EA Forum feature suggestion thread

post by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler), JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2020-06-16T16:58:58.569Z · EA · GW · 705 comments

Edit from 2022: Consider checking the Forum user manual [EA · GW] 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 [EA · GW].

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.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Peter Wildeford (Peter_Hurford) · 2020-06-17T15:18:34.775Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

It's still a crime that we don't support tables and it's a second crime that no one else has mentioned this yet.

Replies from: Habryka, aarongertler
comment by Habryka · 2020-06-17T17:12:00.871Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

They are supported in the new editor which LessWrong has currently shipped if you op into beta features (and I expect will go live for everyone by default in the next two weeks or so).

Replies from: Peter_Hurford
comment by Larks · 2021-04-21T14:53:13.934Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 [EA(p) · GW(p)] 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 [EA · GW] 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.

Replies from: MichaelStJules, willbradshaw
comment by MichaelStJules · 2021-04-21T17:24:04.903Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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)?

Replies from: Larks
comment by Larks · 2021-04-21T19:28:04.662Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: RyanCarey, MichaelStJules
comment by RyanCarey · 2021-04-21T20:06:39.811Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2021-04-21T21:45:08.245Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 [LW · GW] 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.

comment by MichaelStJules · 2021-04-21T20:33:49.856Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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?

comment by Will Bradshaw (willbradshaw) · 2021-11-11T21:38:16.118Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by David_Moss · 2020-06-20T08:36:35.209Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

It would very dramatically improve my experience of the Forum if there were the option to hide posts. This would mean that the first page of the Forum would always be posts that were relevant to me. As it stands, whenever I visit the Forum most of the posts which I can see are not relevant to me (perhaps because I've already read them and don't want to read them again or check in on the ongoing discussion), whereas posts which are relevant to me and which I would want to visit again are invisible if they are more than a few days old.

Replies from: jpaddison, Jsevillamol, Stefan_Schubert, Peter_Hurford
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2022-06-11T07:47:40.252Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

This feature just shipped. You can hide posts from the frontpage using the triple dot menu to the right of the post item. Let us know if you have any feedback. Thanks to trialing candidate Steven R for building it.

Replies from: David_Moss
comment by David_Moss · 2022-06-11T08:23:51.341Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Many thanks! This will make the Forum a lot more usable for me.

comment by Jaime Sevilla (Jsevillamol) · 2021-09-25T14:57:10.413Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Similarly, I would like for comments I have minimised to stay minimised between visits (unless there is a new reply in thread)

comment by Stefan_Schubert · 2021-09-25T16:30:59.757Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yes, agreed.

You can hide tags, like the creative writing contest, from the frontpage, but if you scroll down those posts and their comments are visible (at least they do to me; maybe there is some way to hide them). It would be good if they could be entirely hidden.

And yes, it would be good to be able to hide individual posts (along with their comments) as well.

comment by Peter Wildeford (Peter_Hurford) · 2021-09-25T14:49:48.568Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I’d like this too.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-20T09:51:29.600Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Dark mode.

Replies from: Guy Raveh, Pablo_Stafforini, Maxdalton, Venkatesh, finm
comment by Guy Raveh · 2022-09-03T00:43:26.453Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Strongly upvoted :)

comment by Pablo (Pablo_Stafforini) · 2022-01-08T15:28:49.052Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Also seconded.

In the meantime, you can get pseudo dark mode with the dark reader extension.

comment by MaxDalton (Maxdalton) · 2020-06-30T07:43:07.640Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I don't know if you've seen ea.greaterwrong.com - that has a dark mode (in the left hand menu). 

comment by Venkatesh · 2022-05-16T13:06:11.899Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Recently Less wrong [LW · GW] has created this feature. C'mon EA Forum!

comment by finm · 2022-01-08T14:47:42.196Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Seconded! I would maybe use the site 20% more if it had a good dark mode.

comment by BrianTan · 2020-06-17T02:21:37.342Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I'd like users to be able to attach/link a profile picture to their EA Forum profile, and that these pictures would be viewable next to their usernames in posts or comments. I think this would make the forum a bit more human and friendly!

Replies from: jpaddison, nathan
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2020-06-25T18:05:21.925Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I also like this idea. In addition to the effect you describe, I think it could help your eyes track the conversation more easily. It would also add more color to the site. Here are some reasons why I currently think it’s a little too much work. First, it’s more work than it seems, because the current layout of these comments feels very unsuited for slapping in all but the tiniest of avatars. So we’d need to substantially update the comments UI as well as build the profile upload. Also it makes the experience of engaging in the comments nicer, but my current guess is most of the value comes from people writing good posts and more people reading them [EA · GW]. I don’t see the strong causal pathway between pictures and more of that happening. — Having written that, if it caused authors to find the comment section friendlier, I could imagine them having a smaller barrier to posting. OTOH, I could imagine authors being more intimidated by the “oh crap these are real people” feeling. I’d be curious to hear thoughts from authors.

Replies from: BrianTan, Inda
comment by BrianTan · 2020-06-26T01:06:05.725Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hey JP, thanks for your thoughts! When you're saying it's a little too much work, how many weeks are we talking about? I can understand how the profile upload part might take a bit long (1-2 weeks?).

For adding in the profile pictures beside author's usernames, I would think there isn't any big UI updating that has to be done there. It's only in the comments section that things might be a bit trickier. I've made mockups for my own suggestion here, including mockups for showing these on the frontpage, post header, and two different options for how to show pictures on comments. Even just showing pictures on the frontpage and beside the author's names in a forum post page would be great, if those are easier to do than adding on the comments.

But yeah it's good that you flag that the value of the forum comes from people writing posts and more people reading them. I'm also curious about what authors think on if they would prefer to have their face in posts, as well as if they prefer to see commenters' faces!

Replies from: Ben Pace
comment by Ben Pace · 2020-06-26T01:48:18.814Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

+50 points for making UI mockups, makes it much more likely to get the feature.

comment by Inda · 2020-06-26T11:42:32.391Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think this has bad effects also. It’ll make the site appeal more to “normal” people, and look less serious. It also doesn’t give us any useful information, but take up real estate and use up attention. It might make groupthink more prevalent, too; I personally have found my thinking is most honest when I am thinking alone and don’t plan to share them socially.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T16:30:49.298Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Related to this what does our user research say that new users think about the forum? Do they think it is minimalist or stark? I guess we could learn this, particularly if we want EA to be more representative of the global population.

Replies from: BrianTan
comment by BrianTan · 2020-06-20T02:43:11.505Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yeah I think the EA Forum team could do usability testing on users if they haven't done it yet. Maybe they could do it on people interested in EA but have never visited the forum yet. I remember the first few times I visited the forum was quite daunting - long posts, usually no pictures on posts, no faces, and no onboarding.

I'm thinking that for users not logged in (which presumably means they're new to the forum?), they could be pointed to this article (maybe with some edits to make it a better first-read for new users): https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/about, [? · GW] and then they're encouraged to sign up in the end. A link to a short 2-5 minute video on the homepage about what the forum is and how to use the forum could work too.

I think some gamification for guided onboarding could work too, i.e. upvote your first article, upvote your first comment, message an author, write your first comment, write your first post, acquire x much karma (and get a badge)

Now that we have tags, tags could be part of onboarding and a more central part of the experience too. Similar to how Medium.com encourages you to follow or subscribe to certain topics.

But yeah I wouldn't want to speak ahead too much on feature suggestions without knowing what the user research and usability testing results are first! As a UI/UX designer myself, I'd much rather see user research and usability testing be done first. My experience in using the forum might not be representative.

Replies from: willbradshaw
comment by Will Bradshaw (willbradshaw) · 2020-06-28T13:44:11.481Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I do actually quite like the UX mockups for the photo idea, which I think would have the positive effects already described (friendlier impression, easier to track comments). Here are two reasons I'm less keen:

  • People discriminate a lot based on how people look. My impression of someone on Facebook is coloured pretty strongly by their choice of profile picture, for example. I'd predict that attaching images to posts and comments would cause people to give relatively more weight to people who (a) look like them along various dimensions, and (b) have access to good, professional photographs of themselves.
  • There are a lot of users of the Forum who post anonymously or under a pseudonym. If the Forum had ubiquitous images, these users would have to either (a) use no image, (b) use a cartoon/non-human image (as is/was common in Slate Star Codex comment threads, for example), or (c) use a fake photo à la thispersondoesnotexist.com. Apart from the third option, which is ethically somewhat dubious, I think this would be significantly harmful to other users' impression of these users, especially if they are in dispute with named users with real photos, in a way I don't think we want.

Both of these effects are arguably present even in the current, text-only medium, but I think to a far lesser extent. I'm not claiming these effects would necessarily outweigh the benefits, but I think they're real and important, and on balance would currently cause me to lean against images.

(Separately, I'm pretty strongly opposed to gamification, which has a big effect on my behaviour in a way I virtually always think is bad for me. I think it's quite unlikely that the Forum will implement badges/achievements/anything of this sort except karma, but if they did I'd be quite mad. And I think it's quite important that karma is given by users in response to the content you add to the site, not the developers for jumping through hoops.)

Replies from: BrianTan
comment by BrianTan · 2021-08-10T14:47:03.580Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hi Will, I realize I never responded to some of these. Let me respond to them now:

  1. "People discriminate a lot based on how people look..." - I think there's a lot of truth to people's impressions of someone being shaped by what they look like. However:
    1. I don't think people are going to have significantly more negative impressions of Forum users just because of how they look. If anything, assuming a lot of people upload friendly photos of themselves, they'll have more positive impressions by seeing people who seem warm and friendly, instead of the cold and intimidating feel that the forum has to it. And if someone doesn't want to show a warm or friendly photo, then they can always put a different photo that conveys what they want to convey about themselves.
    2. As you've said, I think people forming impressions of others on the Forum based on how they look is already happening even without profile photos. It's quite easy to search on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google the name of a forum user (for those without pseudonyms), and know what their background is based off of their pictures. I would guess quite a few people on the Forum do this to have a better sense of who they're reading or talking to. I do this regularly myself so I can get a better sense of who I'm talking to. I think it's an important part of communication to understand one's audience, and pictures allow you to better understand who you are interacting with.
  2. "There are a lot of users of the Forum who post anonymously or under a pseudonym." I think these users can just either opt to have a blank image, or use a random image. I would think 30-50% of current active Forum users are willing to upload profile photos, and having at least 30% of people upload photos may be good enough to make the forum a bit more friendly.
Replies from: willbradshaw
comment by Will Bradshaw (willbradshaw) · 2021-11-11T21:58:32.139Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

My turn for a slow response.

