AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA 2021-03-12T22:54:13.481Z
Forum update: New features (December 2020) 2020-12-04T06:45:30.607Z
The two-minute EA Forum feedback survey 2020-09-18T11:27:08.241Z
Forum update: New features (August 2020) 2020-08-28T16:26:34.914Z
EA Forum update: New editor! (And more) 2020-07-31T11:06:40.587Z
The one-minute EA Forum feedback survey 2020-07-30T09:37:20.448Z
EA Forum feature suggestion thread 2020-06-16T16:58:58.569Z
EA Forum Downtime Monday April 13th 9:30pm PDT 2020-04-13T16:16:49.467Z
How we think about the Forum 2019-10-15T16:24:04.447Z
Who runs the Forum? 2019-10-14T15:35:21.353Z
JP's Shortform 2019-08-13T01:40:24.406Z
Donor Lottery 2018 is live 2018-12-06T00:29:37.812Z


Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Ben Garfinkel's Shortform · 2021-04-30T16:49:07.619Z · EA · GW

At least in software, there's a problem I see where young engineers are often overly bought-in to hype trains, but older engineers (on average) stick with technologies they know too much.

I would imagine something similar in academia, where hot new theories are over-valued by the young, but older academics have the problem you describe.

Comment by jpaddison on [deleted post] 2021-04-30T16:46:15.350Z

I think of a difference between posts-that-are-motivating, and posts-about-motivation. I'd be sad if there wasn't a place to go for posts-that-are-motivating, that was mostly that thing.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on What posts do you want someone to write? · 2021-04-23T09:16:41.715Z · EA · GW

This post probably qualifies, but I didn't love it. I'd pay out if you wrote a good one. But see note about my bar being high, I definitely don't want to make promises.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on "Insider giving" - An unfortunate donation strategy used by corporate insiders to avoid losses · 2021-04-14T14:41:49.194Z · EA · GW

I think sometimes they can write into the donation various stipulations around how fast they sell it. If you were looking to avoid scrutiny, you might take advantage of that.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Our plans for hosting an EA wiki on the Forum · 2021-04-14T08:33:11.914Z · EA · GW


Comment by jpaddison on [deleted post] 2021-04-10T15:08:31.607Z

I'd be happy to keep this tag and the others, so that someone interested in the topic as a whole can subscribe to any new posts tagged Sentience & Consciousness.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on The EA Forum Editing Festival has begun! · 2021-04-09T16:21:44.909Z · EA · GW
  1. Sorry about the issues. On S-Risks, it is a wiki-only tag, though probably we should change that.
  2. I really like the idea of tagging everything that's been officially produced by an organization with the organization's tag. So you might go to the Rethink Priorities tag, sort by top, and see a "best of" list.
  3. [Edit reply] Not to my knowledge, sorry.
Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Would an EA have directed their career on fixing the subprime mortgage crisis of '07-'08 before it happened? · 2021-04-07T10:11:20.595Z · EA · GW

Note: that tag is currently a wiki-only tag/wiki page, but could be turned into a proper tag if desired.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Propose and vote on potential tags · 2021-03-31T08:14:44.262Z · EA · GW

Reasonable because the generality, though I think the cryptography ship has long, long since sailed.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Propose and vote on potential tags · 2021-03-31T07:16:12.704Z · EA · GW

Seems good. Maybe we should crosspost one of the recent articles on Sam Bankman-Freid. 

Comment by jpaddison on [deleted post] 2021-03-30T14:29:24.163Z

Made worse by the fact that at Pablo's request, I deduplicated the Longtermism (Philosophy) tag, with the Longtermism wiki-entry.

Comment by jpaddison on [deleted post] 2021-03-30T14:19:22.004Z

It's not obvious to me that this tag is being sufficiently understood by the Forum's distributed tagging mind as being separate from the Longtermism (Philosophy) tag.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Open and Welcome Thread: March 2021 · 2021-03-30T13:09:21.226Z · EA · GW

It didn't have a card image, and so couldn't be displayed in the list on the sequences page. Sorry about that — the sequences creation tech is used by sufficiently few users that we / LW haven't prioritized making it a good user experience. Thanks for making it!

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on [Coronavirus] Is it a good idea to meet people indoors if everyone's rapid antigen test came back negative? · 2021-03-26T11:24:51.791Z · EA · GW

PCR tests themselves aren't that sensitive, as mentioned by atlas. I've seen estimates (1, 2) of ~20% false negative. Counterbalancing that is that I assume people who have so little virus in their nose + throat to avoid a PCR test are at lower risk of spreading. But I would (very subjectively) record my microcovids as .3 x raw numbers.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Propose and vote on potential tags · 2021-03-26T11:01:37.155Z · EA · GW

I like it. Maybe "Working at EA vs Non-EA Orgs?"

