I was reading the comments to The Rationalist Community's Location Problem and especially this comment by Damien Tatum, and thinking about some classic questions of LessWrong/EA/fully-general physical community.
I think a guiding idea for years has been that if we get as many good people and organizations to have close proximity in the bay area, good things will happen. But I don't know whether that's been positive or negative overall.
For years I've heard about brain-drain problems in other would-be hubs. The best people move to the bay area, and the local hub either gets much worse or disappears. (I'm talking especially about meetup groups, but in the hypothetical where this sort of think didn't happen so much, we might also see more serious organizations in those other hubs.)
In a significant sense, this makes for a higher bar to getting involved. If what you have to do in order to get good in-person discussions with rationalists/EAs is move to the bay area rather than get to the closest decent meetup in your city/state/country, well, that puts a big damper on things.
If there have been discussions/modeling about this trade-off before, I'd especially appreciate links.
Edit: The Berkeley Community & The Rest Of Us discusses the brain-drain dynamic I'm discussing.