Community Evangelist @ EffectiveCauses and EffectiveDAO
Working (6-15 years of experience)
100Joined Sep 2022


I conceive and build EA-aligned projects. 

I'm also a crypto hobbyist and consultant. 

I love to hang out at the intersection of EA and Blockchain  :)

I believe in the power of DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations)

How I can help others

Talk to me about Cryptocurrency, Web3, NFTs, DAOs, Metaverse, DeFi, GameFi, DeSo etc


Yes it was in plaintext in a comment. They did not need to obtain privileged access to see it. 

What was apparently a good intentioned move seems to be getting sidetracked by the majority of anonymous (and non anonymous) comments. Quite unfortunate.

Can't we all just kiss and make up? We are supposed to be altruists, right? RIGHT??? 

On a more serious note, I don't personally know and have never worked personally with Kat or Emerson but I've been a member of one of the Nonlinear/Superlinear discords for some weeks now and have interacted with Drew and a few others and that place feels more or less like a family where everyone's opinion is valued and respected. 

They are very open, helpful and supportive people and one of the most welcoming of all the EA communities I've been in so far (I'm quite new to EA, about three months old in the community). I've never felt any negative vibes interacting with them and I am of the strong opinion that the work being done there is highly impactful and relevant to EA.

All the same I believe "there is no smoke without fire" as they say and I believe some kind of official investigation should be made into these allegations (if possible). But I don't think this thread is the best place to discuss this issue as it distracts from the import of the original post (which would be beneficial to a lot of people in the community given the current situation of things).

The anonymous accuser should have created a different post and linked to it in a brief comment here for a more robust discussion of that issue without distracting from the original purpose of this thread.

And on the issue of forum voting, I think posters and commenters should NOT be able to vote on their own posts and comments. I believe the effects of being able to vote on one's own post/comment are net negative.

My statement was really based on my experience and observations over the years as a practitioner in the field. SEO (which this falls under) is a core part of my regular day job and I consider it to be one of my strongest skills. I have 10+ years experience in the field and I have worked (and continue to work) on stuff like this almost on a daily basis. Because of this I'm very confident that my opinion is very likely correct (>90% confident).

Unfortunately I cannot point you to a specific citation or actually tell you with 100% confidence what exactly the Google algorithm will do or how exactly it works (only Google actually knows). Google is very secretive about how their algorithm works and most of the time SEOs can only offer (educated) guesses on how the algorithm probably works (guesses being based on past observations and measurements).

The Google algorithm is actually now very sophisticated and being able to filter signals while ignoring "noise" appears to be one of its strengths and modus operandus (this opinion is based on my (anecdotal and measured) observations over the years plus learnings from others in the field).

One more thing: It might take maybe up to between 1 and 3 months after the changes are made for more forum posts to start appearing in the scholar results. There is also some probability that they could appear sooner though.

It would be a great idea to enable it for all posts. 

This forum has enough high quality scholarly content to qualify as an academic resource of note. 

There will not be any issue with the Google algorithm at all. In fact Google actively encourages using these metadata for websites with content like EA forum has. The algorithm will be able to decide what is relevant to it and will simply ignore the rest. 

With respect to the names, that also would not be a problem. The only consequence is that Google will store and display search results using the names they used. So if anyone likes to have their article to be associated with their real name they will need to use the real name in their post. 

 There will not be any other impact.

Also: Just in case someone prefers not to have their forum post indexed by Google scholar, there are ways to remove indexed entries . But I have a feeling hardly anyone would opt for that.

Nice minimalist designs. Hope we can do something together in the future.

Alignment.wiki / stampy does look great. Hopefully we can build with it for some other future project. I've already joined the discord and will be keeping an eye on discussions while attempting to learn more about the codebase

I agree with you. We actually checked various solutions to see what best to use and we eventually opted to go with building ontop of Wordpress. Wordpress does have a couple of white label q and A plugins/extensions but none of the ones we found had the features we needed (which are specific and a bit extensive) so we decided it would be better to code our own custom plugins (on top of wordpress) for the features we want instead of trying to customize someone else's code to fit our needs. However if you know of any whitelabel Q and A solutions you could recommend we would be happy to take a look at it, hopefully we might find one we could work with to save on time and costs.

I think the phrase "questions people care about" is subjective because there is really no way to know for certain what each and every person truly cares about. There is no way to tell if the newbies are still intimidated with that page but a cursory look through the comments on the page still seems like the kind of examples of "intimidating" stuff I've been shown by some of my EA newbie (would-be) mentees.

