Starting a LW meet-up is easy.

All you need to do is:

  1. Pick a time.  Weekend afternoons or evenings work well.
  2. Pick a place.  This can be a coffee shop or casual restaurant (e.g., a pizza place or pub) or a classroom or other on-campus location.  Best if it isn’t too noisy.
  3. Announce the time and place on LW, a week or so ahead of time, using the "Add new meetup" link near your username.
  4. Show up yourself, with a sign that says “Less Wrong Meet-up”.

That’s all -- anything else is optional.  If folks come, just say “Hi, my name’s [whatever your name is]”, and see where the conversation goes.  Most major cities, and many minor ones, have some LW-ers.  And if no one comes, all it cost you was a few hours of reading a book in a restaurant.  You don’t need to have a LW history; many a lurker has enjoyed in-person LW conversation (and the folks who actually show up to meet-ups are often less intimidating than those who post on the main site).

Meet-ups are fun, and the simple act of talking to other LW-ers (in person, where your primate brain can see that they’re real) can help: (a) you become a better rationalist; (b) other attendees become better rationalists; and (c) LW become a stronger community.

Also, if anyone is interested in starting a meet-up but wants to discuss it with someone first, I'd be happy to help.  There is also a good meet-up resources page.

(This was discussed a bit in this comment thread, but it seems worth repeating it somewhere where more people might see it, especially since the idea was new to someone at Saturday's H+ conference who now plans to start a meet-up.)

 

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I have been thinking about a Seattle meet up for a while, as I think I have seen a few others here from the area. I recall seeing another poster say that they were from the University of Washington. (I'm an undergrad there)

I had a few questions: First off, I don't have enough karma to create a top-level post. Is the discussion board appropriate or can we figure out something for a top-level?

I might recall an old thread on "how to run a Lesswrong meetup" but I can't find it---did this exist?

What have been your favorite low-preparation activities and discussions?

Edit: Ok, I'm going to check up on booking a classroom at the UW, unless somebody has an appropriate restaurant they would recommend. Once I get everything figured out I'll make a post, but I'm thinking Saturday or Sunday afternoon before Valentine's day.

YES YES YES! Do it! I predict it will be very well attended.

Seattle has the most LW readers of any city in the world without a meet-up!

Visits to LW the past year / Meetup

  • London 56,788 Yes
  • New York 41,422 Yes
  • San Francisco 29,036 Yes
  • Melbourne 24,199 Yes
  • Seattle 19,475 No
  • Chicago 17,235 Yes
  • Sydney 16,806 No
  • Helsinki 16,371 No
  • Los Angeles 14,083 Yes
  • Cambridge 13,622 Yes
  • Philadelphia 11,727 Yes
  • San Jose 11,702 Yes

11000+ Visitors

  • Moscow
  • Austin

10000+ Visitors

  • Washington

9000+ Visitors

  • Atlanta
  • Brisbane
  • Dublin
  • Houston

8000+ Visitors

  • Berkeley
  • Portland

7000+ Visitors

  • Pittsburgh
  • Toronto
  • Paris
  • Denver
  • Sunnyvale
  • Cambridge
  • Redmond

6000+ Visitors

  • Auckland
  • Singapore
  • Madison
  • Cupertino
  • Boston
  • Perth
  • Brooklyn
  • Minneapolis
  • Ann Arbor
  • Oxford
  • Adelaide

5000+ Visitors

  • Canberra
  • Vancouver
  • Berlin
  • San Diego
  • Mountain View
  • Bellevue
  • Vancouver
  • Dallas
  • Durham

4000+ Visitors

  • Bangalore
  • Stanford
  • Edinburgh
  • Budapest
  • Columbus
  • Riga
  • Manchester
  • La Jolla
  • Warsaw
  • Sacramento
  • Raleigh
  • Prague
  • Bristol
  • St. Louis
  • Boulder
  • Ljubljana
  • State College

EDIT: Added 13-50, these are total yearly visitors, not hits

All these cities had at least 500 unique visitors the last month. I would be confident starting a meetup anywhere with over 5000 visitors / year... all of which have at least half the readership of cities that already support meetups now. Other cities that look promising but are just on the borderline are Oslo, Hong Kong, and Princeton.

