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therufs comments on Meetup Discussion - Less Wrong Discussion

7 Post author: luminosity 08 January 2017 05:14AM

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Comment author: therufs 10 January 2017 10:57:59PM *  1 point [-]

Research Triangle [but we almost always meet in Durham], NC (aka RTLW)

3 sorta-distinct meetup styles; 1 currently active. I guess I will put them into their own comments below.

Comment author: therufs 10 January 2017 11:28:54PM 2 points [-]

LW discussion meetup (shotgun rules)

The outcome of the State of the Meetup Meetup was that people were mostly coming for social reasons and we probably didn't need to freak out about topics all the time.

We drafted and sorta-unilaterally instated the Shotgun Rules (flagrantly cribbed from the Bay Area Debian group.)

Relevant highlights:
* Anyone may call a meetup for the appointed day
* If the meetup is not called it does not happen
* If there is no designated topic we will just hang out and that is fine.

In practice, I think a meetup has been called by someone who wasn't an organizer of the previous group only once or twice, and we've almost always had a "topic" (sometimes a post from a rationality blog that someone found interesting, sometimes "play Zendo" or "do some other-optimizing"). We usually stay more or less "on topic" for 60-90 minutes, then digress at leisure.

A side benefit of the shotgun rules (though I have fairly strong evidence that new members of the mailing list categorically do not read them) is the opportunity for folks to get a sense of approximately how serious any given meetup can be expected to be (not very), and to signal for certain values (e.g. gender inclusive restrooms) without beating folks over the head with them.

Comment author: therufs 10 January 2017 11:13:43PM *  1 point [-]

LW discussion meetup (old-skool)

The old-skool LW discussion meetup was on alternate Thursday evenings, usually either at a coffee shop or our house. Often, the organizer/s would put a fair bit of time and thought into coming up with a topic, researching it, and fleshing out a discussion plan.

We had a few topics we felt okay about revisiting periodically:
* Calibration exercises
* Rationality Checklist

but all in all coming up with a new topic often enough that we thought people wouldn't get bored and leave got stressful, so in January 2016 we had a Future of the Meetup meeting.

Comment author: therufs 10 January 2017 11:08:02PM 1 point [-]

HPMOR meetup

Sometime mid-HPMOR, we had a biweekly Saturday midday meetup group to discuss some number of chapters. We started at the beginning and would read (or not read) ?5? or so chapters per meetup until we ran out of new material, after which we met sporadically when there was a new chapter. If memory serves, we met for brunch a couple of times, then shifted to doing food truck food + hanging out a local brewery. After discussion these meetups would generally segue into at least a whole afternoon if not a whole day of hangouts.

At least once or twice, we got some folks who ardently insisted they'd never ever ever ever come to a LW meetup. We also occasionally got attendees from places outside the Triangle for whom it wasn't feasible to make the trip to our LW discussion meetup.

We talked about moving on to other rationality fic (Luminosity in particular) after HPMOR wrapped but that didn't happen for some reason (possibly it got cold before we got around to it, and the food truck+brewery combo is somewhat less enchanting in such weather.)

I rarely have a whole Saturday to devote to discussion, beer, ping pong, coffee, and Bullitron anymore, but I remember these with a lot of fondness.

Comment author: luminosity 15 January 2017 12:45:54PM 0 points [-]

Did you get people that did crossover from these meetups to the others? It seems like a more lightweight / fun topic like this might be good for letting people get involved more easily?

Comment author: therufs 20 January 2017 05:43:38AM 1 point [-]

We had some people who were in both, but no one who started out just coming to HPMOR and then joined discussion, to the best of my recollection. It's possible we could have done a better job of (a) actively cross-promoting (b) tying discussion topics in to HPMOR stuff.