With the U.S. presidential election cycle in full swing, we want to lay out the way we think about political discussion on the Forum.
Political issues are clearly relevant to improving the world. However, in our experience, we’ve seen that partisan political discussion tends to have a strong polarizing effect on public forums; it consumes a lot of a community’s attention and can lead to emotionally charged arguments. Overall, we think the EA Forum will be healthier, and better-positioned to achieve its goals, if we limit the space given to political topics.
We don’t plan to prohibit any content based on its political nature. However, the following types of post will remain in the “Personal Blog” category (meaning that they will not appear on the Forum’s homepage, but will appear in “All Posts,” in the author’s profile, and on any relevant tag pages):
- Posts advocating for or against a specific political candidate or group of candidates (e.g. “Why effective altruists should vote for candidate Y”)
- This policy also applies to posts which neutrally solicit opinions on a particular candidate, since those opinions are generally going to be advocacy for or against the candidate, which risks leading to the same issues.
- Posts discussing policy issues with only tenuous connection to the main EA cause areas (e.g. “What John Smith’s position on gun rights means for EA voters”)
Some political content will continue to receive “Frontpage” categorization:
- Posts discussing general systems for evaluating any political candidate (e.g. “Candidate Scoring System, Third Release”)
- Posts discussing policy issues that are directly connected to core EA cause areas (e.g. this post on a campaign to boost Canadian development assistance)
These policies aren't set in stone, and we'd welcome any feedback.
(Also, we reserve the right to make exceptions in exceptional circumstances. For example, if the favored candidate of the "Destroy Human Civilization" party is leading the polls in a nuclear-armed nation, that seems to merit a Frontpage post about how to stop them.)
Where does a post on vote-trading/vote-pairing fit in? On the one hand, it's about electoral politics tactics rather than an object-level discussion of which candidates or political parties are better.
On the other hand, they're usually structured to implicitly or explicitly benefit some candidates at the cost of others.
That post seems totally fine to me. I don't see these methods as being too much more implicitly beneficial to certain candidates than approval voting is. And it's hard to talk about political reform without thinking about which groups might benefit. I'd just not want to frontpage people who argue that reform X is good only because it will elect the awesome Y party and kick out the evil Zs.