Regional Meetups and Retreats (tentative name: Rat Park)

Filer - ZeitPolizei

Project Name - Regional Meetups and Retreats (tentative name: Rat Park)

Principal(s) - ZeitPolizei

Contact Email - wbunaarftnrgwra@tznvy.pbz.rot13

Homepage -

What is the project - `What are you trying to do?`

Small scale: Organize one community retreat for up to 20 people. (3 days?, probably in Germany) Large scale: Encourage more medium size meetups/conferences/retreats/etc. to happen.

`Why are you trying to do it?`

As far as I am aware, there are currently mainly three levels of rationalists meeting in real life: Extremely local: Group houses, or small groups of friends City level: LW/SSC meetup groups, rationality dojos (Inter-)national: Large events with a big "capture area", e.g. European LW Community Weekend, NY Mega-meetup

I believe there is a considerable number of people, who don't live close to other rationalists (or simply aren't aware of them). The large events happen comparatively rarely and require considerable investment of travel time from a large fraction of attendees. By organizing a small retreat I create an opportunity for those people to get valuable access to real life interactions with like-minded people and become involved in the community.

In particular, I believe a ~3-day retreat with 20 people can provide two very valuable benefits, that are not as easily available from the usual city meetups or international events: - creation of a high-trust environment, enabling or improving a number of activities, such as CoZE, Circling, Pair Debugging… - a less packed schedule (compared to LWCW), allowing for more intense or longer sessions and workshops and the ability to focus on your own bugs and rationality skills

Additional benefits, that are not unique to the event size: - learning interesting and useful new ideas - meeting cool people, making friends, networking - having fun - getting motivation for doing things afterwards

`Why do you believe you might succeed?`

Organizing something for 20 people does not seem like too much of a daunting task, and even seems doable if nobody else will help with organization directly.

`How exactly will you or anyone else know that you've succeeded?`

Small scale: There will be some kind of event, with at least 8 participants, where at least 25% of participants do not live in a city with regular LW meetups. Large scale: More medium-size meetups happen, especially further away from rationality hubs.

`Does your project have a well defined mission statement?`

No. Off the top of my head, something like: Provide more opportunities for real life interaction between rationalists, especially for those who do not have such opportunities for logistic reasons.

`Have you followed any sort of standard planning procedure?`

No. Right now the next step is to evaluate options, feasibility and potential problems in detail. The actual plan for the event itself would come afterwards.

`What are you going to do if the core piece of your first idea fails?`

Write up my evaluation, thoughts and results so far and make them publicly available, so that others can decide whether they want to try something like it as well. Possibly try again, with lessons learned.

`What sort of resources do you need to do this thing, and are they within your capacity as the principal of your project?`

- Organizing/managing skills: I believe I have sufficient - A way to reach the intended audience: Unclear whether LW itself would be sufficient and what other methods may exist. (NB: I believe having e.g. a section on LW or a separate site dedicated to meetups and communities, not just for announcements, but also for evaluations and resources, could be super useful.) - A way to process registration and payments: Needs to be figured out. Hopefully LessWrong Germany can help with that. - At least one person (better two) to act as mediator and adviser in case of personal conflicts or problems. For certain types of events this may be unnecessary, but very important when trying to create a high trust environment: I don't believe I could do this myself. This is also the area where I feel least qualified and would appreciate support and council on the most.

`Why would someone use your project/product, instead of whatever they do right now?`

At the last European LW Community Weekend we had a session "What to do if you don't live in a rationality hub", where (by memory) ~20 people (25% of all participants) attended. Right now there appears to be considerable demand for real life meetups but very little supply (inadequacy!).

`How will you make it possible for other people to help you?`

This is something I have not considered much yet. At the time of writing, there is no other publicly available information for the project. For the near-ish future, council and advice, especially for the uncertain resources, is much appreciated. Since I do not yet know how my life situation will develop, I cannot make any promises on when I would start organizing the event proper.

Meta note: I've been thinking about this for a while now. The project registration database existing prompted me to write down my thoughts and ideas for the first time.

Timestamp (autofilled) - 1512522707

Project Type Is Type?
Experiment No
Database/List/Map No
Gathering or Event Yes
Social Space or Forum No
Software Tool No
Startup No
Organization No
Other No