Edit from 2022: Consider checking the Forum user manual if you're not sure if something you're looking for might already be possible. 


Hello, Forum!

This is Aaron and JP of the EA Forum team. 

We spend a lot of time working on the Forum, and we’d like to hear your ideas for making it better. These can be new features or other kinds of requests.

Even if you don’t have suggestions of your own, consider upvoting ideas you like from the comments. That will have nonzero influence on the features we prioritize (though we also take many other factors into account).

If you’d rather make a suggestion privately, get in touch with us through this page.

Edit April 2022: This thread is still very live as you can see by the continual influx of suggestions. We have now synced our asana project with our public Github issues list, so you can see our recorded tasks there.[1] I'd still recommend suggesting features here so that other users can see and discuss them. — JP

  1. ^

    Note: there's a delay between when we write tasks down and when they get triaged into a state that gets synced with Github.

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@Matt Goodman  thanks for all your suggestions. I think they all make sense or have been suggested before, and we'll have to prioritize them against our other work!

I'd like to be able to hide the amount of karma and agreement points a comment or post has. I think seeing how many people have upvoted a statement affects how likely I am to agree with or upvote that statement. I think it makes me more likely to vote in accordance with social agreement, rather than whether or not I think a statement is true or well written.   I'd like to be able to turn this off from time to time. Strongly downvoted comments should probably still be hidden.

I think the UI for voting could be improved in the following ways:

  • The arrows for voting on Karma point sideways, not up and down. It's not immediately clear which one is upvote and which one is downvote.
  •  The explanation text about voting (the one that explains Karma, agree/disagree and strong votes) only appears when you hover your mouse over the arrows. This means you never see it on mobile, where there's no mouse.
  • the hit boxes could be bigger for arrows on mobile.

The formatting toolbar doesn't appear until after you highlight text. This means you can only format text after you've written it - you can't for example, select bold and have your text appear in bold as you write it. This is something I find unintuitive. It took me a a few minutes of looking for the toolbar and googling how to do it before I realised the toolbar only appears when you highlight text. I'd like the formatting toolbar to always be on the page when I'm writing. 

I'd like to be able to highlight a word or phrase in text I'm writing and Ctrl-V a URL link directly into that phrase. This is something that other platforms, like Slack do.

Yes, you can highlight a phrase and bring up the toolbar to add a link, but being able to do it immediately through a well known keyboard shortcut is easier.

Ctrl+K is a pretty well-known shortcut, for example on Google Docs, and works here too
1Matt Goodman3d
Thanks, I didn't know that one!

Can we put this page in the sidebar?

I noticed that adding a tag to a post in draft mode now automatically adds the parent tag. But it's not clear to the user why two tags are being added at once. This also contributes to the overtagging of posts.

On Wikipedia, the guideline is to tag pages with the most specific categories they belong to. So if category B is a child of category A, then pages that belong to both A and B should only be tagged with B, whereas pages in A \ B should only be tagged with A.

In general, I think the EA Forum should be more thoughtful about tags. If we want to replicate... (read more)

3Sharang Phadke3d
Thanks, I think think this is good feedback. I recognize the way parent / child tags work now isn't ideal. We'll have to prioritize improving this against other things we could work on!
1[comment deleted]3d

When using search, the date on the search result card doesn't seem to always match up with the published date on the post itself.

For example, this post was published yesterday, 24th January, but when it appears in search it looks like:

which might be the date it was first created in draft form, and not published?

Which also leads to counter-intuitive things like:

Thanks for flagging this! This does seem off; I've passed it on for triage & fixing.

Display a more detailed breakdown of karma and agreement karma by number of upvotes and downvotes rather than overall amount. 

I think that the weighted voting system is counterproductive overall (it creates perverse incentives, it ascribes false authority to users who are more prolific or who may have expertise in one area and poor understanding in others, and it is needlessly undemocratic) and makes it harder to meaningfully understand the karma of a given post or comment, but this could go someway in making the actual impact of posts and comments mo... (read more)

I agree. I'm amazed how quickly I have gone from adding 1 Karma to adding 4 now. Maybe voting could only be enabled after a certain amount of engagement, but it does feel undemocratic.
Same here, I actually wasn't aware of weighted voting until I noticed I was able to do it. I don't think there's a problem with voting (even voting + flat rate strong voting seems perfectly reasonable to me) by weighing votes according to karma seems very high cost to very little or no gain
 I know. Look how easily you got to 5 Karma on this comment ;)

Couldn't see if someone already suggested this but:

  • Have a separate field for org name on profile 
  • Option to select if you're writing a post on behalf of an organisation or as an individual (this is very important imo often people write posts and it's not clear who they work for) 
    • Auto-tag with org name + "org updates" or similar tag
  • Organisation tag shows all the people who've listed org name on their profile 
2Peter Wildeford1mo
I’d like this
Thanks for suggesting these, I'm passing them on. 

I'd like to be able to bookmark comments, in the same way you can bookmark posts. There's a lot of really, really well thought out and written comments, in some cases containing just as much value as articles, and I'd like to be able to bookmark a comment to come back to. 

I'd argue this is even more important than bookmarking articles, because articles have tags and titles to search for, whereas comments don't, and it's easy to loose track of what article and what thread the one you're looking for is contained in.

1Sharang Phadke1mo
Thanks Matt, noted!

It would be nice to be able to order search results by date and maybe some other features like karma.

(Probably has been suggested before but thought I'd add): A small indicator for the original poster of the top-level post in the comments. Like the microphone on Reddit.

Came here to suggest this
Love this!

If someone downvotes, suggest that they explain why

I disagree and I downvoted this because explaining why you downvoted something is disproportionately likely to end up with me arguing with someone on the internet. I find this really unpleasant. I'm happy to have a rule for giving an explanation to you if I downvote your posts. I've talked with you as a person outside of internet arguments, so I'm not as worried about getting into a protracted argument. But as a general rule, I think I should be discouraged from explaining my downvotes so that I keep up my mental health. Separately, if this was a thread that had agree/disagree enabled I would just click disagree! The comment is fine, and I try to reserve downvote for things that are mean or grossly incorrect if agree/disagree is available.
3Matt Goodman5d
Props for taking the time to explain, even though you don't like it!
3Yonatan Cale16d
Upvoted since you explained why you don't like my idea, and I like that! :)
4Yonatan Cale16d
Hey (:   To be clear, my feature suggestion is something like a popup reading "you downvoted this, consider explaining why" as opposed to "in order to downvote this, you MUST explain why".   The pain point I'm trying to solve is "I don't know why people down vote my comments sometimes and it makes me sad and confused". Maybe my specific proposed solution isn't good; my pain point remains, though   I also acknowledge that "explaining why I downvoted" can lead into arguing-on-the-internet which could be negative in a way that I want to avoid (and I don't want to drag people into).
Oh for sure, I wasn't thinking you were implying making it a requirement. I was trying to say that even a nudge towards explaining downvotes is a nudge towards evil (for me). Maybe the net advantage of explaining downvotes would be good, but I personally should probably be discouraged from explaining my downvotes.

For Shortform:

  1. The link to get here from the main page is awfully small and inconspicuous (1 of 145 individual links on the page according to a Chrome extension)
    1. I can imagine it being near/stylistically  like:
      1. "All Posts" (top of sidebar)
      2. "Recommendations" in the center
      3. "Frontpage Posts", but to the main section's side or maybe as a replacement for it you can easily toggle back and forth from
  2. Would be cool to be able to sort and aggregate like with the main posts (nothing to filter by afaik)
    1. I'd really appreciate being able to see the highest-scoring Shortf
... (read more)
3Sharang Phadke2mo
Thanks for the feedback! I do think we want to rethink our information architecture once we hire and onboard a designer, who is coming soon!

So, proposing that we give everyone equal voting power gives those on the forum with more voting power an incentive to lessen mine (by downvoting this). So how about this: we make the agreement karma democratic. That way we can see what people actually agree or disagree on and since it doesn't affect karma we can make it democratic without affecting those with disproportionate voting power.

EDIT: Three people upvoted this suggestion, one person downvoted this suggestion, the result is negative karma. What we see is that the downvotes contain a lot more voti... (read more)

Add Agreement Karma to posts.

This comment suggesting this feature got 32 Agreement with 9 votes:

Perhaps it's not clear whether adding agreement karma to posts is positive on net; but I think perhaps it would be worth adding for a month as an experiment. A counter-consideration is that many voters on the Forum may not understand the difference between overall karma and agreement karma still. Unconclusive weak evidence: This answer [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/buk2kgMFxWzQAuJta/has-karma-agreement-voting-behavior-changed?commentId=HD7KBheHm5zEvTcFF] got 3 overall karma with 22 votes (at some point it was negative) and 18 agreement karma with 20 votes: (It's unconclusive evidence because while the regular karma downvotes surprised me, people could have had legitimate reasons for not liking the meta-answer and downvoting it. My suspicion though is that at least some people down-voted this in an attempt to "Disagree" vote in the poll.)
I agree that maybe people don't get it (like kinda me) but I think both things, posts and comments, should have it or neither.

When LessWrong posts are crossposted to the EA Forum, there is a link in EA Forum comments section:

This link just goes to the top of the LessWrong version of the post and not to the comments. I think either the text should be changed or the link go to the comments section.

When a user moves a controversial post to drafts, other readers get worried of censorship. Two recent examples: https://mobile.twitter.com/erikphoel/status/1559527499188654085 https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/sD4kdobiRaBpxcL8M/what-happened-to-the-women-and-effective-altruism-post?commentId=GpSneam3oSwaBYDWH

It might make sense to tweak the prose. Maybe let moderators add a reason, like for deleted comments (e.g. "spam", "moved to draft after a request from the author"), and for users write "the author of this post marked it as a private draft"

1Sharang Phadke2mo
Thanks for this suggestion and for the examples. I'm going to add this to our list, I do think something better than "this page doesn't exist" is probably better.

We should make it harder to manipulate your own comments' karma. My favoured approach would be to deactivate all voting on one's own comments. Also fine would be if by default, you strongly upvote and strongly agree with all of your own comments.

There was a good amount of agreement about this previously.

This has now been implemented. You cannot strong upvote your own comments, nor vote along the agreement axis.

Great, thanks!
As to whether voting on overall karma for one's own comment should be eliminated, I would prefer deactivating voting to a default strong-upvote, however a third option that I think might be better would be to default-normal-upvote and disable strong-upvote on one's own comment. A fourth option (that I think I'd prefer the most) would be to retain the ability to strong upvote one's own comments while making the default for everyone normal-upvote or no-upvote (to preserve the ability to self-boost unusually important comments). Some other mechanism would be needed to prevent abuse of  this. For example, the mechanism could be that self-strong-upvoting only works if nobody else downvotes your comment. Or it could be that you could only self-strong-upvote your comment if you strong-upvoted less than 9 in 10 (or whatever fraction) of your previous comments.
I think the key problem, both for upvoting and agreement-voting is that is that it hurts much more to have your comments in the negatives than it feels good to have your comments in the positives (and indeed, whenever I see a negative number, it feels really harsh and it does give me a sense that the community overall disapproves or disagrees with the content).  I think usually when a discussion is heated, I prefer the equilibrium where the two primary discussion partners have votes that cancel each other out, instead of an equilibrium where just all the comments are in the negatives. This includes the case where the person you are responding to is strong-downvoting your comment, and then I think it can make sense to strong-upvote your comment, in order to not give the false impression that there is a consensus against your comment.  I don't currently know a good way to handle this. I also dislike the recent change to disagreement-voting for that reason, and would prefer a world where we also make agreement-votes automatically self-apply, since my brain definitely parses a discussion with everything in the negatives on agreement voting as "there is consensus against this" as opposed to "there are two people disagreeing".
I do think the thing where you can but don't automatically agree with your own post is confusing. Right now if I see something with one agree and one disagree vote it's ambiguous whether two other people voted, plus the comment writer surely agrees with themself, or if the one agree is from the comment writer so it's 1 to 1. 
This problem won't arise if everyone strong-upvotes themselves by default.
Yeah, but I think the problem is then that in the case of comments the consensus seems actually too dominated by people's initial strong-vote, and arguing against Eliezer on LW with a 10 karma upvote would make it feel like consensus is heavily stacked against you in a way I also don't like.
Most people have strong upvote strength 3-7 though. Anyway, if this is a big problem, then just cap self-upvote strength around 5?
I mean, that would just make the total karma system in 90% of cases worse. For example I think it totally makes sense for posts by Eliezer to start with that much karma, since I think there is a strong prior that they are going to be pretty good.
I was thinking just for comments.
Ah, yeah, I think that's a kind of reasonable thing to do. My primary hesitation is that it's not super intuitive and adds complexity, but it seems like one of the reasonable ways forward.
The main downside to everyone strong-upvotes themselves by default in my view is that it punishes new users (or those with lower karma and thus weaker strong-upvotes) too much. Maybe this isn't that important of a factor?
To me, that sounds like a feature, not a bug, given how the influx of users has degraded average post quality recently.
The third proposal seems fine to me, but the fourth is complex, and still rewards users who strong-upvote their own comments as much as the rules allow.
I strongly agree about eliminating the ability to agree/disagree-vote on one's own comment. I expect everyone to agree with what they write by default unless e.g. they say they're playing devil's advocate. Giving people the option to agree-vote on their own comment just adds unnecessary uncertainty by making it so people can't tell if an agreement vote on a comment is coming from the author or another user.
I agree. This has been discussed for quite some time (it was first raised three years ago) so it would be good to reach a decision.

I think it would be better if agree/disagree voting didn't follow the typical karma rules where different users have different amounts of karma. As it stands I often don't know how many people expressed agreement vs. disagreement, which feels like the information I actually want, and it doesn't make intuitive sense that one forum user might be able to "agree twice as much" as another with a comment.

3Sharang Phadke3mo
Thanks for the feedback. The tradeoff I see is that it could be valuable for folks to be able to express a strong vs weak opinion. Perhaps what we need is to give a better breakdown of how the votes went?

Make the forum available in other languages. Right now the only option is English.

Also rely less on acronyms. For example, when selecting "program participation" it shows you the acronym VP:

I happen to know that this stands for "Virtual Program" but a newcomer (especially one that isn't a native English speaker) might not know this (and might even assume it stands for something different like Vice Presidency, Virtual Profile, Video phone-call, Viewpoint, Value proposition etc).

I appreciate this, thank you!

Curated posts could resurface to the frontpage at exponentially decaying intervals.

  1. Counteracts recency bias. Enables longer-term discussions.
  2. Increases exposure (and over a more varied reader population) to the most important ideas.
  3. Efficiently[4] increases collective memory of the best contributions.
  4. We might uncover and dislodge some flawed assumptions that reached universal acceptance in the past due to information cascades
  5. Given recency bias combined with the fact that people are very reluctant to write things that have been written about befor
... (read more)
5Sharang Phadke3mo
Thanks Emrik, we do plan to reconsider how the frontpage should work in a few months!
I also made a suggestion on Sasha's post [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/nWJqDJvkM3hnx9Acv/suggestion-separate-out-the-ftx-threads-somehow?commentId=hdkiRNsw7CDpfkZjs] related to nudging [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Default_effect] people's reading habits by separating out FTX posts by default. I don't endorse the design, but it could look something like this.[1] Alternatively, could introduce 'tag profiles' or something, where you can select a profile, and define your filters within each profile.[2] (P.S. Sorry for the ceaseless suggestions, haha! Brain goes all sparkly with an idea and doesn't shut up until I make a comment about it. ^^') 1. ^ 2. ^
3Sharang Phadke3mo
Oh I really like this, and I've had some similar ideas. Will make a note of it!

Quiz as a Service for posts

I stumbled upon this service:


That can generate a quiz out of anything. 

Having a "quiz me!" or "did you fully get the article?" button on every forum post where it would provide an AI-generated multiple-choice quiz would probably be very valuable for everyone.

I'd be happy to work on the development of this.

