Less Wrong meetup group resources

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Less Wrong members sometimes arrange meetups (or "dojos") to meet each other in meatspace. Some geographic areas have groups that do this regularly. This page lists tips and resources for Less Wrong meetup groups.

How to Run a Successful Less Wrong Meetup is a extended primer on running meetups, but starting one is actually very easy.

If you are a meetup organizer or interested in starting a meetup, consider signing up for the LW Organizers mailing list here. The mailing list has a thread about sharing materials.

Most of this data comes from the post Less Wrong NYC: Case Study of a Successful Rationalist Chapter. (For more on Less Wrong NYC, see Epistle to the New York Less Wrongians.)

Organization tips

  • Communities need heroes. Most people will be passively attending. Step up.
  • Commitment works. Announce regular dates and times, and stay for a minimum length of time, regardless of attendance.
  • Schedule events first, get feedback later. Getting everyone to state their preferences up front leads to prolonged indecision.
  • Be a group of friends. Meet regularly. Do things you like doing, together. Be a community. Set goals and hold each other accountable. Be honest. Make use of each person's skills and knowledge.
  • Gender ratio matters. Treat others with respect. Be mindful of exclusionary language.
  • Use the mailing list for more than just meetup scheduling.
  • Interact with outside rationalists as much as possible.
  • Congregate in the area nearby with the most Less Wrongers.

Meetup activities

  • Social / unfocused discussions. Attendance is usually poor; members report that hanging out is harder to justify than having a specific purpose.
  • Specific discussion topics. Attendance is good. Break into small groups to make better progress.
  • Presentation / skill training. Attendance is good if the topic interests many people.
  • Game nights. This can include rationality training games like Biased Pandemic, Paranoid Debating, and poker.
  • Group planning / meta. Usually just for group leaders.
  • Structured exercises. Attendance varies. Example from NYC Less Wrong: Fun and Games with Cognitive Biases.
  • Party time.

Discussion topics

  • Tell your rationalist success story.
  • Basics of rationality.
  • Cognitive biases.
  • The sequences.
  • Decision theory.
  • Friendly AI.