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FAQ: “Ways the world is getting better” banner

The banner will only be visible on desktop. If you can't see it, try expanding your window. It'll be up for a week. 

How do I use the banner?

  1. Click on an empty space to add an emoji, 
  2. Choose your emoji, 
  3. Write a one-sentence description of the good news you want to share, 
  4. Link an article or forum post that gives more information. 

If you’d like to delete your entry, click the cross that appears when you hover over it. It will be deleted for everyone.

What kind of stuff should I write?

Anything that qualifies as good news relevant to the world's most important problems. 

For example, Ben West’s recent quick takes (123).

Avoid posting partisan political news, but the passage of relevant bills and policies is on topic. 

Will my entry be anonymous?

All submissions are displayed without your Forum name, so they are ~anonymous to users, however, usual moderation norms still apply (additionally, we may remove duplicates or borderline trollish submissions. This is an experiment, so we reserve the right to moderate heavily if necessary).

Ask any other questions you have in the comments below. Feel free to dm me with feedback or comments.


The banner looks lovely. Great work.

FYI, there is at least one bit of false/inaccurate information on the banner. The bit about universal right to vote is referencing a database that considers Chinese people as having the right to vote since the late 1940s. While there is some voting that occurs in China at the local level with candidates that have to be pre-approved by the ruling party, it strikes as pretty inaccurate to claim full adult suffrage for China. It appears to references a dataset from this research paper, and I'm not sure why that dataset has this miscategorization.

(sorry to be nitpicky. I don't want people to read that almost everyone in the world lives in a democracy when in reality about 20% of people don't)

Just want to say that I love it and it made my day. Awesome idea!

Thanks Jakub!

The banner is really nice work!!

I can't stop checking the EA forum now.... 

Loved it as well

There have been a few valid critiques of the debate framing, so I'll make some points to respond to each of them. A general point before I start is that you should feel free to use the discussion thread to outline your opinion, and/or, your interpretation of the debate statement. I.e. "I strongly agree with the debate statement, because I think 5% of EA Funding over the next decade is the right amount to allocate to this cause area". 

1- @Jason  brings up the ambiguity of the term "unrestricted" in footnote 2. I was thinking of unrestricted funding as all funding which is being allocated according to (roughly) impartial consequentialist reasoning, i.e. (roughly) EA principles. I'm contrasting that to restricted funds, for example, funds from a foundation that supports aid charities which happen to be given to an EA aid charity. 

2- @finm  makes a very fair point in this comment: over what timescale are we allocating 5% of the EA funds? This seems like an oversight rather than an accidental ambiguity- if I were to write this again, I might have chosen the next decade, or the next year. Given that 340 users have already voted, I won't change something so substantial now, but again, feel free to clarify your vote in the discussion thread. 

3- @NickLaing  argues that 5% of funding might be too high a bar to simply be labelled an "EA priority". I think this is a good point, and maybe the more accurate phrasing would be "Top EA Priority", or the entire statement should have been relative, for example: "AI Welfare should be more of an EA priority" and the footnote could clarify this means that a strong agree = we should triple the funding and talent going into it. Again, I won't change the phrasing now because it doesn't seem fair for earlier voters, but I can see the case for this. 

Thanks for the feedback and meta-debate, very EA, keep it up!

In late June, the Forum will be holding a debate week (almost definitely) on the topic of digital minds. Like the AI pause debate week, I’ll encourage specific authors who have thoughts on this issue to post, but all interested Forum users are also encouraged to take part. Also, we will have an interactive banner to track Forum user’s opinions and how they change throughout the week. 

I’m still formulating the exact debate statement, so I’m very open for input here! I’d like to see people discuss: whether digital minds should be an EA cause area, how bad putting too much or too little effort into digital minds could be, and whether there are any promising avenues for further work in the domain. I’d like a statement which is fairly clear, so that the majority of debate doesn’t end up being semantic. 

The debate statement will be a value statement of the form ‘X is the case’ rather than a prediction 'X will happen before Y'. For example, we could discuss how much we agree with the statement ‘Digital minds should be a top 5 EA cause area’-- but this is specific suggestion is uncomfortably vague. 

