Finding interesting communities

by Error 1 min read30th May 201327 comments

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diegocaleiro said this in Research is Polygamous:

Being in an area where the most awesome people are is not asking to "lose the game" it is being in an environment that cultivates greatness.

It made me think of the recent post in Main on How to Build a Community. And reflect a bit on how, while I've lived pretty much exclusively online for the last ten years, the lack of meatspace social contact is finally beginning to annoy me. So here's a question for the group: Not how does one build a community, but where and how does one find existing communities that are worth joining? And what are some examples? Not counting LW itself and its tributaries.

A few things I've tried or will try, in no particular order:

Mensa. Didn't work out terribly well, largely because I seemed to have very little in common with anyone else there. Apparently intelligence alone is an insufficient filter.

Geek conventions. (e.g. Dragoncon) I'm a giant flaming unrepentant geek, so I get the feeling of being among my own kind, and selecting for passion seems to work better than selecting for intelligence insofar as finding interesting people goes. The sheer size of the crowd makes getting at the people who are actually doing awesome things difficult, though. 

Makerspaces. For those that haven't heard the term, these are a sort of shared lab for private individuals. I actually became aware of these through item 2. Seems promising and it's the next thing I intend to look into, within the next few weeks. Unfortunately the nearest established one, like the nearest LW meetup, is downtown through murdertraffic; a 2-3 hour round trip.

I suspect, but have no significant evidence, that universities containing graduate schools would also be a good bet. But I'm long out of college (I dropped out, for irrelevant reasons) and have no wish (or money, or time) to go back. I occasionally apply for jobs at the closest such place to me, but haven't had a hit yet and I'm unsure I would want to move downtown anyway. I do get the impression that many here are undergrads or graduate students, so opinions on whether that route may be worth pursuing are welcome.

Beyond that? I don't know. There don't seem to be many communities that both select for being awesome and are accessible to anyone who cares to be awesome. I've found that social reinforcement for doing cool stuff helps a lot. I don't like that fact very much, but I had better find a way to use it.

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