The thing I plan to do to grow the community is write articles at the CF website. I think that’s the most effective thing that I’m willing to do. Videos might be more effective, and I’ll make some, but I’m less committed to that and less interested in doing it consistently or regularly. My goal, for what I want to make, is primarily new, better writing to explain CF ideas.
The forum lets people reply and discuss if they want to. It’s important to have something exist to allow questions, criticism, etc. But I don’t think writing good forum posts will grow the community. Not enough people will see them. And people share forum threads less than articles (less than Tweet threads as well, btw). Forum threads are also harder to post on Reddit and get a good response. This is partly people being dumb, but there are partly some valid concerns, e.g. that new information can be posted in a forum thread after you share it, and then people could read and dislike that new information. Sometimes a forum thread goes from 5 posts to 200. It’s a bit awkward to specify a datetime cutoff for what you’re sharing, to to say “OP and first 10 replies”. Articles are more of a static thing that won’t change after you share them.
The forum is small and isn’t the best place to put canonical, timeless material. I post some, but I’m not focused on initiating topics here or entertaining people. I read the forum and will notice if people bring up important things that merit replies, particularly related to my CF articles.
The majority of my readers don’t want to use a forum. I’ve had brief contact with some of them over email who you’ve never heard of, and others read regularly but have never spoken to me once. I also discourage private discussions with me and I think a lot of people know that (I generally don’t want to spend time answering people individually, but I’m much more willing to answer in public where multiple people can read it). However, to be clear, that doesn’t mean don’t email me. You’re welcome to email me comments, feedback, criticism, questions, etc., as long as you don’t have an expectation of a free, private discussion. Sometimes I refer people to the forum, but you’re welcome to decline. Sometimes I don’t respond. If that’s OK with you, you can email me lots of stuff, no worries. Sometimes I do things like take a philosophy question someone asked privately and then explain the issue publicly. I can respond indirectly and publicly to what people are saying to me privately.
What can you do to help the community?
- Learn stuff yourself. Study philosophy. Go through all my CF articles, including all the links. Read them, take notes, practice things, discuss them, ask questions, share doubts, etc. Even if you do this all privately, and don’t use the forum, it’s still good.
- Share my stuff, particularly CF articles, on social media and with your friends.
- Set a good example at the forum. A lot of people won’t go first but will join in to active, good topics. The best type of topic for this would be focused on either learning or discussing philosophy stuff. E.g. you could respond to the CF articles in the ET forum category. Note: praise or short feedback is fine and encourages others. Short, casual comments are a good approach to philosophy. You don’t have to say something long or deep, and actually trying to do that often results in bad, confusing messages that took you way too much effort to write.
Keep in mind that this forum is small. If you’re going to expect lots of replies and have a thin skin about how much attention you’re getting, then it’s not going to work well. To set a good example here and make things better, you need to be able to do stuff independently without relying on other people to take actions. Replies need to be an optional bonus, not a requirement for what you’re doing to work. (This is the same as with my CF articles, which I’m capable of writing even with zero feedback.) At a small forum, where you direct attention matters. You can post about whatever you want, but if you’re trying to help then the best place to direct reader attention is to CF articles. Ideas like YesNo and Paths Forward have important insight not available elsewhere and provide a competitive advantage. Most other topics will not distinguish this community for most readers.
Also, if you want anything at this community, directly ask instead of being disappointed if you don’t get it.
Having discussion about my articles helps me write them. Feedback helps me see what people are understanding or not, and decide what issues to explain more.