I understand that you used that page as an example and not as a definite solution but let me first talk about why a one page Q and A format (hence that post) is not the best solution, and then I will talk about why having a solution that is too simplified, too "Lean" or too basic or produced in a rushed way is also not a great way to solve the challenge we are trying to solve.

A one page post like the one you linked to will not scale well. It may work well for a couple tens, maybe hundreds of questions but when it gets to thousands or tens of thousands of questions it becomes unwieldly and lots of questions and great discussions risk being buried in one big jumbled mass of comments and replies.

Moreover a couple of such simple EA Q and A posts and comment threads exist on facebook, twitter, reddit and random places and apps on the internet, yet the newbie-friendliness issue persists. There are Social media groups and threads on EA Q and A dotting the web, but the newbies are still having this challenge.

In the same vein, a platform that is too simplified, too basic or hurriedly put together is not a great idea for something as important as this.

We believe that something as serious as this needs to be feature-rich, robust and well tested. It needs to be be fully developed and not too basic or simplistic and it's features need to be future proof to a great degree.  

It also needs to be able to scale well and be able to handle heavy loads. Hence it is not something that should be rushed too fast.

Considering a long term view, if this works the way we imagine, (i.e turns out to be a very useful and popular resource for EA newbies going forward), the platform has to be able to effectively fulfill its purpose even with the large numbers of visitors it could potentially get.

Having a more-than-basic platform and a thoughtfully designed UI/UX encourages easy searchability, content organization, discoverability, archiving, search indexing, a well developed admin dashboard, advanced admin features and overall a better user experience and efficiency especially when you consider a scale of hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of questions. Such features cannot be created in too much hurry.

It needs to meet certain specific attributes which we have drawn up from our little research and discussions with some of the newbies in our group.

Sure, we could organize a hackathon and cobble up something akin to a solution but there are pitfalls to that approach (e.g poorly planned and poorly tested code) which could lead to devastating consequences (e.g platform/server failure, security breaches etc). Also features may be too basic/minimal and not robust enough.

We already did some internal "testing" among a handful of potential users. Even though the test methods were quite informal and not exactly scientific but it gave us some insights on what features might be useful for our target audience. In a way this testing was kind of our (accelerated) Lean startup phase. What we learnt from the tests is what gives us the confidence to go all out and commit the resources to build something solid with an ability to scale.

To be fair, one (and a half) developers working on a feature-rich implementation for three months is quite reasonably "Lean", even though we are not building from scratch (the plan is to build a number of custom plugins on top of the Wordpress framework). It wouldn't take that long if there were more developers but we had to balance costs and time to completion. We tried to be as reasonable with the costs while still trying to deliver within a reasonable timeframe.

Moreover, not all of the three months would be devoted to actual coding, a good chunk of the third month would be devoted to testing and a private beta during which time we will be making adjustments based on user feedback (still in line with the Lean Startup ideology). Considering what we plan to create, this is like 6 to 9 months development work compressed into three. It could actually be squeezed into two months but that would not allow enough time for proper testing and bug fixing to be carried out.

On Promotion, SEO and Marketing:

After building this Q n A platform, it definitely needs to be promoted (through either free or paid means) majorly in places where one expects to find EA newbies, whether online or offline. It also needs to be "marketed" (via outreach messages) to key EA community members, EA leaders and the entire EA community at large so that they get to know about it).

It would not be a good idea to just launch it and not do any kind of promotion or marketing.

If you don't tell anybody about it, how would they know it exists? That would be like "build it and they will come" which is not always a very good idea.

Having a promotional push at the start of any new and previously unknown website or product/brand is the recommended (and usually the most sensible) thing to do. Sure you could build your website, host it online and then sit back and wait for people to magically start visiting and using it but very likely nobody will come because nobody knows about it but you. And if nobody knows about the website, how will they know to use it?

We don't necessarily plan to "rely on SEO and marketing" forever, just to give it that initial push and then get it to grow and scale faster. That initial push will get it in front of some potential users and then the visitors will start trickling in. This visitor traffic will eventually cause the search engines to pick it up faster after which the website questions might begin to show up more frequently and more prominently in search results.

By the time many people in the EA community know about its existence there will not be much need for continued marketing because by then word-of-mouth would have taken over, leading to organic growth.

