I'm transitioning into working on global meetup organization as more of a full-time thing, and the lowest-hanging fruit — something many people have asked for — seemed to be writing up all the advice I have on how to run a meetup well. So that's my first project!
Over the past few years I have surveyed more than 500 meetup organizers and attendees, asking what they like and don't like about the meetups they've attended, and what advice they would give to other organizers. This upcoming sequence is simply a writeup of what all of those people have told me.
This sequence will at least start by focusing on the very basics — the four main clusters that people mention are (1) venue, (2) attendance & advertising, (3) activities, and (4) managing the social environment. I will write posts on all of these, as well as things like how to run a first meetup, how to run meetups in cities of different sizes, and some other more exploratory topics. I don't have a sequence outline yet, nor do I have a posting schedule; I'm just going to keep going until I've exhausted the thousands of pieces of advice I've collected — which could take years, who knows? (Probably not.)
Beyond the realm of basic logistics, there are still a lot of unsolved problems, with governance structures and general interpersonal relations at the forefront. I don't know the answers to those problems yet, but hopefully someday I'll be able to give advice on them!
"But wait," you might say, "isn't there already a guide on how to run a meetup?" If you're referring to Kaj's guide, well, that's nearly a decade old, and things have changed quite a bit in the years since it was published. I also find it difficult to navigate since it's a PDF, so I think it's valuable to have something more bullet-point-y and clickable. If you're referring to Maia's meetup cookbook, that is useful and great and totally worth checking out, but it primarily covers activities, and I think there's a lot more to be said. If you're referring to the LW wiki page, that's a good summary, but again, I want to go into a lot more depth. My sequence is going to be thorough as hell. So thorough that you'll be glad it's got so many section headers so that you can click through to only the parts you're actually interested in!
If you're an organizer, or if you're just interested in connecting with other people who are interested in meetups, you can join the Rationality Meetups Discord server. All are welcome!
And if you have requests or suggestions for this sequence, or for what I should do as meta-meetup-organizer in general, let me know in the comments!