Official EA Forum Feedback Survey

by Aaron Gertler1 min read31st Mar 202010 comments

38

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Hello, Forum users!

I’m part of the CEA team that works on the EA Forum. We’re gathering feedback to figure out which changes and improvements to the Forum (technical and otherwise) we should prioritize.

 

Here’s a link to the feedback survey. Almost every question is optional; we'd really love to hear from you, even if you don't have time to go into detail!

You’re also welcome to share feedback in the comments on this post, or to send me an email.

 

Whether you’ve been using the Forum since 2014 or you made your account last week, please consider taking the survey! In doing so, you’ll help to improve your own experience, and that of every other user on the Forum.

10 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 8:34 AM
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Hey Aaron, I think there's an error on page 5 of the survey. It seems like the first question on that page should be a multi-select question (checkboxes) rather than a multiple choice once?

Thanks! I fixed the form a few hours ago.

One suggestion that I did submit on the feedback form: tags for posts to make searching and filtering by topic easier.

Maybe we can let people add their own tags arbitrarily, but it might be better to keep the list shorter by starting with a list, and mods (or forum users generally?) approving new tag requests.

I think tags are better than disjoint subforums, since some posts should have multiple tags, and we don't want to cross-post across subforums and split conversations.

Tags are under active development and should be available on the Forum soon (though no specific date has been set).

I filled out the survey, but don't want to fill it out again just to give one extra suggestion, and I'd like to see feedback on this suggestion, too:

I think we should see who votes on a comment or post, or at least downvotes (and their magnitudes, e.g. separate the strong downvotes from the regular ones). If you're going to punish someone for something they wrote, you should be willing to have your account attached to it, so we can expect you to defend it. I don't want to see downvotes being used merely as disagreement or disapproval of certain causes or views without explanation. This could unfairly suppress less popular views without allowing them to respond in defence.

I've seen this happen a few times with asymmetric population ethics views, including some comments on this post and my own Shortform (both some comments and the Shortform "post" itself; either they strong downvoted or had enough karma for single downvotes to count as double). Obviously I'm curious about who did this and would like to see explanation from them (although I don't expect to get it), and would prefer this not to happen in the future without explanation, so I have some personal stake here.

I saw elsewhere that different kinds of reactions besides upvotes and downvotes could be useful, too. E.g. agree, disagree, "downvote" for off-topic, "downvote" for tone/rudeness, "upvote" for quality. Being able to upvote someone for quality but still quickly signal disagreement seems like it could be useful, although maybe that's best left for replies.

I think there are several good points to what you've written here (for transparency: I upvoted the comment), but I'll share some counterpoints as well.

When I imagine what would happen if we launched a "transparent voting" feature and people couldn't opt out of it, I foresee many people telling me that this feature would make them very worried about ever downvoting any material from people with a high-status/"authoritative" viewpoint on something. I already hear frequently, from a surprisingly wide range of people, that writing critical comments on the Forum is intimidating when the target of criticism is well-versed in the subject or generally a well-respected thinker. 

I'm not certain that transparent voting would actually be more informative in the end (if many fewer people bother to vote at all, and fewer voters vote their true beliefs in controversial cases, that's a lot of lost info).

This seems like an important consideration.

My thinking is that downvotes should be used sparingly, and only with feedback (or some cited reason). If someone with a high-status/"authoritative" viewpoint is being downvoted, even they deserve to know why. If someone is brave enough to reply with criticism, others could upvote that criticism anonymously (upvotes could remain anonymous).

Maybe the voting can remain anonymous, but each downvote has to be tied to an explanation? E.g. each downvote must reference a comment in the post as an explanation. Once one person properly criticizes with a comment, the others can refer to that comment anonymously as the reason for their downvotes. This gives whoever's been downvoted a chance to know why and a chance to defend themselves.

Also, I often upvote and leave critical comments without complimenting, and it would be more convenient if the upvote functionality showed my account so it could signal that I did actually appreciate their comment/post despite my criticism, without me having to write it in a comment. Or I could just put in the effort...

On Facebook, reacting to a comment is a quicker way to acknowledge it when you don't have anything else to add.

Or we could functionally require downvotes to come with explanations (they can be short or just refer to other explanations or comments), and we'd probably want these to be tied to accounts, too, since otherwise people could insult each other (more) anonymously.

But then we might want to be able to vote or respond to these explanations, so maybe you can only downvote if you reply to the comment or reference another comment on the post?