EA Forum: Footnotes are live, and other updates

by Aaron Gertler1 min read21st May 201911 comments

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Effective Altruism Forum
Frontpage

The team behind the EA Forum would like to share the following updates:

Updates to post categorization guide

We recently made some updates to our post on the distinction between content in the “Frontpage”, “Community”, and “Personal Blog” categories. We recommend reading the post if you haven’t done so before and use the Forum often.

Footnotes are live

Update (2/8/21): We now recommend using this Google Docs add-on to create posts in Markdown. The add-on perfectly converts all the footnotes in a Google Doc, so that you don't need to worry about the below advice. But we're keeping the advice there for folks who don't use Google Docs, don't want to use the add-on, want to make manual fixes, etc.


You can now add linked footnotes to your posts!

To do this, you'll need to use the Markdown editor; you can switch between editors using the "Activate Markdown Editor" setting within "Edit Profile".

Here’s the Markdown formatting you’ll need. You can read the official guide here.

This sentence has an inline footnote, which is probably the easiest kind to use while writing. ^[Here’s the note, which will appear at the bottom of the post once it’s published.]

To show off the other option, which lets you add more than one paragraph of text, I’m adding a non-inline footnote to the next sentence. I can use any text after a caret inside brackets, as long as I use the matching symbol in the note below. [^fn-1]

[^fn-1]: Here’s a long footnote with multiple blocks.

Here’s the second block of the long footnote, indented to show that it still belongs to the previous footnote. This requires adding four spaces in front of the text after moving to a new line. (I haven't done that here, because it would turn the line into a code block outside the context of a footnote.)

Footnote syntax may take some getting used to, so we encourage you to try it out in a draft before you publish your first footnoted post.

Bios are now more visible

You can now see a user’s bio, if they’ve written one, by hovering over their username. This makes bios more useful than ever — if you haven’t written one, consider doing so!

Feedback

We’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these changes and updates. As always, you can leave a comment here or email Aaron Gertler.

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11 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 7:33 AM
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This[1] will save me so much time, thank you!


  1. When I say this, I mean the footnote thing. You are seeing an example of it right now. The bios thing is cool too though :) ↩︎

Nice!

Perhaps you all have considered this already, but I think there's a lot to like about sidenotes over footnotes, especially on the web (e.g. footnotes aren't always in sight at the bottom of a physical page).

Or hover-over/click-to-pop-up footnotes.

I agree, and I'll pass this feedback to the tech team (though Markdown having built-in footnote support was key for this feature's existence).

Both the hover-over and sidenotes on gwern.net are pure JS, and require no modifications to the original Markdown or generated HTML footnotes; they just run and modify the appearance clientside and degrade to the original footnotes if JS is disabled. (Obormot says feel free to contact him if you want/need any help integrating stuff.) For more on sidenotes, see https://www.gwern.net/Sidenotes

Neat feature, thanks for adding.

Suggestion: Include a footnote in the main post so that we can see.

Also, will this feature also be coming to the LessWrong forum?

See saulius's comment for an example!

LessWrong does have footnotes (at least on the test server I just checked), which use the same format. (Nearly every feature on the EA Forum is also available on LessWrong.)

Perhaps not the best place to ask this, but:

When I was going through my account options to edit my bio, I saw there's an option to automatically hide comments generated by GPT-2. Why are we not automatically marking these comments as spam or at least as bot-generated?

That setting is left over from an April Fool's Day joke on LessWrong where GPT-2 was trained to generate comments. As far as I know, there have never been any GPT-2 comments on the Forum. (If you see anything that looks to have been written by a nonhuman intelligence, please mark it as spam so I can see and remove it!)