I think you're more concerned with the effect of having images on a user's feelings about the Forum generally, while I'm more concerned with its effect on user's (differential) feelings about other individual users. I think there's a bit of a disconnect there that makes your responses not feel like they quite hit what I was getting at. I think you're probably right about the warm fuzzy angle with respect to users' impression of the Forum generally, but I'm not convinced this outweighs the inequitable effects on individual users.

Concretely, I think in a discussion between an attractive person with a good-quality, well-posed & -lit photo and a weird-looking person with a bad photo (or no photo), the former will be at a very significant advantage with regard to swaying the audience. This discriminates against several groups of people: ethnic or other minorities, poorer people, people with worse intuitions about self-presentation, etc.

The current setup of the Forum discriminates on the basis of writing ability, which has various downsides, but I predict the effect of photos to be much stronger and even less well-correlated with actually being right.

A bit more grumpy than I actually endorse, but a feeling I'm having here: The world is full of places where people are evaluated based on how they look. It's no bad thing to have some places where they are evaluated based on what they write.

Replies from: aarongertler, BrianTan
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-11-12T14:55:18.878Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Preface: I hate photos of myself and have been annoyed when past employers have required they be used in email profiles, so I get where you're coming from.

I may be unusual, but this doesn't match my experience with any discussion platform that includes profile pictures (Facebook, Twitter, Slack...). Profile pictures on these platforms are small enough that you'd actually have to expend effort (clicking through to someone's profile or at least hovering over the photo) to judge someone's appearance. (Though race and gender can usually be seen even at small scale, which I guess is something.)

I also think this dynamic, such that it exists at all, breaks down quickly when people use anything other than photos of their own faces. I assume all anonymous users would avoid photos, and that at least some other named users would do the same (including me). What ends up happening when an argument involves:

  • One person with a generic nice-looking photo,
  • One person with an artsy photo, face obscured by shadow,
  • A howler monkey, and
  • Hobbes the tiger?

I grabbed these examples from four profiles that popped up quickly when I opened Twitter. And I think this kind of scenario will be much more common than "two people having a conversation where most onlookers would agree that person A looks nicer than person B, based on what you can see at a glance from their profile pictures". You'll get some instances of the latter, but I think that the effect will be quite small compared to the overall impact of having a warmer Forum with easier-to-track conversations.

Replies from: willbradshaw
comment by Will Bradshaw (willbradshaw) · 2021-11-12T17:02:23.479Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I may be unusual, but this doesn't match my experience with any discussion platform that includes profile pictures (Facebook, Twitter, Slack...). Profile pictures on these platforms are small enough that you'd actually have to expend effort (clicking through to someone's profile or at least hovering over the photo) to judge someone's appearance. (Though race and gender can usually be seen even at small scale, which I guess is something.)

My own experience of these platforms is that someone's profile picture or lack thereof has a big effect on my impression of that person. (With Twitter > Facebook > Slack in terms of both size of image and size of effect, but I remember specific examples from all three platforms.)

This applies also to cartoons or other non-photo images. My clearest memories of this are from old Slate Star Codex comment threads, when almost no-one used photos but I was still very aware of my feelings about users being strongly affected by their images – and changing significantly when those images changed. As another example, my system 1 is often noticeably better-disposed toward people who use profile pictures which are nice drawings of themselves than it would be if they used the original photo.

It's possible I'm unusually impressionable here, but I currently doubt it.

comment by BrianTan · 2021-11-12T01:00:51.652Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hey Will, no worries and thanks for the response! Yeah I think I updated my views a bit from some of these discussions I had with others on the Forum about whether it should have profile photos. I'm now probably just 50% in favor of the EA Forum having profile photos, whereas I was probably 80% in favor before.

I think a good compromise is maybe there are ways to make the Forum seem friendlier and more welcoming to newcomers without having to use profile photos. That's the problem I wanted to solve anyway. I see how profile photos can degrade the experience for more engaged Forum users, so maybe there are other solutions, but I won't try to talk about them here.

Replies from: willbradshaw
comment by Will Bradshaw (willbradshaw) · 2021-11-12T07:18:28.248Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think a good compromise is maybe there are ways to make the Forum seem friendlier and more welcoming to newcomers without having to use profile photos.

Definitely interested in seeing this explored more!

comment by Jaime Sevilla (Jsevillamol) · 2022-02-01T00:49:35.343Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: SiebeRozendal, vaidehi_agarwalla
comment by SiebeRozendal · 2022-08-11T11:28:43.361Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Apparently, this is possible via a workaround explained here: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Y8gkABpa9R6ktkhYt/forum-user-manual#Footnotes [EA(p) · GW(p)]

comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-03-25T23:07:59.857Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Strong +1 now as I actually try to insert a post with 10+ footnotes :D

comment by Jason Schukraft · 2020-06-16T17:41:05.518Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I'd like to see the experimental sequences feature rolled out to all users.

Replies from: jpaddison, richard_ngo, aarongertler
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2020-06-25T18:05:45.765Z · EA(p) · GW(p)


comment by richard_ngo · 2020-06-16T18:37:55.551Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

+1 on this, and on curated posts. (As also discussed here [EA · GW]).

comment by Bella (Bella_Forristal) · 2022-12-20T20:28:04.732Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

(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.

Replies from: Jorgen_Ljones, NickLaing
comment by Jorgen_Ljones · 2022-12-30T10:25:39.204Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Came here to suggest this

comment by NickLaing · 2022-12-30T06:37:03.055Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Love this!

comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2021-07-30T15:35:14.818Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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)

Replies from: CarolineJ
comment by CaroJ (CarolineJ) · 2022-02-06T13:39:07.021Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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. 

comment by Isaac Dunn (Isaac_Dunn) · 2021-06-18T13:05:21.193Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 encourages them to make more valuable contributions in the future.

I think it'd be important that the anonymous-until-threshold was the default (i.e. opt out), so that people didn't feel embarrassed about using it.

Replies from: Linch
comment by Linch · 2021-06-18T18:30:02.945Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Do people not find it viable to post under a pseudonym? Is your worry about coming across as dishonest? 

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2021-06-18T18:54:01.004Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-07-04T10:55:19.431Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by BrownHairedEevee (evelynciara) · 2023-02-06T07:58:45.241Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Can we add agreement karma to comments on all posts?

Replies from: nathan
comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2023-03-01T22:46:03.947Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Or all new comments at least.

comment by Derek · 2020-06-17T22:04:42.759Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Level 3 headings should be supported. Unless it's changed recently, it currently jumps from Level 2 to Level 4, which makes it hard to logically format complex documents.

Replies from: willbradshaw, jpaddison
comment by Will Bradshaw (willbradshaw) · 2020-06-24T21:23:38.803Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Strongly agree with this, have been very frustrated in the past with how the Forum (via LessWrong) coerces my header usage.

It looks bad in the sidebar too.

comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2020-06-25T18:06:55.635Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

It has. We no longer apply the same styling to h2 and h3. While you still can’t create h3s using the editor, you can paste in from google docs and they will appear correctly. Sorry for not mentioning this anywhere, it’s such an invisible change — I don’t know what I was thinking.

(Unfortunately, I will need to remake this change once the new editor ships. LessWrong does not want its posts to have more than 3 levels of headings [h1, h2 and bold text]. I don’t think that’s the right choice for the EA Forum, but sometimes their updates won’t be checked for compatibility with minor features of the Forum).

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2020-08-10T10:27:06.352Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

The new editor has shipped (still just to beta users) but I have just reintroduced h3s.

Replies from: Derek
comment by Derek · 2020-12-03T18:42:41.569Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

H3s are still being converted to regular Paragraph format when I paste them in from GDocs. What am I doing wrong?

Replies from: aarongertler, MichaelA
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2020-12-04T06:26:56.431Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

H3 headers should be available again soon; the feature broke after a recent migration.

comment by MichaelA · 2020-12-04T00:07:39.948Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I had the same problem when posting a few days ago.

Though I think level 3 headings work for me if I use the markdown editor (e.g., a paragraph that only has "### How often have people been wrong about such things in the past?" will show up as a level 3 heading).

And when I just put a sentence fragment in a line by itself and in bold, it at least showed up in the sidebar as if it was a level three heading. (Well, one of them didn't initially work, but then I fixed it somehow - I think the fix was simple, but can't remember.)

comment by RyanCarey · 2022-11-19T09:59:29.296Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 [EA(p) · GW(p)] of agreement about this previously.

Replies from: jpaddison, WilliamKiely, WilliamKiely, Stefan_Schubert
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2022-12-02T19:20:39.284Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

Replies from: Stefan_Schubert, RyanCarey
comment by Stefan_Schubert · 2022-12-02T19:24:03.813Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thank you!

comment by RyanCarey · 2022-12-02T22:58:51.256Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Great, thanks!

comment by WilliamKiely · 2022-12-01T19:24:19.735Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Habryka, RyanCarey
comment by Habryka · 2022-12-01T19:56:53.805Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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".

Replies from: Elizabeth, RyanCarey
comment by Elizabeth · 2022-12-01T23:58:56.321Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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. 

comment by RyanCarey · 2022-12-01T20:00:39.333Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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. 

This problem won't arise if everyone strong-upvotes themselves by default.

Replies from: WilliamKiely, Habryka
comment by WilliamKiely · 2022-12-01T20:44:44.778Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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?

Replies from: RyanCarey
comment by RyanCarey · 2022-12-01T20:48:23.557Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

To me, that sounds like a feature, not a bug, given how the influx of users has degraded average post quality recently.

comment by Habryka · 2022-12-02T01:02:02.864Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: RyanCarey
comment by RyanCarey · 2022-12-02T01:34:20.998Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Most people have strong upvote strength 3-7 though. Anyway, if this is a big problem, then just cap self-upvote strength around 5?

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2022-12-02T01:54:14.821Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: RyanCarey
comment by RyanCarey · 2022-12-02T01:58:34.856Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I was thinking just for comments.

