Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me A Map

I was recently looking through some old concept-maps of communities, like Julia’s Map of Bay Area Memespace, Scharlach’s Dark Enlightenment Roadmap and especially xkcd’s map of the Internet.

And I thought we should have something like that for the rationalist community. Except of course much, much better.

Click to expand

Most things are links.

Links around the outer edge are places outside the rationalist community that have significant communication/cross-pollination with us.

City size is proportional to site Alexa rank (when available), number of followers (when available) or wild guess (otherwise).

If I left you out, it’s probably because I forgot about you and not because I don’t like you. Some communities like Twitter or Tumblr were so big I couldn’t include everyone, and my choices were mostly random and based on who I knew about.

Various icons taken from their rightful owners, mostly Civ2 modpacks. Sorry, rightful owners.

167 thoughts on “Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me A Map

  1. Pingback: Trust-powered feedback loops - Malcolm Ocean

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  3. Rory O’Kane

    A few cities are missing their links:

    Rationalist Conspiracy” in Rationality and the north-east blogosphere
    “Michigan” in north-west Meetup Groups
    “Mountain View” in south-west Meetup Groups

    I acknowledge that the reason the last two have no links might be that they have no official website.

  4. Robin Green

    There’s a gap in the wall between neoreaction and social justice on the far left wing. Is this what Justine Tunney used to cross over between the two lands?

  5. Pingback: Monday Miscellany: Morals, Molyneux, Maps | Gruntled & Hinged

  6. Eli

    Oy! Hey hey hey hey hey hey! Why isn’t there a mark for Tel-Aviv on the Continent of Meetups? Just who the hell do you think we are!?

  7. chaosmage

    I don’t know if anyone considers them part of “the community”, but the FiveThirtyEight blog (which gives fairly in-depth statistical analyses) is as Bayesian as it gets and lots of us read it so I think including it would make sense.

  8. Matthew

    and pushing back the Tartars

    Tartar is a misnomer applied to draw an association with Tartarus. The actual ethnic group is Tatar.

  9. Eli

    So what spot do I mark down for myself if I can’t be bothered to spew lots of text out into the ether on a regular basis?

    Huh, I should probably go build something on the Isle of Personal Websites. Or keep seeing if I can get a job at Quixey.

  10. Nancy Lebovitz

    The map is beautiful as well as good– the color palette is lovely, and not in common use.

    I’m wondering whether the map will tend to speed the Singularity or slow it down.

    The hashtags aren’t working as links. Are they supposed to?

  11. Multiheaded

    I just got a tumblr! (Giant thanks to Ozy for encouragement and exposure.)

    http://multiheaded1793.tumblr.com/

    I follow and am followed by some rational!SJ people, but I don’t identify as a “Rationalist” because of my many, many (not necessarily SJ-related) issues with the Less Wrong legacy. I do subscribe to a lot of SSC-sphere discourse, so there’s that.

    The main “serious” goals are going to be 1) fight for a less horrible SJ, and 2) help bridge the inferential gap with a lot of “serious”/old-school leftist stuff, like egalitarian political thought, Marxist feminism and the philosophical bits of radfem thought.

  12. Anonymous

    I doubt I will ever understand the multicolored sun twitters, and I have been trying to for a while.

  13. Aris Katsaris

    This is awesome.

    Thoughts primarily on the fiction peninsula. I consider it currently too empty:
    – Perhaps a peak overlooking it to correspond to http://www.reddit.com/r/rational/ ?
    – Should munchkinery fiction find a place here? Fiction like “Worm” “Harry Potter & the Natural 20” “The Two Year Emperor” aren’t really rationalist in the sense of a normal person being able to extract useful lessons from them, nor do they really focus on transhumanist ideas, but they depict intelligence as highly valuable and depict people finding clever ways to manipulate the rather absurd rules of their environment.
    – Perhaps something to illustrate the collection of city states that comprise The OptimalVerse (the http://www.fimfiction.net/group/1857/the-optimalverse )as a whole, the stories set in the universe of “Friendship is Optimal”?

    1. Robby Bensinger

      Your first suggestions seem like good candidates for a fiction Box Off To The Side, if one gets added. Though I’m worried if we proliferate side-boxes we’ll just end up with lists of every book or blog a LWer has ever read.

