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We are happy to announce the LessWrong Community Weekend 2016! From September 2 to September 4 awesome people from all across Europe are coming to Berlin to meet, exchange ideas, and start projects together.
The event will happen at Jugendherberge Wannsee which features several seminar rooms for talks, workshops, and discussions, as well as comfortable open spaces to socialize and relax. It also provides on-site accommodation (shared rooms, 4 beds) for everyone.
Costs are €150. This includes accommodation for two nights, meals and snacks, and a welcome lunch on Friday.
Like the last two years the event will have some long-form talks, workshops and group activities. However, the weekend is largely participant-driven: There’ll be lots of free space for offering talks and activities of your own. (examples from last year: lightning talks, workouts before meals, improv singing, acrobatics, swimming in the lake, stargazing, …) Providing a space that’s suitable for forming bonds between people and reconnecting with friends is a major focus.
You don’t need to be able to speak German to attend. Nearly all talks and discussions will be in English.
Last time a number of people stayed a couple of days longer to explore Berlin, go bouldering etc. That was super fun and we invite you to plan for it. We will coordinate couch-surfing opportunities to avoid the need for boring hotels.
To sign up, fill out this form.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking forward to seeing you there,
Nino, Christian, Marcel, Daniel, J*, Alexander, Irina
LessWrong Deutschland e.V.
Seven months ago, the Berlin LW community announced the second European LessWrong Community Weekend. We wrote:
From June 12th to 14th awesome people from all across Europe are coming to Berlin to meet, exchange ideas and start projects. The focus is on forming new and strengthening existing ties between our local communities. In addition to being a vibrant social event, it’s also about sharing your world-improvement projects as well as about teaching and learning valuable skills.
After the success of the 2014 Community Weekend, we were aiming for an even better and larger 2015 event. Three weeks ago, 74 participants from 16 countries met up in Berlin for an extended weekend of talking, learning, playing and connecting.
Compared to the first event, we gave participants a lot more dedicated space and time for spontaneous activities or conversations by offering content in parallel sessions. This way, everyone could create their own weekend schedule based on the existing content offers or extend it by choosing to run activities or organizing something spontaneously. This was used by many participants and the schedule quickly filled with workout sessions, swimming in the nearby lake, construction of a large blanket fort, massages, telescope-aided stargazing and many more. Since this flexibility was received well, next year’s event will be planned similarly.
The main highlights of the event as planned were the keynote by Michael Valentine Smith, a four-hour workshop focused on CFAR-style debugging by Kaj Sotala and the premiere of the second of Daniel Böttger’s Seven Secular Sermons. This sparked the idea to record Sermon excerpts in song, e.g. to the melody of GoT’s “Rains of Castamere”. Additionally, professional facilitator Alisa Leube lead a session of relating games in which participants were guided through connection exercises to create a setting for mutual trust. Many participants reported that the games gave them a chance to be more open throughout the weekend and did their part in creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
To provide diverse topics as discussion starters and get as many people on stage as possible we reserved five hours for lightning talks, providing both reserved spots as well as spontaneous talks. This worked amazingly well and we got overwhelmingly positive feedback. The topics ranged from a case for loving kindness meditation and several talks about productivity techniques to instructions for giving good feedback. The longer, usually more technical talks like Vadim’s introduction to modern decision theory were also praised as insightful.
A good number of participants chose to stay in Berlin throughout the following week and we are grateful to everyone who offered beds and couches – no one had to book extra accommodation. This lead to several post-weekend activities such as bouldering practice, acrobatics in Berlin’s “Gardens of the world” and a rooftop party. Altogether these felt almost like a second event. Similar to last year, follow-up hangouts are being organised, this time with a focus on initiating 1-on-1-conversations to deepen or build personal connections.
We have been looking forward to this event for a long time and yet it surpassed our expectations. Many gave us feedback that they especially liked the other participants, and we fully agree. We think that this contributed to the “open, joyful, welcoming atmosphere”, as one participant described it, and we’re looking forward to seeing many of you again next year!
Alexander, Anne, Christian, John, Marcel and Matthias
average: 28.5 years
standard deviation: 6.3
Country of residence
Germany, Denmark, France, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Netherlands, UK, Ireland, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Singapore, Israel, USA
40 out of 74 participants took the survey.
“The amount of content was …”
|way too little||0||0%|
|a bit too little||8||20%|
|a bit too much||4||10%|
|way too much||0||0%|
“The amount of social activities was …”
|way too little||0||0%|
|a bit too little||8||20%|
|a bit too much||2||5%|
|way too much||0||0%|
“I felt (…) as part of the community at the LWCW2015”
“Did you know other participants beforehand?”
|yes, but just a handful||11|
|yes, a lot of them (6–80)||23|
[Many people from last year’s event signed up again, as did a handful of LWSH regulars.]