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2022-12-02T03:21:37.499Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by RyanCarey · 2022-12-01T19:55:11.850Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by WilliamKiely · 2022-12-01T19:14:29.036Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Stefan_Schubert · 2022-11-19T10:08:33.810Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-06-20T13:00:32.417Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Option to @mention usernames.

Should have something like an autocomplete and an opt-out-able notification/mail whenever one is mentioned. 

comment by Will Bradshaw (willbradshaw) · 2021-11-11T21:31:25.585Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Having recently wrote a post [? · GW] 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 [EA(p) · GW(p)].)

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 it seems way worse than seeing downvotes and knowing why. I want to be able to make that update, but it's often hard to do that based on silent downvotes alone.

It would be great to get more information from people about their downvotes, but any system for doing that needs to be super quick, simple, and easy – if a silent downvoter had time/energy/interest in providing an in-depth explanation of their downvote they'd just write a comment. But I think getting even a couple of bits more information from silent downvoters would be super valuable to authors.

The solution I have in mind for this right now is to provide a little optional pop-up next to the post karma total with a few common reasons for downvoting, plus an "Other" option (with or without the option to specify). You'd probably want to iterate a few times on the options, but my first pass would be:

  • I don't like the tone (rude/tendentious/uncharitable)
  • I disagree with core claims
  • It has bad priorities / misses key considerations in a way that makes it unhelpful, even if its narrow claims are true (this one is obviously too long as-is)
  • It's badly written / hard to read
  • Other

Then show the results to the author somehow (e.g. on the analytics tab).

You could also do this for upvotes; this might be nice and would reduce asymmetry with downvotes, but I'm not too concerned about it. You could also extend it to comment downvotes, though this seems lower priority to me.

I'm guessing a new feature like this would be a fairly significant lift code-wise, but I tentatively think it would be worth it – right now I see this as a fairly big problem with quality of discourse and community on the Forum.

Replies from: hibukki, Ben_West, Ben_West
comment by Ben_West · 2021-11-19T17:58:07.712Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

You might be interested in providing feedback on this mockup [LW(p) · GW(p)] from LW (which the EA Forum might implement, if they develop it)

Replies from: willbradshaw
comment by Will Bradshaw (willbradshaw) · 2021-12-16T15:24:03.230Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.
Replies from: Ben_West
comment by Ben_West · 2021-12-19T19:02:59.284Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks! That's helpful

comment by Ben_West · 2021-11-17T23:53:55.816Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Jason Schukraft · 2020-06-16T17:41:33.313Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I'd like the Forum to support superscript and subscript.

Replies from: Habryka, aarongertler
comment by Habryka · 2020-06-18T17:10:29.343Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

This is also supported in the new editor.

comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2020-08-03T06:26:12.645Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

While these are supported in the new editor, users can't access the functionality yet. However, subscript is currently possible in Markdown:

Adding subscript to my post

You need to start the subscript with a tilde, then put a backslash after every word but the last word (the closing tilde goes after the last word).

For example, see lines 2 and 14 of this file.

comment by Charles He · 2022-02-14T01:27:15.795Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Any thoughts or updates on implementing "two axis" voting? This feature is described here [LW(p) · GW(p)].


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. 

Replies from: Ruby
comment by Ruby · 2022-02-16T17:16:31.776Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

[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.

comment by saulius · 2022-01-21T13:17:07.281Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Effective Animal Advocacy (EAA) forum

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

Replies from: DavidNash, BrianTan
comment by DavidNash · 2022-01-21T15:05:40.949Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

You should make this  a post as I think there could be a lot of interest.

Replies from: saulius
comment by saulius · 2022-01-21T15:21:24.175Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

ok, I made it into a post, thanks for the suggestion :)

comment by BrianTan · 2022-01-21T14:21:04.276Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think this is a good idea and is probably worth it for one or more people to try making this happen!

comment by BrianTan · 2020-06-26T06:49:02.108Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: vaidehi_agarwalla, Habryka
comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-06-13T17:05:50.689Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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)

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2022-06-14T01:25:38.283Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks! No worries about suggesting "inspirational" features.

comment by Habryka · 2020-06-26T20:23:48.241Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I am reasonably confident that we use the first image that is used in a post as the preview image, so you can already mostly do this.

Replies from: BrianTan
comment by BrianTan · 2020-06-27T03:30:22.596Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hm I tried linking a recent EA Forum post with an image [EA · GW] (image is at the bottom) just now on Facebook, and the EA forum photo is still the one showing up. I tried running it via the Facebook sharing debugger and pressing "Scrape Again", but it still shows the same photo.

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2020-06-27T04:19:22.051Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Huh, you're right. I will look into it.

comment by Hauke Hillebrandt (HaukeHillebrandt) · 2020-06-24T22:27:43.971Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

1. Could analytics be displayed on the forum? I think it'd be interesting to people to see how many people read different posts. This is also related to the question re: the forum prize - I reckon many authors would be more motivated by seeing that their posts are widely read than by a cash prize.

2. I often see very long posts that jump right into the introduction without summary. Could one introduce a field that is mandatory if a posts is more than 300 words long that forces the author to provide a 200 characters (or so) summary? Or something like this:


could even be added by the mods.

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2020-06-25T06:27:32.542Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

On (2), we've considered adding a summary field in the editor, but I don't think we'd make it mandatory unless we did so for a much larger character count. Whether or not we eventually implement that, I encourage anyone reading this to include summaries in their long posts!

Thanks for providing the Elsevier link -- I could imagine us linking to that as an example of how one might compose a summary.

comment by Gregory Lewis (Gregory_Lewis) · 2020-06-20T07:53:23.878Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

On-site image hosting for posts/comments? This is mostly a minor QoL benefit, and maybe there would be challenges with storage. Another benefit would be that images would not vanish if their original source does.

Replies from: Ben Pace, aarongertler
comment by Ben Pace · 2020-06-20T16:50:37.959Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

The new editor has this! :)

comment by MaxRa · 2020-06-17T14:39:57.195Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I'd like to have the option to make polls within a post. I recently wrote a short question post to see if an idea seems promising and I got a couple of upvotes and no comments. Having the option to get quick and cheap feedback from the community would've been useful.

Replies from: jpaddison, aarongertler
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2020-06-25T18:07:48.088Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

The bucket this falls in for me is ... Widgets! I really want to make widgets. For example, making it so authors could add a button to donate. This is planned, but not concretely.

comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2020-06-23T08:03:03.277Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

In case you haven't seen it, I created the Facebook group Effective Altruism Polls for this use case. Response rates are generally pretty high!

comment by Lorenzo Buonanno · 2022-11-21T07:51:49.584Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 [EA(p) · GW(p)]

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"

Replies from: Sharang Phadke
comment by Sharang Phadke · 2022-12-09T23:15:12.359Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T16:03:34.378Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks so much to the team for their work. I really like the layout of this forum. It's clean and pleasant to use.

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2020-06-25T23:21:04.888Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thank you! Most of design credit goes to the LessWrong team, whose depth of focus on design I admire.

comment by Emrik · 2022-08-24T10:50:31.392Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2022-08-24T21:05:35.452Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

This is really a fantastic suggestion, and complete with a screenshot with the UI that I like. Thanks!

Replies from: Emrik
comment by Emrik · 2022-08-24T22:12:44.166Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I forgot to mention, but there already seems to be an implementation of the hover-over thing for Arbital (try hovering).

comment by MichaelA · 2021-01-22T08:36:29.079Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 footnote would be unusual and might be a little annoying (due to the small text). Also, that would remove the option of the author including footnotes within that section of text.

(I originally raised this idea here [EA(p) · GW(p)], in the context of whether it'd be best to include full transcripts from 80k podcast episodes when link posting them to the EA Forum. I think it could make sense to include the transcripts as collapsed but expandable boxes of text, so that terms from the transcript will appear when doing searches on the Forum - which wouldn't happen if the transcript wasn't included at all - but people don't feel like they have to read the whole transcript before they comment on the post.)

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2021-01-23T06:03:30.853Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Kirsten (Khorton) · 2020-06-17T17:57:35.120Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Can I opt out of Forum favourites? I'm sorry but I hate it

Replies from: David_Kristoffersson, MichaelDickens, jpaddison
comment by David_Kristoffersson · 2020-06-18T08:19:26.670Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Variant of Korthon's comment:

I never look at the "forum favorites" section. It seems like it's looked the same forever and it takes up a lot of screen real estate without any use for me!

Replies from: jpaddison, Habryka
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2020-08-10T10:23:14.303Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I just updated this section [EA(p) · GW(p)] and it now shows randomized posts.

comment by Habryka · 2020-06-18T17:08:56.733Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Same is true for me (as the person who built the feature). On LessWrong the recommendations are randomized but for some reason on the EA Forum the admins/devs decided to always have them be strictly ordered by the latest highest karma posts you haven’t read, so they never change, and inevitably end up in a configuration where you’re not interested in any of the posts.

Replies from: willbradshaw
comment by Will Bradshaw (willbradshaw) · 2020-06-25T13:57:49.735Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I agree, I think the Forum has enough very-high-karma content now that randomising it here as well would be a good idea.

comment by MichaelDickens · 2020-06-20T01:43:39.768Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I also don't like this feature, although we should be aware that this feature is most helpful for new users, and new users are probably under-represented in this thread.

comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2020-06-25T18:07:28.515Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I agree it isn’t great. This was slated for a redesign, but then I deprioritized it. I should probably revisit what the right thing to do is. I’ve been meaning to randomize it, as Habryka mentioned. (I want it to not be randomized when you're logged out, which is why it’s like this. It’s supposed to be a way for newcomers to see the best of the Forum, so they don’t get lost in the weekly churn.) Maybe just randomizing it for logged-in users would be enough, but an option to hide it seems good, if more work.

comment by WilliamKiely · 2022-12-01T18:48:35.734Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Add Agreement Karma to posts.

This comment [EA(p) · GW(p)] suggesting this feature got 32 Agreement with 9 votes:

Replies from: WilliamKiely
comment by WilliamKiely · 2022-12-01T18:49:25.239Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 [EA(p) · GW(p)] 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.)

Replies from: Patricio
comment by Pato (Patricio) · 2023-01-19T06:11:14.621Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by siobhanbrenton · 2020-06-17T23:28:02.054Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

While I think LaTeX is useful, it is not very intuitive or user friendly and posting long curated articles is quite tedious. It would be nice to have a feature like Elementor.

