Robin Hanson also has also written many articles referencing status on Overcoming Bias
I would be interested in an updated checklist. This seems potentially quite useful for a single post.
Hesitant: If I made a line of the average quality it would go down gradually and drop off at 6. Most 2 people circles I've been in have been high value, some 4-5 person circles, and few larger circles. It might be even flatter if we consider that I've explicitly sought out 2 person circles when I thought they would be valuable. If the larger groups had good things, they happened when the group broke up into smaller groups organically, or after people left. I had one Important Topic Circle which was 4-5 people. It seems that a lot of interesting things can happen at the 4-5 person level in a similar way to a normal interesting good conversation (more varied input, focus switching, people being able to facilitate interactions between 2 others, etc). I'm interested in hearing about this from other people with more experience.
I've done about 15hrs of circling.
Two person circles seem extremely useful for conflict resolution or when I get a feeling of "I'd like to talk to X person, but something in our communication styles or behavior seems to be getting in the way." This works at different levels of familiarity, like when I have a friend who I trust deeply, but want to have an even deeper conversation, then a circle between us works as a small wedge to get to a point where it becomes safe (or not) to bring up the deeper thing. I've also had good experiences of a more standard "getting to know a person and why they act the way that they do", circling seems very good for querying the why's behind behavior, and why certain ideas are important --- doing closer to the first circle thing. Except when I have done this there was no topic then eventually things "came up". Sometimes the things that "come up" seem important, sometimes even more important than the things I would have thought of as important, and sometimes not. But doing this has not felt like a game --- in every 2 person circle I've done, I ended up learning a great deal about the other persons models or changing my mind about something, but I wouldn't have been able to predict the topic at the beginning.
I bring this up because I think circling with the aim of connection leads to important things -- it leads to caring about what the other person thinks is important and trying to understand it. It leads to engaging with conflict and differences. It seems like many people have high conflict aversion and will leave a conversation than try to discuss a different opinion, but when there is a commitment to connection, there is a commitment to being engaged with the other person while the different models are explored. I want this to happen more in all conversations. Another reason circling might be good for this is that people end up 'revealing their weapons'--- their social defenses, judgements, and fears are made clear, which takes uncertainty out of the conflict.
I get this IRL with people's faces. I want to keep looking at someone to see whether or not they *approve*.
There's a flip side to this, where I notice that if I play a video game, or watch a tv show, I have the sense that I am going to be punished for *getting up and leaving the game*. That exiting the approval system of the game will draw the game's ire.
When I notice lotus-taste, I also look for an expected punishment. I also find that that is helpful, because the expected punishment is somehow easier to source as coming from within me.
In fact, I can feel this right now --- it seems like by typing more words I'm pressing a button on a video game console, and I know that when I go away from this post I'll feel fear.
I think it's worth thinking about how much to turn the thing into a machine that keeps the events and meetings churning as they have been on easy mode, and how much to have new heroes that turn the organization into a new labor of love that is in a slightly different direction. In one direction, you're building systems, and in another direction you're building autonomy and instigatingyness.
I think there can be a problem where when people are working in a system and it is easy and pretty good, they aren't quite paying attention to the things they would really want if they were running things --- and often those ideas are better than the system. The simplest way that this occurs is when people do the minimum the system asks, vs when they are working with the system and using it to help them make things awesome.
People can be influenced to move towards the self organizing direction by asking them what they think would be awesome, and getting details of what's cool about that and why they want, and providing social capital / organizational capital etc to help implement their thing. It's usually well received if you are trying to help them get more of the thing that they want. There might be some other things that are important in this process, I'm not sure what those are.