1Sharang Phadke3mo
Interesting suggestion, I think this could be interesting. When you say "would probably be valuable", what do you see as the value? Gamification? Remembering the post better? I think there are a variety of caveats (below), but ultimately I'd be interested in you trying this out on a number of posts to see how useful it is, and maybe writing a post about it. Caveats: * Many posts won't have a clear right and wrong interpretation of issues, will a quiz give the wrong impression? * This AI tool doesn't take much additional input (as far as I can tell), and I'm curious whether it will pick out key points vs non-novel statements
The value needs to be researched! I have tried the tool on "hard" mode and the questions are quite nuanced. You would only be able to get the answers right if you really read the article in detail and took your time. The AI tool will not take additional input indeed.  I'll do as you suggested! Will try it a few times and post about it

Embed iframes

Some use cases:

This feature is very versatile and would solve many things at once.

1Sharang Phadke3mo
Thanks for this suggestion, I believe you can already embed a number of things in posts by default, but not arbitrarily anything, see here: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Y8gkABpa9R6ktkhYt/forum-user-manual#Extra_cool_things
1Filip Sondej3mo
Oh great! I didn't know about some of them. Still, the main thing I had in mind was to embed some custom interactive stuff. Implementing it as iframe support, would be the most general, and you would solve all the possible "embed X" suggestions at once. So it seams to be the most efficient approach.

Co authors (second authors and later?) of posts don't appear to have their posts in the profile?


Sidhu has no post listed:

This seems mild, but could be bad if someone likes to co author a lot.

2Charles He3mo
Ah, maybe the above might be an async indexing thing? (e.g. async/chron tasks updates the indexes every 24 hours and the above example is too recent to be indexed)  Amber Dawn has her posts listed:

Check if information cascades / social influence bias is a problem on EA Forum.

If it is, maybe we could implement Emrik's idea to counter it, or some similar mechanism.

See here for the explanation of the potential problem.

To test it, we could do an experiment where some bot (or server-side process) randomly upvotes or downvotes new posts. We measure final karma after some fixed time, and see if that single vote snowballed.

relevant discussion

1Sharang Phadke3mo
Thanks for this suggestion. Do you suspect that this is a big deal and have any intuition as to why? My intuition is that it's quite an interesting experiment, but seems unlikely to be a major influence on the Forum based on the fact that most posts with high karma are actually pretty decent.
1Filip Sondej3mo
I don't suspect it to be that bad. More like some noise added to each post's score, and some posts not getting enough attention because of that. In the reddit experiment single upvotes caused posts to have 25% higher mean score later (this effect was present in all parts of the distribution). But the effect size was very dependent on the topic, so I'm curious how would that turn out for EA Forum.
I was curious about this when I skimmed the paper, but I couldn't find a breakdown of the impact of the random upvotes on, say, the top 5% highest upvoted posts. Do you know where to find that breakdown or what you mean with this?
1Filip Sondej3mo
Ah, no, I just read the report of results on Wikipedia (that's how they worded it). Hm, it's strange if that's not in the paper.
Ah, yeah, I read this on Wikipedia: But since I don't know what effect sizes they're talking about at the top of the distribution, I don't think this sentence is very informative.
I love that as a mechanism for measuring the effect of info cascades. It's cheap, non-obtrusive, and certain. It's from this study [https://sci-hub.se/https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.1240466]. But I no longer like the solution for it I suggested in the Occlumency post. I think there are better ways using karma to mitigate info cascades and diversify what people read/discuss.

Recommend posts using collaborative filtering ("people who like the same posts as you, also like:")

MVP could be done quite easily using some of these techniques.

I have some ideas how to do better. If you consider implementing this feature, hit me up to talk!

In-line commenting.

Invisible by default so they don't distract, but you can easily switch visibility.

So the reader particularly interested in some section could dive into the comments particularly about that section.

Also, as a further feature, you could color code different comment types, like:

  • blue (default): just a comment
  • yellow: fix suggestion
  • brown: link to previous discussion / relevant resources
  • red: critique ?

Also see @Emrik's  comment with more rationale.

Bookmark folders.

There should still be the default one, but if you choose you could put the post in some other folder (sorta like youtube does with saving videos to playlists).

It can have many use cases, like:

  • prioritizing things to read
  • topic specific folders
  • maybe even curation, if you could also make those folders public

Right now I'm doing something along these lines, but with an external editor and lists of links, so it's a bit awkward to use.

1Sharang Phadke3mo
Thanks for this suggestion, we actually have something like this on our list (though it's not super high). Some of the team suspects that more people are likely to use other tools to track all their links and research across sources.
1Filip Sondej3mo
Yeah, good point. It may be mostly redundant.

An optional reading time indicator, like here: working example (and that tool's description).

The bar at the right of each post is the reading time indicator. Full bar means 30 min, half bar means 15 min, and so on.

You can find the code that implements that bar here: html, css

The post length is often the deciding factor in whether I want to read something, so it's nice to have it at a glance. Also I admit I kinda want to incentivize people to write more concise posts :)

Add an option for drafts: "Anyone with a link can read", but make it really anyone, not only forum users, as it is now.

(Recently I wanted to get feedback from some people who are not on the forum, and I had to copy draft to google doc, and later copy it back, and fix all the footnotes :/ )

Next step (but probably harder), would be to let anyone comment. If they aren't logged into forum, these comments are anonymous.

Also collaborative editing in markdown mode would be useful.

Have an optional Subtitle line to add more context on forums, and have it be expandable on the front page.


E.g.  "Why The forum should have subtitles: an in-depth look into how subtitles help people get more context in less time"

1Sharang Phadke3mo
Thanks for this suggestion, I do think an experiment with slightly more context on the front page would be really interesting, whether with subtitles or snippets of text. Will keep make a note of this!

Hi! I didn’t realize this thread existed until just now. Just wanted to make sure you were aware of my feature suggestion, “Fine-Grained Karma Voting”

The Search Page doesn't seem to show results for basic questions. Some examples:

Not sure if this is an search indexing issue, or perhaps the actual "questions" user would put in the search field, aren't part of the posts answering them. This could maybe be solved by adding a new post - which basically explains the same as other inform... (read more)

Thanks! I think these are indexed by search, they just don't show up as top results (e.g. the "what is short form" query gives me the norms post on the third page of results). I agree though that this is a sign that our search engine could use optimization, so thanks for pointing it out

This is minor, and probably not relevant to most people, but my work (Rethink Priorities) would definitely use an RSS feed version of the Forum so we can get notifications of when things with certain tags are posted in Slack. I think we could do this now with an account / notifications to email / email to Slack, but instead are using Greater Wrong for now for simplicity (e.g. this feed goes to our comms Slack channel) https://ea.greaterwrong.com/topics/rethink-priorities?format=rss). Thanks for all you do!

1Sharang Phadke3mo
We do have a few different default RSS feeds, which you can find in the left sidebar. Does that meet your needs?
Unfortunately not! We use Greater Wrong because we can do an RSS feed for a specific tag for the forum. E.g., we have a communications Slack channel where any post made and tagged "Rethink Priorities" is automatically posted using an RSS feed. This isn't really that big a deal for us - I just thought I'd mention it here :)

"agree/disagree" for posts, not only comments.

Might reduce downvotes on posts

The story of how it got that way is that agree/disagree was originally built as an experiment-with-voting-systems feature, with the key component of that being that different posts can have different voting systems without conflict. (See eg this thread for [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/ywpWMnJmqAkeaDtne/open-thread-jan-2022-vote-experiment] another voting system we tried.) The main reason for hesitation (other ForumMagnum developers might not agree) is that I'm not really convinced that 2-axis voting is the right voting system, and expanding it from a posts-have-different-voting-systems context to a whole-site-is-2-axis context limits the options for future experimentation. In particular, there's a big unresolved fundamental issue in how votes conflate positivity with engagement, which I really want to solve some day.

Allowing for selective shared list for post that may be drafts and or info hazards in a similar way in which I can do Facebook posts to close friends etc.

Allowing for photos to be smaller /  in-line with text so you can have image on the left and text on the right. 

4Vaidehi Agarwalla2mo
Followup: fix the bug where pictures become really big / allow for emoji's to be copied from e.g. twitter. What it should look like (from the editor view) What it actually looks like:
1Sharang Phadke4mo
Thanks for the suggestion, is there a particular post that you wish you had this view on? And I'm guessing you are suggesting this as an option for the post writer?
2Vaidehi Agarwalla4mo
https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/W2w7xA9AtDnjcK6DP/an-ea-s-guide-to-berkeley-and-the-bay-area [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/W2w7xA9AtDnjcK6DP/an-ea-s-guide-to-berkeley-and-the-bay-area] This one, in the people section! 
1Sharang Phadke4mo
Thanks for the example!

I have had a request for uploading a PDF. 

Maybe a feature to let Google Doc headers/internal links be switched automatically to EAF headers? This will be mildly useful to me, and considering the most common type of broken links I see from others on the forum, probably to others as well!

1Sharang Phadke4mo
Thanks, we've recorded this on our backlog, it does seem like something that should work properly.

Hi there, as a fellow EA, developer and avid creator of Userscripts, here are my thoughts on first seeing the site.

The design is very different from other online communities. This makes for an awkward first impression, users like familiarity in their UI.

I believe the gold standard for forums are Reddit, Facebook, StackOverflow, Discourse. By gold standard I mean some of the best minds in software UX works on these site. I particularly love Discourse.

This is a forum, yet there are no topics / subtopics. It tries to do too much in one place. I don't think questions, articles and events belong in in the same listing. I am aware of the filters, my criticism still stands :-)

Everywhere I move the mouse I'm assaulted by a popup. Why do you hate me? :-D

Infinite scroll / load more adds uncertainty to the UX. It's hard to track context, I can't tell if I click somewhere all my "progress" will be lost.

Gray on gray! No gray background please!

Titles are long, yet the columns are narrow.

The comments font looks bold, it should be lighter.

Some pages have too much info. "How to use the Forum" shouldn't have a pages long comments section, specially with unrelated discussions.

Still, thank you for taking the time in trying to innovate and contribute to the OS community!

2Sharang Phadke4mo
Thanks for the discussion here. Your suggestions seem to be a mix of preferences, some generally pervasive design patterns, and some  content curation-type suggestions (eg with your reference to the vuejs forum). The Forum team is hoping to hire our first full time designer soon, and we're hoping this will help us bring a more specific set of opinions to various layers of design on the Forum.
1Daniel Vanzin4mo
Alright, here is a very crude preview https://openuserjs.org/scripts/icetbr/Clearer_EffectiveAltruism.org_Forum
It does sadly look very broken for me:  It does look better on the all-posts page:  Some thoughts * I like the idea of making the text smaller and increasing the density of the post list. Seems good to experiment with * I think getting rid of the grey background really breaks a lot of the recent discussion section as well as the overall navigability of the UI (and also we've gotten tons of user feedback that people found the perfect white as the whole background to feel quite straining on their eyes). * I do overall think the font is just too small for me to read. I expect most users would zoom in a decent amount in order to actually make it comfortable to skim.  * I think having line-breaks in the post-titles is quite bad for skimming, and also gives undue attention to posts that have longer titles, which seems quite bad. * While I do find it easier to skim to move the post-icons to the left of the items, I think it gets the information hierarchy wrong. I think the type of post (link post, curated, personal blog) is at best a secondary piece of information, and the design you proposed gives it too much prominence. 
4Daniel Vanzin4mo
Yeah, it messes up a few other pages as well. To be fixed. I think the site needs a dark mode. More and more people are favoring it. I use my monitor in a nearly yellow tone, redshift -O 2800k so I like the white background just fine. I can't get behind the gray background though. I mean, how many sites does that? I find it harder to read. The font I used could be one size larger, I did made an alternate screenshot to compare. Yet research suggests the current font size, not the one from my script, is ideal. I still favor higher density, as I can analyze the content faster. Regarding skimming, I read titles by rows, not lines. I think we've been conditioned for this. Just look at Reddit or Medium. I find it easy to read a few words and skip to the next row. The title is too important to be trimmed away, I would sooner hide the author, date an comments count. I think it's very hard to find a site with this few characters in a title. I haven't used the site enough to give a proper opinion on the icons. I think they either should be used more or hidden altogether. But I mix my feelings regarding topics, something I didn't touch yet. They will either be on the left of the title, on the end of the line, or below the titles, in a smaller font. I can't tell you how much I want to see 50 titles at a time and instantly know where they fit. Blue tagged AI, green tagged Animal Wellfare, etc. I plan on enhancing my script as I spend more time here. It might take a while. I mostly wanted to take a feel if my experiences are in line with others. I'm happy to keep my preferences as a userscript and give the users another choice.
The site already has one! Or more precisely LessWrong has one, and it probably wouldn't be too hard to adapt it to the EA Forum (which shares a codebase). I am generally skeptical of research in this space, but yeah, the current font size is what seems to work pretty well in user tests I've done. I do also think sometimes it makes sense to have more density and smaller font sizes (and like, comment text is already almost that small) I mean, how about Reddit?  Or how about Youtube (the background of the videos):  Or how about Facebook: The pattern of "grey background with white boxes in front, occasional header or nav element on the grey background" is as far as I can tell the standard pattern to reduce eye fatigue while also ensuring high text contrast. I actually can't think of a content heavy site that doesn't do this.
2Charles He4mo
I'm confused why the all white background is better, grey is easier on the eyes and the non-white color gives a natural framing to the other content. Both points seem pretty normal in design. I disagree that those other sites are superior. Also a major issue is that they use visual/video content (reddit and FB) and have different modes of use/seeking attention. They are designed around a scrolling feed, producing a constant stream of content, showing 1-3 items at a time. Setting the above aside, I'm uncertain why your changes reflect ideas from them. For example, your changes to text, make posts much more compact than Reddit or SO.
1Daniel Vanzin4mo
"Grey is easier" I don't think it is. Would you disagree that most publications use a white background? Could you provide at least some examples of ones that doesn't? "I disagree that those other sites are superior." We would have to define superior. For me, the best (most well paid) minds in UX + the most number of users are objective measures.  That doesn't mean we have to copy them, but it beckons to the familiarity factor.  I agree that they have a constant stream of content and this matters on design. What use is to have 50 compacted posts that I can scan in 1 second, if we have 30 posts a week? It is unfortunate that we don't have a higher traffic. I believe in reducing barriers of entry to help on this, and making a familiar site is but a very small of those. To your third point, open a screenshot of my version, the current design here and any of them. See you can spot the ideas I try to incorporate. I don't know your background, but I can give you a a technical response. Fonts, spacing, that kind of thing. I basically copied the typography from them, while keeping the site identity and adding a few of my preferences. Please note I did that in about 4 hours of work. The gross of it was very fast, some details took very long. 1 hour I spent fighting  the pop ups before deciding to disable them
3Charles He4mo
  I checked two sites that you listed, FB and StackExchange, and they literally use a grey/off white background. Started with these two and I stopped after checking these two, I suspect I'll find more.  https://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/101876/why-not-use-darker-backgrounds-instead-of-white [https://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/101876/why-not-use-darker-backgrounds-instead-of-white] The stackexchange site literally answered this very question and one answer pointed out that the very site is off-white (although less than grey or the EA forum). The top answer here supports grey backgrounds: https://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/23965/is-there-a-problem-with-using-black-text-on-white-backgrounds?rq=1. [https://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/23965/is-there-a-problem-with-using-black-text-on-white-backgrounds?rq=1]   Before I thought this opinion about the use of grey (and avoidance of high contrast) was normal/standard before. Now I'm even more sure, and not knowing/ opposing about it seems sort of strange to me.    There's a lot going on here, but IMO neither of those things make this view very promising. This is because they are designed for MAU/growth hacking and the audience is different (and I don't think this is some elite or niche thing). Also, since the business is multiple billions are year, you naturally get top talent.  As an analogy, tabloids are popular and well designed for their audience, but that doesn't make them dominant design choices. I do agree that the design on average is good and things work for those sites.   Also, I suspect some design choices from those sites have dependencies—I think having an infinite scroll or video or picture focus would affect other design choices, such as size/position/font of text, so copying those design choices to a forum might not be appropriate without more sophistication.   I don't want to be disagreeable or press too much here on you here. Honestly I want to learn about design and different per
3Charles He4mo
??? Yeah, Reddit's design literally uses a grey background. It's darker than the EA forum.
1Daniel Vanzin4mo
You're talking about the framing. Sorry, I didn't realize. It's not among my concerns to the site. Yes, It's a preference. There are a few main trends regarding framing, I'm on the one against it.  Gray on gray refers to the comments section, and any other place where there is a gray background and a "gray" font. It is not an unusual choice, I just don't find it the best. As an  argument, you read articles in a white background, why comments should have gray, aside from structural purposes? Regarding audience, I kind of disagree. Yes, the audience here is not the same of that of Reddit. And I think this should change. Still I'd like to see a site like this. It literally created its own engine! Which is awesome by the way. I love VulcanJs. Here is an example of what I would like to see on hitting the main page: https://forum.vuejs.org/. Just for reference, I have 20 years as a developer, and I have been part in maybe hundreds of design discussions, even though I'm a front/back end developer. So, no expert but I'm somewhat on the loop. The changes I propose are a mix of personal choices and experience/research based opinions. Also, any discussion of familiarity starts with mobile, which I don't use. My focus is mainly on the 1080p 24inch desktop experience.

