We've been running regular, well-attended Less Wrong meetups in London for a few years now, (and irregular, badly-attended ones for even longer than that). In this time, I'd like to think we've learned a few things about having good conversations, but there are probably plenty of areas where we could make gains. Given the number of Less Wrong meetups around the world, it's worth attempting some sort of meetup cross-pollination. It's possible that we've all been solving each other's problems. It's also good to have a central location to make observations and queries about topics of interest, and it's likely people have such observations and queries on this topic.
So, what have you learned from attending or running Less Wrong meetups? Here are a few questions to get the ball rolling:
- What do you suppose are the dominant positive outcomes of your meetups?
- What problems do you encounter with discussions involving [x] people? How have you attempted to remedy them?
- Do you have any systems or procedures in place for making sure people are having the sorts of conversations they want to have?
- Have you developed or consciously adopted any non-mainstream social norms, taboos or rituals? How are those working out?
- How do Less Wrong meetups differ from other similar gatherings you've been involved with? Are there any special needs idiosyncratic to this demographic?
- Are there any activities that you've found work particularly well or particularly poorly for meetups? Do you have examples of runaway successes or spectacular failures?
- Are there any activities you'd like to try, but haven't managed to pull off yet? What's stopping you?
If you have other specific questions you'd like answered, you're encouraged to ask them in comments. Any other observations, anecdotes or suggestions on this general topic are also welcome and encouraged.