This led to lots of satellite discussions which partly diverged but mostly were centered on examples of procrastination (though afterwards some felt that this got out of hand with too many personal details; this was controversial). This part was all in all very long but also led to quite some understanding of the problems of and strategries against procrastination.

In the previous meetups there was an interest in the topics of and the objectives behind lesswrong. To get an authentic handle on the former I posted a topic poll in the Polling Thread. This I presented shortly (see appendix).

Interesting points we arrived at:

The image of lukeprogs procastination algorithm led to a discussion of what we called the mathematical fallacy/bias: Just giving a mathematical formula naming properties of interest leads to the false impression of scientificity and presents a false image of correctness and precision that just isn't there. This is a method sometimes seen in pseudo-science publications to give the impression of science. It is also used in economic sciences to approximate tendencies numerically. The general pattern of the mathematical fallacy is that modelling complex human behavior (like procrastination) in a simple formula is a special case of over-simplification riding piggy-back on the habit to take formulas at face value. The disclaimer on such formular (lukeprog actually gave one) just cannot be large enough. In this special case it would have been better to just name the four (nonlinear, crossrelated) effects on motivation instead of using the formula (at least until the five quantities in the formula are actually shown or defined in a precise way).

We planned the next meetup for Mar 30th, but the location (near Hamburg central station) is not yet fixed.

We did have more structure than the last time but a review discussion at the end clearly showed that just having one main topic with unmoderated side tracks wasn't enough and that all preferred a more formal structure - at least for topic presentations. Which on the next meetup will be theme-centered interaction.

Having keen observers of behavior allowed to pinpoint differences and misunderstandings in the group (actually involving me) to address these in a friendly helpful way.

Sidetrack

Following the advice from Lifestyle interventions to increase longevity I had bought an e-cig for the smoker in our round who wants to quit. He received it positively. He enjoyed the near-identical handling and the fact that he could smoke in the room (I didn't notice bad taste) and that there was no effort to 'light' and 'unlight' it. We discussed it afterwards whether it increased or decreased the amount of smoking (I had noticed that he had used the e-cig more often, but this may be balanced by a much smaller number of pulls. We promised to measure this.

Appendix

I presented the following list of LessWrong topics in order of decreasing typicality (most typical for LW first):

methods for being less wrong, knowing about biases, fallacies and heuristics

methods of self-improvement (if scientifically backed), e.g. living luminiously, winning at life, longevity

organization and discussion of meetups

dealing with procrastination and akrasia

statistics, probability theory, decision theory and related mathematical fields

topics of associated or related organizations CFAR, MIRI, GiveWell, CEA

advancing specific virtues: altruism, mindfulness, empathy, truthfulness, openness

artificial intelligence topics esp. if related to AGI, (U)FAI, AI going FOOM (or not)

the singularity and transhumanism (includes cryonics as method to get there)

rationality applied to social situations in relationships, parenting and small groups

Review of our third Meetup : LessWrong Hamburg - Structure## Summary

To make it short: We didn't follow the nice agenda we planned. We did the procrastination topic but diverged a lot.

## Course of events

In the long open beginning (expected) we talked a lot, played some MindTrap and had lunch together.

Then to get started I began the presentation of the main topic of this meetup: procrastination. This was basically a summary of

This led to lots of satellite discussions which partly diverged but mostly were centered on examples of procrastination (though afterwards some felt that this got out of hand with too many personal details; this was controversial). This part was all in all very long but also led to quite some understanding of the problems of and strategries against procrastination.

In the previous meetups there was an interest in the topics of and the objectives behind lesswrong. To get an authentic handle on the former I posted a topic poll in the Polling Thread. This I presented shortly (see appendix).

Interesting points we arrived at:

The image of lukeprogs procastination algorithm led to a discussion of what we called the mathematical fallacy/bias: Just giving a mathematical formula naming properties of interest leads to the false impression of scientificity and presents a false image of correctness and precision that just isn't there. This is a method sometimes seen in pseudo-science publications to give the impression of science. It is also used in economic sciences to approximate tendencies numerically. The general pattern of the mathematical fallacy is that modelling complex human behavior (like procrastination) in a simple formula is a special case of over-simplification riding piggy-back on the habit to take formulas at face value. The disclaimer on such formular (lukeprog actually gave one) just cannot be large enough. In this special case it would have been better to just name the four (nonlinear, crossrelated) effects on motivation instead of using the formula (at least until the five quantities in the formula are actually shown or defined in a precise way).

We planned the next meetup for Mar 30th, but the location (near Hamburg central station) is not yet fixed.

We did have more structure than the last time but a review discussion at the end clearly showed that just having one main topic with unmoderated side tracks wasn't enough and that all preferred a more formal structure - at least for topic presentations. Which on the next meetup will be theme-centered interaction.

Having keen observers of behavior allowed to pinpoint differences and misunderstandings in the group (actually involving me) to address these in a friendly helpful way.

## Sidetrack

Following the advice from Lifestyle interventions to increase longevity I had bought an e-cig for the smoker in our round who wants to quit. He received it positively. He enjoyed the near-identical handling and the fact that he could smoke in the room (I didn't notice bad taste) and that there was no effort to 'light' and 'unlight' it. We discussed it afterwards whether it increased or decreased the amount of smoking (I had noticed that he had used the e-cig more often, but this may be balanced by a much smaller number of pulls. We promised to measure this.

## Appendix

I presented the following list of LessWrong topics in order of decreasing typicality (most typical for LW first):

methods for being less wrong, knowing about biases, fallacies and heuristics

methods of self-improvement (if scientifically backed), e.g. living luminiously, winning at life, longevity

organization and discussion of meetups

dealing with procrastination and akrasia

statistics, probability theory, decision theory and related mathematical fields

topics of associated or related organizations CFAR, MIRI, GiveWell, CEA

advancing specific virtues: altruism, mindfulness, empathy, truthfulness, openness

artificial intelligence topics esp. if related to AGI, (U)FAI, AI going FOOM (or not)

the singularity and transhumanism (includes cryonics as method to get there)

rationality applied to social situations in relationships, parenting and small groups

(moral) philosophical theories, ethics

platform to hangout with like-minded smart people

## Other LW Hamburg Meetup reviews