  14. Alexander Stanislaw

    Beautiful map – putting those world making skills to use huh?

    I’m guessing self-identification is not a criteria? (Gilbert wouldn’t choose to be on the map). And is there any specific reason why regions border each other? Because Leah Libresco is nowhere near neoreaction.

    1. Zathille

      Considering how Social Justice borders Neoreaction, I’d say borders are more likely to represent related subject matters rather than actual agreement.

      1. Alexander Stanislaw

        Oh yeah, when I said she is nowhere near neoreaction I meant that the content she produces is not related to it at all. She doesn’t talk about politics or policy much and is more interested in ethics, religion, discourse between ideological opponents, and cultivating personal virtue.

  15. Anonymous

    Great map! Finding new things each time I look at it. Any significance to the rivers? I thought they might indicate potential trade routes.

  16. Ozy Frantz

    The Rationalist Tumblr Continent is a product of colonization, mostly from Twitter and Social Justice, and conversion of the inhabitants by telling them about the Good News of Effulgence.

    1. aguycalledjohn

      The colonists quickly abandoned the puritan morals of their forebears and descended into dedcadence, including making vast stone idols of cats and attractive television characters

  17. social justice warlock

    Are you using “Hyperborean” and “Atlantean” here as Land does? Because my intuition would be the opposite, if anything.

  18. Carinthium

    On the serious points (since I don’t know enough about the rationality community to do justice to most of them):
    -I don’t see what’s so ‘insane’ about the things Yudkowsky has written. Even if it differs from common intutions, that doesn’t make it any less likely to be true.

    1. Anonymous

      > if it differs from common intutions, that doesn’t make it any less likely to be true.

      I would argue that intuitions that are true are better at persisting than intuitions that are not true, so something going against intuitions is (albeit very small) evidence against it.

      1. Eli

        Even the most helpful intuitions only track truth at the level of abstraction or reduction at which they operate. It is both intuitive and true that the sky is blue, but this tells me nothing about Raleigh Scattering. Likewise, if I understand optics at a deep level I can derive from that knowledge true but extremely counterintuitive statements.

  19. Leonhart

    Is the giant owl near MIRI the one from the cover of Bostrom’s ‘Superintelligence’?
    What does the central circle represent?
    Can we get a little glowing portal on the outskirts of Friendship is Optimal, marked simply “Exit”?

    1. Vulture

      I think you’ll find that the owl links to the amazon page for Superintelligence, and that the circle is (not entirely clearly) labelled “The Blogosphere (Technically More Of A Blogocircle)”.

  20. AR+

    Well, the Giant Wall Which Must Never Be Removed obviously doesn’t stop them from fighting, so I guess it must be there to prevent cross-pollination. Social justice values w/ neoreactionary beliefs, or vice versa. Scary, scary…

    1. Erik

      I speculated that the excellent Giant Wall was there to inhibit low-grade fighting, of the “you stupid!” “you suck!” sort, which there would otherwise be a hell of a lot of.

      But your explanation makes sense too.

        1. Erik

          The entrenched meme is that of a three-way split between the ethno-nationalists (“racist socialists!”), the techno-commercialists (“unsustainable degenerate moneygrubbers!”) and the theonomists (“backward fundamentalists!”) shouting at one another for being full of fail. Also, here’s Jim shouting at all three mentioned for being full of fail. There’s probably room for a fourth part of the split too, this one bordering the manosphere

          Internally we prefer to think of it as robust debate, not treating each other badly. 😉

        2. Nancy Lebovitz

          Jim does raise an interesting point in that essay– what contracts are worth enforcing?

          I’m at least as interested in the question of whether some contracts are so long or vague as to be incomprehensible, and therefore not worth enforcing.

  21. Kaj Sotala

    …okay, now that I’m a city on a map, I so want to start a rationalist city role-playing game similar to Micras, elaborately plotting out the diplomatic relations between our cities as well as the internal politics of each.

    Who’s with me?

    1. Emile

      I’m with you, but I’m not on the map – waidaminute, is this some ploy to get us lurkers and backseat drivers to go out and get a blog?

