to work using HTTP requests from a remote host (my machine).
To be specific, the following Python code shows an HTTP request for the GraphQL API.... (read more)
Promoting shortforms to top-level posts, preserving replies. I wanted to do that with this, because reposting it as a top-level post wouldn't preserve existing discussion.
The reading time estimates on lesswrong crossposts seem to be wrong. For example, this says 1 but should be 5-10 (I would guess):
I would appreciate being able to answer a private message by replying to the associated email notification, like I can do with e.g. Github and Discourse.
Would it be interesting for EA Forum questions to have a feature to allow surveys and predictions? In theory, one could post a question with a link to Google Forms, but maybe some kind of integration would encourage more surveys and forecasts. Given the large number people who read the EA Forum, there is margin to collect lots of data.
We should have at least one dedicated "megathread" for EAG-related questions each year, so it's easier to ask such questions in public without creating dedicated posts for each of them.
In addition to enabling drop-down boxes for commonly used jargon, it would be great if drop-down boxes were an editable feature. I frequently try to balance my explanations so that they're able to cover the inferential gaps without being too longwinded. One way of dealing with this is to make separate articles for people with different backgrounds like what Arbital does. But I think I prefer just having drop-down boxes for deeper or alternative explanations that not everyone needs.
The lesswrong way of dealing with lost and recovered text is much more pleasant on firefox. On the EA forum I have to tick through two boxes every time I edit anything.
On lesswrong there is a little box that I can click if I want to
I'd like to be able to permanently set the front page to sort by "top (inflation adjusted) unread"
People should be notified if one of their posts is referenced in another post.
I recently realised that one of my less upvoted posts was mentioned in another post to have inspired a particular model. I then had a look at my other posts and saw more instances of having been referenced. It's nice to realise that people are using your work, but at the moment there's no easy way to know this!
Embed high impact jobs related to [the tags of] the post that the person is currently reading.
"You're reading an article about biosecurity, here are some open biosecurity jobs you might be interested in"
We can build a filter based on this, I don't consider it production-ready in that level yet, but if CEA is interested, it could be.
(I somehow don't predict you'll say "yes" to this, but I'm not sure what's the reason you'll say "no", so asking)
Allow users to embed Airtables in forum posts, such as this
When clicking on a tag, sort the post by "new" instead of by "relevant" by default. (What does "relevant" even mean? the newer posts are almost certainly more relevant)
An automatic jargon-explainer for commonly used jargon. This gets the best of both worlds, for readers and writers. People can use jargon more often, and not have to worry about it not landing with readers. And readers unaware of the jargon can hover over the word to see what it means, while readers who already do know can keep reading. Makes it easier to read for people within a wider range of inferential distance.
Efficient communication without having to link to each jargony word, since that might get distracting and take attention away from links they do want to emphasise.
Ideas coming out of a discussion yesterday evening
Problem: the eventual karma of a post depends a lot on the number of upvotes it gets in the first couple of hours/days after posting it.
Problem: The quality and relevance of new posts varies a lot nowadays. Readers need to (mentally) filter very quickly what to read. We tend to filter on easily available info, such as the karma that the post already has and the author's name (If your name is "Holden Karnofsky" and I've read many good posts from you in the past, I am much more likely to read the post than if... (read more)
Some suggestions for making tags more usefwl. I say some reasons I think tags are important in the post, but these suggestions are easy to see usefwlness of anyaway.... (read more)
Automatically create a bibliography with all the links in a post.
Tagging users to notify them (@[username]). People should be able to ‘authorize’ friendly tags but ‘professional’ tags should be possible by default. Users should be able to turn on-off notifications for ‘friendly’ and ‘professional’ tags. In this way, people could make and maintain connections via the Forum.
Also, orgs (or departments) could have their own tags. For example, if someone does not make a writing contest deadline, they should still be able to notify the org about an idea. Organizations could be also able to filter their tag and another set of ... (read more)
Encourage short posts:
Allow registered users to post anonymous comments and generate a unique anonymous Id to track them so we can e.g. see the thread of anon1's comments.
I think ideally this should not be visible to mods / backend so it's truly anonymous.
'Commenting sprees' - blocks of time where discussion with more immediate replies would be encouraged.
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:
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)
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.
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.
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)
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)
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).
It was suggested to add the 'looking for a job' checkbox on the EA Forum (see MVP ideas 2.)
... (read more)
- 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).
- 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.
- Consider hiding authorship and karma for posts 24 h
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
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.
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!
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.
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...)
A way to see what you have previously voted on with karma.
There's been murmurs about adjustments to the forum about voting and volume and this probably reflects broader sentiment.
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)
The analytics page is great!