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Starting a LW meet-up is easy.

39 Post author: AnnaSalamon 01 February 2011 04:05AM

All you need to do is:

  1. Pick a time.  Weekend afternoons or evenings work well.
  2. Pick a place.  This can be a coffee shop or casual restaurant (e.g., a pizza place or pub) or a classroom or other on-campus location.  Best if it isn’t too noisy.
  3. Announce the time and place on LW, a week or so ahead of time, using the "Add new meetup" link near your username.
  4. Show up yourself, with a sign that says “Less Wrong Meet-up”.

That’s all -- anything else is optional.  If folks come, just say “Hi, my name’s [whatever your name is]”, and see where the conversation goes.  Most major cities, and many minor ones, have some LW-ers.  And if no one comes, all it cost you was a few hours of reading a book in a restaurant.  You don’t need to have a LW history; many a lurker has enjoyed in-person LW conversation (and the folks who actually show up to meet-ups are often less intimidating than those who post on the main site).

Meet-ups are fun, and the simple act of talking to other LW-ers (in person, where your primate brain can see that they’re real) can help: (a) you become a better rationalist; (b) other attendees become better rationalists; and (c) LW become a stronger community.

Also, if anyone is interested in starting a meet-up but wants to discuss it with someone first, I'd be happy to help.  There is also a good meet-up resources page.

(This was discussed a bit in this comment thread, but it seems worth repeating it somewhere where more people might see it, especially since the idea was new to someone at Saturday's H+ conference who now plans to start a meet-up.)

 

Comments (55)

Comment author: BenLowell 01 February 2011 07:21:32AM *  20 points [-]

I have been thinking about a Seattle meet up for a while, as I think I have seen a few others here from the area. I recall seeing another poster say that they were from the University of Washington. (I'm an undergrad there)

I had a few questions: First off, I don't have enough karma to create a top-level post. Is the discussion board appropriate or can we figure out something for a top-level?

I might recall an old thread on "how to run a Lesswrong meetup" but I can't find it---did this exist?

What have been your favorite low-preparation activities and discussions?

Edit: Ok, I'm going to check up on booking a classroom at the UW, unless somebody has an appropriate restaurant they would recommend. Once I get everything figured out I'll make a post, but I'm thinking Saturday or Sunday afternoon before Valentine's day.

Comment author: Louie 01 February 2011 11:12:57PM *  20 points [-]

YES YES YES! Do it! I predict it will be very well attended.

Seattle has the most LW readers of any city in the world without a meet-up!

Visits to LW the past year / Meetup

  • London 56,788 Yes
  • New York 41,422 Yes
  • San Francisco 29,036 Yes
  • Melbourne 24,199 Yes
  • Seattle 19,475 No
  • Chicago 17,235 Yes
  • Sydney 16,806 No
  • Helsinki 16,371 No
  • Los Angeles 14,083 Yes
  • Cambridge 13,622 Yes
  • Philadelphia 11,727 Yes
  • San Jose 11,702 Yes

11000+ Visitors

  • Moscow
  • Austin

10000+ Visitors

  • Washington

9000+ Visitors

  • Atlanta
  • Brisbane
  • Dublin
  • Houston

8000+ Visitors

  • Berkeley
  • Portland

7000+ Visitors

  • Pittsburgh
  • Toronto
  • Paris
  • Denver
  • Sunnyvale
  • Cambridge
  • Redmond

6000+ Visitors

  • Auckland
  • Singapore
  • Madison
  • Cupertino
  • Boston
  • Perth
  • Brooklyn
  • Minneapolis
  • Ann Arbor
  • Oxford
  • Adelaide

5000+ Visitors

  • Canberra
  • Vancouver
  • Berlin
  • San Diego
  • Mountain View
  • Bellevue
  • Vancouver
  • Dallas
  • Durham

4000+ Visitors

  • Bangalore
  • Stanford
  • Edinburgh
  • Budapest
  • Columbus
  • Riga
  • Manchester
  • La Jolla
  • Warsaw
  • Sacramento
  • Raleigh
  • Prague
  • Bristol
  • St. Louis
  • Boulder
  • Ljubljana
  • State College

EDIT: Added 13-50, these are total yearly visitors, not hits

All these cities had at least 500 unique visitors the last month. I would be confident starting a meetup anywhere with over 5000 visitors / year... all of which have at least half the readership of cities that already support meetups now. Other cities that look promising but are just on the borderline are Oslo, Hong Kong, and Princeton.