Any chance of getting an updated list like this?

Wow, I had no idea London was LessWrong central! Hmm, will soon be time to post a reminder for the March 6 meetup at 14:00 in the Shakespeare's Head...

What is the range in size for meetups?

I'm just wondering what to expect when looking for locations.

The first few meetup ran in Melbourne attracted 8 and then 12 people IIRC with just passive LW meetup notices a week or two in advance. I'd expect you to get around 6 people to show up that aren't you with perhaps as many as 10.

The last London one was about 16 people - but I'm told that may have been an anomaly... we'll see.

Go Oxford; probably the highest ratio of meetups to readers!

Toronto is listed twice under 7,000+ visitors... this is clearly an error, but what is not clear is whether there are 7,000 or 14,000 aspiring rationalists in town.

I'd love a TO meetup but I'm too much of an introvert to organize a social gathering. If anyone steps up to the plate, let me know.

That was a bug in the list. Toronto had only 7000 visitors to LW last year. However, Vancouver was actually listed twice on purpose because it was in analytics twice. I assumed at the time that one was Vancouver, BC and the other was some other major world city named Vancouver... but now I'm not so sure there is another city named Vancouver that could credibly have had ~5,000 visitors as well. So that bug is by design but I'm not sure what that's all about.

Anyway, Canada is still well represented on LW and Toronto is easily the best city to start Canada's first LW meetup. If you won't start it yourself, you should at least bring this up a bunch and goad someone else into doing it. Similarly sized cities like Pittsburgh, Sunnyvale, and Cambridge have all had meetup before.

There's a city north of Portland called Vancouver. Pop: 161k+

Google Maps says the one north of Portland is Vancouver, BC.

This is a valid point. Also, the city isn't really populated by very... rational people.

Hmmm - looks like I should start up a Sydney meetup when I go back next year. Or perhaps somebody else will start one up for me and I can transition smoothly ;)

If you post in the discussion board and add a note asking it to me moved to the Main site then a friendly mod will move it there fairly quickly.

I recall seeing another poster say that they were from the University of Washington.

Maybe that was me? Even better if it wasn't!

I would definitely be interested in a meetup. As for a low-preparation (but still likely to be useful) discussion topic: day-to-day productivity / fighting akrasia.

I'm down for a meetup. I'm a 25 year old programming in Seattle. I think you're thinking of user InquilineKea. I met up with him once.

Searching for 'seattle' in the LW search indicates that there are quite a few seattlites around here.

A friend (Dvorak) and I are going to start a Houston meetup group, but he already runs a hackerspace and can't really take on more organizational duties. I'm a long time lurker, and would be mostly in charge of organizing the group. Unfortunately, I don't have the Karma to post on the discussion area. Can I beg an up vote or two off of someone?

Hi there, I'd like to start a meet-up group in Dorset, UK, and I'm in a position similar to Cog's. May I beg an up vote or two of someone too?

I need to bum some karma here. I want to start a Dallas / Fort Worth metro meetup. It's the largest metro in the US without an active LessWrong group, which is inexcusable!

Sundays at America's Best Coffee in Arlington at 1 PM starting this coming Sunday, 4/29/12.

Anna,

Thanks for writing this guide. Did you realize at the time that you were fulfilling my dreams? I needed this to share with several volunteers who wanted the assurance of having a short guide to read through. This will help a lot.

I'm starting a new Less Wrong meetup group in Atlanta, Georgia.

I created a google group to help get this organized, so join via the link below, or send me an email on gmail, I am hankx7787 there.

http://groups.google.com/group/atlanta-less-wrong-meetup-group

I haven't decided on a meeting place yet, but it will probably be in the midtown / Georgia Tech area, depending on who shows interest.

Some potential discussion topics:

Tell your rationalist success/failure stories, Basics of rationality, Cognitive biases, The sequences, Decision theory, Friendly AI, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Hi, I'd like to start a meet up in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada on Wednesdays at 7pm at Whole 'lotta Gelata in Uptown Waterloo starting June 15. I'm not sure where to post that announcement (or how many LW people there are in the area), but here as a good a place as any to start...