I think there would be a lot of value in a detailed how-to document for content creators explaining each step needed to go from a GDoc or WordDoc to a forum post. This would optimally include a directory for keywords like footnotes, typographical emphasis, Title/Header/Normal text functions, etc.

Replies from: willbradshaw
comment by Will Bradshaw (willbradshaw) · 2020-06-25T13:58:55.310Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

The reference to LaTeX here isn't very clear to me. Does Elementor provide an alternative equation-rendering system? Or did you mean something else?

comment by BrownHairedEevee (evelynciara) · 2023-01-28T17:18:42.350Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Can we put this page in the sidebar?

comment by saulius · 2020-07-01T08:36:58.119Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 [EA · GW]. 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 [EA · GW] would then actually make forum favourites and I think they should.

Replies from: Larks, Linch
comment by Larks · 2020-07-01T12:32:38.743Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: saulius
comment by saulius · 2020-07-01T12:41:48.947Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Linch · 2020-07-01T08:38:46.705Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Triple sounds approximately right to me in terms of relative weighting.

comment by aogara (Aidan O'Gara) · 2020-06-20T06:43:47.581Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Sans-serif font in body text! The comments section is absolutely beautiful to read, but I find the body text of posts very difficult. Most blogs and online news sources seem to use sans-serif, probably for readability.

Alternatively, give users the option to pick their own font. Also, maybe make text black instead of a lighter grey?

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2020-08-03T06:43:40.360Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

When you say "make text black instead of a lighter grey," are you referring to all of the Forum's light-grey text (e.g. voting buttons, section subtitles), or something more specific?

I tried to check on the "sans-serif is easier to read" claim but didn't find conclusive evidence; checking Google Scholar, the first study of computer readability I saw found that serif fonts were easier to read. (This is just one study, of course, and knowing that the Forum's specific body type is tough for some people really helps us.)

Replies from: Aidan O'Gara
comment by aogara (Aidan O'Gara) · 2020-08-04T06:10:21.049Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I meant the body text of posts could be darker - I wouldn't change the buttons or other light-grey text.

Interesting that the study found serif fonts more readable. I'm not aware of conclusive evidence in either direction, I'd just heard folk wisdom that sans-serif is more readable on a computer screen.

My general opinion is that the comments section on this forum is extremely easy to read and clean to look at, some of my favorite formatting anywhere, but personally I find the body text of posts much more difficult to read than most sites. I wonder what most people think, I wouldn't expect everyone to have the same experience.

comment by tilboy · 2020-06-16T19:03:45.082Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

i would find it helpful to establish a norm to begin posts with a short (!) 'tl;dr'-section which summarizes the main results/arguments of the article, since sometimes it is hard to tell what a post is about only from the title/the preview one gets by hovering over the link.

Replies from: willbradshaw, nathan
comment by Will Bradshaw (willbradshaw) · 2020-06-29T12:26:04.789Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think it's already quite common for commenters on posts without these to request them; is there something in the UI you'd like to change to encourage this?

Replies from: tilboy
comment by tilboy · 2020-06-30T08:59:09.819Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

if im not mistaken, when you hover over the link to a post you just see the beginning of the post, right? this sometimes is not very useful. maybe you could give post creators another text field ("thumbnail"/"preview"/"tl;dr") where they can explicitly fill in what should be shown when hovering over the link. this field should probably be character limited then. this text should be displayed at the top of the post, too. (and if posters dont fill it out it could just fall back to showing the beginning of the post).

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2020-06-30T18:40:09.169Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

What you describe is almost exactly identical to an admin feature that we have from LessWrong. Which isn't much help to you yet, but might get released more widely.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T16:28:28.509Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

This needn't be written by the author - it could be added by higher karma readers, for instance.

Replies from: tilboy
comment by tilboy · 2020-06-22T16:49:48.526Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

or written by anyone but approved by the author?

Replies from: nathan
comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-23T08:19:30.283Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yeah that works too.

comment by Aaron Bergman (aaronb50) · 2022-12-09T20:48:10.053Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 Shortform posts ever, but afaik can't easily do that atm
Replies from: Sharang Phadke
comment by Sharang Phadke · 2022-12-12T21:57:06.972Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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!

comment by Yonatan Cale (hibukki) · 2022-10-17T15:46:16.999Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

Might reduce downvotes on posts

Replies from: jimrandomh
comment by jimrandomh · 2022-10-17T20:23:04.722Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 [LW · GW] 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.

comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-05-14T20:07:24.145Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2022-05-18T18:59:46.830Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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!

comment by BrownHairedEevee (evelynciara) · 2021-08-12T22:54:44.918Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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".

Replies from: nguyên
comment by Nguyên (nguyên) · 2022-11-03T18:47:45.071Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.
comment by RyanCarey · 2021-01-08T20:21:41.229Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-01-08T22:07:30.247Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.)

Replies from: RyanCarey
comment by RyanCarey · 2021-01-08T23:06:21.357Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Inda · 2020-06-26T12:03:18.352Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Gregory Lewis (Gregory_Lewis) · 2020-06-20T07:49:06.302Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Import from HTML/gdoc/word/whatever: One feature I miss from the old forum was the ability to submit HTML directly. This allowed one to write the post in google docs or similar (with tables, footnotes, sub/superscript, special characters, etc.), export it as HTML, paste into the old editor, and it was (with some tweaks) good to go.

This is how I posted my epistemic modesty piece [EA · GW] (which has a table which survived the migration, although the footnote links no longer work). In contrast, when cross-posting it to LW2, I needed the kind help of a moderator - and even they needed to make some adjustments (e.g. 'writing out' the table).

Given such a feature was available before, hopefully it can be done again. It would be particularly valuable for the EA forum as:

  • A fair proportion of posts here are longer documents which benefit from the features available in things like word or gdocs. (But typically less mathematics than LW, so the nifty LATEX editor finds less value here than there).
  • The current editor has much less functionality than word/gdocs, and catching up 'most of the way' seems very labour intensive and could take a while.
  • Most users are more familiar with gdocs/word than editor/markdown/latex (i.e. although I can add and other special characters with the Latex editor and a some googling, I'm more familiar with doing this in gdocs - and I guess folks who have less experience with Latex or using a command line would find this difference greater).
  • Most users are probably drafting longer posts on google docs anyway.
  • Clunkily re-typesetting long documents in the forum editor manually (e.g. tables as image files) poses a barrier to entry, and so encourages linking rather than posting, with (I guess?) less engagement.

A direct 'import from gdoc/word/etc.' would be even better, but an HTML import function alone (given software which has both wordprocessing and HTML export 'sorted' are prevalent) would solve a lot of these problems at a stroke.

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2020-06-20T17:43:59.432Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Alas, I don’t think this is possible in the way you are suggesting it here. We can allow submission of a narrow subset of HTML, but indeed one of the single most common complaints that we got on the old forum was many posts having totally inconsistent formatting because people were submitting all kinds of weird HTML+CSS with differing font-sizes for each post, broken formatting on smaller devices, inconsistent text colors, garish formatting, floating images that broke text layout, etc.

Indeed just a week ago I got a bug report about the formatting of your old “Why the tails come apart” post being broken on smaller devices because of the custom HTML you submitted at the time. Indeed a very large fraction of old LW and EA Forum posts have broken formatting because of the overly permissible editor that old LessWrong and the old EA Forum both had (and I’ve probably spent at least 10 hours over the last years fixing posts with that kind of broken formatting).

If you want to import something from Google Docs, then exporting it to markdown and using the markdown editor is really as well as we can do, and we can ensure that always works reliably. I don’t think we can make arbitrary HTML submission work without frustrating tons of readers and authors.

I have also been working a lot on making the new editor work completely seamlessly with Google Docs copy-paste (and indeed there is a lot of special casing to specifically make copy-paste from Google Docs work). The only feature that’s missing and kind of difficult to do is internal links and footnotes, but I have not discovered any other feature that has been running into significant problems (that we would want, there are some others like left or right floating images that we don’t want because they break on smaller devices). So if you ever discover any document that you can‘t just copy paste, please send a bug report and I think we can likely make it work.

Replies from: david_reinstein
comment by david_reinstein · 2022-04-18T15:32:25.726Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

+1 for internal links

comment by Ben Millwood (BenMillwood) · 2023-02-14T09:20:17.742Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

On mobile, I think there's no way to remove your vote on your own comments. On desktop, I can just click my vote again, but on mobile the normal workflow is to tap to cycle between normal / strong / no vote, and I can't strong upvote my own comments, so I get "stuck" in the cycle.

edit: ok I think you can do it by just going through the cycle quickly enough, but I definitely struggled with this before, perhaps it depends on the latency of your connection to the server...

comment by Leftism virtue cafe · 2022-03-27T14:10:25.638Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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)

comment by BrownHairedEevee (evelynciara) · 2021-11-21T18:08:10.191Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 [EA(p) · GW(p)], but I always have a hard time finding the link.

Replies from: syc
comment by Sarah Cheng (syc) · 2021-11-29T19:41:17.266Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-06-20T13:01:33.201Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Pingbacks should include comments

comment by BrianTan · 2020-06-17T02:24:16.310Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Very specific and small comment, but I'd like to see the "Reply" button for comments be bigger and more noticeable. I would prefer it to be an actual button (with padding and an outline), and with a message icon beside it. It's happened to me twice where I couldn't figure out how to reply to a comment until ~30 seconds of searching for the reply button.

comment by lastmistborn (tugbazsen) · 2022-12-28T07:21:58.201Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 more legible. I think there is a difference between how to read agreement karma for a comment that has 10 agreement karma overall from, say, 8 2 point upvotes and 2 -3 minus point downvote versus one that has 10 1-point upvotes, and the breakdown of how a comment achieved its agreement karma is not currently legible, which makes agreement karma a much less useful indicator than it could be otherwise.

P.S.: Similar suggestions have been made below on how the karma and voting system can be tinkered with to make it more meaningful, but seems different enough to warrant a new top-level comment.

