Forum Update: New Features (September 2019)

post by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2019-09-17T08:43:31.904Z · score: 34 (13 votes) · EA · GW · 7 comments

Contents

  Shortform posts
  Community Favorites
  New sidebar
  New preview links
  Improved performance
None
7 comments

Shortform posts

If you click “New Shortform (Beta)” from the main menu, you’ll be able to write a brief post from a simplified interface:

As our About page [? · GW] notes, we don’t think posts need to be polished in order to be worth publishing. We want the EA Forum to be a place where people can explore ideas, even if they haven’t accounted for every consideration or counterargument. Our hope is that the Shortform interface will encourage more of this exploration.

For convenience, your Shortform posts will be collected on a page like this one [EA(p) · GW(p)]. You can see a set of recent Shortform posts from many different users here [? · GW]. (I expect that this link will replace the Forum’s occasional “open threads”, since Shortform is effectively one gigantic open thread.)

Community Favorites

On the Forum’s homepage, you can now see (under the list of new posts) a list of highly-upvoted posts that might be worth reading.

By default, these will be posts you haven’t read yet, though you can turn that option off:

We hope that this feature will nudge people into exploring good posts that they missed, or that were published before they joined the Forum.

New sidebar

We’ve heard from a few people who weren’t aware that they could find more Forum content in the “Community” section, or that they could use “All Posts” to sort posts in lots of different ways.

To fix this, we’ve moved to a system where the sidebar is visible by default on top-level pages, rather than requiring a click to reveal. It will still be invisible by default on post pages.

Note: This is an experimental feature that hasn’t yet been fully deployed. You can see it (and other such features, whenever we add them) by selecting “opt into experimental features” from the “Edit Account” page:

If you link to another Forum post in a post or comment, you’ll see a tiny “EA” logo next to your link.

Hovering over the link will show you a preview of the linked post:


Improved performance

This feature would be hard to get a screenshot for, but we hope you’ll appreciate it anyway: The Forum now loads new content much faster, ranging from comments on posts to archived posts on the “All Posts” page.

Let us know if you have questions about any of these changes, or if you’d like to suggest other features that might be valuable!

7 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Larks · 2019-09-17T16:51:03.362Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks, these look like some interesting features.

Are there / should there be any social norms re: replying to someone else's shortform? They seem intuitively sort of 'private property' to me.

comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2019-09-18T00:14:17.439Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

So far, it seems as though people have been treating them like non-intensive posts (e.g. friendly commentary/pushback, no point-by-point criticism). That seems good to me, but my vision of how Shortform should work may change as the feature gets used more often.

comment by Misha_Yagudin · 2019-09-20T17:09:22.012Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Before reading the details I was surprised that 3 out of 5 community favourite posts are about invertebrate welfare. Seems like I'm missing out on something :)

comment by Khorton · 2019-09-18T12:03:24.390Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Just as a note, Community Favourites is showing me posts I've already read (with this same profile but before we moved to the new Forum).

comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2019-09-18T19:10:00.627Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yes, it will do that. The Forum didn't previously have the ability to track read posts. You can dismiss them with the menu buttons to the right of the post in the favorites section.

Edit: I may have been wrong, looking into it.

comment by Khorton · 2019-09-19T00:44:51.700Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

I only use the Forum on mobile - can I still do that? Edit: Yes, I found the 'Mark as Read' button, although it's not actually working for me right now.

comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2019-09-19T17:22:34.239Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hrm, yes. When I mark something as read it does not appear to affect the current view of the page. When I refresh the page the post now appears as read / removes itself from my recommendations. I can reproduce this on LessWrong and have let them know.