Q: Who are the "rationalists"?
A: The rationalists are a group of people that have historically congregated in the comment sections of LessWrong, Slate Star Codex (SSC)/Astral Codex Ten (ACX), and other blogs that LessWrong regulars have started.
It's since evolved beyond those blogs to become its own social community, attracting people who generally tend to enjoy truthseeking, secular humanism, and interesting conversations. These communities are mostly online, but there are also meetups in most major cities. Also, don't get me wrong, we still love the blogs a lot and read them regularly.
Q: Dude, isnt it kind of cringe to call yourself a "rationalist"?
A: The name "rationalist" is admittedly terrible, but the more accurate and modest term "aspiring rationalist" is a bit too unwieldy for everyday use, and for some reason no one was super enthusiastic about being called an "aspie". So we're stuck with it :(
In this group we mostly shorten the collective description to "rats", which leads to people saying stuff like "how many rats are going to be at the movie?", which is a great consolation prize.
Q: What do you guys do?
A: We meet up weekly to chat about rationalist topics or run experimental workshops, hang out, and eat snacks (healthy and vegetarian friendly). At any given meetup, expect ~6-12 people.
To get a sense of what the meetups are like, you can check out the backlog of all of our previous meetups here.
Q: Who can come to your meetups?
A: Anyone who's enjoyed any article from LessWrong, Astral Codex Ten, or ACX's predecessor blog Slate Star Codex. If you're curious, you can try one of the following articles on for size: here is one on science, one on politics, and one on cactus people.
The default hangout space is the organizer's apartment party room, in Uptown Waterloo. Topics are posted usually 3-4 days before the meetup, but you'll also have access to the spreadsheet of upcoming meetups once you come to an in-person event.
Please come even if you think you wouldn't fit in, don't consider yourself a "meetup" person, or think it's weird to show up to a stranger's house (dozens of people have done it and they all still have their kidneys). Multiple people who are now regulars had similar misgivings but found themselves having a good time!
We welcome people of all ages, genders, and orientations.
Q: Who is organizing these things?
A: I'm Jenn! I've been in the rationality community ever since I followed an HPMOR update to LessWrong sometime in the early 2010s. I'm also an effective altruist, but I don't find their events particularly interesting :P
I happen to have a nice job that leaves me with excess brainpower and time to spare for planning social stuff, and this is what you end up with if you're an extrovert that's terminally online and allergic to normal parties.
For questions, hit me up on LessWrong, or email me at jenn [at] kwrationality.ca.