Rationality Freiburg started in May of 2022 and we had lots of fantastic events this year. 15 to be precise! On average 7 people attended every meetup, 2 of them completely new. The maximum was 12 people and the minimum 3 people.
Recurring is any person coming for the second, third etc. time whereas New is anyone coming for the first time to a Rationality Freiburg event.
After (almost) every event I collected feedback from people. Here is just a list of things people have said, without any context. Is this useful? Possibly not, but it might give a general impression whether people enjoy coming (they do!). It was also noted a few times that negative feedback actually lead to changes, which was appreciated by participants. If after a feedback it says x3 it means 3 people reported the same.
The discussion went off rails at times. The discussion group was too big. [Solution: Split the group] x3
Having such a discussion in English is hard. [Solution: Split the group into German and English]
Having a public feedback round is not so great. [Solution: Distribute paper for written feedback]
Doing something hands-on was very nice.
The meeting place was great [Stadtgarten].
I liked the playful character of the calibration game.
We should keep some instrumental rationality in every meetup.
Very well prepared, with Snacks etc.
Discussions need to start off a common ground. People may have very different knowledge. Today it was good.
A lot of fun.
Good balance of moderation/leading the discussion and letting people discuss by Omar.
There was little time to do the Double Crux.
People came a little late, which initially left me fearing that nobody would come.
Double Crux does not work well with 3 persons.
Everyone felt that it was a useful technique and that we should do it again in the future.
The group size was ideal.
Practical exercises were very good.
We did not discuss one of the posts that we wanted to and instead went off topic. We should try to stick to our plan.
I liked your and X’s contributions a lot and most other people were good too. One person was terrible and I don’t know how to manage people like that, I think you did your best. I liked everyone else. The structure was pretty good and your moderating was pretty good, I’d just echo what other people said about time allocation.
Overton Gymnastics is a good exercise!
Very interesting to see a meetup with people who are all quite new to rationality!
The game [exercise] was not well explained at all!!
I found the Sequences posts rather boring / not super interesting.
I’m not sure if having newbies to rationality in the group is a good idea.
Maybe more moderation?
Great seeing all of you again!
Happy to again exchange thoughts with all of you.
The dynamic of the discussion round was not ideal this time.
Not enough air circulation [because of COVID].
We should allocate fixed time slots to every post [to avoid the discussion getting too deep into other subjects].
The group was too large [10 people] for one discussion round.
Discussing three posts [as we did] and not more is ideal.
We should have split into two groups of five people.
There was not enough time for the exercise. The discussion should only take up half the time.
Please arrive 5 minutes before the start to avoid the entire session starting 15 minutes late.
5 people group size is good. x2
Prediction game. Manifold Markets. The chosen questions. All very nice.
Interesting experience. I will come back. I was irritated by the music [coming in through the windows from the street]. The UI from Manifold Markets is confusing and I won’t be using it. 2 hours was too short for the event.
I was missing a little more “instrumental rationality” e.g. TAPs.
Giving a short summary of every text is a good custom that we should keep up [we did not do it this time] for people who have not read the texts. One person is responsible.
The goal of the meetup was unclear beforehand. I was unaware it was so formal. It would have been better to arrive on time. If you host such a structured meetup it would be better to go all the way and make it even more formal. Having conversations about [ACX] posts would happen naturally during dinner anyway.
I really liked the meetup.
The exercise was weird.
I really liked the summaries of the ACX posts.
Thank you for organizing this. I appreciate very much how serious you take feedback and how attentive you are as a organizer by adapting the meetup according to it. There is however a risk that catering too much to the participants could lead to stagnation of the group. Nevertheless, trying to keep things in flux (for better or worse) is a great quality for an organizer and is better than sticking only with one formula.
It was my first time in the group. I think it is very unusual to find people who try to do such exercises to improve themselves. The exercise [falling drill] was not very effective because it was clear that it was only a simulation.