The LessWrong API does not seem to work using HTTP requests from a remote host (my machine).

To be specific, the following Python code shows an HTTP request for the GraphQL API.

# Python 3.9 code 
import requests

query_text = """
  comments {
    results {

headers = {'Content-Type': 'application/json'}

url = 'https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/graphql'
requests.post(url, json={'query': query_text}, headers=headers)
# <Response [200]>

url = 'https://www.lesswrong.com/graphql'
requests.post(url, json={'query': query_text}
... (read more)
2JP Addison4mo
I happen to know that this is because they block user agents that declare themselves to be bots. However, as this is a purely LW problem, I recommend taking future such requests to the LW team.
-6Charles He4mo

Promoting shortforms to top-level posts, preserving replies. I wanted to do that with this, because reposting it as a top-level post wouldn't preserve existing discussion.

2JP Addison4mo
Thanks for the suggestion. We've thought about this for a while, and I agree it's a good idea. Given the lack of a huge amount of use of the shortform feature, my guess is it's not winning the prioritization battle. But I've noted this as bump to the request.

The reading time estimates on lesswrong crossposts seem to be wrong.  For example, this says 1 but should be 5-10 (I would guess):


2JP Addison4mo
Seems correct, and I know exactly why. Thanks for the report!

I would appreciate being able to answer a private message by replying to the associated email notification, like I can do with e.g. Github and Discourse.

Thanks for sharing this! I've passed this on to the rest of the team. I agree that this would be useful. 

Would it be interesting for EA Forum questions to have a feature to allow surveys and predictions? In theory, one could post a question with a link to Google Forms, but maybe some kind of integration would encourage more surveys and forecasts. Given the large number people who read the EA Forum, there is margin to collect lots of data.

We should have at least one dedicated "megathread" for EAG-related questions each year, so it's easier to ask such questions in public without creating dedicated posts for each of them.

Thanks for the suggestion! I passed this on to our events team

In addition to enabling drop-down boxes for commonly used jargon, it would be great if drop-down boxes were an editable feature. I frequently try to balance my explanations so that they're able to cover the inferential gaps without being too longwinded. One way of dealing with this is to make separate articles for people with different backgrounds like what Arbital does. But I think I prefer just having drop-down boxes for deeper or alternative explanations that not everyone needs.

Thanks! I've added this to the issue [https://github.com/ForumMagnum/ForumMagnum/issues/5534] tracking your original suggestion.

The lesswrong way of dealing with lost and recovered text is much more pleasant on firefox. On the EA forum I have to tick through two boxes every time I edit anything.

On lesswrong there is a little box that I can click if I want to 

9JP Addison5mo
With the deployment of the collaboritve editing rework [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/rWoT7mABXTfkCdHvr/jp-s-shortform?commentId=8KBHAaLCpdRHTP99k], this will now work the same way here as it does on LessWrong.

I'd like to be able to permanently set the front page to sort by "top (inflation adjusted) unread"

People should be notified if one of their posts is referenced in another post.

I recently realised that one of my less upvoted posts was mentioned in another post to have inspired a particular model. I then had a look at my other posts and saw more instances of having been referenced. It's nice to realise that people are using your work, but at the moment there's no easy way to know this!

Embed high impact jobs related to [the tags of] the post that the person is currently reading.

"You're reading an article about biosecurity, here are some open biosecurity jobs you might be interested in"

We can build a filter based on this, I don't consider it production-ready in that level yet, but if CEA is interested, it could be.

(I somehow don't predict you'll say "yes" to this, but I'm not sure what's the reason you'll say "no", so asking)

2JP Addison5mo
Curious for your idea of a mockup. Where would the embed go?
2Yonatan Cale5mo
I think you are significantly better than me at this, I can take it to my Product/UX friend if you'd like me to take it seriously. Or - is your pushback that there's no good place?   I can also play around with embedding it in different places and see how it looks. My initial try would be "under the new-comment box"
4JP Addison5mo
I expected you to have a vision for where it would go, which maybe you did, or maybe you just came up with that in response to my question. My take: I agree it works well below the post (I'd go above the comment box, I think), and not so well elsewhere. I kinda have a thing I'd rather go there for new users, which would be a banner-link to the topic page, but after a user logs in, and say reads 5 posts in that topic, I'd like that banner to go away. At that point I would replace it by this. I would only pushback as a matter of prioritization at that point. Please forgive my run-on sentence. 😅
2Yonatan Cale5mo
OMG that's way less push back than I expected! Or, may I ask, when you say "prioritization", do you mean ~3 months or ~3 years?   Also, when you do implement this, please take into account this [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/LrxLa9jfaNcEzqex3/calebp-s-shortform?commentId=Bq4gFzMNsmpuoi95A] (potentially significant problems with the 80k job board vetting, and the suggestion to let people comment on jobs).   New users: Sounds good, like you're taking something important into account that I forgot, without losing any significant amount of value.   Run-on sentences are welcome! 🐈
2JP Addison5mo
I don't know, sorry. I find those things really hard to predict. It depends on how a different sub-team (Clifford's [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/users/imben]) evolve's their strategy.

Allow users to embed Airtables in forum posts, such as this

4JP Addison5mo
Thanks for the suggestion! I wish Airtable had a more neutral UI style, or we could customize it, but it's probably still worth.
2Yonatan Cale5mo
Airtable colors can be customized [https://support.airtable.com/docs/customizing-a-base] in their paid version. If you decide to enable embedding them (including "only if they're paid and look a certain way"), I'd be happy to know

When clicking on a tag, sort the post by "new" instead of by "relevant" by default. (What does "relevant" even mean? the newer posts are almost certainly more relevant)

4JP Addison5mo
It sounds like you're looking at topics where you already know the material. When I think about what topic pages are best at, I think "presenting new material to an unfamiliar audience" is core to their value proposition. Relevance sorting is being done to allow the content that's most "core" to a topic to rise to the top. Relevance can be voted on by anyone. To see the difference between relevance and just "top rated" compare these [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/topics/biosecurity] two [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/topics/biosecurity?sortedBy=top].
2Yonatan Cale5mo
I understand, thanks!

An automatic jargon-explainer for commonly used jargon. This gets the best of both worlds, for readers and writers. People can use jargon more often,[1] and not have to worry about it not landing with readers. And readers unaware of the jargon can hover over the word to see what it means, while readers who already do know can keep reading. Makes it easier to read for people within a wider range of inferential distance.


  1. ^

    Efficient communication without having to link to each jargony word, since that might get distracting and take attention away from links they do want to emphasise.

8JP Addison5mo
This is really a fantastic suggestion, and complete with a screenshot with the UI that I like. Thanks!
I forgot to mention, but there already seems to be an implementation of the hover-over thing for Arbital [https://arbital.com/p/Vinge_principle/] (try hovering).

Ideas coming out of a discussion yesterday evening

Problem: the eventual karma of a post depends a lot on the number of upvotes it gets in the first couple of hours/days after posting it.

Problem: The quality and relevance of new posts varies a lot nowadays. Readers need to (mentally) filter very quickly what to read. We tend to filter on easily available info, such as the karma that the post already has and the author's name (If your name is "Holden Karnofsky" and I've read many good posts from you in the past, I am much more likely to read the post than if... (read more)

1Ollie Etherington5mo
Thanks for the suggestion - I've made a note of it!
Oh. This exactly equivalent to what I suggested in Occlumency [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/JECLcLTCYF4JA7rxM/sort-forum-posts-by-occlumency-old-and-upvoted#Adjust_for_information_cascades_in_real_time_by_hiding_post_authorship_and_karma_first_day_of_publication].  People seem to be converging on this as a suggestion, so I definitely think it would be good to test run it for a while. I'm not optimistic about it being net positive, however, but I think testing it could be usefwl. Honestly, I'm pessimistic about the value of the frontpage, and I prefer searching for things to read by browsing tags [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/4NkXP2bPfGn3rrFbt/please-tag-your-posts].

Some suggestions for making tags more usefwl. I say some reasons I think tags are important in the post, but these suggestions are easy to see usefwlness of anyaway.

Right now, you can't tag a post while you're writing it. You have to "save as draft" and then add the tags to the draft, or add the tags after you publish it. This is needlessly annoying. I suggest making it like this:

The miniscule effort encouraged by making it mandatory is probably outweighed by the benefits many times over on average. Consider that the effort is a one-time cost, while the be

... (read more)
2Ollie Etherington5mo
Great suggestion! I've added it to our list of features to consider.

Automatically create a bibliography with all the links in a post.

2Ollie Etherington5mo
Thanks for the suggestion - I've made a note of it!
Zotero [https://www.zotero.org/] creates a bibliography if you click on all the links and then click on the browser extension icon on each page. It does not always work perfectly - but e. g. data from academic articles get usually copied well.

Tagging users to notify them (@[username]). People should be able to ‘authorize’ friendly tags but ‘professional’ tags should be possible by default. Users should be able to turn on-off notifications for ‘friendly’ and ‘professional’ tags. In this way, people could make and maintain connections via the Forum.

Also, orgs (or departments) could have their own tags. For example, if someone does not make a writing contest deadline, they should still be able to notify the org about an idea. Organizations could be also able to filter their tag and another set of ... (read more)

2JP Addison6mo
Thanks for the idea! LessWrong recently built something similar with the ability to use #Title to mention posts or topics. How do you think a user would distinguish their intent to do a friendly vs professional tag? What would the boundary be between them? 
OK! I cannot find #Title on LessWrong but based on your description it seems analogous to linking a post or using a tag? If a user is a fan of someone who they do not have an actual connection with (usually did not meet in person for 1-on-1 and have not shared common interests), they would use the professional tag (for example, one could tag Joel McGuire if they write something that they think that he would find useful, based on his posts). The friendly tag (that has to be authorized by the tagged person) should be used when people are confident that they know their friend's interests so well that they would recommend something that the friend would enjoy (while they may also find it useful). So, the intent difference is inform based on the user's professional presentation vs. notify of enjoyable content based on the users' friendly connection.

Encourage short posts:

  1. Make the word count visible without mouse-over
  2. Allow an optional sorting algorithm that takes into account word count
  3. In "new post", add a template text "TL;DR:" (which is deletable, but a small nudge to write a summary)
    1. (or perhaps explain a bit more, like "A TL;DR should contain bottom lines and not reasoning, and it should help the reader decide if this post is relevant for them or not)
3Ollie Etherington6mo
Thanks for the suggestions! I've made a note of all of them!

Allow registered users to post anonymous comments and generate a unique anonymous Id to track them so we can e.g. see the thread of anon1's comments.

I think ideally this should not be visible to mods / backend so it's truly anonymous.

1Ollie Etherington6mo
Thanks for your suggestion! We're already considering adding the ability to create anonymous posts, but the idea of a unique id to track them is interesting - I'll make a note of it.

'Commenting sprees' - blocks of time where discussion with more immediate replies would be encouraged.

I would prefer a more failproof anti-spam system; e.g. preventing new accounts from writing Wiki entries, or enabling people to remove such spam. Right now there is a lot of spam on the page, which reduces readability.

Let co-authors access post analytics

I can get around this by asking the main coauthor to share the analytics, but I´d rather I could access them myself.

Thanks for making this suggestion! I think this feature now exists, but I'll double-check. 
4Jaime Sevilla1mo
I can confirm I have access to coauthored post analytics! Great work dev team!
4Vaidehi Agarwalla1mo
Related: * If co-authors add posts to a sequence, have it be considered "canonical" (e.g. when you open the post it automatically shows the sequence) * Co-authors should automatically receive comment notifications
Thanks for sharing these suggestions! Passing them on.  I think the second suggestion in particular points out a feature that we should clearly have.

A page for current contests/prizes, just like there's a page for events. Been quite a few of them lately, and they seem to (anecdotally) generate quite a bit of interest for writing usefwl things. 

The ones I know about:

  1. OpenPhil's Cause Exploration Prize
  2. EA Criticism Contest
  3. Retroactive Funding Contest
  4. Clearer Thinking's Regranting Program
  5. New Blog Prize

Quite a few on LessWrong that recently ended too. I expect there are more that I just haven't seen.

Oh, there's a Topic for it. Another thing I didn't have the bell set to the right colour on. Black! But uh,... (read more)

2JP Addison7mo
Thanks, I'll make a note to think about ways to make the Topic more discoverable.

For events it would be useful to get notifications a fixed amount of time before the event rather than when they are uploaded to the system. Right now I get 2-8 notifications at a time often for the same recurring event.

2JP Addison7mo
That's useful, thanks. You do get notified/reminded 24 hours before the event if you RSVP to it. I think if you’re subscribed to a group, it still makes more sense to get notified when events are posted rather than 24 hours before, but maybe there's a problem with a bunch of instances of a recurring event getting posted at once.
2Vaidehi Agarwalla7mo
Yeah it's the recurring events that is the main problem.

Ability to include a poll in when you make a question post, à la Twitter! I know this feature has been suggested before, in response to which Aaron Gertler made the Effective Altruism Polls Facebook group, but it seems to have plateaued at 578 members after 2.5 years. Response rates in the forum would probably be much higher.

3JP Addison8mo
Yeah, I want this. Almost prioritized it recently, we'll see.
I was just about to suggest that. Reasoning explanations behind a vote could be also valuable. Should max upvote be associated also with factors other than user karma, such as self-assessed professional expertise (according to broad criteria)? For example, someone who works in the EU Commission on Internet of Things could assess themselves as an ‘expert’ on a question that relates to valuable actions related to a new draft of the EU AI White Paper. Voting can also seek to ameliorate biases by highlighting underrepresented perspectives. For instance, if there is a poll about priorities related to wild animal welfare, the vote of an AI safety researcher could be weighted more heavily if the majority of other votes are of wild animal welfare researchers. Voters’ organizational affiliations, professional and cause area expertise, and relevant demographics could be considered. Unnecessary positive discrimination should be avoided. For instance, US college graduate male and female votes on an issue that does not relate to gender or gender norms should be weighted the same while the vote of Afghani women should be weighted more than that of Afghani men on any Afghanistan-related topic. This is based on the assumptions of equal opportunities for male and female students at US colleges but historically and currently unequal decisionmaking opportunities for women and men in Afghanistan.

An option to subscribe (notifications on email or otherwise) to search terms.

Currently I'm hesitant to even glance at the Frontpage because there are so many potentially interesting things I would eagerly read and get nerdsniped by. So looking at it predictably wastes my time when I know I should (for now) be concentrating on the topics I'm currently focusing on. But I do want to catch the forum post I'm most likely to benefit from. Hence I want to be able to customize what I get sent by email (or the bell top-right).