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Propose and vote on potential tags · 2021-03-26T11:00:40.744Z · EA · GW

I'm pro. I'd call it Task Y, though I wouldn't be surprised if there was a reason not to.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA · 2021-03-25T19:04:34.130Z · EA · GW

On the last point: our hosting provider Netlify had an outage affecting a subset of their customers that happened to include us. We were down for about 2 hours, which is the longest outage I can remember in the last 3 years.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Propose and vote on potential tags · 2021-03-25T10:36:10.026Z · EA · GW

I'm in favor.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Propose and vote on potential tags · 2021-03-25T10:35:47.037Z · EA · GW

My guess is that a better tag would be "History of Economic Growth". Because I can't picture a case where someone wants to find things about the industrial revolution but not all of economic growth. (Unless they're doing a specific research project, but that sounds pretty niche.)

But even still, I'd tentatively lean towards economic growth being enough. But I think that depends on how fine-grained our tagging system should be, which I don't have a strong opinion on.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on On future people, looking back at 21st century longtermism · 2021-03-25T08:08:32.032Z · EA · GW

I love this, thanks for writing it. And I’ve generally been enjoying  your posts, thanks for writing them. Only tangentially  related to the core of the post, but:

[...] the numbers are so alien and overwhelming that one suspects that any quantitative (and indeed, qualitative) ethical reasoning that takes them as inputs will end up distorted, or totalizing, or inhuman.

This does seem like an important crux for longtermism and I’d be interested in more attempts to explore it.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on I scraped all public "Effective Altruists" Goodreads reading lists · 2021-03-24T17:30:18.040Z · EA · GW

My quick reaction is that they're more ideas-focused. People interested in EA are selected for being interested in ideas.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA · 2021-03-17T12:19:05.571Z · EA · GW

The Forum is Mongo, Node, React app written in Typescript. We[1] started off on Meteor, which informs a lot of the design patterns, but have recently finished the process of removing it, which has greatly sped up build times. The project was initially build on top of the Vulcan framework, which was a relatively immature framework attempting to provide an even more full-service bootstrapping experience than Meteor. We got off of it several years ago, but it still informs our pattern which you might call UI-inclusive schemas.

Other technologies:

  • We use GraphQL as our API layer, which you can explore here.
  • Apollo manages the client state
  • We're hosted on AWS Elastic Beanstalk
  • Material UI provides the styling framework. (This is the framework, not the material design philosophy, which we differ quite a lot from.)
  • Our Editor is a customized CKEditor 5 editor

I'd highlight two pain points that I feel:

  • Our testing story is pretty poor. So much of what we do is hard to separate from the state of the app that it's hard to make good, non-trivial unit tests. I think this is funged against by good type checking with TypeScript, but my inner Gary Bernhardt is disappointed.  
  • Deploying to AWS takes way too long. I believe this will be fixed soon.

[1] "We" here being inclusive of the LW team, with whom we keep up to date.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA · 2021-03-16T19:14:41.352Z · EA · GW

I agree with Sam that most of the difference between working at a typical tech company and CEA  is the size. Even most startup employees probably work at startups 10-100x the size of CEA. Unlike Sam I have worked in the tech industry, but I when I was hired at Kairos, I was employee #6, which I think is unusually early. Relative to Kairos, I think my experience at CEA has differed in the following ways: 

  • I bring more of myself to work. CEA really wants to know what I really think the best thing to do is, and I get to be really open about what I think that is, and all the reasoning I have. I can speak my native EA-language here (nobody blinks an eye when I talk about expect value).
  • I'm more in charge of my own projects here. Kairos gave me a lot of autonomy, but CEA gives me even more.
  • The converse of that is that Kairos had more mentorship from people more experienced than me. I think Sam and I have gotten pretty good at this, but Kairos had one incredibly impressive software engineer in particular who I learned a lot from.

It depends on which tech company, but I know a lot of people working for companies that they think are fine, but not so great that their jobs are doing much good directly. This is definitely the best perk of the job, which now that I'm writing it sounds trite, but is my honest feeling.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA · 2021-03-16T18:04:40.955Z · EA · GW

For content, we have been making adjustments, but you’ll want to talk to Aaron about anything more. For the tech design, the site suits its current purpose. It’s fast, so it ranks well on SEO, and it points to a good collection of resources for people who want to learn more, so I think it’s not a current priority for us to invest a lot of time in making big changes; other projects (e.g. changes to the Forum) are a higher priority.