“I really liked …” (mentioned X times, cutoff after 4)
- the other participants (13)
- the lightning talks (13)
- the location (10)
- Val’s keynote (8)
- relating games (8)
- the atmosphere (8)
- the blanket fort (6)
- the name tags (6)
- the flexibility of the scheduling (6)
- cuddles/social touching/hugs (5)
- the food quality (4)
- Vadim’s talk on modern decision theory (4)
- the overall organisation (4)
- dancing on Saturday night (4)
“The event would have been even better if …” (mentioned X times, cutoff after 3)
- it had been easier to tell which content was happening when and where. (7)
- the name tags had been more durable/participants had worn them more consistently. (7)
- the food quality had been better. (6)
- there had been more snacks/more vegan snacks. (4)
- the event had been longer. (4)
- there had been a map of the location. (4)
- there had been interactions for small groups/one-on-ones. (3)
- there had been a central meeting point/room. (3)
- the event had had more CFAR-like techniques or debugging. (3)
[This question especially yielded diverse answers and many suggestions which don’t fit a list format. The points on the list are paraphrased and don’t give a good impression of the types of answers given, just a rough direction. Some feedback was tongue-in-cheek: Someone wished “sad Eris wasn’t that desperately sad”, another person asked for “free owls”.]
If you have any questions about the feedback please send us an email to email@example.com or comment below.
The Berlin meetup group is organizing the LessWrong Community Weekend 2015. From June 12th to 14th awesome people from all across Europe are coming to Berlin to meet, exchange ideas and start projects. The focus is on forming new and strengthening existing ties between our local communities. In addition to being a vibrant social event, it’s also about sharing your world-improvement projects as well as about teaching and learning valuable skills.
If you are already attending a local meetup, you might find this to be similar in the way it mixes a social event with workshops and talks. And if you don’t have a meetup nearby, this is a great opportunity to get in touch with the community.
Our 2014 event had an unexpectedly huge turnout. This time we have planned for a larger number of participants yet might still be underestimating the size of the community and its growth since last year. So sign up quickly if you want to be sure to get in.
Building on our experience and the feedback from the last event we are making this event even more awesome: The new location offers several seminar rooms for parallel workshops, activities and discussions in smaller groups. Combined with shorter and more efficient talks this leaves more space for structured social time and activities.
Participants are encouraged to share their knowledge in workshops, tutorials and talks as well as exchange experiences in informal settings. Featured topics include practical rationality, self improvement, world improvement and other rationality related areas.
Giving a workshop or talk is a great way to introduce yourself to other attendants and start a discussion about a topic you care about. If you're unsure if the topic is valuable or a good fit, please err on the side of including it! The more content offers we get, the easier it will be to create a balanced, yet diverse program.
Next to the talks, there is plenty of opportunity to get to know your fellow participants better in structured and less structured social settings. The chosen location provides many opportunities to spend off-time outside, whether you'd rather take a few companions on a morning hike in the nearby forest while discussing AI, receive a tutorial in proper stone-skipping technique at lake Wannsee or if you'd prefer a game of ultimate frisbee on the premises. Which specific activities will be offered during the weekend depends on the participants themselves, so make sure to tell us on the signup form if there's a skill you can share or an activity you'd like to offer.
The event begins on Friday June 12th, 12:00 with our shared lunch. Then we will move to our main location, Jugendherberge Berlin-Am Wannsee that provides us with seminar rooms and on-site accommodation (shared rooms, 4 beds) as well as access to the nearby lake and forest. The next days will be filled with workshops, talks, discussions and many other activities. We’ll say goodbye on Sunday June 14th at 15:00.
Costs are €150 including accommodation for two nights, the welcome reception and lunch on Friday and all the other meals till lunch on Sunday.
The European LW community is pretty scattered at the moment. This event is our chance to reach out and build lasting bonds and friendships across cities and borders. Are you looking for allies for your world-optimization plans, or for new methods to improve yourself and your model of the world? Do you want to teach others what you have learned? Or are you looking forward to a relaxing weekend around like-minded people?
The community weekend can offer all those things and more, and you can help make it the event that you want it to be!
Looking forward to seeing you
Alexander, Anne, Christian, John, Marcel, Matthias and Tristan
P.S.: If you have any questions about the event you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edit: 80 attendants have signed up, which means we have reached capacity! The signup has been closed.