      It would be fun to narrate the history of bits of the blogosphere in terms of international politics – the blogroll is trade, commenters are population, flame wars are wars … like some kind of reverse Hetalia.

  22. Matthew

    It’s sort of ironic that most of it looks like a supercontinent, and not, oh, I don’t know… an archipelago.

    Unless we’re supposed to assume that the whole thing is one small island, with everything below the sanity waterline off the map (or under the water).

    1. Rowan

      The dotted lines that connect to squares listing other blogs seem to represent sea routes that go beyond the borders of the map, connecting to other islands.

  23. DrBeat

    I don’t get the “map” part of this. Like, what relationships are depicted by the relative size or distance of one point from another? Are ideas that border each other related, or have highly overlapping userbases, or… I just don’t know what’s going on here.

  24. Carinthium

    A few questions from somebody who follows Slate Star Codex but doesn’t know many of these.

    1- Requesting clarification on “Common Sense Athiesm” (ruins).
    2- What the hell is Secret Treehouse?
    3- Can somebody help me understand what on earth the PostRationality movement is?

      1. Anonymous

        Multiheaded has been dropping hints about it and names of members for a while. If it is a joke, it didn’t start with the map.

        1. nydwracu

          Only one secret treehouse? All the other secret treehice are better at secrecy, I see. They are also better at pluralization. Regularity is boring.

          And there are a lot of them. So many, in fact, that you could say that the sites that are publicly visible are just the tip of the hiceberg.

        1. Eneasz

          Desirism is a combination of Preference Utilitarianism and Virtue Ethics. It was developed by Alonzo Fyfe, and is actually really useful. It was what finally brought me some sanity in my life, because (as the saying goes) “Consequentialism is what is right, Virtue Ethics is what works for humans”. It’s nice to have a moral code that doesn’t require you to be a god. The only real joke is that Common Sense Atheism was abandoned while it was insanely popular and gaining more audience, as Luke found Overcoming Bias and went off to join MIRI. (mad props to Luke) This left a lot of people saddened, and leaving while really popular is a great way to be remembered.

        1. Vulture

          Ah, thanks. I think it’s kind of a silly term since that all seems to be pretty much LW orthodoxy (or close to it) at this point, but I can see it having historical utility.

      1. Vulture

        I concur with the question in the grandparent. After reading the comments here and the ‘About’ sections of the sites on the map, I still have literally no idea what it is aside from what I can vaguely infer from the name.

        1. Leonhart

          Performed the same exercise with the same results (actually I read through Yearly Cider, as there’s not all that many words on it, but nothing seemed outside general LW-orthodoxy).

          The only previous referent for ‘post-rationality’ I had was “Will Newsome after he took his Vow of Incomprehensibility” so I was expecting something weirder.

  25. RCF

    What does “Patheos Catholic” mean? Is that supposed to refer to a specific blog, or is it referring to the entire Catholic channel?

  26. Vulture

    Excellent work! I absolutely love stuff like this and I am very pleased that you did this.

    Directed at the dedicated map-improver guy who said he’d read all the comments :p : If it’s even close enough in terms of readership scale to show up, I think the rational fic subreddit should go on there. The HPMoR one is even bigger, but it feels a little odd to include it separately. I think the Death Is Bad blog definitely merits inclusion. I’m not sure if Scott Adams’s blog should go on the map or just in one of the sidebar things (I’m thinking the latter), but I’d say it probably deserves a mention.

  27. Gabriel

    Absent from Twitter nation:

    @themattsimpson
    @thesublemon
    @simplic10
    @grognor
    @david_kenneth_d
    @GrumplessGrinch
    @emareaf
    @pthagnar
    @oddblots
    @cathedralwhatev
    @rachelhaywire
    @DoTheWeirdStuff
    @cwage
    @mr_archenemy
    @nyansandwich
    @schakalsynthetc
    @jasonroy
    …and, ahem, me: @gabrielduquette

    This selection represents the ragtag band of misfits that aren’t strict neoreactionaries, social justicers, or rationalists. It’s not an exhaustive list, but enlarging it any further will require ethnographic delineation that I’m not up for doing.

