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I work for CEA and help to run the Forum, but this is my personal opinion as a person who likes having information about the EA community.


Why write a bio?

If you click someone's username, you can see a personal bio in their profile.

The EA Forum will be a slightly better place if more of its users write a bio. If you don't mind sharing information about yourself, I recommend writing one.

Here are a few reasons why:

1. It makes it easy to see your affiliations. If I'm talking to someone about a charity, it helps to know whether they work, or have worked, at said charity. Transparency!

2. It lets you link to your other content. If you link to a blog/personal site in your bio, someone who likes your post or comment can read more of your work. They can also learn more about your favorite causes, or anything else you want to share.

3. It can be especially helpful to newer community members. When you're new (or otherwise aren't very connected to the EA “social scene”), effective altruism can feel like a small club of people who already know each other. Helping people learn about you, if you don’t mind sharing that information, makes EA more welcoming.

This list is non-exhaustive, because bios are flexible and can serve many purposes.


If you prefer not to share personal information on the Forum, please don't feel pressured to do so by this post. My intention is to remind people who want to share, or wouldn't mind sharing, that bios exist and are helpful.

How to write a bio

1. Click your username, then click "Edit Account".

2. Type your bio in the "Bio" box below your email address. For now, we only support plain text. You can use line breaks while editing, but the published bio will show on your profile without line breaks.

3. Click "Submit" at the bottom of the page, so that your bio will be saved.

Not sure what to write? Try some of these:

  • Your name (if you don't mind sharing).
  • Your EA affiliations (e.g. employment, group membership), or whatever else you're working on.
  • Your favorite causes/organizations.
  • A link to any other writing you'd like to share.
  • Fun facts?

For example, here's my bio:

Aaron is a full-time content writer at CEA. He started Yale's student EA group, and has volunteered for CFAR and MIRI. He also works for a small, un-Googleable private foundation that makes EA-adjacent donations. Before joining CEA, he was a tutor, a freelance writer, a tech support agent, and a music journalist. He blogs, and keeps a public list of his donations, at aarongertler.net.

No need to make yours this long, of course.


Suggestion: If you decide to write a bio after reading this post, leave a comment so that other people know to read it! (At the very least, I will read it, since I’m always curious about the Forum’s users.)

Comments56
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Thanks for this!

Hi! New here, and just wrote a bio. Thanks for the nudge!

Thanks for the post :)
I just wrote my bio and my first post. 

Welcome to the Forum!

Hi all, I'm new here and added a profile just now :-)

Hi, 
I've just done by bio. 
Thank you for the guidelines. 
Nice to meet you all

Hi there, I've added a bio as suggested. Nice to meet yall. 

Well, here I am after this post, having written a bio - thanks for the prompt and the example, it is much easier to do with these guidelines than just staring at a blank page!

First wrote a comment and now my bio. Thanks for the guideline!

Also have a topic in my mind which I try to turn into a post :)

Thanks for the advice! Done a bio :) 

Hello! Not new to EA, but deciding to make a formal account now! Thanks!

My first comment! Thanks for the guidance Aaron, glad to be here.

Thanks for the suggestion Aaron! I've been amongst EA for a while but what a great way to get more involved.

Greetings-!!! I just indited a Forum Bio! Nice to be with you all.

...& BTW thanks for these great guidelines - this is a really well-designed site, from a UX (User Experience) perspective, just in my view...? 

(Also, if of interest: `indite' means: `compose' or `write'... Disambiguation: Not to ever be confused with "indict"! Though, oddly, they are pronounced the same way... Conclusion: English is a weird language. :) (See: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/indited) 

Hi Velikovsky,

thank you for the positive feedback and good job with the bio. Really means a lot (sending love from the whole forum team). <3

If you ever found something on how we can improve the clarity of our guidelines, please let us know. ;)
https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/contact 

Wasn't sure whether to write a bio because many users seem not to have one. Your post convinced me to write a bio anyway. Thanks!

Hi I'm new to EA and have just written a bio. Thank you Aaron for encouraging me to do so.

Totally wrote a short bio after reading this ofcourse. Great way to let people introduce themselves!

Hello, at your suggestion the first thing I did after making an account was to post a bio. Thanks for the guidance! 

Just discovered EA a few weeks ago, and making time to engage more, because I think it's worthwhile. Wrote a bio a few minutes ago.

Hi all, I'm a newbie. Happy to be here. 

Hey! I'm newish to EA and I've been looking for more ways to get involved, so I'm joining the forum! About to write a bio because of this post!

I think this is a good idea for new users like me. Thank you for the post. Just added my bio.

How do folks! Stoked to have the opportunity to try and be participant that contributes something meaningful here on the EA Forum. 

Aaron, thank you for the guidance and encouraging me to write the bio. Done. 

All, I'm new to the EA community. I'll hope to meet some of you soon. Please feel free to send a hello anytime. 

I see the "Commenting Guidelines". They remind me of the Simple Rules of Inquiry that I've used for many years. Are they a decent match for the spirit of this Forum?

  1. Turn judgment into curiosity
  2. Turn conflict into shared exploration
  3. Turn defensiveness into self-reflection
  4. Turn assumptions into questions

 

Take care,

Matt

PS - I saw another "open thread" for introductions so I'll post this same thing there

Thank you for the tips, I just added my bio :)

Thank you for writting this guide Aaron!

My short bio is written. I'd love to update it with more details once I feel more comfortable with the forum :)

Huzzah! Hope you enjoy your time here.

Done! (The first post should be out by tomorrow.)

edit1: yikes, ran into some trouble. I was all ready to publish on substack when I realised that it doesn't support markdown. :/

edit2: the blog is up and running

Thank you for the guide, Aaron! My bio is up!

Just updated mine. Far less professional, so I'd be interested to hear if this comes across as also helpful and worth it or if it is so different as to be not that helpful.

I like it! 

Interacting with humans > interacting with text strings; it's nice to have a sense of who I'm talking to.

Bio, briefly, bared to all :)

Made a bio and I agree with the other comments. Thanks for the suggestion and taking time to make a post on the subject!

[anonymous]3
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Hi! I'm new and excited to be here. :)

Hi there! I'm new to the forum and community and just wrote my bio. Hope to start engaging with you all!

Thanks for joining us!

Just did it. Thanks for the idea!

I just fleshed out my bio a bit more, thanks!

Done. Can we get Markdown support for bios please?

Thanks for the bullet points - self-bios always take longer than I think they will!

Thanks for nudge! I've just added my bio.

Thanks for this post! I didn't realise a description could be important. I added one :)

I am about to add a bio as a result of this.

Great, thanks for the nudge! Also added a bio now.

Developer note: I expect in the long-run we will make the bio available on hover over your username (especially if it's actually a frequently used feature), so when we do that, it will become a lot easier to read it.

This is now a thing

I'd guess that people would write more detailed bios if the input field was larger.

Hmm, good point. We should generally clean up that user edit page.

Nice idea. I wrote my bio in third-person like you did even though on my website I have it in first-person: https://ristouuk.com. Usually, I feel weird about the third-person narrative when I'm the one who is talking about me, but it feels right for the forum.

Done. Thanks a lot for your post!

Done. I think it is a good social norm for the forum.

Added my bio. It needs more work. Thanks as well for the nudge!

Just added my bio, thanks for the tips!

Thanks for this, Aaron. Joining a new community can be tricky online so it's helpful to have an explicit welcome like this!

It just said to add a comment if I wrote I’m my bio, tho this is the comment

[anonymous]2
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Thanks for adding a bio, Wes, and welcome!

Feel free to reach out to me for any "help with the 8-week course on 80,000 hours" :-)

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