We had some people who were in both, but no one who started out just coming to HPMOR and then joined discussion, to the best of my recollection. It's possible we could have done a better job of (a) actively cross-promoting (b) tying discussion topics in to HPMOR stuff.

LW discussion meetup (shotgun rules)

The outcome of the State of the Meetup Meetup was that people were mostly coming for social reasons and we probably didn't need to freak out about topics all the time.

We drafted and sorta-unilaterally instated the Shotgun Rules (flagrantly cribbed from the Bay Area Debian group.)

Relevant highlights:

  • Anyone may call a meetup for the appointed day
  • If the meetup is not called it does not happen
  • If there is no designated topic we will just hang out and that is fine.

In practice, I think a meetup has been called by someone who wasn't an organizer of the previous group only once or twice, and we've almost always had a "topic" (sometimes a post from a rationality blog that someone found interesting, sometimes "play Zendo" or "do some other-optimizing"). We usually stay more or less "on topic" for 60-90 minutes, then digress at leisure.

A side benefit of the shotgun rules (though I have fairly strong evidence that new members of the mailing list categorically do not read them) is the opportunity for folks to get a sense of approximately how serious any given meetup can be expected to be (not very), and to signal for certain values (e.g. gender inclusive restrooms) without beating folks over the head with them.

LW discussion meetup (old-skool)

The old-skool LW discussion meetup was on alternate Thursday evenings, usually either at a coffee shop or our house. Often, the organizer/s would put a fair bit of time and thought into coming up with a topic, researching it, and fleshing out a discussion plan.

We had a few topics we felt okay about revisiting periodically:

  • Calibration exercises
  • Rationality Checklist

but all in all coming up with a new topic often enough that we thought people wouldn't get bored and leave got stressful, so in January 2016 we had a Future of the Meetup meeting.

HPMOR meetup

Sometime mid-HPMOR, we had a biweekly Saturday midday meetup group to discuss some number of chapters. We started at the beginning and would read (or not read) ?5? or so chapters per meetup until we ran out of new material, after which we met sporadically when there was a new chapter. If memory serves, we met for brunch a couple of times, then shifted to doing food truck food + hanging out a local brewery. After discussion these meetups would generally segue into at least a whole afternoon if not a whole day of hangouts.

At least once or twice, we got some folks who ardently insisted they'd never ever ever ever come to a LW meetup. We also occasionally got attendees from places outside the Triangle for whom it wasn't feasible to make the trip to our LW discussion meetup.

We talked about moving on to other rationality fic (Luminosity in particular) after HPMOR wrapped but that didn't happen for some reason (possibly it got cold before we got around to it, and the food truck+brewery combo is somewhat less enchanting in such weather.)

I rarely have a whole Saturday to devote to discussion, beer, ping pong, coffee, and Bullitron anymore, but I remember these with a lot of fondness.

Research Triangle [but we almost always meet in Durham], NC (aka RTLW)

3 sorta-distinct meetup styles; 1 currently active. I guess I will put them into their own comments below.

What does it take to be a programmer, not just to become one?

Making peace with the fact that there will never be a day when perfect code springs full formed from your head like a Greek goddes, and that what you are getting paid to do (assuming you're getting paid) is to be aggravated.

If the job is good, the aggravations are the kind that you get to have fun eliminating: clients with use cases the product team didn't think of, someone changed an API and didn't tell you, you need to build a new feature, etc. (If the job is bad, the aggravations are probably the same as any other bad job: meetings or mismanagement.)

Thanks for thinking this through.

A few questions:

Would there be a way for people who already maintain blogs elsewhere to cross-post to their LW subdomain? (Would this even be desirable?)

Do you envision LW2 continuing to include applied rationality type posts? Does that work with "everything should work towards Aumann agreement"?

users may not repeatedly bring up the same controversial discussion outside of their original context

How could we track this, other than relying on mods to be like "ugh, this poster again"?

professionally edited rationality journal

Woah. Is this really a thing that MIRI could (resources permitting) just like ... do?

Durham, NC party -- 1:00 PM EDT at Fullsteam, 726 Rigsbee Avenue, 27701.


WAIT. NO. I have a good guess as to why and have for a few months, and I have not been clear about my motives.

What I really want is for the downvoter to come out and say "I hold you in such contempt that I'm willing to skirt both LW policy and norms to deincentivize you from participating."

I actually considered posting something like that, but could not figure out how to say it without it coming across as flagrant snark. Well. shrug

The remark wasn't "jokily defensive", it's because for a while someone was serially downvoting everything I posted, and I wanted to know why.

I still want to know why!

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