  28. memeticengineer

    Oh no, more stuff to read!

    Comments on tangential detail of the map: why does Xianity abut both Neoreaction and Social Justice, but Atheism only Social Justices? I’d expect there are more atheist neoreactinaries than Christian social justice activists. Why no explicit libertarian section? I’d expect more overlap between libertarianism and rationalism, but maybe they have all gone neoreactionary now.

    Semi-off-topic: every time one of Scott’s anti-SJ posts leads me to update my prior against the direction of SJ concepts being valid and useful, I read Ozy’s tumblr which leads me to update in the other direction. Effects of reading SSC on SJ beliefs are hard to predict.

    1. Matthew

      As long as we’re doing off-topic. I had sort of thought that the cluster of people expressing unease with comtemporary social justice tropes from the left/center-left was largely confined to Scott and Freddie Deboer. But I just discovered this, which looks rather interesting. I don’t think it’s at the same level as Scott’s work, in the sense that it appears to be less careful about tin-manning-as-superweapon (against SJWs), but still interesting.

      1. Mai La Dreapta

        That book looks really good, especially because it covers events which were important and significant to me. Gosh, I could almost see myself sympathizing with that guy.

    2. DavidS

      I would be surprised if there were more atheist neoreactionaries than Christian social justice activists. Just because being Christian and being social-justicey are simply far more common than being atheist or neoreactionary.

      1. memeticengineer

        Good point, and you are probably right about the intersection of these traits general population. But many popular SJ writers seem non- or anti-Christian, while at least some NRX writers seem to personally be atheists (even if they endorse religion for its social control potential). Still, I am probably reading too much into the borders.

    3. Deiseach

      Re: Christianity and Social Justice – I am rather confused about the current usage of “social justice” because this is something that has (at least as far as I see it) popped up in common currency very recently, a year or two or more.

      But how I knew the term was through Catholicism, classically attributed to the encyclical Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII in 1891. And hitting up Wikipedia, I see the invention of the term “social justice” is attributed to a Jesuit in the 1840s.

      So when someone asks “why does Christianity get social justice?”, I tend to react “Because we invented it, at least in the form it is currently known?” I really do think a lot of the secular ‘social justice’ movement in the American context bled out of the post-Vatican II push towards greater involvement in society by religious orders and the development of liberation theology (worker priests, base communities, etc.)

  29. Anonymous

    That’s awesome Scott. I have some feedback for when someone makes a version two.

    Things I love:
    – it has links
    – Common Sense Atheism (ruins)
    – I lol’d at seeing the name Malcolm Ocean as I do so often on facebook
    – neoraction has a castle

    Things that are weird:
    – where is Vassar?
    – Jeff Kaufman and Giving Gladly should be on the island of effective altruism.
    – Why it Reflective Disequilibrium so far from Rational Altruist? Paul and Carl’s blogs are very alike.
    – the blogs in squares on the side compromise the otherwise nice feel of the map.

    1. Nornagest

      where is Vassar?

      In a heavily armed airship hovering somewhere over the rationalism/postrationalism border.

      Clearly.

    2. Julia

      Agree that Giving Gladly should be in EA land.
      Unclear where Jeff’s blog should be – his topics are pretty random.

    3. MK

      – the blogs in squares on the side compromise the otherwise nice feel of the map.

      That’s true. Out of curiosity, Scott, why didn’t you make them small islands?

  30. Scott Messick

    I love visualizations for abstract things, and this is a nice one. Also, I assume yudkowsky.com was supposed to be yudkowsky.net.

    1. Scott Alexander Post author

      More awesome? Take care, lest your unbridled greed should doom us all!

      (Fractal Mapper for the continent shapes and rivers, Photoshop for everything else)

      1. Alyssa Vance

        Thanks! Can you email me the source files (.psd, etc.)? If you do, I will precommit to reading every comment here and making a version 2 that includes all the ones making reasonable sense.

        1. Erica E

          Thanks for updating!

          For version 2: “Ohio” should be changed to Columbus and should link to the Facebook group which is actually active, instead of the old email listserv (which isn’t).

