TL;DR: Friday, December 16 (and the weekend right after it) will be “Draft Amnesty Days” (DAD) on the Forum. People are encouraged to share unfinished posts, unpolished writing, butterfly ideas, thoughts they’re not sure they endorse, etc. on those days. 

I'm sharing this post primarily to let people know that this is happening (and when — save the dates!). 

We hope that Draft Amnesty Day will let people share valuable drafts that are otherwise sitting around waiting to be finished (something that might never happen). It’s possible that these drafts will later be “upgraded” to full posts; authors will be encouraged to post an updated version if they make significant changes. You can find more on the motivation behind this in the original post about it.

How this will work

During DAD, there will be a banner on the Forum that explains the event to anyone who might not know about it. We’ll also share templates that people can put on DAD posts, to share a bit of context on how people should interact with those posts. We’ve made a topic page for the day so that DAD posts can be tagged with it. We’ll also make posts with the tag down-weighted by default, make the tag visible on the Frontpage, and prominently feature instructions on hiding posts with this tag.[1] 

What the banner might be (likely slightly tweaked). It'll link to an explanation and instructions on how to participate or explore what people have written, and on how to hide Draft Amnesty Day posts entirely.

Appendix: Pros and cons of doing this

We weren’t sure if we should do this, but decided to go ahead. Here are major pros and cons that we considered (this isn’t an exhaustive list):

  • Pros
    • Unpolished-but-useful work gets shared, which spreads useful ideas, updates, and resources.
    • Value of information: we find out if running this sort of event is helpful. 
  • Cons
    • There’s a chance that this leads to a longer-term lowering of the (view-adjusted[2]) average quality of posts on the Forum.
      • There are a number of things that we can do to prevent or come back from this, and our guess is that Draft Amnesty Day will not change the average quality of the Frontpage significantly outside of the time that it’s running. 
    • Some people will read some of the drafts and think that they’re meant to be full posts, which can lead to confusion, unnecessary disagreement, and more. 
      • I’m hopeful that the template message we’ll encourage people to add to their posts will help mitigate this problem. 

Thanks to everyone who left feedback on the original post about this!

  1. ^

    The instructions will be something like: 

    You can hide Draft Amnesty Day posts entirely by using a tag filter. Go to the Frontpage of the Forum, then hover over the “Draft Amnesty Day” tag (find it to the right of the “Frtonpage Posts” header), and click on “Hidden.” Posts with this tag will stop showing up for you. 

    See similar instructions for posts about the FTX collapse.

  2. ^

    I think this is probably the most appropriate measure to think about when we talk about the quality of the "average" Forum post. In particular, we get some low-quality posts that have very few views, but I think they matter less than potential low-quality posts that get lots of views. (Often the very low-quality posts will have around 100 views with a high bounce rate — meaning people click into the post and leave immediately — and I bet a higher rate of people leaving after a very short amount of time. Some of the top-karma posts will have thousands or tens of thousands of views, and significantly longer average reading time — people spend longer on those posts.)

    (Note that karma, views, and reading time are not perfect measures of post quality! Not all low-karma posts are actually bad — there are some wonderful posts that don't get lots of karma and are seen by few people. But I do think that most of the very low-quality posts score pretty low on karma and get few views.)

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Comments1
Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 1:57 PM
MHR
6mo2410

I think this is perfectly good to try, but I'm personally skeptical that it will end up being especially useful. My sense is that right now, there isn't a shortage of frontpage content on the forum. Rather, there seems to often be a shortage of deep reading, engagement, and discussion when someone writes a long object-level post. I would be interested to see initiatives aimed at fostering that kind of deeper engagement with content, rather than at trying to get more frontpage posts.