Proposal for managing community requests on the forum

by EdoArad1 min read24th Nov 20208 comments

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I'd like to use the forum to request or suggest projects/posts that I wished existed or to ask for help with specific tasks. Ideally, to quickly jot down a post with a title like "wanted - a breakdown of Russ Robert's worldview and disagreements with EA" and a short description in the post so that people can understand the specifics. 

Also, I'd like to easily get a list of all these requests so that I could easily see if there is anything I can help with and for others that are interested in doing some EA volunteer work to have a good list to point them to. 

Lastly, it is essential to get quick feedback on projects. Many such requests might already have a solution unknown to the writer. The volunteer would like to gauge how much the community values the task. There should also be a way to see if the task has been completed adequately.

Proposal

I propose a simple MVP that uses the forum and requires minimal technical and norm changes. There are several ways of moving forward if this will be used well that require more work but might make it more valuable.

Technical 

I suggest adding a new tag (say "uncompleted-community-request") to be used on posts with a specific request like the example above. 

This tag will be hidden by default for non-users and will have a default visibility penalty in addition to the Community penalty for logged-in users (of, say, 15 karma).

Then, anyone can see the list of "uncompleted community requests" on the respective tag page, sorted by either post or tag upvotes. 

Norms

I'd want to encourage anyone to write down as many requests as they want. This shouldn't be problematic and spam too much, because of the default hide/penalty.

I'd want to encourage users to glance over these requests occasionally and upvote the posts that they think are an important request. 

I'd want to encourage people to downvote the "uncompleted-community-requests" tag when the request seems to be completed.

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I'm not sure about the penalty. I'm also not sure if I'm a fan of the current penalty system for community posts.

I have suggested this because we wanted to have a list of "content writing" tasks in EA Israel for members who wish to contribute. I think that this list of posts the community wants someone to write is a good example for doing that, but has some drawbacks (it's an old post which people don't see as often or don't expect high visibility/engagement, and it might be harder to see if some request has been completed).

Perhaps it would be better to start only with content-creation requests. 

To filter requests that deal specifically with posts we wish to see, we can add tags like "post-request" and then people can filter by both tags. 

What do you think about this? Should we try it out?

Do you have better mechanisms? 

I'm somewhat interested. I think we should also try to provide a bit of info on why we want help on the topic and any time limit. "wanted - a breakdown of Russ Robert's worldview and disagreements with EA because I'm curious" is totally valid but lower priority than "wanted - a breakdown of Russ Robert's worldview and disagreements with EA to look for important criticisms of EA, because next month I'll be starting a project to look for solutions to those criticisms"

I'd propose trying this exactly as you described but without the extra default-tag. As mentioned in a private discussion recently, I'm keen to keep the default number of tags small. Too many draws the eye for distraction. When you're just getting started, I know the site is actually a fair bit complex, and distraction hurts your ability to figure it out in the back of your head when you're mainly looking at content.

👍 

I'll try to open requests (open) and requests (closed) and see if it clicks :)

At first glance, I like the general idea, as well as the specific proposed mechanism. (This doesn't mean I think it's the best mechanism possible - I haven't tried to think of alternatives.)

And trying it seems probably low-cost.

This idea seems to overlap with the Get Involved tag, and many posts might warrant both tags, but I think the scope/use of the two tags is distinct enough that making this new one makes sense.