          Totally my fault that that’s out of date, because I never updated the name or contact info on the LW wiki or anywhere else. 🙂

          https://www.facebook.com/groups/563449250347654/

    2. Rob Miles

      I would bet actual money that Scott owns software designed specifically for creating fictional maps. It just seems like something he would have.

      Edit: let the record show that Scott’s reply only showed up for me after I posted this

  31. IllidanStR

    This map is good, Scott, and you should feel good.

    I love both community and shared goals. I love me some rites and traditions, too, and modern living doesn’t seem to have many of those to feel good about. Maybe we should create some, like this map, just because we can, and because stimulating the positive areas of our brain for doing good things is a good thing.

    The rationalist blogs have helped me become a better person. Tumblr friends have helped me keep going onward and trying and retaining some semblance of a social connection when I need it most.

    So I hope a lot of you reading this who are on this map feel good for what you’ve done for other people through your work and effort and all the nice things you’ve made. Thanks.

  32. Iceman

    I’m honoured to be included. I never really thought that Friendship is Optimal would become as much of a “thing” as it’s become.

    1. Toggle

      I’m happy to see it make the map in an otherwise sparse fiction representation. The Optimalverse group library is getting formidable, and I’ve been sinking a surprising amount of time in to it. (Probably about as much as reading this blog, actually.)

    1. Yxoque

      Good to know. I scheduled today to go over the masterlist and throw out blogs that don’t exist anymore. I’ll keep yours on then.

  33. Multiheaded

    This is an encouragement for certain high-quality neoreactionaries to denounce certain low-quality neoreactionaries mentioned on the map.

    Also, please please please add Chris Dillow’s blog to economics! He’s a wonderful person, AND a serious rationality-minded libertarian, AND a Marxist!

    http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/

      1. kaninchen

        For what it’s worth, while Dillow is interesting I’ve always found him to be a prime example of how a large body of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. To wit, he will rightly point out the many ways in which cognitive biases may make us more pro-capitalist/managerialist, but will never (in my experience – if I’m wrong, please provide counterexamples) suggest how they might make us more socialist/egalitarian. (Then again, you could probably say something similar about Bryan Caplan except with political positions reversed, and I’m not going to dispute his placement on this. On the other hand, Bryan gave us the Ideological Turing Test.)

    1. BenSix

      Chris Dillow is interesting, including in disagreement.

      “Neoreaction” and “social justice” are shaping up to be the England and France of this map.

      1. J Scott

        “Neoreaction” and “social justice” are shaping up to be the England and France of this map.

        I’d have gone with Pakistan and India.

    2. memeticengineer

      The old Jim essay linked on Twitter is pretty insightful. For those who didn’t read, it’s about his early experiences in various communist and socialist groups and how he became disillusioned with those beliefs based on his experiences.

      But looking at it his recent writings, I wonder if the saying “reversed stupidity is not intelligence” was written about him.

      1. memeticengineer

        I read the most recent 8 posts on his blog and tried to think about them. Conclusion: 4 are triggering and even on consideration obviously wrong; 2 are triggering and their main point is probably right (but I’ve seen the same point made with less triggering); 1 is confusing and probably wrong in its final conclusion; and 1 is confusing and I can’t tell what point it is making enough to even judge if it’s right.

        Conclusion: for me, not enough insight for the level of triggering, since I can probably get the good ideas from people who are not deliberately super confrontational.

      2. memeticengineer

        I’ve been trying to read whatever are identified as the best SJ bloggers, so it’s only fair (I am not really on board with SJ or NRX for the record, though I probably share some nontrivial terminal values with both). This is increasingly off-topic, but here’s my classification:

        “Nice guys finish last”- triggering and wrong (except to the degree he agrees with Scott, but no points earned for that).

        “Recap on Ukraine” – triggering and wrong

        “leftism as cancer” – confusing and can’t tell what the point is

        “The rectification of names part one” – triggering and wrong

        “Muslim predation in Rotheram” – triggering but some correct points (though made better elsewhere)

        “Moravec’s paradox, RNA, and uploads.” – confusing and probably wrong (no real evidence for central claims)

        “Marriage is gay” – triggering and wrong (article linked to even more absurd)

        “Supposedly black Egypt” – triggering but correct central points as I understand them (though made better elsewhere).