Comment author: ciphergoth 05 February 2011 06:07:39PM *  2 points [-]

Wow, I had no idea London was LessWrong central! Hmm, will soon be time to post a reminder for the March 6 meetup at 14:00 in the Shakespeare's Head...

Comment author: BenLowell 02 February 2011 09:51:36PM 2 points [-]

What is the range in size for meetups?

I'm just wondering what to expect when looking for locations.

Comment author: Louie 03 February 2011 06:02:49AM 4 points [-]

The first few meetup ran in Melbourne attracted 8 and then 12 people IIRC with just passive LW meetup notices a week or two in advance. I'd expect you to get around 6 people to show up that aren't you with perhaps as many as 10.

Comment author: taryneast 04 March 2011 10:42:12AM 2 points [-]

The last London one was about 16 people - but I'm told that may have been an anomaly... we'll see.

Comment author: Larks 02 February 2011 02:06:33PM 2 points [-]

Go Oxford; probably the highest ratio of meetups to readers!

Comment author: taryneast 22 May 2014 09:48:14AM 1 point [-]

Any chance of getting an updated list like this?

Comment author: childofbaud 08 February 2011 07:41:20AM *  0 points [-]

Toronto is listed twice under 7,000+ visitors... this is clearly an error, but what is not clear is whether there are 7,000 or 14,000 aspiring rationalists in town.

I'd love a TO meetup but I'm too much of an introvert to organize a social gathering. If anyone steps up to the plate, let me know.

Comment author: Louie 09 February 2011 07:26:23PM 2 points [-]

That was a bug in the list. Toronto had only 7000 visitors to LW last year. However, Vancouver was actually listed twice on purpose because it was in analytics twice. I assumed at the time that one was Vancouver, BC and the other was some other major world city named Vancouver... but now I'm not so sure there is another city named Vancouver that could credibly have had ~5,000 visitors as well. So that bug is by design but I'm not sure what that's all about.

Anyway, Canada is still well represented on LW and Toronto is easily the best city to start Canada's first LW meetup. If you won't start it yourself, you should at least bring this up a bunch and goad someone else into doing it. Similarly sized cities like Pittsburgh, Sunnyvale, and Cambridge have all had meetup before.

Comment author: Fitzydog 15 May 2011 07:34:28PM 0 points [-]

There's a city north of Portland called Vancouver. Pop: 161k+

Comment author: Alicorn 15 May 2011 07:57:49PM *  0 points [-]

Google Maps says the one north of Portland is Vancouver, BC.

Comment author: steven0461 15 May 2011 08:07:07PM *  0 points [-]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vancouver,_Washington

Seems hard to believe it had that many visitors, though.

Comment author: Fitzydog 15 May 2011 11:20:56PM 2 points [-]

This is a valid point. Also, the city isn't really populated by very... rational people.

Comment author: taryneast 05 February 2011 09:27:29PM 0 points [-]

Hmmm - looks like I should start up a Sydney meetup when I go back next year. Or perhaps somebody else will start one up for me and I can transition smoothly ;)

Comment author: Oscar_Cunningham 01 February 2011 01:03:19PM 3 points [-]

If you post in the discussion board and add a note asking it to me moved to the Main site then a friendly mod will move it there fairly quickly.

Comment author: Kazuo_Thow 02 February 2011 01:37:15AM 1 point [-]

I recall seeing another poster say that they were from the University of Washington.

Maybe that was me? Even better if it wasn't!

I would definitely be interested in a meetup. As for a low-preparation (but still likely to be useful) discussion topic: day-to-day productivity / fighting akrasia.

Comment author: jsalvatier 01 February 2011 06:03:51PM 1 point [-]

I'm down for a meetup. I'm a 25 year old programming in Seattle. I think you're thinking of user InquilineKea. I met up with him once.

Comment author: jsalvatier 01 February 2011 06:40:20PM 0 points [-]

Searching for 'seattle' in the LW search indicates that there are quite a few seattlites around here.

Comment author: falenas108 01 February 2011 12:18:06PM 0 points [-]

Upvoted to help you get to that karma level.

