Hello, Forum! This is Aaron, your friendly neighborhood moderator (and a content writer/editor at CEA).
I’m writing this to let you know that I offer a free service as part of my work for CEA: If you want someone to look over your Forum post before you publish it, I will gladly do that.
(I’ve been doing this since the Forum got started, but I’ve since been advised that telling everyone at once would be better than telling people one at a time in private conversations. Go figure.)
My goal is to help people who are uncertain about an idea or draft by getting them to a point where they feel comfortable publishing a post. That said, you’re always welcome to run things by me even if you’re already sure you want to publish them!
Services I offer
- Commenting on an idea that hasn’t yet been written up, to suggest directions you could take or material you might want to read before you write a draft.
- Making broad suggestions about major changes you could make, or pieces on related topics that I’d be excited to see.
- Making minor suggestions about points or sentences that I found unclear.
- I usually won't have time to run a full edit, but I may note typos that I happen to see.
- Sending your draft to other people who know more about the topic than I do, or otherwise seem like they’d give useful feedback.
- I’ll ask for permission before I do this.
How to get help
- Email me a shared document with a draft of your post.
- Not a shared draft on the Forum or a Word Doc, please — either a Google Doc or another online document that I can make comments on without having to save a separate draft. This makes the process much easier from my side.
- Let me know when you need to hear back by.
- Even if there’s no rush, it helps me to have a fake deadline I can add to my task-tracking system, so something like “two weeks from today, but you can extend that if you need to” is better than “whenever”.
- If I doubt the deadline will work with my schedule, I may say something like “it’s more likely than not that I won’t get to this”.
- Tell me what kind of feedback you want. For example:
- “I’m nervous that this post might be an infohazard. Whom should I consult about that?”
- “I’m new to effective altruism, and I’m worried that I’m saying something obvious that will bore or annoy people who have more experience. Do you know of other posts that cover the same points?”
- “I’m not sure whether this post belongs on the EA Forum at all. What do you think?”
- “I think this post is almost perfect, and I’m not looking to make major changes, but I’d still like feedback on paragraphs #4 and #5.”
I’ve already done this for many Forum users, including people who’d never posted before and people who have thousands of karma. I’m not the world’s greatest editor, but I’ve written and edited a lot of things for money over the years, and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to communicate EA ideas.
Bonus: There is a Facebook group for people who want suggestions on EA writing — whether or not it’s related to the Forum. I’ve spoken to multiple people in the last month who have substantial professional editing experience and really want to see more content appear in that group. Go forth and publish!