This is probably a better way to match ... (read more)

3JP Addison8mo
Would you like to get notified of all posts that get tagged with some topic [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/topics/all]? That might be the right way to get what you want here. You can do so by going to a topic, Moral Philosophy [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/topics/moral-philosophy] say, subscribing to the topic and choosing to be notified.
Oh. Yes, that would capture most of the value. I had subscribed to topics before, but I hadn't clicked the bell. It's supposed to be dark if I want it to send me emails, right? Thanks!
3JP Addison8mo

This is a long series of comments (~1200 words)

TLDR; The EA forum team could transform the forum by introducing high status, high activity “focus posts” that are centered on object level discussion, at the same time greatly empowering the forum moderator.

This content below is quickly written, and tries to motivate a vision, not a specific plan. Also, “focus posts” seems like a bad name, someone please come up with another?"




There is a sense that high quality discussions and comments on the forum are briefer and don't occur ... (read more)

6Charles He8mo
THE SUGGESTION "FOCUS POSTS": We should foster and promote high status, high quality object level discussions.   These would be in the form of posts that involve prestigious outsiders, near-EA people, or EA leaders or small teams from strong EA projects. These people would create the content and/or star in the resulting discussion.  For lack of a better name, we can call them “focus posts”.  Overall, "focus posts" would: * Generally contain deep object level discussion about their topic. * They might star one or more subject matter experts (maybe in addition to the posters themselves). * The discussions would combine elements of AMAs with guaranteed attention from experts, with some of the best discussions of deep, thoughtful opinions from principled people. * Would appear prominently on the forum, for a long and predictable time. This would generate interest in forum discussion and EA principles to both longtime EAs and newcomers. The below is a crude mockup to show how this could appear.   (This is a quick, crude mockup, the actual version could be very different.)   These “Focus posts” and the culture and general interest that drives regular participation around them, will take effort to set up (but they shouldn’t be overly difficult or delicate to create).  Building up the supply of these posts can be done gradually, maybe by starting with relationships with existing EA leaders. There are precedents for this work, like the setup of AMAs, and series like Cold Takes, where a major EA leader wrote on the forum for a long time.  As discussed more below, the focus posts would be fostered, curated, and maybe partially developed by the EA forum moderator, who plays a integral, leadership role in the design of this entire feature.   While these new posts doesn’t seem to address voting or scaling issues, I think focus posts could be highly effective. I think ultimately, the sustained, high quality discussion in the curated focus posts can h
4Charles He8mo
Underlying aspects of high status and moderator empowerment I think this idea of focus posts might at first seem like a simple UX change.  But there are deeper aspects that I think are important to be deliberate about. These two aspects are: 1. Making Focus Posts a high status place with a high expectation for quality discussion and tie in to object level work 2. Greatly empower moderator into a high visibility, highly impactful role. This comment and the next one talk about these points.   1: MAKING FOCUS POINTS HIGHLY EFFECTIVE AND ATTRACTIVE The posts need to attract good discussion. A good supply of posters and commentors is needed, ultimately reducing active work by the moderators and create a virtuous cycle of discussion. There are quick ideas: * Funding might be helpful, for example, a fixed [1]monthly amount of $20,000 or $40,000, that is allocated in a transparent way to focus posts (maybe after passing a mild bar of participation, to encourage discussion). * Regarding this use of money, I think that “focus posts” will initially be from or about EAs working on established projects, or altruistic, near EA projects, so their receipt of funding seems reasonable. * However, the main purpose of this money is to set up the "focus post" system correctly and robustly. Given the budget and opportunity cost of the forum staff (5 FTE EAs), the amount of spend seems reasonable. * Other ideas (more marginal because they involve technical changes to karma). * We could imagine an alternate, special karma that is only gainable in focus posts, or modifications to karma that increase participation. * Maybe this special flavor of karma can be used to govern allocation of the fixed monthly amount. Note that slowness when starting out doesn’t seem to be a problem. There might be only 0-1 “focus posts” for a while and that’s OK. 1. ^ This is similar to the "bounty" system, which has been a really popul
4Charles He8mo
2: GREATLY EMPOWER THE EA FORUM MODERATOR AND CHANGE ITS ROLE This second point is really important. This project will greatly change the moderators role, increasing the prominence and even real world impact of the EA forum moderator. The moderator would be the person to curate "focus posts", deciding which posts qualify (or possibly helping to create them outright). * The moderator will decide on the composition of these posts (e.g. breakdown by cause area). * There are other complex issues the moderator will influence: For example, while most of these new "focus posts" might be on object-level topics, some meta posts might appear. What qualifies is tricky to decide, and at the same time, gives a niche for the moderator to express their vision and skill. This control by the moderator is a key aspect of “focus posts” (and ultimately a major change to the forum itself).  Note that this control has checks and balances. The moderator’s output and decisions are very visible work. Also, maybe later, additional features can be added that allow community input, such as voting that can promote (or demote) posts into focus posts. Finally, simple regular user discussions act as a check on moderators.   This change in the role of the moderator has additional effects: * Sometimes the role of moderators can seem thankless or low reward, yet the role is extremely important. Now, with this change, the moderator has dramatically more prestige, such as great access to a large group of talented senior EAs. The moderator has portfolio and well funded mission of promoting discussion in a highly visible place, as well as making the entire project of focus posts more effective. This permanently improves the role of the moderator, increasing talent flows for this role, and supporting health of the EA forum. * This new role and the focus posts can be a safeguard in periods when the Forum is entering noisy, difficult times with a lower supply

I would love it if I could scroll through all the comments and posts I have upvoted (so I can easily revisit/revise my own curated list of content that my past self thought was worth others seeing).

Thanks for this suggestion! You can in fact see your past upvotes [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Y8gkABpa9R6ktkhYt/forum-user-manual#Looking_at_your_past_upvotes], although the feature is really not easily discoverable right now, sadly. 
It could be nice to be able to filter these by date
amazing, thanks :)

It was suggested to add the 'looking for a job' checkbox on the EA Forum (see MVP ideas 2.)

  1. Add a sorting option for Occlumency so people can find the posts with the most enduring value historically (sorting by total karma doesn't do it due to the sharp increase in karma allocated towards newer posts due to influx of new forum users).
  2. Add a tag for "outdated" that people can vote up or down, so that outdated but highly upvoted past posts don't continually mislead people (e.g. based on research that failed to replicate). I can't think of any posts atm, but if you can think of any, please mark them.
  3. Consider hiding authorship and karma for posts 24 h
... (read more)
6JP Addison9mo
Thanks for the suggestions. Responding here rather than on the post. I like the "Occlumency" idea, and have been thinking along those lines. I've recorded it. I also like outdated, have passed on to Topics lead Pablo. We've heard this before. I personally lean in the direction that this is the right sort of thing to think about, but does not make for a good Forum experience. There might be other approaches like "ratio of upvotes to reads" that would serve the final purpose while being less disruptive.

A emoticon or image next to someone's first post either on the homepage or when you click into the post so that people know that they are engaging with a potential newcomer and maybe are nicer / more welcoming?

Could be obvious downsides to this I haven't thought of

2JP Addison9mo
I like this idea. Lots of other Forums have it, but we don't even have it in our task tracker yet. Thanks for the suggestion!

See this comment.


This pattern of broken link, where the intended link is appended to another, distinct URL, has appeared in many comments or posts. 

This defect seems common enough that it seems to justify investigation of the root cause (or even very crude automatic fix) especially since the pattern in the defect is so simple. 

2Charles He8mo
It happened again! [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/35bfnGmsyrZkEnkLJ/steering-ai-to-care-for-animals-and-soon?commentId=Xi8trzjSXABDA6hsP]
2Charles He8mo
And again! [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/wHQTALn3a4wK3PJiA/seems-impossible-to-find-any-ea-meetups-in-sf?commentId=cRdFj2yCzzGhBgQ5m]
-1Charles He8mo
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/ZkkeLBwRGgxmsiqrh/apply-to-join-shelter-weekend-this-august?commentId=jQC3Gfvb8CHLuxvjQ]          
4Charles He8mo
Ok, this issue has been picked up: https://github.com/ForumMagnum/ForumMagnum/issues/5057 [https://github.com/ForumMagnum/ForumMagnum/issues/5057]   Yay! The system works. 

Please let me search within my bookmarks.

In general, I read something and bookmark it if I liked it. Then that thing that I read comes up in conversation. I go into my bookmarks to find it so that I can share it with the other person mid-convo quickly but then I can't retrieve it from the bookmarks list as fast as I thought I could! This happens to me in almost every session as a facilitator of the EA Virtual programs!

Thanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our backlog.

Reading time estimates on older posts.

If I'm not mistaken, posts before a certain date do not have the estimated time in minutes to read the post near the publication date and author's name at the top.

Thanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our backlog.

A way to report users for deletion.

There are a few spam accounts like this one (https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/users/msreeyaa) but I see no way of reporting them to the moderators.

Since they aren't posting or commenting the way in which they have an effect is when searching the forum. (You'll just have to take my word for it that I wasn't searching for 'escorts' when I came across that profile...)

Thanks for the suggestion! I've added creating a feature like this to our backlog.
Thanks for pointing this out, and for linking to the user! I've deleted their account.  For now, if you ever come across a spam user, please feel free to let me know (you can DM me on the Forum or you can email forum@effectivealtruism.org [forum@effectivealtruism.org] ), but I agree that a feature like this should exist.  

A way to see what you have previously voted on with karma.

This exists here (https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/votesByYear/2022 [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/votesByYear/2022]), not sure if that is documented anywhere, I found it elsewhere in this thread as a comment
Thanks for pointing out that this is not discoverable! I've added a note about this to the user manual [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Y8gkABpa9R6ktkhYt/forum-user-manual#Looking_at_your_past_upvotes], but I agree that it should also just be easier to notice as you're exploring the platform. 

There's been murmurs about adjustments to the forum about voting and volume and this probably reflects broader sentiment. 

Some considerations:

  • With more content, there's more eyeballs, so the net effect is maybe ambiguous? But yes, it seems plausible it is negative (something something dilution).
  • There's only so much attention that comes from any given user, so you can't fix things by showing more posts


I think there might be a number of solutions that immediately come to mind that haven't been written about, and these solutions do account for the ... (read more)

2Charles He8mo
I don't expect to write more about these ideas soon[1]. While it doesn't seem directly related, I think this linked idea about focus posts [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/NhSBgYq55BFs7t2cA/ea-forum-feature-suggestion-thread?commentId=2ajnNsvM9hQwBjx38], really helps fix most of the underlying issues around forum noise, voting and other recent issues. (The name "focus posts" is bad, someone come up with a better one). 1. ^ They would like, literally involve computer science professors and applied math research, in addition to their design and implementation. 

The analytics page is great!

2Charles He9mo
Low value ideas (but easy to implement): * I think the stat "Views by unique devices > 5 minutes" per day is great. I suggest breaking this "Views by unique devices > 5 minutes" stat down to daily counts, and showing this stat too. * This duration of reading seems preferable for some theories of change and matches the ethos of the forum. * Much of this duration of reading comes after the first day and it seems to track views less. As you can imagine, "evergreen" posts might have some particular quality that is valuable (given some further criteria/considerations). * For the stat, Median reading time, I would also give more than median, e.g. P25, P50, P75, P90. In my view, more stats is always good. I guess things could get a little "extra" coming from a dorkier stats mindset, but the analytics page isn't at the risk of being overbearing, and can bear more stats.
Thanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our backlog.

Add a tag: "Volunteering listing (open)"

(Just like "Job listing (open)")

Thanks for the suggestion! Could you post it here [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/rxbLqMDhd4832WYit/propose-and-vote-on-potential-ea-wiki-entries]?

In the forum main page, have a new title:


Help building our community:

This post has no comments yet: ...

This post is from a new user, help welcome them: ...


Thanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our backlog.

After editing Swapcard: "Do you want to update your EA Forum profile too?"

At least if it was done through a CEA form

Thanks for the suggestion! This is on our roadmap.

"I'm open to job proposals" : Yes / Maybe / No


This will really help with EA orgs hiring, and is so easy, and CEA already asks this question for EAGx events

Thanks for the suggestion! This is on our roadmap.
Thanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our backlog.

Make it possible to only filter / see unread posts by default on the forum homepage. 

This past month I've noticed I've missed a bunch of cool and relevant posts  because they dropped off the home page too quickly for me to see them. I'd like that not to happen. Not a suggestion, but related: it seems like some good posts fall of the homepage way too quickly. It would be nice to give those posts  a chance to be seen. Often if there are a couple really high popularity posts in a week then the people who happened to post less popular posts get unfairly disadvantaged, which seems suboptimal.

Thanks Vaidehi! Filtering only to unread seems like a good idea, I've added that to our backlog. Regarding your second point: If you have a suggestion for how to increase visibility of other posts, let me know. My current best guess is to improve targeting, i.e. users who are most interested in animal welfare posts will disproportionately see animal welfare posts, which will give those posts increased visibility amongst the people who most want to see them (albeit at the expense of hiding non-animal welfare posts from these people).
8Vaidehi Agarwalla9mo
Yeah so maybe I'm somewhat of a minority but as a meta person I'd like to see at least the headlines of most posts, and wouldn't want those to have less visibility. Mainly because I'm concerned about only consuming meta content and not staying in touch with object level advancements. Not a suggestion per se - will comment later on if I have any.

A chatroom

A moderated chat room that runs the whole time so you can chat to other poeple currently looking at the forum.

This might make the forum more welcoming.

2Yonatan Cale9mo
(Probably possible to use a 3rd party for this, just integrating it, and at most adding an "opt in" capability)

I would like feedback on this idea: Community Posts

MVP: Change "create topic" to "create community post" and reframe wiki topic summaries as community written posts. Currently they are introductions, not summaries. 

Full change: Allow people to create posts which can be cowritten by anyone once live. Wikis produce high quality content, but the current wiki is framed around the topic tags, rather than any kind of article being able to be written.


Listing of “all posts I upvoted/strong upvoted”

7JP Addison10mo
This is very hidden, but here you go: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/votesByYear/2022 [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/votesByYear/2022] 

Easy and credible way to add a bounty and prizes for questions (like this one )

3JP Addison10mo
We don't have a "native" way to do this in the Forum. Perhaps we should — I've added a task to our tracker. The way that I'd recommend, that still uses the Forum's UI, is to put the offer in your Question post, and tag the post with Bounty (Open) [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/tag/bounty-open]. (I've replied to your on your post as well.)

I would like the ability to sort search results by date. Often, I want to know who mentioned something in the past few weeks or months, this is currently not possible. (I'm guessing the current sort order is by magic, but there is nothing indicating this.)

Thanks for the suggestion! There are a number of things I would like to improve about our search; I will add this one to the list of things to consider.

There should be a polis questions feature, where you can embed (or better it's a full feature) a polis question and people can write comments for it/see the visualisation. Not having to go to another page would give polis questions significantly more traction and they are a useful tool

I'm not sure if it's exactly a feature suggestion as a concern highlighted here that I agree with, which is basically: The number of Forum users seem to be growing quite a lot (congrats!), with many more posts, so some posts that might be high-effort slip under the radar or disappear quite quickly (see Ian David Moss' comment). Is there anything the Forum team is doing to mitigate this (someone suggested a higher density of posts on the front page) or other wise any thoughts on this topic? 

Other possible solutions (some already mentioned and I'm not s... (read more)

(Not sure if that has been suggested before, but) you should be able to sort comments by magic (the way posts are sorted on the frontpage) or some other better way to combine top+new properties for comments. Otherwise new contributions that are good are read far too rarely, so only very few people will read and upvote them, while the first comments directly receive many upvotes and so get even more upvotes later. Still, upvotes tell a bit about what comments are good, and not everyone wants to read everything.

I would definitely use it myself, but I would strongly suggest also making it the default way comments are sorted.

(That wouldn't totally remove bad dynamics, but it would be a start.)

An option to post anonymously or non anononymously with your account (instead of having to create a new account to post anonymously, and spend hours on internet anagram server finding an anonymous account name)

Few UX suggestions for post edit:


Add a "publish" button in the options below:

Have a Save Draft / Publish button on the top (not just bottom) when in edit mode / or a "skip to bottom" to make it easier to save /publish 

Meta suggestion: Could be nice to start a new features thread and/or use a feature suggestion forum at some point, this one is getting a bit difficult to navigate right now. 