Comment author: Cog 16 May 2011 03:59:59AM 6 points [-]

A friend (Dvorak) and I are going to start a Houston meetup group, but he already runs a hackerspace and can't really take on more organizational duties. I'm a long time lurker, and would be mostly in charge of organizing the group. Unfortunately, I don't have the Karma to post on the discussion area. Can I beg an up vote or two off of someone?

Comment author: MayDaniel 30 March 2012 09:59:21PM *  4 points [-]

Hi there, I'd like to start a meet-up group in Dorset, UK, and I'm in a position similar to Cog's. May I beg an up vote or two of someone too?

Comment author: Cog 16 May 2011 04:59:16AM 3 points [-]

Thanks for the up votes. The meet up post is up. I look forward to becoming a more active part of the less wrong community.

Comment author: Davorak 16 May 2011 09:05:15PM 1 point [-]
Comment author: jumandtonic 26 April 2012 03:28:57AM 4 points [-]

I need to bum some karma here. I want to start a Dallas / Fort Worth metro meetup. It's the largest metro in the US without an active LessWrong group, which is inexcusable!

Sundays at America's Best Coffee in Arlington at 1 PM starting this coming Sunday, 4/29/12.

Comment author: Louie 03 February 2011 10:05:34AM 3 points [-]

Anna,

Thanks for writing this guide. Did you realize at the time that you were fulfilling my dreams? I needed this to share with several volunteers who wanted the assurance of having a short guide to read through. This will help a lot.

Comment author: hankx7787 10 July 2011 10:22:39PM *  2 points [-]

I'm starting a new Less Wrong meetup group in Atlanta, Georgia.

I created a google group to help get this organized, so join via the link below, or send me an email on gmail, I am hankx7787 there.

http://groups.google.com/group/atlanta-less-wrong-meetup-group

I haven't decided on a meeting place yet, but it will probably be in the midtown / Georgia Tech area, depending on who shows interest.

Some potential discussion topics:

Tell your rationalist success/failure stories, Basics of rationality, Cognitive biases, The sequences, Decision theory, Friendly AI, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Comment author: scdoctor 05 June 2011 10:26:36PM 2 points [-]

Hi, I'd like to start a meet up in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada on Wednesdays at 7pm at Whole 'lotta Gelata in Uptown Waterloo starting June 15. I'm not sure where to post that announcement (or how many LW people there are in the area), but here as a good a place as any to start...

Comment author: vinayak 12 June 2011 11:51:57AM 1 point [-]

Hey, I live in Waterloo too. I will join. (Perhaps not this one, but any subsequent ones after the 24th this month that are organized in Waterloo.) Please keep me posted and let me know if you need any help in organizing this.

Comment author: earthwormchuck163 15 October 2011 03:43:09AM 0 points [-]

Is this ongoing? I also live in waterloo and would potentially be interested.

Comment author: prase 01 February 2011 12:56:18PM 2 points [-]

Most major cities, and many minor ones, have some LW-ers.

I'd be interested in details. Does it hold only inside the US? Are there some statistics which can be used to estimate the chance of at least one person coming to such a meeting?

If the LW users could specify their coordinates in their profile, and that info be automatically processed to create a world map with some reasonable resolution telling the number of LWers in a given location (say, 100x100 km grid or so), that would be a useful application.

Comment author: JGWeissman 01 February 2011 06:23:04PM 2 points [-]

If concern about this is blocking you from organizing a meetup in your area, you can make a post inquiring about interest for a meetup in your area. I expect you will be reassured.

Comment author: sixes_and_sevens 01 February 2011 02:31:52PM 2 points [-]

Although I'm not sure geotagging the LW readership is the best solution to the problem, some sort of reassurance that there actually are other people in a given location who'd attend would probably help grease the wheels a bit.

Comment deleted 01 February 2011 02:16:18PM [-]
Comment author: AnnaSalamon 01 February 2011 03:22:27PM 4 points [-]

Wasn't futile in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem or Athens.

Comment author: Erebus 04 February 2011 09:06:31AM *  1 point [-]

According to these statistics, Helsinki has the eighth largest population of LW-readers out of all the cities in the world. Even if that number is for some reason bloated compared to other cities in the list, I think it'd be a good idea to try and have a meet-up here. So, is anyone else from around Helsinki interested? A couple of answers in this thread should be enough for us to settle on a date (I prefer a weekend in March) and post an announcement on the front page.

Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 05 February 2011 08:52:52AM 1 point [-]

Yes. Any weekend will do.

Comment author: Bongo 05 February 2011 08:37:44AM 1 point [-]

I'm available.

Comment author: Kaj_Sotala 05 February 2011 08:31:56AM 1 point [-]

At the moment, all of my March weekends are free.

Comment author: Erebus 07 February 2011 10:57:50AM 0 points [-]

Judging from the comments, I guess we can fix the date of the meet as Saturday 5th of March. Any suggestions for a place? I'd think a not-too-noisy cafe in the center would be ideal, but I don't really know the options to recommend any. Just to provide a default suggestion in case nobody has a preference, let's say we meet at Cafe Aalto.

Comment author: mjr 05 February 2011 08:35:53AM 0 points [-]

Theoretically yes, though I'm notoriously bad at actually bothering to appear at social events.

Comment author: Matt_Simpson 01 February 2011 10:15:31PM 1 point [-]

On that note, are there any other LWers in Iowa? Specifically near Ames or Des Moines?

Comment author: Louie 02 February 2011 01:18:26PM 2 points [-]

Ames just missed being on the end of the list below so people are a bit scare there, but not as bad as Omaha or Topeka or something.

Comment author: Curiouskid 09 December 2011 12:42:36AM 0 points [-]

Where is indianapolis on this list?

Comment author: Raemon 01 February 2011 09:06:00PM 1 point [-]

In another thread I was inquiring about a NYC meetup that seemed to be happening regularly. Someone posted a link but it went to a dead page on Overcoming Bias. Does anyone have some information about that?

Comment author: arundelo 01 February 2011 11:27:19PM 2 points [-]
Comment author: Raemon 01 February 2011 11:29:22PM 1 point [-]

Thanks!

Comment author: tingram 29 April 2013 09:19:00PM 0 points [-]

Is there a thread somewhere where I can gauge interest in a meetup in my area? I'm from Winnipeg, a medium-sized city in Canada, and I would be interested in starting a meetup group, but I honestly don't know if there's anyone in the city who reads LW other than me (we're not even on this list, for example). I think this is probably a concern for everyone outside major metropolitan areas--we don't want to put the effort in until we're at least sure that like-minded people actually exist in our vicinity.

Is there anyone who's had success with meetups in areas of similar size who would be willing to offer advice?

Comment author: Qiaochu_Yuan 29 April 2013 09:24:25PM 1 point [-]

I think people have occasionally started Discussion threads of the form "post your general location, respond to comments indicating you are also in that general location." Seems like you could do that again (with a positive externality: other people can also gauge meetup interest in their areas).

Comment author: bentarm 03 February 2011 01:56:56PM 0 points [-]

I'm almost certain this post will be useful, in that it will result in there being more LW meet-ups than there would otherwise have been. But, seriously, did anyone actually need the cotents? In order to arrange to meet some people who frequent a website you visit regularly, post something to the website saying that you'd like to meet them and where and when.

I'm genuinely curious as to why this will help (as I said, I'm sure it will). Is it because it explicitly gives people "permission" to go ahead and organise their own meet-up? Again, there can't possibly be any information in the post that any regular LW reader couldn't figure out for themselves.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 03 February 2011 02:27:03PM 6 points [-]

It might be implicitly providing the information that there isn't anything else that needs to be known/done to successfully conduct such a meetup, which is hard to be certain about.

Comment author: Psy-Kosh 11 February 2011 07:10:50PM 1 point [-]

I'll explicitly say "yes, that's exactly the main key thing I got from it."

Comment author: Curiouskid 09 December 2011 12:41:46AM 0 points [-]

Agreed. Knowing about "unknown unknowns" is very important.

Comment author: Kevin 11 February 2011 07:42:45PM 0 points [-]

Let's call it trivial uncertainty

Comment author: VManuel 23 June 2011 09:43:30PM 1 point [-]

Human nature dictates that we both assume 'someone else' is going to start a group, and assume the task of creating said group is very difficult. So even those people who lurk and say to themselves, "Gosh, I'd love to have a group like that in my city" won't take the first step unless they are given "permission".

In that sentence, you really did hit the nail on the head there, Bentarm.