New? Start here! (Useful links)

by Aaron Gertler3 min read11th Jan 2021No comments

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If we should change something in this post, or add something new, please let us know. Thanks!


This post lays out resources that might be valuable to Forum users, new or experienced. We want to keep it visible and up-to-date at all times.

New to effective altruism?

Learn the basics

A lot of posts on the Forum might be confusing if you’re not very familiar with effective altruism (“EA”). If you’ve just begun to learn about EA, try these resources:

  • The EA Handbook is a collection of classic articles compiled by the Centre for Effective Altruism. It introduces some key concepts and recommends further reading.
  • Giving What We Can, one of the first EA charities, has a great list of books, videos, essays, and podcasts.

Ask a question

If you have a specific question about EA, you should post it on the Forum: go to this page and click “New Question”. 

No matter how simple your question is, people here will be happy to help. Don’t be shy! 

New to the Forum?

How to use the site

You should start with “How to Use the Forum”, which covers ground rules and basic functionality.

Introduce yourself!

People use our monthly “open threads” to introduce themselves and talk about what they’ve been doing. This is a great way to make your first comment!

We also recommend writing a bio.

Share your thoughts

Another good way to start commenting: read posts, and provide feedback to the authors. Positive feedback can be especially valuable!

Looking for something to read?

Get the weekly email digest

Every week, the Forum’s moderators send an email sharing some of their favorite recent posts. Sign up for the emails with this form.

See posts that won prizes

Some of the Forum’s best posts have been awarded the EA Forum Prize. Here’s a list of all the winning posts.

Sort posts by topic

Want something more specific? Look at our tag page, which sorts articles by topic.

Read user-made sequences

We also have sequences — lists of related posts that people have glued together for a better reading experience.

View and sort every single post

For a more “choose your own adventure” feel, check out the “All Posts” page, which lets you filter thousands of posts using different criteria.

Want to write a post?

Videos with advice on writing for the Forum

As the Forum’s lead moderator, I’ve given a few talks on how to find good ideas and write good posts (EAGxVirtual, EA Student Summit). If you want motivation or brainstorming tips, you might find it helpful to skim through them.

See what other people want

Other places to find ideas: 

1. “What posts do you want someone to write?” 

If you publish something based on a comment here, be sure to tell the commenter!

This is also a good place to post if you want someone else to write something.

2. "A central directory for open research questions"

Many people and organizations have made lists of questions they think could be very impactful to answer. This post contains most of those lists.

If you want to explore a question you find here, consider messaging the person/org that originally asked the question, so you can ask for feedback on your plans. 

Consider an "Ask Me Anything" post

"Ask Me Anything" posts (AMAs) are some of the Forum's most useful. Rather than guessing what writing would help readers, you can answer questions directly!

AMAs can come from a wide range of people; you don't have to have a lot of experience in the EA movement or hold an EA-related job. See our guide to running an AMA for more information.

Make formatting easy

The Forum's default editor handles almost everything you'd want in a post... but not footnotes. If you have a post with those, you'll need to format it in Markdown.

Fortunately, this Google add-on does a good job of translating posts from Google Docs to the Forum's Markdown syntax, including footnotes. If you want to publish a post with footnotes, we recommend starting in Google Docs and using the add-on.

Get feedback on your writing

You can get my feedback on an idea, or a full draft, by asking me. I’m not an expert on any one topic, but I spent years as a professional editor and copywriter, and I’ve seen how people reacted to thousands of different posts; my advice comes from experience.

Another way to get feedback: Share your idea in the thread “What posts are you planning on writing?

You can get feedback from other people on the “Effective Altruism Editing and Review” Facebook group.

Want to meet other people in EA?

Join other online EA communities

Other places where effective altruism discussion happens online:

Arrange a meeting

Start by posting here, or reading about what others have posted: “What are some 1-1 meetings you’d like to arrange?” If you post on that thread, make sure to share that post on the latest open thread.

Create a profile on the EA Hub

More broadly, you may want to create a profile on the Effective Altruism Hub. You can also use the Hub to find other people’s profiles and get in touch with them.

Find an EA group in your area

The Hub also has a list of EA groups, so that you can see if any groups are in your area. Some groups aren't focused on a specific area, but instead focus on certain careers, cause areas, or personal affiliations (e.g. religion).

Find an online EA event

Finally, you can find online events (usually open to everyone) using this post.

Want to report a post or comment?

If a post or comment looks like spam, or otherwise seems to violate the Forum’s rules, you can report it by clicking the “...” next to the post/comment, like this:

It’s okay to report something, even if you aren’t sure it broke any rules! It’s better for the moderators to know about it so that we can make a decision. 

If someone sends you a private message that made you uncomfortable, you should contact:

  • The moderation team, for messages you don’t mind sharing with a group of people — for example, if someone says something generically rude/spammy.
  • Julia Wise, for sensitive or interpersonal problems — for example, if someone makes a threat against you, or seems to be experiencing a mental health crisis

Want to report a bug, or suggest a feature?

To report a bug, contact us through Intercom (the chat window in the corner of your screen) or send an email to aaron.gertler@centreforeffectivealtruism.org.

To suggest a feature, write a comment on the Feature Suggestion Thread. We see every comment someone posts, and we’ll reply if the feature gets implemented.

Want us to add something to this page?

Just leave a comment, and we’ll consider your idea. Thanks for helping out!

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