MVP option could be to create a copy of this thread but delete all the implemented features so that only WIP /not implemented ideas are here. 

There should be a way to suggest an author cross-post a post of theirs and/or give them karma if you x post a work they've posted. 

4JP Addison8mo
This loosely inspired a new feature, where you can now make a linkpost and add the author as a coauthor, with them having the ability to accept or decline the coauthorship. Thanks to trialing candidate Ollie E for building the feature.
2Vaidehi Agarwalla8mo
That's awesome!
8JP Addison10mo
To clarify, this is the situation where: 1. Someone has an EA Forum account, which you know about, and 2. You know they've written something elsewhere, which you think should be crossposted to the Forum but hasn't been, and then you might do something like: * Click <SuggestACrosspost /> and the author gets a notification (email), where they can click a button and it creates the post without any work from them, or * Make the post yourself, but share karma with them ? I've made a task for this, let me know if I got anything wrong. Thanks for the suggestion!

Yep that seems like the MVP. 

I think if you're xposting and sharing karma you should probably get <50% but even 50% seems better than the current status quo. I do think it could be cool if the person xposting getting some kind of "finder's fee" karma (e.g. 25% or something). 

Would add that if someone does create the post on your suggestion, you should get a notification when its posted / some kind of like "thank you for making the forum a better place!" kind of message. 

There is an "exploit" against anonymity on LessWrong

On a recent popular LessWrong post, the OP, Gwern, receives a "anonymous" critique, and then chooses to deanonymize his critic, very likely by using a trivial API call:



The above call produces the identity of the commentor, who turns out to be Mark Friedenbach.


Technical comment for onlookers:

The reason why this happened is that LessWrong, like all websites, represents the information you see (posts, authorship) with underlying data/variables. This data pops up in a lot of places, and the ... (read more)

The moderators feel that several comments in this thread break Forum norms [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/yND9aGJgobm5dEXqF/guide-to-norms-on-the-forum]. In particular:  * Charles He points out that Gwern has doxed someone on a different website, LessWrong, seemingly in response to criticism. We’re not in a position to address this because it happened outside the EA Forum and isn't about a Forum user, but we do take this seriously and wouldn’t have approved of this on the EA Forum. * However, we feel that Charles’s comment displays a lack of care and further doxes the user in question since the comment lists the user’s full name (which Gwern never listed). Moreover, Charles unnecessarily shares a vulnerability of LessWrong. We’ve written to Charles about this, and we’re discussing further action. We’ve also explicitly added that doxing is not allowed or tolerated on the EA Forum [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/yND9aGJgobm5dEXqF/guide-to-norms-on-the-forum#Rules_for_pseudonymous_and_multiple_accounts], although we think this behavior was already banned or heavily discouraged as a corollary of our existing “Strong norms [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/yND9aGJgobm5dEXqF/guide-to-norms-on-the-forum#What_we_encourage__strong_norms_].”
9Charles He7mo
I agree with this comment and it seems I should be banned, and I encourage you to apply the maximum ban. This is because: 1. The moderator comment above is correct 2. Additionally, in the comment that initiated this issue, I claimed I was protecting an individual. Yet, as the moderator pointed out, I seemed to be “further doxxing” him. So it seems my claims are a lie or hypocritical. I think this is a severe fault. 3. In the above, and other incidents, it seems like I am the causal factor—without me, the incidents won’t exist. Also, this has taken up a lot of time: 1. For this event, at least one moderator meeting has occurred and several messages notifying me (which seems a lot of effort). 1. I have gotten warnings in the past, such as from two previous bans (!) 2. One moderately-senior moderator EA has reached out for a call now. I think this use of time (including very senior EAs) is generous. While I’m not confident I understand the nature of the proposed call, I’m unsure my behavior or choices will change. Since the net results may not be valuable to these EAs, I declined this call. I do not promise to remedy my behavior, and I won’t engage with these generous efforts at communication.  So, in a way requiring the least amount of further effort or discussion, you should apply a ban, maybe a very long or permanent one. 
7Charles He7mo
Instead of talking about me or this ban anymore, while you are here, I really want to encourage considerations of some ideas that I wrote in the following comments:   GLOBAL HEALTH AND POVERTY SHOULD HAVE STORIES AND MEDIA THAT SHOW WORK AND EA TALENT  * The sentiment that “bednets are boring” is common. * This is unnecessary, as the work in these areas are fascinating, involve great skill and unique experiences, that can be exciting and motivating. * These stories have educational value to EAs and others. * They can cover skills and work like convincing stakeholders, governments and complex logistical, scientific related implementations in many different countries or jurisdictions. * They express skills not currently present or visible in most EA communications. * This helps communications and presentation of EA * To be clear, this would be something like an EA journalist, continually creating stories about these interventions. 80K hours but with a different style or approach. Examples of stories (found in a few seconds) * https://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/magazine/taken-by-pirates.html [https://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/magazine/taken-by-pirates.html] * https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/20/world/africa/somalia-free-ambulance.html [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/20/world/africa/somalia-free-ambulance.html] (These don't have a 80K sort of, long form in depth content, or cover perspectives from the founders, which seems valuable).
4Charles He7mo
ANIMAL WELFARE  There is a lack of forum discussion on effective animal welfare * This can be improved with the presence of people from the main larger EA animal welfare orgs Welfarism isn’t communicated well.  * Welfarism observes the fact that suffering is enormously unequal among farmed animals, with some experiencing very bad lives * It can be very effective to alter this and reduce suffering, compared to focusing on removing all animal products at once * This idea is well understood and agreed upon by animal welfare EAs * While welfarism may need critique (which it will withstand as it’s substantive as impartialism), its omission is distorting and wasting thinking, in the same way the omission of impartialism would * Anthropomorphism is common (discussions contain emotionally salient points, that are different than what fish and land animal welfare experts focus on ) * Reasoning about prolonged, agonizing experiences is absent (it’s understandably very difficult), yet is probably the main source of suffering.   Patterns of communication in wild animal welfare and other areas aren’t ideal. * It should be pointed out that this work involves important foundational background research. Addressing just the relevant animals in human affected environments could be enormously valuable. * In conversations that are difficult or contentious with otherwise altruistic people, it might be useful to be aware of the underlying sentiment where people feel pressured or are having their morality challenged. * Moderation of views and exploration is good, and pointing out one's personal history in more regular animal advocacy and other altruistic work is good. * Sometimes it may be useful to avoid heavy use of jargon, or applied math that might be seen as undue or overbearing. * A consistent set of content (web pages seem to be good). * Showing upcoming work would be good in Wild Animal
8Charles He7mo
AI SAFETY Dangers from AI is real, moderate timelines are real * AI alignment is a serious issue, AIs can be unaligned and dominate humans, for the reasons most EA AI safety people say it does * One major objection, that severe AI danger correlates highly with intractability, is powerful * Some vehement neartermists actually believe in AI risk but don’t engage because of tractability * This objection is addressed by this argument [https://www.cold-takes.com/ai-could-defeat-all-of-us-combined/], which seems newer and should be an update to all neartermist EAs * Another major objection of AI safety concerns, that seems very poorly addressed, is AI competence in the real world. This is touched on here [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/qfDgEreMoSEtmLTws/contra-ey-can-agi-destroy-us-without-trial-and-error]and here. [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/28zsuPaJpKAGSX4zq/humans-are-very-reliable-agents] * This seems important, but relying on a guess that AGI can’t navigate the world, is bad risk management * Several lock-in scenarios fully justify neartermist work. * Some considerations in AI safety may even heavily favor neartermist work (if AI alignment tractability is low and lock in is likely and this can occur fairly soon)   There is no substance behind “nanotech”, “intelligence explosion in hours” based narratives * These are good as theories/considerations/speculations, but their central place is very unjustifiable * They expose the field to criticism and dismissal by any number of scientists (skeptics and hostile critics  outnumber senior EA AI safety people, which is bad and recent trends are unpromising) * This slows progress. It’s really bad these suboptimal viewpoints have existed for so long, and damages the rest of EA   It is remarkably bad that there hasn’t been any effective effort to recruit applied math talent from academia (even good students from top 200 schools
2Charles He7mo
EA Common Application seems like a good idea * I think a common application seems good and  to my knowledge, no one I know is working on a very high end, institutional version * See something written up here [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/TcfszCh4iTTw7ffLH/brief-presentation-and-considerations-for-an-ea-common]   EA forum investment seems robustly good * This is one example ("very high quality focus posts [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/NhSBgYq55BFs7t2cA/ea-forum-feature-suggestion-thread?commentId=wroy6kX2xazcTYgfs#comments]") * This content empowers the moderator to explore any relevant idea, and cause thousands of people, to learn and update on key EA thought, and develop object level views of the landscape. They can stay grounded.  * This can justify a substantial service team, such as editors and artists, who can illustrate posts or produce other design
1Charles He1y
I find it unseemly that Gwern made the choice to both find and publicly reveal Mark's identity. Additionally, I find Gwern's presentation of this knowledge glib and unbecoming, which calls back to the very issues that Mark objects to. I echo Mark's views in his critique [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/a5e9arCnbDac9Doig/it-looks-like-you-re-trying-to-take-over-the-world?commentId=zd9JFsL78Ze99bHmG]. I often find that Gwern's allusions in his post contribute little. I also find his use of them overbearing.      EA and thinkers should be aiming at a very high tier. I think this tier should be aimed at, for example, by a high quality writer contest [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/xapRLBTpMYokrpd9q/we-re-announcing-a-usd100-000-blog-prize] (which cites Gwern).  Writers and EA may not get second chances in these exclusive and opinionated spaces. I think that for writers or thinkers aiming to be influential in the ways EAs think are important, acts like this one, or cloudy aesthetics with the truth, could be enough to exclude them. 

Suggest posts to link to when inserting a link in the rich text editor

Contest mode (random order for comments) for use cases like the Future Fund's Project Ideas Competition

Please remove Google resources, like Google fonts, from the website. It will make it easier to visit the website from certain countries.

We appreciate your feedback! We will explore how to better support users without Google access.

I'm not sure what the actual feature would be, but make  it easy for people to cross-post from their personal blog (maybe just do substack to start) to the EA Forum. I recently saw the blog prize announcement and there were about 10 blogs linked there i'd never heard of. It would be great to get that content onto the forum.

1Sarah Cheng1y
I believe we can rss-import blogs to the forum, and we currently do so for a few. We have to manually set it up on our end, so if you contact us [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/contact] we can work with you to start doing this. :)
2Vaidehi Agarwalla1y
Not quite a feature but it would be cool to have a monthly / quarterly round-up of interesting EA blog posts from off-the-forum that are cross-posted (as a sequence maybe?
7Sarah Cheng1y
Thanks Vaidehi! I've added it to our list for triage.

Ability for OP to pin comments to the top of the comment thread

(not actually sure about this - could have bad negative consequences) 


Use case: I write a post about a project and a team member makes a comment that I want to make sure people see, or I make an update comment 

Ways to reduce risk: 

  • If the OP of the post is in good standing karma-wise, or has X karma (100+? 1000+) they should be able to pin certain comments.
  • People can still filter by the existing filters and ignore the pins 

Why not just edit the post itself? I think some... (read more)

7Sarah Cheng1y
Thanks for the suggestion! I've added it to our list for triage.

It would be useful to schedule posts ahead of time. 

7Sarah Cheng1y
I believe moderators can do this for you, but perhaps we should allow users to do this as well. I'll add it to our list for triage.

I'm a mod and did not know this was a feature! But I think it would be good for users to do it themselves. 

It would be great if I could link to a comment.

(And sorry if this was already suggested. I couldn't find it when I searched "link to")

6Jaime Sevilla1y
If you click on the link icon next to the votes you will be redirected to the comment's URL. For exampe, here is a link to your comment above. [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/NhSBgYq55BFs7t2cA/ea-forum-feature-suggestion-thread?commentId=DgpF2yMgTTBJja4Zq]
1Matt Goldwater1y
Awesome. Thanks for letting me know!

Mouse over probability distributions
Likelihood qualifiers (likely, unlikely) are a common source of miscommunication. Lots of content on the forum feels pretty nuanced to me and subtle differences in priors can often be cruxes e.g. most important century.

A step in the right direction could be being able to add prob. distributions as tooltips (maybe using an elicit like interface or maybe just 'freehand') to illustrate these qualifiers better. The user can highlight a word in their draft and press a button, this will being up the prob. distribution entering... (read more)

Inline draft comments
I really like the forum editor. Unfortunately, I don't end up writing posts in it very much as I almost always ask for feedback and reviewers can not easily add their suggestions.

Google doc comments are probably the gold standard here.

4Vaidehi Agarwalla1y
Strong +1 the few times I have drafted a post in the forum editor i've then copypasted it into a gdoc to get comments.  I remember a while ago this was in the LW feature pipeline, not sure if it still is?
4Charles He1y
I think it's in beta [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/q6d4vtGwt5FE84wk7/beta-feature-google-docs-like-editing-for-lesswrong-posts].  (As you know better than me, I guess there's several principled and mundane reasons why a LW feature won't make it to the forum for a while).   Update:  From the post [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/q6d4vtGwt5FE84wk7/beta-feature-google-docs-like-editing-for-lesswrong-posts]: Woah, multiple users can write a doc at once? I think that's hard and impressive to achieve.
7Sarah Cheng1y
LW have been working hard on this, and are still ironing out the bugs. When it's more production-ready, the EA Forum devs will figure out how we might want to enable it (ex. we might want some different functionality here). If you're excited for collaborative editing, I recommend you beta test it on LW and give them lots of feedback! :) That will help improve both forums.

HTML injections?

I wanted to write a post with color highlighting. This would have been easy to do if I could inject some HTML code into my posts. I imagine there are other use cases where people want to do something special that the code base does not support yet.

Being able to embed OWiD interactive graphs and other visualization would be a great plus too!

2Yonatan Cale9mo
(This would introduce security concerns, but could be done safely, especially if the LW/CEA teams don't actually write the security code but use something ready)

Any thoughts or updates on implementing "two axis" voting? This feature is described here.


I don't really want to add pressure or pull things forward, I just wanted to check if there were thoughts on this.


For more context, the post below is a situation where this was useful :


The above shows one comment chain where a good idea seems to be downvoted because of disagreement, and not content.

 Basically, I didn't like (and really many others as well) how several comments in that post were treated voting wise, even if at the same time, we disagreed with the actual content. 

It seems possible this could be alleviated by the two axis voting.


BTW I also really like a bunch of other features and I have ideas, but basically you don't want to get me started. 

[Speaking from LessWrong here:] based on our experiments so far, I think there's a fair amount more work to be done before we'd want to widely roll out a new voting system. Unfortunately for this feature, development is paused while we work on some other stuff.

I like the post analytics thing! One thing that would be nice (maybe as an option) would be to see a time series of cumulative unique views as well as the time series of daily unique views that you already get. E.g. that would help with

  • comparing posts that went up at different times (e.g. "does post X only have more views than post Y because it's been up for 3 months longer?")
  •  answering the question "after how many days did the post accumulate 90% of its (as of today) total unique views".

Cumulative time series of all the statistics could also be pretty nice.

1Ben Snodin1y
Related question: I'm not sure whether the unique views time series plot is showing "number of views that were unique for that day" rather than "number of views from devices that never accessed the page before". E.g. if I looked at my post every day, and no-one else ever looked at it, maybe I'd see 1 unique view every day in the plot?

Footnotes are great!

One feature that would make then even greater is if I could copy paste text from a Google Doc that includes footnotes, and have them be formatted correctly.

Apparently, this is possible via a workaround explained here: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Y8gkABpa9R6ktkhYt/forum-user-manual#Footnotes [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Y8gkABpa9R6ktkhYt/forum-user-manual#Footnotes]
4Vaidehi Agarwalla10mo
Strong +1 now as I actually try to insert a post with 10+ footnotes :D

If we had a tag called "Links" for  posts that aren't displayed on the front page, then we could have a "Hackernews"/ "Reddit" style section were people can share -without comment- external links related to EA or that could be discussed in the context of EA. This would be different from current "link posts" which might have a higher (imagined) bar to posting.

