Proposal for increasing instrumental rationality value of the LessWrong community

by harcisis 1 min read28th Oct 20157 comments


There were some concerns here ( regarding value of LessWrong community from the perspective of instrumental rationality. 

In the discussion on the relevant topic I've seen the story about how community can help from this perspective.

And I think It's a great thing that local community can help people in various ways to achieve their goals. Also it's not the first time I hear about how this kind of community is helpful as a way of achieving personal goals.

Local LessWrong meetups and communities are great, but they have kind of different focus. And a lot of people live in places where there are no local community or it's not active/regular.

So I propose to form small groups (4-8 people). Initially, groups would meet (using whatever means that are convenient for a particular group), discuss the goals of each participant in a long and in a short term (life/year/month/etc). They would collectively analyze proposed strategies for achieving these goals. Discuss how short term goals align with long term goals. And determine whether the particular tactics for achieving stated goal is optimal. And is there any way to improve on it?

Afterwards, the group would meet weekly to:

Set their short term goals, retrospect on the goals set for previous period. Discuss how successfully they were achieved, what problems people encountered and what alterations to overall strategy follows. And they will also analyze how newly set short-term goals coincide with long-term goals. 

In this way, each member of the group would receive helpful feedback on his goals and on his approach to attaining them. And also he will fill accountable, in a way, for goals, he have stated before the group and this could be an additional boost to productivity.

I also expect that group would be helpful from the perspective of overcoming different kind of fallacies and gaining more accurate beliefs about the world. Because it's easier for people to spot errors in the beliefs/judgment of others. I hope that group's would be able to develop friendly environment and so it would be easier for people to get to know about their errors and change their mind. Truth springs from argument amongst friends.

Group will reflect on it's effectiveness and procedures every month(?) and will incrementally improve itself. Obviously if somebody have some great idea about group proceedings it makes sense to discuss it after usual meeting and implement it right away. But I think regular in-depth retrospective on internal workings is also important.

If there are several groups available - groups will be able to share insights, things group have learned during it's operation. (I'm not sure how much of this kind of insights would be generated, but maybe it would make sense to once in a while publish post that would sum up groups collective insights.)

There are some things that I'm not sure about: 


  • I think it would be worth to discuss possibility of shuffling group members (or at least exchanging members in some manner) once in a while to provide fresh insight on goals/problems that people are facing and make the flow of ideas between groups more agile.
  • How the groups should be initially formed? Just random assignment or it's reasonable to devise some criteria? (Goals alignment/Diversity/Geography/etc?)


I think initial reglament of the group should be developed by the group, though I guess it's reasonable to discuss some general recommendations.

So what do you think? 

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