How should we run the EA Forum Prize?

by Aaron Gertler1 min read23rd Jun 202030 comments

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After collecting feedback from the community, I’ve decided to make June the last month that CEA will definitely award the EA Forum Prize in their current form. This means that we will publish prize posts for May 2020 and June 2020, but won’t necessarily award prizes after that. (This was also announced in the most recent prize post.)

Overall, while some users reported finding the Prize valuable or motivating, that number wasn’t quite as high as I had been hoping for. I also heard some good suggestions for ways the Prize could be restructured. 

This thread is meant to collect additional suggestions for how we could run the Forum Prize — or otherwise use the funding (roughly $20,000/year) to promote the creation of excellent Forum content.

My question: How would you suggest we run the Prize, or otherwise use the aforementioned budget to support content creation?

(Note that we may wind up sticking to the same format, or something very similar, if we don’t find a different arrangement that we like more.)

If you have thoughts on any of the ideas below, or other suggestions of your own, please let us know on this post! You can also contact me if you’d prefer privacy.

Ideas we’ve heard or thought of so far

  • Themed prizes (e.g. setting aside one prize for “the best post on topic X”)
  • Giving more prizes, even if they end up being smaller on average
  • Selecting at least one judge to represent each major EA cause area
  • Including a community vote (not just upvotes, but a separate voting process). This would likely supplement judges' votes, not replace them.
  • Having a special “first post” and/or “first comment” prize for people who make a really good first contribution from an account
  • Having separate prizes for orgs/professional researchers and people who contribute to the Forum on more of an “amateur” basis
  • Having more flexible prize amounts (e.g. maybe one post should win all the money in some months if it’s especially good, or maybe money should be distributed according to vote ratios rather than just first/second/third place)
  • Having judges who are somewhat removed the community (or finding some other way to reduce the extent to which the Prize may reflect the biases of the community or of central orgs within the community)
  • Getting rid of the Prize entirely without replacing it (one survey respondent, who has written many excellent posts and won at least one Prize, believes it to be “distracting and unnecessarily divisive”)

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