Replies from: NickLaing
comment by NickLaing · 2022-12-28T09:26:38.244Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: tugbazsen
comment by lastmistborn (tugbazsen) · 2022-12-28T10:57:04.741Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

Replies from: NickLaing
comment by NickLaing · 2022-12-28T11:51:13.160Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

 I know. Look how easily you got to 5 Karma on this comment ;)

comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-12-25T18:49:41.079Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 
Replies from: Lizka, Peter_Hurford
comment by Lizka · 2022-12-25T21:43:42.756Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for suggesting these, I'm passing them on. 

comment by Peter Wildeford (Peter_Hurford) · 2022-12-26T00:56:32.373Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I’d like this

comment by Daniel Vanzin · 2022-09-30T17:45:21.007Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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!

Replies from: Sharang Phadke, Daniel Vanzin
comment by Sharang Phadke · 2022-10-13T17:21:05.556Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Daniel Vanzin · 2022-10-01T19:31:35.070Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Alright, here is a very crude preview


Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2022-10-01T20:12:39.922Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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. 
Replies from: Daniel Vanzin
comment by Daniel Vanzin · 2022-10-02T00:17:41.536Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Habryka, Charles He
comment by Habryka · 2022-10-02T02:54:38.585Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think the site needs a dark mode. More and more people are favoring it. 

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).

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.

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 can't get behind the gray background though. I mean, how many sites does that? I find it harder to read.

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.

comment by Charles He · 2022-10-02T01:30:03.632Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Daniel Vanzin
comment by Daniel Vanzin · 2022-10-02T02:45:17.268Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

"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

Replies from: Charles He
comment by Charles He · 2022-10-02T04:02:47.833Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

"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 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. 


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.


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. 


"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. 

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 perspectives, but I don't think I am?

Some of the other things you said suggested you have strong views that seemed more personal and also that you use some unusual color filter? This makes me speculate that you are applying a personal perspective disproportionately and ignoring "the customer", but maybe this is unfair.

Replies from: Charles He
comment by Charles He · 2022-10-02T04:13:29.833Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

??? Yeah, Reddit's design literally uses a grey background. It's darker than the EA forum.

Replies from: Daniel Vanzin
comment by Daniel Vanzin · 2022-10-02T12:59:54.863Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-03-27T02:07:26.181Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 

comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-03-21T22:14:18.944Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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. 

comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-02-27T20:44:41.180Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

It would be useful to schedule posts ahead of time. 

Replies from: syc
comment by Sarah Cheng (syc) · 2022-03-09T22:01:50.823Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: vaidehi_agarwalla
comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-03-10T00:07:47.939Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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. 

comment by Hauke Hillebrandt (HaukeHillebrandt) · 2022-01-31T23:59:12.802Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: RyanCarey
comment by RyanCarey · 2022-02-01T12:51:45.778Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: HaukeHillebrandt
comment by Hauke Hillebrandt (HaukeHillebrandt) · 2022-02-01T17:04:58.356Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by BrownHairedEevee (evelynciara) · 2021-11-17T23:05:00.279Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: nathan, Ben_West
comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2021-11-18T14:47:40.596Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yessssss. I was halfway through writing this request when I realised you already had.

comment by Ben_West · 2021-11-17T23:54:36.867Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

Replies from: evelynciara
comment by BrownHairedEevee (evelynciara) · 2021-11-18T02:18:06.219Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thank you! Always appreciate an acknowledgment 😃

comment by Kirsten (Khorton) · 2021-08-04T16:51:21.466Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: aarongertler, Habryka
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-08-04T20:43:30.964Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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?

Replies from: Khorton
comment by Kirsten (Khorton) · 2021-08-04T23:52:31.328Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yes that's right - it has [Draft] [Unlisted] before that title

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-08-05T00:17:17.136Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Oy vey, thanks for the notice. Definitely a bug, and one LessWrong is now looking into.

comment by Habryka · 2021-08-04T16:54:00.416Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Khorton
comment by Kirsten (Khorton) · 2021-08-04T20:17:17.744Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I can't hover, I only use the Forum on mobile. Thanks for the suggestion though - good to know it's possible!

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2021-07-23T21:09:48.885Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by aogara (Aidan O'Gara) · 2020-07-14T22:47:44.662Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Command + K should add a hyperlink!

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2020-07-15T03:58:39.721Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

Replies from: Aidan O'Gara
comment by aogara (Aidan O'Gara) · 2020-07-15T08:34:49.612Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Cool, thanks.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-06-20T13:20:52.885Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

An option to automatically move a shortform post to a top level post

Replies from: Habryka, Aidan O'Gara
comment by Habryka · 2020-06-28T07:57:13.744Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, I agree with this. I actually think we have an admin-only version of a button that does this, but we ran into some bugs and haven't gotten around to fixing them. I do expect we will do this at some point in the next few months.

Replies from: edoarad
comment by aogara (Aidan O'Gara) · 2020-06-28T07:12:18.373Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

So like, when I'm logged into my account, I'll see every shortform post as top level?

Replies from: edoarad
comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-06-28T07:46:29.434Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

No, sorry, though that might be a good idea. I meant an option to easily move a shortform post you have written to a top level post, because I've seen many cases where people write amazing shortform posts which might get a lot more visibility if they were forwarded to top level, perhaps after getting some feedback and comments from people who are more engaged with the forum to even look at the shortform. 

That should transfer all comments and Karma with it, and simply have the option of adding a title. 

I guess this should apply to all comments, not just in the shortform.

Replies from: Aidan O'Gara
comment by aogara (Aidan O'Gara) · 2020-06-29T05:46:55.709Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I like this idea a lot. It probably lowers the effort bar for a top-level post, which I think is good.

Replies from: willbradshaw
comment by Will Bradshaw (willbradshaw) · 2020-07-01T12:23:15.740Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I agree this is a good idea. Not sure about regular comments, but it would be great if shortform posts had a "Promote to full post" button.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-06-20T13:05:55.461Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Groups tags which users can belong to or identify with. These can be displayed publicly in the user's bio, which would allow for automatic search of people with related interest or affiliations. 

Replies from: edoarad, edoarad
comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-06-20T13:15:14.675Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps using #hashtag for something like this, so that it will be easy to create non-official tags.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-06-20T13:16:14.050Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps such groups can have a default chat conversation with all members

Replies from: nathan
comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-20T15:48:22.486Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I dont' know whether you want this to be a chat platform, but maybe having them function as email groups?

Replies from: edoarad
comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-06-20T18:28:29.229Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

There is an existing conversation feature in the forum, so I was thinking it's enough. It also allows for notifications by mail

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T16:17:18.401Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Link to profiles on the EA hub. How often do EAs use this website or the Hub to find people to work with? I guess someone tracks this?

Replies from: aarongertler, nathan
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2020-08-03T06:52:41.046Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

People can already add this information to their Forum bios if they want to, and I encourage [EA · GW] anyone who hasn't done this to do so! 

I think linking a Forum bio to an EA Hub profile might backfire, in that a Hub profile might be more onerous to fill out than a quick bio (but maybe getting more Hub profiles would be worth the tradeoff?).

Replies from: nathan
comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-08-11T08:12:46.497Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

It seems there is iteration possible here. Are there more users on here or the EA Hub, if the former it might be worth using EA forum logins for the EA hub.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-20T15:46:27.733Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps these are not visible itially but you can toggle that.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-06-17T19:25:23.832Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think that karma can be gamified more. 

In StackExchange they have an option of offering bounties for questions which can be collected by answerers. If we'd have something similar here, that could serve as a good signal that someone cares about a question and has yet to get a satisfying answer. 

I'd be curious about what kinds of trades people can do if there would be a process for (probably better publicly) exchanging karma. I can imagine bets being made, offers to help editing, seeking information, a bounty on finding mistakes or whatever. 

Replies from: Aidan O'Gara, edoarad
comment by aogara (Aidan O'Gara) · 2020-06-28T07:05:53.584Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

StackExchange might have some great principles to implement here, though I don't know much about it

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-06-17T19:28:16.975Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I do worry about people's incentives being unfavorably changed though, but it seems to me that getting more karma is sort of aligned with doing more good. Perhaps if all trades would be on a public ledger it would mitigate the possible harms as it would be easier to see who tries to game it.

comment by Lorenzo Buonanno · 2023-02-14T21:14:35.838Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think authors of a post should be able to add the "community" tag to their post.

See also this [EA(p) · GW(p)], this [EA(p) · GW(p)], and this [EA(p) · GW(p)] comments. The first comment thread includes a workaround: creating the post on the http://forum.effectivealtruism.org/topics/community [? · GW] page

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2023-02-14T21:47:20.611Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

As an aside: I believe this will work right up until you submit it, but am not sure.

Replies from: Lorenzo Buonanno
comment by Lorenzo Buonanno · 2023-02-14T21:59:01.639Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

A non-moderator account currently sees this

for comparison I see this

comment by Yonatan Cale (hibukki) · 2022-12-18T22:07:54.007Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

If someone downvotes, suggest that they explain why

Replies from: dan.pandori
comment by dan.pandori · 2023-01-19T06:32:52.993Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: hibukki, Matt g, hibukki
comment by Yonatan Cale (hibukki) · 2023-01-19T11:29:54.188Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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).

Replies from: dan.pandori
comment by dan.pandori · 2023-01-19T17:21:55.321Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Matt Goodman (Matt g) · 2023-01-30T15:46:00.116Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Props for taking the time to explain, even though you don't like it!

comment by Yonatan Cale (hibukki) · 2023-01-19T11:31:03.257Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Upvoted since you explained why you don't like my idea, and I like that! :)

comment by Thomas Kwa (tkwa) · 2022-09-24T21:31:28.108Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Promoting shortforms to top-level posts, preserving replies. I wanted to do that with this [EA(p) · GW(p)], because reposting it as a top-level post wouldn't preserve existing discussion.

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2022-09-25T19:54:13.556Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Jaime Sevilla (Jsevillamol) · 2022-06-23T15:38:14.313Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Lizka, vaidehi_agarwalla
comment by Lizka · 2022-12-25T21:16:24.169Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for making this suggestion! I think this feature now exists, but I'll double-check. 

Replies from: Jsevillamol
comment by Jaime Sevilla (Jsevillamol) · 2022-12-26T05:42:04.016Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I can confirm I have access to coauthored post analytics! Great work dev team!

comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-12-25T18:16:13.383Z · EA(p) · GW(p)


  • 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
Replies from: Lizka
comment by Lizka · 2022-12-25T21:11:55.735Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for sharing these suggestions! Passing them on. 