That said, we do have plans to rework it eventually. We do want to pick some low hanging fruit in broad outreach, and a site that people will visit anyway with the question, “what’s this about” seems low hanging to me.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA · 2021-03-16T16:40:18.596Z · EA · GW
  1. I don’t think I can give most of my thoughts about the future of EA discussion without a post-length treatment. That said, when I look out at the rest the world, and I look at the EA Forum and other EA discussion spaces, I’m really happy with how we compare. The future will be determined by the delicate balance between keeping our epistemics much better than the surrounding world, while also not growing stagnant and insular.
  2. I definitely want the Forum to expand its reach beyond the post-comment-vote system we’re currently using. I view Question posts as a step in this direction. Stack overflow seems very meaningfully different from Reddit, despite them both being text-based. That said, I’m somewhat conservative in how much I think we should be trying to reinvent online discussion. LW is definitely trying to do this, and we do use their experiments (cf our interesting tag-relevance system), but I think there’s more potential for already-proven features that we haven’t added yet, like reactions perhaps.
Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA · 2021-03-16T15:58:04.532Z · EA · GW

First: definitely, yes we’ve considered contracting with a designer. But before I say more about what situations it works for, first a word about specialization. There’s currently one developer working on the EA Forum (not counting LW) and one developer for all of GWWC and EA Funds. With such a small team, everyone’s very generalist. Just like there’s no one specialized in DevOps, there’s no one specialized in design either. Hiring for such a role without capacity to build support for their work would be a mistake. See these surveys (epistemic status: quick google search) for some evidence that few places have a 1:2 designer:engineer ratio. So you end up with developers doing design. Both Sam and I have spent a lot of time on skilling up our design, learning tools like Figma, and stealing from people who are better than us.

All of the above about specialization doesn’t really address the point about contractors, hence why we’re more open to that. Also note that this is JP writing his personal opinion, but hiring strategy is set by Ben West and CEA broadly.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA · 2021-03-16T14:11:18.824Z · EA · GW

The Forum is definitely not designed like facebook. It tries to respect your attention, and doesn’t have little red badges constantly popping up. It’s geared towards long-form content instead of hits of novelty. I can see who comments on the Forum, and have occasionally noticed people who I thought could probably take more breaks. However I think more common are people who drift away from the Forum because it’s probably less engaging than ideal. I do think the Forum is much better for you than the obvious alternatives, and don’t want to force people to use more conscious effort to stay on the Forum.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on AMA: JP Addison and Sam Deere on software engineering at CEA · 2021-03-16T12:37:06.065Z · EA · GW

It is open source! Here’s the repository. We stay up to date with LessWrong, and submit our changes upstream, so I’d encourage any prospective contributors to submit PRs to the LW repository.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Linch's Shortform · 2021-03-09T01:34:57.906Z · EA · GW

What editor are you using? The default rich text editor? (EA Forum Docs)

What's the issue?

Comment by jpaddison on [deleted post] 2021-03-06T00:39:46.910Z

Fixed. In case you notice a wiki-only tag that should be a regular tag, just send us a message and we can fix it.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Alternatives to donor lotteries · 2021-02-18T20:02:27.716Z · EA · GW

I disagree with the implication that so few people are interested in the dominance consideration. At least among my social network, both EA and not, people are really interested in the donor lottery, and I present it in that framing. The idea of trying to maximize one's impact with one's donation is inherently a bit against people's natural instincts, but somehow EA has taken off anyway.

That aside however, I really like some of the ideas here, and wouldn't be surprised if there were something compelling in between "random lottery" and "static fund managers". 

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Complex cluelessness as credal fragility · 2021-02-11T22:13:08.155Z · EA · GW

The post in question was not made using markdown, but rather our built-in WYSIWYG editor. That editor does not do footnotes currently. I'm guessing the footnotes were pasted in from Google docs, which would explain the broken internal links.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on seansre's Shortform · 2021-02-08T19:19:19.041Z · EA · GW

What is your field? In software engineering I've never heard of an honors society being useful to anyone. In any case, I highly doubt it would be helpful when trying to network within EA, but note that most impactful roles for EAs involve networking outside of EA. 

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Open and Welcome Thread: February 2021 · 2021-02-08T18:07:14.495Z · EA · GW

Try pasting in a YouTube link. Note that this doesn't work if you've enabled the Markdown editor in your settings.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Open and Welcome Thread: January 2021 · 2021-01-29T20:09:26.211Z · EA · GW

However, as I will be defending my thesis in 6 days from now I thought now would be as good a time as any to start.