During the exercise [falling drill] I was in fact wrong about something where in fact I thought I would be right. That was unexpected, but it was very easy for me to admit this and that is unusual. Usually it’s hard for me to admit a mistake, but I felt comfortable doing it in this group.
During the first part of the meetup it would have been better to go deeper into one or two ACX posts instead of briefly presenting one per person.
I will return!
It was my first time and the first round [discussing ACX posts] was great! It gave me new things to consider that I had never thought about. Concerning the game [falling drill] I already train being able to be wrong a lot so I probably fail more often in the opposite direction [being too unsure], so it wasn’t very effective for me.
The setting was too artificial for the game [falling drill].
I really appreciate your [organizer’s] work. We should have spent more time on the first round [discussing ACX posts]. It was too short.
Forming two groups of 5-6 people was great! The perfect size. In bigger groups people get lost.
It was a very nice way of spending the evening.
I am blown away by the effort you invested in preparing this.
The accoustics of the room were annoying.
The group size was ideal.
The exercise [falling drill] would work better if you had to give confidence intervals and could be criticized for choosing those badly.
Best: Hike on the next day.
Best: Getting to know new people and discussing our favourite posts from the ACX/SSC blogs.
Best: Discussing our favourite articles by Scott, and also the hike on the day after.
Best: The sheer number of new, astonishing insights.
Best: Level of conversation was high.
Best: Improving my ability to say out loud when I’m wrong, without feeling bad about it.
Worst: The room.
Worst: Felt a tiny(!) bit cultish.
Worst: Disturbing political opinions.
Worst: The location was uninspiring.
Worst: The room had bad accoustics.
I don’t like going to restaurants that much, it’s much more expensive than what I usually spend on food.
Less structured meetings or a way to branch ideas into spin-off collaborations in a structured context might make me more excited to come.
Omar is cool. He’s a little obsessed with perfection. He needs to loosen up a bit. These things take time to grow.
Interesting concepts shared. Rationality is certainly a toolkit that can be applied in everything and can benefit many people and a lot of lives. But it’s not universally seen as a good because it’s a competitor to many classic frameworks like organized religion. So developing a model that competes on the same playing field is tough.
The exercise [Hamming circle] was probably helpful for an issue I have been thinking about for several years.
I was not so happy that only four people came.
What you [the organizer] are doing here is really valuable.
I enjoyed the exercise [Hamming circle]. It made me make up my mind.
We should keep the exercise part of the meetup.
I really enjoyed it.
I liked the Hamming circle very much. Especially having to turn around while the advisors were discussing, something which I had anticipated I wouldn’t like.
The discussion round about “Trusting experts” didn’t get to the core of the issue. It would have required drawing on the whiteboard and a couple of hours of time.
Acoustics of the room were great.
TAPs was interesting.
Getting to know cool people.
I didn’t get Occam’s razor.
Lack of structure and bad time allocation.
I liked the mix of discussions and practical things.
I liked both parts.
Very nice joint event [with EA Freiburg].
I learnt something. x2
Nice mix of input and exercises.
I am glad it was so interactive.
Interesting. It took longer than expected to get into the subject [long introduction]. I liked it.
I liked the refreshed [on probability theory]. Took too long to get started. It would have been better to define some terms and present a clear agenda for the evening upfront.
I liked it. It was a good refresher. I was missing a little the “how to apply it” part.
Good mix of presentation and exercises. Good refresher.
Fun and interesting.
The content of the talk has good applicability to life.
Considering the prior probability of events before evaluating the evidence was something I had not thought about before.
I have a better understanding of Bayes’ theorem now.
Timing was not optimal. It would have been better to have more time to think about a strategy for the Poker game.
I realized that I do not think enough about priors.
You should have focused a little bit more about why our intuition fails us and how to come to a better intuitive grasp of these concepts.
It opened new perspectives.
The talk was well prepared.