I think the second suggestion in particular points out a feature that we should clearly have.

comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-05-02T17:20:43.472Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Ben_West
comment by Ben_West · 2022-05-03T17:42:46.423Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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).

Replies from: vaidehi_agarwalla
comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-05-04T01:36:10.193Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Simon Skade · 2022-03-30T12:57:50.278Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

(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.)

comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-03-07T21:00:26.940Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: vaidehi_agarwalla, syc
comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-03-07T21:01:59.209Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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?

Replies from: syc
comment by Sarah Cheng (syc) · 2022-03-09T21:54:02.667Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks Vaidehi! I've added it to our list for triage.

comment by Sarah Cheng (syc) · 2022-03-09T21:50:18.376Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 [? · GW] we can work with you to start doing this. :)

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2022-01-08T10:57:21.917Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 seek to describe how reality is. If we could only build a forum which suited how people wanted to interact,  then we could do the work of EA faster.

I would like to see this article continued,  with a focus on putting the most relevant additions at the top. I've suggested as much in the comments, moving to a sorting system which moves both new and upvoted comments to the top and allows for completed changes to be hidden.

Replies from: Pablo_Stafforini
comment by Pablo (Pablo_Stafforini) · 2022-01-08T23:35:36.900Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

and allows for completed changes to be hidden

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

comment by Jaime Sevilla (Jsevillamol) · 2022-01-06T23:16:06.493Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 [EA · GW] had become very popular, which led me to write a more accessible summary [EA · GW].

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 engagement with my writing. It also shows my posts, ordered by recent engagement. I can click on a post to go to the page with the specific stats for that post.

I think this is great, and I'd like to have something similar in the EA forum!

Replies from: Jonathan Mustin
comment by Jonathan Mustin · 2022-01-07T16:18:20.367Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

comment by aogara (Aidan O'Gara) · 2020-07-21T03:12:13.060Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: willbradshaw
comment by Will Bradshaw (willbradshaw) · 2020-07-21T14:12:03.631Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

comment by BrownHairedEevee (evelynciara) · 2023-01-28T06:31:08.232Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 what Wikipedia does, one possible approach is to automatically remove a parent tag from a post when a user adds a child tag to that post. However, this messes with the voting mechanism of tags. A less disruptive approach is to hide parent tags by default when both the child and parent are added to a post (or hide the child tags if the parent is a white tag), and then allow the user to expand the full list of tags.

Replies from: Sharang Phadke, SP2
comment by Sharang Phadke · 2023-02-01T20:59:31.849Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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!

comment by SP2 · 2023-02-01T20:53:33.036Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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!

comment by Matt Goodman (Matt g) · 2022-12-24T15:21:51.685Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Sharang Phadke
comment by Sharang Phadke · 2022-12-24T20:50:14.086Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks Matt, noted!

comment by Filip Sondej · 2022-10-28T15:39:17.986Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 [EA(p) · GW(p)] with more rationale.

Replies from: Ethan (EJ) Watkins
comment by Ethan (EJ) Watkins · 2023-03-25T09:37:53.965Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I like this. Building on your idea with the yellow colour code, I think it would be good to have functionality to mark typos, with the option of providing a revision suggestion that the author can press accept or reject on. Similar to how edit suggestions work in Google Docs.

comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-10-28T06:48:15.818Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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"

Replies from: Sharang Phadke
comment by Sharang Phadke · 2022-10-31T22:49:04.485Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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!

comment by arushigupta · 2021-01-15T06:58:51.224Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-01-15T10:18:06.246Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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":

comment by Jonas Vollmer · 2020-06-30T09:58:57.921Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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?

Replies from: willbradshaw
comment by Will Bradshaw (willbradshaw) · 2020-06-30T12:56:09.435Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 [? · GW] 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 [? · GW]

Replies from: Jonas Vollmer
comment by Jonas Vollmer · 2020-07-02T12:28:19.657Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks, I wasn't aware of this!

comment by Sanjay · 2020-06-27T14:28:24.730Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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, the forum contacts all those who downvoted it and also some high-karma people and links to the content and asks for feedback (which they don't have to give, and which would be anonymous)

The feature could perhaps incorporate additional features

  • to increase the probability that people provide feedback, they could be remunerated (this could an alternative use for the Forum prize money, if it was decided that forum prizes didn't incentivise people more than the existing karma system) (perhaps there would need to be some thought given to avoiding the perverse incentive for people to give downvotes too liberally)
  • the system could incorporate some mechanism to make sure that users don't overuse/abuse this feature (e.g. perhaps the user has to write out and submit to the forum what they will do differently in the future before they are allowed to use the feature again)
Replies from: tkwa, willbradshaw
comment by Thomas Kwa (tkwa) · 2020-06-27T18:34:02.034Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Will Bradshaw (willbradshaw) · 2020-06-29T12:19:39.929Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-06-17T19:14:42.721Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Having the option of suggesting edits easily, as in google docs. 

I think that it being easy for readers to add links, explanations and corrections might improve the quality of posts and enable better participation between commenters and the OP. Specifically, I think that we should link more, especially to other posts on the forum, and it would be helpful if that could be aided by commenters.

Technically, that could work by saving a history of versions (which would perhaps be a good idea anyway), perhaps by remembering the diffs in a git-like fashion. Then, readers can propose a new version which they edit just like any other post, which waits for the OP approval. 

If you allow anyone to verify edits to the post, that would be a nice way to do a mini-wiki.

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2020-06-18T17:13:22.973Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

That’s actually a lot of what the LessWrong team is currently working on! I don’t know yet whether we want to allow suggesting edits on all posts, but we are planning to allow wiki-like posts that allow people to submit changes.

Replies from: nathan, nathan
comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-29T11:23:58.509Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

For what it's worth I think you want this to have the minimal friction but that maybe suggestions are hidden as standard.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T16:27:56.427Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I've been working on something similar to this recently (I've added all my thoughts as sperate suggestions here). I am not sure you need live editing, but upovable suggestions, comments in text and requests for citations/citations seem valuable.

Would love to talk about this some time. My calendly is here https://calendly.com/nathanpmyoung/video-call

comment by Kirsten (Khorton) · 2020-06-17T17:56:28.966Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Can I get email updates about a specific tag?

Replies from: Habryka, aarongertler
comment by Habryka · 2020-06-18T17:11:30.000Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yep, that feature is live on LessWrong, so I expect it will go live within a few weeks on the forum.

Replies from: Khorton
comment by Kirsten (Khorton) · 2020-06-18T22:24:41.957Z · EA(p) · GW(p)


comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2020-08-03T07:50:45.680Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

This feature is now live! Any tag page will give you the option to subscribe to that tag.

Replies from: Khorton
comment by Kirsten (Khorton) · 2020-08-03T08:15:28.117Z · EA(p) · GW(p)


comment by Tristan Cook · 2022-11-24T10:55:34.833Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Filip Sondej · 2022-10-28T20:27:21.773Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Check if information cascades [? · GW] / social influence bias is a problem on EA Forum.

If it is, maybe we could implement Emrik's idea to counter it [EA · GW], or some similar mechanism.

See here [EA · GW] 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 [EA · GW]

Replies from: Emrik, Sharang Phadke
comment by Emrik · 2022-10-28T21:29:47.200Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

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.

comment by Sharang Phadke · 2022-10-31T22:46:58.672Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Filip Sondej
comment by Filip Sondej · 2022-11-01T11:56:11.232Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Emrik
comment by Emrik · 2022-11-03T16:34:59.528Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

"this effect was present in all parts of the distribution"

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?

Replies from: Filip Sondej
comment by Filip Sondej · 2022-11-04T13:37:06.401Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Emrik
comment by Emrik · 2022-11-04T14:30:27.643Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Ah, yeah, I read this on Wikipedia:

Positively manipulated comments did receive higher ratings at all parts of the distribution, which means that they were also more likely to collect extremely high scores.

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.

comment by Linch · 2022-09-30T22:52:01.729Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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!

Replies from: Sharang Phadke
comment by Sharang Phadke · 2022-10-13T17:14:52.271Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

comment by Vasco Grilo (vascoamaralgrilo) · 2022-09-15T18:13:27.891Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Ines · 2022-06-16T00:20:43.544Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2022-06-16T07:01:12.857Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, I want this. Almost prioritized it recently, we'll see.

Replies from: brb243
comment by brb243 · 2022-08-15T20:29:21.372Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Rasool · 2022-05-08T09:20:46.540Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Ben_West
comment by Ben_West · 2022-05-10T22:33:30.195Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

comment by calebp · 2022-02-16T18:16:25.581Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: vaidehi_agarwalla
comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-03-07T21:03:17.611Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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?

Replies from: Charles He
comment by Charles He · 2022-03-07T23:37:17.591Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think it's in beta [LW · GW]. 

(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).



From the post [LW · GW]:

Woah, multiple users can write a doc at once? I think that's hard and impressive to achieve.

Replies from: syc
comment by Sarah Cheng (syc) · 2022-03-09T22:19:04.220Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Jaime Sevilla (Jsevillamol) · 2022-02-15T14:22:37.924Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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!

Replies from: hibukki
comment by Yonatan Cale (hibukki) · 2022-05-04T20:43:03.564Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

(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)

comment by BrownHairedEevee (evelynciara) · 2021-11-21T18:15:01.106Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.
Replies from: evelynciara, syc
comment by BrownHairedEevee (evelynciara) · 2021-12-25T21:05:02.706Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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
comment by Sarah Cheng (syc) · 2021-11-29T19:46:10.711Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Appreciate the suggestions! I've added them to our list for triage.

comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2021-03-10T07:15:47.525Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 me first.

Perhaps it would be useful to have a "Sequence author" tag or something? I have also created a few sequences I didn't write just to reference the group of posts, but it would be good if the author was somehow credited. 

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-03-10T07:29:18.247Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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!

Replies from: vaidehi_agarwalla
comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2021-03-11T01:23:21.524Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

That makes sense! 

comment by BrownHairedEevee (evelynciara) · 2021-01-08T18:03:49.478Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2021-01-08T20:13:53.349Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

comment by Derek · 2020-12-03T20:17:44.974Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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? 

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2020-12-04T06:31:20.781Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

See the "long footnote with multiple blocks" syntax here [EA · GW]. You need to indent successive lines within a footnote to add line breaks by adding four spaces in front of each line.