Along a similar lines, there could be a low effort way for the current Shortform function to emulate Twitter, where the 'magic' sorting algorithm also takes into account the length of the post.

You can simulate this in your head by blending r/effectivegiving with the current forum. Problem is I think it devalues forum posts a bit. Kinda like (but milder than) if a scientific publication allowed authors to submit Tweets.   Personally, I'd be more excited about people just using those platforms - Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, Quora, Tiktok, etc to discuss EA-related arguments, and for EA orgs to offer prizes for that, rather than shoehorning activities into the forum.
4Hauke Hillebrandt1y
The main draw of Hackernews is that the people on it are quite smart and so it might be nice to have it on the forum. But I agree that the r/effectivealtruism sub is not that good in terms of quality of discussing and what gets upvoted and  would benefit from core EA people engaging and voting more there.

EA Forum single sign-on (SSO)

Rough idea: You can use your EA Forum login on other EA websites that aren't affiliated with CEA, such as EA Hub and Impact CoLabs. This would be enabled using an OAuth2 interface that any developer can integrate into their apps.

Benefits: The main advantage of SSO is that users would not have to create new logins; they'd just need to create one for the EA Forum and could then use it on other EA community websites. This would make it easier to create and scale up new digital infrastructure for the EA community.

This exists! The EA Hub has keys for an OAuth integration with the EA.org login system, but did not prioritize building the feature. I hadn't heard of Impact CoLabs before, but they're welcome to ask us for one. You can use your EA.org login to sign in to EA Funds, GWWC, and to save your application data for next time when you apply for EA Global.

Effective Animal Advocacy (EAA) forum

EDIT: I made this suggestion into an EA forum post so I deleted it from here to avoid duplication. The post contains the text that was originally here.

You should make this  a post as I think there could be a lot of interest.
ok, I made it into a post, thanks for the suggestion :)
I think this is a good idea and is probably worth it for one or more people to try making this happen!

The ability to add links in bios would be great!

If we could make it so I can edit my bio like I would edit a post it would be even better.

EDIT: ohh the bio uses markdown, noted.

1Sarah Cheng1y
Thanks for the suggestion! Markdown formatting should work, though I agree it's very unclear how to add a link your bio. And it looks like we already have an item in our backlog to use the rich text editor for the bio. :)

Bunch of visual accessibility stuff. In particular:

*Night mode.

*The ability to make textblocks narrower for smaller saccades and thus easier reading. (I'm not sure this is more comfortable for everybody, so a variable-width widget like Royal Road or Fanfiction dot net have at the top of their display pages might be optimal? This might require experimentation.)

*Ability to change text size.

*Better visual distinction between widgets like the Tags, Post, Pingback, and Comments. Panel borders? Width variation?

On another note, I'm using uMatrix, and it's blockin... (read more)

4Sarah Cheng1y
Thanks for the suggestions! I've added them to our list for triage.

The EA forum is one of the key public hubs for EA discourse (alongside, in my opinion, facebook, twitter, reddit and a couple of blogs). I respect the forum team's work in trying to build better infrastructure for its users.

The EA forum is active in attempting to improve experience for its users. This makes it easier for me to contribute with things like questions, short forms, sequences etc, etc. 

I wouldn't say this post provides deep truth, but it seeks to build infrastructure which matches the way EAs are. To me, that's an analogy to articles which... (read more)

Having an option to "resolve" a comment thread (analogous to "closing" a GitHub issue) would be very useful, especially for Wiki comments.

TL;DR: I'd like to have a single board where to see a summary of the analytics for all my posts.

I've been really enjoying the analytics feature!
I used it for example to notice that my post on persistence had become very popular, which led me to write a more accessible summary.

One thing I've noticed is that it is very time consuming to track the analytics of each post. That requires me to go to each post, click on analytics and have them load.

I think Medium has a much nicer interface. They have a main user board for stats, from which I can see overall engag... (read more)

3Jonathan Mustin1y
Good suggestion! I expect this would be a well-liked feature. Added to our project list. Thanks!

Some basic functionality I would benefit a lot from:

  • Add functionality for footnotes in the WYSIWYG editor
  • Make both editors interoperable
  • Have a way to toggle between the markdown and the WYSIWYG editor on the fly

Footnotes are a thing that I would use more often if it was easy to do so.

I love editing using the WYSIWYG editor, which does not support them. So when I want to add footnotes I would need to: 1) copy paste my article into a google doc, 2) run a plugin to turn the text to markdown, 3) change my editor settings to Markdown, 4) create a new artic... (read more)

3Jonathan Mustin1y
Thanks for the feedback Jsevillamol! And good timing 🙂 [https://emojipedia.org/slightly-smiling-face/] Hope WYSIWYG footnotes are meeting your needs. Full interoperability is a pretty tall order, and I expect it won't be a near-term add, but I've added it to our list in any case. Cheers!
3Jaime Sevilla1y
Thanks to you! In hindsight, the footnotes was the thing I really wanted so I am a very happy user indeed! Would be good to be able to switch between editors to do things like eg editing complicated LaTeX (right now its complicated to edit it in the WYIWYG editor). But maybe the more reasonable ask is to make the WYSIWYG equation editor span multiple lines for large equations.
1Jonathan Mustin1y
Really glad to hear footnotes have met your needs! Added to the list! Are you writing long enough equations that the text goes offscreen?
2Jaime Sevilla1y
Yes, that is right. I don't have any recent examples in the EA Forum, but here is an article [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/R28ppqby8zftndDAM/a-bayesian-aggregation-paradox] I wrote in LessWrong where the equations where very annoying to edit. I expect I occassionally would use larger equations, better formated (with underbraces and such) if it was easier to edit in the WYSIWYG editor.
3Jonathan Mustin1y
Actually it looks like a version of this is currently possible! There's a handle in the lower-right corner of the equation editor that let's you resize it. Once you've done that, it remains at the set width and wraps the contents to fit. The way the equation editor follows the cursor can be a bit janky, but it does seem to work.

Some suggestions regarding sequences:

  • Have sequences show up in search results
  • A way to see which sequences a post belongs to, especially if a post belongs to multiple sequences (e.g. display the sequences at the bottom of the post body under tags)
  • A search function on the library page
3Sarah Cheng1y
Great suggestions! I added them to our list for triage.

Button to automatically translate posts that aren't in the reader's preferred language.

  • This could help readers understand posts that aren't in a language they understand. Even though the majority of EA Forum content is in English, we have an increasing number of community of event posts that aren't, like this post in Italian and this one in Swedish.
  • This could also benefit readers whose native language isn't English.
3Sarah Cheng1y
Thanks for the suggestion! Could you expand on this idea a bit? Are you imagining that each post has a button that lets you translate the post body into any language you select? I think most events have a specific language they will cater to, so if you can't read the Italian event description you probably won't get much from attending the event. That said, I have been considering adding "languages spoken" to the user profile, and displaying what languages are spoken by the event attendees on the event page (based on people RSVPing). This could be helpful if you are looking for nearby in-person events but you don't speak the local language (ex. you are traveling or recently moved). But I assume users will generally ignore any events posted in a language they don't understand.
Sort of. I'm imagining that each post that is not in the user's preferred language would have a button that lets the user translate the post body into that language. This would work like the equivalent feature on Airbnb (example [https://imgur.com/xA3MIKA]). Speaking for myself, I'm curious about what events other EA communities around the world are organizing, so I think this feature would be nice. Right now, I'm able to right click on the page to have my browser translate it into my preferred language, which might be enough for most users who are interested in viewing forum posts in other languages. But having a translate widget on the page might still be more beneficial, if only because it'd be easier to use.
3Sarah Cheng1y
Thanks for the screenshot - that's helpful! I'll add this suggestion to our list for triage, though I think the browser's translation is good enough for most cases.

Some potential improvements to the search function:

  • Advanced search: filter results by tag, author, etc. as well as keywords.
  • Fuzzy text matching: return posts or comments with synonyms or related words, not just the exact keywords entered. This could be implemented using a word embedding, either a generic one or an embedding fine-tuned on the EA Forum text. For example, if I search for "global development", I might also get results for "poverty" and "global health". This would help because I often remember that there was a post or comment about a certain topic but can't remember the exact words that it used.
Another search results suggestion: Show bookmarked posts more prominently in search results by either: * Adding a section titled "Bookmarks"; or * Increase the rank of posts that the user has bookmarked in that user's search results and show a bookmark icon next to them
3Sarah Cheng1y
Appreciate the suggestions! I've added them to our list for triage.

I'd like to be able to add pinned posts or comments to my profile. Several people have asked me about my EA origin story so I've tried to refer them to this comment, but I always have a hard time finding the link.

3Sarah Cheng1y
Thanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our list for triage.

It's quite easy to gain a lot of karma by writing questions. I think that's fair, but I thought I'd flag it cos I've been doing very well on karma for that reason.

Did we try having this post sort by magic? 

Also can we have magic as an option to sort all comments and answers? 

Also maybe call it "hot" or "vogue (new or highly rated)". 

1Sarah Cheng1y
Thanks Nathan! I see this is already in our backlog. :)

A text box to add your preferred pronouns to your profile in Settings (e.g. she/her or they/them). Here's an example of how to do it.

3Nathan Young1y
What would you like this to be beyond writing one's pronouns at the top of the bio box? I guess I don't have a good picture of the change you want.
I should have clarified: a separate text box
2Will Bradshaw1y
I also don't have a great sense of what this request is requesting in practice.
Thanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our list for triage.

I think the user bio editor in Settings should be a bigger text area with rich text formatting (like the ones for posts). This would make them more WYSIWYG since user bios are displayed in a similar style to posts.

4Nathan Young1y
Yessssss. I was halfway through writing this request when I realised you already had.
Thanks for the suggestion! I've added this to our list for triage.
Thank you! Always appreciate an acknowledgment 😃

Having recently wrote a post that got a lot of silent downvotes, I've been thinking more about the general role of silent downvotes and how we could mitigate their downsides. (See some earlier discussion here.)

Silent downvotes are important for content ranking/visibility and providing a rough high-level signal of what the Forum community values/disvalues, but they have some pretty important disadvantages, especially when they represent a preponderance of a post's karma:

  • They can be badly demoralising to authors, without providing the kind of actionable feedback they could use to do better. (I've seen plenty of plaintive comments asking people to explain their downvotes, often with no responses.)
  • They create an atmosphere of tension and adversariality that I think tends to degrade the quality of discourse (as well as being generally stressful for many people).

There's already a feature that allows authors to hide comment karma on selected posts. I'm not sure entirely how it works, but I think it means that if the author chooses, nobody can see karma scores on that post?

That might be what some authors want, and is maybe preferable to seeing lots of silent downvotes, but at least for me ... (read more)

2Yonatan Cale9mo
+1 [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/mtBwjfygyAudDakyC/shortform?commentId=JxEjsE3XwAkdudHPG]
You might be interested in providing feedback on this mockup [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/xN2sHnLupWe4Tn5we/improving-on-the-karma-system?commentId=FvJy3neGnDHLy6HRE] from LW (which the EA Forum might implement, if they develop it)
6Will Bradshaw1y
I forgot to respond to this! Thank you for the link. That mockup is in some ways very close to my suggestion, which is exciting, but in some ways importantly different. * Less confidently, I feel iffy about having votes along these additional axes be public. I can see arguments for it (I think I'd feel better about being publicly downvoted for unclarity than for mystery reasons) but I'd also worry that it could make the intimidation effects worse for some (perhaps many) authors. That feels like an empirical question, though, and I wouldn't be super surprised to be wrong. * More confidently, I would absolutely hate it if the Forum started letting people post emoji reactions on posts. I really don't want the Forum to be more like Slack or Facebook in that way, and I think it would singlehandedly reduce my interest in posting on the Forum by >40%. This especially applies in cases where users can post custom reactions, but even if the reactions are pre-set I think it's pretty bad.
Thanks! That's helpful
Thanks for the suggestion! I think you are right that this would be a fairly big project, but I've added it to our backlog for triage.

Consider protections to prevent "pattern downvoting," that is, a single forum user downvoting every one of another user's comments and articles, particularly in articles and comments that have received few views.

Usually it's not the case that every comment made by a single person contains zero value and is detrimental to online discourse. However, some people seem to have a tendency to want to do so. Rather than allowing one person to suppress the views of another's right after publication, it would be better for other users to vote to ensure the content i... (read more)

Aaron, can we write forum PR FAQs too?

nice format

Would dilute the legitimacy of current ones

"Unofficial PR FAQ"

But if you're okay with this could you explicitly say so. If you don't I think me writing one will feel like I'm freeriding on the current legitimacy of the concept.

4Aaron Gertler1y
Others are welcome to write these — I think it's a good structure and works out better than the average suggestion post. All of these would be fine: * Just saying "PR FAQ" and making it clear in the intro that you don't work for CEA * Saying something like "Unofficial PR FAQ" * Just using a title like "Proposal: Do X" and using the PR FAQ format

A problem for me is that I don't often use the evergreen questions (like this one)

I've written feature suggestions elsewhere, but I sense people don't find them compelling, so I thought I'd just flag the problem as I see it:
- new answers get added to the bottom and are hard to find
- the question itself will never be seen for the first time again and receive the flood of interest it first did
- old questions are sometimes poorly phrased or framed

Do you think this is a problem, if so, how should we solve it?

4Aaron Gertler1y
I try to link to the evergreen questions in places people might find them (principally the "Useful Links" post, though I'll often send the links to people directly if they have a relevant idea). There are only so many places to put something on the Forum that people are likely to actually find. Some options for upgrading e.g. the "what should someone write?" post: 1. Turn it into a tag, so that anyone can apply that tag to a request/question and "turn it into a writing idea" 2. Repost it to the front page every so often, with comments sorted by new or magic These both use existing mechanisms of the Forum that don't require new programming, adding a new component to a crowded frontpage, or making people radically change their behavior. Of course, (1) and (2) can be combined — reposting the original posts could help people remember to use the tags for other posts as needed.
2Nathan Young1y
These are my proposed solutions from what I guess is least objectionable to most - mark certain questions as "evergreen" that resurface once per year.They are sorted by newness and score rather than just score - Edit the titles of these questions for maximum clarity each time - Perhaps this is true for all posts which are in the top 3% of posts - Evergreen questions start with effectively 0 karma and rise as normal. Likewise their comments reset in karma. After a month, their karma recofigures (voting on a comment in both its original and reset form only awards the user karma once) - High karma users can edit the titles and grammar of evergreen questions of users with lower karma. I know you all hate this, but stack overflow does it and it's fine
4Aaron Gertler1y
(Late-night quick reaction, tried not to spend much time on it) This sounds like quite a bit of new code for relatively little benefit, compared to just having a "Frequently Asked Questions" post with links to various question threads. Those links can have nice clean titles that don't match the original post titles, and subheadings should make the post fairly navigable. The post can then be recommended to new users (or more experienced users, in the sense of "do a good deed by seeing if you have something to add to one of these questions"). If your goal is to solicit new answers for certain questions every so often, you can always ask a mod to do this (we'll discuss it) or post the questions yourself, referring back to old threads so people can see past answers and a chain of continuity is created.
2Nathan Young1y
I don't disagree. However I think nothing compares to the initial flood of comments a post gets. I reckon for dinner it could be worth a lot to have a way of putting an idea at the forefront of people's minds regularly. I guess the question is if it's worth enough. What you suggest is worth doing too.

Can this thread be tagged with the words "features" and "requests". I often struggle to find it because I can't remember what exact formulation of words are in the title.

4Aaron Gertler1y
I've changed the body text to include those words. But I'd also recommend just bookmarking the thread under a title like "Forum features and requests", so that you can just find it from your main searchbar. (I have a bookmarks folder called "Quick Access" for links I file in this way.)

A different default sorting on this page

I have used this page about once a month for several years and only today decided to sort by new. It showed loads of great new comments. 

