The new Effective Altruism forum just launched

CEA just launched the new EA fo­rum, now lo­cated at fo­rum.effec­tivealtru­ It’s based on the LessWrong code­base, and we’ve col­lab­o­rated with them on get­ting ev­ery­thing up and run­ning and mak­ing the code­base adapt­able for them, as well as helping fix up var­i­ous bugs and prob­lems that they ran into while set­ting ev­ery­thing up.

I ex­pect many LW read­ers will find some of the con­tent there in­ter­est­ing, and I am also look­ing for­ward to how the changes they made to the site will work out, as that will in­form how we de­velop LessWrong in the fu­ture.

Their open­ing post also had some in­ter­est­ing things to say about in­tel­lec­tual progress and the pur­pose of the plat­form, which also ap­plies to LessWrong in at least some as­pects:

[Quotes sec­tion from here]

Mak­ing progress as a community

Much in­tel­lec­tual progress is done as part of a com­mu­nity: even when an in­di­vi­d­ual has an im­por­tant new in­sight, it tends to take many peo­ple to bring the idea to ma­tu­rity. Aca­demic sci­ence is per­haps the most ob­vi­ous ex­am­ple of this.

In­tel­lec­tual progress is not just some­thing done by pro­fes­sional philoso­phers. It’s some­thing that ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity can con­tribute to.

Just as you might donate some of your in­come with­out work­ing full-time for a char­ity, you can con­tribute in­tel­lec­tu­ally with­out be­com­ing a full-time re­searcher. For ex­am­ple, you could ag­gre­gate data on the num­ber of in­ver­te­brates in the world, tweak GiveWell’s cost-effec­tive­ness model, or an­a­lyze the his­tory of an in­ter­est­ing so­cial move­ment. And you can also help by writ­ing up ex­pla­na­tions or sum­maries of oth­ers’ work. Whilst you do so, you’ll be sharp­en­ing your think­ing, un­der­stand­ing oth­ers’ ideas bet­ter, and learn­ing about im­por­tant top­ics.

This is why open fo­rums have his­tor­i­cally been places where key ideas be­hind effec­tive al­tru­ism have been ham­mered out—for in­stance, Feli­ci­fia, LessWrong, SL4, and many on the EA Fo­rum it­self.

To make in­tel­lec­tual progress, the com­mu­nity needs the right in­fras­truc­ture, amongst other things:

  1. A place to share ideas (e.g. jour­nals)

  2. A way of get­ting feed­back on in­tel­lec­tual work (e.g. dis­cus­sion groups, on­line fo­rums)

  3. An easy way to search for ex­ist­ing work (e.g. liter­a­ture re­views)

  4. Shared norms of dis­cus­sion, and stan­dards for work (e.g. karma vot­ing)

  5. Com­mon knowl­edge of core ideas, so that ideas can be built upon rather than con­stantly re­dis­cov­ered (e.g. text­books)

  6. A place for con­trib­u­tors to find im­por­tant open ques­tions in the field (e.g. re­search agen­das)

The EA Fo­rum in­tends to provide this in­fras­truc­ture, and so be­come the cen­tral place where EAs make in­tel­lec­tual progress on­line.