Announcing my retirement

post by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-11-25T13:55:57.554Z · EA · GW · 28 comments


  What’s next?

A few sharp-eyed readers noticed my imminent departure from CEA in our last quarterly report [EA(p) · GW(p)]. Gold stars all around!

My last day as our content specialist — and thus, my last day helping to run the Forum — is December 10th. The other moderators will continue to handle the basics, and we’re in the process of hiring my replacement. (Let me know if anyone comes to mind!)


Managing this place was fun. It wasn’t always fun [EA(p) · GW(p)], but — on the whole, a good time. 

I’ve enjoyed giving feedback [EA · GW] to a few hundred people, organizing some interesting AMAs [? · GW], running a writing contest [? · GW], building up the Digest [EA · GW], hosting workshops [EA · GW] for EA groups around the world, and deleting a truly staggering number of comments advertising escort services (I’ll spare you the link).

More broadly, I’ve felt a continual sense of admiration for everyone who cares about the Forum and tries to make it better — by reading, voting, posting, crossposting, commenting, tagging, Wiki-editing, bug-reporting, and/or moderating. Collectively, you’ve put in tens of thousands of hours of work to develop our strange, complicated, unique website, with scant compensation besides karma.

(Now that I’m leaving, it’s time to be honest — despite the rumors, our karma isn’t the kind that gets you a better afterlife.)

Thank you for everything you’ve done to make this job what it was.

What’s next?

In January, I’ll join Open Philanthropy as their communications officer, working to help their researchers publish more of their work.

I’ll also be joining Effective Giving Quest [EA · GW] as their first partnered streamer. Wish me luck: moderating this place sometimes felt like herding cats, but it’s nothing compared to Twitch chat.

My Forum comments will be less frequent, but probably spicier.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2021-11-25T14:22:15.640Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I hope others will join me in saying: thank you for your years serving as the friendly voice of the Forum, and best of luck at Open Philanthropy!

comment by NunoSempere · 2021-11-25T15:50:56.756Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

My Forum comments will be less frequent, but probably spicier.

Looking forward to this.

comment by Miranda_Zhang ( · 2021-11-25T14:39:53.551Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Only fitting that it's Thanksgiving today - I am so grateful for all that you've done with the Forum. Your presence was part of what made me feel welcome here and I think you've done an incredible job building this place up. : )

Also - your new plans sound so cool. Despite my sadness to see you leave your moderator role, it's overwhelmed by sheer excitement for your future! 

comment by Jsevillamol · 2021-11-25T15:24:45.636Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Echoing everyone else, thank you for all your hard work.

I do not exaggerate when I say you are the best forum moderator I have ever seen. I am really impressed with your availability, creativity and kindness. You have driven the culture of this website to a whole new level, and inspired me and I bet many others to write better content.

Good luck at OpenPhil!

comment by MaxDalton (Maxdalton) · 2021-11-25T16:14:02.512Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think you've done so much to make the Forum what it is today (>4x bigger than what it was when you joined, and perhaps as importantly a really vibrant community with great content). You've been a welcoming commenter, an empathetic moderator, and a sharp-pencilled editor. 

I'll miss you at our next ultimate frisbee game, but I'm so excited to read what you write with Open Phil! (Oh, and looking forward to the spicy comments too.)

Replies from: jared_m
comment by jared_m · 2021-11-27T01:30:04.451Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Empathetic, welcoming — and a lively, wise writer. Even Aaron's commenting guidelines (↓) are warm and concise. 

Your guiding voice will be missed here, Aaron. We look forward to cheering your EGQ and OP work next year!

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-11-27T10:58:34.119Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks, Jared!

To clarify: The guidelines on this post are the default guidelines for all posts, which I think were written by someone on the LessWrong team before the Forum existed.

Replies from: jared_m
comment by jared_m · 2021-11-27T22:19:36.163Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Ah, well - you can see how even the agreeable Forum norms you aren't directly responsible are enhanced by association with you!

