EA Forum Prize: Winners for July 2019

post by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2019-08-20T07:09:17.771Z · score: 24 (10 votes) · EA · GW · 0 comments

Contents

  What is the EA Forum Prize?
  About the winning posts and comments
    Why Nations Fail and the long-termist view of global poverty
    Extinguishing or preventing coal seam fires is a potential cause area
    There are *a bajillion* jobs working in plant-based foods right now
  The winning comments
  The voting process
  Feedback
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CEA is pleased to announce the winners of the July 2019 EA Forum Prize!

In first place (for a prize of $750): “Why Nations Fail and the long-termist view of global poverty [EA · GW],” by Ben Kuhn [EA · GW].

In second place (for a prize of $500): “Extinguishing or preventing coal seam fires is a potential cause area [EA · GW],” by kbog [EA · GW].

In third place (for a prize of $250): “There are a *bajillion* jobs working on plant-based foods right now [EA · GW],” by Scott Weathers [EA · GW].

The following users were each awarded a Comment Prize ($50), for the comments linked to their names:

For the previous round of prizes, see our June post [EA · GW].

What is the EA Forum Prize?

Certain posts and comments exemplify the kind of content we most want to see [? · GW] on the EA Forum. They are well-researched and well-organized; they care about informing readers, not just persuading them.

The Prize is an incentive to create content like this. But more importantly, we see it as an opportunity to showcase excellent work as an example and inspiration to the Forum's users.

About the winning posts and comments

Note: I write this section in first person based on my own thoughts, rather than by attempting to summarize the views of the other judges.

Why Nations Fail and the long-termist view of global poverty

Ben Kuhn’s book review contains enough ideas for many good Forum posts; instead, he combined them all into one excellent post. I’m loathe to even attempt a summary; you should really read the whole thing.

Some especially good features of the post:

Extinguishing or preventing coal seam fires is a potential cause area

It’s not often that I hear about a potential EA cause area that I’d literally never thought about before, but kbog’s post on coal seam fires gave me — and, I expect, many other readers — that rare experience.

Some especially good features of the post:

There are *a bajillion* jobs working in plant-based foods right now

It’s no secret that there are many open jobs working in plant-based foods. Many details about these jobs are available on the public websites of fast-growing companies; 80,000 Hours aggregates many of them on its job board.

But something being “no secret” or “available” does not make it salient. There’s real value in writing Forum posts about ideas or information that’s available elsewhere, but that is still underappreciated and worth noticing. I wouldn’t be surprised if Scott’s post prompted at least a couple of applications to EA-aligned positions that otherwise never would have happened.

(I especially appreciate that the post included positions with a wide range of skill requirements.)

The winning comments

I won’t write up an analysis of each comment, but I will make some general remarks on what I looked for when nominating the winners:

A comment’s karma doesn’t factor in, so long as it wasn’t heavily downvoted. (I wouldn’t want to nominate a comment the community seemed not to find valuable.)

I read through every comment on every post, and found many more candidates than I wound up selecting (the top-5 cutoff was somewhat arbitrary). This experience made me very happy. I’ve been a part of the community for many years, but I can still be surprised by the sheer depth and breadth of its collective knowledge.


The voting process

The winning posts were chosen by six people:

All posts published in the month of July qualified for voting, save for those in the following categories:

Voters recused themselves from voting on posts written by themselves or their colleagues. Otherwise, they used their own individual criteria for choosing posts, though they broadly agree with the goals outlined above.

We changed our voting system this month. Judges each had 10 votes to distribute between the month’s posts (with a maximum of three votes per judge, per post).


The winning comments were chosen by Aaron Gertler, though the five other judges had the chance to evaluate the winners beforehand and veto comments they didn’t think should win.

Feedback

If you have thoughts on how the Prize has changed the way you read or write on the Forum, or ideas for ways we should change the current format, please write a comment or contact Aaron Gertler.

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