LessWrong Hamburg Second Meetup Notes: In need of Structure

post by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-02-22T16:20:30.798Z · score: 7 (8 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 4 comments


  Review of our second Meetup : LessWrong Hamburg - about Procrastination

Review of our second Meetup : LessWrong Hamburg - about Procrastination

When I arrived late there already was a discussion about the benefits and content of LessWrong. I didn't take a clear organizers role and instead let the meetup mostly run itself. This worked OK but also led to the planned topic procrastication falling off the table until very late when it was discovered that there was actually more interest in it than everybody seemed to have assumed.

There were phases where the discussion was dominated by everyday topics and not focussed. This was partly because some participants knew each other well and played topics back and forth. This kept the others out. I could have moderated this but wasn't clearly aware of it until it was explicitly and friendly made a topic.

Despite the unstructured format we got the following positive results:

We planned the next meetup and chose a moderator to keep us more focussed.


(none of these surprising)

We also played a game (Set), had some fun, took photos and planned a next meetup.



Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-02-22T17:50:45.696Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The Tyranny of Structurelessness is a useful essay to lessen this problem.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-02-23T08:27:16.880Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Interesting (and long). Has this been posted in a media thread or link? Might this go to the meetup resources?

comment by Ben_LandauTaylor · 2014-02-23T02:17:31.884Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Good summary. There's enough detail here that other organizers can easily learn from it. Triple bonus points for noticing a problem and taking a concrete action to fix it.

Lively discussions about off-topics eat time and can keep participants out - but also provide casual athmosphere.

If the group is large enough (say, six people or more), then one way to handle this tradeoff is to establish a social norm to encourage splitting into separate conversations when someone is bored. That way, interested people can delve deeply into a topic without worrying that they'll bore everyone else, and people can break away for off-topic chats when they feel like it.

the planned topic procrastication falling off the table until very late


comment by Dagon · 2014-02-23T07:55:28.205Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This sounds awesome. I look forward to seeing reports of how to add enough structure to increase satisfaction without losing the flow.

Also, I was quite amused that "procrastination" was the topic you didn't get to.