I assume this is very dry humor in which case I love it.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Things I recommend you buy and use. · 2021-01-24T00:55:16.920Z · EA · GW


Comment by jpaddison on [deleted post] 2021-01-15T17:40:24.695Z

I would just merge this tag with rethink.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on The ten most-viewed posts of 2020 · 2021-01-13T17:17:33.682Z · EA · GW

It performed well in some google searches, probably partially because of that link. I would guess that most users game from google, but I haven't checked, I just remember it doing well when I looked in ~May.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on What are the best articles/blogs on the psychology of existential risk? · 2020-12-16T18:47:44.134Z · EA · GW

You may find the tag EA Psychology a fruitful place to search.

Comment by jpaddison on [deleted post] 2020-12-16T16:08:03.347Z

I'd also lean in favor of Cryonics as coming out better on the tradeoff of accessibility vs correctness. (That is, when trading off this much recognizability for that much technical correctness, I don't think it's worth it.) But although Aaron and I both share this view, I don't think of myself as speaking from authority, just expressing my opinion.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on 500 Million, But Not A Single One More · 2020-12-09T15:04:03.863Z · EA · GW

In all of human history, there had been no other disease like smallpox. It was vicious: It killed at least a third of those infected, and scarred or blinded most of the survivors. It was fast-moving, traveling everywhere that men had gone, carried by armies and traders and missionaries and slaves. It was relentless, roaring up into periodic epidemics, but never fully disappearing in between.

And it had always been there. The written records of its assaults on humanity went back more than three thousand years. Over the centuries, smallpox had devastated cities, changed the course of battles, and stalled the growth of empires. It had shuffled the leadership of dynasties like a pack of playing cards, decimating the royal houses of England, Holland, France, and Austria, and killing rulers in India, China, and Japan.

— From Beating Back the Devil

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Linch's Shortform · 2020-12-08T18:04:02.838Z · EA · GW

I'm going to guess that the new editor is the difference between now and previously. What's the issue you're seeing? Is there a difference between the previewed and rendered text? Ideally you could get this to repro on LessWrong's development server, which would be useful for bug reports, but no worries if not.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on JP's Shortform · 2020-12-03T07:29:17.705Z · EA · GW

Talon Voice

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Proposal for managing community requests on the forum · 2020-12-02T08:08:51.735Z · EA · GW

See comparison here.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Proposal for managing community requests on the forum · 2020-12-02T08:07:54.729Z · EA · GW

I'd propose trying this exactly as you described but without the extra default-tag. As mentioned in a private discussion recently, I'm keen to keep the default number of tags small. Too many draws the eye for distraction. When you're just getting started, I know the site is actually a fair bit complex, and distraction hurts your ability to figure it out in the back of your head when you're mainly looking at content.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on What are you grateful for? · 2020-11-27T12:29:07.753Z · EA · GW

Many times I make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are bad enough that the wronged parties would have cause to demand expensive recompense, or to weaken their ties to me. Wonderfully, my friends and colleagues by and large value their relationship with me enough to overlook my flaws. From my Christian upbringing, I'd call that grace. On Thanksgiving this year, when many of us have needed little more grace from our friends than before, I'm grateful for mine.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Where are you donating in 2020 and why? · 2020-11-26T17:02:34.580Z · EA · GW

Foot pedals, a head or eye tracker, maybe a graphics tablet for less-straining mouse input.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Where are you donating in 2020 and why? · 2020-11-26T10:52:50.521Z · EA · GW

I recently became good at hands-free input. To help other EAs who have RSI, I'm strongly considering ordering a bunch of equipment to my home, which I can then send as an expedited starter pack to anyone who wants to take a break from typing but doesn't want to wait for some often-out-of-stock microphones.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Where are you donating in 2020 and why? · 2020-11-23T16:14:28.603Z · EA · GW

As with last year, I'll be giving almost entirely to the Donor Lottery. I think it's the best place to donate for people in my position. I'm keeping my pledge to donate 10%, but this year I've also created an "altruism" category in my budget for spending that I believe will help the EA community outside of normal donation-based approaches.

Comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) on Propose and vote on potential tags · 2020-11-23T16:05:23.382Z · EA · GW

I agree with whoever upvoted the other of the two tags you made this day but not this one. I would want to see more posts that formed a natural cluster around this concept. The one example is good, but I can't recall any others.