        Your insight:trigger ratio may vary.

        I also tried reading the Radish article linked. It was interesting and made me think anew about the “Lovecraft is racist” meme. I still think he’s racist on net but I don’t personally have a problem with art by artists who are wrong or immoral. However, the next one I read was the one about free speech and the left’s at best situational appreciation for it. A bunch of insightful analysis, and then suddenly it’s wholeheartedly defending chattel slavery and I’m like “wat”.

    3. BenSix

      If one thing is liable to endear people to someone it’s their ideological opponents demanding that they disassociate themselves from them for unstated reasons. Which is not to say that one’s opponents cannot make fair points about one’s allies but that launching a will-you-condemnathon is bound to get people’s backs up. It’s like your mum insisting that a friend is a bad influence.

      1. no one special

        I was excited to read that, then disappointed to discover that the blog hasn’t been updated since 2011.

    4. 27chaos

      Another recommendation: David Friedman, who is Thomas Friedman’s son, writes surprisingly solid arguments from a libertarian view.

    5. memeticengineer

      I’ll bite. How can you be a both a libertarian and a Marxist? Is there a key post that summarizes his positions or that explains how he reconciles the conflict?

      1. Alejandro

        I can’t find any such summarizing post now, but this passing quote from a recent one may give you an idea:

        Owen Jones has a brilliant description [link to an article against bailouts and other big-business-subsidizing government policies] of how the state doles out welfare to the rich whilst bashing the poor. What should be the political response to this?

        I fear that social democrats see this merely as a failing of personnel; if only we had politicians of enough courage and sense of justice, things would be different. In fact, this is nowhere near enough. There are powerful structural reasons for the pattern Owen describes – for why, in Marx’s words, the state is “a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.”

        1. blacktrance

          I know a lot of non-Marxists who say things that sound almost exactly like this. Specifically, I have a libertarian friend who prefers Marxists to regular progressives because Marxists view the state as a tool of the ruling class, rather than as a mostly benevolent tool.

        2. memeticengineer

          As far as that goes, it seems like a sentiment that almost any Marxist or libertarian could agree with. Where I’d expect them to diverge is on what they conclude from this: a libertarian would say (1)”and that’s why we must greatly limit the power of the state”; a Marxist would say (2)”and that’s why the working class must seize the state and institute the dictatorship of the proletariat”. Would Dillow say neither, both, or something else entirely? I can’t entirely tell from the rest of the quoted post, but from the conclusion it sounds like straight up (2). So I guess he’s a Marxist who has heard of public choice theory?

    1. von Kalifornen

      Both of them have pretty significant communication with rationality and both of them consider the rationalist movement to have been important to the formation of their ideology.

    2. Vulture

      Personally, I was more surprised to see *social justice blogs* on there (sorry Ozy). But I guess that’s the orthogonality thesis for ya :p

      1. Multiheaded

        On that note… Forgive my customary abrasiveness, but do you *really* not understand how the PR aspect of this would have looked with a lot of neoreaction and no SJ?

        1. Vulture

          I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Are you implying that Scott put undeserving social justice blogs on the map just to balance out the political representation?

          1. Multiheaded

            No way! I’m just saying it’s conincidentally a great thing that Scott ended up balancing out the nrx with some deserving SJ. Because if Scott just wasn’t very interested in the online representation of the pro-SJ side of his views… this would give uninformed people a poor representation of the SSC-sphere’s general social attitude.

          2. Vulture

            (Have you ever noticed that you’re pretty much the only commenter on this blog who’s sarcastic/disingenuous like that? I have to say that it makes it hard for me to enjoy arguing with you.)

            On-topic, I have to say that promoting unworthy social justice blogs for PC cred doesn’t really seem like Scott’s *style*. And anyway, if that other guy follows through in taking up the reins then I’m sure that any systematic distortions which might be concerning you will be somewhat ironed out.

          3. Nornagest

            …I’m pretty sure Multi is not, in this instance, being sarcastic.

            I unfacetiously agree with pretty much all of the grandparent, at any rate. It really would look very bad from a PR perspective if NRx was on that map without a corresponding social justice contingent, and I really don’t think that Scott had PR in mind when he put either one there.

