TLDR: I made a little custom iPhone widget for the EA Forum recently and have been getting a lot of value out of it. It takes an extra 10s to make this a LessWrong or Alignment forum widget. At the moment I don't feel bothered to make this into an app which is easy to install, but I think people could set it up themselves in ~5 mins or less, and if you don't use the forum much but want to use it more it might help.
What is it?
I set up a EA Forum widget using a little iPhone personalisation tool called Scriptable. It shows the details of a random front page forum post once per hour. And it looks like this...
At the time of writing I haven't read Ozymandias' post
Why I think it's good
I've noticed that when I interact with the forum I usually enjoy it. However, I usually don't reach for the forum over other easily available sources of entertainment like YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok (although don't worry, I deleted TikTok). I made this widget initially to try and make the Forum an easy reach alternative to these apps. I think it worked; my usage of the forum went from once per month (or less) to once or twice a day. At one point I removed the widget and didn't get around to re-adding it for a few months, and my forum usage dropped down again. Since reinstalling it a few days ago, it has jumped back up. I’d put this then at somewhere around a 10 - 100x increase in value out of the forum for me, but don’t know yet if it will work long term or just hold my attention for 1-2 week chunks.
How to set it up
This works for iPhone and presumably iPad (although I haven't been able to test it on iPad).
- Download the Scriptable app then open it
- Click the little plus icon in the top right corner
- Paste this code into the editor
- For LessWrong replace getForumPosts(EAForum) with getForumPosts(LessWrong) on line 10.
- Go to your home screen
- Long press on the home screen or any app to enter jiggle mode
- Click the plus in the top left to add a widget
- Find Scriptable (You can use the search bar)
- Pick the midsized view and click "Add widget" at the bottom
- Tap on the widget
- Click choose script
- Pick the script you just made (If you didn't actively change the name it should be the only option called "Untitled Script")
- Tap anywhere else on the screen to exit jiggle mode.
You're done! I just ran through this process and it took a little over 1 minute. Here's a video.
I hope this helps you as much as it's helped me.
Since the EA Forum, LessWrong and the Alignment Forum all use the same code you can replace getForumPosts(EAForum) with getForumPosts(LessWrong) or getForumPosts(AlignmentForum).
For what it's worth, I don't advocate copying random code you see on the Internet and running it, but we're all friends here. (Plus I trust the community to have someone who feels like reading through the above and checking it's not horrifically unsafe and confirming in the comments.)