Hey, I live in Waterloo too. I will join. (Perhaps not this one, but any subsequent ones after the 24th this month that are organized in Waterloo.) Please keep me posted and let me know if you need any help in organizing this.

Is this ongoing? I also live in waterloo and would potentially be interested.

Most major cities, and many minor ones, have some LW-ers.

I'd be interested in details. Does it hold only inside the US? Are there some statistics which can be used to estimate the chance of at least one person coming to such a meeting?

If the LW users could specify their coordinates in their profile, and that info be automatically processed to create a world map with some reasonable resolution telling the number of LWers in a given location (say, 100x100 km grid or so), that would be a useful application.

If concern about this is blocking you from organizing a meetup in your area, you can make a post inquiring about interest for a meetup in your area. I expect you will be reassured.

Although I'm not sure geotagging the LW readership is the best solution to the problem, some sort of reassurance that there actually are other people in a given location who'd attend would probably help grease the wheels a bit.

According to these statistics, Helsinki has the eighth largest population of LW-readers out of all the cities in the world. Even if that number is for some reason bloated compared to other cities in the list, I think it'd be a good idea to try and have a meet-up here. So, is anyone else from around Helsinki interested? A couple of answers in this thread should be enough for us to settle on a date (I prefer a weekend in March) and post an announcement on the front page.

At the moment, all of my March weekends are free.

Judging from the comments, I guess we can fix the date of the meet as Saturday 5th of March. Any suggestions for a place? I'd think a not-too-noisy cafe in the center would be ideal, but I don't really know the options to recommend any. Just to provide a default suggestion in case nobody has a preference, let's say we meet at Cafe Aalto.

Theoretically yes, though I'm notoriously bad at actually bothering to appear at social events.

I'm almost certain this post will be useful, in that it will result in there being more LW meet-ups than there would otherwise have been. But, seriously, did anyone actually need the cotents? In order to arrange to meet some people who frequent a website you visit regularly, post something to the website saying that you'd like to meet them and where and when.

I'm genuinely curious as to why this will help (as I said, I'm sure it will). Is it because it explicitly gives people "permission" to go ahead and organise their own meet-up? Again, there can't possibly be any information in the post that any regular LW reader couldn't figure out for themselves.

It might be implicitly providing the information that there isn't anything else that needs to be known/done to successfully conduct such a meetup, which is hard to be certain about.

I'll explicitly say "yes, that's exactly the main key thing I got from it."

Agreed. Knowing about "unknown unknowns" is very important.

Human nature dictates that we both assume 'someone else' is going to start a group, and assume the task of creating said group is very difficult. So even those people who lurk and say to themselves, "Gosh, I'd love to have a group like that in my city" won't take the first step unless they are given "permission".

In that sentence, you really did hit the nail on the head there, Bentarm.

On that note, are there any other LWers in Iowa? Specifically near Ames or Des Moines?

Ames just missed being on the end of the list below so people are a bit scare there, but not as bad as Omaha or Topeka or something.

In another thread I was inquiring about a NYC meetup that seemed to be happening regularly. Someone posted a link but it went to a dead page on Overcoming Bias. Does anyone have some information about that?

Couldn't find a bangalore specific group so started a google group and a meetup group. Here are the links below. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/bangalore-lesswrongers.

http://www.meetup.com/Bangalore-LessWrongers-Meetup/. Have also scheduled a first meetup for Nov. 14th. Let's see how many turn up.

Is there a thread somewhere where I can gauge interest in a meetup in my area? I'm from Winnipeg, a medium-sized city in Canada, and I would be interested in starting a meetup group, but I honestly don't know if there's anyone in the city who reads LW other than me (we're not even on this list, for example). I think this is probably a concern for everyone outside major metropolitan areas--we don't want to put the effort in until we're at least sure that like-minded people actually exist in our vicinity.

Is there anyone who's had success with meetups in areas of similar size who would be willing to offer advice?

I think people have occasionally started Discussion threads of the form "post your general location, respond to comments indicating you are also in that general location." Seems like you could do that again (with a positive externality: other people can also gauge meetup interest in their areas).