At that point we don't need to do any further promoting for the website to continue getting visitors because it will receive regular organic traffic from search engines. With no further promos, the website will still grow over time, but it will grow at a much slower pace than if there were some promotional marketing and SEO actions to boost it further.

Continuous promotion and marketing will speed up the growth process and allow more of the intended users of the website to discover it.

Marketing is always a great (and highly recommended) way to speed up the growth of any project and get more users to know about and use it (and it is something we must do continuously, whether free or paid). Even well known, well established companies and big brands still devote sizeable chunks of their budget to marketing (even Google runs adverts on Facebook and vice versa).

SEO is very important and cannot be overlooked.

For this project, SEO is very very important because much of people the website is targeted at are people searching about EA on Google and other earch engines. Therefore enhancing the SEO is actually one of the most important things to do to make the project successful. 

I agree with you on the issue of this being an EA Culture thing that will be challenging to fix. However, culture is shaped and influenced by many things, including more increasingly (these days of tech advances) the content of websites that appear in search results. While culture-related issues cannot be fixed by one single action, various actions can be taken to help fix or mitigate such.

Unfortunately right now it seems that not a lot of action is being taken to tackle the issue.

So, my small group and I decided to take this up as one of our focal points. We brainstormed and came up with a list of actions in the form of recommended projects, platforms and policies that can be implemented to make EA more newbie friendly. This Q and A website is just one of the items on our list and it is our belief that if we can achieve all the things on the list, the newbie-friendliness issue will be greatly reduced or totally eliminated.

It will not be an easy or a quick journey and many things are still uncertain and experimental but we plan to take a slow and steady approach, one step at a time, starting with this Q and A website. As time goes on we will present the other ideas we have to the community.

On Your other points:

The problem is not with the EA Forum platform software itself but with the actual content i.e the questions and posts contained in the forum. EA Forum has great SEO but does not contain many newbie questions because "newbies are scared to ask".

Also the forum software may be able to generate the type of data you linked to, but that data does not capture the full picture because some/much/most(?) of the newbie questions that probably would have been asked are not included (because they have not been asked). There are also other kinds of data /polling that would be less time and resource intensive to obtain speedily and at scale with a dedicated platform, rather than trying to wrangle it from other data as it appears was done in the post you linked to.

Information Silo: Having a separate standalone platform does not necessary mean it has to be a silo. It all boils down to the way the project is executed and the user interface / user experience (UI/UX).

There are ways to closely link both websites so that there is no siloing or dilution, rather synergy, with each platform complementing the other. For example, the Q and A site could be included officially in EA forum resources as an aditional resource for the newbie EA community, while on our end we funnel visitors back to EA Forum through conspicuous links and prompts and carefully guiding the user journey through thoughtfully planned UX design and testing.

You can picture this Q and A platform like a big broad net to capture a wider swathe of persons interested in EA, and then eventually funnel them to EA Forum as the final authoritative destination for all things EA. Therefore, rather than be a silo, it becomes a useful tool to ensure that newbies are "captured" and led to the right information sources and resources instead of them straying without guidance and possibly ending up getting information from questionable/unreliable/biased/anti-EA sources. This is a commonly used and very effective technique by website owners and community builders/growth hackers to capture more of their market (and potential clients) and I believe it will also be effective in our case.

My general thoughts:

This newbie friendliness issue is an important issue within the EA Community and something concrete needs to be done about it. There's been much discussions and suggestions in various threads but it still feels like a highly neglected problem.

I would argue that this is a problem that really needs to be prioritized.

EA is growing fast (maybe exponentially even). The movement is growing in popularity and an increasing number of new people are coming into EA (or researching more about it). If nothing is done about this problem, there is a risk of alienating a sizeable chunk of newbies in EA.  

Solving or mitigating the newbie-friendliness issue will also make things easier for people in diverse areas trying to start EA groups and onboard new members on their own.

I would understand if this does not feel like a priority to everyone but being in an area with virtually zero EA activity (or hub or official support structure) and trying to create awareness and raise groups there, this is really one of the BIGGEST challenges I am facing. So I do feel it needs to be solved (at least for the sake of others who might be in the same shoes as this poster and I).

I strongly believe that this Q and A platform (and other ideas we have) will go a long way to at least move us towards some kind of fix or mitigation.

On covert attack threats: This should be a very serious concern and is one of the main reasons why I suggested this project some weeks back (Note: See my #2 Item on this comment detailing reasons why such project is needed)  but not many respondents seemed to think it important enough to support or comment on. 

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