Seeking part-time contractor for Facebook group support

post by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-01-15T11:20:33.515Z · EA · GW · 7 comments


  Role description
  Who are we looking for?
  Why should you consider this position?
  How to apply
    will close on Friday, 22 January, at 11:59 pm PST.


Many people first get involved in effective altruism through Facebook. 

However, the largest EA-related Facebook group (“Effective Altruism”) has less activity than it could. The group’s moderators are volunteers without much spare time, and that time tends to go into basic group management (removing spam, approving posts, etc.) rather than sharing content or shaping conversations.

CEA is looking for someone to support better discussion in the group. You could help make the space more welcoming, more informative, and more productive for its members, especially those who are new to EA. 

Role description

This contractor would be responsible for:

You would report to  Aaron Gertler, and be subject to additional feedback from the group's moderators as they see fit. 

In practice, this means Aaron will occasionally check on your contributions, but there probably won't be much contact unless you have questions or actively want feedback. (That said, CEA hasn't had contractors for work of this type before, so things may play out differently than we expect.)

Who are we looking for?

These are some traits our ideal contractor would have. 

It’s okay if some of them don’t describe you — you can and should still apply if you think you'd be good at this.

Why should you consider this position?

How to apply

We aren’t asking for a writing sample or anything like that. Just fill out this form, and answer the questions as best you can.

Applications will close on Friday, 22 January, at 11:59 pm PST.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by WilliamKiely · 2021-01-15T22:50:15.315Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

This seems useful. I'm curious if CEA would consider having this contractor also do something to improve what's happening over at the EA subreddit:

I've looked at a few threads on the subreddit over there the last few weeks and unfortunately it seems to me like the quality of much of the discourse there is significantly worse on average than I've seen in any EA Facebook group. It doesn't seem like a great way for new people to hear about EA for the first time. I'm not sure what should be done to improve the situation.

Maybe an 80/20 to improve it would be to write some new high quality intro / overview posts and pin them to the top indefinitely? Maybe have a copy of the EA Forum Digest pinned to the top until the next one comes out, with an archive of past digests saved there? Having the date of the digest in the title might get more people who go to the subreddit to click on it.

Replies from: aarongertler, Leksu
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-01-15T23:59:19.042Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I'm not a moderator of the Reddit space, but I'll see if I can find out who is. Having a few pinned resources seems helpful. It looks to have grown quite a bit since I last saw it, and I've updated more toward wanting to fix it up a bit.

Replies from: Manuel_Allgaier
comment by Manuel_Allgaier · 2021-01-19T11:09:39.729Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Agree, would be great to have all active online EA discussion platforms (Facebook, reddit etc.) moderated at least a little bit to make sure as many people as possible have a good experience engaging with EA content (and not just those on the EA forum). 

comment by Leksu · 2021-01-22T16:35:24.099Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I agree that the discussion in that subreddit is not very good.

Do you think it would be a good idea to encourage EAs in other spaces to upvote a post about this and have it be the most upvoted post on the sub? So people see it when they sort by top of all time. Currently the most upvoted post is at 261, not a lot. 

Reasons against this:

-Vote manipulation or something

-Maybe such a post could leave a negative impression of EA (framing is very important here)

-Such a post could stay in the top even after the subreddit becomes better, although in that case it could just be strikethrough'd with an edit on top saying the post is not relevant any more.


I think that would be good to do in addition to a pinned post.

Replies from: EricHerboso
comment by EricHerboso · 2021-01-22T19:13:25.563Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I would strongly argue against this, primarily because it is against Reddit's rules. Although subreddits do get to choose many of the policies in their own space, vote manipulation is a rule that is enforced site-wide.

comment by Manuel_Allgaier · 2021-01-19T11:08:06.615Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Nice to hear that you're planning to devote more time to Facebook group management!

the largest EA-related Facebook group (“Effective Altruism”) has less activity than it could

I just checked, it looks like this group has around one post and several new comments every day. How much are you aiming for? 

To me, the main Facebook group is great but already know seems like a bit too many different discussions in one place and a bit too much happening. If most people check it once a week or less, that would mean 10+ new posts every time they check it, of which only some are relevant.

I liked David Nash's approach of cause-specific Facebook groups (e.g. "Int'l Development & EA") and then try to focus the conversation on in the relevant Facebook group - thereby improving the "signal to noise" ratio for everyone. 

What do you think of that? Could such a position also help manage some of the other most active Facebook groups (such as "EA career discussion", "EA Job postings", "Int'l Dev" etc.) if the admins of those groups could use? 

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-01-19T12:38:40.133Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

The nice thing about having someone working on the biggest group is that it's a good "test case" for that person (or other such people) playing a similar role in smaller groups. Lots of new content = easier to see whether the work makes an impact.

Other notes on this position:

  • By "less activity", we don't necessarily mean "not enough posts" -- but we think that the average post could get more useful comments than it now does, that the average question could get a more thorough answer, etc. Perhaps the listing should have read "less high-quality activity" or something like that.
  • People who are just starting out in EA are more likely to come through the main FB group than any other space. A major part of this role is being a "friendly face" for newcomers and giving them a good first impression of EA as a community of helpful people. This doesn't work as well unless the contractor is working where new people tend to gather.

In general, I agree that cause-specific groups offer a better and more focused experience general groups on Facebook, but I also think that "Effective Altruism" is the right place to start this new experiment in paid moderation.