See here [EA · GW] for an example of someone doing this in a post.

comment by Gregory Lewis (Gregory_Lewis) · 2020-06-20T06:54:33.518Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Footnote support in the 'standard' editor: For folks who aren't fluent in markdown (like me), the current process is switching the editor back and forth to 'markdown mode' to add these footnotes, which I find pretty cumbersome.[1]

[1] So much so I lazily default to doing it with plain text.

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2020-06-20T17:46:02.013Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, this is the current top priority with the new editor rework, and the inability to make this happen was one of the big reasons for why we decided to switch editors. I expect this will happen sometime in the next month or two.

comment by David Mears · 2023-03-11T16:43:00.795Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Upvoting a post shouldn’t be possible within 30 seconds of opening a (not very short) post (prevent upvoting based on title only), or should be weighted less

comment by Bob Jacobs (bmjacobs@telenet.be) · 2022-11-12T11:37:53.403Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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).

Replies from: Lizka
comment by Lizka · 2022-11-12T12:14:05.315Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I appreciate this, thank you!

comment by Cassidy · 2022-10-24T21:27:32.413Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 informational posts (e.g. forum manual), but with a Q&A style, so search will index it.


For reference, there are some other new user navigation suggestion in this post. [EA · GW]

Replies from: Ben_West
comment by Ben_West · 2022-10-25T22:18:26.925Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

comment by Charles He · 2022-05-31T23:42:54.762Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 as much now.

Overall, there's sort of two types of issues people have brought up recently:


The forum has moved a bit toward being a place that demands attention. It's a place where people now enter often to make a point or react to others doing it. That's not as close to productive discussion as it could be. 

The forum should be closer to a place for productive discussions between EAs. These discussions should often reveal the landscape of object level work to its readers, or even help make progress on projects. There's several interesting [EA(p) · GW(p)] but elaborate solutions that might help. 

However, this comment chain suggests a major solution that is direct and feasible.

Replies from: Charles He
comment by Charles He · 2022-05-31T23:47:22.397Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 have wide positive effects on the forum, and satisfy a lot of present concern. 

Replies from: Charles He
comment by Charles He · 2022-05-31T23:50:20.213Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 popular pattern among EAs. 

    But this use of prizes is different, as it is a fixed amount, divided monthly across "focus posts".

    The benefits of this setup are that the prize size and incentive for writing is high when there are few high quality posts. When there are numerous posts, the incentive is smaller but no longer needed. 

    Also, this funding, maybe simply divided equally among curated posts, is more stable and predictable than most prizes. This means it can be principledly secured by being curated as a "focus post", which gives agency to the moderator (to enter into planning and fostering with participants).

Replies from: Charles He
comment by Charles He · 2022-05-31T23:58:13.064Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 of content, promoting strong writing and reducing imbalances in discussion.

Another way of looking at this: instead of seeing “focus posts” as a new prominent position for posts, you can see it as a vehicle to empower principled moderators.


I think both the current and past EA forum moderator are more than qualified, both in terms of subject matter knowledge, as well as virtue and judgement, for at least the control envisioned in this comment chain.

comment by Rasool · 2022-05-08T09:17:04.854Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

A way to report users for deletion.

There are a few spam accounts like this one (https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/users/msreeyaa [EA · GW]) 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...)

Replies from: Lizka, Ben_West
comment by Lizka · 2022-05-09T10:15:14.547Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 ), but I agree that a feature like this should exist.  

comment by Ben_West · 2022-05-10T22:33:25.509Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for the suggestion! I've added creating a feature like this to our backlog.

comment by Xing Shi Cai (newptcai) · 2022-03-07T23:45:18.739Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

Replies from: syc
comment by Sarah Cheng (syc) · 2022-03-09T21:59:47.079Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2021-08-25T12:27:39.181Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-08-26T09:34:38.296Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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
comment by Pablo (Pablo_Stafforini) · 2021-07-31T13:25:56.760Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

The all-posts view [? · GW] 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.

Replies from: jpaddison, jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2021-08-06T10:35:24.806Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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?

Replies from: Pablo_Stafforini
comment by Pablo (Pablo_Stafforini) · 2021-08-06T11:49:29.876Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2021-08-06T13:44:05.113Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

What happens if you log in in incognito?  Do you have any of these settings set?

Replies from: Pablo_Stafforini
comment by Pablo (Pablo_Stafforini) · 2021-08-06T14:23:04.234Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2021-08-06T15:41:15.937Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Seems right. I doubt it was deliberate.

comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2021-08-01T08:53:28.957Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

That’s a bug, thanks for reporting.

comment by BrownHairedEevee (evelynciara) · 2021-07-31T00:40:32.323Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2021-07-30T10:02:26.759Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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)

comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2021-07-28T01:42:12.459Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: MichaelStJules
comment by MichaelStJules · 2021-07-28T17:17:45.567Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-07-28T21:26:54.917Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2021-06-14T10:00:40.118Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2021-06-14T16:50:13.376Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Sounds legit.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T17:18:32.857Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

The expectation that *ALL* EA resources should be in this forum. Ideally people would post books (with the tag "book") and then new users could see which resources the community thinks are worth reading first.

Replies from: Aidan O'Gara
comment by aogara (Aidan O'Gara) · 2020-06-28T07:03:12.424Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

That's an interesting idea for Forum v3: a wiki for all EA materials. Newcomers could go to the Forum and find Peter Singer, Doing Good Better, and links to 80,000 Hours research + new posts every day.

Related: "Should EA Buy Distribution Rights for Foundational Books?" by Cullen O'Keefe

Replies from: nathan
comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-29T12:48:34.107Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think EA wikis have been tried in the past.

For what it's worth I think rather than storing information you want to store connections and allow for easy error checking. I suggest this is the non-obvious value of wikipedia.

In that regard I think a roam board would be better than a wiki.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T16:42:55.240Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Soon after publishing, hide scores on comments so people aren't biased by them. Randomise the order of comments early on.

Replies from: nathan, Inda, nathan
comment by Inda · 2020-06-26T12:06:53.797Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think greaterwrong has an option to hide karma.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T17:10:44.373Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks to whoever burned this early :P I suggest this is evidence towards my point.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T16:23:20.377Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Numbers in articles which get multiplied at the end. The ability for the community to forecast these numbers and it change the overall result.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T16:18:50.804Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

A portal for booking a call with an EA.

How often are poeple connected throught the EA hub? How often did poeple connect at EAGx virtual. If connections are valuable, this is a way they could happen more.

I've put some different use cases in the comments.

Replies from: Aidan O'Gara, nathan, nathan
comment by aogara (Aidan O'Gara) · 2020-06-28T07:08:08.350Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Roots-based approach to the same outcome: Leave an open invitation and a Calendly link in your EAForum bio.

Replies from: nathan
comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-29T11:34:32.421Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Sure but you could reduce the friction on that. And ideally make it more trackable.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T17:14:26.386Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

There could be a "new to EA, book a call" button and EAs could sign up to a call. This would be very welcoming.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T16:21:05.564Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

A way this could work is that EAs could log in wiht their calendly and then a visitor would choose a time and it would randomise among EAs who were free.

The main thing is that you want the friction to be low enough that it gets used.

EA seems to think networking is valuable enough to arrange conferences. This would expand that.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T16:12:20.675Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Make comments on specific sections of text which appear to the right of the text. And can be up and downvoted.

Replies from: nathan, Inda
comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-20T15:46:49.726Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps these are not visible itially but you can toggle that.

comment by Inda · 2020-06-26T12:08:07.647Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

This will be a distracting overhead though. Also, there can be many comments on a single paragraph.

Replies from: nathan
comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-26T14:08:14.302Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I don't think so. As I commented, parhaps these start invisible (or with little markers you can mouse over). I find it works on google docs.

what do you think?

Replies from: Inda
comment by Inda · 2020-06-26T22:27:31.550Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I don’t know :) I guess the idea itself is definitely sound, but implementing it correctly might be a challenge.

Replies from: nathan, Aidan O'Gara
comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-29T12:49:48.996Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think we should upvote features we'd like and let the tech team decide what is possible to implement.

It might be hard, it might not.

comment by aogara (Aidan O'Gara) · 2020-06-28T08:34:15.655Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

What if, when you highlight text within a post, a small toolbar pops up where you can click to quote the text in your comment box?

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T16:05:38.088Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

As assumption that there are some "evergreen" questions like this one, which periodically the community should spend time thinking on.

Please comment with other such questions

Replies from: nathan, nathan, nathan, nathan
comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2021-07-23T21:23:02.783Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I nearly posted this just now and then realised I already did a year ago. 

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T17:20:56.059Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

"What should our community guidelines be?"

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T17:20:35.946Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

"Please order these cause areas by importance" -> how does the community's thoughts compare to 80k's?

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-19T16:04:47.419Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

This thread should be linked in the intercom button under "feature requests".

If you click "submit a feature request" it should send you here.

comment by Tobias Häberli (TobiasH) · 2020-06-18T06:22:01.813Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I'd love to have a weekly/monthly open post, where everyone could ask questions and post small ideas. I imagine something similar to LessWrongs "Open & Welcome Thread". This could make some people more comfortable with starting to contribute to the forum.

Replies from: aarongertler, edoarad, nathan
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2020-06-25T06:17:20.930Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I used to do these, but I think I phased them out when Shortform posts came along, as those appeared to serve a similar role (sharing things that you don't think merit a full post).

As it turns out, while Shortform has been useful, I think it has a different feel than open threads, so bringing them back seems like a good idea. I or another moderator may start posting them soon.

comment by EdoArad (edoarad) · 2020-06-20T13:20:11.841Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps this can be done without an option of voting on comments, which might make this easier for people to participate in.

comment by Emrik · 2022-11-11T21:20:40.867Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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] [EA(p) · GW(p)] 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 [? · GW]. 
  5. Given recency bias combined with the fact that people are very reluctant to write things that have been written about before, we could theoretically be losing wisdom over time instead of accumulating it. Especially since the movement is growing fast, and newcomers weren't here when a particular piece of wisdom was under discussion the first time around.

Wrote a shortform [EA(p) · GW(p)] on it. Would be cool to have, imo! : )

Replies from: Sharang Phadke
comment by Sharang Phadke · 2022-11-18T21:00:21.419Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks Emrik, we do plan to reconsider how the frontpage should work in a few months!