            (The LWsphere is really bad at PR. With respect to Scott, I don’t think that kind of subterfuge would even occur to him.)

    3. Ozy Frantz

      The map also has Kruel and Rob Nostalgebraist. Agreeing with the rationalist consensus is clearly not a criterion for being a rationalist.

  34. maia

    DC meetup group? We have 8ish regular members… was more, but I along with a couple others moved to the Bay recently…

  35. Error

    I love that the map of the rationalist community is itself on the map of the rationalist community. Hofstadter would be proud.

    Edit: Also for some reason I’m mentally pronouncing “whaaales” in a leeroy-jenkins-ish tone, which may not be quite what you had in mind.

  36. Jordan D.

    Does anyone else have an oddly powerful desire to go live in the City of Very Confused People Who Built A City On The Compass Rose? Because I really want to move there.

    1. Ialdabaoth

      It is now my lifegoal to plant an actual blog there.

      It will be a metablog that blogs about rationalist blogs.

      And it will be here.

      1. Luke Somers

        Oddly enough, it’s a good name for a rationalist blog even without this map. Very map vs territory.

      2. Ruby

        Ialdabaoth, that’s a .dk blogspot address – you’re in Danmark?

        We’ve got a LW meetup on in Copenhagen this weekend.

        1. Creutzer

          It seems that blogspot has a new habit of presenting you with a url that ends in your own country code when you access a blog.

    2. Ruthan

      Can’t say so, but I did have an oddly powerful desire to break into a slightly modified version of a particular Journey song.

  37. Ruby

    Great map!

    For future versions, Melbourne should be NYC size or larger. Absolute numbers of LW affiliated folk might not be as high as NY or Berkeley, but the community activity, organisation, attendance at meetups, and cohesiveness are best in kind.

    1. JTHM

      Do you live in Melbourne, or spend a lot of time there? If you’d spare the time, there are a few things I’d like to know about it of the variety that Wikipedia can’t tell me:

      How large are the rationalist and transhumanist communities in Melbourne, in absolute terms? (I’m not familiar with the NYC LessWrong group)

      How favorable/hostile are the locals to entrepeneurship on an ideological level? Do you have anything equivalent to, say, the protesters who hurl rocks at Google buses or media outlets like Gawker or Slate stirring up resentment against business on a regular basis?

      How frequently do Australian media accuse local companies of bigotry in hiring relative to American media accusing American companies of bigotry in hiring?

      Is there a significant ‘startup subculture’ in Melbourne?

      How warmly would an American be received there?

      1. Michael R

        Some words from a Melbourne resident:

        1) (Disclaimer: I wouldn’t call myself a rationalist… I just lurk.)
        I can’t speak to the size or activity of the local rationalist group… sorry. I can say that it exists, and has struck me as being more rationalist that transhumanist.

        2a) (Disclaimer: I’m a company man, and don’t prioritise the values that make an entrepreneur.)
        Entrepreneurship is… a thing that some people do. You won’t get hostility or credit solely for being an entrepreneur. Success will bring you positive recognition, but that’s more about success than about entrepreneurship.

        2b) Protests against business are going to be driven by actual issues, so this is hard to answer without specific examples. I think you’d have to go a long way towards to get that sort of hostility. So, say if you open a restaurant that fillets live chickens in front of patrons, then I’d expect you would draw some protesters. And legal action.

        If you want to research, the two local papers are The Herald-Sun (a conservative/populist News Corp paper) and The Age (a liberal paper).

        3) (Disclaimer: I’m a white male with all sorts of privilege.)
        My understanding is that Melbourne (and much of Australia) does interracial relationships quite well. There are large segments of Europeans, Asian and Indian populations that mix mostly happily. We have enclaves but few ghettos.

        At any given point in time, there are tensions around the latest immigrants. Greeks and Italians in the 60’s, Vietnamese in the 70s and 80s, currently some African and Mid-Eastern groups.

        There is a notable long term failure with the Aboriginal community, which suffers in health, education, and in fact most metrics. In Melbourne this is a small issue… as far as I’m aware there isn’t a strong community here. Sydney and especially Darwin have much more significant problems.