Do you have any suggestions for alternative statements? I’m also open to feedback on the general topic. Feel free to dm rather than comment if you prefer. 

after EAG conversations, my current best guess for the debate statement is "the future will be worse if we create artificial sentience"

I really like your suggested post-EAG debate statement, Toby!

Other suggested debate topics:

1. Digital Minds will possess sentience or moral status
2. It is a moral obligation to develop protections for digital minds

Just a reminder that AI Welfare Debate Week on the EA Forum is next week! If you're writing a post and want some feedback, dm me. If you have feedback on the event, or any questions about how it will work, comment here (or, again, dm). 

If you're currently at EAG London and you still see this quick take, you're exactly the person we'd like to meet:

EAG London Meetup: EA Forum readers and writers | Saturday 5-6pm at Meeting point G
Some members of the EA Forum online team are holding a casual meetup for EA Forum readers and writers to get to know each other (and us). Join us if you'd like to find a co-author, meet someone who can give you feedback on your draft, or make suggestions to the EA Forum team. We'll meet at meeting point G, unless otherwise stated.

Love this! Unfortunately here in Uganda, have a great meeting ;).

Heads up! I'm planning a Draft Amnesty event (like this one). I think the last one went really well, and I'm pretty excited to run this. 

The Draft Amnesty event will probably be a week long, around mid-march. 

I'll likely post some question threads such as "What posts would you like to see someone write?" (like this one) and "What posts are you thinking of writing?" (like this one), and set up some co-working/ social opportunities for polishing posts/ writing up drafts in the build up. 

I'm also brainstorming ways to make draft amnesty posts appear as a different genre to Forum users (such as a different font for the title, a different page for draft posts, or a visible "draft amnesty" tag that can be seen from the frontpage list view), and let them opt out of seeing them. This should ameliorate concerns about the frontpage being full of lower-standard content (though fwiw I think this is unlikely because of the karma system), and also to take some more pressure off the posters (I don't want people to not post because they worry their draft isn't polished enough!)

I'll put up a proper announcement soon, with more of a plan, but feel free to use the comments of this quick take to share any things you would be excited to see, ideas, concerns, or questions. 

I'd be really interested to see what posts people want to see. I'm happy to devote some time and effort to creating posts if I thought it would be useful to people. Especially if it's in my skillset. Sometimes it can be hard to tell what's useful beyond getting inbox messages after the fact.

Dear Toby, thank you for this idea! 

I have an idea that is burning and makes me loose sleep, but its too big for one person so more eyes on it is better. 

The theme is mindful hacking.
A hack is a clever trick, a sort of thing a trickster archetype would do. One thing about tricksters is that it often bites them back, so when hacking one must be mindful about the ethical considerations of their hacks. In particular the recent bestseller A Hacker's Mind: How the Powerful Bend Society's Rules, and How to Bend them Back, suggests several hacks that seem odd - there is nothing wrong with them on the surface but I have a hunch it will come bite back if one would attempt them in the real life. So the work on this piece would be mostly in the above mentioned book critique and coming up with a better representation: one that is easier to read and that highlights the tradeoffs and the dilemmas associated with the non-trivial hacks.

Thank you and let me know what you think!

I've loved seeing all the Draft Amnesty posts on the Forum so far! Some really great stuff has been posted (and I'll highlight that when I write a retrospective)

Posting this quick take as a reminder that people who are considering posting for Draft Amnesty can run a draft past me for quick feedback. Just DM me. 

There is still plenty of time to vote in the Donation Election. The group donation pot currently stands at around $30,000. You can nudge that towards the projects you think are most worthwhile (plus, the voting system is fun and might teach you something about your preferences). 

Also- you should donate to the Donation Election fund if: 
a) You want to encourage thinking about effective donations on the Forum.
b) You want to commit to donating in line with the Forum's preferences. 
c) You'd like me to draw you one of these bad animals (or earn one of our other rewards): 

NB: I can also draw these animals holding objects of your choice. Or wearing clothes. Anything is possible. 

Relatedly, here are some Manifold Markets about whether the Donation Election Fund will reach: 

  1. $40K
  2. $50K
  3. $75K
  4. $100K

Voted because of this, thanks for the nudge!

Thanks for letting me know Kirsten! Good way to start the day :)

Do you use the Forum Digest more than once a month? 