I suggest a sorting which balances scores and newness (like reddit's "Hot")

4Aaron Gertler1y
Done. (This turned out to be existing functionality, albeit obscure. I'm going to apply it to a few other "evergreen" posts of mine.)
2Nathan Young1y
This is just sorting by new right? that's still an improvement, but I think that will make me post on this thread less.  If you want I'll study and write the formula I'd use.
2Aaron Gertler1y
We already have an algorithm like that ("magic"), which is used for sorting frontpage posts. Based on your experience with the frontpage, does that sound useful, or would you want something else? (At the moment, the top comments might stay at the top for a few extra days, but I expect you'd want them up for weeks or months instead — the algorithm could be changed in the case where it applies to comments.)
2Nathan Young1y
Feels like "magic" would be better than sorting by new. I guess I reckon 20 karma a month ago should be worth more than 60 karma 6 months ago.  How does that sound?  
2Nathan Young1y
Yeah now I come here and all my posts are at the top and that feels bad.
2Aaron Gertler1y
There's nothing wrong with using the suggestion thread — that's why it's here! But if we do implement magic sort for comments at some point, I'll use that instead.
2Nathan Young1y
I think if people come to this thread and see 8 of one persons suggestions as the first 8 they will probably grow to resent that person. Also, I was using grammarly on this page and it was reaaally slowing down typing speed. FYI.
2Nathan Young1y
Now we need a way to hide this post since it's been answered. 

Spaced repetition cards

Ability to add spaced repetition cards to forum posts so that once you've read it, you can add the cards to a deck, which can either be exported or reviewed in the forum.

edit  Ideally anyone could create these for any post, rather than it having to be the author

We have that! The functionality is a bit hidden, but you can see how to do it here: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/yK8mKmMQ73TuzgCv6/you-can-now-embed-flashcard-quizzes-in-your-lesswrong-posts [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/yK8mKmMQ73TuzgCv6/you-can-now-embed-flashcard-quizzes-in-your-lesswrong-posts]
3Nathan Young1y
I think to be used much it would have to be open to anyone to create the flashcards. As you imply, authors aren't currently using them.
Ah, yeah. I agree that that would be a natural next level of integration. I do think the current setup does cover that use case acceptably, and the biggest problem is more that the feature is completely undiscoverable. Like, you can create flashcards for any post, and then just leave them as a comment, which seems like the natural place to find them anyways.
3Nathan Young1y
Yeah that sounds great. I'll see if I can figure it out. 

Tags for tags: We should turn the "Related entries" sections of wiki pages into native tags so we can build a crowdsourced graph of links between the wiki pages. Links can be uni- or bidirectional and specify different types of relationships such as "A is related to B" or "A is a parent of B".

I second this! I think uni- or bidirectional links would be a better form for "Related entries" rather than manually adding the topics to the "Related entries". User case: I've been trying to connect some topics on the Wiki with "Related entries" * How it is currently: When I want to put A as related entries with B and B as related entries with A, I would have to do it manually (edit and copy the links) on both topic pages. * How it can be better: If Topics could be bidirectionally linked to each other, when I add A as related entries with B, B would be automatically added as related entries with A.

Hi, sorry to be a complainer - I've just seen a new "continue reading" feature and I don't like it. If I stopped reading a sequence or article it means I'm aware of its existence and have chosen not to read it. This feature keeps reminding me of my least favourite articles (right now it's convinced I should read Aaron's placeholder post for a new sequence). I couldn't spot any way to remove it. Okay, that's all, thanks very much for your attention.

2Aaron Gertler2y
It sounds like the "placeholder post" you're seeing is a draft that should be invisible to you, which indicates a different bug. Is the title you're seeing "Sequence Placeholder Draft", or something else?
Yes that's right - it has [Draft] [Unlisted] before that title
6Aaron Gertler2y
Oy vey, thanks for the notice. Definitely a bug, and one LessWrong is now looking into.
There should be a button that appears when you hover over the post on the frontpage that allows you to remove it from your continue reading queue.
I can't hover, I only use the Forum on mobile. Thanks for the suggestion though - good to know it's possible!

The all-posts view gives excessive prominence to shortform posts: while for both ordinary posts and Wiki entries only titles are displayed, for shortform posts one gets to see the entire content. I suggest truncating such posts so as to show only the first line.

2JP Addison1y
I can't reproduce this, can you tell me what browser you were using, what settings you have for the allposts page, and whether you can still see the issue?
Yes. Chrome version 92.0.4515.107 (Official Build) (x86_64). However, (1) the issue persists if I change the view settings (selecting "magic", unticking "show low karma" etc makes no difference) and (2) the issue disappears if I open the page in incognito, or in another browser. From this I conclude it is likely caused by one of the many Chrome extensions I have installed. I will keep an eye on this and will let you know if I manage to identify the cause.
2JP Addison1y
What happens if you log in in incognito?  Do you have any of these settings set?
Ah, I had the first of those options ticked, and the issue disappeared after I unticked it. So this is the cause. Is this behavior deliberate? I think the option should not affect how shortform posts are displayed in the "all posts" view.
2JP Addison1y
Seems right. I doubt it was deliberate.
2JP Addison2y
That’s a bug, thanks for reporting.

We should add the ability to convert posts to questions (or back to regular posts, but that's tricky because answers would have to be converted to regular comments).

Also, the editor should automatically suggest converting your post to a linkpost or question post if the title or body text matches certain patterns. For example, if you write "Crossposted from X" or "This is a linkpost" at the top, it can infer that your post is most likely a linkpost. I see a lot of posts from inexperienced users that are classified as regular posts even though they're intended to be linkposts or questions, so I think this would be helpful to them.

Co-authors on posts should also share the karma of the post. I don't know how they should, whether it's equal split, or some percentage of the whole (e.g. if there's 100 karma each person gets 75 or something).

(I noticed this on 1 account for a post the person had co-written ~6 months ago)

Strongly agree with this! Having only the first author get all the karma seems unfair for the co-author(s) and doesn't provide the appropriate incentives. Maybe the first author gets 50% of the karma and the following ones share the rest. 

When editing a document, it would be nice to be able to link to headings/subheadings from the main editor when writing summaries or internally linking to other sections of a post, e.g. how it's done in Google Docs (see screenshot)

It would be useful to have and easy way to tag / untag job and request listings when they become open or closed (so basically binary tags?)

Would also be good to have an icon next to those posts how there is for the AMAs.

You can strong downvote on a "open listing" tag to try to get it removed from a post, and then just add a "closed listing" tag. I think once the tag score drops to 0, it gets removed.
4Aaron Gertler2y
Yes, a tag is removed when its score drops to zero. As long as multiple people haven't all used the job listings tag, it can be removed by the author's downvote. And in a pinch, any admin's strong vote will suffice to drop something below zero even if it has 2-3 votes.

Ability to submit questions to a monthy poll. Then everyone who has signed up gets the poll.

Option to donate to author.

Some blog articles are really good and I would pay a bit to authors I liked.

cf. the GitHub sponsor feature [https://github.com/sponsors]

Ability to mark items in this thread as “complete”

This thread is the best place to suggest feature requests and it's pretty hard to use because you can't tell which items have been done and which haven't.

I suspect that many people don't post on the forum because they're worried about their post being poorly received and damaging their reputation in the EA community.

I believe this because I feel this way myself, because I've heard other people around me worrying a lot about posting to the forum, because Will MacAskill spoke on the 80,000 hours podcast of being anxious about their reputation being damaged after posting on the forum, and because of the existence of Aaron Gertler's talk "Why you (yes, you) should post on the EA Forum".

Perhaps, by default, new posts could be anonymous until a certain karma threshold (say 30 karma) is met. After that post meets the karma threshold, the true author of the post could become visible.

That way, authors could post knowing that their reputation wouldn't be damaged if their post wasn't well received, but that they would get the credit if the post was well received.

I'd expect this to increase the number of posts (both good and bad) from hesitant new users, and I think that the increase in the number of mediocre new posts would be a cost worth paying. It's good for people to contribute and feel valued for their contribution, especially if it encou... (read more)

Do people not find it viable to post under a pseudonym? Is your worry about coming across as dishonest? 
I do think pseudonymity is the right way to solve this. It's plausible that we might want to make name-changes easier, so if you create a pseudonymous account, you can later take ownership over it more properly, if it turns out to not have embarassed you.
4Aaron Gertler2y
Meanwhile, name changes aren't yet easy, but I'm happy to change a username if you ask! I can also transfer a pseudonymous post to your "real name" account if you have one and want to take ownership.

A way to get an RSS feed which is filtered int he same way as the main feed. 

2JP Addison2y
Sounds legit.

I would consider something to reduce the karma users can get from commenting on controversial posts. Right now it seems easy to get very high scores by making not really that great comments in such places.

As an example, I think this comment I made is decent. It makes a true and relevant point that no-one else had mentioned . But it's not great; the topic of that thread is not that important, and the all the comments in it, let alone mine alone, do not resolve the issue. Most importantly, that comment is definitely not over 50% as good as this article I wrote. I would say the article is at least a thousand times more important, and took at least a thousand times longer to write.

I'm not sure how exactly you would do this though, as all the most obvious methods have significant drawbacks.

2Will Bradshaw1y
Just saw this and wanted to add my strong agreement that (a) this is a problem, and (b) I don't know how to fix it. My lizard brain has definitely learned that commenting on high-controversy posts gets me lots of karma, and I don't like it.
Maybe turn off strong voting in comments or even comment karma from counting to users' total karma in such posts? How do we decide which posts to consider controversial, though? Just the mods do it (they kept object-level election posts in the personal blog)?
An approach some forum use is the ratio of up and downvotes: -38+40 is not the same as +2 ! This allows you to have a smooth measure of the degree of controversy rather than a binary classification.
A topic could be controversial in society but the votes could still go mostly one way on the EA Forum itself, though. For example, I wouldn't be surprised if Democrat-favouring election posts were not scored as very controversial on the EA Forum, given the political leanings of EA. Do we also want to consider posts on controversial topics more broadly?
One underlying reason your comment got a lot of upvotes was because the post was viewed many times. Controversy leads to pageviews. Arguably "net upvotes" is an OK metric for post quality (where popularity is important) whereas "net upvotes"/"pageviews" might make more sense for comments. Side-issue: isn't Karma from posts weighted at 10x compared to Karma in comments? Or at least, I think it once was. And that would help a bit in this particular instance.
We no longer weigh frontpage posts 10x, though we might want to reinstitute some kind of weighing again. I think the 10x was historically too much, and made it so that by far the primary determinant of who had how much karma was how many frontpage posts you had, which felt like it undervalued comments, but it's pretty plausible (and even likely to me) that the current system is now too skewed in the other direction.  My current relationship towards karma is something like: The point of karma for comments is to provide local information in a thread about a mixture of importance, quality and readership, and it's pretty hard to disentangle those without making the system much more complex. Overall the karma of a post is a pretty good guess on how many people will want to read it, so it makes sense to use it for some recommendation systems, but the karma of comments feel a lot more noisy to me. As a long-term reward I think we shouldn't really rely on karma at all and instead use systems like the LessWrong review [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/QFBEjjAvT6KbaA3dY/the-lesswrong-2019-review] to establish in a much more considered way which posts were actually good.  We've also deemphasized how much karma someone has on the site quite a bit because I don't want to create the impression that it's at all a robust measure of the quality of someone's contributions. So, for example, we no longer have karma leaderboards.

I'd like it if I could paste a link into the editor (for either comments or posts), then click or hover over it to see an option to automatically covert the text to the name of the page, similar to how that happens in Google Docs.

This would be most valuable to me in comments, since I usually copy posts from Google Docs anyway.

I use a lot of links in comments, and think it's valuable to do so (to connect conversations to other relevant work), but sometimes I feel a bit inclined to not bother or not write the actual title (just leaving the URL) since it's a ... (read more)

Vaidehi_agarwalla and I thought it might be a good idea to have sequences within sequences. For example: Vaidehi created sequences for the ea-survey results per year, because sometimes you want to only look at the survey results for that one year. Other times you want to look at all the survey results. If we add a new survey sequence every year it will clutter up the sequence page, but if you put them in one larger sequence it will take up less space and it will allow people to either read everything in one go, or select the "sub-sequence" they want to read and stop there.

When adding new posts to a sequence everytime I add a post, my search disappears and I have to type it in again to add the next one. Would be useful to just have the search not disappear. 

Copying Bob Jacob's suggestion here so that people can vote: 

Right now most sequences are still displaying my name, even though I didn’t write them. The mods have thankfully already changed the name for the “moral anti-realism” sequence, but ideally the other sequences should be properly credited too. Maybe the whole sequence should just be handed over to the authors themselves, since they might not like the descriptions and images I have created (I did message them). That way they can also just add new posts to the sequence without having to contact

... (read more)
2Aaron Gertler2y
I think it makes sense for the default "sequence author" to be the person who actually put the posts together; many sequences have a bunch of different authors represented, and users can see who wrote each post in a sequence as soon as they click on it. However, in cases where one user sequences a bunch of another user's posts, without other posts mixed in, it seems reasonable for the second user to "own" the sequence. For all sequences of that type currently on the sequence page, someone from our team will edit the author manually (looks like the functionality may not be available on my side, so I'll talk to the devs).  I think manual edits of this type will probably suffice for now, as I don't think anyone else is going to create two dozen sequences anytime soon. Being able to assign someone else as the "owner" of a sequence could be useful eventually, though!
2Vaidehi Agarwalla2y
That makes sense! 
  1. The option to tag individual shortform posts (not just a user's whole shortform page, which may feature a large number of shortform posts on a variety of very different topics)
  2. Previews for shortform posts showing up when the shortform posts are linked to elsewhere on the Forum, in the same way previews for regular posts show up [ETA: as Habryka notes below, this is already the case]

(I find the shortform feature really valuable, and I think these two things would make it even more valuable.)

2.) Should already be the case. Linking to comments causes previews to show when hovering the link. (example [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/NhSBgYq55BFs7t2cA/ea-forum-feature-suggestion-thread?commentId=fYEGgeQrXjcGdts5j])
Oh, whoops! Yeah, I must've seen previews of comments hundreds of times, yet forgot they existed while writing the above comment. (I had these feature ideas while getting to sleep, and it seems I did not take a moment to re-evaluate them when I woke up...)

It could be cool if the EA Forum allowed for boxes of text that start off collapsed but can be expanded, in the way that e.g. Gwern's site does (here's a random example). This could be used for long sections that the author wants to signal (a) are sort-of digressions and/or (b) may be worth skipping for some people. 

There are a few things authors can already do that serve a similar purpose:

  • Have a section that explicitly says at the top "I think this section will be of interest to far fewer people than the rest of this post, so feel free to skip it."
  • Move a section to the end and call it an appendix
  • Just link to a google doc that sort of serves as the expandable box/appendix
  • Move the section into a footnote

But the first two of those options seem to less clearly signal "We really think fewer people should read this than should read the rest of this post", compared to having a collapsed but expandable box of text. 

And the third option might sometimes signal that too strongly, and also doesn't allow things to show up when you use the Forum's search function.

And the fourth option doesn't seem to work well for fairly long sections of text; more than a few paragraphs in a single fo... (read more)

Yeah, I generally want to have a bunch more interactive elements in posts. This was historically blocked by a bunch of improvements we were making to our editor, but that is now done, and I hope that soon we can make a bunch of improvements in this space.

It would be fantastic if we could set up RSS feeds for individual tags!

2Aaron Gertler2y
There are multiple ways to accomplish something like this. You can subscribe to a tag, which will notify you whenever a post gets that tag: Or set a tag as "required". This will show you only posts with that tag, creating an instant "feed":

I worry a bit that all the suggestions are about details, whereas the macro trend is that public discourse is moving toward Twitter, and blog content linked from Twitter. One thing that could help attract new audience would be to revive the EA Forum Twitter account, automatically, or manually.

When you say "macro trend", do you mean within EA or across the internet as a whole?

Also, when you say "moving", do you mean away from Facebook? The Forum has been growing steadily since we launched the new version in late 2018, by all the metrics we measure.