Replies from: Emrik
comment by Emrik · 2022-11-19T11:19:07.443Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I also made a suggestion on Sasha's post [EA(p) · GW(p)] related to nudging 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. ^
Replies from: Sharang Phadke
comment by Sharang Phadke · 2022-11-19T21:13:37.414Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Oh I really like this, and I've had some similar ideas. Will make a note of it!

comment by Imma (Imma Six) · 2022-08-21T06:27:15.777Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 your name is "OddHappy153"). This creates a disadvantage for newcomers and infrequent posters.

Idea: for the first X time, don't show the karma of the posts (unless it has really many downvotes). Maybe don't show the author's name on the frontpage either. Or hide it until the user explicitly clicks on "show author".

Replies from: Emrik, Ollie Etherington
comment by Emrik · 2022-08-21T07:20:32.040Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Oh. This exactly equivalent to what I suggested in Occlumency [EA · GW]. 

So to affect ordinal rankings, you need to deal with information cascades in real-time.

One way to do this could be to hide authorship and karma for 24 hours (or something) after the post has been published. Readers are now spread more evenly across day-one posts, which means that on day two, their relative karmas are more indicative of true conversion rates and less influenced by randomness and author popularity. So even if you let everything run as normal thenceforth, the information cascades would start on initial conditions that better reflect true conversion rates.

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 [EA · GW].

comment by Ollie Etherington · 2022-08-23T14:54:52.937Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for the suggestion - I've made a note of it!

comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-07-23T03:29:39.926Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Ollie Etherington
comment by Ollie Etherington · 2022-07-26T10:36:12.678Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Stefan_Schubert · 2022-06-25T15:59:40.309Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Ben Snodin (Ben_Snodin) · 2022-02-09T15:24:26.129Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Ben_Snodin
comment by Ben Snodin (Ben_Snodin) · 2022-02-09T15:27:13.874Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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?

comment by BrownHairedEevee (evelynciara) · 2020-08-16T04:08:59.810Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Derek · 2020-07-04T20:51:33.300Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

''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.

comment by markus_over · 2020-06-19T16:01:49.231Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I'm not sure if such a feature would be worth the work it would involve, but: a very simple "editor" to very easily create probability distributions (or maybe more generally graphs that don't require mathematical formulas but just very rough manual sketching) and embed them into posts or comments could be useful. I'm not sure how often people would really use that though. Generally however, it would probably be a good thing to make probability estimates as explicit as possible, and being able to easily "draw" distributions in a few seconds and having a polished looking output could make that happen.

If this is something people would find useful, I'd be willing to spend the time to create such a component so it would theoretically just have to be "plugged in" afterwards.

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by Ben Millwood (BenMillwood) · 2023-02-14T08:59:52.442Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

When a comment is deleted in such a way that leaves a "comment deleted" block, it has a little [+] to expand the comment, but it doesn't do anything. I would prefer if it wasn't there so I didn't feel like I had to click on it to check if there's something I missed.

Replies from: BenMillwood
comment by Ben Millwood (BenMillwood) · 2023-02-14T09:18:55.387Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Also, probably voting should be prevented on deleted comments.

comment by Pablo (Pablo_Stafforini) · 2022-09-22T09:54:37.053Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Lizka
comment by Lizka · 2022-09-23T00:21:55.752Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

comment by Jack Malde (jackmalde) · 2022-09-03T13:09:08.421Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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!

comment by Yonatan Cale (hibukki) · 2022-07-23T22:34:23.857Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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)
Replies from: Ollie Etherington
comment by Ollie Etherington · 2022-07-26T10:45:16.924Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for the suggestions! I've made a note of all of them!

comment by brb243 · 2022-07-21T21:12:25.465Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

'Commenting sprees [EA(p) · GW(p)]' - blocks of time where discussion with more immediate replies would be encouraged.

comment by Charles He · 2022-05-11T01:06:12.923Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

See this comment [EA(p) · GW(p)].


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. 

Replies from: Charles He
comment by Charles He · 2022-06-14T17:23:15.928Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

It happened again! [EA(p) · GW(p)]

Replies from: Charles He
comment by Charles He · 2022-06-14T22:46:18.008Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

And again! [EA(p) · GW(p)]

Replies from: Charles He
comment by Charles He · 2022-06-15T19:35:20.324Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh [EA(p) · GW(p)]






Replies from: Charles He
comment by Charles He · 2022-06-15T20:31:58.458Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Ok, this issue has been picked up:



Yay! The system works. 

comment by Charles He · 2022-05-07T19:30:40.856Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

The analytics page is great!

Replies from: Charles He
comment by Charles He · 2022-05-07T19:35:12.313Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Ben_West
comment by Ben_West · 2022-05-10T22:33:01.898Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2022-04-30T12:42:27.513Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/NxWssGagWoQWErRer/community-posts-a-new-forum-post-type-unofficial-pr-faq [EA · GW

comment by James Özden (JamesOz) · 2022-03-30T16:57:55.837Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I'm not sure if it's exactly a feature suggestion as a concern highlighted here [EA(p) · GW(p)] 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 [EA(p) · GW(p)]). 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 sold of any of them) could be:

  • Sub-communities like Reddit
  • Greater emphasis on people using the Shortform feature for short or link posts rather than the main page
  • EA Librarian or Q&A things could go into a different section (somewhat like a Shortform? I'm quite unsure about this though)
comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-03-21T03:01:39.237Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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. 

Replies from: jpaddison, jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2022-03-21T22:08:31.514Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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!

Replies from: vaidehi_agarwalla
comment by Vaidehi Agarwalla (vaidehi_agarwalla) · 2022-03-21T22:12:36.978Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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. 

comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2022-06-11T07:53:25.445Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: vaidehi_agarwalla
comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2021-11-18T16:26:51.361Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2021-11-18T16:24:56.117Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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)". 

Replies from: syc
comment by Sarah Cheng (syc) · 2021-11-29T19:39:25.457Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

comment by MichaelA · 2021-03-26T22:47:24.404Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 hassle.

I feel like I remember saying this somewhere else already, and it's very possible someone else has suggested it here too. 

ETA: Oh, I just stumbled upon the comment of mine that I was half-remembering [EA(p) · GW(p)], which was for a somewhat different feature motivated by a similar issue:

I'd really like this for regular Forum posts and (especially) comments too; I'd like to be able to type "[[" and then start typing the name of the post, automatically see a drop down menu with posts that include that text in their name, and then just click on it to have the name appear in the text, with the right hyperlink. At the moment, I have to open a new tab, find the post, and either copy the title and then separately the link or write title and copy the link. I do a lot of linking to other Forum posts from within Forum posts and comments, so this is a little annoying.

I think ideally this would also show LessWrong posts, since people link to them fairly often too. 

I say "(especially) comments" because I almost always draft posts in Google docs, where this feature wouldn't really help me, whereas I write comments in the Forum editor from the start.

comment by MichaelA · 2020-09-03T09:50:48.197Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.)

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-01-15T11:40:58.806Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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?

Replies from: MichaelA, MichaelA
comment by MichaelA · 2021-02-13T08:36:17.873Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 [EA(p) · GW(p)]. 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.)

Replies from: aarongertler, aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-02-18T12:16:39.457Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-02-15T11:07:01.600Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

comment by MichaelA · 2021-01-16T00:07:09.779Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 :)

comment by Jonas Vollmer · 2020-06-30T09:55:57.941Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I would like to promote Wei Dai's suggestion [LW(p) · GW(p)] 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 could make people more likely to share their internal work publicly.

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2020-06-30T18:46:22.703Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Some of this will appear with the new editor, which has collaborative editing features built in.

but the UX doesn't seem intuitive, otherwise I would have noticed already

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.

Replies from: Jonas Vollmer
comment by Jonas Vollmer · 2020-07-02T12:27:11.553Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2020-07-02T13:31:32.668Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Re: your edit - yep, that will come with the new editor, though maybe not in the first iteration.

comment by Inda · 2020-06-26T11:47:37.320Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: MaxRa
comment by MaxRa · 2021-09-03T05:15:59.302Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

comment by Will Bradshaw (willbradshaw) · 2020-06-25T14:00:51.633Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Probably this should go on LessWrong rather than here, but: it would be great if the Markdown editor could handle basic image formatting, rather than stripping out all the HTML so all my images revert to maximum-width.

comment by Rasool · 2023-02-15T14:07:49.541Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

(Semi-serious), since we care about the long-term future, denote years with a 10,000 year digit, so 02023 instead of 2023, like they do at longnow.org

comment by Matt Goodman (Matt g) · 2023-01-30T15:31:06.717Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.
comment by emre kaplan · 2022-12-23T05:19:45.828Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

comment by Bob Jacobs (bmjacobs@telenet.be) · 2022-12-03T23:44:19.521Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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 voting weight than the upvotes. This seems logical, people with more voting power have an incentive to use that power to make sure they don't lose it. Just keep in mind that we really cannot conclude what the EA community believes/wants based on the results of an undemocratic karma-system.

comment by Filip Sondej · 2022-10-29T12:33:30.896Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Embed iframes

Some use cases:

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

Replies from: Sharang Phadke
comment by Sharang Phadke · 2022-10-31T22:43:44.520Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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

Replies from: Filip Sondej
comment by Filip Sondej · 2022-11-01T11:30:02.279Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: BenMillwood
comment by Ben Millwood (BenMillwood) · 2023-03-03T22:03:48.018Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

It might be too powerful. In particular, moderators can no longer fully control the content of the post. If you're sneaky, you can even engineer a post that appears differently to different people. I think allowing authors to embed totally arbitrary content is too much freedom.

comment by Charles He · 2022-10-29T00:19:18.332Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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.

Replies from: Charles He
comment by Charles He · 2022-10-29T00:21:01.295Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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:

comment by Emrik · 2022-08-19T11:28:03.054Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Some suggestions [EA · GW] 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 benefits accrue every time someone finds it usefwl. The costs are consistently modest for authors, while the benefits can be enormous for some readers (e.g. I'm doing a lit review and the tags help me counterfactually find the perfect post.)

So I suggest making it mandatory. Maybe like this:

You get a friendly reminder if you try to publish a post before tagging it.
Replies from: Ollie Etherington
comment by Ollie Etherington · 2022-08-23T14:57:04.595Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Great suggestion! I've added it to our list of features to consider.