I'd love to know, either in the comments here, in a <30 min user interview (which you can book on this link), or optionally anonymously via this form:

  • How you use it. Do you click on every link, or just check it for jobs? Do you read the intro? 
  • What you like about it. Is there something you get from the Forum Digest that you can't get elsewhere? Does it save you time? Do you enjoy it more than other newsletters? 
  • What you would improve about it. Is there a part of the Digest that isn't useful to you? Would you like to see more of a certain kind of content? 
  • Anything else you think I should know. 



I use it to see if I’ve missed anything significant, esp. since I’ve started looking at lesswrong more (uh, apologies about that? More of a cause specific thing with ai and getting more into rationalism)

I don’t think I click on that many links typically, but I might leave the digest unread in my inbox until I give it a complete read through. I could imagine myself reading through it and seeing some post that makes me go down a rabbit hole and by the time I get back to the email tab I need to just mark unread to review again, for instance. Wouldn’t be surprised if this had occurred, that is.

Idk much more, I like the setup and do actually use it as described above as a sort of, well, I guess newsletter, huh.

Haha no need to apologise for hanging out on lesswrong!
Thanks for your feedback :)

The Draft Amnesty banner, and other tweaks to differentiate the posts, are a bit delayed and should be up later today. There will be in-post banners, and little topic pills that you will be able to see in the frontpage list. This will all be applied retroactively, so feel free to post your Draft Amnesty posts whenever, as long as they are tagged with the Draft Amnesty Week tag. 

Draft guidelines for new topic tags (feedback welcome)

Topics (AKA wiki pages[1] or tags[2]) are used to organise Forum posts into useful groupings. They can be used to give readers context on a debate that happens only intermittently (see Time of Perils), collect news and events which might interest people in a certain region (see Greater New York City Area), collect the posts by an organisation, or, perhaps most importantly, collect all the posts on a particular subject (see Prediction Markets). 

Any user can submit and begin using a topic. They can do this most easily by clicking “Add topic” on the topic line at the top of any post. However, before being permanently added to our list of topics, all topics are vetted by the Forum facilitation team. This quick take outlines some requirements and suggestions for new topics to make this more transparent. Similar, more polished, advice will soon be available on the 'add topic' page. Please give feedback if you disagree with any of these requirements

When you add a new topic, ensure that:

  1. The topic, or a very similar topic, does not already exist. If a very similar topic already exists, consider adding detail to that topic wiki page rather than creating a new topic. 
  2. You have used your topic to tag at least three posts by different authors (not including yourself). You will have to do this after creating the topic. The topic must describe a central theme in each post. If you cannot yet tag three relevant posts, the Forum probably doesn’t need this topic yet. 
  3. You’ve added at least a couple of sentences to define the term and explain how the topic tag should be used. 

Not fulfilling these requirements is the most likely cause of a topic rejection. In particular, many topics are written with the aim of establishing a new term or idea, rather than collecting terms and ideas which already exist on the Forum. Other examples of rejected topics include:

  • Topic pages created for an individual. In certain cases, we permit these tags, for example, if the person is associated with a philosophy or set of ideas that is often discussed (see Peter Singer) and which can be clearly picked out by their name. However, in most cases, we don’t want tags for individuals because there would be far too many, and posts about individuals can generally be found through search without using tags.
  • Topics which are applicable to posts on the EA Forum, but which aren’t used by Forum users. For example, many posts could technically be described as “Risk Management”. However, EA forum users use other terms to refer to risk management content.
  1. ^

    Technically there can be a wiki page without a topic tag, i.e. a wiki page that cannot be applied to a post. However we don’t really use these, so in practice the terms are interchangeable.

  2. ^

    This term is used more informally. It is easier to say “I’m tagging this post” than “I’m topic-ing this post”

I'm interviewing Rob Mather, founder and CEO of AMF this evening at 6pm UTC. I'm asking him the questions from the comments on this AMA post.
Let me know, on that post or here, if you have any questions which you'd like to ask him. 
You'll be able to watch the event live (on a link I'll post here and on the AMA post before the event at 6pm UTC), or as a recording before the end of the week. 
[Edit: It will not be before the end of the week. Sorry about that! Happy Holidays everyone, expect this in the new year]. 


Link for our live call at 6pm UTC is here.

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