(Neither of these questions takes away from the idea of having a Forum Twitter account, but I wanted to figure out where the ideas were coming from.)

Across the internet as a whole. I agree that a lot of discourse happens on Facebook, some of it within groups. But in terms of serious, public conversation, I think a lot of it was initially on newsgroups/mailing lists, then blogs, and now blogs (linked from Twitter) and podcasts.

There should be a feature that points out broken links when you write posts/comments!

Yeah, I like it. Does seem like a good thing to have.

Feature Request: Allow users to make their comments display as collapsed-past-a-certain-point by default.

Why? Sometimes I want to post a long comment, but feel that it's not one that everyone needs to see/read. I'd happily post the comment if I could write a summary of what it's about at the top and have the rest hidden/collapsed-by-default, but without this ability I'm often reluctant to post the comment. This is especially true when there are many comments on a post (or when I expect there will be), since I don't want the experience of other users who a... (read more)

3Aaron Gertler2y
This is an interesting idea! I'll keep it in mind as something to potentially implement later (I haven't discussed this with folks on the tech side yet). I will say that I think you may be underestimating the value of your long comments relative to the inconvenience of scrolling past them. Every comment comes with a "collapse" button that people can use, and I'd hope that anyone annoyed by scrolling will learn to use it, though I can't be sure of how often this happens.

As far as I can tell, it isn't possible to have line breaks in footnotes (though I may just be doing something wrong). This also precludes bulleted/numbered lists, block quotes, etc. Any chance that could be changed? 

3Aaron Gertler2y
See the "long footnote with multiple blocks" syntax here [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/fQ4HGx4AR2QXHR5RL/ea-forum-footnotes-are-live-and-other-updates#Footnotes_are_live]. You need to indent successive lines within a footnote to add line breaks by adding four spaces in front of each line. See here [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/E7AJ3CurdZ9RJFbkQ/u-s-executive-branch-appointments-why-you-may-want-to-pursue#_ftnref13] for an example of someone doing this in a post.

Could we get notifications if someone comments on a thread we started, but not as a direct reply to us? Currently, if I make a comment, I get a notification if Alice replies, but not if Bob replies to Alice. And I suspect Bob's replies would often relate to what I said and be interesting to me.

I've just noticed I can subscribe to comment replies on a thread, but I'm not yet sure if that captures replies to replies, and really I'd like this to be default for every comment thread I start (rather than me having to manually opt in every time).

(Apologies if someone else already mentioned this; I haven't read the other suggestions on this page.)

2Aaron Gertler2y
If you select "auto-subscribe to replies to my comments", you'll be subscribed to each comment that replies to one of your comments. You can combine this with a notification for "replies to comments I subscribe to". This should capture your "replies to replies", though I haven't validated this through testing. In the time since you left this comment, have you seen evidence that this method works, or that it doesn't?
Update: I think that this doesn't work, at least for me and in cases where I didn't start the comment thread. (Unless I'm doing something wrong.) My specific observations: * I replied to a comment here [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/R7rLHPhdwPajQtyGv/80-000-hours-one-on-one-team-plans-plus-projects-we-d-like?commentId=ijGscBFgbmz3t8CaD#pp6aSfJDgu6MzZtyf]. I was notified when Michelle Hutchinson replied. But I wasn't notified of the various replies to her replies. * When I click on the three dots to the right of my comment, one of the options is "Unsubscribe to comment replies". So I think that means that the current state is that I am subscribed to comment replies to that comment of mine. * In my user settings, "Auto-subscribe to replies to my comments" is ticked. * In my user settings, "Replies to comments I'm subscribed to" shows the current settings as "Notify me on-site" and "Immediately". (Is there something else I should do? Also let me know if screenshots would be useful.)
4Aaron Gertler2y
I've checked with LW's tech staff, and it looks like what you've seen is the behavior they'd expect -- it's apparently difficult to track longer comment chains in this way with the current tech setup. I'm sorry to have given you an incorrect theory.
4Aaron Gertler2y
That's a reasonable test, and I wouldn't have expected that result. I'll follow up with our tech folks and let you know what I find out.
I think I forgot about this. (Though I'd still value getting notifications for replies to replies; I just forgot to think about it or check if solutions worked.) I'll pay attention over the coming days :)

I like listening to articles on "Voice aloud reader." I think that the easiest way to use this is to open a PDF file. So some method of converting forum posts into PDF's might be useful, even if it stripped out images, graphs etc.

(Pretty low priority, feel free to ignore if not common. It's also possible I just haven't played around with Voice Aloud Reader and similar software enough)

I would love to have more features for the Markdown editor, since I prefer it over the WYSIWYG editor. For example, I'd like to be able to upload images while editing in Markdown (like GitHub does). Also, a syntax cheatsheet would be wonderful.

Ideally, I'd like to be able to switch between the Markdown and WYSIWYG editors while editing a document, or have a rendered preview tab in the Markdown editor.

Two consecutive hyphens should autocorrect to an em dash!

That way, a parenthetical clause in the middle of your sentence - like this one - isn't offset by "space hyphen space" on either side--or, even worse, by "hyphen hyphen". Instead, autocorrect two hyphens to a nice, clean em dash—like that.

I think this is a common feature for text editors - Microsoft Word definitely uses it.

8Will Bradshaw3y
Interesting. I'm used to two hyphens for an en dash and three for an em dash.

Post and comment previews in search results!

Command + K should add a hyperlink!

This is also the case in the new editor! Sorry for not having this for so long!
Cool, thanks.

I sometimes think of an idea for a forum post that I want someone other than me to write about, perhaps because I don't have the expertise or time to write it.

An idea could be to have a dedicated area to suggest posts for someone else to write. These suggestions could be upvoted or downvoted so that we can see what the community would most like to see written about.

It would be good to have a way to stop say twenty people then writing the same post at the same time. Perhaps people could put their name next to the suggestions that they are interested in... (read more)

2Aaron Gertler3y
We have a thread for this [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/9AEEqDR8zcQv2XmsB/what-posts-do-you-want-someone-to-write]! It's not on the homepage anymore, but people who track new comments will still see what you post there, it will come up in search results, etc. It's possible that I should resurface this thread once in a while to collect new suggestions.

On mobile, you could shrink the menu bars on the top and bottom of your screen (where the top has the Forum logo, and bottom has “all posts” and other navigation bars). Smaller navbars -> More screen space for reading -> easier to read and comment.

2JP Addison3y
What page are you on when you want this? Do you spend a lot of time reading Recent Discussion on the homepage? On posts the header goes away when you scroll down and the bottom bar never appears at all.
When reading the text of a post. You’re right, it’s totally good when scrolling downwards— I’m having trouble when writing comments, scrolling up and down between the text and my comment and getting blocked by the bars.

''Next" and "Previous" arrows/buttons at the bottom of a post, to move to the next/previous post - useful when you haven't read the forum for a while and want to catch up. This would obviously have to assume a certain ordering (e.g. chronological vs karma) and selection (e.g. all or excluding Community/Questions), which could perhaps be adjusted in Settings.

Double the karma weight of votes made before the new karma system was implemented. All votes used to be worth one point. For example, let's take an old post like this. It currently has 43 karma and 43 votes (probably all of them are upvotes). For comparison, my newest post has 53 karma and 16 upvotes. If you think about it, that old post is clearly more endorsed by the community. There were fewer readers when it was posted and a very high percentage of them chose to upvote it and probably many would have strongly upvoted if that was an option. Nowadays, even a regular upvote by high-karma users is worth two points. Posts like that old post do not appear in forum favourites and other places like that but they should. If you doubled the karma of such old posts, the karma for that old one would be 86 instead of 43 - a much better representation of how much the community endorses that post. Ah, maybe you should even triple the karma weight. Posts like this would then actually make forum favourites and I think they should.

Changing the raw totals sounds confusing, but you could implement some form of regularisation in ranking contexts - for example karma relative to total karma across all posts for that month. It is a little strange that if I go to an old post I upvoted, un-upvote, and then re-upvote, its karma increases I think.
It's not just about ranking. It's also about how much karma individual users have and (most importantly) about how worthy-of-reading a post looks when you open it based on its karma. I think that the situation where all votes made before the new system are worth one karma point is no less confusing than a system where they are worth two karma points.
Triple sounds approximately right to me in terms of relative weighting.

Categories / sub-fora / better overview of tags

I think it would be very helpful if the forum was made easier to navigate by creating categories/sub-fora, making tags more intuitively accessible, or some other method. E.g., how do I find the most-upvoted forum posts and comments about EA investing?

6Will Bradshaw3y
I think sub-fora is a somewhat contentious issue, the counter-argument being that it's good to have the Forum be a clearing-house of EA ideas without too much splintering. I agree the tag interface could be more discoverable. If you go to https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/tags/all [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/tags/all] you can see a list of all tags and how many posts each one has, but there doesn't seem to be much functionality beyond a featureless alphabetical list (e.g. it would be cool to allow them to be sorted by number of posts, and for the tags page to be discoverable from the homepage). Once you get to a specific tag, though, it seems to already have the functionality you're looking for, including different sort orders: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/tag/investing [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/tag/investing]
2Jonas Vollmer3y
Thanks, I wasn't aware of this!

I would like to promote Wei Dai's suggestion that it would be nice if it was possible to share drafts privately and then potentially make them public at a later point. (I think there's some chance that this is already possible, but the UX doesn't seem intuitive, otherwise I would have noticed already.)

Before implementing, it seems worth talking to users to find out whether this would actually make them more likely to share their internal work publicly at some point. It could also be good to find out whether there are any other ways that coul... (read more)

3JP Addison3y
Some of this will appear with the new editor, which has collaborative editing features built in. I admire your confidence. There's a sense in which if an experienced user doesn't know about a feature, it isn't well designed. OTOH, I assign some probability you've forgotten what the new post dialogue looks like.
4Jonas Vollmer3y
Very cool! I think for me personally, this would work better if there were two buttons at the end – one called "publish", one called "share as draft with users" or something like that. That puts it more in the reference class of "this is a form of publishing my work" rather than "here's some additional feature that I don't understand how it works". Also: I notice that my wording was a bit unfriendly – apologies, I would like to retract that. :) EDIT: It seems that drafts don't support comments. I think this is one of the main features I was hoping for.
4JP Addison3y
Re: your edit - yep, that will come with the new editor, though maybe not in the first iteration.

Have a nice format for linkpost in shortform.

With the goal of having the forum fully replace the EA subreddit at some point.

It has taken me a long time to find the EA online events calendar (thanks @EdoArad) could this be displayed more prominently


2Aaron Gertler3y
This post [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/KcMnHuXg9Yhwp37kW/connecting-with-online-ea-events] (which links to the calendar and other resources) has been pinned on the Community page for weeks. I could also pin it on the main page, but I have a much higher bar for that, because it means everyone will see it every time they come to the Forum (and it doesn't really fit the Frontpage category).

Can we have a nice "Community Events" section like in LW? Can it integrate automatically with the International EA Events Calendar?

I posted some things in this comment, and then realized the feature I wanted already existed and I just hadn't noticed it - which brings to mind another issue: how come one can retract, overwrite, but not delete a comment?

9Will Bradshaw3y
I think in the case of regular comments there's a desire not to let people edit the record too much; if you say something you no longer endorse the intended action is that you retract it (which applies strikethrough but leaves the comment standing). Of course, there are some issues with this setup: * One can edit one's comments freely, so it's easy enough to remove unwanted content anyway (as we see here, and in the occasional comment consisting entirely of a struckthrough "."). * If the original comment is yours and no-one has responded to it, there's no conversation to protect, so I'm not sure blocking deletion makes much sense. * Since shortform is implemented as one big comment thread, it's impossible to delete shortform posts except by asking a mod to do it (I've run into this one myself). So one has less power over one's own shortform feed than one's major posts, which seems backwards to me given the intended purpose of shortform.
Yeah, I really dislike that I can't delete comments.
We actually just [https://github.com/LessWrong2/Lesswrong2/pull/3261] deployed the ability for users to delete their own comments if they have no children (i.e. no replies) for lesswrong. So I expect that will also be up on the EA Forum within the next few weeks.

Could we have better help for those whose content has been (heavily) downvoted?

I often see people plaintively saying something like: "My comment has been heavily downvoted, but I have no idea why!" Can the forum be more helpful for this scenario?

Not sure what the best solution is, but here's an idea:

  • if someone's comment/post has been downvoted enough for it to have net negative status, the UI allows the user to ask for feedback (e.g. it's an option when you click on the three dots on the top right hand side)
  • if they ask for feedback
... (read more)
7Will Bradshaw3y
I also don't know what the best solution is, or if the best solution is a codebase change (as opposed to just a norm that you should avoid silently downvoting things if you can, unless feedback you agree with is already there). But I agree this is a problem: downvoting silently achieves the function of allowing the forum to sort and filter content, but fails the function of allowing users to learn and get better.

I think this could be more useful for people who are slightly downvoted, or whose posts just don't get much attention. I remember a few recent highly-downvoted posts and comments (below -10 or so), and all of them seem to have well-written feedback; sometimes more thought was put into the feedback than the original post (not necessarily a bad thing, but going even further could be a massive waste of energy).

People who provide feedback also have to want to engage. On Stack Exchange, closing a question requires a reason, but mods and high-rep users are known to close poorly-written questions for vague reasons without providing much feedback. An even worse failure mode I see is if users are disincentivized from downvoting because they don't want to be added to the feedback list.

Making it possible for people to add a bio in their profile (that supports external links) so people can get a better idea of someone's background and interests when reading posts and comments.

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply
I didn't know this was possible because the bio doesn't display when you are logged in and viewing your profile page, so perhaps displaying the bio itself with a button to edit it would be more obvious to users.

If I am on the main page, it might be nice if center-clicking on the 'Show Previous Comment' button opened that comment tree in a new tab. At the moment you can center-click the date to open a comment in a new tab, and then separately need to click 'Show Previous Comment'.

Is there an equivalent post on lesswrong for this discussion?

Has anyone considered a hackernews-style section? I know there is already support for posting links, but:

  • They act as posts, while their function is not at all like that in Hackernews. E.g.,
    • I don’t want my subscriptions to people show me their submitted links. At not as post notifications.
  • Hackernews thrives by banning editorialization. You can only submit a link with its original title (or a sufficiently neutral title in case the original title sucks. They have guidelines on their site, iirc.). The poster has no privilege over other users.
  • There is a culture of posting relevant links that the community finds useful. We do not have such a culture here, because we do not provide the medium and guidelines for it.

This links section will create a distributed content aggregator for our community. Considering finding relevant content in our current era is a hard problem, this can be very useful. I think a lot of us here are distasteful of surroundings ourselves with news outlets, for example. It’d be great if we could get a filtered important news list through the community. Adding features such as an RSS feed for links with X+ karma will be helpful in this endeavor.

Also see lobsters.

I am curious, why isn’t the greaterwrong frontend getting adopted as the primary UI? It’s much faster, much more touch-friendly, customizable, and generally rocks. Its only downpoint is that it lacks features compared to LW, which should be solved in, say, 6 months? That would be a major QoL improvement. The LW UI frequently hangs on my iPad, it’s so bloated.

Is it hard to make here and Lesswrong more compatible? I am thinking of a cross-posting feature that has comments of both forums. Linking the accounts (for subscriptions, for example. Karma maybe.) also seems nice.

Yeah, just a feature which displays the comments from LessWrong crossposts would save me some clicking.

I think the EA Forum should allow authors to pick one of the images they attached into their post as the "preview image" when the post is shared on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

I don't think this feature currently exists, and I think it would help drive traffic to the EA Forum whenever posts are shared. I'm assuming that the authors would link an image that is more enticing than the standard EA forum logo, which would result in slightly higher click-through rates. Medium.com and most other CMS's allow you to pick a preview image. I think Medium.com's UI for picking a "featured image" is a good example of how to design this feature.

4Vaidehi Agarwalla8mo
Adding to the better preview image for twitter, I notice other sites have top quotes from the article as a cover image, which I think is pretty interesting.  (probably not worth implementing, but just for inspiration really)