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TL;DR

The Forum will hold a Draft Amnesty Week from March 11th-17th. 

Draft Amnesty Week is a chance to share unpolished drafts, posts you aren’t sure you agree with, and drafts which have become too ugh-y to finish.

We’ll host smaller events and threads in the weeks before, to help you come up with ideas, prioritise your drafts, and polish anything that needs polishing. Keep an eye out (and read more below). 

This is a variation on an event the Forum team ran in 2022: see more here

How does Draft Amnesty Week work? 

  1. Optionally — you take part in the buildup events this week and next week, to come up with ideas for posts to write, and find time to draft them.
  2. During Draft Amnesty Week (March 11-17), you publish your draft post(s). To make it clear that they are a part of the Draft Amnesty event, you can put this table[1] at the top of your post, and tag the post with the Draft Amnesty Week tag. There'll be a banner up on the Forum.
  3. Even if you don’t post, you can give authors feedback! Vote, comment; help us all highlight the best ideas from the event. 
  4. After the week has ended, I’ll write a round-up post reviewing some of the best submissions. 

Why run Draft Amnesty Week? 

Firstly, because I suspect that many of you have interesting outlines or half-drafted posts in your google drives. Draft Amnesty Week is a time when we have social permission to release these into the world (and to press your friends and colleagues into doing the same). Linch’s post from last time is a great example of an incomplete post which is much better out and published than in and unseen. 

When you let out a loud fart in public : r/Shrek
Opinions on Shrek as the Patron Saint of Draft Amnesty?

Secondly, because our last Draft Amnesty event went really well. We got valuable posts like Clifford’s Lessons learned from Tyve, and a post on lessons for AI governance from early electricity regulation, which would likely not have been made public at the time, if it wasn’t for the event.  

Timetable

This week (Feb 26 to March 3): Collecting Ideas 💡

I've posted a question thread, asking: “What posts would you like someone to write?” (like this past edition). Draft Amnesty Week is a great opportunity to have a crack at providing one of these posts, even if you aren’t confident you can do a perfect job. 

March 4-10: Writing Week 📝

I’m running two events on the EA gather.town for Forum users to get together and hack together some drafts

  • The first will be on March 5th from 10am-12pm UTC. Sign up here
  • The second will be on March 7th from 6-8pm UTC. Sign up here
This is what gather looks like, you can walk around and talk to the people near you. My avatar came out looking a lot like Matt Yglesias.

I'll also post a thread asking “What posts are you considering writing?” (like this one). This is an opportunity to gauge how excited the Forum is about your different ideas, and prioritise between them. 

Draft Amnesty Week (March 11-17) 🎉

This is the week when we will actually post our drafts 🎉 

Draft Amnesty Week FAQ

How draft-y is too draft-y? 

My main recommendation is that the reader should be able to understand your writing, even if it is incomplete, unpolished, or skeletal. For example, it is okay to have a bullet point such as:

  • “I was going to write something about how this problem applies to the problem of moral knowledge here, but reading this Encyclopedia page because aversive, so I’m skipping over it for now”

However, it wouldn’t be as valuable for the reader to see a bullet point such as: 

  • “Insert moral knowledge stuff”

If you want a second pair of eyes, DM me and I'll look at your draft. 

What if I don’t want to see Draft Amnesty posts? 

If you would like to opt out of seeing Draft Amnesty posts, go to the Frontpage, and follow the steps in the GIF below:

Animated GIF

I’m worried my draft isn’t high quality enough, should I still post it?

Short answer — yes. 

Long answer — the karma system is designed to show people posts which the Forum community judges as valuable for Forum readers. Obviously it isn't always perfect, and good posts with niche audiences aren't always given much karma. But if you are unsure whether people will find your draft valuable, you can defer to the karma system to make the decision. If you're finding yourself wavering on the decision, please lean towards posting! 

Some more forum writing encouragement can be found in Lizka's thoughts on writing on the Forum (though she isn't writing with a Draft Amnesty Week in mind).

If you want a second pair of eyes, DM me and I'll look at your draft. 

If you have any feedback or questions, please share them!

Feel free to put any feedback or questions about the event in the comments below, or DM me

If you'd like bonus accountability, comment below if you have a draft you're thinking about posting!

  1. ^
    This is a Draft Amnesty Week draft. It may not be polished, up to my usual standards, fully thought through, or fully fact-checked. 

    Commenting and feedback guidelines: 
    Keep one and delete the rest (or write your own):

    1. I'm posting this to get it out there. I'd love to see comments that take the ideas forward, but criticism of my argument won't be as useful at this time. 
    2. This draft lacks the polish of a full post, but the content is almost there. The kind of constructive feedback you would normally put on a Forum post is very welcome. 
    3. This is a Forum post that I wouldn't have posted without the nudge of Draft Amnesty Week. Fire away! (But be nice, as usual)
Comments7
Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 3:47 AM

Update: I've now spoken to 11 people who have drafts that they are hoping to post :) 

Personally, I'm thinking of posting a journalistic piece about wild animal welfare which I wrote in late 2022. For various reasons (not quite finished, needs an edit, some people wanted me to check with them before I published it, etc...) I haven't published till now. 

In draft amnesty week, I can overcome these issues, ignore that it isn't quite perfect, and just redact the names and identifying info of people who asked to see their interviews before the piece was published [pending checking with a journalist that is good journalistic ethics]. 

I might also bash out another few draft ideas which have been sitting in my google drive even longer...

Obviously it isn't always perfect, and good posts with niche audiences aren't always given much karma.


This was actually a surprisingly useful thing to hear, and I'm glad you included it. It can be quite disheartening (especially for first or second time posters) to spend weeks on a post for it to receive single digit karma after it goes live. I'd hate to think that ever puts anyone off. It's just something that happens. Things like amnesty are good for overcoming that (I assume), especially people who are afraid to make posts for fear of harsh criticism.

I may have a crack at taking part in the draft amnesty, if any 'would like to see' suggestions match my research areas.

Looking forward to seeing what else this generates!

I'm glad! Excited to see what you draft if you do.

This problem is part of the reason the Forum's tagging/topics/wiki system is so important. If your post is correctly tagged, then someone interested in the (potentially very niche) question you are answering will be able to find it, even years later. 

I also try to use the Digest to highlight posts which were very good, but get low karma for whatever reason. 

I'll try to post two! 

I'll commit to posting a couple of drafts. Y'all can look at me with disapproval (or downvote this comment) if I fail to share two posts during Draft Amnesty Week. 

Amazing. Ready to strong downvote this comment at even the hint of only one draft by the 17th March. We'll see if a ulysses-stylye pact as weak as a few negative Karma on the EA will be enough motivation ;).

As a quick update: I did not in fact share two posts during the week. I'll try to post another "DAW post" (i.e. something from my drafts, without spending too much time polishing it) sometime soon, but I don't endorse prioritizing this right now and didn't meet my commitment. 

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