Hope your final 1.5 Forum-wrangling weeks are smooth ones.

comment by Stefan_Schubert · 2021-11-25T14:37:40.448Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Congrats, Aaron! Thanks for your good work improving and growing the forum.

comment by kuhanj · 2021-11-26T08:22:30.282Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thank you for all your encouragement over the past few years for students and newer community members to post on the forum, and for actually making it easier and less scary to do so. I definitely would not have felt anywhere near as comfortable getting started without your encouragement and post editing offers. I've replaced Facebook binging with EA Forum binging since I both enjoyed it so much and found it really valuable for my learning. You will be missed, and incredibly hard to replace. Thank you for all your hard work!

comment by Linch · 2021-11-27T09:50:22.540Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks Aaron for making the Forum both a pleasant and happening place to be in! My investment in the forum grew a lot during your time here, and I imagine you must have done a lot behind the scenes to make this forum a enjoyable place!

Very excited to see your future career trajectory, both at Open Phil and with Effective Giving Quest!

comment by Mathieu Putz · 2021-11-25T23:19:22.228Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks so much for looking after possibly my favorite place on the internet!

comment by EricHerboso · 2021-11-25T20:06:10.230Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thank you so much for all your work managing the EA Forum. You’ve done an excellent job, and I’m sure that you’ll do many and varied good things at OpenPhil.

Also, we’re so excited to have you join Effective Giving Quest as our first partnered streamer! I’m really looking forward to what we can accomplish in the gaming space for effective altruism. (c:

comment by Cullen_OKeefe · 2021-11-27T04:56:27.424Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Congrats, Aaron, and thank you for your innumerable contributions to the Forum and broader community

comment by Peter Wildeford (Peter_Hurford) · 2021-11-25T17:59:34.405Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Congrats Aaron. Is there a plan for replacing you as the singular and dedicated face of the EA Forum? You will be missed here, but unlocking more OP content into the public sphere sounds well worth it.

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-11-28T21:58:01.495Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

The person who takes over for me directly might also be really dedicated to running the site. But we're trying to keep the position flexible to account for the interests of our strongest candidates, so it's possible they'll end up more focused on other aspects of CEA content. If that were to happen, I wouldn't be surprised if we hired for a "head of Forum" role in the near-to-medium future (but no guarantees).

comment by aaronhamlin · 2021-11-28T01:25:32.993Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for all you've done for the forum, Aaron! It was a challenging assignment to say the least. And a personal thank you for your feedback on some of my not-so-short essays! Best of luck on your new path. I'll be cheering you on.

comment by Ramiro · 2021-11-25T19:42:28.243Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Now that I’m leaving, it’s time to be honest — despite the rumors, our karma isn’t the kind that gets you a better afterlife.

That's precisely what you'd say if it was used as a proxy for deserving a better life, but you didn't want people to Goodhart-game it.

Seriously: congratulations for the job done, thank you so much for it, and I'm eager to see what you'll do in EGQ and beyond.

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2021-11-25T14:30:11.576Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for all you've done Aaron. It means a lot. Thanks for responding, for reading drafts, for organising AMAs, along with all the other things you've done. 

comment by pmelchor · 2021-11-26T09:43:52.010Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thank you, Aaron, you have been a force for good here. Smart hire by Open Phil!

comment by casebash · 2021-11-25T17:15:40.504Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks so much for all of the work you've put into this forum and good luck with your new job!

comment by --alex-- · 2021-12-02T14:18:09.727Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Dear Aaron, 

   I don't think we share the same definition for the word "Retirement [EA · GW]". 


 -average humans everywhere

P.S. Thank you for all your help with the one serious EA Forum article I wrote [EA · GW]. Despite you and Hauke's heroic efforts, it was still terrible. Related: did you pay 26 people to vote for it out of sympathy?

comment by PeterSlattery (Peterslattery) · 2021-11-26T00:40:40.022Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for all the hard work Aaron, you did a great job!  I am also excited to see hear about your new position and look forward to seeing the work you produce :)

comment by Khorton · 2021-11-25T19:17:42.461Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yes! So happy for you Aaron!

comment by DevonFritz · 2021-11-25T17:20:43.128Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thank you for all of your hard work, Aaron!

comment by evelynciara · 2021-11-28T04:23:48.019Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Congrats on the new job, and thank you for your outstanding service. 🥳

comment by BenSchifman · 2021-12-02T14:31:52.753Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of appreciation for your work Aaron.  I have an RSS feed of the forum and read at least the title of just about every post and it is really valuable for me.  Great work and best of luck in your next endeavors!