        Sexism is much more likely to be a flash point. But you’d have to do something reasonably egregious to merit any sort of persecution.

        4) I can’t speak to a ‘start up culture’. Pluses I can think of: * There’s a reasonable IT community, if it’s that sort of start up.
        * There’s several million people with moderate levels of internet access, so you can probably find a group.
        * Australian health care is excellent and dominated by single payer.

        But… Melbourne is an expensive city (6th in the world, last I heard). You could head out to suburbs (which stretch for 20 to 40 kms in most directions), or one of the surrounding towns (Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo).

        5) The only reason an American wouldn’t be warmly received is if he was a bit of a dick. Although, note usual issues about making friends as an adult i.e. it can be hard.

        This is probably more of an essay than Scott wants. I’m happy to take other questions by email, if you’d like.

      2. Scott F

        (Coming from a Melbourne regular/organiser/secret Overlord)

        There’s approximately 50 rationalists in the community, with maybe half of those being very active (coming to every event, etc). There’s another hundred or so tangentially connected people who wouldn’t call themselves rationalists or consider themselves part of the rationalist community, but we and they mutually enjoy each others’ company.

        Transhumanism is smaller. I’d be one of those ‘not a transhumanist but mutually enjoy each others’ company’ people, and so couldn’t tell you much. They do have at least one heroic organiser for the transhumanist community, though.

        (now on less certain ground)

        There is no ideological opposition to business anything like that scale. About the only protests here are directed at the government, I believe (but I do not know much about protests and ideological opposition in Melbourne, which maybe indicates that it’s small enough to ignore.)

        Bigotry in hiring, media accusations of: Again I can’t speak of that which I haven’t heard. Relative to American levels it must be much lower, since I have a toe in the water of American media and all the bigotry in hiring accusations I’ve heard are American.

        There is a (very) small start-up culture; I’m not super familiar with it but this seems like it’s the center? I would be hard-pressed to name another place that focuses on startups. My impression is that it’s growing faster than the economy at large but nowhere near the Silicon Valley rates, and venture capital is pretty rare.

        An American would be received neutrally, I think? Good-natured teasing about your country is to be expected, though, which might grate.

      3. Anonymous

        rationalist community = 30 (SF = 120, Oxford EA community = 45, for comparison)
        transhumanist community = 10?

        entrepreneurship = mildly favoured, nowhere near SF
        accusation of bigotry in hiring = I have never heard of this occurring in Australia. America has huge race politics compared to Australia. I think this might be because of its history of slavery and some other cultural factors that I don’t understand. I’m a white male but as far as I can discern, Australia seems to have both less racism and less race politics than the states.

        Startup subculture – Melbourne isn’t in the top ten in the world but I think it would be in the top thirty.

        American – neutral. Culture is similar. America are friends of Australia but Americans are thought to be brash and arrogant.

  38. Eneasz

    Oh wow, I am honored to have been included. And honestly surprised. From the inside it still feels more like a diary than a blog, certainly not something that would show up on a map of anything.

  39. Nornagest

    I’m kind of tickled that MIRI appears in this model to be the capital of Fictionland.

    Also, the Bayesian Conspiracy @ Burning Man is no more. It’s hard to point to a single successor camp, and a lot of people are doing their own thing or have folded themselves into more or less unrelated camps, but Paradigm is probably the closest: it’s split more or less evenly between Less Wrong people and Leverage people.

    Don’t think the Berkeley meetup group deserves its gold either, although Berkeley is in the unusual position of having a relatively insignificant formal meetup and a much larger cluster of LW/MIRI/CFAR people who all know each other and hang out and go to parties but who rarely attend meetups. The meetup was a bigger deal three, four years ago, though.

    1. Aris Katsaris

      Somewhere between the lands of fiction and the land of mathematics, lies the vague-bordered land of the imagined mathematical extrapolation of the far future — a wild and mostly uninhabitable for humans region. Greg Egan is an explorer of that territory, and MIRI has dared built a settlement in the outskirts of that dangerous place, making plans to one day hopefully tame the whole.

      “Friendship is Optimal” should be placed slightly nearer to it than “Alicornfic”, though.

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